Monday, July 9, 2007

Marc Stein Must Have Free Time

Marc Stein, the normally talented sports writer, delivered a giant turd of an article this week. Possibly because there really isn't much to cover in the NBA, but I would have appreciated if he spared us from this road apple (horse turd to the lay person). He recently wrote an article on Greg Oden's troubles in the summer league. If you follow, you know that Oden has put up less than stellar numbers, with an impressive amount of fouls (19 so far). Keep in mind folks, he is 19 years old and 2 games into his professional career. A majority of the article discusses Oden's lackluster numbers and his trouble facing Diop the most recent game. Where I don't follow is when Stein starts questioning Oden's motor. Uhhh Marc? You do know this is the 2nd week into the summer league.
"Yet if there's a real worry about Oden, two games into his new life, it's what would be described -- in scouting parlance -- as his "motor" lagging well behind that impressive, beyond-his-years physique. One example: He has yet to show sufficient quickness and/or hunger to be a factor on the offensive boards."
Would you be going crazy playing against a majority of guys that are headed for the D League? If this was the 5th week of the season and Oden was slacking we have ourselves a different story. Was it really newsworthy to report the guy isn't hungry enough in his second summer league game? Not to mention, he just became a millionaire who can't do a single thing in Vegas. Does that sound like fun to you? For most of us, that's like winning a free day at the Bunny Ranch and waking up as a woman. Not that I'd ever complain about being a millionaire but can you think of a worse place to be when you're beyond loaded?

This time last year, were we getting pumped reading articles that James Singleton was averaging 13.2 boards per game (which turned into 2 a game at the NBA level)? How about Singleton's 2.6 blocks per game last summer (which turned into .3 a game at the NBA level)? Of course, when Lebron had a bad summer game it was just a bad game, not the uneasiness of a few bad Greg Oden games. Maybe we can actually judge Oden when he plays his first meaningful game which would be, I don't know maybe...a Team USA game with and against real players?

And not to get off on a tangent, but really guys we can end the "motor" discussion. Can we stop using that term mostly as a positive to describe big guys with no skill (Joakim Noah)? At least in this instance motor is used to describe Oden who has other talents. I'd assume you've seen the ESPN highlights where they'll talk about Noah and say things like "this guy has heart" and flash Motor across the screen, or "this guy has what it takes to make it at the pro level" and again use the word motor in wingdings to confuse you. I don't care how much heart a guy has if he is going to get eaten alive on the court. It brings me no comfort watching my team get drilled but thinking, hey at least he gave it his all! So for now, can we PLEASE lay off the term motor to describe someone?

I wouldn't worry too much about Oden, I'm sure he'll come around sometime near...the season beginning. Of course everyone besides Portland can hope he goes all out and ends up ripping a tendon as he does sprints down the floor. We can at least be thankful that Stein didn't follow other writers and immediately praise Durant.

For more on this article go to

No comments: