December 29, 2003

Eddie comes full circle.: Eddie Griffin will soon be a member of the New Jersey Nets, who, coincidentally (Not really), drafted him and then shipped him off to Houston for 3 other picks. Did the Rockets give up on Eddie too early? Does he still have a future in the NBA? How does he fit in on NJ's roster?

posted by lilnemo to basketball at 03:56 PM - 9 comments

Remember, when Eddie came out of Seton Hall he was being heavily considered with the #1 pick in 2001. Many draftniks had Eddie as the "safe #1 pick" because he would bring the earliest return on investment. Of course we all know the potential of Kwame Brown went first, and questions about Eddie's emotional state, and preparedness dropped him into the #7 slot. But nonetheless I still believe it is way too soon to give up on him. I was very surprised that the Rockets released him. I thought they might keep him, albeit at a low salary, and give him a chance to prove himself. As for New Jersey, well, it's a new lease on life. They sorely need someone with a perimeter jumper, and post offense/defense to back up K-Mart and Jefferson, Eddie should fill that role nicely. Hopefully this change of scenery gives him some perspective, and with that, a little redemption.

posted by lilnemo at 04:03 PM on December 29, 2003

"We're dedicated to do everything we can to help him with a support system on and off the court." This is both a great pick-up and a stupid move by the Nets. Thorn calls it "high reward and low risk," and he's partially right. New Jersey will only spend $450,000 for the rest of the season, and if he turns out to be an absolute nutcase, they can cut him loose. However, I think you do yourself an injustice when you sign a guy with as many problems as Griffin. Sure, he's more talented than some of the bench players you have. He's also a complete fuck-up that could screw up your chemistry if you bring him on the roster. Are the Nets so bad off they need to take that risk? Thorn would not be more specific, noting that he could not talk about some things because of medical confidentiality. OK, you're obviously dealing with a drug problem, right? So New Jersey's front office thinks the Rockets are idiots and suddenly the Nets have cornered the market on cleaning up junkies? If you think I'm jumping to conclusions, perhaps, but I would hope something stronger than a little Portlandherb is involved for a guy to hit a woman in the face a few times and then shoot at her as she drove off. Either that, or the Nets have just inked a homicidal maniac.

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:27 PM on December 29, 2003

From a bball standpoint the Nets are picking up Griffin because of the big hole caused by the retirement of A. Mourning. I guess what Thorn means is...what do they have to lose. Nets really need some help at center and a 2/3 who can score consistently from the outside.

posted by cg1001a at 07:00 PM on December 29, 2003

They have what appears to be a pretty solid team to lose. Griffin might be a talent, but is he really going to help them this season? Wouldn't they be better off dealing for a known commodity then tempting fate by putting Mourning's job in this kid's hands?

posted by wfrazerjr at 08:17 PM on December 29, 2003

Eddie is no saint. Let's get that out of the way right off the bat. He is, however, a talented ball-player. In our society, that buys you a second chance. Talented librarians, or custodians for that matter, don't get that chance given the same set of circumstances (and man do I have stories). But all the same, it is apparent that whatever it is that made Eddie do these dumb things, he is seeking to identify and eliminate. It's alot easier to rally around a person who seeks to redeem themselves when they actually take steps to address the real problem. Does Eddie break down again? Maybe. Will he be a distraction? Maybe. Will he even make it through the season? Maybe not. Sports history is filled with characters who in a brief moment(s) have altered their lives and those of others immeasurably. In basketball alone, the best example I can think of is Kermit Washington. There isn't a day that goes by that he doesn't regret what he did. But if he can find a way to go on, to carry himself in a civil manner, to be absolved by Rudy T. himself, I think we can cut him a little slack for being less than saintly. I think Eddie deserves that chance too.

posted by lilnemo at 09:33 PM on December 29, 2003

Kermit punched Rudy. It was a game situation. Eddie has repeatedly blown off team practices and functions, apparently has a drug problem and, lest we forget, punched a woman in the face several times and then shot at her. To me, big difference.

posted by wfrazerjr at 06:32 AM on December 30, 2003

I'd like to reiterate that he punched a woman in the face three times and shot at her as she tried to get away from him. Of course, it's either sign him or play against him when the Knicks do...if he can help a team like Ray Lewis then he gets Nike and ESPN-fueled redemption, if he can't help a team like Lawrence Phillips, he's a bad apple who's squandered his chances because of "character." It's a bunch of hypocritical bullshit and I'm really quite tired of it. I'd be the last person to say athletes are role models, but I'll be the first person to say that the only way we get public figures who are worthy of being role models is to hold them accountable for their actions. I'm not a conservative but I think it's comparable to say that Rush Limbaugh deserved the media ass-whupping he got for his comments about McNabb and his drug problem, plus he got fired. Eddie Griffin is getting a second-chance he might deserve but that nearly no one else gets, but does he really need a contract with the Nets while he sorts out his personal demons? Aren't the Nets really saying either "We don't care about Punched-In-The-Face Woman because Eddie blocks shots" or "We actively support the punching of women in the face and then shooting at them as they try to flee" Those are my best guesses because I can't find a statement from them clarifying this move. I'm feeling quite smug about my decision to start rooting for the Rockets again this year.

posted by pastepotpete at 10:07 AM on December 30, 2003

I'm sure he'll be a valuable resource to Jason Kidd. Maybe they can trade secrets. As basketball fans, is it safe to say, if we own a team, we would only hire players who have it together off the court? Is that possible anymore?

posted by jasonspaceman at 10:41 AM on December 30, 2003

Most of the time, I don't think it's possible to know if they have their act together, and you don't need NBA teams spying on their employees. But when a player draws attention to himself by say, punching a woman in the face three times and then shooting at her as she tries to get away, maybe you should take a step back. the NBA will still be there after he gets done with whatever it is that requires medical confidentiality.

posted by pastepotpete at 11:15 AM on December 30, 2003

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