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19 October 2005

Who Does Michael Finley Think He Is?

The third big off-season acquisition was Michael Finley, a benefactor of the "Allan Houston" rule (who, ironically, wasn't waived using the rule sharing his name). In my opinion this is a much bigger addition than Van Exel. Before getting into why, I would like to point out that the Spurs acquired this Michael Finley, who shouldn't be confused with this Michael Finley.

He may have some grey in his beard, but the guy can certainly still play. He's no longer a first option on the offensive end like he used to be but he can hit the open jumper. In fact, over the past 3 years he's shot 39.4% from 3, which is only 0.8% lower than Brent Barry.

Ah good ol' Brent Barry. Here's a summary of any number of phone calls I got from da Blade during the playoffs:

This Matty: "Maaaaaaaaaaatttttttttttttttttty!"
The Other Matty: "Is it possible to cut a guy during the playoffs? How about during the game? Can we just send Brent Barry home at half time? He's HORRIBLE. He needs to be taken behind the barn and SHOT."

Now Matty can exaggerate at times, but Barry did disappoint for most of the playoffs (though he shot 42% from 3). Finley does not possess the same ball handling or passing skills as Barry, but he is certainly a better shot creator. And defensively? Well, I don't have any hard evidence, bit Michael has to be a better on the ball defender. Barry got torched repeatedly during the playoffs; not for lack of effort or bad positioning. He's just what NBA Insiders call "slow."

Something else worth noting: Finley has played a LOT of minutes in his career. He averaged 36.8 MPG last year, his lowest total since the 96-97 season. He will undoubtedly get much more rest this year. That, combined with having a larger portion of his shots created for him, should lead to a more efficient offensive player.

So, similar to the Van Exel addition, this was a no-brainer. He's a certain upgrade over a guy who got major minutes during last year's playoffs (Barry) and he's actually $2 million a year cheaper AND younger.

But I'm still concerned. It's probably nothing. But I heard something. Something the Indiana Pacers announcers said for the 30 seconds they weren't talking about Danny Granger. Something about starting Finley and bringing Ginobili off the bench. They probably don't know what they're talking about. And I haven't heard anything about this from the San Antonio press. But still. This is a very bad idea. It's hard for me not to write 1000 words about how ridiculous this idea is. But until I hear it from Pop's mouth I'll do my best to exhibit restraint. But humor me; allow me this little bit:

1. You do not have your second best player (and best player during the playoffs) coming off the bench. Was Pippen ever benched? McHale? Jabbar? Kobe? Yes, I know finishing games is what counts. I know Ginobili cannot play 40 minutes a game. And I am quite aware of Spurs Playoff Rule #1: "Either Duncan or Manu must be on the court at all times." I know bringing him off the bench facilitates adherence to SPR#1. But, but BUT:

2. Spurs Playoff Rule #2: "If your name doesn't end with "uncan" or "obili" you do not create your own shot during crunch time." Starting Finley sends the wrong message. What if Michael Finley starts thinking he's the same Michael Finley who once averaged 23 PPG? What if he forgets that he was brought in to shoot wide open jumpers and play better defense than Brent Barry? What if this rubs off on Van Exel? What if Fabricio teams up with Manu and convinces the whole team to carry man-purses? What if Oberto's golden locks distract onlookers from the glory that is Duncan's burgeoning afro? What if JC steals back Eva? THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN PEOPLE!

Ahem. Got a little carried away there. Made a little too much of that. The thought probably hasn't even crossed Pop's mind. Which is good. BECAUSE I WILL CUT THAT SON OF A BITCH IF HE DISRESPECTS THE SICKNESS.

So how fucking awful was that preseason game? I think it gave me a polyp. Did anybody hear the Pacers announcers call Tinsley the "best ball-handler in the game" or some shit like that? How would you have felt if you actually paid to watch that game?

Everybody seems to be talking about the new dress code. Hell, even Timmeh chimed in, calling it "basically retarded." You would think David Stern could find better ways to spend his time. Like, I don't know, finding some referees who know their ass from a hole in the ground. Or maybe shortening the playoffs. Or explaining why the NBA doesn't sell DVDs of the playoffs. Seriously, why can't I go to Best Buy and pay $100 for all 7 games of the NBA Finals? I can get every full season of Doogie Howser, M.D. but I cannot buy a DVD of any single playoff game. That's "basically retarded," too.

But noooooo, Stern is worried that NBA players don't dress like the CEOs of the corporate sponsors that buy the commercial slots and luxury boxes. God, WHO GIVES A SHIT? These guys didn't go to the Wharton School, OK? They don't have MBAs or the desire to work their way up to middle management. Don't give me this "It's a business" bullshit. Prostitution is a business, too. And Lord knows I don't want my hos showing up in pant suits.

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All content copyright Matthew Powell 2005.