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The Art Of 'Gelling' In The NBA

It's been an incredible year in the NBA so far, and I'd like to thank the "glitch" in my cable company's system that allows me to watch games on NBA League Pass for free.

With a barrage of games on television each night, I've become a qualified observer of all the league's teams. Of course, being from Philly I gravitate to the 76ers, but am now suddenly hooked on the Pacers as well. That's because Quinn Buckner does excellent color commentary for their games.  

His mesmerizing voice is so confident and knowledgeable. Buckner's fancy official title with the team is Vice-President of Communications for Pacers Sports & Entertainment, but there has to be more for this guy to do. Maybe he should be on Obama's Cabinet. No nanny problems for sure. Or at least appoint him to that sham post running the President's Council on Physical Fitness. Last I heard, they were thinking about Sean May of the Bobcats for the post.

NBA TV shows the exciting ends of many games each night as bonus coverage. The only thing I hate is when they then re-cutaway from those same games at crucial times to do live postgame interviews from other arenas. Hey, when the Denver-Dallas game is going down to the wire, nobody wants to see Ahmad Rashad cajole Robin Lopez into pontificating about how easy it's been adjusting to life as a rookie.

Fan's can vote each week on NBA.com on which game they want the network to broadcast on a given Tuesday night. Inevitably, the game chosen features LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. So while suffrage exists, these weekly elections where the Cavs and Lakers emerge as habitual victors are as predictable as the ones in Iraq back when a dude named Saddam Hussein was in charge.

The Sixers, now hovering at .500, semi-blamed their slow start on the problems they had "gelling" with huge offseason, free-agent acquisition Elton Brand. This has to be the dumbest excuse ever. Basketball is the one sport where you actually don't need significant time to learn how everybody does things. Just get out there and ball.  

Can you imagine if a team on the tough playgrounds of New York City -- where you have to win or sit your butt on the sidelines -- used the excuse of not having time to "gel" as an excuse for getting beat? They'd be clowned for decades.

Former All-Star guard Steve Francis was waived recently by the Memphis Grizzlies, and he got his start on those same playgrounds. If he goes back to playing in the 'hood he knows the deal -? when, and if, his squad loses he can't go blaming it on "migraines due to Meniere's disease." Detroit's Rasheed Wallace says, "the ball don't lie." Well, neither does Wikipedia.

The Knicks have been paying Stephon Marbury $20.8 million with the caveat that he keep his bad karma away from the team. General manager Donnie Walsh should be paying and playing Marbury. In fact, the possibility of any team trading for Marbury reminds me of the new ad slogan for Celebrex. You know ... "Understand the risks, feel the benefits."  

Of course Marbury's karma is so bad just the hint of a trade rumor involving him being sent to the Celtics caused that otherwise vaunted team to go on a terrible skid of seven losses in nine games. But I love Marbury, and whenever I take a train up to New York to see a game at Madison Square Garden I always rock my Starbury's, the cost-friendly $15 sneaks bearing his name.  

The last game I was at in New York, a Knicks official saw me wearing them and offered me money to leave. It was sad too that the official dispatched to make me the offer was Isiah Thomas. Or was it his daughter?

Just like they did with the Chicago Cubs, HBO should make a documentary on the annual plight of the Sacramento Kings franchise. Actually, a documentary wouldn't be enough time to delve into this matter. Maybe HBO should devote a whole channel to it. Why not, they have at least 63 of them.

Do the Kings even care about winning, or do they just want to fly around to different places making people feel better? Sort of like the Harlem Globetrotters, who recently toured U.S. military bases across the world in an effort to boost morale of the troops. This was special because it also gave the Globetrotters a chance to hang around other people that didn't get drafted.

Everyone seems to be getting a big chuckle at the expense of LeBron James for this whole "crab dribble" business, but I don't find anything funny about the words "crab" and "dribble." I just remember it being a very painful condition for me one time back in college.

Jameer Nelson was stellar for the Orlando Magic before suffering a likely season-ending shoulder injury earlier this month. Commissioner David Stern, celebrating his 25th season at the helm of the NBA, tabbed Boston's Ray Allen to take Nelson's spot on this year's East squad. Cleveland's Mo Williams may have been the better choice, but let's just be glad Stern didn't pick a current NBA player from a foreign country merely so he could help the game continue to "go global."  

I hope I'm on Earth when we start traveling to other planets, because I can't wait to see the NBA "go galactic." David Stern exploring in space! Hmmm, first he'd schedule a few preseason games on Mars to test the local's interest.  How about this press release -? "The NBA's newest franchise, the Saturn Rings, are pleased to announce the signing of Josh Childress." Of course, in addition to all the normal problems an expansion team faces, it would probably take the Saturn Rings "light years" to gel.

If you'd like to see more from Danny, please visit his myspace page: myspace.com/dannyozark


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