A who's who of who's not cutting it
With their talents, they should be a cut above. Instead, they're just not cutting it on the court.
Editor's note: As part of "The Stein Line" every Monday, ESPN.com senior NBA writer Marc Stein gives his take on things in "Slams and Dunks."
This is what happens when you attend a state school. You beware the Ides of March, but you don't actually remember that the Ides of March specifically falls on March 15.
Julius Caesar apparently went to that fateful Roman Senate meeting on March 15, 44 B.C.E., and then wound up with a knife in his back.
Which brings us to Slams and Dunks and the embarrassing disclosure that we're about a week late with our Ides of March team. Our list of guys who obviously didn't beware and who are now, uh, plunging their production downward just when the regular season is getting serious.
All-Ides First Team
Cliff Robinson, Pistons: Uncle Cliffy's contract extension coincides with a nasty slump: 8.3 points per game on 32.3 percent shooting in his last 10 games.
Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Nuggets: We knew he'd develop slowly, but his rookie season (3.6 points per game on 28.9 percent shooting) isn't getting any better.
Ron Artest, Pacers: Three flagrant fouls this month alone. Enough said.
Ricky Davis, Cavaliers: Isn't exactly finishing strong, either, with the triple-double incident and 10-game averages of 14.1 points and 36.6 percent shooting.
All-Ides Off The Bench
Robert Horry, Lakers: More evidence Horry wishes the playoffs would hurry up: 4.6 points per game in his last 10 and just 4.7 rebounds per game.
Walter McCarty, Celtics: Since beating Indy at home with a big triple on Feb. 26, Tommy Heinsohn's beloved Wal-tuh is averaging two points per game.
Reggie Miller, Pacers:Reg can't seem to get hot, averaging just 9.1 points per game on 40 percent shooting in his last 10.
Andre Miller, Clippers: Nightmare homecoming continues; last-10 averages are a mere 9.7 points on 35.9 percent shooting and 4.9 assists.
The key is having a man in the middle. A manly man.
Garnett's display in the paint Friday at San Antonio, beyond any numbers, is a prime exhibit why he's a Defensive Player of the Year candidate as well as the co-MVP favorite with Duncan. The tired Spurs helped the Wolves' cause by settling for 3-pointers, but KG was an undeniable, versatile force.
Lenny is certainly gone at season's end, but he remains one of the classiest figures in NBA history no matter what you think of his coaching. Dismissing Wilkens now, with 14 games to play, would only serve to embarrass him.
Our question, after the first two rounds: Cal State Fullerton lost to Utah State in overtime in the Big West Tournament. Utah State almost beat Kansas in the Big Dance Tournament. Does that mean, next time I see Raef LaFrentz or Danny Manning, that I can tell them Cal State Fullerton is right there with Kansas this year?