No Game Is an Island: Can’t Save ‘Em All

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 22, 2010 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

No Game Is an Island has taken a brief break, but it’s back. Check back on game days for a more detailed look on the Mavs’ opponent du jour. No match-up breakdowns here; No Game Is an Island focuses on the macro or the micro to an extreme, giving you a bit of perspective on just about anything but the individual game itself.

The trade deadline has come and gone, and the Washington Wizards as we knew them have been completely destroyed. Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson, as you well know, are in Dallas, and former Mav Antawn Jamison is now a Cleveland Cavalier. But while those former Wizards are at least happy to have some separation from the mess in D.C., other talented players from around the league weren’t so fortunate. Enter Troy Murphy:

Antawn has the bigger name and the bigger game, but does that really make him so much more of a sympathetic figure than Murphy? The Arenas-Crittenton debacle was an obvious embarrassment for every member of the Wizards organization, but at the very least, it presented a scapegoat. Washington’s plan won’t work, and it’s all Gilbert’s fault. The team won’t make the playoffs again as presently constructed, and it’s all Gilbert’s fault. Grunfeld has to trade away all of the team’s best players immediately to plan for the future, and it’s all Gilbert’s fault. But in a lot of ways, Gil is the red herring; the Wizards were already 10-20 before the gun story ran wild, and that’s not only on Arenas, but also Grunfeld, Flip, Antawn, Caron, Brendan, et al. But Washington has Gil as the goat of all goats, which doesn’t make the situation any less tragic but does make the excuses all kinds of convenient.

Murphy has no one to hide behind. After all, whose fault is it that the Pacers are an awful 19-36, a full game behind the Wizards? Is it Danny Granger’s fault for refusing to diversify his game and regressing in his most valuable attribute? Is it Jim O’Brien’s fault for coaching a horrid offense? Is it Larry Bird for piecing together a mismatched, underwhelming roster? Or Mike Dunleavy for the way his body refuses to cooperate? Washington at least had the blessing (or maybe just the illusion) of certainty, whereas things in Indiana are so muddled they’re almost indistinguishable. With over $60 million in guaranteed salary for next season, little in the way of trade bait, and no prospects waiting to take the leap, Murphy is stuck in his own private hell.

Read my full piece on Murphy over at Hardwood Paroxysm.

Indiana Pacers visit the Dallas Mavericks
7:30 CST
Fox Sports SW