Season Ticket Review: Uninspired

Starting forward Damone Brown?

Who the hell is this guy?


Game 11: February 2nd, 2007

Anaheim Arsenal (12-16) at Sioux Falls Skyforce (15-11)

The Skyforce are a different team since the last time we saw them, nearly three weeks ago. A lot can happen in seven games, I guess, especially in the volatile NBA D-League, where assignments and foreign contracts wreak havoc in a short amount of time.

We’ve lost Andre Brown for the season. He’s sticking around with the Sonics until their eventual lotto-driven demise. Amir Johnson was (smartly) brought back up to the Pistons, where he belongs. Vincent Grier had enough with the cold South Dakota winters and headed overseas. Jeff Varem and Joe Dabbert are both out with injuries – which means, essentially, they’ve been cut.

It’s no surprise that we looked horrible. We aren’t the same team. Losing 43-57 at halftime? Maybe we’d better get used to it.

Really, for a run-and-gun team like the Skyforce are supposed to be, we don’t do much running or gunning. Instead, we rely on a sloppy array of jump shots. Our big men have all left us, so we’re relying on Jared Reiner for a vast majority of the post minutes. He gets tired. He streaks out of the gate (13 points in the first quarter) and then dies (four points for the rest of the game.) We need help. We need inspiration. We need something. Anything.


This was the first televised NBA D-League game at the Sioux Falls Arena, and the Skyforce didn’t bother to show up. It went with the program, I guess. No one was feeling it. The crowd was dead, the refs didn’t seem to care one way or another (based on their wishy washy calls, at least) and people filed in and out of the Arena like it was a 4-H display, barely allowing the game to register before launching into a conversation on their father’s haircut.

(This is true, by the way. At halftime, two women sat behind Kerrie and me. They proceeded to talk through the rest of the game about anything BUT the game. And they were stupid, to boot. Two comments I overheard:
About Anaheim center Ha Seung-Jin: “That big Asian looks funny!”
About Anaheim guard Davin White: “He’s black, but his name is White!”
I wish I was making that up. Kerrie wondered if they had ever seen a non-white person before.)

Even the halftime show seemed uninspired. Extreme Team was supposed to do some crazy jumps and dunks using trampolines and mats. Instead, they missed half of their dunks and only attempted six overall.

Meanwhile, Frank Williams decided to use his national television home debut to get ejected after two dubious technical calls. That’s the second time this year that he’s been ejected – both after two quick, back to back technicals. Ridiculous.

The most interesting part of this game for me was the presence of Ha Sueng-Jin.

I’ve been in a basketball simulation league for a good part of the past three years. The first one I was in ran until the 2005 season, at which time we needed to tap into current college and international players in order to fill out the newest rookie class. It was all conjecture – we didn’t know who would be good, so we had to guess.

Three of the top rookies were Ha Sueng-Jin, Pavel Podkolzin and Peter “P.J.” Ramos. These players were big, young, and “cant-miss” prospects. We figured we’d be watching their simulation careers flourish just as their real life careers began to take off.

Well, surprise. None of these players ever managed to take off quite as well as we had expected. You could add Gerry McNamara and Gerald Green to that list as well. They had tremendous “upside,” which in a simulation equals tremendous potential and tremendous talent a few seasons down the line.

We weren’t the only people to think that Ha, Podkolzin and Ramos would tear the league apart. They were highly sought after players for a while. Then, somehow, they dropped off. They couldn’t translate to the current game. They couldn’t manage with the professionals as well as they could with college or international competition. They were damaged goods, and they have settled into the NBA D-League.

We had brought them up as stars. Now, I get to see these flesh and blood representations of the player we all sought in my first simulation league. And they’re nothing special. It’s kind of fun to know they’re out there, live and playing basketball, and that I used to hold a fictitious contract before anyone really had heard of their names. But it’s also troubling to see them drop so low.

Though, what am I saying? Did you see the Skyforce players last night? They were horrible. And I guarantee we had never drafted any of the home players to be in our league.

We have standards, after all.

Skyforce 93, Arsenal 110

This was lovingly handwritten on February 3rd, 2007