Reggie Miller and David Aldridge ask, Is Caron a Star?
I just got back from the Ritz-Carlton, where the TNT production team was meeting in advance of tonight's massively important Wiz-Celtics game. For a while, that game wasn't looking quite as intriguing as it did when the national broadcast schedule was set, but luckily, the Wiz now have Mike James.
Anyhow, the show must go on, and so must the production meeting, even if Marv Albert is on a train somewhere and Mike Fratello on a plane, or possibly vice versa.
That left the star power ranked like this: 1. Reggie Miller, 2. David Aldridge, 3. former Flint Hill starting point guard, TNT producer and Buffalo Bills fan Scooter Vertino, and 4. TNT senior director Renardo Lowe (Howard class of
'89 '93). Lots of D.C. love here, and any meeting that includes references to Chocolate City is ok by me.
The last production meeting I went to, for Monday Night Football, included a lavish breakfast buffet. This one included a copy of Veranda magazine on the coffee table and Scooter's cell phone going off, with an AC/DC ring tone, which Miller insisted was a fineable offense. But it's never a bad thing when you're sitting in the Ritz with David Aldridge and Reggie Miller and friends as they ramble their way through Jimmy Patsos, House, the Suns trade, playing on Christmas Day and Liberty's own Seth Curry. It got really good, though, when DeShawn Stevenson's I Can't Feel My Face came up.
"That bugs the [stuffing] out of me," Miller said.
"I love the inappropriateness of when it comes out, down by 20," said Lowe, the director. Scooter then argued that DeShawn hadn't actually done it when the Wiz were down 20.
"Look, I'm not saying it's the right thing to do," Scooter said. "I'm just saying he didn't do it when they were getting blown out."
"I love it because it gives us something to do in the truck," Lowe said. "Whenever anyone has a smart comment, we turn around and do this," he noted, not feeling his face. So yeah, DeShawn's legend has even spread inside the TNT production truck.
As for their actual game prep, the highlight came when Gilbert Arenas's injury was discussed. Aldridge said we won't see him this year until he's actually 100 percent.
Aldridge: They want him to be Gilbert when he comes back again. Not pseudo Gilbert, not sort of Gilbert. Gilbert. So they're not taking any chances this time.
MIller: What if he comes back and he goes the other way, and you're thinking $111 million down, man down?
Scooter: There's that risk.
Aldridge: But you know Reg, this town, you don't have a star? You don't have a shot.
Miller: They don't have a star in Caron?
Aldridge: Caron's not a star.
Scooter: The Redskins have Portis, the Caps have Ovechkin....
Aldridge: Ovechkin's a star. Bright lights, big city, he's a star. He's a star throughout the NHL. There's Crosby, there's Ovechkin, those are the two stars in our league. Gilbert's a star.
Scooter: Even if some of it's self-made, when he hits the shot, he raises the arms....
Aldridge: Did you see the crowds when he went to Asia. Ridiculous. I mean, he's a star. In this town, you have to have a star or you don't go. Caron's been playing great for three years, and the crowds? Eh.
Scooter: But he is a great player.
Miller Yes he is.
Aldridge: And I agree with you. I call it the Tim Russert factor. Would Tim Russert leave early on a week night to see Caron Butler? Probably not. But he would to see Gilbert. And I'm really not dissing Caron, I love him, you know I love him. But this isn't about basketball, this is about putting butts in seats.
Miller: So is it safe to say Gilbert's not coming back to February or March?
Aldridge: I don't know that. But I'm just saying, if he doesn't, they can't go another 20 games without a point guard.
So, the trade talk. Aldridge told the crew there had been some feeling that Antonio Daniels was getting increasingly negative and critical, and that with a bench filled with young kids, they didn't need that. He said the Wiz were stunned when Nick Young was still on the board in the 2007 draft, and that otherwise they would have taken Javaris Crittenton. Miller wanted to know if this would hurt Young's playing time, and Aldridge said it might, but that the Wiz want to start pushing Young. As for Dominic McGuire,
"McGuire's gonna play now," Aldridge said. "He's gonna play. Eddie loves him and has told him we need a defensive guy on the court. He's told him I don't care if you don't score a point, you're playing. But yeah, they're gonna start challenging Young a little bit."
Eventually Aldridge had to go to the arena, and the rest of us watched some of the pre-produced bits on a laptop. There was one montage of the Wizards somehow beating the Celtics three times last season and Eddie Jordan shaking Doc Rivers's hand.
"Happier times for my man EJ," Miller said.
"Get that in early," Scooter observed.
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