Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Conley receives some Tough Love

Hat Tip to Hardwood Paroxysm, who alerted me to this post on The Love of Sports about rookie PG Mike Conley. In it, the author takes Conley to task for what he perceives as "laziness" and just collecting a paycheck. Normally, I am loathe to do this, but I'm going to take this column point by point and offer a rebuttal. The original article in black and my responses in blue:

Tough Love for Mike Conley
I believe some guys should get a bit of counselling from a solid mediator before turning pro.

Why do you make such a statement, Mr. Tough Love?

Well, I’ve been watching Mike Conley all season long, and from his poor defense play and failure to distribute the basketball, it has me thinking I’d rather have Sasha V-chick from the Lakers running my team than Conley right now.

Wow. So you can say with a straight face that you'd rather have Sasha Vujacic, a 3rd year guard, playing point guard for your team than the player who leads all rookies in assists per game? For the record, Vujacic is averaging 8.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.0 apg and 0.7 TOpg this season in 17.5 mpg. Conley posts averages of 8.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 4.1 apg and 0.7 TOpg in 25.5 mpg. That's right, Conley is outperforming Vujacic in every category. As for his "poor defense play", perhaps it appears that way in comparison to the bundle of intensity that is his teammate, Kyle Lowry, but in case you haven't noticed, other than Lowry, Darko Milicic and Jason Collins, nobody on the team is exactly a defensive stalwart. Players almost always take time to adjust to playing solid defense at the NBA level.

College ball really does help these kids grow into solid players AND great men. They have a chance to be coached and mentored by some of the greatest coaches that exist in the sporting world. Guys who will tell them the truth and look out for their best interests.

This is not always the case in the NBA. I understand that Conley was drafted fourth overall in the 2007 NBA Draft, and that he deserves to make a buckeroo.

So, he is insinuating that Conley wasn't ready to make the jump to the NBA, but did anyways just because of the money? He's also intimating that the person who "pushed" him to make that decision didn't have his best interests in mind. Oh, by the way, that person was his father.

Mike, Kyle Lowry is outplaying you right now, and he has been the entire season. You look lazy on the court, and your game doesn’t look polished.

This subject has been the source of much conversation among us at 3SoB, as one of us is a very big fan of Kyle Lowry and the way that he plays the game. However, I don't think that the vast majority of Grizzlies fans would say that one young PG has clearly outplayed the other one this season, especially if you are judging them as "Point Guards". He doesn't look "polished"? What rookie PG does?

Mike Conley: 8.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.7 TO, 0.8 spg, .422 FG%, .301 3PT%, .726 FT%, 25.5 mpg
Kyle Lowry: 9.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.6 TO, 1.1 spg, .432 FG%, .246 3PT%, .713 FT%, 25.2 mpg

How can you not distribute the ball to scorers like Rudy Gay and Mike Miller and Hakim Warrick?

He can and does. However, one has to realize that these players often score off one-on-one dribble-drive plays, which means that the PG who initially set up the play doesn't get an assist or any resulting credit. Conley is perfectly adept at setting up teammates -- something that Summer League teammate Rod Benson noted on his blog, when he said that Conley would find Osama bin Laden if he was open.

Get your game together, bud!

TOUGH LOVE goes out to Mikey Conley for not realizing he’s getting paid to perform.

As someone who has watched over 90% of Conley's collegiate and NBA games, I think that Tough Love is way off base for failing to recognize that he's (IMO) unfairly disparaging a rookie making the transition into the NBA at the toughest position to adapt to. There have been no complaints about Mike's level of effort this season, even as he struggled through "The Rookie Wall" and he has done a good job at learning from his mistakes. Mike Conley is performing to the level of his pay, and to say otherwise is patently ridiculous.

BallHype: hype it up!


Rick said...

Thanks for taking up for our guys. They get enough warranted ridicule and criticism. They don't need some self-absorbed hack, struggling to fill an over-loaded blog misanalyzing their game.

Anonymous said...

Man what is this guy's problem. Mike is going to be a great point guard in this league. I mean Tony Parker was basically a nobody in his rookie season. Mike just needs time.

August West said...

Jeez what a jerk that guy is... Conley is doing just fine for a rookie.

Nobody said he was going to be Chris Paul and just light-up the league his rookie year... almost every rookie needs a little time to get stronger and adjust to the game.

Tim said...

That guys is an idiot and has no clue what he is talking about. Why does that guy even bother writing anything when he has no facts or basis for anything he says.

ChipC3 said...

Spartacus was shooting fish in a barrel.

Reading this is like watching CNN to see replays of the horrible car crash. No matter how many times he kept pounding the guy you keep reading to see what Sparty was going to crush him with next.

Too funny really.

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