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Quick blurb on 'toughness', 'intimidation', and our friend James Posey

I wrote the following for uber-blogger FLCeltsFan's site (she contributes to a ton of other Celtics blogs as well) for a piece she's doing on new Celtic James Posey.

(I'm guessing it'll post sometime this week, but I always say whenever I write basketball it goes to this site first. Ok, I've never said that, and it's not even true most of the time.)

James Posey just seems to have it out for the Bulls. I'm not aware of any repeated incidents he's had with other teams, but with the Bulls there are at least 3 acts of on-court thuggery:

2006 playoffs: hipchecking Kirk Hinrich
06-07 opening night: breaking Tyrus Thomas' nose
06-07 midseason: clobbering Luol Deng midair

Only the Thomas play could be considered borderline clean, the others were outright dirty. And enough of those get you labled a dirty player.

Such incidents can be written off (and even celebrated) as providing 'toughness' or 'intimidation' that benefits his own team, but I find such byproducts miniscule to non-existent. A far more tangible effect are the negative consequences through the flagrant foul penalties and suspensions. Posey is a decent player, so having him out of the game likely isn't worth whatever 'message' he was trying to send across.

And besides, the Bulls won each of those games, and were so scared and intimidated of James Posey and the Heat that they proceeeded to throttle them in a 4-game sweep in the 2007 playoffs.

Do those results have a lot to do with James Posey? Not really, it's a healthy Wade and Shaq that drove that Heat squad, as a healthy Garnett/Allen/Pierce will for the Celtics. But if Posey continues his antics, it won't lead to a brand of toughness for your team, it'll just mean one less available bench player for a team that needs all they can get.

Posey sucks,


I do think Posey is a quality signing, but after reading some semi-fawning over whatever intangible toughness he brings, I'm glad I had the opportunity to shoot it down.

Remember way back when  reaction to him reached a fever pitch, cooler heads maintained that there was no need for violent retaliation. And after no such retaliation took place, a 4-game sweep of his team turned out to be enough.