To check in on the guys who left early, William Avery got to play for a
minute for Minnesota in Saturday's game versus the Suns, meaning that he has
been kept off the court for a total of 191 of a possible 192 minutes.Â It's
entirely possible that he might be hurt but we haven't heard anything about
that.Â He has hit a foul shot though, so his stat line now through four
games reads 1 foul shot and 1 minute played - probably not what he imagined.
Elton Brand continues to post solid numbers, though his shooting percentage
at Duke, which was pushing 70% at times, is down to less than 40% so far and
last night he hit 2-7 versus the Celtics, not exactly a powerful inside
And in Orlando, Corey Maggette hit 3-4 from the floor, but in 7 games has
only two assists.Â In a running game like Doc Rivers is pushing, assists
should be easy money.
All these guys have significant weaknesses in their games, a fact which is
lost neither on their coaches nor their opponents.Â Elton is putting up
solid numbers and proving to be a solid citizen and will be valued for those
qualities and presumably his accuracy will increase.Â Maggette is going to
be tolerated for a long time because of his spectacular athleticism, but he
isn't a very good basketball player at this point (Bill Cartwright said
something very similar about MJ at one point too, though).Â Avery is in a
spot.Â Terrell Brandon is going to be the starter at point, but as of now,
Bobby Jackson has laid solid claim to the backup spot. Jackson is averaging 14.7
minutes per game and through the first three games is getting 5.7 assists in
that time and 4.7 points.Â Terrell Brandon is claiming 33.3 minutes per
game.Â That comes out to the entire 48 minutes available to Minnesota point
guards, which explains why William doesn't take his warmups off much.
When William came out he said he had to do it for his family, but his agent
said he might have changed his mind had things not gotten tense in Durham.Â
In fairness to William, he has provided for his family, but in fairness to
Coach K, Krzyzewski said, pretty clearly, that William was entering into a
situation where he had no guarantees and that he wasn't ready to go. There was a
lot of hoo-hooing and name calling over this, but so far, at any rate, Coach K's
assessment of William's readiness was absolutely precise.Â What do you
think the odds are that Curry Kirkpatrick might revisit the issue and suggest
Krzyzewski had a point?Â Yeah, same here - slim to none.
Considering the injuries Minnesota has had so far, it wouldn't be surprising
if they took a seldom-used point guard and traded him to a team with a need, say
the Celtics, where Rick Pitino is relying on Kenny Anderson, who he apparently
can't stand, and the now creaky Dana Barros.Â It could be a break for
Avery, because if you sit for two or three years in the NBA, keeping a job gets
harder and harder. Just ask Ennis Whatley. Who? That's our point. The flip side of the incredible money is that you have to produce. It is, as the cliche goes, a business, and Avery is now an asset. If he depreciates, he goes. Simple as that.
This morning the Pioneer Press has an article on the same subject with some warm words for Avery from his coach.