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Let The Stones Fly

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It took, what, two weeks? But the knocks against Peja Stojakovic are now flying through the air.

Here's Shareef Abdur-Rahim in today's Bee:

"You see a guy laying it on the line, and you respect that," said forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who has done the same since returning early from his broken jaw suffered Dec. 26. "You see guys sit out with minor injuries, things that they might have played through. And you never question a guy's injuries, but anytime you see a guy on the court in pain, laboring, you appreciate that."

Shareef 1, Peja 0.

Marty McNeal doesn't wait long either:

Watching Artest grimace his way up and down the court because of a right hip pointer the past two games is another positive in the trade. The Kings dealt Stojakovic, who often needed what he believed to be perfect circumstances to excel. In Artest, they received a guy who doesn't care what is going on around him.

I don't Ailene Voisin or Grant Napear will say mean things about Peja, no matter how successful The Ron Artest Era becomes.

As for players, I'm confused at this point on whether he had friends on the team any longer. Brad Miller and Mike Bibby would make the most sense, but Mike slipped in with the Corliss-Hart-Skinner crowd pretty quickly this year and Brad is just his own dude. I can't see Peja and Kevin Martin or Bonzi Wells or Kenny Thomas or Shareef kicking it. Who knows? Maybe his gradual, Ross Geller-like castration from the rest of the roster hurt his game. Until he impregnated one of the guys, he wasn't getting any more starring roles.

I know Sarunas Jasikevicius is Lithuanian, but I assume he and Peja have more in common than do Stephen Jackson and Peja.

Anyways, the All-Star reserves come out today. Don't expect any Kings. Actually, I really hope there are no Kings, for two reasons: 1) It sucks to be the All-Star that doesn't deserve it, and none of the Kings really deserve it, and 2) The break is probably nice.

Mike Bibby, as we've discussed, is the closest to deserving a berth. But with the incredible pool of Western Conference forwards, it's going to be impossible unless you're a top-four guard. Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant are starters, Ray Allen, Tony Parker and Jason Richardson are all solid picks over MB10 right now. Maybe next year?

Brad Miller could get a look at center, if only because oft-injured Marcus Camby or neanderthal-like Mehmet Okur are the only real options and he's a power forward. One Camby sprained-wrist and either Okur or Miller in a down-year are All-Stars.

I haven't exercised much anger at Kevin's exclusion in the Rook-Soph Challenge for a couple reasons. These contests are obviously entertainment, not serious. So it's no wonder they essentially take the top few picks from the last two drafts and some other guys from big market teams (like Andres Nocioni).

Also, while Speed would be a fantastic All-Star player - reckless drives, crazy dunks, incredible quickness - I'd rather him be an All-Star than a All-Sophomore player. So I'm exercising some patience in waiting for the rest of the world to notice him.

Oh, and three cheers for Shareef Abdur-Rahim and his newly opened mouth! Hip hip hooray. Sam Amick says he ate eggs for breakfast afterwards. Can we get someone going to the game to deliver a Willie's burger or at least a Reuben for Leatherby's? Come on, y'all! The man is on a mission to destroy former-ally-turned-archnemesis Zach Randolph on Feb. 27. We've got to help any way we can.