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thebac
01-02-2004, 12:31 PM
Late post... wasn't at the computer the past 2 days.


Where will Webber fit it?


In 10 seasons as one of the NBA's premier power forwards, Chris Webber has played 596 regular-season games and averaged 22.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.7 blocks while shooting 49 percent.

But as his 11th season hangs in the balance without a single minute played and the calender already flipping to the new year, we are left wondering what his numbers could have been in the 221 career games he's missed to injury (so far) and what we can possibly expect in game No. 597.

"Shooting is probably all he'll do for a while until he gets a sense of where he is," Kings coach Rick Adelman told the Sacramento Bee. "He'll get out there with the other guys gradually. He might do some light one-on-one work as the week moves on to see how his knee responds. But practice? I don't know if that's the right word."


Chris Webber's absence hasn't hurt the Kings in the standings.
By the "other guys," Adelman is referring to Peja Stojakovic, having the finest season of his career with 25 points a game on 49 percent shooting while making 2.6 3-pointers a game; Brad Miller, having the finest season of his career at 15.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game on 51 percent shooting; and Mike Bibby, having the finest season in his time with the Kings at 17 points and 5.5 assists per game.

"It has nothing to do with me," Adelman said of Webber's progress and pending return. "I can only do what Chris and the medical people say we can do. They tell us what they want him to do and how far he can go. It was good to see him shooting with the guys and getting involved. I think it's been real frustrating for him, and that's why he says he wants to 'practice,' just to be back with the team."

But as Webber inches closer to a full return, Adelman and the Kings have to be wondering about how the shot distribution will change. The Kings' offense, which has been one of the most consistently prolific in the history of the league due in large part to Webber, might have moved on without him.

Last year with Webber, Sacramento averaged 101.7 points on 46 percent shooting. This year, those numbers are 104.1 points and 46.4 percent shooting.

Last year, the team went 59-23, a .719 winning percentage. So far this year, they are 21-8, a .724 percentage.

"Once he gets on the court and we can see him run and see him jump, then we can get a sense of what's going on: 'OK, he's a couple of weeks away,' " Adelman said. "It's going to be a process for him. I do know that once he's healthy, we got some pretty good guys out there. I don't want to see him struggle and have to sit out a week or two because it was too early to bring him back."

It speaks volumes for the Kings' production without Webber that Adelman can seem so unconcerned about the return of a guy who makes $15.9 million a year -- or roughly 23 percent of the team's $69.5 million payroll (the fifth-highest payroll in the league and $4 million more than the Lakers', by the way). Could Webber have become more dependent on the Kings than he is a dependable player for them?

Peep Show

Orlando Magic: If the Magic don't want to hustle during the game, then head coach Johnny Davis will have them do it during an impromptu practice session following it. "We didn't play last night [Monday against the Knicks], so we might as well play today," Davis said in the Orlando Sentinel. "There is no excuse for a lack of effort." And if Tracy McGrady can't do either because of an ailing back, then he better do it from the sideline instead of walking out of the gym during the game. "In a perfect world, you'd rather have the captain stick around and be there for the completion, particularly when you're struggling like we were," COO John Weisbrod said. "But leadership is not something you can beat a guy over the head with. They've talked about it, and if the situation presented itself again, he would handle it differently."

Memphis Grizzlies: After losing seven in a row, the Grizzlies could care less how their next win looks. "Now I want any kind of win," center Lorenzen Wright said in the Commercial Appeal. "I'll take an ugly win, a pretty win. Any kind." But it wasn't too long ago when the Griz were 15-10. "It's just not going our way right now," guard Mike Miller said. "Things are tough. We're competing and playing hard. It's strictly athletics and the main thing is that we have to stick together as a team and continue to win games like we used to."

New York Knicks: You didn't really think Isiah Thomas was going to stop with sending Clarence Weatherspoon to the Rockets for John Amaechi and Moochie Norris, did you? Next up is troubled player Leon Smith, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen this year. "We looked at him and had a chance to talk to him," said Thomas in the New York Post. "Later on down the road, we'll revisit it, but probably not in the next couple of days." To which head coach Don Chaney would only reply: "I think he has tremendous upside."

Philadelphia 76ers: The most dangerous job in the world may just be picking up a basketball in Philadelphia. Allen Iverson is out. Aaron Mckie is out. Derrick Coleman managed only 18 minutes last game. "It's been hard, but you've just got to continue to keep fighting through it," Glenn Robinson said in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Zydrunas Ilgauskas says he played defense in his last game. Head coach Paul Silas disagrees and, and as a result, benched the center. "I don't agree with it," Z said in the Lorraine Morning News. "There's not much I can do. I want to always be professional in everything I do and I want to remain that way. I don't want to be a distraction. I don't want to get into all the details. I don't want this to get ugly. I'll do everything I can to help the team."

Chicago Bulls: At least someone still believes in the Bulls. "I understand what they're doing," former Bull and current Timberwolve Fred Hoiberg said in the Chicago Tribune. "As they go on this year, I think they'll be successful. And next year, they'll be a contender in the Eastern Conference." Hoiberg had even more praise for rookie Kirk Hinrich. "I think he's going to be phenomenal," Hoiberg said. "He guards. He shoots. He runs the team as a rookie guard."

jayC
01-03-2004, 01:34 PM
Thats an insane opinion. Webber is still a great player, he does things that Peja, Miller and Vlade simply can't do. He has the jump hook, the 18 foot jumpshot, and is a great passer. He makes the kings almost unstoppable. And bac Happy New Year, thanks for insider.