NBA 101: What this season taught us (81-101)

1-20 | 21-40 | 41-60 | 61-80 | 81-101

81. The Wiz
Gilbert Arenas gets no respect because he plays like he's in a pickup game, with his pull-up-from-anywhere J and his one-on-five drives to the hoop -- and because of his quirky behavior. But he's so damn good he's expanding the definition of "point guard," like it or not. -- ESPN.com

82. Domi-Matrix
If so many folks keep referring to Shawn Marion as the NBA's most underrated player, is he still underrated? Phoenix hopes so because Marion, at his best when he feels disrespected, just stepped into the void created by Amare Stoudemire's absence with the best season of his career: 21.7 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. -- M.S.

83. T.J.'s troubles
The return of T.J. Ford from a career-threatening spine injury was one of the great stories of the early season. But the Milwaukee point guard has a 41.1 FG percentage and an abysmal 48.3 true shooting percentage. Guess those initials stand for Terrible Jumper. -- ESPN.com

84. Treasure trove
The world's best hoops history site is the only place in the world you can learn all of the following facts . . . Damon Stoudamire's middle name is Lamon . . . Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Boris Diaw and Luol Deng each celebrated a birthday on Sunday . . . and the highest career assist ratio (percentage of possessions that end in an assist) belongs to Muggsy Bogues. -- ESPN.com

85. One-horse towns
We've seen the NBA's success as a solo act in San Antonio, Sacramento and Salt Lake City, but we still were amazed by the reception the Hornets received in Oklahoma City. Now OKC is on the NBA map (and is expected by many to keep the Hornets) -- and its support points out one reason the league doesn't want to see the Blazers leave Rip City. -- ESPN.com

86. The Silas touch
Baron Davis, seemingly, has had issues with every NBA coach he's ever played for, whether it be Tim Floyd in New Orleans, George Karl on the 2002 World Championship team or Mike Montgomery with the Warriors -- except for Paul Silas, which has started rumors that Baron is pulling for him to replace Montgomery. -- R.B.

87. Poser
If there was one place the Heat were supposed to improve as a result of last summer's moves it was defensively at small forward with James Posey replacing Eddie Jones. Now, going into the playoffs with Posey's Achilles tendon bothering him and Antoine Walker covering for him, defending 3s is the Heat's biggest Achilles' heel. -- R.B.

88. Bad trades can get you fired
After a series of nightmarish personnel decisions that included the giveaway of Vince Carter to New Jersey and the drafting of uberbust center Rafael Araujo, the Raptors showed general manager Rob Babcock the door after just a year and half on the job. -- J.H.

89. Bad trades don't always get you fired
After a series of nightmarish personnel decisions that included the giveaway of a high lottery pick (or two) to Chicago and the signing of uberbust center Jerome James … the Knicks decided they'd like some more of that, please, and gave general manager Isiah Thomas a vote of confidence. -- J.H.

90. De-troit Bas-ket-ball
There remains no better place in the Eastern Conference to enjoy a crowd's getting into the game than The Palace of Auburn Hills, where the mighty Pistons are 35-3. Public address announcer John Mason needs some new material, but he's still far better than his counterpart in Cleveland. -- C.S.

91. It wasn't just Larry
The notion that Larry Brown's vaunted disdain for playing rookies is what kept Darko Milicic out of the Pistons' rotation was blown away when Flip Saunders replaced Brown, took a long look at Darko in preseason … and kept him at the end of the bench until the Pistons mercifully dealt him to Orlando. -- R.B.

92. It wasn't just Larry II
The Pistons have been on a mission to disprove the widely held belief that Brown was responsible for pushing all the right buttons to make a good-but-not-great collection of players into champions. They haven't won a title yet, but flirting with the season's best record -- and early on, the best of all-time -- makes a strong opening argument. -- R.B.

93. Stare at this
Gotta love Ron Artest. When he went to the Kings, he chose 93 for his number. Ninety-three? It represents "infinite intensity," says Ron-Ron. "Just stare at it for two hours, you'll see what I'm talking about." -- ESPN.com

94. Nate was not great
Nate Robinson missed 14 attempts -- yes, 14, and it was beyond excruciating to witness -- before finally making one to win the slam dunk contest title at All-Star Weekend over Andre Iguodala, whose under-the-backboard alley-oop dunk in the opening round was brilliant. Iggy got robbed. -- ESPN.com

95. Surprise inside
Boris Diaw was supposed to be a throw-in with two first-round picks in the sign-and-trade deal that sent Joe Johnson to Atlanta. Instead, he's practically been a replacement, averaging 13.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and six assists as a point-center. Johnson's stats last year as a Sun: 17.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists. -- R.B.

96. Dumarred
Soon he'll be a Hall of Famer and maybe a champ again, but 2006 also will be remembered as the year Joe Dumars gave up on Darko Milicic. Looks like the great Joe D. botched this twice -- first by drafting Darko over 'Melo, Bosh and D-Wade, and then by trading away a 20-year-old talent. Hard to say whether Dumars should root for or against the development of Darko. -- ESPN.com

97. Knick-knocks
Setting an NBA record for the most starting lineups is no way to inspire your team or your fans. Larry Brown got a free ride at MSG this season, but the honeymoon is over. "Fi-re-Larr-ry" might be the Chant of The Month in December. -- C.S.

98. Don't buy this Brand
To get Ron Artest, the Warriors wouldn't trade rookie Ike Diogu, called by many analysts "another Elton Brand." But Diogu, at age 22, is averaging 6 and 3. When he turned 22, Brand was deep into his second straight season of 20 and 10. I like Ike, but he's generic Brand. -- ESPN.com

99. No more oww for Yao
A healthy Yao Ming was a sight to behold. After toe surgery cleaned up a problem he's endured since he arrived from China four years ago, he went on a tear with a heretofore unseen aggression until a broken bone in his left foot ended his season. Assuming the bone heals with no lingering issues, this disaster of a season will have been worth it if Yao maintains that attitude. -- R.B.

100. Maybe Weisbrod had a clue after all
Former Magic general manager John Weisbrod left the Magic a mess with a series of misdeeds, most notably the Tracy McGrady trade. But in his absence, Weisbrod-era acquisitions such Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu fueled a late-season renaissance that leaves the Magic with high hopes for next season. -- J.H.

101. Please, please, please stay
LeBron James made a lot of people in Ohio feel better when he said, "I can't wait to sign my extension. I'm very happy here." They'll sleep even easier if and when he actually does, as Blake says in "Glengarry Glen Ross," sign on the line that is dotted. -- ESPN.com

1-20 | 21-40 | 41-60 | 61-80 | 81-101

Reporters Ric Bucher, John Hollinger, Chris Sheridan and Marc Stein contributed to this report as well as ESPN.com editors Andrew Ayres, Chris Ramsay, Royce Webb and Matt Wong.

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