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Monday, December 3, 2007

Brett Favre Syndrome

Today in the Diamondback, Greivis Vasquez made some disparaging remarks after the loss to VCU, not about the basketball team, but about himself.

"I'm really hurt," Vasquez said. "It's like I lost a family member."

"I take responsibility personally. We have to start winning. I'm pretty embarrassed. It's hurting me a lot. I'm not blaming anybody on the team or blaming the coaches. It's about myself, and hopefully everybody on the team feels this way."

Can you be more dramatic?

In an earlier post, I referenced Vasquez's tendency to try and take a game into his own hands and doing to much. At the time, I referred to it as "Brett Favre syndrome."

Now, that doesn't really make sense this season, but at the time, I thought of the 2005 season after which Favre was mulling retirement. Remember that season? With 20 touchdowns and an NFL-leading 29 interceptions?

I remember there was a lot of hubbub at the time that has been mostly forgotten since this 10-2 season for the Packers. But while Favre was talking about retirement, he acknowledged that part of the reason he threw a dozen more touchdowns than anyone in the league that year was because he was trying too hard to make something happen because his team was bad (4-12 bad).

Brett Favre syndrome is more about avoiding mistakes than piling up stats. We all know getting stats isn't necessarily the key to winning. Vasquez is the Terps' leading scorer, he also has a team-high 33 turnovers and has a 1.30 A/TO ratio, which is lousy for a point guard. His 39FG% is also abysmal, and reflective of his shot selection.

Other examples:

- Allen Iverson from 03-06 when he was traded. From '03 and beyond, his he averaged nearly one more turnover per game than prior in his career and, besides an MVP-worthy 05-06 season, his shooting percentages and rebounding also suffered. Incidentally, the Sixers made the playoffs only once during the stretch and quickly were ushered out by the Pistons in five games.

- Peyton Manning pre-MVP years. If you look down at his stats, you'll see he threw no fewer than 15 interceptions every year until 2003, when he threw only 10 picks. He won MVP that year and in 2004, and he never threw more than 10 until this year (mostly due to a 6-interception game against the Chargers). The Colts went 42-38 from 98-02. Since then, they're a combined 60-16. Offhandedly, I'll assume that's the best in the NFL. He threw an career-low 9 INTs during the regular season of the Super Bowl year.

I recommend to Greivis to play to his strengths. He has athleticism and he can drive to the basket. He should work on his jump shot, but until he can drain it with regularity, there is no good reason for him to be making over 10 shots a game. At some point, the Terps will have to learn to distribute to their veteran post players and trust them to score or get Eric Hayes some open looks. Otherwise, Vasquez should get fouls, run the fast breaks and draw double teams to get someone else open. This team doesn't need him to do any more, and they certainly don't need him to make mistakes and turnovers by forcing passes or throwing up difficult shots.

Take it easy on yourself, Gravy. It's not just about you.
BallHype: hype it up!

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