Friday, January 27, 2006

Make or Break

That's what we're down to. The game at Minnesota tomorrow at 2ET (1PM Central) may be the key to whether IU is conference title contender or pretender. At Iowa & Michigan State were already penciled in as losses in the pre-season, and especially after each of them were coming off losses themselves. Minnesota is coming off six straight big ten losses, and IU doesn't want to be their first victim. This Golden Gopher squad is not good, and the Hoosiers better come prepared to grab a rare opportunity to win on the road.

The other game to watch is Wisconsin at Michigan. The Wolverines are coming off a huge win against their in-state rival, and Wisconsin plays very few road games. The Badgers are alone at the top of the conference standings (5-1) coming off a crushing of Penn State after their horrific upset loss to North Dakota State. However, Bo Ryan's 9-man rotation just became 7, as back-up center Greg Stiesma and 6th man Marcus Landry are both done for the season due to academics. This is real trouble if there's a foul disparity again in Ann Arbor, and 6-5 Alando Tucker may be seeing a lot more minutes in the post again.

Pat Forde writes another funny column, this time about the rules of rushing the court. He finds Indiana in violation for rushing the court during the Illinois game, and Iowa in violation for storming the floor after the IU game.

NBA
Peja-Artest trade goes through!
It is a deal that can really work for both teams. Artest can make the Kings a contender again if he *cough* keeps it together. And Peja can help the Pacers with a stretch run to get some momentum going again and maybe be the title contender they thought they would be. And even with the down year Peja's having, he's definitely better than having nobody. Of course, the Pacers are in a tailspin and will not have J-O for 8 weeks, so it really will have to be a stretch run.

Other big trade was Wally World and Ricky Davis, plus others, and we'll see if a change of environment is enough to get both of these scorers to shed the selfish label. I just won't be holding my breath.

2 Comments:

At 10:06 PM, Blogger The Taco From Indiana said...

I think I like this trade, even if it means Artest doesn't go to the Lakers (which I would like to see).

The Kings are sucking this year and part of it is the lame-duck status of their coach, who use to have one of the most secure jobs in the NBA coaching ranks (average is about 2.5 years).

Peja was pouting. He is also someone who could benefit from Bird. Same sort of release on his jumper. Great shooter. A lot of scoring. Unselfish. His defense may be a problem. Also, I wonder about his adjustment. Granted he did adjust to life in Sacromento from Czech Republic(??). Sacromento did remind me of Indianapolis when I visited. It is flat and in the middle of cornfields (even though the Bay area is about 80 miles down the road). It is just a little warmer and sunnier. Other than that, the two cities are pretty identical.
But what I worry about when I say adjustment, is that Peja has played for Aldamen (spelling??) for his entire career. Now after so many years, he is getting a new boss, new job, and this could be troublesome. Look at Gary Payton when he played in the triangle (granted that is a difficult offense to learn).
The good news, is that the Kings get someone who is anxious to play again, who has a history of taking awhile to wear out his welcome, and will bring it on both ends every night. His defense (thuggery) on shooting guards will now make the Kings someone no 2 guard or small forward will want to play against. He seems to be playing at about the same pace despite not working out while this whole thing was going on.
If Peja works out, resign him. If not, the contract comes off the books when he opts out in a year.
The Kings also get Artest for a few years at a very reasonable price (he probably could command higher if he put his mind to it once he becomes a free agent).
I figured the deal would have to go through, even after the first set-backs. Artest might not have wanted to play for the Kings at that moment (I heard Walsh threatened to suspend him w/out pay if he didn't buy into the trade), but once the Kings had put Peja up on the trading block I think it had to happen. I think everyone understands that they were trying to get something for him since he was bound to leave in a year, but it sounds as if they handled the trade in a poor manner which would have led to Peja having an even worse year if the deal had fallen through.

 
At 8:20 AM, Blogger Indiana Fan said...

I like this trade, but what I heard was that the Kings were talking to Artest's agent, and the agent started pitching such a baby fit (maybe gambling on getting the promise of more money out of the Kings), that management got spooked. It's my theory that Artest and the Kings really had nothing against this trade, and it was the agent who nearly crapped up this deal.

I don't think Peja will have a problem adjusting. He's shooting less well this season because nobody's scared of Brad Miller inside, as opposed to Chris Webber, who was a scoring machine. So Peja is drawing more attention from opponents. I think that Peja has played for enough pro coaches (remember he was in the European pro leagues before coming here) and Rick Carlisle is a good enough coach that Peja should fit right in. It still may be the end of the season before the Pacers click thanks to JO's injury, 'though.

 

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