Trade Steve Nash. Would you do it? Phoenix Suns President Lon Babby was asked this same question on his weekly appearance on KTAR radio in Phoenix. He says trading Steve Nash, their best player, is "not even in his thought process right now". Really? Knowing Nash is 37, Grant Hill is 38 and Vince Carter is 34 and the rest of his roster is in their mid-late 20s and no one else the club is building around, does Lon Babby really think we believe that? Please. Over nine years in a Phoenix uniform, Steve Nash has made 7 playoff appearance, was in 3 Western Conference Finals and the Phoenix Suns as a team has won 58.8% of the time with Nash in the line-up. These stats would mean a lot to a team requiring a Steve Nash - style of leadership. These stats would also mean a lot to a team looking forward to the future. Something the Phoenix Suns should seriously be thinking about. No one wants to talk about it because Steve Nash makes this team exciting and puts people in the stands. Without him, do you really think the residents of Phoenix, Arizona would line-up to buy season tickets to a club lead by Grant Hill or dare I say it, Vince Carter? Realistically, these guys are on their way out, too. Vince Carter is headed for Free Agency with his 20,000 career points and if I were Lon Babby, I would not pick up his 18.3 million dollar option. Rip off the band-aid - have the conversation Phoenix. If you are looking for ideas where to send Nash, a good Canadian boy would love to retire among family. NBA Commissioner David Stern is always looking for an opportunity to expand and promote the league. Why not give Calgary, Edmonton or even Vancouver another try Mr. Stern? I would be the first in line to buy a jersey. Let's talk about others in the NBA whose jerseys are increasing in value like Blake Griffin and his monster game Monday and honouring NBA Hall of Famers in the name of Martin Luther King, in Memphis.
Don't Fake the Funk...
Blake Griffin proved the naysayers wrong on Monday night. I have heard rumblings about Griffin being a one-dimensional player and can only dunk and jump high. Well, he mixed it up against the Indiana Pacers Monday when he had a career-high 47 points and 14 rebounds for his 27th consecutive double-double. Most can only dream of surpassing that stat through a Tim Horton's drive-through. He even went 9 for 11 from the free-throw line on Monday, one area he has worked on improving this season. This is only the third time in NBA history a player 21 years old or younger got 47 points and 14 rebounds in a single game. Hazard to guess who the other two are? Michael Jordan (Bulls, 1984-85, 49 points, 15 rebounds) and Rick Barry (Warriors, 1965-66, 57 points, 15 rebounds). So Griffin is now in an exclusive club. The league offers support to young rookies like Griffin to wade through the 'lion's den' that is the National Basketball Association. However, they still take it to heart. "People question the other skills and as a basketball player, you take that personally" (Blake Griffin commenting after Monday night's game). A little constructive criticism never hurt anyone, right? It certainly boosted Griffin's efforts.
Honouring "The Dream" - Martin Luther Jr. King Day
Say the name Martin Luther King Jr. in conversation and everyone has a story. I still get chills listening to his "I have a Dream" speech. In the United States, the third Monday in January is set aside every year to honour Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday which is actually January 15. Three sports figures received the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award on Monday - including two NBA Hall of Famers. Willis Reed and Lenny Wilkens were honoured Monday by the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis, the city where King was assassinated in April of 1968. The award recognizes athletes who have made significant contributions to civil and human rights, in the name of arguably, the most famous of all civil rights leaders. Along with Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays, Reed and Wilkens were honoured with an on-court ceremony just before the Grizzlies' game against the Bulls began. Lenny Wilkens played cards at one point in his life with King and said the award was a huge honour. Willis Reed even went so far as to say Martin Luther King Jr. opened the door for more black Americans to go to college and perhaps make it to the next level as an athlete. I know some of you have only seen examples of segregation in movies and some of you might have, unfortunately, experienced it first hand. It is unbelievable what the power of free will can invoke in people and how it can affect the human condition. My heart goes out to those who have fought the fight, continue to fight and to those who experience the reason to fight for civil rights all over the world.
As always I appreciate your comments. Please keep them coming by following me on twitter @ddegraauw and on Facebook @Danielle de Graauw (purple jacket, red microphone). Thanks for joining me today. I will see you again this Thursday for more Raptors' opponent analysis in "Behind Enemy Lines".