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Donovan McNabb's NBA Preview

Posted by Matt Terl on October 26, 2010 – 2:48 pm

Photo courtesy of Syracuse University Athletics

Donovan McNabb‘s weekly radio show on ESPN980 is not known for shocking revelations or controversial comments. The QB joins Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro to break down the previous week’s game and preview whatever’s coming up next; there’s plenty of information given, but it’s not the kind of fuel that launches thousands of blog-ships. (Or something like that.)

Today’s installment started out no differently. McNabb’s analysis of the offense’s struggles was optimistic and interesting enough, but nothing that screamed out for transcription. (Although Mike Jones of TBD.com has an excellent summary including transcribed quotes, so maybe it was just me.)

Toward the end, though, a subject came up that got McNabb pretty animated. Suddenly, he was offering unvarnished — and often critical — opinions of other athletes, and detailed speculation about teams other than the Redskins. When it comes to the NBA, Donovan McNabb is eminently transcribe-able.

So, with the NBA regular season tipping off tonight, I’m declaring McNabb the Official Redskins Blog NBA Correspondent, and his comments from the radio show the Official Redskins Blog NBA Preview. You can check out the audio at the ESPN980 Audio Vault; the text is below.
Picking the West — and the overall favorite — was easy for McNabb: “I’m still gonna go with the Lakers.”

But when it came to the East … that’s where things got a bit more in-depth.

“First of all,” McNabb said, “let me put it out this way: I’m a Bulls fan, but I love the Wizards. I’ll be at the Wizards games.”

With that out of the way, he turned to the more detailed analysis. Take, for example, the much-hyped Miami Heat, now featuring LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and incumbent superstar Dwyane Wade. Many people assume that three stars like that guarantee an Eastern Conference title; McNabb isn’t sure that they’ve got enough firepower.

“I think the X-factor in the whole thing is not The Big Three,” McNabb said. “I think the X-factor is Udonis Haslem and when they can get Mike Miller back. They need a guy who can stand outside and shoot. Eddie House will just shoot when he touches the ball; that doesn’t count. You need a guy who can spot up and shoot, and that was the problem with Cleveland, because they never could find that guy who could sit out there and shoot.

“They drafted the kid from Oregon — Luke Ridnour, I think. He never panned out. Then they brought in some other guys who could shoot; didn’t really pan out. Then they brought in [Anthony] Parker from Toronto, who was a great shooter in Toronto. Didn’t pan out in Cleveland.

“So when you have a guy like LeBron … LeBron can get in the middle. He can get outside. But if you don’t have anybody that can shoot, a spot-up shooter hitting at least 60% of his jumpers, it’s not gonna work.”

In face, McNabb isn’t even sure that The Big Three contains three legit superstars.

“All of a sudden Chris Bosh turned into a dominant player over this free agency,” McNabb said, sounding slightly perplexed. “I don’t understand how that happened. How did that happen?”

Thom Loverro suggested that the general lack of big men in the league makes Bosh a weapon, but McNabb was unconvinced.

“Yeah,” he said, ” but he’s — what is he, 6-10, like 195 pounds? I mean, really, when you look at that team, your starting five is Dwyane Wade. Averages, on a consistent basis, probably 25 points a game. Then you go to your 2-guard or your point guard, whatever you want to do, Chalmers. Chalmers is a guy who at least has to average eight assists a game this year. You’re passing the ball to three of the best — so-called — in the game. You gotta average eight assists a game. Then you go to LeBron, who’s gonna give you … I’ll give him 25, 6, and 8. That’s solid. Chris Bosh … if he doesn’t average 17 to 19 points, it’s not gonna work.”

With the Heat thus (seemingly) dismissed, Sheehan asked for McNabb’s take on the Celtics.

“I think Boston’s too old,” McNabb said. “Remember, Shaq’s only gonna give probably about 50 games. [Jermaine O'Neal] is only gonna give you 50-some games. [Kendrick Perkins] is not gonna come back until January.”

Sheehan suggested that the Celtics might be able to again take it easy in the regular season and turn it on in the playoffs, but McNabb remained skeptical.

“But really,” he said, “you’re talking about three big guys who … they’re not gonna play the whole season. And then you gotta throw Kevin Garnett in there as well. He’s gonna be solid, but … he may give you sixty games. Now you’re relying on Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Ray Allen’s gonna hit the wall at some point. Now who do you fall back on? Big Baby Davis?” This prompted some laughter, from McNabb and the co-hosts. I always liked Big Baby Davis’ game in college, and it’s actually kind of sad to hear him reduced to a punchline, but … hey, that’s sports.

Anyhow, McNabb’s prediction for the East wound up coming down to three teams:

“I believe it’s Miami,” he said, apparently not having convinced himself a few paragraphs ago. “I believe it’s — I’m gonna throw Chicago in there, ’cause I’m a Bulls fan — and then you can’t forget about Orlando. I mean, Vince Carter … he’s solid.”

“He’s not a playoff player, though,” Sheehan said.

“He’s not,” McNabb agreed, “but he’ll getcha to where you need to go.”

There’s something ironic about Donovan McNabb having that last exchange — McNabb, who any number of Philly lunatics will tell you was just good enough to get you to the Super Bowl, but not to win it — but that’s exactly what made this such solid radio. Sheehan tried to convince McNabb to come on as an NBA analyst as that season gets going, and I’ll tell you what: I’d absolutely tune in for that. (And then, I’m sure, I’ll transcribe it. But that’s beside the point.)


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One Response to “Donovan McNabb's NBA Preview”

  1. By chart3 on Mar 30, 2012 | Reply

    I just listened to McNabb speak on ESPN the day after the Thunder beat the Lakers on the Lakers’ home court. Donnovan would be an EXCELLENT NBA analyst – he really knows the sport and players’ mentality very well. I was really impressed.

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