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The Bad, The Good, And The Ugly
Wow, we haven't even started the regular season, and I'm already writing my 20th column this season. I guess I should celebrate, although I really don't have any spare time...
What's Up With Ben Wallace?
You probably saw the Washington Post article yesterday. Ben Wallace is not performing up to snuff. In fact, based purely on effort and output to date, I think that Darvin Ham has greatly outperformed Ben Wallace. Ham is certainly getting more minutes than Wallace is. (Looking at the boxscores, I'm guessing Jimmy Oliver also is performing reasonably well.) The question remains - will Ham, with a non-guaranteed contract, get a roster spot over Wallace, who has a 1-year guaranteed contract?
Wallace has been tentative to date, not rebounding well or playing like the active player he showed last year at training camp. The hustle is not there. And Bickerstaff isn't giving Wallace minutes if he doesn't earn it.
Ham, on the other hand, is showing he's also athletic, but he has an offensive game. He may also be a defensive stopper in the mold of Harvey Grant, in that while his offensive game isn't sophisticated he can guard a wide range of players. He claims that he was called on last year to guard players from Mitch Richmond (a silky smooth shooting guard) to Vlade Divac (a mobile center). Not bad for a player who stands 6'7" and 230 pounds. In other words, a slightly shorter Harvey.
Who Might Make The Team?
Man, if Wallace could just learn about defensive positioning like Ham seems to know. (Heck, I think CWebb could learn a thing or two about defensive positioning, too.) In the meantime, I would not be surprised to see Ham to make the team over Wallace. Wallace only counts $326,000 against the cap, and the Wizards are so far over the cap that carrying his salary doesn't affect him. The only drawback is that they're paying out his salary even if he doesn't make the team.
What the Wizards need is bodies who can perform when called on during the regular season, not just a warm body who won't get called off the bench. Unfortunately, the Wizards will probably enter the season looking a little banged up. Muresan isn't likely to be ready, so I'd expect Eric Leckner to get the nod (as centers are needed, and coach Bickerstaff doesn't view CWebb as a long-term solution at center).
But Tim Legler is hobbled by a hamstring injury (though he's returning to practice now), and Juwan Howard may just be getting back to practice after a severe ankle sprain by the time the regular season starts. Plus, Lorenzo Williams is playing on some creaky knees. Clearly, some front-court depth is needed, and if Wallace isn't ready to contribute, Bickerstaff may go with Ham.
Keep an eye on this one in the next week. It should be interesting.
CWebb's A Stand Up Guy
Another very interesting article is about CWebb and how he's recently stepped forward to defend Steve Fisher, recently fired coach of the University of Michigan. Fisher recruited and coached CWebb for 2 years, and CWebb feels very strongly about how Fisher was run out of town.
CWebb went as far as appearing on sports radio in the Detroit area for a couple of hours, fielding calls and defending Fisher. And he's not too popular for his stance.
But you know what? CWebb shows once again what a smart guy he is. You may not agree with CWebb on the Fisher issue, but CWebb is willing to stand up for the things he believes in. And spell it out in an intelligent and rational discussion. And that's not something you necessarily expect from today's athlete.
CWebb has shown his intellectual bent before. Yet again, he shows that he's a very smart and independent man. And in many ways, he's someone I would suggest might even be a "role model". Remember the little things he does - they can speak volumes.
About Those New Uniforms...
Unfortunately, I haven't seen the Wizards uniforms from up close. But they look alright in photos I've seen. Nothing spectacular (especially the bland white), but they're functional. At least they aren't overwhelmed by too much artwork.
(Has anyone seen the road jerseys? Any better?)
Then There're The Pacers...
At least the Wizards didn't go with pinstripes. What's with this obsession with pinstripes? More often than not, it doesn't work. Especially when they stand out. The latest to succumb to this hideous idea is the Indiana Pacers. Those uniforms are just ugly. Too busy, even though they're only stripes!
Pinstripes, when subtle, look good. When they're too think or bright, they attract too much attention. It's especially bad when they are bright stripes on dark road uniforms. You don't want the fans looking at the uniforms; you want them looking at the players and what they're doing with the ball!
Then again, that's my opinion. I'm sure there are those that like them.
wtf 21 October 1997