Sunday, August 12, 2007

European Talent vs NBA Veterans

CBSSportsline columnist Ray Ratto has an interesting article discussing the fact that teams are leaning towards the acquisition of retired NBA players rather than using European talent. It makes sense because even though European younger talent may offer fresher legs and more playing time, they don't offer the experience of a seasoned NBA veteran, like a Reggie Miller, Penny Hardaway or Allan Houston. These guys can not only provide guidance for younger players on a squad but also can even help other all-star veterans improve their games. All 3 of the names mentioned above have playoff experience as well.


"Well, the news today is that the rest of the world is apparently tapped out, basketball-wise, because the NBA is moving to a new strategy for talent acquisition.

Greatest hits.

The Miami Heat's decision to sign Penny Hardaway to play with his old bete noire, Shaquille O'Neal, came well out of the blue, but when placed atop the Boston Celtics' interest in noted 42-year-old jump shooter Reggie Miller, and rumored comeback attempts by Scottie Pippen, Allan Houston, Charles Oakley and Shawn Kemp, you get a different picture, namely this:

Europe is empty. Strip-mined. Out of that talent it was supposed to have in abundance.

Of course, we kid Europe because we love it so. And Yi Jianlian, please come visit Milwaukee, or as it has become known in Chinese media circles, the Secret City. We love tall young potential stars. Sure beats old used-to-be-stars.

This sudden race for the Basketball Encyclopedia seems daft, of course, but with the obvious exception of Danny Ainge, who is now in full try-anything mode, the sudden fascination with players who are not just retired but really retired indicates that more teams are looking not for shiny new toys but beaten-up old ones who can impart wisdom as well as give 10-12 minutes per game.

And who would come relatively cheap, we can assume. Other than Kemp, the only player in NBA history who could honestly say he was doing it for his family, the other recycle-ees have made their pile and in any event aren't coming into this with any discernible leverage.

But the European game, and the expansion into China, was supposed to eliminate the need for the old classics, wasn't it? It was, as the marketing bozos like to say, "an untapped market."

Read the full CBSSportsline article here.

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