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Sam Smith is Dumber Than Jerry Krause

Chicago Tribune basketball columnist is taken to task after the Bulls trade Ron Artest to the Pacers.

by McTim
February 21, 2002

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Sam Smith is Dumber Than Jerry Krause_McTim-<i>Chicago Tribune</i> basketball columnist is taken to task after the Bulls trade Ron Artest to the Pacers. I have never been more thankful to not be a die-hard Bulls fan. I like the Bulls. I hope they do well. I'll go to a game if someone gives me a ticket. I know most of the names of the people on the roster. I might be fuzzy as to who is their 12th man - but how much does that come into play anyway?

So when Jerry Krause made yet another dopey, unbelievable decision to trade the top three leading scorers on the team, including a player (Ron Artest) who Michael Jordan has called one of the best one-on-one defenders in the game right now, I was upset. But I was not as upset as I was when the Cubs pushed Greg Maddux out the door or when the Bears traded away their Pro Bowl center Jay Hilgenberg for a 4th round draft pick. If the Bulls want to be determined to not get me interested in them again, that’s their own problem. Make all the dumb moves you want, Jerry. I spend too much time watching and talking about sports as it is.

But today, after reading Sam Smith's article in the Chicago Tribune, I am livid. Not only am I wondering how Jerry Krause still has a job, I have to wonder how Sam Smith still has a job as an NBA columnist.

This man has lobbied in print to break up the Bulls' championship teams before it even crossed Krause's mind. His column became monotonous.

Trade Pippen now because without Jordan he can't lead and we have to get what we can for him. Trade Pippen now because Jordan doesn't really need him and we can get something for him and still contend for the championships. Trade Kukoc, trade Brand, trade Artest. With the exception of Michael Jordan, Sam Smith has wanted to trade the best player on the Bulls roster for as long as I can remember.

Of course, now that they have traded the THREE best players on the team, he is on top of the world. Why? Because "Teams like the Nets and Wizards demonstrate how top veteran talent can transform a young team."

He's equating MVP-candidate Jason Kidd of the Nets and All-World and still-one-of-the-best players in the league, Michael Jordan, with Jalen Rose? Jalen Rose?

He was about the 4th best player on his college team! He led the Pacers in scoring in the 2000 Finals. OK. Good job. I bet it’s easier to score when the other team's philosophy is to not let Reggie Miller and Rik Smits beat you. The Lakers let Jalen shoot instead of letting Smits get Shaq in foul trouble, or letting Reggie get red-hot from the three-point line. You know what? IT WORKED! THE PACERS LOST!

You know what else? These Bulls don't have Rik Smits and Reggie Miller the last time I checked. They have Tyson Chandler and A.J. Guyton. Not quite the same. Teams philosophies will be “Don’t let Jalen Rose beat us.”

That could be good for the development of Chandler, Eddie Curry, and Marcus Fizer if they make the most of it, but there will be some extreme growing pains involved with putting all that pressure on the youngsters. From what I understand, Jalen Rose is a fine person and a hard-working player, but he is not the star player that Smith claims he is.

Ron Mercer has averaged 18.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.2 assists over the last two years with the Bulls. He has averaged 17.0, 3.7, and 2.6 over his career (5 years) with the god-awful Celtics, Nuggets, and Bulls. I’ll throw out the first 5 years of Rose’s career when he never averaged more than 11.3 points per game on a perennial contender and concentrate solely on his “star” years beginning in the 1999-2000 season.

In those three years, after Rose (ahem) blossomed into a “star,” he has averaged 19.1 points, 4.5, rebounds, and 4.6 assists. So, what I’m seeing here is that the Bulls traded a guy who had a markedly superior first 5 years in the NBA and who may very well be ready to come into his own when surrounded by a decent team, in order to gain .8 points, .6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game.

But wait! Krause also had to throw in Ron Artest! Artest is a blossoming future All-Star who puts as much effort into his defensive game as he does his offensive game. He is averaging almost 16 points a game himself and is a far superior defender than Rose. I’m starting to wonder if this is such a good deal after-all.

But Wait! Krause also threw in Brad Miller. He is the 4th leading scorer (12.7) and 5th leading rebounder (13.8) among centers in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers were desperate to get a decent center in order to move Jermaine O’Neal into his natural power-forward spot. They had to make a move before the deadline in order to make a run at the playoffs.

This is the trade that Krause pulls off when he is in a sellers market? Even if you make the huge concession that Travis Best will return to his career high performances of last year (11.9 points and 6.1 assists) (its theoretically possible), that he will want to re-sign with the Bulls (he won’t) and that Rose continues to put up similar numbers as he did in Indiana (I doubt it), the Bulls got hosed. They could have at least gotten the Pacers to take Charles Oakley too. That, at least would have been addition by subtraction.

But no, the Bulls have lost over 50 points in combined offense and now have three disgruntled veterans who have shown they have no problems voicing their displeasure when they aren’t happy. That’s a fine atmosphere for the youngsters to be in during the fledgling portions of their careers.

This is what Sam Smith calls a good thing? The Tribune pays him actual money to write his column? Maybe they pay him in shares of Enron, or title deeds to oceanfront property in South Dakota. (“Wow! Right on the ocean and still within driving distance of Wall Drug! Maybe I’ll catch one of those jackalopes and keep it as a pet.”)

I will take bets with anyone who wants to take me on that Rose does not average more than 20 points a game for the Bulls and that Sam Smith will start calling for him to be traded by December 2002.

I'll also bet you that he still has a job at the Tribune and that I'll still be royally ticked about it.

Comments (2)


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Buzbe Tarver from Kent, Ohio writes:
January 21, 2006
I would first like to say thank you for this forum and that we should get on our knees and Bless Almighty God there is a free speech amendment is this country! Sam Smith is another example of the abusive power of free speech stupidity in this country! It gave lawyers work that they normally wouldn't have: libel for slander. Notice that there is no clause for stupidity, doubt or false accusations. If I was in jail and I saw a guard giving my wife a hard time, shackles would not stop me from doing whatever I can to intervene. How do you check the attitude of a couple of dumbasses out of a crowd of thousands of fans? They can heckle and be nasty at times not knowing that a player is human. Some players come from some very bad living situations and are now millionaires, so what do you expect? But in all this adversity, the game has involved from it's pure form to this thing that entertains and protects the health of the players...it has it's positives and negatives but as long as it's as balanced and close to fair, we can't complain too much about the system! Can you honestly say that if you saw with your own eyes your beautiful wife and child in the slightest amount of trouble that could possibly escalate into physical harm, that a fine and suspension would stop you and say well somebody else will handle it? YEAH RIGHT!!

Chris Aguirre-Hodge from Green Bay, WI writes:
February 18, 2006
Recently our buddy Sam Smith wrote a article in which he said that Kobe Bryant is at the top of his game (and all of the NBA) while Shaq is now a declining figure. Sam Smith should have his pen taken from him and in it's place put a tooth brush because garbage only comes out.

Any true basketball fan will know that yes points, dunks, and more points is what sells tickets as in the case with Kobe. However, a true basketball fan, one who enjoys the concept of team, knows that a Team will win, not a individual, but a team.

Kobe has to score 40+ every night, if not His team will be in serious trouble. Shaq on the other is smart enough to let the young guns get him to the play-offs. Shaq on the other hand knows how to conserve his energy while still being The Man in the Middle. Think of it like this, and I am sure Sam Smith has already done so, while Kobe is in the game, what is his team mates doing? That's right, standing and watching. On the other hand, when Shaq is in the game what is his team mates doing? That's right, cutting, setting picks, getting open for easy wide open jumpers, going back door, etc.

Sam Smith I encourage you to put down your pen. GIVE IT UP! Then after you do that, just be quiet. Go to a city league game where kids are learning how to play. Build your B-Ball IQ up from the ground up and then and only then will you truely understand what Basketball is all about.

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