Thursday, March 19, 2009

Death Before Life

Since there's really nothing to say about the Raptors let's talk about a different side of basketball. The what could have been side. And I don't mean this season. What I'm referring to are those duo's/trio's or just basketball cores that for whatever reason were blown up. Whether it be free agency, trades or injuries, their time together was cut short. Looking in hindsight, you can't help but wonder how basketball history might have changed if certain moves never happened.

So here are my top 5 tandems that I wish were given more time.

1. Grant Hill and T- MAC

Ironically, both players have been devastated by injuries but what if they weren't. With T-Mac bursting with talent and youth, he had already established himself as one of the most exciting players to watch in the NBA. To put it frankly, he was probably the Wade of the NBA at that time. If not, he at least shared the title with Carter and Kobe. But more importantly than what T-Mac brought, the real shame was that they didn't even get a chance to play together. Grant Hill was one of the most feared NBA guards on the block, seemingly able to score at will and with an all around well built game, he challenged the league as the best small forward. If this duo had time to gel, they would have formed the strongest sg/sf combo in the NBA with unrivaled scoring ability, athleticism, speed and length to play fantastic basketball on both ends of the court.

2. Ron Artest/Jermaine O'Neal/Stephen Jackson/Jamaal Tinsley/Reggie Miller

Before all the fan beating, gun shooting and injury woes, there was an Indiana Pacers team that rivaled the best of the NBA. Coming off a great playoff run, the Pacers set their eyes on the title and were even favored by many to win it all. Unfortunately, the most spontaneous franchise collapse in NBA history was just around the corner. I think the most impressive thing about this team was that with all the suspensions, they still made it to the second round of the playoffs, which to me is just mind boggling. Artest was having an MVP and defensive player of the year season and if you place him into the mix, who knows what could have happened.

3. Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury or Kevin Garnett/Latrell Sprewell, Sam Cassel

take your pick at which you would have liked to see for longer. The first definitely makes my mouth water, two young intense players having the opportunity to play as a duo from a young age is definitely rare and a pg/big man combo is perhaps the best big man combination one can hope for. You have a star player making the decisions, running the team, and bringing the ball up and worse comes to worse, you have a great post player and defender to hit down low. I can't help but wonder if this duo was cut way too short. Then again, it is Stephon so in hindsight, its expected.

The Minnesota trio separation to me is more baffling. You have a reigning MVP, a trio that carried you to the western conference finals against the Lakers, and for next season, instead of adding smaller pieces, let's blow it up and start again. As Russel Peters would say, "MIND BLASTING!" It was just unreal and I wish this team had at least 2 or 3 years to play itself out. I mean with Spree having an ugly exit and with Sam I Am being traded for Marco Jaric straight up, it was such an unfortunate ending to an exciting Timberwolves team. Of course, Glen Taylor and Kevin have done little to prove that they know what their doing.

4. Shaq and Kobe

I never really thought about this so much because to me it was just like the Jose / Ford situation. Whether we liked it or not, one of them had to go. But with the self proclaimed (by Shaq of course) big man little man duo in the history of the NBA, perhaps 3 rings is selling them short. The only thing that makes this separation easier to swallow is just the fact that they had a great run, and won and at least had the chance to show the world what they can offer. Still, with another 2-3 years, who knows how many more rings that would entail.

5. Vince Carter and T-Mac

This team would not have won. I repeat. This team would not have won. But damn how fun would they be to watch. The problem here was really, you have two phenomenal players that play almost the same way. Repetition in any kind of talent doesn't seem to ever bode well for a team. With all that spectacular play however, at least we'd have 82 games of fun before a playoff exit as opposed to our current situation. I mean do you remember when people knew about the Raptors, and we actually made it to ESPN. Yes, THE ESPN! Nowadays, the Raps have a better chance of finding the wardrobe to Narnia than performing well on national television. If you want proof of that, let me remind you that ESPN dropped our last remaining national broadcast.


  1. "Nowadays, the Raps have a better chance of finding the wardrobe to Narnia than performing well on national television." LMFAO!!!!!!!!!

    Another pairing that got split up prematurely I always thought was Nash+Nowitzki. If only Cuban dished out the cash, who knows. I mean, Nash left and won 2 MVPs, then Nowitzki won an MPV and took the Mavs to the finals. Plus both are extremely selfish and would've took pressure off each other.

  2. I thought about them but I figured they did have a pretty long run together and the fact that they both played better alone made me think maybe that was all you could get out of them as a duo.