Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dominique Wilkins, Color Commentator: ‘Nique Speaks 10/27

Dominique and a microphone: a match made in heaven.
For two seasons I have watched Hawks broadcasts and listened as Dominique Wilkins talked and talked and never really said anything. I can pretty much guarantee you that the most preparation that Nique does for his role as color analyst for Hawks broadcasts is put on his pants before he leaves the house.

He was the Hawks’ king of everything as a player, but listening to him as an announcer really reveals how ridiculous it was that he seriously wanted consideration as a coach when the Hawks eventually hired Mike Woodson.

He offers virtually no insight into the game and generally rambles about how well someone is playing or how nice a move was.

Because ‘Nique is our namesake and unofficial mascot here at DDW, I felt it was necessary to devote my evening to the man named after a highlight film, but who can’t narrate a highlight to save his life.

8:02 – Nique gets his first cliché of the night out of the way early. He calls the start of the Larry Drew coaching era a “breath of fresh air.”

Nique then starts to talk about who the offense is going to benefit the most as a graphic pops up on the screen. The pre-planned graphic features the words “movement” “commitment” and “conditioning” which I’m pretty sure ‘Nique just said were the greatest beneficiaries of the new offense.

8:14 – Nique’s keys to the game: A good start to “set the tone,” and control Zach Randolph, who is the second best player on the team. The first one is an old staple for Nique, who loves tossing out generic keys to the game. Others that we can look forward to this season: Shoot the ball well, Rebound the basketball, Take care of the basketball and Don’t give up easy shots.

Who's that at the door? It's an opportunity type of opportunity.
8:16 – Joe Johnson is the Hawks’ franchise player and has played well for the last four years. Thanks, Nique. He then turns his attention to Marvin Williams. Direct quote: “If you look at the last couple years Marvin really hasn’t gotten the ball in the offense in opportunity type of opportunities for Marvin.”

8:41 – Cliché-fest when during a timeout Nique and Rathbun start talking about last year’s playoff win over Milwaukee. Let’s go to the tape: “You know you’ve got to give that Milwaukee team a lot of credit. They took the Hawks to the limit. But the Hawks showed a lot of character and it came to the surface. When crunch time was there, those guys did what they had to do to hold on.”

8:46 – After Hasheem Thabeet leaves an eight-footer short, gets the rebound then bricks a 2-footer off the backboard about as bad as you can brick a two-footer: “Well, the big fella has no touch around the basket.”

8:52 – Nique goes to the cliché slot machine, pulls the handle and wins a “making his presence felt” for Zaza Pachulia.

9:00 – An almost analysis from ‘Nique, saying that Rudy Gay hasn’t played well against the Hawks in the past few games between the teams. But he stops right there leaving Rathbun to finish the analysis by pointing out that Joe Johnson has been the defensive culprit for Gay’s struggles.

9:02 – Nique pulls off the rare cliché/malapropism double play: Hawks are “clicking on all cylinders.”

9:04 – After a timeout, Nique repeats his "clicking on all cylinders" analysis just for good measure.

9:07 - Sign of trouble on the Josh Smith attitude front. Smith picks up a foul and signals to Drew to keep him in the game. Drew takes Smith out anyway and Smith scowls and gripes all the way to the bench. No mention of this from Nique or Rathbun.

9:11 – Nique invents the word “execellent,” which is his interpretation of the word “excellent.” This is ironic because this is one of Nique’s go-to words. It would be like Mr. Spock stumbling over the word “logic." 

9:34 – Nique’s analysis of Sam Young’s botched breakaway dunk: “Sam Young tried to do a little bit too much right there.” Because trying to dunk when there’s no one within 8 feet of you in any direction and you’re flying toward the basket is too much for an NBA player to try to do.

9:44 – I find myself looking forward to replays and timeouts because that’s when Nique is at his best grasp-of-the-obvious self. Over the replay after Josh Smith blocks a Conley shot: “Terrific anticipation on the blocked shot. Stays with Conley to get a hand on the ball.”

"I don't know what he meant by that."
9:50 – This is the 5-star Nique quote of the night: “Gay’s got to be very careful. He’s doing a lot of reaching and touching down there.”

“Gay’s got to be very careful. He’s doing a lot of reaching and touching down there.”
9:54 – Jeff Teague hits a runner in the lane. Nique’s analysis: “When the offense breaks down, he has to create.” Except that the shot came after Atlanta rotated the ball from one side of the floor to the other, appeared to run the motion offense by the book and Teague got into the lane off of a ball screen by Pachulia. I don’t think the offense “broke down” there. I think it was humming at about 2500 RPMs. But I’m no NBA analyst.

9:56 – “I tell you, if it wasn’t for Conley, Gay and Arthur, I tell you what, this team would be in major trouble tonight.” So basically, a team is going to struggle without three of its starting five players. I tell you what.

9:59 – All kidding aside, the best analysis of the night by ‘Nique. Two straight possessions he keys on the fact that Memphis doesn’t have any scorers on the floor. Their five on the floor? Acie Law, Hasheem Thabeet, Tony Allen, Demarre Carroll and Xavier Henry.

10:18 – Hawks go up 20 and ‘Nique declares that the Hawks have “made a statement here tonight.” In game 1. Against Memphis. A statement. And that statement is, “Don't get excited, but we are a team that plays basketball in the NBA.”

10:26 – 3 minutes left in the game, but it’s never too late for a cliché. “You’ve got to take what the defense gives you.”

That's it for tonight. I'd give Nique a solid B-plus for his overall effort. He did work in one partially insightful basketball comment and gave us the word "execellent."  I'd say he took full advantage of his opportunity type of opportunities tonight.

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