For years, one of my default rants has been on two local athletes, Michael Finley and Derian Hatcher, and how their respective fan bases treat them.
It has always amazed me that despite the idea that adoration can be had for most local athletes that excel, for one reason or another, some players who rise above are then turned upon with half of the population suggesting they need to leave town as soon as possible.
I am not trying to suggest that Finley is Tracy McGrady. He’s not. He is not even Michael Finley from 2000. But, he is also not a player that should be cut or even ridiculed like I hear and read these days. For some reason, much of the local media has completely turned on Finley. In doing so, they have influenced much of the public that Finley has had it, and is holding this team back. I respectfully disagree.
Finley is no doubt not the player he was. But the Mavericks are now set up where he doesn’t need to be the star anymore. He is merely a piece of the puzzle, but I contend a valuable one. His numbers are down in pretty much every category, Yet he is still second on the team in scoring …3rd in assists, never turns the ball over, and leads the team in 3 point %. Yet, to hear people talk, he needs to leave as soon as possible.
I don’t get it, really. I do have a theory that might explain it all. Money. The same reason I used to be hard on Troy Aikman (if he is the highest paid player in the NFL, he should be much better than he was in 1997-2000), people are not happy with Finley producing less and making more than anytime since joining the Mavericks. Thanks to Patricia’s Mavs site for these contract numbers …
Signed a 7 year, $102,265,625 contract 7/23/01 with a player opt-out after the 5th year
Free agent: player-option Summer 2006, else Summer 2008
2006-2007 $17,265,625 (if doesn't opt-out)
2007-2008 $18,593,750 (if doesn't opt-out)
There is no argument on this. He makes too much money for his production. But, many players in the NBA are way-overpaid, and Finley’s timing was perfect for Mark Cuban to make him an offer that proved that Dallas was serious about winning back when he signed he deal. He won the lottery, and I am sure he would be happy to admit it.
Regardless, with the shooting guard/small forward spots filled up with talent right now that Jerry Stackhouse is healthy and rejoins Finley, Marquis Daniels, and Josh Howard, people are wondering how minutes should be distributed. In fact, to many in the learned media, that means hand the minutes to everyone but Finley. I don’t get this at all. It seems like media overreaction of the highest order.
He shoots too many jump-shots and he does not defend as well as we wish he could. But he is still arguably the second most valuable Maverick, and despite this he is easily the second most criticized player (Shawn Bradley wins), too. Someone will have to explain to me how they think Marquis Daniels deserves Michael Finley minutes. Maybe in 2008, not in 2005.
The email on this rant from yesterday was surprisingly in agreement:
I couldn't agree with you more...I don't understand the hate against Fin...The guy lights it up when he's on and does have an ability to take over a game. It doesn't happen often but he can do it is the point.
Finley is also a team leader and a guy who built this thing into what it is...Right on Bob keep chuggin with that opinion
Mike in Irving
I just wanted to say thank you for coming to the defense of Michael Finley. Your right though...there is no middle ground for him. Either people love him or think he belongs in the CBA. I think more than anything it is because he makes so much money. All I know is I am sick & tired of hearing Craig Miller say that Michael Finley sucks. He says it so much that now he has rubbed off on George Dunham. Anyways, I'm just venting.
Thanks for having Fin's back.
You are so right on about Finley. I have to admit that I'm a big fan of his. I'm having a hard time accepting the fact that his skills are diminishing, but I'm working on coming to terms with that. On the other hand you have people like Craig Miller (and he's not the only one) who say Finley sucks, and should be the tenth guy off the bench... that's crazy! You can't sit 17 ppg and one of your best outside shooting threats. Dirk needs Finley out there to help spread defenses.
Marquis is a good player and he will probably be a great player some day, but he hasn't proven anything yet.
Despite the emails naming my buddy, Craig, this isn’t about him. In fact, he is not near as venomous as others that I hear. Junior and I have argued Finley for years, and since he didn’t care for his game when Finley was an all-star, I didn’t figure he was going to change his mind when Finley was nearing the end. Regardless, he is more than entitled to his opinion as a scholar of hoops. Loves me some basketball talk with Craig.
It’s April 1st, so I guess its time to dust off the Sidd Finch prank …
Clint Mathis and Jason Kries together in Salt Lake …
Landon Donovan: I love American Soccer …
Here is another classic link. I found the audio last night, so I figure we will replay it today and relive the audio that proved Jay Buhner = talented man …
With their amazing athletic abilities, baseball’s greats often aren’t appreciated for their other talents. David Wells plays the guitar. Jim Palmer can loan you money in his underwear. And Seattle’s Jay Buhner can vomit on command, a skill he calls blurping. It’s this ability that earned the Mariners an unusual distinction in the 1990s: They were the first team to have all three outfielders vomit on the diamond in a single game. One of Buhner’s blurps grossed Kevin Mitchell out enough to make him chunder, and when Ken Griffey, Jr., saw what his teammates were up to, he couldn’t help blowing chunks of his own. It wasn’t the first time Buhner had set off a chain reaction of puking: On another occasion, he compelled manager Lou Piniella to make a dash for the trainers’ room.
Carlos Ruiz introduced ….
When "El Pescadito" isn't scoring, he's often drawing free kicks in dangerous spots, thanks to all that contact he likes to initiate.
The Guatemalan international also has a reputation for "diving," crumpling to the ground unnecessarily to earn free kicks. Does he think that tag is deserved?
"Ask me that question again," he said, grinning, "when we win our first championship here."
Washington Times on Dan Snyder …
Check out this amazing shot! …Here is the video …
Kurt Busch versus Dale, Jr. …
Nextel boys back in Bristol …
Nivar surprised to be traded …
Survivor episode recap …Hate to lose Ibrehem…