By Craig Kwasniewski
The season is just hours away, let's roll out another edition of MMPG:
1. Chasing Wilt: The record for most freethrow attempts in a season is 1,363 by Wilt Chamberlain in 1961-62, an average of 16.6 per game. Since David Stern will do all he can to ensure that Wade and LeBron will meet in the postseason for the next 10 years, we at The Association believe that this record is in jeopardy. Wade shot an average of 10.7 freethrows per game and LeBron shot 10.3 freethrows per game last season (2005-06 FREE THROWS LEADERS: Free Throws Att. Per Game).
Both are far cries from the 16.6 that Chamberlain shot in 61-62, but consider this: Wade shot an incredible 16.2 freethrows per game in the NBA Finals. This is from a shooting guard, not a center who's game is inches from the hoop.
And as I wrote back in June (The Next MJ... With A Lot of Help), "Many people (Jordan lovers or haters) all agree that during the 1990's Michael Jordan got the ultimate superstar treatment and led the NBA Playoffs in free throws attempted per game." Yet Wade's 10.9 freethrow attempts per game exceeded even MJ highest postseason average of 10.6 during the 1998 playoffs. This is a disturbing trend.
2. Mixed Feelings in Orlando: It looks like the last two 1st round picks for Orlando aren't panning out. But seriously, anyone who knows anything about hoops knew that Redick was a media darling with no pro potential. Anyway, according to Sam Smith of the Chicago Tribune:
in the department of wasted draft picks, Orlando's J.J. Redick, considered by most a stretch at No. 11, is headed for the injured list and far down the roster when he returns. It was last year that the Magic used another No. 11 pick for Fran Vazquez, who hasn't come to the NBA. That said, Dwight Howard is looking like an awfully good call at No. 1 over the struggling Emeka Okafor.
3. Phil Jackson is Helping Odom Recover: Basketball is helping Lamar Odom slowly recover from the tragedy of his son's death. According to David Aldridge,
After spending the summer in New York, Odom returned to Los Angeles for training camp this month, with a Bible in his hands and tears in his eyes. The first few days were rough, both physically - he hadn't spent much time working out in his grief - and mentally.
When he looked at tape of those first few days, Odom says he was "way too emotional" on the court.
But he's begun to come around, thanks in part to private conversations with Lakers coach Phil Jackson.
The one thing that separates Jackson from other coaches is his ability to deal with the players on an emotional level, he may be the best coach to help Odom.
4. Cuban, You're Next: Now that the NBA is cracking down on player complaints with a new zero-tolerance policy, the owners (read: Mark Cuban) are next. NY Post bitterman, Peter Vecsey writes (Dealing With Cuban Whistle Crisis):
...a new code of conduct manual for owners is being put to paper and will be full force once the season begins.
Principally, confronting referees in any manner will be scrupulously forbidden and harshly enforced. Challenging league officials is strictly taboo as well.
The punishment, I'm told, for breaking the new precepts of Stern's sphere should be supposedly sufficient to inhabit the Cuban Whistle Crisis.
Cuban later scoffs at the idea. BTW - I wish LA had tabloid newspapers like the NY Post just for the obnoxious/witty/lame/intelligent headlines... Cuban Whistle Crisis.
5. Finally!: The season starts Tuesday and none too soon. As I expressed last week, the preseason sucks. We'll be posting a simple preview column right before the games fire off on Tuesday, but nothing too expansive. By now, you've already read your SI, ESPN and local previews and have already drafted your fantasy teams, so the last thing you need is further analysis into things like the NOOCH's bench strength or Utah's transition defense.