Storylines to watch as the 2005-06 begins
The NBA Dress Code: Stephen Jackson thinks it’s racist. Tim Duncan thinks it’s stupid. Marcus Camby doesn’t really care, but he wants the NBA to pay for his suits. Just when I was about to dismiss Stephen Jackson’s accusations, Phil Jackson came along and gave them all kinds of credence by referring to the hip-hop flavored wardrobes popular among today’s ballers as “prison garb.” Um, Phil: that’s what the kids are wearing these days! It’s actually a huge business! So much for the Zen Master being so cool. Everyone is trying to predict what fans will think of the new rules. Why don’t we just go straight to the source: what do the readers think?
LVP Allen Iverson: Unlike David Stern, I’m not phased by Iverson’s tattoos, T-shirts, or chains. It’s his game that bothers me. This guy caused celebration last year when he shot 42.4% from the field. I guess that does look good when you shoot 38.7% the previous year. He also can’t shoot the three (career 30.7%), and a career free throw percentage under 80% for a star guard is, well…bad. Iverson did drop 8 assists per game last year—and his assist/turnover ratio was still under 2! He turned the ball over 4.6 times per game! Everyone points the finger at Webber for his failure to coexist with Iverson, but Larry Hughes and Jerry Stackhouse also had trouble playing with The Answer. Here’s The Question: wouldn’t you have trouble “coexisting” with a bad passer and a bad shooter with a bad attitude who insisted on shooting the ball 25 times a game?
The emancipation of Melo: After a sophomore season marred by an overall failure to improve on the court and the off-the-court release of an underground DVD that warned viewers to “Stop Snitching,” Carmelo Anthony looks poised to have a breakout season under George Karl in Denver. He showed off improved passing and shooting skills during the preseason and scored seven points in the first four minutes of the Nuggets’ opener in San Antonio. Is 25+ points per game and playoff glory out of reach for the 21-year-old Melo? Don’t snitch!
Rising Suns: When the Suns elected to let Joe Johnson and Quentin Richardson walk, chances are they didn’t expect to lose franchise cornerstone Amare Stoudemire for four months to knee microfracture surgery. Now missing 3/5 of the starting lineup from last year’s Cinderella team, the Suns are relying on previous unknowns Raja Bell and James Jones, a former Reggie Miller protégé, to pick up the slack. Will they be enough to keep the Suns afloat and playoff-eligible until Amare gets healthy?