GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Monday, February 21, 2005

Grading All-Star Weekend

As I've probably mentioned before, I'm currently a grad student at the U of Minnesota. As part of my financial aid package, I'm a half-time TA. Normally, this leaves me with one class and I do about 20-hours a week. Unfortunately, this term they've assigned me two different classes at 25%.

For one of my classes, I basically do nothing but grade. I hold one office hour a week, and am responsible for answering email questions, as well as a few other tasks which consume very little time. What I've decided is this:
Grading is to people in academia what working at McDonalds is to the general public.
It's boring, tedious, and completely unfulfilling. Actually, working at McDonalds is probably considerably more fulfilling. I don't mean disrespect to people who work fast food, I did it for many years in high school and part of college. I just wanted the chance to publicly bitch about how much I hate grading and I though it would be a good lead in to my grading of All-Star weekend.

The Rookie/Sophomore Game

I didn't actually see most of it, so I can't really give a good assessment. I'll just assume it was mediocre.

Grade: C

Shooting Stars and Skills Challenge

These things are just not that interesting, but offer marginal entertainment value when I only have to see them once a year. However, having seen these things for a few years already, they're already starting to become lame. It would be nice to see the NBA try to come up with different contests that they can do each year, so that at least I wouldn't be watching the same thing every year.

Grade: C-

Three-point Shooting Contest

I think that most Wolves fans believe that Freddy and his amazing 52% 3pt percentage got snubbed by not getting to participate in this contest. Instead, the league said that they decided to go with people who had made a lot of threes rather than going by percentage. But then I ask, what about Damon Jones? With 147 made threes this season, he ranks 3rd in the league, 20 ahead of 4th place Gilbert Arenas. In addition, his .416 three-point percentage was higher than anybody else in the contest.

Thus, we can assume that the NBA did not really choose on either of these categories. Rather, they went with name recognition and choosing players from winning teams (Seattle and Phoenix each had two entrants). What we ended up with was a bunch of volume shooters, who couldn't really make all that many shots. Nobody really got into any sort of groove like we normally see. Maybe the NBA will learn from this and next year actually choose people who deserve to be there, as opposed to Quentin Richardson (who actually managed to win somehow) and Ray Allen.

Grade: D+

Slam Dunk Contest

Sadly, this was the high point of the weekend and it wasn't even all that good. J.R. Smith started the contest out right foot by throwing down a sweet dunk where put the ball behind his back before dunking.

The lowlight of this event had to be Chris Andersen who just kept embarrassing himself by trying to bounce the ball and then catch it, but took way too many tries to get it right. The league used to give you two attempts at each dunk, but they got rid of the rule this year, so contestants could get as many tries as they wanted. I think they decided to change the rule because Jason Richardson lost last year due to the fact that he didn't get his second dunk down, despite having one of the sweetest dunks ever for his first one. Thanks to Chris, I think this rule will be gone forever.

But the real highlight of this event was Josh Smith, who threw down a number of sweet dunks, his best being the one where he had KMart sit on a chair and toss the ball in the air. Smith jumped over him with some style, caught the ball and dunked it.

As for Amare Stoudemire I wish they'd stop putting him in the contests. He's a great power dunker, but lacks the finesse required to do any sort of really spectacular dunking. Also, I found a little bit of ironic humor in the fact that even in the dunk contest, he stands no chance of winning without Steve Nash to make him better.

Grade: B

All-Star Game

The game started out extremely sloppy, and wasn't much fun to watch. I was rooting for the West, and when they started pulling away early in the game, I was hoping the East would at least keep it close, so that we'd get a good finish. Then, the East came back, but they didn't stop. They kept going and going until eventually it was a blow-out for the East. So basically, I got neither of my wishes. Having a close all-star game is fantastic, because near the end of the game, you see all the best players in the league playing with high intensity. If it hadn't been for Vince Carter's amazing dunk, there would have been no reason to watch this game.

Grade: D


Normally, I think that the NBA all-star festivities are the best in all of sports. Unfortunately, this year was pretty bad.

Grade: D+