Tag Archives: Terry Cummings

Clippers tonight: Bogut vs. the Kamanizer

The Bucks are in Los Angeles tonight to play the tanking Clippers (25-43), the first of a three game road trip that will then take them to Sacramento and Denver, their final road game of the season against a Western Conference opponent. Those are the facts as I know them. Now it’s time for the fun. 

A Clippers game is one of those rare opportunities to explore NBA weirdness. You never know who’s on the Clippers roster, and just when you think you do, half the roster arrives at the gym in crutches to ask for a trade. I couldn’t tell you right now how they’re playing, who sits and who starts, whether MU gunner Steve Novak is still raining three’s on the opposition or whether or not the Bucks ought to be concerned about this game. I have a Chris Kaman photo. The rest is guesswork.

I heard somewhere that the Clippers fired coach Mike Dunleavy, Big Dog’s first coach with the Bucks. I’ve always liked Dunleavy, who, when he was an assistant for Del Harris, suited up and played when the roster got thin. And he had a sense of humor. He was GM and coach during those win-starved “development” years, and brought Alton Lister back in 1994 because he thought it would make the fans happy to see “The Big Project” again. He was right. Dunleavy in 1995 brought Terry Cummings back for a spin, too, and that was cool, despite the 57 losses.

I also heard somewhere that Marcus Camby is now a Trailblazer, and that Portland thinks maybe they can make a title run this year. Camby’s still a dedicated defender and rebounder but Camby is a guarantee that the Blazers will not win a title. Ask Patrick Ewing. The upshot is that there is somebody named Outlaw on the Clippers roster now, but I don’t think it’s Bo Outlaw from those post-Shaq Orlando Magic teams.  Former Buck Steve Blake may be a Clipper, too, but whether or not Jamal Magliore was part of the deal I can’t be sure.

Chris Kaman is still a Clipper and by now he should have some sort of nickname. He’s been there since 2003. He’s also a guy I’ve never liked as an NBA center. In fact, I refused to list him on the inaugural Bob Boozer Jinx center rankings on grounds that I could not make a “Top Ten NBA Centers” list with Kaman on it. He’s lumbering, he’s awkward, he’s ridiculous looking, he misses more bunnies than a big man has a right to. I hold him responsible for my man Sam “I Am” Cassell‘s failure to lead the Clippers past the Suns in the 2006 playoffs.

There were times during his career that Andrew Bogut on a bad day  reminded me a little of Kaman, but I didn’t blame Bogut. I blamed Chris Kaman.

Kaman used to have the worst hair in the NBA (and that’s saying something) — but at least he had the guts to play with the game with a few strands of flyaway hair, and that was something to be said for Kaman. Now that he’s cut his hair, I can’t think of anything good to say about Chris Kaman.

Except that he’s averaging 18.8 ppg and 9.1 boards on a bad team, all the while refusing to jump. He’s as big as Bogut and a lot wider but Kaman and Bogut haven’t gone head-to-head since Feb. 11, 2008, in Milwaukee. That didn’t go well for the Bucks or AB. While Kaman only had 7 pts, he grabbed 15 boards and bodied Bogut into a 4-16 shooting night. Bogues was good on the glass with 12 but Al Thornton killed Yi and Charlie V for 25 pts. (Check that — no, it really does say that Bogut got 16 shots two years ago). 

It was the night Michael Redd decided he was going to finally make coach Larry Krystkowiak happy by sharing the ball, and he did, refusing to shoot in the first half. Redd racked up a career high 11 assists and Mo was all too happy to take the shots (he was 12-20 from the floor). The Bucks appeared to be outplaying them all night, but … somehow we managed to lose to a 16-32 Clippers team at the BC. It did make for a weird-looking boxscore … those were the days.

And Chris Kaman still had his hair.

Someone please tell Journal Sentinel that Richard Jefferson is not an All-Star

Puhleese make me an All-StarWhy do those who run Milwaukee’s daily newspaper seem to believe that bullshitting Milwaukee Bucks fans will bring us back to the Bradley Center next season?

Gary D. Howard, Journal Sentinel Sports Editor, fouled out in the first few paragraphs of the column he wrote in yesterday’s paper, a blatant yet well-meaning attempt to make his readers feel good, really good, ecstatic even, about the acquisitions of pitcher CC Sabathia by the Brewers and forward Richard Jefferson by the Bucks.

Sabathia, who won his first game as a Brewer last night, has the Brewers bouncing around the clubhouse about their postseason prospects. Howard, however, is a basketball guy, and his column was about making Bucks fans feel as good about Jefferson as the Brewers fans feel about Sabathia.

He does this by:

1) Starting out the column talking about Brett Favre, a big no-no, irregardless of how good Sabathia or Jefferson may be;

2) Describing both Sabathia and Jefferson as “all-stars” as if there was some parallel between the two athletes.

Sabathia’s no mere “all-star.” He won the Cy Young last year, a declaration that, in 2007, he was the best player at the pitching position in Major League Baseball. The NBA equivalent is to be named 1st Team All-NBA. This makes Sabathia parallel to, say, Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic, the center on this past season’s All-NBA 1st Team.

The last Buck to be named 1st Team All-NBA was Sidney Moncrief in 1983. Marques Johnson made the 1st Team in 1979, the year before the advent of Bird and Magic; also the year Marques shot at will and averaged 25.6 points per game and only 3.0 assists per game. True, Marques’ shots were good ones — he shot 55 percent from the floor before the dawn of the three-pointer — but the team finished 38-44 and did not make the playoffs.

(Michael Redd take note: the last player in a Bucks uniform to be allowed to shoot at will and control the ball the way you’ve been allowed to these last five years was Marques in 1979 — and look how the team finished. Marques never played that way again after that season, and never again averaged more than 21.7 points a game in his career, while his assists rocketed up to 4.6 per game and the Bucks became a 50-60 win team. I realize that comparing you, Mike, to Marques Johnson is completely unfair to you, but … just saying.)

But that’s it for the Bucks in the last 30 years — only two, count ’em two, Sabathia-equivalent players: Sidney and Marques. Honorable mention goes to Terry Cummings (2nd Team All-NBA 1985).

So what does this have to do with Gary Howard’s column? Everything … because Richard Jefferson has never been an All-Pro, period. Not 1st, 2nd or 3rd Team.

In fact, Richard Jefferson has never made an NBA All-Star team. Not once in his seven-year career. Look it up.

Jefferson was a Top Ten scorer in the league last year, averaging more points per game (22.6) than All-Pro Marques Johnson ever did except for the 1979 season in which the Bucks failed to win. Last season, only five players in the NBA scored more points than Jefferson. Yet RJ did not make the All-Star team. His team, the New Jersey Nets, finished a disappointing 34-48.

So how did Richard Jefferson become an All-Star in the eyes of the Journal sports editor? Nobody knows. Maybe Howard figures that anybody in the Top Ten in scoring is an All-Star in his book.

But we know how that goes in Milwaukee. Michael Redd‘s been in the Top Ten in NBA scoring four of the last five years yet his team has never won. He did make the All-Star team once – in 2004, the year the Bucks almost won and finished 41-41. He was also 3rd Team All-NBA that season. 2004 also happens to be his lowest scoring year of the last five (21.7 pts avg) and the only season in Mike’s career that he averaged five rebounds per game. Redd was All-Star, and the Bucks almost won. That now seems like a long time ago.

The trend is fairly clear. Getting into the Top Ten in scoring doesn’t necessarily make a player an all-star or a winner. For many players, including Redd and Jefferson, if you’re scoring in the Top Ten, chances are you’re hurting the team, pursuing what Bucks center Andrew Bogut late last season called “individual accolades.” Wonder who he was talking about?

Oddly enough, Jefferson hasn’t pursued individual accolades all that much in his career (when the Nets were winning, Jefferson was scoring much less, often a third option) but things began to change for the Nets in 2007, going sour as Jason Kidd all but gave up on the team and asked for a trade. Suddenly, Jefferson’s scoring went up. To me that’s a bad sign.

The Bucks now have two guys who like to score the ball a lot, drive to the hoop and get to the line, but couldn’t win games in the Eastern Conference last season playing the way they did. One has been an All-Star. The other, the new guy, has never been more than a 2nd-Team All-Rookie selection (2002) in the NBA. Sounds to me like a concoction that will give Scott Skiles headaches all year if it’s allowed to suit up for the Bucks.

So why again am I and other Bucks fans being told by the editor of the big daily in town that the new guy is an All-Star?

You got me. Nobody knows. For the record, it’s not coming from the Bucks organization or John Hammond. (Click here for the full transcript of Jefferson’s news conference Monday.)

To be fair, Howard’s not the only one in local media saying or writing “all star Richard Jefferson” since the trade. But as an NBA fan who supposedly respects Bucks fans/his readers (and therein may be the problem) Howard should know enough not to publish jive.