The NBA lockout hurt this season’s level of play and resulted in a crazy schedule which sometimes leaves us with Sasha Pavlovic, isolating at the top of the key as the third-quarter shot clock winds down. This is not meant to insult Pavlovic in any way, as he has performed admirably this season and especially well last night, and even scored a bucket on the aforementioned isolation play. But on a night when both the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics could have taken a step closer to securing home court advantage, both teams decided to rest all their stars.
The choice of rest over home court was surprisingly easy for Doc Rivers, mostly because the lockout left all teams bruised and battered entering the playoffs. Even the Celtics, whose core has remained mostly healthy throughout the season, Ray Allen notwithstanding, knock on wood, accrued a significant amount of nagging injuries throughout the course of the season. Again, with the lockout, this makes sense. Even I, an admitted and obsessed Celtics die-hard who normally watches games from my couch, often with a bag of chips nearby, have struggled with mental awareness this season due to all games scheduled in such a short span of time. I can only imagine how I would have dealt with the schedule if I actually had to compete against the world’s finest athletes on those nights rather than simply sit down on my furniture with my remote control in hand and my DVR set to record.
Before I ramble any longer, allow me to get to the point: I wrote a column for CLNS Radio last night about E’Twaun Moore, who has impressed his teammates and coaches even while becoming one of the NBA lockouts many casualties.
A brief excerpt follows, but you should definitely read the whole thing if you’re into self-torture.
If the lockout has been that difficult on veterans like Dooling, it’s been hellish on rookies like E’Twaun Moore. Moore came to Boston needing to learn a new offense, new defense and a new position. He had a condensed training camp to impress coach Doc Rivers, dealt with spotty playing time during the season, and has had precious little practice time to pick up Boston’s schemes and work through his rookie kinks. Even D-League opportunities have been squashed because all the injuries and back-to-back games meant Moore’s presence was required on the big squad all season.
“I look at some of our young guys who may have been able to help in an 82-game season by the end of the year — they’ve had zero practice. On the days we do practice it’s not as competitive as it would have been,” Rivers said. “I think those guys have been robbed of a year, in a lot of ways.” …
Said Dooling, “E’Twaun, he can play. He can play. I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s been the only odd man out — a lot of guys haven’t been in the rotation — but he’s been a consummate pro, especially for a young guy. He has a lot of maturity. Every day he’s in there working on his game. He’s tough as nails. He can play two positions. He shoots the ball really, really well and he has a bright future in this league.”
Read the whole piece here, if you insist.