I thought this was a fantastic article. I really can't find one thing in there I disagree with.
Don't believe the hype
Bridging the gap between perception and reality
Posted: Monday April 14, 2003 1:43 AM
Updated: Monday April 14, 2003 10:15 AM
By John Hollinger, SI.com
With the regular season winding down, pundits across the nation are submitting their ballots for all the important postseason awards. However, since I already gave away my MVP vote two weeks ago, and my colleague Marty Burns filled in the blanks on the other categories last week, it seems redundant to launch into that.
So, in its stead, I've come up with something far more inflammatory: The All-Overrated Team for 2003. This consists of players, coaches, announcers, and other assorted NBA types who, for reasons that may not even be their fault, got far more hype than they deserve this season:
Most Overrated Guarantee: Atlanta Hawks
OK, that was low-hanging fruit, but I figured I'd start with something we can all agree on before I got to the controversial stuff.
Most Overrated All-Star: Antoine Walker
He's a great passer and a tough defender, and a deadly force in transition. But between all the bricks and all the turnovers, he's also an unrivaled empty-trip machine. Walker ran out of gas in the second half and his numbers crashed, but even before that it was a sad commentary on the Eastern Conference that a guy who gets 20 points on 39 percent shooting was selected as one of its 12 best players.
Most Overrated Free Agent-To-Be: Michael Olowokandi
It's been suggested all year that somebody might want to give him a maximum contract this summer. You can't be serious. The guy had one good month against a bunch of bad teams in March 2002 and still wants to get paid like a perennial All-Star for it, despite doing nothing up to that point and snoozing through 12 months since. In addition to his usual indifferent defense, he shot a career-low 42.7 percent in 2002-03, and nearly led the team at 2.7 turnovers a game despite ranking just fifth in scoring. Basically, he's Joe Barry Carroll without the offense.
Most Overrated Announcer: Bill Walton
Sunday's Blazers-Lakers game was a typical effort; if you weren't watching the score you would have thought L.A. was up by 25 from the way Walton was gushing about the Lakers. I can't wait to hear him cheer on his favorite team through the playoffs. Seriously, can anyone figure out how, with a nation of 250 million people to choose from, they ended up with this guy as the lead analyst on national telecasts?
Most Overrated Coach: Rudy Tomjanovich
Tomjanovich just took a leave from the team in order to battle bladder cancer, so you might think I'm a horrible person for saying this, but the cruel truth is that no team was out to lunch on more nights this year than the Rockets, and that was the main reason a team with Steve Francis and Yao Ming goes into the final week needing to play well just to stay above .500. The press has given Rudy a free pass since he won back-to-back titles in the mid-90s, but his unique strategy of freezing out the 7-foot-5 guy is one of many reasons to think his work has slipped since then.
Most Overrated MVP Vote: Jason Kidd in 2002
When the results come in for 2003, think about this: Kidd had a better year in nearly every category than he did in 2001-02, and may again get the top seed in the East for the Nets even though his team traded two starters for the remnants of Dikembe Mutombo
. In other words, there is absolutely no question that he was a more valuable player this year than he was a year ago, and yet, because he isn't The Big Story anymore, he's not going to be within shouting distance of the top after finishing a close second in 2002. Am I the only one who finds this troubling?
Most Overrated Rising Star: Darius Miles
Here's an idea: Can we hold off on putting the guy on magazine covers until he gets his scoring average in double figures? Would that be too hard? Miles has been hurt by knee problems and the lack of competent coaching by the Clippers and Cavs, but he's also victimized himself by practicing the fists-to-head move after his rare baskets more than he practices his dreadful jump shot. He was a better player three years ago.
Most Overrated Healthy Coach: Doug Collins
All the focus on Michael Jordan and Kwame Brown took the focus off Collins' daily juggling act with the lineup and his near-total mistrust of any player under the age of 30. Playing Kwame Brown didn't cost them the playoffs; but giving so many minutes to veteran dead wood like Bryon Russell and Charles Oakley might have.
Most Overrated Defender: Gary Payton
A subtle word of advice for the electorate: Stop voting Payton for the All-Defense team. Please. Well, I can always hope that the fact that his arrival in Milwaukee didn't improve their defense one bit will give the voters some ideas. Payton is tough and physical but can't stay in front of quick guards anymore, and the last two years his reputation has earned him completely undeserved All-Defense selections at the expense of guys like Eric Snow.
Most Overrated MVP Candidate: Ben Wallace
Look, I love the guy's defense too, but offensively he makes his team play 4-on-5 every night, so it's a bit rich to suggest that he deserves MVP. Besides, if his team was in the West and heading into the postseason as the No. 6 or No. 7 seed, nobody would care what he's done. Just ask Utah.
Most Overrated Trendy Finals Pick: New Orleans
Can anyone figure out why such an ordinary team keeps getting props as a contender? Thankfully, this will be put to rest in 2004 when Charlotte enters the league and kicks the Hornets to the West, but given their lack of a superstar, paper-thin bench and injury-prone key players, it's amazing this team is even in the playoffs, much less marching through them.