Mullin's Daring, Giants, A's - and More
by Glenn Dickey
Jun 29, 2005

CHRIS MULLIN trusted his own judgment in taking Ike Diogu with the ninth pick in the NBA draft, and that’s one reason I’m confident he’ll rebuild the Warriors.

The safety-first, afraid to take chances types never get anywhere. That was the problem with Dave Twardzik as Warriors general manager. I still remember him telling me that Kobe Bryant wasn’t worth taking a chance on when he jumped from high school to the NBA.

By definition, if you just follow the crowd, you’ll never be better than .500. If Mullin had listened to the conventional wisdom when he was playing, he would have known he wasn’t fast enough or big enough to be more than an average player – but we know how that turned out.

He’s had the same drive and confidence as the basketball man for the Warriors. When he was officially in charge last year, he took Andris Biedrins, the youngest player in the league, and Biedrins has shown a very good upside. The year before, it was probably Mullin’s influence that led the Warriors to pick Mickael Pietrus, who has shown flashes of greatness.

This year, Diogu wasn’t even invited to New York by the NBA, which invited what the league expected to be the top 15 players, though Diogu had led the Pacific-10 in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. Mullin didn’t rely on those statistics. He had Diogu come in for workouts so he could observe first hand.

I think it’s an excellent pick. Diogu is the inside player, offensively and defensively, that the Warriors need. At the very least, he’ll push Troy Murphy to develop an inside game, and it wouldn’t be a shock if Diogu wound up as the starter by midseason.

By taking two power forwards and a high school point guard, Mullin also showed he has confidence in Biedrins future; with only two centers on the roster, Biedrins will get the playing time he needs to develop.

And the Warriors should finally shed the unwanted distinction of the longest non-playoff stretch by any NBA team.

COMPARISON I’M TIRED OF: North Carolina forward Marvin Williams, the No. 2 pick in the draft, with Michael Jordan, who came from the same school.

Williams may become a star, but it’s a tad early to be comparing him to Jordan, who was already a polished player when he came out, after three seasons. Williams has only one year behind him, and he didn’t even start.

It’s always a temptation to compare players coming up with greats of the past, but it’s never fair to the young player. There always seemed to be the “next Willie Mays” with the Giants, but that player never materialized.

A basketball comparison would be Jerry West and Hot Rod Hundley. Because they were both star guards at West Virginia, Hundley got the label of the “next Jerry West.” He lasted six seasons in the NBA and was never more than an average player.

Williams should do better than that, but it’s unrealistic to make the Jordan comparison. There are some players who are literally incomparable, and Michael Jordan is one of them.

GIANTS MOVES: Putting Brett Tomko in the bullpen in a start, and it would be even better if the Giants can trade him. He isn’t part of their future and he’s not even an important part of their present now. He’s still a head case.

I’m hoping that, after the All-Star break, we’ll finally see Matt Cain in a Giants uniform. He is the future, and it’s time the Giants gave him a shot. Yes, he’ll be shaky at times, but he needs to be given a chance to develop at the major league level. If the Giants wants to know what happens when a talented young pitcher gets his chance, they need only look across the bay.

Question for the day: How long is Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti going to last? Righetti was supposed to be in line for the manager’s job, when Felipe Alou steps down, but his work with the Giants pitching staff can’t be seen as a recommendation.

WILD WEST WEST? While there can be some argument whether the AL East or AL Central is baseball’s strongest division, there’s no question which division is the worst: the NL West, with only one team over .500 and a collective 33 games under .500. The fact that the Giants are only fourth in this division says it all.

A’S SURGE: Along with their greatly improved pitching, the A’s have benefited from the return of shortstop Bobby Crosby, who is both excellent defensively and has improved his hitting so he can be a middle-of-the-order guy. In only his second season, Crosby already has a star quality.

MORE PET PEEVES: Dick Vitale. . . Announcers who talk of a player’s “athleticism.” Please. Aren’t these guys all supposed to be athletic? Usually, that’s a code for a player who doesn’t have many basketball skills, but boy, can he run and jump. . . Dick Vitale. . . Announcers (and writers) who say, “That was his second homer in as many games.” What you’re saying guys is “second homer in second games.” Might want to re-think that. . . Dick Vitale. . . Managers who bench a player because his career statistics against a pitcher are bad – but they turn out to be something like 1-for-8. That's two games, or less, and hardly any indication. . . Dick Vitale. . . And, finally, Dick Vitale.

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