Saturday , Mar , 27 , 2010 Oly Sandor

Weekend Rant: Ginobili’s future with San Antonio Spurs, video of Stoudemire’s greatest dunk, and Washington Wizards botch Blatche-gate

For most, the weekend is about rest, relaxation, and reflection. Well, not here at Breaking Down The NBA. While you’re chilling, we’re droppping a little venom called the Weekend Rant …

-Guess who is back?

After months of looking washed up, over the hill, and slow afoot, Manu Ginobili has found his old form for the San Antonio Spurs. Love him or hate him, the Argentine swing is again driving opponents crazy with his scoring prowess and trademark flops.

Manu Ginobili

Consider this season. Before the All-Star game, Ginobili was averaging a pedestrian 14 points per game. In March, he’s dropping 21.4 points per game to go with an equally impressive 5.5 assists. Best of all, he’s abusing defences on pick-and-rolls –if the defender slides under the pick he takes the three-pointer and if the defender cheats over the top, he attacks.

There are many theories on Ginobili’s renaissance. He is healthy. He has had greater opportunities with star point guard Tony Parker injured. And his contract expires at season’s end, so his play today determines the zeros in his bank account tomorrow.

Whatever the reason, Ginobili’s stock is soaring both in the NBA and internationally. As a second tier free agent, behind big tickets such as Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade, he’ll fetch plenty of interest from NBA teams come July 1st. And rumor has it several European clubs are preparing lucrative offers.

However, Ginobili, a loyal guy, likely finishes what he started and re-ups with San Antonio for, say, three years at $33 million. This represents a slight hometown discount, but he and the Spurs have history.

-Speaking of comebacks and free agents, an athletic post is again Standing Tall and Talented for the Phoenix Suns. Of course, we’re talking about Amar’e Stoudemire, who has had a mixed year due to health and trade speculation.

Forget his eye injury. Forget the trade speculation. And forget the gossip he might not opt-out of the final year of his contract and put off becoming an unrestricted free agent for another year.

The real news, for fans, is that Stoudemire is back to his old highlight reel and facial-serving self.

Don’t believe us? Check out the clip and be sure not to have a hot beverage in hand because spillage, serious spillage, will occur.  

(Warning: Craveonline, HoopsVibe, and Breaking Down the NBA is not liable for any burns, bodily harm, or damage caused from spilling your beverage while watching this STAT poster-job.)

-Back in the day, Juwan Howard, Rod Strickland, and Chris Webber were never held accountable. Gilbert Arenas had free rein and broke laws like the politicians and lobbyists occupying offices in the District of Columbia.

Sadly, the Washington Wizards haven’t learned from their past and excused blue-chip talent Andray Blatche’s inexcusable boycott of a mid week match against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

In case you missed it: Wizards’ coach Flip Saunders pulled Blatche during the first half against the Thunder to remind him to get back on defense. The veteran sideline boss was then going to immediately put the young forward back in the game.

(One night later, all was somehow forgiven.)

Unfortunately, Saunders never got the chance. Blatche lashed out at the coaches, refused to re-enter the game, and left his team, who had dropped 11 straight games, without their main weapon on offense.

Saunders, understandably, had plenty to say on the incident after the game.

“Sixty percent of the offense is run through him. And no matter what, the coaches aren’t wrong. No matter what. When a coach wants to teach you something and you think that you’re above that because you’ve played 16 games, good games? I mean, I had Kevin Garnett. That guy, you’d say one thing, and he’s up there, what do you want coach, what can I (do)? He wanted to get better any time. He never copped that type of attitude. I mean that’s ridiculous, it really is. I am disappointed. I am the most disappointed I’ve ever been in 15 years in a player. The most disappointed.” (Washington Post)

So the organization had to take action, right? Perhaps, there would be a multi-game suspension or a hefty fine. Either would’ve been justified. After all, a player had publicly shown up his bosses and co-workers.

Well, wrong.

Blatche got nothing. Nada. Zilp. Zilch. The Wizards, it would seem, have given Blatche the get-out-of-jail-free-card Arenas used so liberally before getting busted for turning the locker room into a showdown at the O.K. Corral with Javaris Crittenton.

A night after acting ‘ridiculous’ and profoundly ‘disappointing’ his coach, Blatche started against the Indiana Pacers. He was also in the first five on Friday against the Charlotte Bobcats. It was like nothing happened.

To be fair, Blatche, after being defensive and defiant, eventually apologized, which is a significant step for this immature youngster. And he was far more open to being coached against the Pacers and Bobcats. This was far from his first incident, though. And a punishment was not only appropriate, but necessary.

Simply put, Washington, like Blatche, is destined to keep repeating the same errors, tribulations, and half steps. Hopefully, Ted Leonsis is approved as majority owner and overhauls the dysfunctional culture that has plagued this sad-sacked franchise.

Got thoughts on Manu’s renaissance, Stoudemire’s fierce dunk, or Blatche and the Wizards? Well, hit up Breaking Down the NBA with your thoughts in the comment box below. Photo courtesy of Darren DA Creative.

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