When the news was released today that Serge Ibaka would be fined $25,000 for his below-the-belt hit on Blake Griffin during the Thunder’s win over the Clippers on Sunday, it wasn’t a shock that a suspension wasn’t handed down, but it was a bit of a surprise.
The league hasn’t been afraid to retroactively drop the hammer after officials during a game came down lightly on a particular offense, as they did in the case of the elbow Metta World Peace landed to the head of Kenneth Faried.
Look a little further back to December, and you’ll see that Dwyane Wade was suspended for a game in the days following a kick to the groin of Ramon Sessions.
Groin shots are groin shots, at least in the eyes of Wade and LeBron James. Neither could believe that Ibaka’s penalty wasn’t harsher, and they each voiced their respective opinions to the millions following them on Twitter.
The confusion is the league’s fault to a certain extent, because public explanations of the reasoning behind these decisions are not readily available, and are rarely published.
In the age where players have direct access to give their opinions on the news of the day via social media, there’s going to be plenty more reactions like this unless explanations are given as to the reason why one play is a suspension, when another very similar play is only worthy of a relatively insignificant fine.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.
Bill Bridges, a star as a Kansas Jayhawk who went on to have a 12-year NBA career that included being part of the 1975 Golden State Warriors championship team, has passed away, according to the University of Kansas.
Bridges was an undersized power forward at 6’6″ but he was a beast on the boards who averaged 11.9 rebounds a game for his career and more than 13 a game for six straight years at the peak of his career. That 11.9 per game average is still 27th all-time in NBA history.
A New Mexico native, Bridges was a three-time All-Star (all as a member of the Hawks), two-time All-NBA Defensive team, and was part of the 1975 Warriors title team. Besides the Hawks (St. Louis and Atlanta) and Warriors, Bridges played for the Sixers and Lakers.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.