20th April 19:43
Three-Fifth of the Fab Five
I came across an interesting post on Usenet this evening in the Toronto
Raptors newsgroup referring to Jalen Rose as the devil, or some kind of
evil. First, one of the best places you can get a wide range of fan opinions
about not only the Raptors but the NBA in general is this Raptors newsgroup.
Our neighbors to the north pay attention and in some refreshing way are not
jaded by the marketing machine of the NBA.
The premise of this poster was that Rose has been a distraction (or team
killer) in Indiana, Chicago, Denver and now Toronto. This got me thinking
about his running mates on those since defrocked Michigan teams of the early
90's, known then as the Fab 5. Two of the five are not important, Jimmy King
and Ray Jackson had no real professional career to speak of, but the other
three have had a place in NBA lore of the last 10-12 years, and frankly our
poster hit on only one third of the story here. A case can be made that all
have been players that made their respective teams worse.
Lets start with Rose. Coming into the 1994 NBA draft he was probably the
most questionable of the Big Three as far as a professional future. His
decision-making and shot selection were questionable, and he was taken #13
overall by the Denver Nuggets. In two seasons of limited minutes in Denver
he shows himself as nothing special, his teams were nothing special and he
was shipped off to Indiana.
He spent 5 ½ seasons in Indiana, a period that will probably be seen as the
high point of his career. In Indiana he was a primary scoring option, but
this was Reggie Miller and Rik Smits team, coached by Larry Bird. Rose didn't
seem to drag this club down, it make the NBA Finals in 1999-2000 with rose
starting and averaging 18.2 points on 47% shooting. On to Chicago which is a
NBA wasteland. In his one full season in Chicago he averaged 22 points a
game, but an interesting trend started here. Rose was a high to mid 40%
shooter prior to coming to the Bulls, while in Chicago his percentage had
dipped to the very low 40's a trend that has continued in Toronto.
The Chicago years really cannot be held against him, nobody has come forward
and moved the Bulls in a positive direction since the break up of the
championship teams. As for his current Toronto experience, he is probably
the wrong guy on the wrong team at the wrong time. The Raptors have
problems, Vince Carter being #1 on the list, and this team needs to be
imploded and rebuilt around guys like Chris Bosh. Jalen is on the downside
of his career, it being paid for what he did mostly in Indiana, and like any
NBA vet that is seeing it slip away becomes baggage. His contract just
becomes a heavy weight on Toronto's cap, keeps them from rebuilding quickly
thus who can blame them for using the possible trade of Carter as a way to
shed this unwanted expense.
Jalen is not the devil. He is like a long list of players that were overpaid
late in their careers and isn't playing to his pay grade.
Now lets move to my favorite Fab Five (Big Three Edition) whipping boy,
Jawan Howard. Simply put, this guy is a team killer of the worst kind, he
does it quietly. Need proof? Lets look at his last 2 and a fraction seasons.
2002-2003 Denver Nuggets. Jawan cements himself as an attractive mid-level
free agent with an awful Denver team puffing up is stats for a bigger
payday. Note that this was the last season of his monster contract (see
below) so he knew he was going to take a pay cut. Bottom line though, he
didn't make this team any better, just made himself more attractive.
2003-2004 Orlando Magic, I freely admit this one I take personally being an
Orlando fan. Jawan, the "missing piece" is signed by the Magic and becomes a
fixture on a team that had one of the greatest one-season meltdowns in NBA
history. I got to see him nightly and came to the conclusion that looking at
his box score does not tell the entire story of Jawan. He does none of the
"little" things that make teams better, his defense is almost non existent,
he disappears in crunch time, he makes his team a loser.
224-2005-Houston Rockets, any accident that they are struggling?
Remember when Jawan signed the big offer sheet with the Miami Heat in the
mid 90's and NBA stepped in and voided it? Best thing that ever happened to
Miami, they went on a string of playoff appearances. Worst thing that ever
happened to Washington, they are still digging out from under the damage
done to this franchise by Howard and Chris Webber.
That contract has to be the single worst contract ever given to a NBA
player. Jawan Howard cemented his status as the single greatest team killer,
and cap killer of all time. Not even Michael Jordan could undo the damage.
Jawan only has played for a winner during a brief stint in Dallas, and they
had the talent to overcome his shortcomings. Thing is, he will continue to
be overrated due to his solid numbers, built on playing for bad teams.
Orlando was so eager to shed Jawan (and not really for contract reasons, he
is only a 3 million a year guy now) that they included him in the T-Mac
deal. Perhaps Jeff Van Gundy has him figured out, he plays only 19 minutes
for the Rockets, lowest of his career.
Jawan Howard is poison.
Finally we move to the biggest of the Fab Five (Big Three Edition) Mr. Chris
Webber. I can do***ent his years in Washington (failure) or that he is
injury prone or that he is vastly overrated as well, but I will not. All I
have to do is look at last years Sacramento Kings record with Webber (6-6)
and without Webber (49-21). The same trend occurred the year before when
Webber missed all but 23 games. Last year you can make a case he cost the
Kings any playoff momentum they had and single handedly ruined a season full
Webber also has not played 70 games since 1999-2000 and surpassed 75 games
only twice in 11 seasons.
Chris Webber is vastly overrated.
The Fab Five (Big Three Edition) will have no lasting NBA legacy, and their
college legacy has been totally destroyed. Yes, the bar was set high for
these guys and high expectations set up fans for disappointment, but the
last stat on these guys that starkly shows the real impact of these guys is:
Total Combined Seasons 31
Total Playoff Seasons 14 (Webber 7, Rose 5, Howard 2)
Total Finals Appearances 1 (Rose)
Total NBA Championships 0
For NBA news and ****ysis visit http://brutalfacts.blogspot.com/