Monday, November 23, 2009

Ballin' With Bowen

With the NBA season in full swing the San Antonio Spurs are once again looking like a contendr. However, there is one glaring difference between past Spurs championship teams and the squad the Spurs are suiting up this season: The presence of the defensive rock and cluth-shot specialist, Bruce Bowen. Bruce harassed, terrorized, intimidated, and straight shut down the NBA's best scorers for the better part of the past decade en route to helping the Spurs to three titles during his tenure in San An. Bruce retired from the L in the summer after being shipped to the Milwaukee Bucks and is enjoying his first season away from the court. I recently had a chance to catch up with Bruce and talk about everything from the toughest player he had to guard (the answer will suprise you) to how he deals with detractors that label his play as "dirty."

Hit the link below to check out the full interview:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Boston's Best?

The start of this season looks very similar to the past couple for the Boston Celtics, as they stormed out of the gate to an impressive 6-0 start. Garnett seems to be regaining his midseason stride, and Rasheed is thriving in his new role in Bean Town. All seems well in Celtic Land, no?

Despite the early success of the squad one has to be concerned with the continuous off-court distraction budding star Rajon Rondo has become. Between trade rumors, contract negotiations, and a newly found feud with superstar Chris Paul it seems that Rondo’s name is being mentioned as often for off-court reasons as for his on court performance. Let’s rewind a couple years. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen have just signed with the Celtics, joining Paul Pierce to create the most formidable threesome in the League. These additions propelled the Celtics from a potential playoff team to a bona fide Championship contender (favorite to many). The lone question looming large over the team’s roster heading into that 2007-2008 season was a supposed hole at the point guard position. With so much talent at the surrounding positions a capable point guard was desperately needed to distribute the ball and run the team. There was no veteran incumbent and most felt that the heir apparent, Rondo, would not be ready, or capable, to lead such a talented team to the title. Despite these doubts the Celtics had few choices and Rondo was granted the starting spot. Two surprisingly strong seasons, a championship, and several trade talks later, Rajon Rondo is still the Celtics starting point guard; for better or for worse.

Rondo has exceeded all expectations since being slung into that starting spot, balancing the Celtics squad and pushing his name into the top tier of best point guard in the League conversations. With that being said, many still dwell on one question: Is Rondo really that good?
The answer: Yes and no.

Rondo has had an extremely successful stint as the C’s starting distributor thus far, posting respectable career numbers of 9, 6, and 4 per, helping Boston to the championship, and who could forget that Bulls/Celts playoff series last year? But, Chris Paul exemplified the main knock against Rondo in a quote the other evening after the two scuffled; the two tangled under the basket, eventually being separated and teed up.
“Rondo is a lucky guy, to play with Pierce, Garnett, and Allen,” Paul stated, potentially implying that Rondo’s success was due largely to those surrounding him, and really who’s to dispute this claim? Rondo’s success has certainly been directly related to his talented teammates, and there is no way to determine how he’d fare on an inferior team. Would anyone be talking about Rondo if he was holding down the starting spot for the Nets or Timberwolves? Maybe so, but it is difficult to imagine that other point guards in the League wouldn’t be able to duplicate Rondo’s success, given the same surrounding cast. What if CP3 got his wish and was surrounded by the four former all-stars? Or what about Chauncey? D-Will? Tony Parker? And the list goes on. Would not all of these point guards gain similar success to that attained by Rondo if they were handed the reins of the Celtics two years ago?

Such questions are not meant to detract from Rondo’s success, simply to keep it in perspective. After all, Adam Morrison has a ring too.