We’re a couple of weeks into the NBA season, and there are some interesting things going on with my Blazers. Their current .500 record is about what everyone expected, and perhaps a bit better than critics would like to see. A big part of keeping the team’s head above water has been the willingness of a lot of players to play nice with each other while they fool around with lineups and figure out who to trade and how to trade them.
The big trade rumor this week revolves around Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Toronto star Vince Carter. Getting Carter would be a big risk for the Blazers: he’s “temperamental” (read: a diva) and injury-prone, to boot. On a team that’s just starting to forge some nice chemistry between a lot of fragile egos, bringing in an alpha-dog kind of guy like Carter (not to mention one that plays the same position as Darius Miles and Ruben Patterson) could upset the balance. On the other hand, he is a star, and not only that, he’s a star who can shoot from outside, which is something that generally kills the Blazers.
Of course, that’s not what people are talking about today. What they’re talking about is last night’s brawl in Detroit. The video is pretty ugly: players throwing punches, fans throwing beer and chairs (chairs, for crying out loud), chaos everywhere. Ron “Head-Case” Artest, Stephen “Not Too Bright” Jackson, and Big Ben Wallace will almost certainly face lengthy suspensions, and we’ll almost certainly face lots of commentary about thug players and boorish fans.
All I can think about when seeing this, though, is that in the midst of all this madness, perennial bad-boy Rasheed Wallace somehow managed to only get mentioned as “trying to break up the fights.” I guess all he needed to turn himself (and his image) around was a change of scenery. It probably helps to be in the vicinity of Artest, too; just about anyone can look calm and level-headed next to him.