Kenny Smith is a Genius

14971_422.CR2TNT’s Inside the NBA studio show is hands down the best in the business. Ernie Johnson has played the role of straight man with Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith to rave reviews. Throw in the occasional appearances from the made for TV Chris Webber and Kevin McHale and you have a tasty recipe.

With the Cavaliers one of the two marquee draws in the NBA, we are fortunate enough to have many games on national TV. In fact, they are on a run where they have been on TNT’s Thursday night coverage six of out of the past seven weeks. Lucky for us we get to hear the views of some of the NBA’s finest studio analysts.

I have always been a huge Charles Barkley fan. I mean, who isn’t? He is blunt with his opinions and tells it how he sees it. He never bought into the Cavaliers last year, and I give him credit for seeing something we didn’t see in the Orlando series – the length of the Magic would kill the Cavs.

On the other side is his partner Smith, from time to time sound off with knee-jerk, head-scratching commentary. Keep in mind its no secret that every single offseason, “The Jet” calls around the league looking for a GM or an assistant GM position. The only offers he gets are as a scout. There is a reason for that.

So last night, after a disgusting first half by the Wine and Gold, Barkley and Kenny Smith had varying views of what was wrong with the Cavaliers on this evening. Barkley started by saying that Mike Brown’s offense was not taking advantage of Antawn Jamison’s abilities and for the Cavs to turn this one around, they have to play faster, especially without Shaquille O’Neal’s lumbering big body not weighing them down. Up and down teams have given the Celtics trouble all year long.

Then Kenny starts extolling the virtues of the hot-shooting Celtics; how the Cavaliers haven’t had an answer for Rajon Rondo all night (very true), and how Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace were killing them. Smith ends it by saying “see, this is why the Cavaliers cannot beat the Celtics in the playoffs.”

This just in Kenny….an NBA game is four quarters long. Its played in two halves, not one. Oh, and the Cavaliers have a little someone on their team named Lebron James. Not a wise move to count them out.

Was he serious with that? Talk about jumping to conclusions. The Cavaliers came out in the second half and outscored Boston by 28 points. They locked down the Celtic shooters, ran them up and down the floor, and we all laughed watching Ray Allen trying to stay with Lebron. Lebron, Mo Williams, and a small Cavs lineup essentially shoved it right in Kenny’s face.

I’d say that second half was a statement made that the Cavs are on their way to figuring it out, even with Shaq potentially on the shelf for a while. Meanwhile, the Celtics continue to look older and slower as the game went on.

So much for half-time analysis.

  • Lyon

    Good article. Can’t stand how he holds onto his Kobe is the best belief.

    That and I just can’t stand him.

  • Lebron Burgundy

    I only wish the game could have ended sooner so they would’ve had time to cut back to the studio and I could watch Charles gloat about his prediction and rub it in Kenny’s face. I didn’t stick around until halftime of Nuggets/Warriors, but have to assume something similar happened then.

  • cursedclevelanddotcom

    Another WFNY article claiming lack of respect for the Cavs? Come on Dery! Will you not rest until there’s unanimous decree that the Cavaliers are the best team in the history of western civilization?

    I disagreed with Kenny, but I think we’re getting a little carried away with the lack of respect card.

  • ben

    Barkely has some A+ basketball knowledge. If he wasn’t such a knucklehead, he’d already be a GM

  • bitmatt

    Sometimes I think Kenny Smith and Avery Johnson share the same brain. Because, as you know, “When healthy, the Boston Celtics are the best team in the National Basketball Association.”

  • Clown Baby

    I don’t think it was a “Lack of Respect” thing as much as it was saying that the Jet was out and out wrong.

  • boogeyman

    Barkley made Smith look like a fool which is probably why you never heard another mention or an “I told you so” either after the game or even at the half of the Nuggets-Warriors game. I thought the Cavaliers were doomed when Barkley so overwhelmingly kept talking positively about them, I just am not used to it.

    As far as the actual game goes the Cavaliers stunk in the first half especially the backcourt which continues to have problems. As TD points out there is indeed two halves to the game which for the Cavaliers is a good thing. Mike Brown deserves credit because the strings he pulled worked but lets not overlook Mo Williams finally discovering his jump shot. Although if you ask me this team still shoots entirely to many jump shots for my liking but it is what it is. All that aside the Cavaliers have issues whether it’s the combination of injuries and the trade they have work to do especially on offense. The Cavaliers offense is downright turrible as Charles Barkley talked about and has talked about for years.

    Danny Ferry finally got me a legitimate PF now all I ask is next year that he make Mike Brown add an offensive minded coach to the staff because I can’t stomach more of this for long. I’m already seeing the playoffs and a game being closely contested due in large part to the Cavaliers horrendous offense and I’m getting a cold shivver.

  • The Other Tim

    Does anyone seriously think the Celtics will advance far enough in the playoffs to face the Cavaliers? Silly Kenny.

  • boogeyman

    @8 I wouldn’t just dismiss them I mean they didn’t have Pierce but hey they were playing the Cavaliers too. Anything can happen just because Cleveland won last night doesn’t mean a thing.

    Btw Barkley got in a shot on Cleveland and I haven’t seen anyone mention it. Smith asked how many championships Boston had then Barkley chimed in with asking how many Cleveland had then even added in the Browns so lets not go all goo-goo over Sir Charles.

  • TS T 2B Cavs Dude

    The Cavaliers did a great job in the rotation last night. Mike Brown made a good move benching LeBron James so he could rest, while the third quarter was dominated by guys off the bench.

    I think Coach Brown has realized that Jamario Moon is a much smarter play when defense is needed instead of Anthony Parker.

    All around great team play in the third and fourth quarters, however it would be wise to get a body like Darnell Jackson in the game to get a few minutes just in case…..

  • mendy

    “even with Shaq potentially on the shelf for a while”

    is it “even with shaq out” or “because shaq was out?”

    at least with the the old man celts, i have to wonder (although i think most of it is due to simply being on the floor more without z to back him up)

  • Mark

    I just think as Clevelanders we are way too sensitive about some of this. Barkley takes shots at everyone. If he was ripping Pittsburgh would we care and think its unfair? No, we would laugh and not think much of it after that. It think we need to be thick skinned about all of this.

    Now poor basketball analysis? Yes, thats a problem (I am looking at you Kenny).

  • TS T 2B Cavs Dude

    Anderson Varejao should win the NBA’s “Most Improved Player”… Has anyone started a campaign?

    His offense has picked up significantly, apparently playing with LeBron and Z has given him confidence ot drive to the lane and shoot the mid-range Jumper.

    I could see Andy as the NBA’s 2010 Most Improved Player.

  • stin4u

    I’m more offended by Barkley’s golf swing than I am his words about Cleveland. I just don’t see the need to bring personal opinion about an actual city into commentary about a basketball game. Seems a bit inappropriate to me. Not to mention during the Rook v. Sophomore game he was just hounding Dwight Howard about how he should put Shaq in his place, as if he was trying to live vicariously through Howard(sad). I don’t hate Barkley by any means I just think he needs to keep to the bbal analysis and forget the personal stuff.

  • Lyon

    @#13… His scoring has not gone up enough for that. That award almost always goes to someone who went from 5PPG to 18PPG. At least that’s what it always seems like.

  • Clown Baby

    I don’t think that was just Barkley talking during the Rook/Soph game. He sounded like Jim, Jack or Captain may have played a part in that analysis. I think that is awesome. The man is untouchable.

  • stin4u

    @Clown yeah I had my suspicions about that too lol. I was waiting for him to get out of control and have them cut to the “we are experiencing technical difficulties” screen.

  • MattyFos

    I dont think Chuck hates Cleveland. I dont think Cleveland is a glorious city either. I just think Chuck is blunt and doesnt have a filter.. So Chuck says things others think but are too smart to say aloud… Wasnt he trying to run for a U.S. Representative? That would be great for Capital Hill.

  • Chris

    “we are fortunate enough to have many games on national TV.

    I completely disagree. The commentating crew absolutely sucks, hands down. As good as Barkley, Smith and Ernie Johnson are, that’s how bad Miller, Fratello and Mark Jackson are. I get more upset listening to them than watching Lebron indiscriminately jack 3’s.

    Case in point- 5 minutes before Shaq got hurt, they kept babbling about not having a spot for Z. As soon as Shaq gets hurt, they started talking about having him back being a good thing.

  • Alex

    I don’t remember which All-Star event it was, but one of them Chuck started off the calling with “Can we swear?” Response from whoever the play-by-play guy was: “No, Charles, you can’t swear. This is live TV.” One of my favorite Chuck moments, along with the pushup contest last year. If you take anything he says seriously that doesn’t directly relate to basketball, you’re a turrible knuckahead.

    @19, it’s nice having nationally televised games so some of us outside of Cleveland/Ohio can watch them. I can brave bad commentary for that.

  • Chris

    Fair enough, Alex. I just don’t understand how these people (Fratello and Miller to be certain) can be this bad at their jobs and actually get paid that well.

  • Clown Baby

    Miller and Fratello going on and on about JJ’s DNP against New Orleans was driving me crazy. I’m assuming TNT has some sort of research staff don’t they? How hard would it have been to find out that he was ruled out before the game started? I’d be fine with just having Marv do the games by himself. It makes you wonder if Mike and Reggie are there more to supervise Marv on road trips then for their commentary skillz.

  • boogeyman

    I actually like Mike Fratello he sticks up for the Cavaliers alot if you listen to his broadcasts and he’s a huge Z fan which Albert and Miller constantly give him grief for since Fratello was Z’s first coach.

    Btw 6-0 USA over Finland in the first period of the semi-finals of Olympic hockey! Oh yea.

  • JM

    The five buck box rocks! Kenny Smith is a joke, he always flips out in dunk contests even though they are bad. I have love and hate for Charles but in the end he is good at what he does. Btw Boston may not make it out of the first round.

  • Mark

    @Alex – yes, love the national tv so I can watch somewhere other then my computer!

  • TSR3000

    Honestly, at halftime last night I was having serious doubts about our ability to beat Boston in the playoffs as well. I still am not convinced we would dismantle them as easily as some believe. It would go 6 or 7.

    As far as the Cavs not getting respect I totally disagree. Respect is earned and we won’t get that respect until we hoist the championship trophy. I think we get plenty of respect. Too much sometimes.

    I am glad we finally won in Boston. We needed to get over that mental hurdle.

  • lstavole13

    @Chris- I agree with alex. I enjoy them quite a bit, because I’m not in Cleveland to see the games. I hate the commentators, but its nice. Can’t you just turn on FSN? They still televise the nationally televised games on it.

  • Tron

    All these TNT games, and it always seems as tho whichever team the Cavs are playing, that teams coach is mic’ed up. Anyone think Mike Browns just always declines the opportunity because he doesn’t want people to hear “uhh.. I have no idea what to do right now guys” and LeBron say “*sigh* I’ll take care of it”?

  • lstavole13

    @Tron- No, I think he is more of a private person. Its probably better to not reveal all of his coaching strategies

  • Tommy

    Its funny how everybody says we won with a small lineup last night. I know they are talking about playing without a true center for the 2nd half, but still… for a large portion of the 2nd half we had a 6’9″ 270 or whatever lb. shooting guard.

  • Chris

    @ Istavole – The game last night was not on FSN, or I would have been happy to oblige.

  • Jeff

    @12 Mark – I’m with you here. Barkely makes fun of whatever he wants. He knows a lot, though…if it weren’t for him being a total weirdo I might actually take him seriously. I’m never sure if TNT is going for the whole of Mice and Men schtick with Kenny and Charles or if they actually think it’s good analysis. It does make for good ratings, though.

    Mchale is pretty good surprisingly! Miller totally blows, and every time he opens his mouth about anything he loses my respect for actually being a good player. Fratello is ok, but he tends to get a little to excited sometimes. Not unlike the local announcer Austin Carr.

  • Matt#2

    Cavs would take Boston in 3

  • Tsunami

    @Tommy – great point. Us “going small” includes playing Hickson, Varejao, Lebron, Moon, and Mo. That’s an avg height around 6’8 which is bigger than the avg for most teams.

    Also, has anyone ever seen JJ take off with one-leg? He HAS to have the highest flatfooted vertical in the NBA.

  • Matt#2

    He can cover major space in no time flat, simply by jumping or stepping and jumping. He’s the kind of player the other team has to keep in the back of their minds at all times within 8 feet of the hoop. He’s like a jack-in-the-box, just showing up out of nowhere. I wonder if he’s not real fast, too. Ever notice?

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  • Mark

    I remember in 98 Barkley said, before the draft, that Nowitzki would be the best player ever out of Eurpoe. Well, Dirk stunk his rookie year and I thought Barkley was an idiot. About 2 years later I realized Barkley knew a hell of a lot more about talent then I ever would.

  • Stinkfist

    @37, what were Barkley’s thoughts on Eyenga?