Shame on Jim Dolan for the tone of his e-mail to a 73-year-old fan.
Shame on Adam Silver for not penalizing Dolan for his disturbing diatribe. And shame on David Stern for wighing in and supporting Dolan/Silver, saying what Dolan did was undeserving of any kind of punishment.
The NBA – where the customer is always disposable.
To me, what is most galling about the Dolan e-mail controversy is that Silver described Dolan as the “consummate New Yorker.” AYFKM? Any New Yorker who spoke to another New Yorker in the manner that Dolan did – not via e-mail, but in person – would have legal grounds to punch the provocateur in the mouth. If you don’t believe me, look up “Chaplinsky vs. New Hampshire.” I am certain Silver and Stern have heard of the case. I would bet my bottom dollar that Dolan has not.
As a lifelong resident of New York, I would not go so far as to call myself a consummate New Yorker. I fall short in the fashion department, for one thing. But I have lived here long enough to know that a consummate New Yorker usually has the following characteristics: Abrasive yet polite, sarcastic yet genuine, altruistic yet hard-headed. For years, I have had first-time visitors to New York tell me how unexpectedly friendly New Yorkers are. They will not make eye contact with you on the subway, but if you stop and ask them a question they will usually bend over backward to be helpful and polite.
Imagine if you, the reader, spoke to one of your customers the way Dolan spoke to Irving Bierman. You know what would happen? You would be sitting at home today looking for a new job, because no business anywhere would tolerate that type of treatment of its costumers. OK, except Cablevision. But Dolan is getting a free pass from the commissioner, and he presumably will be in his usual baseline seat at Madison Square Garden on Sunday when the All-Star game is played.
A memo to all those holding tickets: A “Dolan Sucks” chant would not be unwelcome. It would be a consummate New York moment.
Rant over. Onto the rankings.
1. James Harden, G, Houston Rockets. I have been saying for months that the MVP is a wide-open race, but Harden is starting to change my mind. Is there anyone on the top three teams who has been completely indispensable to his team’s success? From Golden State to Atlanta to Memphis, the answer is “no.” The success of those teams can be attributed to a sum of their parts. But in Houston, where Dwight Howard wasn’t even very productive before going down for the month, Harden has been carrying the entire load. When he went for 40 on Tuesday night at Phoenix – scoring 20 in the fourth quarter – it was his sixth 40-point game of the season. He has gone for 30 or more in 24 games and leads the NBA in scoring. Right now, the award is his to lose. (LAST EDITION: No. 1)
2. Anthony Davis, F-C, New Orleans Pelicans. I have said it before and I will say it again: If this kid can lead the Pelicans into the playoffs – no small feat since they will have to surpass the Suns and beat out the Thunder – he is going to draw a ton of consideration for the award. Everyone can see the talent, the exceptional all-around game, even the outside shooting (he had a 3-pointer at the buzzer with Kevin Durant defending him to beat Oklahoma City on the road last Friday night). But the award is not going to someone who isn’t in the postseason. That is just a fact. Luckily for Davis, assuming his injured shoulder is OK, the Pelicans still have three games remaining against Phoenix. New Orleans won the season series with OKC, 3-1. (PREVIOUS EDITION: No. 2)
3. LaMarcus Aldridge, F, Portland Trail Blazers. He will be one of two All-Stars representing Portland now that Damian Lillard has been chosen to replace Davis, and his decision to forego surgery on his thumb and suck it up until it is too painful to play – even if it doubles his rehab time in a summer when he is an unrestricted free agent – is laudable. Think anyone on the Knicks would do that for Dolan? Averages a double-double but has only 26 of them in 46 games. Weird, eh? He’s also seventh in the NBA in minutes played, as the Blazers do not have a capable backup behind him and are a middle-of-the-pack team at best when he is not on the floor. That right there defines value, which is always the operative word when selecting a Most Valuable Player. (PREVIOUS EDITION: No. 5)
4. Stephen Curry, G, Golden State Warriors. This is the lowest I have ranked Steph all season, and it is no slight to him. But when you can lean on Klay Thompson or Draymond Green on any given night the way he has, it negatively impacts your chances in an MVP race. Yes, he is the face of the Warriors. But is he the best player on the Warriors? Depends what night you are watching. Has lifted his 3-point percentage from the thirties to .404, good for 19th in the NBA. Has a long way to go to make it into the Top 10, where .433 is the cutline. Is that nitpicking? Yes, it is. But I was nitpicking him when he was below 40 percent, so I figure it is time to come full circle. (PREVIOUS EDITION: No. 3)
5. LeBron James, F, Cleveland Cavaliers. Welcome back to the rankings, LBJ. I have been writing these for four straight seasons, and I have never posted an edition that did not include you … until this season. You know, back when the Cavs were a “fragile” team. That is clearly not the case anymore, and I fully expect y’all to put on a finishing kick that gets you within striking range of the Hawks, who may not get caught. At the very least, the Cavs should beat out the Bulls for the Central Division title, staying out of the No. 4 spot in the playoff rankings. Of course, basketball fans would rather see you in the fourth spot, because that ensures a competitive first-round playoff matchup that will be watchable, then a second-round series against the JuggerHawks, who will go after you just like the Spurs did in the Finals. The Central Division race (aside from the Hawks) will be the most watchable part of the unofficial second half of the season. (PREVIOUS EDITION: NR)
THE NEXT FIVE: Pau Gasol, F-C, Bulls; Jeff Teague, G, Hawks; Russell Westbrook, G, Thunder; John Wall, G, Wizards; Chris Paul, G, Clippers.
DROPPED OUT: Al Horford, F-C, Hawks (4).
EDITION VIII: BLATT IS RIGHT ON LBJ, SORT OF
EDITION VII: MUTTERINGS ON THIBODEAU
EDITION VI: MOZGOV THE MVP, IN A WAY
EDITION V: LeBRON JAMES APPROACHES THE BIG THREE-OH
EDITION IV: FROM NEW YORK TO SLOVENIA TO CUBA
EDITION III: PRINCE WILLIAM MEETS LeBRON JAMES
EDITION II: HEADLINE PORN FOR MARK CUBAN
EDITION I: ODE TO VANCOUVER
Chris Sheridan, publisher and editor-in-chief of SheridanHoops.com, is an official MVP voter. Follow him on Twitter.