Player-by-Player: Joel Przybilla

Today's subject is Joel Przybilla.  And here to offer his perspective is Sonny Corleone.

                                       

What?  Hold on a sec', I'm on the phone.  Frankie, I gotta go.  I gotta do this thing.  What did you need to tell me?  Yeah.  Yeah?  He WHAT?  He's injured AGAIN?  What is it this time?  His WHAT?  Un-freakin'-believable.  What are we paying this guy for?  You tell him for me that if he's not ready by training camp he's gonna be adding a couple of broken kneecaps to that injury list.  You got that?  Good.  Make sure he gets it.  Alright.  Say hello to the kids for me.  Tell little Vinny to do good in school so he can end up just like his pop.  Ha!  That's a good one, eh?  OK, I gotta go.  Hey Frankie!  Don't forget that kneecap thing.

OK, so you want to talk about Joel Przybilla, huh?  I love the guy.  Love the guy.  But my sister's got some of them...what do you call them?  Clemenza!  What do you call those things the tourists shake up and down?  You get them at the shop.  You know...  Yeah.  Snow globes.  That's it.  My sister's got snow globes that are less fragile than him.  A couple of years ago he was one of the best.  The BEST!  He knew how to do a hit.  He was like Michelangelo with those blocked shots.  You know how it's done.  You watch the guy...watch the guy...but you don't give it away that you're watching him.  You kinda tail him sly-like.  You wait for him to make his move.  Then you edge over casual so nobody sees you coming, then right at the moment when he's the most vulnerable...BAM!  You got him, right there in front of everybody.  Then you drop your arms to the side and walk away normal.  You don't look nobody in the eye.  Everybody will be watching the ball fly away and nobody will remember your face.  He was a genius at that.  You could hardly find better.

But then, this year...what is this?  Forty-three games.  Forty-three games!  Them cheerleaders showed up for more than that.  And TWO POINTS.  He got TWO POINTS PER GAME.  And FOUR REBOUNDS.  That's your starting center right there.  Two points and FOUR REBOUNDS.  I'm getting worked up just thinking about it.  My ma could get two points and four rebounds and she's half his height.  Sorry ma, but you are.  What?  I didn't hear you ma.  OK, you're right.  I won't talk about the family that way.  I know ma, I know.  I'm sorry, I just get a little hot under the collar sometimes.  I mean TWO POINTS AND FOUR REBOUNDS, MA!  Alright, alright...I know.  I know.

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yeah...his defense.  What happened to his defense?  He used to be quick in front of the guys.  Nobody got by him.  And if they did, WHAM!  He'd give `em a chop right across the head.  Heh heh.  They didn't do that twice.  But what is this junk we're seeing outta him now?  Everybody gets by him now.  It's like he's one of them old guys at the store passing out carts.  And what does he do as they go by?  He hugs them.  HE HUGS THEM.  Lay off the Leo Buscaglia books, tough guy!  And while you're at it lay off the cannolis too.  You're starting to look like Clemenza over there.  And that ain't good unless you're Clemenza, you know what I mean?

So tell me, what are we paying this guy for?  To make a fool out of us?  Two points, four rebounds, soft defense, six hundred fouls, hugs for everybody.  If I didn't know he just got whacked in the coglioni I'd wonder if he had any.  He's robbing us blind and he ain't even using a gun.  We gotta put a stop to this before the other guys start gettin' ideas.  I don't care what it takes.  If we gotta break a few bones, we break a few bones.  If we gotta pull out the mattresses we pull out the mattresses.  Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, takes our money without payin' the interest, you know what I mean?

OK, that's all I got. Now get outta here, college boy.

And now, with an opposing view, famed Corleone family consigliari Tom Hagen.

                           

Sonny, Sonny, you gotta calm down.  You're taking this personal.  It's just business.  Besides, you knew what you were getting when the guy signed the contract.  He was injured before he signed it, he's been injured afterwards.  He didn't score before he signed it, he doesn't score afterwards.  That's why you got him for six million a year.  You want Shaq?  You gotta pay for Shaq.  But you can't get Shaq because he's working with the Miami syndicate, so we got Joel instead.

And you know what?  It wasn't a half bad move.  What are you worried about this year for?  Forget this year!  Was Joel going to take us into the playoffs if he was healthy?  Not likely.  It doesn't matter what happened this year.

We got Joel, and we'll keep Joel, for one very simple reason.  You can have all the shoot-outs you want, but at the end of the day defense still wins championships.  We need a Joel Przybilla shutting down the paint.  He makes everyone else out there look better.  And he doesn't need the ball to do it.  He's a civilian on offense.  You don't want him doing any shooting.  That means more shots for the muscle guys.  That's smart basketball, Sonny.  If you want to stay afloat you don't make the hot-headed, knee-jerk, splashy move.  You go with the percentages.  And the percentages say Joel Przybilla is a good player at a reasonable price.  We may be paying him a lot of money right now, but someday we're going to go to him and ask a favor, something that only he can do for us, and then we'll see it's been worth it.

Just settle down, weather the storm, and let this all play out.  You'll be happy you did when he's back on his feet.

The gentlemen do make a good point.  Personally I was ready to ride some ups and downs with Joel but I didn't expect the downs to go quite this far.  Here are his stats.  What do you think?  Was signing him a mistake?  Do we just need to ride it out?  If San Antonio, Detroit, or one of those other teams that wanted him last summer were still interested would you consider a deal?  And if so, what do you think he's worth?  Register your thoughts on his season and his future below.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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