The Bulls-Celtics seven-game, edge-0f-my-couch series has gotten me interested in the NBA Playoffs again.
Growing up just a half-hour outside of the city, my childhoold was spent watching Jordan, Pippen and Rodman (and, of course, vital pieces to the championship puzzle B.J. Armstrong and Bobby Hansen) celebrate in Grant Park every June. There ‘s been very little to cheer for since title No. 6 in 1998 (thank you very little Jerry Krause and your fishing buddy, Tim Floyd).
This got me thinking, which NBA team do Iowans cheer for?
If it is teams that have Hawkeyes or Cyclones playing prominent roles, there’s not a lot of reason to watch this time of year. Only five Iowa or Iowa State players are on NBA rosters — and only four are active.
Former Iowa forwards Reggie Evans (Philadelphia 76ers) and Ryan Bowen (New Orleans Hornets) reached the playoffs and were first-round casualties.
Cheering Evans has its challenges. The 6-8, 250-pound bruiser is a role player who plays defense and rebounds… well, most of the time.
Bowen had a couple of years in Denver in the early ’00s where he was one of their top reserves. He’s been in the league eight years, with career averages of 2.6 points and 2.1 rebounds. Great guy, but you’d be tuning in to watch Bowen slap fives and stand around the huddle during timeouts.
Ricky Davis statistically has been the most successful Cy-Hawk player of the last decade.
The former Iowa one-and-doner has averaged double-figure points in seven of his 11 years in the league. He spent much of the 2008-09 season injured with the Los Angeles Clippers, his sixth team.
Here are some of his greatest hits, minus the pathetic display of selfishness in shooting at his opponent’s basket in order to grab the final rebound needed for a triple-double.
Former Iowa State guard Mike Taylor got himself booted off the team in Ames…
…but resurrected his life and career and is a up and comer with the Clippers. Taylor averaged 5.7 points in 51 games and had a strong finish to his rookie season.
That is a stark contrast to ex-Cyclone guard Jamaal Tinsley, whose Indiana Pacers want no part of him. When you get on Larry Bird’s bad side, there’s not a lot you can do.
There are a few Hawks (Justin Johnson, Kurt Looby, Sean Sonderleiter) and Clones (Curtis Stinson) in the NBA’s Developmental League. Whether or not they get called up to the big club remains to be seen.
Stinson had a fantastic year with the Iowa Energy in Des Moines, averaging 16.1 points, 8.4 assists, 7.1 rebounds and 2.2 steals a game. He isn’t a gunner — 17 of 79 (21.5 percent) on 3-pointers — but he’s never been accused of being one.
Here’s hoping a player from one of the state’s flagship programs soon provides another reason to tune into the playoffs.
We miss you Jeff Hornacek.