This is part 3 of our ongoing Worsties coverage. It runs through the end of last January. More parts to follow.
Isiah continues to lose grip on reality, Part I: A day after 2007 gave way to 2008, Isiah Thomas had this to say about his godawful team: "I believe that one day we will win a championship here. And as I sit here and I say it today, I know people will laugh even more at me, but I'm hell bent on getting this accomplished and making sure that we get it done. And I'm not leaving until we get it done." Emboldened by their coaches strong words, the Knicks promptly went out and got blown out at home by the Sacramento Kings (13-18), who were without Kevin Martin, Ron Artest, and Mike Bibby. After the game, Thomas altered his stance ever so slightly: "I don't necessarily just want to win a championship. I want to leave something that's going to stand for a long time. I want to leave a legacy, I want to leave tradition. I want to leave an imprint, a blueprint in terms of how people play, and how they coach and how they respond when they put on the Knick uniform. And I want to leave what I left in Detroit. Every person that walks through that door as a Piston, when they put on that uniform, there's a certain pride that they carry. And I want to put that here and I want to leave that here in New York. I want to leave a championship legacy." Seriously, I know people who got put in padded cells for less crazy than this.
Knicks try to stifle "Fire Isiah" movement:A 22-year-old college student was arrested outside Madison Square Garden for selling t-shirts that said, "Don't Hate The Player Or The Game. Hate The Coach." The man in question, one Ivan Cash, thinks the arrest was meant "to put a lid on all the demands by fans for a new coach.'' No kidding? erhaps we should just tattoo "Duh" on his head and get it over with.
Scottie Pippen requests head coaching position (world laughs): During the 2006-07 seasons, Pippen wanted to come back and play in the NBA, even going so far as to say, "The fans who understand the game, the GMs and coaches, I think they'd rather have a Scottie than a Michael [Jordan]. Because I'm an all-around player. Coaches would rather have a Scottie-type player than a Michael. I was an all-around player. I made people around me better." Surprisingly enough, nobody -- and I mean nobody -- was interested in his services. In 2008, Pip decided he wanted to coach the Bulls. "What's my disadvantage? No NBA coaching experience? [Scott] Skiles' record with the Bulls wasn't that great. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to do what you've done your whole life. I've played basketball, run teams and won. They didn't put me at point guard because I could dribble good. They put me there because I could run a team. I wasn't the best dribbler, the best shooter. I wasn't a point guard. But I knew how to run a team." Actually, I seem to remember guys like John Paxson, B.J. Armstrong, Ron Harper, and even Steve Kerr playing point for the Bulls back then, but whatever. Pippen continued: "With a guy [Jordan] who loved to touch it and shoot all the time, I was able to keep him under control. That didn't come from the bench, it came from making the right decisions. You try to make the game fun for everyone and then we were able to find Mike. The games I felt he was getting off too much, I'd find a way to get other guys off. And then guys weren't running at him all the time and he could take off in the right place." Uh, yeah. I don't really want to hear about Pip getting other players off. Beyond that, his assertion that it was he, and not Phil Jackson or Jordan himself, that reigned Jordan in is patently ridiculous. As is most of everything else Pippen is saying these days. Particularly when you consider that, right after announcing he wanted to coach the Bulls, he started ripping into the players. On Tyrus Thomas: "He doesn't know how to play the game. He's great from the neck down." On Ben Wallace: "You don't pay a rebounder $15 million. OK, they did. He doesn't know the game like Dennis Rodman did." On Kirk Hinrich: "He's not that talented...you can't have midgets running your backcourt." On Luol Deng: "he's trying to show 28, 29 teams what he's about instead of going out and playing." On Andres Nocioni: "He's turning into Rasheed Wallace with the kinds of things he does on floor." I don't care about his six championships or his place in the 50 Greatest NBA Players. He's an idiot if he thinks talk like that is going to land him a head coaching job anywhere in the NBA, let alone for the Bulls. Does he really think the players would listen to him after he blasted them in the press like that? Ben Gordon sure wasn't listening. "I don't really care what Scottie has to say. Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, but it doesn't have anything to do with anything."
Chauncey Billups gives us a sign of things to come: "Mr. Big Shot" missed three freethrows in the fourth quarter of the Piston's 92-85 loss to the Celtics. He also missed a critical three-pointer in the closing minutes that could have given his team the lead (he was 3-for-9 from three-point range for the game). Then, rather than giving the Celtics credit afterward, he tried to diminish the impact of their victory. "They're a little more happy than we were when we won our game at their place. It was just a regular game for us with two good teams playing. They were kind of playing like it was the Super Bowl. There was probably a little more at stake for them and their psyche than it was for us." And see, that's why the Pistons have failed to make it back to the NBA Finals the last few years. That arrogant, lackadaisical makes for great soundbytes...and disappointing playoff exits.
The Suns' Achilles' heel revealed by...us: Frustrated by the Suns' relative underperformance, I wrote a letter to them to please stop sucking. In that letter, I disclosed that they were, by far, the worst rebounding team in the league. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't written this letter. I'm not saying Steve Kerr read it or anything, but if he did, it's the kind of thing that could push a GM into making a panic trade...
Pat Riley starts eyeballing the "Quit" button: Even as the Heat lose their ninth game in a row and fall to 8-28, rumors start circulating that Riles might retire after this season. Somewhere, Stan Van Gundy laughs in equal parts delight and bitterness.
Isiah continues to lose grip on reality, Part II: The NBA's walking punchline continued to deliver. A few days after stating his intent to win a championship in New York, he was quoted in the New York Daily News as giving himself "two votes of confidence" in his dual role as the Knicks coach and general manager. ''There could be smarter people [than me], but in terms of determination and passion to make it right, I know I'm not going to find anybody [better] out there. I am determined to fix this and make it right.'' He then basically conceded that this season sucks big time, but that ''...you stick around long enough, it happens. You just have to fight your way through it. Through these tough times, you still have to set the example and be the leader. Because there's a locker room full of men looking for direction, and my job is to provide that.'' Isiah then went out and provided that example by coaching the Knicks to yet another home loss in which he got ejected for (possibly) making contact with an official. What terrible crime against humanity compelled Isiah to rush out onto the floor and get himself tossed? He felt Yao Ming should have been called for a three-second violation. Way to choose your battles there, Isiah.
Gordan Giricek earns does not earn respect: After getting traded away from the Jazz, Giricek announces that he was not respected "as a man." He then goes out and averages 3.3 PPG on 26 percent shooting in his first several games with his new team, the Sixers, who suddenly realize, "Wait, we traded Kyle Korver for this guy?!"
Saint Louis Billikens remind me why I hate college basketball: I'm not a big fan of college basketball (unless it's my alma mater or March Madness), but I couldn't not mention this travesty: The Billikens set a modern Division I record for fewest points in a game with 20. Saint Louis went zero for their first nine shot attempts. At one point, they missed 23 consecutive shots and finished 7-for-48 (14.6 percent) from the field, including 1-for-19 from 3-point range. They had scored only 7 points by halftime, a performance that made their 13-point second half look positively scintillating. What does a coach even say to his team after a performance so historically dreadful? Well, Rick Majerus, the Billikens' coach, noted after the game that this was his first year with Saint Louis and that he did not recruit the team. "It's like being a stepparent. I didn't pick them. They didn't pick me." Wow. Feel the love.
Update! Basketbawful reader deej pointed out that our boy Larry Hughes was a Billiken, and Johnny Drama provided this wonderful and related link. Turns out the Billikens were, in a way, paying tribute to their most famous son.
The Dark Lord is stunned as it snows in hell:Seriously.
The inmates start running the asylum in Chicago: First, Joakim Noah screamed at assistant coach Ron Adams at practice, after which interim head coach Jim Boylan suspended Noah for one game for his behavior. Then a cabal of Bulls players -- led by Ben "I am killing this team with my huge contract and lousy play" Wallace and Adrian "He's still on this team?" Griffin -- vote to suspend Noah for an additional game. Stunningly, Chicago's coaching staff and management supported this move. Bulls GM John Paxson appeared on the Mike North Morning Show on WSCR-AM (670), and said that everyone in the Bulls' organization, including team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, thought that the players' group decision to bench Noah was ''outstanding.'' Mind you, these were the same players who tuned out and quit on Scott Skiles, leading to the "coach who turned things around" getting fired on freakin' Christmas eve.
JamesOn Curry decides the entire world is his bathroom: The Bulls rookie, best known for a gratuitous capital O in his first name, added a big P to his arsenal of extraneous letters last night. Curry, who was serving a stint with the Iowa Energy of the NBA Developmental League, was urinating in an alley near the Hampton Inn in Boise, Iowa, when he was spotted by a police officer. As the officer approached in his patrol car, Curry saw him and started to walk away (only after holstering his boomstick, one hopes). The officer turned his emergency lights on and Curry bolted. He went into the Hampton Inn and was stopped by a locked door (d'oh!). Curry was then taken into custody and charged with misdemeanor counts of urinating in public, resisting arrest, and being a damned fool. The biggest tragedy to come out of this is that Curry -- due to suspension -- was forced to miss the Zooperstars performance during halftime of the Energy's next game against the Austin Toros.
Lakers fans turn on Kwame Brown: During L.A.'s 106-98 loss to the Suns, Lakers fans played The Giant Falling Anvil to Kwame Brown's Wile E. Coyote, booing him with a pitiless rage that would make even Hannibal Lecter a little uneasy. Kwame played so badly -- 3-for-8 shooting, two blown layups, one missed dunk, and 7 turnovers -- that one wonders whether he has the manual dexterity necessary to accomplish even the simplest of tasks, like using a remote control or unwrapping a piece of gum. Update! Basketbawful reader dunpizzle provided some video.
And it happened again.
More Knicks drama unfolds: Former Knicks coach Larry Brown revealed that management had spies "throughout the arena" to keep in eye on him. As a result, he never felt fully comfortable viewing Internet porn in his office. I mean, he still did it and everything, but it wasn't nearly as satisfying as it could have been.
Shaq's wallet fuels our economy: Thanks to his ongoing divorce issues, the press gives us an insider's view of The Big Spender's monthly expenditures: $1,500 for cable TV, $110,000 for vacations, $17,000 for clothing, $26,500 for babysitting, and $23,000 at gas stations. Man, I need to quit my job and get hired on as Shaq's nanny. That has "hit sitcom" written all over it.
Tony Parker's dark secret revealed: Eva Longoria finally admitted to something that everyone who follows the NBA already knew. No, not that Tony Parker has a very small penis (although that's true too). The dude totally fakes fouls and injuries. Gee, I'm so very shocked. Remember in last year's playoffs when Parker obliterated Steve Nash's nose with his bulbous head? I mean, Nash's poor beak freaking exploded, yet he just stood there and took it like a man while Parker was writhing around on the court in totally bogus agony.
Magic Johnson makes bold (read that "stupid") prediction: The man who gave us harmonism and fundamativity has now offered up the following insane prognostication: The New York Knicks (who were at that time 14-31) were going to make the playoffs. In fact, Johnson said, "I think that they’re going to be a tough eight or seven seed, too." Why would Magic think something so, you know, stupid? "Because you can see that they’ve turned the corner. Now everybody knows their roles, their minutes. I watch every game." Well, there you have it. Magic watches every Knicks game. No wonder he's lost his damn mind.
Chris Webber returns (waaaah waaaah waaaaaaaah): [The following was submitted and written by Justin from Birdmonster.] Warrior fans have a long, hate-flavored memory. And while I will always have a special place in my charcoaled soul for Mike Dunleavy, Todd Fuller, and the unforgettable Uwe Blab, only Chris Webber had the ability to pull his shorts past his bionic knees and crap all over our faces twice.
A brief history: Webber famously forced a trade after his first season in the Bay, a trade which netted the Warriors the unstoppable manbeast known as Tom Gugliotta. C-Webb would become a perennial all star and the cornerstone of those enjoyable turn of the millennium Sacramento teams while Tom Guglitta would earn the nickname "The Grub."
Then, last season, right before the Shaq & Pau trades, our lovable Warriors signed Webber after more than a decade of wear and tear. Warriors fans enjoyed the hallucination that Webber, with his smooth passing and crafty old-man-game, could be a valuable piece in Don Nelson's ever fluid line-up. I know I talked myself into it.
Then I saw him play.
It was a tragedy.
Webber played a staggering nine games and averaged 3.9 points and 3.6 rebounds a game before his android joints rusted. While Warrior fans begged to see us some Brandan Wright, C-Webb got 14 minutes a night to bog down the Warriors offense and make a defense built on scrappiness into one built on crappy-ness. I was actually upset he was taking minutes from Austin Croshere.
So thanks CWebb. We'll let you know when that statue outside Oracle is up.