Call it "Crap on Corey Day," or whatever. (I'm going to call it "Mike Bibby and Chris Webber Share the NBA on TNT Set Day," actually.) Earlier, we told you Kevin Garnett's feelings on Corey Maggette. The gist of KG's verbal fist: Maggs is not a team player. Well, there's more where that came from.
Art Thompson III used to cover the Clippers for the Orange County Register, until this summer when the Register decided it would no longer cover the Clippers ... just the Lakers. Luckily, AT3 stayed on as an NBA columnist. Folks have a lot of respect for Thompson. He knows the Clips as well as anyone in the mainstream. And he reports this about Maggs:
My sources told me that fomer Clipper forward Elton Brand was so determined not to have a personal friendship ruined with Maggette (the two have been close since they attended Duke together), that Brand did not want to play another year with Maggette, having decided that seven years with the Clippers was enough.
Brand loved Maggs too much to be his teammate. That's just about perfect, right? I'm glad Thompson provided this perspective, because otherwise the critics are acting like Maggette's style is something new. It is not.
SI's Chris Mannix (and his sources) talk about Maggette's turnovers and assists, as if all of a sudden Maggs has turned into a black hole. Um, Maggette has always had more turnovers than assists. In 603 career games, Maggs has had at least seven assists 13 times. He has had at least seven turnovers nine times. This isn't Jose Calderon, bub. Maggette does not pass. He shoots. He drives. He scores. And that's why Golden State paid him.
I find it hard to believe Don Nelson is really upset about a guy shooting too quickly. Sure, Nellieball values the right pass. But missing Monta Ellis, Golden State needs folks to create (which Maggs does constantly) and score. The individual problem so far has been an iffy two-point FG% for Maggette; John Hollinger notes repeatedly that this is among the most volatile stats in small sample sizes. I'd bet Maggs will clean up the shot efficiency and his full value on the court will be realized. (And really, the team has the league's No. 11 offense ... with Maggette refusing to pass and missing buckets he will eventually make. All criticisms of Golden State need to focus on defense.)
I'm not absolving Maggette here: he could be a much better defender and there are no doubt opportunities to spread the love on offense. But if anyone expects anything different from what Maggs is doing in Oakland, they haven't been paying attention.