(From the FanPosts, with minor editing for language. -- TZ)
I would like to take this opportunity to apologize publicly, solemnly, and unequivocally for all of the bad things I said and wrote about you. I wasn’t alone in my disparaging and discourteous remarks, but that can’t be taken as an excuse. There is no excuse. To quote Jack Nicholson’s character in A Few Good Men: “Don't I feel like the farkin’ acehole?”
All kinds of unfavorable allegations have been made against you by me and by others. Among other things, it’s been said that you have no heart, that you played well in a contract year and then mailed it in afterward, that you were horrendously overpaid, and that you were doomed to Kenny Thomas status (separate K-9 apology forthcoming). It’s also been said that you were a malcontent, a non-team player, a guy who doesn’t try on defense.
Mea Culpa. Mea Culpa.
Sure it’s early, and anything can still happen. But you are making a lot of people look really stupid, which is to say, like the fools that we are. Allow me to expound.
I note, among other things, for example, that you are currently shooting 54% from the field. Please understand that the following questions are meant only in the most positive sense: Are you out of you mind? Where did that come from? I note also that you are on a career high pace in three-point shooting (41%), free throw shooting (89%), and points (14.3). And you are ahead of your career averages for assists, rebounds, and steals. Even your defense has looked downright respectable much of the time. And you have been absolutely crucial in several of our wins. All this after having your starting job stolen by an upstart rookie. I am not aware of a single person anywhere that predicted anything like this. If a genius is someone that makes fools out of everyone else, then you sir are a genius.
And speaking of genius, Kings fans and many others (myself included) all complained, criticized and condemned President Geoff for the better part of a year after he signed you to that MLE contract. And how is our man Geoff looking now, huh? Four stellar draft choices in two years, shrewd trades for Sergio, Donté, and the rights to Omri, and a bunch of salary and dead weight dumps, and wouldn’t you know it, our man Geoff is suddenly looking like he’s a step ahead of the league again. Oh, and then there’s that MLE contract a year ago. Not too shabby Mr. P.
And the allegation that you’re not a team player? This will not stand! Starter? Bench player? Doesn’t matter. You are tearing it up, sir. Off the bench you are shooting 56% field, and 50% threes. And in the last two games, neither of which you started, you are shooting a ridiculous 13 of 15 from the field. Whaaaat? That is beyond off-the-charts.
Apparently, all of our collective consternation and angst was misdirected. Instead of blaming you (or Geoff or K-Mart or Kenny or whomever), apparently a big part of the problem was the guy on the bench wearing the suit. It strikes me that your Beno-come-lately Cinderella story adds as much weight as anything to the argument that coaching actually matters. The whole league and everyone associated with it collectively predicted that the Kings would suck, and that we might even challenge for the worst record of all time. And yet here we are playing .500 ball entering December with our best scorer in street clothes. I’m starting to get the impression that this team would have won a lot more games over the past three seasons if the man currently filling out the line-ups had been here that whole time. In case you’ve lost track, the three previous holders of the position are currently out of work, assisting on a 2-and-15 team, and out of work. Oh, and by the way, are you as glad as I am that the Kings didn’t hire Kurt Rambis?
So in closing, I wish to reiterate that although it is still early, and while I reserve the right to call myself a fool later for calling myself a fool now, for the time being, you have humbled your critics and muzzled your hecklers to an extent that few could have imagined even a few short weeks ago. For that, I hope that you will accept my sincerest apologies.
With respect and admiration,
My Losing Season