10.02.2007

Dented in the Rain


When I first decided to join forces with Bethlehem Shoals, decades ago, I was following a little team called the Minnesota Timberwolves with a big heart and a big dream. This was the fabled 2003-04 season when KG finally did some playoff dirt, accompanied by the wily gunman Latrell Sprewell and the ninja, Sam Cassell. The key cog to that team, however, was the guy who replaced the injured Wally Szczerbiak for the better part of that season, Trenton Hassell. Hassell became my favorite player for the way he mindboggled Carmelo Anthony in the first round of the PO's and sent Peja Stojakovic's career toward a downward spiral. My first moniker on this very website, in fact, was an homage to Hassell's game.

Hassell is gone now. Traded from the Wolves to the Mavs for Greg Buckner. And I've been privately holding a vigil for him ever since.

Hassell's defense is as FD as a Josh Smith dunk. He doesn't quite have the super-long arms you think of when you think "defensive-stopper," but he moves with the perfect amount of gangliness to really disrupt an opponent. He's as shut-down as Bowen, but far less overt and far less fake-humble. Plus, he does that "I'll defend Dirk and I'll defend Iverson" routine as good as anybody in the game. After 03-04, lots of Wolves die-hards suggested that the new emphasis on handchecking completely killed Hassell's game, but the stats proved otherwise. I can't find the link now, but 82games.com listed Hassell as clearly in the top 3 at his position in 04-05. Because he doesn't have the name of a Kobe Bryant or the rep of a Bowen, he doesn't get the benefit of the calls a lot of the time...but this year, on a high-profile team such as the Mavs, the world will witness his prowess.

This is not to mention that T-Hass's offensive game is a fluid swan. The favorite stat of many Wolves boosters for the past few years is that while in college at Austin P, Hassell led the conference in scoring.

I'm coming to learn that the hardest part of a rebuilding process is not getting over the magnitude of someone like KG, but dealing with all of the casualties that come with it. The Hassell/Buckner deal is clearly just a swap for a more manageable contract. Glen Taylor give me something to live for.


One final note, as Sportscenter leads with the Memphis lineman story closely followed by the Isiah mess, it seems pertinent to put this screenshot up (click to enlarge), which is the type of thing I was referring to in this post:

19 Comments:

At 10/03/2007 1:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, arguing someone's defense as FD even when they aren't a stat gambler is a bold move.

The real question: does this move make Jason Terry the 6th man of next year? I.E. Devin/Trenton/Josh/Dirk/Diop?

Seems like a pretty un-FD (and worth 50-55 wins) lineup.

 
At 10/03/2007 5:07 AM, Blogger Ian said...

Terry will start if only because of his contract. Harris also seems like the definition of the 6th man. I'm not sure he's got the wherewithal to be a starter. That and the fact that I don't think I've ever seen him make a shot longer than a layup.

 
At 10/03/2007 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mavs will win 60+ again. I'm thinking theres a possibility that Stack will be moved to starter alongside Devin Harris and JET will get 30 min+ off the bench. Hassell will have more pairing with JET i think and will have to earn his PT. I haven't seen the guy play much. Hope he's as good as you say. (mavs fan since Ro Blackman days)

 
At 10/03/2007 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im sick of all these depressing sports stories. They need to get a fresh perspective and try getting interested in the actual sport again.

 
At 10/03/2007 11:32 AM, Blogger goathair said...

The Dallas bench is loaded.

 
At 10/03/2007 12:03 PM, Anonymous Nibs said...

1.that screenshot is the most depressing thing I've seen in a while

2. If the mavs would've had hassell for the warriors series, the spurs might not have been getting their roll on

 
At 10/03/2007 3:23 PM, Anonymous Steve J said...

I met Hassell after an autograph session at a grocery store in a northern suburb of the Twin Cities. I had no idea he was there until I saw him (in full warm-ups, no less) in the condiment/salad dressing aisle picking up some Ranch. I told my wife (loud enough for him to hear) that there was no way we would get our cart past him; he's locked down Kobe and Carmello before and we'd be no challenge. She asked "Who's Carmello?"........Hassell laughed, gave me a nod and a look that said "I'm sorry, man". Seems like a legit guy, I know the local TV/radio play by play guys loved his game. When his rainbow 14-footer is on he can go for 15 per game.

 
At 10/03/2007 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve J that a is a cool little story. Man, what other place besides this could I have read that. Thank you for the forum to learn, DLIC.

 
At 10/03/2007 6:05 PM, Anonymous Laphonso said...

While we're feeling nostalgic for the '03-'04 Wolves (I agree with every word of this Hassell post) I'd like to throw some love out to Ervin Johnson, who defended Duncan as well as anyone has in the four Spurs games that year. That whole Wolves squad was FD as fuck.

 
At 10/03/2007 6:31 PM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

Baron Davis likes CAPS, ya digg?!

http://yardbarker.com/users/BaronDavis

Went there via a Truehoop link. But what I'm wondering is whether we're just witnessing a huge change in the way players are trying to present (market?) themselves? I don't know how it is in other US sports, bot the blog phenomenon is certainly spreading throughout the NBA. Is it only because of Gilbert? Also, I'm not sure whether this means we're getting a more realistic view of the athletes. I'm pretty sure that the big names of the league all have somebody counseling and helping them with it. But maybe we're just entering the golden age because this is new and hasn't been professionalized yet.

I want a Sheed blog!

 
At 10/03/2007 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is worth noting:

Problem: Baron Davis is unhappy that he will not be offered a contract extension until after this season.

Solution: Immediately offer a long term contract to the lankiest white dude on the team (Biedrins).

Resolution: Baron will NOT play in the Bay past this year. PERIOD. There is now NO chance.

 
At 10/03/2007 7:53 PM, Anonymous MODI said...

still trying to get my arms around the fact that you seem to be more bummed about Hassell than KG...

 
At 10/03/2007 7:57 PM, Blogger William said...

Personally I want to give a shout out to A.T.M Im excited about your future.
BD-"Back home I've been working on a documentary on LA Gangs, directed by legendary skateboard pioneer Stacey Peralta, make sure you check out his other docs Dogtown and Z-Boys and Riding Giants. I've got some new music in the works with Ya Boy!!! (The new prince of the west coast) and the up and coming group A.T.M. a/k/a Addicted To Money, featuring my cousin Faze, Young Diesel, Eddie Rap Life, DeNiro and Stevie J.
In August, my foundation Teamplay, hosted the LA Stars Charity Weekend it was phenomenal, we raised a lot of money for the kids, STEVIE WONDER stopped by and got on stage, thanks you're my fav!!!, Magic thanks for being a big brother and Paul "The Truth" Pierce, we did it again thanks!!!... The event had a great turnout, Saturday we had a day of community service, followed by a live auction and party on Rodeo Dr., Sunday we had a carnival for the kids and for a finale my favorite part of the weekend was the All-Star Game because I had all of my friends come out and ball and we put on a show for the community!!! Big shout out to all y'all that participated, if you wanna know who was there, come to the event!!! LOL!!! or check out our site www.LAStars.net . We set out with one goal, raising money for the kids, and we did that! Thanks for your support!!!

 
At 10/03/2007 8:05 PM, Blogger William said...

This also excites me.

Physically I'm ready and mentally I’m there because I’ve put myself in situations where I can put myself in that mind frame again. Meaning that whenever we play pickup games, I don’t wear shorts and a jersey, I wear a sweat suit. I wear the heavy, wool sweat suit to simulate the fourth quarter feel of exhaustion and I go games where I decide I’m only going to shoot the game winner, so it makes me think of the game winner. I didn’t get to think about shooting “quality shots” for so long that I had to get my mind back to where it was before I was injured." Gilbert Arenas

 
At 10/04/2007 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Item: Stephen Jackson has been named Captain of the Warriors. Awesome.

 
At 10/04/2007 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the article. Greatest tat ever???

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3048676

 
At 10/04/2007 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darkfan : Good post. A break from some of the sublime obscurities avidly read here.

Digress to the Knick verdict: The evidence reported regarding the conduct of Knick management fairly suggests hypocricy with respect to a favorite FD topic, the player dress and deportment codes promulagated out of nearby league offices.

With respect to the player dress code in particular, the reportage regarding the appearance of the Madison Square garden CEO , on video -taped depositon shown to the jury , in shockingly sloppy attire ,with lax posture, while speaking overly familiar and unduly casual tones, especially comes to mind.

 
At 10/04/2007 5:57 PM, Blogger Leee said...

Anon 7.21, where did you read that? My usual Warriors haunts all make a point of saying how he understands and is OK with the reasons why he's not getting extended now.

 
At 10/04/2007 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My usual Warriors haunts all make a point of saying how he understands and is OK..."

He gave one line of PC bullshit and you assume he's fine with losing MILLIONS of dollars. With literally, NO CHANCE to attain that kind of money again. You are familiar with his career, yes? As poorly as his past financial negotiations have gone... and he's supposedly fine with it. *cough*

He WILL NOT play another contract in Golden State. End. Of. Story.
And not a single Warrior fan/blog wants to admit this.

 

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