Pride is expensive. [1/29/08]

A clear signal of the respect rapper Lil’ Wayne has for his fans: his show Wednesday started on time, but the headliner did not even set foot into the building until more than an hour after he was scheduled to start, uh, doing whatever it is he does onstage. Consequently, he had to cut his act short to avoid giving a ton of money back to the promoter.

(Something like 200-300 people staff a typical arena concert. That’s a LOT of extra labor costs cause one guy can’t manage to find the stage.)

I suspect he will join the long list of gangsta rappers who got their one big national tour, and then disappeared off the face of the earth.

The Suns-Spurs game just ended. I’m going to call it: The championship window for the Nash/Stoudemire-era Suns closed when GM Steve Kerr let Mike D’Antoni walk away to New York. Both Nash and Stoudemire will be on the final year of their contract next season. I can confidently predict that at least one of them will not be in a Suns uniform by this time next year.

O’Neal hasn’t made them a better rebounding team. Coach Porter hasn’t made them any better defensively. At least under D’Antoni, they scored.

A couple of good links to feed the cerebellum:

A graphic display of graphic displays

And writers on writing. [via SF Signal].

Now you know.

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Winners but not contenders [11/25/08]

Over the past few days, both the Suns and the Cardinals played “Big Games” against legitimate conteders within their respective leagues. The Suns played the Los Angeles Lakers Thursday night, while the Cardnials played the New York Giants Sunday afternoon. Both teams had an opponent with the best record in the league in their home building. Both teams put up respectable efforts through 3 quarters, only to get steamrolled in the fourth. The Suns were holding defensively but could not buy a bucket in the early fourth quarter. That’s a problem when you’re already down by thirteen, because eventually, Kobe’s going to score no matter what you do. And he did. The Cards, likewise, had a defense that seemed simply out of steam, and then compounded their problems with a disastrous on-side kick attempt that essentially put the contest out of reach.

* Both the Suns and the Cardinals are likely to be in the playoffs (see note below), but are not contenders. They are not, as teams,pacing themselves for a full-game contest. I fear this goes back on coaching. Not so uch for Cards coach Weizenhunt, who is actually exceeding expectations at this point, but Suns coach Terry Porter is running out of time. The Suns were contenders when he walked through the door.

You can’t really force players into your system in the NBA. Players are too expensive. You have to modify the system to accommodate the players you have. None of the Suns (except Raja Bell) will ever talk openly about the power struggle going on in practice, but they don’t have to. It shows on the court. Now every other fourth quarter is a flurry of turnovers and short jump-shots.

In just about every metric other than defensive FG%, the Suns were putting up better numbers under D’Antoni. Terry Porter knew what he was walking into.  In a lot of ways, this Sns squad is similar to the Trailblazer teams he played on in early nineties. Duckworth=O’Neal. Wallace=Stoudamire. Cliff Robinson = Boris Diaw. And while Leandro Barbosa is a poor substitute for Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, even in his prime, is no Steve Nash.

So what we’ve learned is that I’m still a frustrated sports writer.

Now you know.