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jayC
09-22-2004, 03:26 PM
bob kravitz
Truth about Artest begins to emerge


September 22, 2004


To the naked eye, it appeared that Ron Artest had turned a major corner last season. He was the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year, a star on a 61-victory team, and most remarkably, he made it through an entire regular season without suspensions or fines.

The deeper truth was, the problems never really went away, the nadir coming during those final weeks of the NBA playoffs when Artest's odd behavior became a detriment to his team.

It's been a couple of months since the Detroit Pistons sent the Pacers home, and the more we learn about what really went on in those final weeks, the more obvious it becomes that the Pacers need to send him on his merry way.

There's a reason Indiana management has floated Artest's name out there, specifically in relation to Peja Stojakovic, who is angling for a trade out of Sacramento:

They have reached the same conclusion.

Otherwise, why would they be looking to move the league's Defensive Player of the Year? Why would they be interested in getting rid of a player who, on the surface, seemed to get his act together last season?

Because as an organization, they know a lot more than they let on at the time. They know that Artest started reverting to his old ways in the middle of the playoff series against Miami, and that things only got worse in the series against Detroit.

The word of Artest's missteps during the playoffs came out in dribs and drabs last spring, the whispers coming from every corner of the team's locker room.

He was goofing off in practice, they said. He was bringing his perpetually stormy home life to work, they said. Some members of the organization even believe he quit on the team during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The most glaring problems, though, emerged in the hours before Game 6 in Detroit.

Artest missed practice the day before Game 6. He missed the team's charter flight to Detroit later that evening. He then missed a shoot-around before the biggest game of the season.

At the time, the Pacers chose to cover up for Artest -- or tell a baldfaced lie, if you want to be technical. They said he was suffering from migraines. Maybe they just got used to covering for Artest, or, perhaps, they were hoping to maintain his trade value, which will never be higher than it is now.

Of course, he didn't have migraines, a story nobody believed in the first place. A teammate shared the truth that day with The Star, saying, "He had some problems at home."

Then came Game 6 and the kind of pressure that separates the good players from the great ones. When the stakes were their highest, Artest crumbled, exhibiting the lack of control that nearly got him booted from the league one year earlier.

Even if you make the case that Detroit's Richard Hamilton dropped an elbow into Artest's gut to instigate the act, in the end, a player cannot retaliate with a forearm shiver that results in a flagrant foul -- and, for all intents and purposes, ends the Eastern Conference finals.

If the Pacers weren't sure whether they could trust Artest before the playoffs, they were certainly sure after the team was eliminated. Then, to make matters worse, Artest blew off a postseason meeting with Larry Bird, which is a terrific way to get yourself traded.

Clearly, the Pacers' small forward was not the only reason his team fell to Detroit in six games. The Pistons had a lot to do with that, as did injuries to Jermaine O'Neal and Jamaal Tinsley. If Reggie Miller had dunked the ball in Game 2, the story might have been far different.

But Artest is ticking, and the Pacers know it.

Already this summer, Artest has made some ridiculous noise that threatens to further strain his relationship with his teammates, and notably O'Neal.

He was asked by Slam Magazine if he took it as any kind of compliment that his name was being linked in trade talk with Stojakovic, who was an MVP candidate. Artest responded by making the case that he himself not only should have rated MVP consideration, but should have won the award, period.

"I thought I was the MVP last year because we had the best record and I was the best player on the team," he told Slam. "So I felt that I should have at least been talked about for it."

Huh?

We don't know if the Pacers have a subscription to Slam Magazine, but believe me, they've seen that quote.

In the end, the Pacers might not be able to get fair value for Artest, and a trade -- for Stojakovic or anybody else -- might not happen. But they're going to try. After what happened last spring, after their mercurial star confirmed many of their worst suspicions, they're definitely going to try.

Bob Kravitz is a columnist for The Indianapolis Star. Call him at (317) 444-6643 or e-mail bob.kravitz@indystar.com


Is their a bigger ass then this guy?

bernardos70
09-22-2004, 08:54 PM
Let's face it, this guy simply has mental issues. Best player on the Pacers? What a shame that such a talented NBA player has to ruin it all with his attitude. There's a lot of underachieving talent in this world, and Artest is the perfect example of how attitude is such an important factor to consider on a player. Is it so hard to keep your mouth shut while winning a getting paid a few million?

cheesestar
09-22-2004, 09:00 PM
i dunno.. he has undeniable talent..... in making me laugh i/expressions/anim_laugh.gif

especially this line
"I thought I was the MVP last year because we had the best record and I was the best player on the team," he told Slam. "So I felt that I should have at least been talked about for it."

EricaLubarsky
09-22-2004, 09:20 PM
accepting responsibility while deferring praise is one thing that very few stars have. Players like Artest make Duncan and Nowitzki shine all the brighter.

P.S. no knock on Indiana, but didn't Detroit get certified as the best team in the league last season?

Artest is just a good defender with a competitive spirit that learned to score 18ppg on average FG%, who is delusional. If you are a star, you lift your team to success. Until he stops insulting his coach and his teammates and brings his team success, he aint no MVP.

mavsman221
09-24-2004, 01:51 AM
if ron artest thought he was the best player on his team he must have no idea who jermaine oneal is.

grndmstr_c
09-24-2004, 02:05 AM
I actually think you could make a pretty decent argument that Artest was the best player on his team last year, almost as good as the argument for JO, though neither really deserved to be a serious MVP contender last year IMO, and it's pretty dumb and classless of Artest to open his mouth that way.

poohrichardson
09-24-2004, 03:07 AM
Originally posted by: grndmstr_c
I actually think you could make a pretty decent argument that Artest was the best player on his team last year, almost as good as the argument for JO, though neither really deserved to be a serious MVP contender last year IMO, and it's pretty dumb and classless of Artest to open his mouth that way.

Agreed.

I think a case could be made for Artest as MVP. He was far and away the best defensive player in the league last year (and the year before, for that matter) and to have him chip in 18 points per game is gravy. I think Jermaine O'Neal is the best player on that team and maybe in the East. I think a case could be made for either/both of these two as being in the top 10 in the entire league. Jermaine is on the verge of becoming another Garnett, and seriously.. Artest can hold ANY PLAYER in the league at the 1,2,or 3 to 5 or 10 points below their averages.. how could you not like that? The temper tantrums are just a tax for having the best defender in the league on your team.

grndmstr_c
09-24-2004, 03:25 AM
There is no "far and away the best defensive player in the league" in the league. Artest is unquestionably one of the top defenders, but I don't think he's clearly better than, for example, Duncan or AK. And if you think Artest can hold any player in the league below their averages allow me to suggest that you go back and check out some tape from the Miami/Indy series last year. Wade pretty much made Artest his bitch in that matchup.

poohrichardson
09-24-2004, 03:27 AM
Originally posted by: grndmstr_c
There is no "far and away the best defensive player in the league" in the league. Artest is unquestionably one of the top defenders, but I don't think he's clearly better than, for example, Duncan or AK. And if you think Artest can hold any player in the league below their averages allow me to suggest that you go back and check out some tape from the Miami/Indy series last year. Wade pretty much made Artest his bitch in that matchup.


Fair enough. Vicodin + keyboard + late night = hyperbole..

alby
09-24-2004, 04:54 AM
and didnt rip bring it to him as well in the next series =]

SaltwaterChaffy
09-24-2004, 09:43 PM
In regard to being MVP of the league, he is obviously wrong.

Being MVP of the Pacers? True statement.

mavsman221
09-24-2004, 10:10 PM
both have their ups and downs. artests downfall is his attitude and fg percentage. jermaine o neal seems to go away wen his team needs him most, e goes on offensive slumps in crunch time