It's shaping up as a blue Christmas for plenty around the NBA this year
Bulls concerned with Joakim Noah's commitment and knowledge of plays
Deron Williams admitted to concern over sprained ankle upon return
George Karl and J.R. Smith have not been speaking this season
It's raining and the temperature is hovering around freezing and the wind is whistling. Still, I just finished putting holiday lights in the windows without blowing a fuse -- a major accomplishment for the domestically-impaired -- and I'm heading out to hear Raul Malo at a local coffeehouse. So I'm feeling fairly satisfied.
Others around the NBA are not, alas, feeling the same way. In fact, they can't get no satisfaction, though they try and they try and they try and they try. OK, I had the Stones on today.
So, with a little help from the erstwhile gymnast and soccer player from Kent, England, who first expressed his frustration in song, it's time to go around the league for a quick top 10 of those who can't get no satisfaction.
Stephon Marbury, G, New York Knicks (Sort of)
Steph did want to play but, when offered the chance, refused to play and got himself suspended. Now he wastes away in Knicks purgatory, hoping against hope that some GM will wake up one morning and say, "Man, we gotta get us a perpetually unhappy backcourtman with an overblown sense of his own abilities who can't decide whether he's a point or a shooting guard."
Level of dissatisfaction: 10 Jaggers
Steve Nash, G, Phoenix Suns
Nash has had considerable trouble finding satisfaction in new coach Terry Porter's slow-down system, and now he's lost his best bud, Raja Bell, and another fave, Boris Diaw, via trade to Charlotte. "I take this personally and I take my career home with me," Nash told Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. "I care about my teammates. When you lose two of your best friends on the team suddenly, it's hard."
Level of dissatisfaction: 9 Jaggers
Michael Curry, Coach, Detroit Pistons
Curry, who waited in the wings for this job after having been tapped several years ago as head-coach material, was not satisfied with the Allen Iverson trade and has not been satisfied, in general, with his team's comportment. That is what happens when a team that is supposed to contend for a championship loses three games in a row by an average of 10 points to mediocre Eastern Conference rivals.
Level of dissatisfaction: 8 Jaggers
Joakim Noah, F, Chicago Bulls
Noah has not found satisfaction since he arrived, a bundle of nervous energy, from Gainesville two years ago. Then again, he hasn't been too satisfying to anyone else, either, least of all his coaches. Rookie mentor Vinny Del Negro is on his case now, and Noah professes not to know why. Well, in brief, Del Negro doubts his knowledge of plays and defensive assignments, his attention span in meetings, his weight-lifting regimen, his overall commitment ...
Level of dissatisfaction: 7 Jaggers
Deron Williams, G, Utah Jazz
Though his 14 points and 11 assists contributed to Thursday night's win over the Portland Trail Blazers, Williams has been, of late, a rare portrait of dissatisfaction. He is having significant difficulty bouncing back from a bad preseason left ankle sprain that severely limited him in the early stages of the season, admitting that, when he drove to the basket, he was thinking more about his injury than making the basket. "I'm just not playing like myself," Williams said after making only two of 11 shots, committing five turnovers and drawing a technical foul in a recent win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Level of dissatisfaction: 6 Jaggers
Andrew Bynum, C, Los Angeles Lakers
We weren't going to put the callow pivotman this high in the Jagger rankings, figuring that no one playing for an 18-3 team can be that dissatisfied. But the 21-year old, who earlier complained about coach Phil Jackson's rotation, is now upset that he's not on the floor at the end of games. "I don't understand why I'm not in at the end of the game," Bynum told the Los Angeles Times. "It doesn't make much sense to me, but it's something I have to deal with. I haven't been in foul trouble the last couple of games, so I have no idea."
Jackson does have an idea -- Bynum's mediocre pick-and-roll defense. Bynum has heard that before but no doubt considers that Jackson, in the words of Jagger, is "tellin' me more and more useless information supposed to misfire my imagination."
Level of dissatisfaction: 5 Jaggers
Chris Bosh, F, Toronto Raptors
Bosh is averaging 24 points and 10 rebounds, yet he was visibly dissatisfied during the a recent five-game losing streak broken with Wednesday night's win over the Indiana Pacers. Not that he should be happy, of course, but Bosh's own high level of play this season has slipped as he seems burdened by the expectations of carrying a 9-12 team that was expected to be among the Eastern Conference contenders. There is still time for Bosh to get un-dissatisfied, of course, but he's going to need some help.
Level of dissatisfaction: 4 Jaggers
J.R. Smith, G, Denver Nuggets
The mercurial dunking specialist can't get no satisfaction from George Karl. In fact, he can't even get no conversation with the man. Smith told the Rocky Mountain News recently that he and his coach "never talk," a development that was confirmed by Karl. The coach said that the "anger, frustration, stubbornness, whatever the phrase is" -- presumably on both ends -- made it clear to him that his assistants should deal with J.R. Smith isn't sure that is the best solution, saying, "You never want to not even talk to your coach."
Well, we're not sure Marbury would agree with that.
Level of dissatisfaction: 3 Jaggers
Cleveland Cavaliers fans
Oh, how happy (Shades of Blue, 1966) the long-suffering followers of this franchise should be. Their heroes are 19-3 and the MVP award is LeBron James' to lose. But consider: All they hear from the outside world is how Bron-Bron will probably be lost to free agency at the end of next season. And as far as grabbing that NBA title before he leaves? Well, there is considerable doubt that they can get by the Boston Celtics to even reach the Finals.
Level of dissatisfaction: 2 Jaggers
They are 21-2, the best start in history for a franchise with names in its past like Russell, Bird and Cousy, so we're hesitant to hang even one Jagger on them. But what is with their collective temper? They've suddenly turned into mini-'Sheeds, leading the league in technical fouls and getting called out by a couple teams for being arrogant and punkish. But maybe they just need some fuel. We'll see if this trend continues when they lose a few ... if, indeed, that ever happens.
Level of dissatisfaction: 1 Jagger