I recently conducted a light-hearted Q&A with Ricky from the First Italian Sixers Blog, Sixers4Guidos. Ricky emailed me out of the blue, as he was incredulous intrigued by the fact that the Wolves had apparently signed Kevin Ollie. What else could I do other than set the story straight with him? I mean, I owed it to him as a fellow blogger. Below are Ricky's questions and my answers for him regarding a few outcasts and retreads new additions to the T-Wolves roster for this season:
Ricky from S4G: I was honestly and seriously shocked to see Kevin Ollie is on T'Wolves roster and couldn't believe it until you confirmed it. Can you please enlighten us on how a NBA franchise in rebuilding mode, with a core of young players etc etc, could eventually pick up this old bum, who stole money for his whole career from dozens of franchise, for mysterious (at least to me) reasons? Do you expect him to make the roster and play for Minn?
College Wolf: That run-on sentence was almost as brutal as Ollie’s jumpshot. Unfortunately, it does appear that Mr. Ollie will indeed make the team. The thing is, the Wolves are 3 players over the max roster size (we have 18 players and the limit is 15), yet we are short on Point Guards. The conundrum is that Ollie is a PG. It does not appear that our only other possible PG besides Randy Foye and Sebastian Telfair is ready for the NBA. That player would be the D-League whirling dervish Blake Ahern. I just don’t think he’s got what it takes to play consistent PG minutes in the NBA (when it matters during the regular season.) By process of elimination, that leaves Kevin Ollie as our third string PG, since it would be cataclysmic to go into the season with just Foye and Telfair. So yes, I do expect him to exceed even the lowest of expectations and make the roster. Even worse, he will probably play some spot minutes this for us this season. Don’t forget, Big O. was also signed for his “defense” and “veteran presence.” Yay!
P.S. If you couldn’t tell, I was not too excited about us signing Kevin Ollie this off-season. It’s not like Shaun Livingston wouldn’t have had an opportunity to grow here with our squad. Very sad.
Ricky from S4G: Do you know how much money Ollie will make? If it makes you (and Mc Hale) feel better, Sixers gave him more than 12 millions over the last 4 yrs, which is already pretty unbelievable. Ollie should build a statue to his agent, who is a genius, clearly.
CW: As far as I can tell, Mr. Ollie is making approximately $797,581 dollars this season to sit on our bench. In my opinion, that’s $797,580 dollars too many. His agent is quite clearly one of the most brilliant men on the face of this earth; and there is a good chance he was an executive at AIG in one of his previous lifetimes. I need to look into having his agent “represent” me…
Ricky from S4G: Speaking of stiffs/former Sixers, you guys took also Calvin Booth. If I'm not mistaken, Sixers are still paying his salary (thank Billy King, who gave him a PLAYER option for his second year, guess if he exercised it...), a fact that should at least make you forget how ugly he is. Is the Ollie-Booth duo the worst PG-C combination Minnesota ever had? In Philly, it was.
CW: Worst PG-C combo ever? Are you forgetting about the Troy Hudson to Michael Olowokandi combination? What out they’ll lull you to sleep by dribbling out the shot clock and then heaving up a brick with less than 2 seconds remaining! How about T-Hud to Mark Blount? T-Hud to Mark Madsen? T-Hud to Oliver Miller? Actually, T-Hud to Oliver Miller doesn’t count because Miller would just take the ball, walk off the court, and eat it. T-Hud to pretty much any center that was on the team during Hudson’s tenure here were all pretty bad. With that said, Ollie to Booth probably still takes the cake. Under no circumstances can I even seriously attempt to top that one.
I would like to point out, I am somewhat excited about having Calvin Booth on our team. For what it is worth, the Wolves are now unequivocally the ugliest team in the NBA. (Number 1 at something!) Between Mike Miller, Booth, Brian Cardinal, Big Al Jefferson, Jason Collins, David Harrison, and Kevin Ollie, no one can touch us. Heck, watching those four guys play would probably be some pretty effective contraception, for as quickly as they’ll drive the women away.
Ricky from S4G: The other Sixer you guys have is Rodney Carney. He drove us nuts for a couple of years (see this post), but he's definitely a talented player that could blossom there, in the right system. What do you expect from the kid, realistically?
CW: To tell you the truth, I actually kind of like Rodney Carney. I was intrigued with him a few years ago when he came out of Memphis into the NBA. I wouldn’t have been sad if we drafted him (although it wouldn’t have been considered a very good pick now.) Anyways, I think he has a solid chance to prove what he can do. From what I hear, he’s a solid defender with good character and tremendous athleticism. You can’t ask for much more than that from a player that is essentially on our team for free. I realistically expect that he makes the team, gives 110%, and probably plays a few minutes per game off the bench. If someone gets injured or traded, he could possibly step in and do ok. Who knows, maybe this will be the year that he “puts it all together” and breaks out. (Please, let me have my delusional optimism, it’s all us Wolves fans have got left.) He could even be the beneficiary of a few patented Love to Carney outlet passes for easy transition buckets this season, who knows. Bottom line, we have nothing to lose with him since you guys are paying pretty much his entire salary (hahaha!) If he turns out to not be worth anything, we simply cut our losses and let him go at the end of the season.
College Wolf: Who are you all-time favorite and least favorite Philadelphia 76er’s players?
Least favorite: it could be a long list, but I would go with Keith "the rabbit" Van Horn and his memorable 36 minute, 4 point, 1/4 FG game 6 vs Detroit in the 2003 Playoffs, his last game as a Sixer. Needlees to say, he is not missed. His sissy dunks also used to make me mad (see, he was getting on my nerves even when scoring...). Shawn Bradley would be close second.
CW: On a scale of 1-1000: how excited are you for this upcoming season now that you guys have Elton Brand, along with your quickly emerging mostly young core?
Ricky from S4G: I would say I am 850 excited, on that scale. I think we could reach the second round of the playoffs this year and hopefully have a shot at the Conference finals in 2010. I like how this this team has been built, we actually don't lack anything, it's just a matter of time and experience. Stefanski has done a great job so far, yes he overpaid Iguodala (80 mill for 6 yrs), but that was perhaps his only "mistake" in a pretty impressive 9 1/2 month tenure. He's no Billy King, that would be pretty safe to say...
CW: What do you guys realistically expect from the man previously known as “Theo Ratliff’s Corpse” this season?
Ricky from S4G: The season ending injury to Jason Smith occurred this summer shortened our frontcourt rotation, so it could be that he will be asked to play a little bit more than expected. He will do what he's very good at, block some shots, teach the young guys some things, provide some locker room leadership, be an example. Rookie Marreese Speights was excellent in preseason, he's earning a spot in the rotation, hopefully he will benefit by playing vs Theo in practice. Sixers' frontcourt of Dalembert and Brand + Evans, Ratliff and Speights looks rock solid, for sure it won't be easy to shoot a layup in our paint or get an offensive rebound.
CW: Does it make you sad that you are still paying Reggie Evans $15 million over the next three years? Who would you most rather have on the Sixers from this list: Reggie Evans for $15 million, Mark Madsen and Brian Cardinal for $18 million (2 for 1 deal!), or Eddy Curry for free, but he comes with a lifetime pass to every “All You Can Eat Buffet” in the greater Philadelphia metro region…
Ricky from S4G: I am a great Evans fan, to tell you the truth. Yes, his contract is fat, but you won't find many guys in the league providing what he does. His limitations are so obvious that is not even worth repeating, but he almost singlehandedly won us some big games last season, including a playoffs game at Detroit.
What he brings to the table in terms of toughness, attitude, defense is pretty unique, fans and team mates love him, and coaches too. He's the kind of player that will always find a suitor in the NBA, and unlike many colleagues in similar roles (Jerome James, Ben Wallace or... Brian Cardinal) he didn't relax at all after getting that big deal, and continues to work hard, giving 110% every night. Believe it or not, I think you need players like Reggie Evans to build a winning team. Last year he was a starter for large part of the season (...) but this year, finally put in his place (= the bench, LOL), he will contribute even better I think. "Reggie, Reggie !!! "
I'll gladly leave you the other players you mention, and the Eddie Curry offer doesn't sound exactly like a bargain, I'll call Isiah Thomas for an advice, anyway :-)