Our cable has been out for the last two days, so I have been devouring last week's SI NBA Preview mag when I get home (and a little on the Metro, but it's tough to read with all the sweaty, mindless drones bumping into me and giving me dirty looks). Anyhoo, the best part of the preview issue (as it also is with SI's NFL and MLB issues) is the Enemy Lines section, an opposing scout's look at each team. This year's scout's "takes" (Rack me, I'm out) did not disappoint. I thought I'd let you join in the fun today. Below are seven quotes taken from these Enemy Lines sections (I tried to pick seven different teams/players, but one team sucks so much they get a team quote AND a player quote), with the offending team or player masked for now - try to take a stab at guessing the winners, er, losers (answers below):
7. "You can say that Player X just needs to play for the right coach, but I wonder if that coach has been born yet."
The correct answer is this guy will never mesh well with any coach ever.
6. "Every time I see Player Y, I'm asking, Why is this guy not better? He's capable of shooting the ball and making plays around the basket, and he's more than athletic and skilled enough. But instead he just floats around, not playing hard, not mixing it up."
OK, so this one can probably be applied to over 50% of the league. Good luck guessing which overpaid baller they're referring to.
5. "Their point guard situation is one of the worst in the league. None of them has a strong personality, no one has blow-by speed, no one can knock it down, no one is a great on-ball defender. They're all backups."
Tell us how you really feel Mr. Anonymous Scout. By the way, if this was last year's issue, I absolutely would have said the team in question was the Hawks.
4. "Player Z thinks he's a jump shooter, but he doesn't make jump shots, and he thinks he's a ball handler, but he's not quick enough to get by people, so he'll run into them and get called for a charge."
Excuse me for a moment - I need to go drop Player Z from my fantasy team.
3. "The question that ultimately comes up is whether this team can stop anybody. I don't think they can."
Amazingly, this scout is not referring to the Wizards.
2. "I don't trust Coach Blank as a tactician. His energy and passion are his strengths, and it's to his benefit that he keeps things simple."
In other words Coach Blank, always remember "K.I.S.S."...Keep It Simple Stupid.
1. "This team is so bad that you can tell who's taking the first shot simply by whoever gets the ball in his hands first."
By far my favorite observation in the entire issue.
Answer (Derrick Mc)Key:
7 - Ron Artest, Sacramento Kings
6 - Tim Thomas, Los Angeles Clippers
5 - Los Angeles Lakers
4 - Marvin Williams, Atlanta Hawks
3 - Milwaukee Bucks
2 - Sam Mitchell, Toronto Raptors
1 - Atlanta Hawks