February 4, 2009

“Dead Zone” eh?

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

You may think that we’re entering a so-called “dead zone” for sports, but really, that’s quite an incorrect statement. In less than two weeks, one of the funnest events on the sports calendar takes place: NBA all-star weekend.  It’s not even so much the all-star game itself, but the events the night before  that make the gathering such a fun time.

The grand finale, the dunk contest isn’t really shaping up to be a classic though. Dwight Howard is returning to defend his crown, but can he really top what he did last year with his Superman stunt? Little Nate Robinson will pull off his wee-man act again and could very well win it if Dwight can’t perform. Everyone loves voting for an underdog. Also, you have Rudy Gay, who is a tremendous athlete but doesn’t seem really creative (read: expect a free-throw line attempt) and, for some reason, the fans voted in Rudy Fernandez, one of the best young shooters in the league. There wasn’t much choice on the fan ballot, but I’m sure that Rudy wasn’t the best option.

The three-point shootout is fun to watch as well, but is losing relevance, I think. For the past two years, Jason Kapono of the Raptors has dominated the event and taken home the mantle of best three-point shooter. While Kapono does seem to be the best at that facet of the game, he can’t do much else. He might even be one of the worst all-around players in the league who actually gets minute if you watch him. What makes it even worse is that the Raptors, after all this time, still don’t know how to use him properly. Why don’t they have him running off screens and popping shots instead of trying to drive, which is usually a failure because of his poor ball-handling skills? This is one of the reasons why Toronto is a lottery team.

Now, with this news, I’m sure Bill Simmons at ESPN is doing back flips right now: The NBA is putting H-O-R-S-E in and taking out the ridiculous “Two-ball” event. For those of you who forget, Horse is that awesome game you used to play in your driveway or in the school yard where you would try to make ridiculous shots to upstage your friends where misses gave them letters spelling out “horse.” Two-ball, on the other hand, was a ridiculous waste of time that’s sole intention was to have at least minimal WNBA involvement at the festivities.

Needless to say, I really can’t wait Valentine’s Day.

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