Yeah, But He’s No Mike Chatfield …

Ron Artest: True WarriorBy: Zachariah Blott

– The Historical Context Award goes to Ron Artest, who bravely told reporters that if the Lakers don’t repeat as champions, everyone can blame it on him. This may not be wise considering how injured most of the title contenders were last year (no KG, a shell of Jameer Nelson, no Yao or McGrady, no Ginobili and a hobbled Duncan). The true genius of his comments, though, came in this quote: “Everybody in L.A. expects a second ring. And if we don’t then yeah, they should point it right at me, throwing tomatoes and everything.” Is he seriously imploring fans to throw things at him if he doesn’t perform well? How did that turn out before? And for future reference Ron-Ron, the guy still holding a tomato isn’t be the one who threw it at you.

Ron Artest Photo Credit: Icon SMI

– Players and upper management all over the league are in love with Jerry Stackhouse‘s workouts as he tries to find a team (in America) for the upcoming year. Whoever signs him will have done a disservice to their club. I’m not sure why, but everyone is a sucker for athletic shooting guards who demand the ball and have poor shooting percentages and assist-to-turnover rates. How can sports fans religiously follow batting averages in baseball, but completely ignore shooting percentages when cooing over high-scoring basketball players?

– I know Michael Beasley is admittedly immature and just came out of rehab, but do fans realize how good he will be this year? As his minutes increased during his rookie campaign last year, his shooting percentages all went up and his turnovers and fouls dropped significantly. He started the last four games of the season for the Heat, during which he put up 24 and 12 per, shooting 56% from the field and 60% from behind the arc. He didn’t start any playoff games against Atlanta, but he had two double-doubles, nearly another two, and averaged 19 and 9 over the last three contests. I’d say he’s ready for a big jump. As a side note, make sure you watch Gunnin’ for That #1 Spot if you haven’t seen it already. It’s a documentary about the 2006 Elite 24 all-star game at Rucker Park. Beasley has the funniest line when he tells Donte Green “You’re ugly as shit” before taking him to the rack for a sweet up-and-under reverse lay-up.

The NBA is locking out their refs and … no one cares. Frankly, numerous studies have come out recently backing up even passing spectators’ claims that the referees are biased, so I say sack them all and pick a new 57 (although they’re only training a new 44). They couldn’t be any worse than the college football officials this year. The league might even bring back a once-fired ref—Michael Henderson—who, get this, once flubbed up a call at the end of a game to give the Lakers a bogus victory. Hard to believe.

Zachariah Blott is a teacher in Portland, not an Amish Charles Dickens character.

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