Tough Juice in '07?
Truthfully all those Vitamin Water "Vote for Gilbert" signs are a little silly at this point. I mean, Gilbert's a lock. Someone needs to start a Caron Campaign. Mister Irrelevant made some noise about launching a Tough Juice '07 Web site, but I haven't heard anything. As far as I know, the leader of the Caron-for-Vegas campaign is Wizards Super Fan Wallace Barron, who was waving his sign yesterday and demanding that people vote.
"That means a lot man, just to look up and see everybody supporting you like that," Caron said of Wallace Barron's campaign. "It means a lot."
Someone asked Antawn Jamison today about Caron's absence in the voting.
"It's difficult to get an understanding of the fans' voting," Jamison said. "I'm disappointed a little bit, because he's not even in the top 10. And I've seen some of the names a couple weeks ago, and I'm like [shrugs]. But you know, the most important thing is that the coaches and the different GM's in the organizations recognize what he does out there, because there's no way, hands-down, he's not in the top two or three forwards in the Eastern Conference, or in the League, period. You know, fans, they like certain players, they tend to vote for 'em, and it wasn't shocking to me that he wasn't a top vote getter. But it was shocking to me that he wasn't even in the top 10 at all."
In fact, AP whiz and Bog tormenter Howard Fendrich wrote a long Caron profile in which he noted this:
Two NBA players are putting up at least 21.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game: Minnesota's Kevin Garnett -- no surprise there -- and Butler.
(Howard also gets on the straw-chewing bandwagon, to wit: "Here's as unusual as Butler gets: When he leaves the court for a breather, he'll sit down and reach back to grab a straw that he chews on, like gum." You're welcome, Howard.)
Anyhow, for the record, here are Caron's stats in those three categories, compared to the top 10 vote-getting forwards in the East.
1. LeBron James (26.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 6.1 apg, team is 23-15)
2. Chris Bosh (21.4 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 2.2 apg, team is 19-21)
3. Jermaine O'Neal (19.2 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 2.9 apg, team is 20-18)
4. Grant Hill (14.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, team is 22-17)
5. Paul Pierce (26.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 4.3 apg, team is 12-25)
6. Rasheed Wallace (11.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.5 apg, team is 21-16)
7. Andre Iguodala (16.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4.8 apg, team is 10-29)
8. Tayshaun Prince (15.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.0 apg, team is 21-16)
9. Hedo Turkoglu (11.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.2 apg, team is 22-17)
10. Emeka Okafor (14.6 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 1.2 apg, team is 12-25)
NR. Caron Butler (20.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 4.0 apg, team is 22-16)
Based strictly on the numbers, you'd say Caron should probably be no worse than fifth or sixth. He has admitted how much he'd like to be selected, and he's often talked about the differences in his game this season. Here's what he said today:
"Just trying to be more aggressive. Always prepared, that's the key, preparation. You can prepare for anything. I think I prepared myself this summer better than any summer and it's showing. I'm not second-guessing myself, I'm just playing. I'm just leaving it all out there and I'm not second-guessing myself, and that has a lot to do with this organization and the coaching staff and my teammates....If I have a bad night, I want to bounce back, whereas before in my career if I started off bad or had a bad night it'd be harder to bounce back emotionally."
I also managed to ask how much he'd been helped by touching Gilbert for good luck.
"It was so funny, because every interview that we had [Tuesday], everybody kept saying, 'What's gonna happen if they double team Gilbert?,'" Caron said. "I'm looking up at the clock, I'm like, 'Man, who is it gonna be?' It just so happened DeShawn and me caught eye contact and the ball fell in the net."
Yeah, but what about the touching, I asked.
"That had a little something to do with it," he admitted.
[Note: Reader Nancy, not content with straw-chewing updates, asked for more substantial Caron Butler info. I'm guessing this didn't help. FYI, in addition to that AP profile, expect major profiles from the Washington Times and ESPN the Magazine in the very, very near future.]
January 18, 2007; 5:23 PM ET
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