Invites for Frost


I don't like what I'm hearing. Not from LeBron, who has boldly asserted that he could win the scoring title every year, but from the rest of us. No, it's not the case that any other player could top LeBron if both gunned all-out, Gervin/Thompson-style, each day of the night. You know why? Because unlike Durant or Melo, James has way more at his disposal. He could work the post, or just run up the court and through all defenders on every possession. Yes, it was a matter-of-fact statement, calm and hardly with the lurch of a braggart. At the same time, LeBron is differentiating himself from his peers. Hey, everybody, he has untapped potential still. He knows it, and if he totally broke out of a team system to go for numbers—which, incidentally, he is less likely to do than anyone on this short-list—amazing thing would happen. We used to know it, and now he's slipping it in himself. Going after him for it seems a waste of time, but at the same time, there is something chilling about this off-hand press release. Forget at your own peril.

I am about to say two things involving NBC's Pro Basketball Talk, both of which involve folks I consider e-pals. So no one think this is a mix-tape war. Kurt lead the "is this news?" charge on the LeBron front; to him, I say yes and no. In what order, I'm not sure. No, in that we should knew, but yes, in that he reminds us? Or yes, in that it he reminds us (and himself) what's still buried inside him, and no, after that it's a no-brainer. Let's move on. Krolik, whom some of you may remember from his contributions to this site, took poor Monta Ellis to task the same day for calling himself the third-best player in the league. First, I would like to thank John for bringing to my attention Rolling Stone's embrace of Durant. Of course, it all makes sense—KD, and the Thunder in general, are the most indie rock-friendly team in the league. They even took that from the Sonics' storied past. El ouch. As for the meat of the story, look, shouldn't Ellis be ignored even more forcefully than James? Let him have his fun. If you think he's the problem with the Warriors, you must have an undue amount of faith in the D-League.

Ellis isn't perfect, and his career is at loggerheads. But if an obviously talented, frustrated, and aimless still-young guard on a team built out of nonsense brags to a generally indifferent media, is he really going to war? Not to neglect my role as a member of the media, but come on, let's give Ellis a break. At least until we're all convinced that he's being given a chance to screw up convincingly. Neither his non "right way" play (either caps or quotations all the time, I thought), nor his inflated ego are tethered to reality. I don't know, maybe I'm underestimating all these call-ups. But this is a man floating through trauma. Do we really want to hold him accountable in the same way—even less so, maybe—than the game's best player? Ellis may deserve more grief than James, and is certainly empirically wrong in a slew of ways, but it's only LeBron James whose words have any meaning past the narrow context of "punk spews crap" headline.

Oh, and Amare hates T-Mac. Pass it on.

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At 3/27/2010 12:13 PM, Blogger Brendan K said...

I do love that LeBron took the time to point out that he's self aware of just how awesome he is. We only regularly see glimpses of that in his transition-oop dunks since he's too often in "global icon" mode with the media and being comparably humble (for the sake of, I guess, his average NBA competition or maybe the media/public who's still unwilling to say he's going to be better than Jordan.)

Side note- am I the only one disappointed that Wayne Coyne and Steve Drozd haven't hit the bandwagon and bought adjoining courtside seats in OKC? I was really hoping that'd happen.

At 3/27/2010 12:14 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I doubt you'll see them courtside until the team dumps the pre-game prayer over the PA system.

At 3/27/2010 1:08 PM, Blogger Eric said...

Ellis has a terrible adjusted +/- figure of -12.1 that makes his remarks especially absurd. The number looks even worse when you consider that LeBron, Kobe, Wade, and (after the controversy over his number last year) Durant are all positive by double-digits.

Stats aside, Monta's style of play could very well be as much of a problem for the Warriors as the D-Leaguers and Nellie's midget-ball insanity.


At 3/27/2010 8:28 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

It's been a good twenty years since Rolling Stone has been indie.

At 3/28/2010 4:59 PM, Blogger Dylan Murphy said...

The problem for Monta is that his game has been changed by Nellie ball. But it was only with Nellie ball that he could even emerge, so he's caught in an awkward position. If he leaves G-State, I doubt he suceeds even close to as well as he has thus far.

At 3/28/2010 11:09 PM, Blogger tray said...

No, there are some legit problems with Monta's remarks. He said he can do everything, pass, defend, shoot but in fact his unwillingness to pass and defend and his inability to shoot well is a significant part of why they're so bad. You can't just put it all on the D-Leaguers. His comments are symptomatic of the suckiness of his approach to the game. I'm not trying to crown Curry as some play the right way guy, his game is unorthodox too, as you've noted, but it's effectively unorthodox and efficient. Monta's an exciting volume shooter who doesn't make threes and doesn't get to the line much, nor does he defend. The result being that he makes his team worse or only the slightest bit better. If he understood this, perhaps he would improve the parts of his game that are poor and focus on the parts that are good to great, but instead he fancies himself this great player on an awful talentless team, never considering that he might have something to do with the team's record. And that's too bad, because he'll never reach his potential thinking that way.

At 3/29/2010 12:02 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

SB, it's been a minute since indie rock was indie.

I was referring more to the tendency of parts of Rolling Stone to be written as if it were appealing to that crowd. I don't know why I assumed a Thunder article would be one of those, but it made a certain amount of sense to me.

At 3/29/2010 12:59 AM, Blogger spectacularspectacle said...

don't the thunder make a good deal of sense in every context these days?
except basketball, maybe

At 3/29/2010 9:13 AM, Blogger W2 said...

If Rolling Stone is talking about it, it was indie and is being sold as such (totally agree with Shoals here).

As for Amare hating on T Mac, I knew there was something to like about Amare (besides the unexpected humor of his anti-fur videos).

Regarding Monta...I have a hard time caring. The kid can and will learn to play team ball when the Warriors look something like a team. I would not hang their suckiness on his head. Nellie should fall.

At 3/29/2010 12:04 PM, Blogger Silas said...

I think it's funny - and telling - that Monta proclaimed himself to be possibly the SECOND BEST player in the league. Doesn't saying "I'm number two" kind of defeat the purpose of bragging?

That aside, there is a real connection between these two statements. Both guys are saying essentially the same thing: You don't really know me. The difference is that Lebron gets to choose what image he projects as a player, while Monta's image is a product of circumstance, but the objective of the two remarks is the same. Lebron needs to occasionally remind people that he could be much more of a selfish dick if he to, and Monta needs to keep people wondering "what if". The last thing either of these guys want is for us to start thinking that we've seen everything they've got.

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