By Marcus Thompson II
Posted: 01/06/2009 09:08:44 PM PST
OAKLAND — Warriors swingman Corey Maggette said he's heard the talk of him being a selfish player, but he's not listening. He's noticed people throwing darts at him throughout his career, but he's not paying attention.
He said he knows he's not selfish. No question about it.
"Everyone has an opinion on it, and everyone is entitled to their opinion," Maggette said after practicing lightly Tuesday. "But I just come here and I just want to win. If winning is about being selfish, then I guess I'm the most selfish player on the planet."
Fans and media focus on his shot attempts, his low assist numbers (career 2.2 per game) and his past run-ins with Los Angeles Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy, his coach the previous five seasons. But Maggette, who signed with the Warriors in July as a free agent, said he's content with who he is, choosing to focus on the unselfishness most people don't see.
Such as staying positive and mentoring the rookies during a tumultuous season. Playing through injuries. Volunteering to come off the bench instead of starting.
"He does things like get people stuff for Christmas," guard Jamal Crawford said. "He always tries to give teammates advice and encouragement. If he were a selfish person, he would keep to himself."
Starting tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers, Maggette will have to take on an even bigger role.
Swingman Stephen Jackson will be out a minimum of two weeks because of a strainedright hamstring he suffered in Monday's loss at Utah. An MRI taken Tuesday confirmed the injury, according to the team.
That means Maggette will have to log a bunch of minutes, be a leader on the floor and maybe even guard Kobe Bryant tonight in his second game back after missing the previous 15 with a strained right hamstring of his own. What's more, Maggette said his right knee still is a bit tender after he collided with a basket stanchion during Monday's game.
Still, Maggette's performance in Utah showed his scoring touch didn't suffer from the time off. He scored 23 points in 30 minutes, which pleased Warriors coach Don Nelson.
"Yeah, 23 points on nine shots. I think that's impressive," said Nelson, who expects Maggette to play between 30 and 35 minutes tonight.
"But I like the fact that he's willing to come off the bench. It was almost his idea. We were thinking along those terms and he came to the coaches and thought that might be a good thing. ... I was very impressed. He fit right in. He moved the ball the way we want. (The ball) didn't stop, and he had a good game besides that. So, yeah, I'm very encouraged by that."
The ball stopping in his hands has been the biggest criticism of Maggette as a Warrior. He has more missed 3-pointers (42) than assists (34) and was considered one of the causes for the selfish offense that forced Nelson to switch to a system focusing on ball movement after a blowout loss in San Antonio on Dec. 6.
But Maggette said his reputation as a gunner is more the curse of his being a scorer by nature than being selfish.
"If you look at every player in the league who scores the ball, there's always going to be someone telling you you're hogging, you're selfish," Maggette said. "Just think about it. Kobe's one of the best players in the world and they put it on him. They put it on Dwyane Wade. They put it on Michael Jordan. They put it on all these good players. ... At the end of the day, man, we're good at what we do — that's putting the ball in the hole."
im impressed that maggette is willing to come off the bench...
i cant believe he compares himself to jordan, wade, kobe etc...