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News » Young trio giving Timberwolves hope 2009-12-10

Young trio giving Timberwolves hope 2009-12-10

Young trio giving Timberwolves hope 2009-12-10

You forget to mention that he is equally effective driving both right and left, and that he's an improving passer.

While Anthony is certainly capable of playing effective defense, he only does this on a periodic basis. He needs to develop more consistency here, which is understandably difficult considering how much energy he has to expend as Denver's go-to scorer.

'Melo still has trouble making high-degree-of-difficulty passes when he's double-teamed. More often than not, his passes out of such situations will gain no advantage.

He also tends to force the ball into crowds — hence, his career assist and turnover totals are virtually equal at 3.09 assists to 3.08 turnovers.

Moreover, his shot selection is often questionable.

Consistency remains another problem. Sometimes he just doesn't show up — as evidenced by his rather lackadaisical performance in Game 6 of last season's conference finals against the Lakers. That's why I would also question his leadership qualities.

Anthony isn't much of a verbal presence in the locker room, and there's no doubt that Chauncey Billups is the Nuggets' leader.

However, since Anthony is still only 25 and since NBA players usually don't attain the peak of their physical, mental and emotional abilities until they're 28, it's to be expected that the parameters of his excellence are still expanding.

Straight Shooting

While the opinions and information provided by several bloggers are of considerable interest, some are egregiously misinformed. analysisHill: Assessing the season so farPower Rankings: From 1-30Marks: Don't expect much from A.I.Rosen: Oden down and outFull NBA coverage | Scores | StatsVideoHill: No time to dance, LeBronPhotosCourtside hotties

Indeed, both of them were born too early — although Barry went on to have a terrific career playing in France.

Anyway, one hot summer's day we were driving around Queens looking for a run. When we couldn't find one, we stopped at a well-kept outdoor court on Hillside Avenue just south of the entrance to the parkway that led to the Throggs Neck Bridge. After shooting around for a few minutes, we decided to play H-O-R-S-E, with the conditions that we each had to shoot only with our off hands and that no dunks or layups were permitted.

Laughing and giggling as we repeatedly shot air balls and awkward backboard bangers, we soon attracted an audience of six — three stylishly dressed young women and three athletic-looking sneaker-wearing gents who ranged from about 6-foot-1 to 6-foot-4. They all began loudly chortling at our lame shots. The insults commenced when it was obvious that we were ignoring them.

We were wimps — and worse. Even the three girls could beat us.

Then Dave flashed them a smirk that really riled them.

"Hey, you #(&^$#@)! We'll spot you nine in an 11 game!"

"Nah," said Dave. "We don't want to embarrass you in front of your ladies."

"Embarrass US!"

After a few more minutes of belligerent bantering, they proposed the following terms for a 3-on-3 game: 11 baskets, make-it-take-it, if we lost, we'd have to forfeit our sneakers and our basketball. Our spot would be that we'd have the first possession, and none of them would be allowed to warm up.

The tallest of the high-flying dudes pulled out a thick roll of bills held together by a rubber band — if all the unseen notes equaled the 20 that showed, the roll must have been worth at least $300. The roll was neatly placed immediately behind the out-of-bounds metal pole that supported the basket — and, should we prove victorious, the money would be ours.

It's a deal!

Just before our three opponents stepped onto the court, the tallest one pulled a black metallic object from the waistband of his sweat-suit and handed it to one of the girls.

"It's a gun," I said.

"Ain't nothing I've never seen before," Dave said with a shrug. "Let's roast these turkeys."

And — with Dave burying long-distance bombs, Barry slashing to the rim for earthquake dunks and me setting teeth-rattling screens — that's exactly what we proceeded to do.

In fact, we scored 11 consecutive baskets.

At first, our opponents were shocked when we started the game utilizing our on-hands, then they became increasingly angry. "You #@%^*)^%# cheaters! Playing us for fools!" Immediately after the last basket, Dave scampered over to the roll of bills, and the tall guy responded by racing over to recover his gun from his girlfriend.

Both Barry and I shouted, "Dave! Don't!"

But Dave scooped up the roll, positioned himself directly under the basket, and then, from a standstill, rose up and power-dunked the money.

The rubber band broke upon hitting the concrete surface, and the bills (they were all 20s) started dispersing in the breeze.

Meanwhile, hoping that they'd refrain from shooting us in the back, Dave, Barry and I ran a fast-break to my car.

"Don't you #&!_?*s ever come back here again!"

And, of course, we never did.

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Added: December 11, 2009


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