- Damon Jones
Damon Jones was also in Italy, but not now. He was a midseason signing of Martos Napoli, and played in 9 games for the team, averaging 13.3 points per game. The self-proclaimed best shooter in the world took 42 two pointers, 71 three pointers and 0 foul shots in those 9 games, also managing to record only 6 personal fouls in 325 minutes. Complete avoidance of physical contact? That's our Damon.
Jones left Napoli when they went bankrupt. Indeed, everyone left Napoli when they went bankrupt. And when I say everybody, I don't just mean American veterans such as Jones, Robert Traylor, Kevin Kruger and Travis Best......I mean everybody. Every first team player they had, every second team player they had, and every third team player they had. Every player that could command even the most basic paycheck left the club, as the club had no paychecks to give. The only person to stay was assistant coach Federico Pasquini, who now coaches this cataclysmically moribund ragtag pile of abortion. To give you an example of quite how desperately pathetic things have been, Napoli have used 39 different players this season.
In only 22 games.
When the team went bankrupt at the turn of the year, Napoli were last in SerieA with an 0-11 record. They had just lost 85-71 to Bobby Jones's Bancas Teramo, a game win which Bobby Jones had 18 points and 9 rebounds, and Damon Jones scored 18 points on 16 three point attempts. Over Christmas, the implosion began, and in their first game after Christmas, Napoli's remnants lost by a staggering 70 points, 124-54 to Angellico Biella. Yet despite the hugeness of that loss, it was only the beginning.
Napoli lost their first 11 games by a total of 241 points, scoring only 673 points and giving up 914, despite all the former NBA talent on the roster. Their average final score was an 83-61, their closest loss being 3 points, and their heaviest being 40. But after the implosion, 40 point losses became the stuff dreams are made off, because the losses started reaching three digits. In their 11 games post-bankruptcy and mass exodus, Napoli have scored 595 points and conceded 1,591. Their highest scoring output was 82, and their lowest 37 (achieved twice); their lowest points-against was 117, with their highest at a staggering 181. In a 40 minute game. Their average loss is 90 points, their smallest lost is 58, and their biggest loss is 126. Points. In a 40 minute game.
In these 11 games, Napoli have grabbed only 202 rebounds, for an average of 18.4 per game. They have given up 615 rebounds, for an average of 55.9 per game. Opponents have more offensive rebounds than Napoli do defensive ones, and this is in spite of the fact that opponents barely play their senior players against them any more. For example, in Napoli's last game, a 176-50 loss to Carife Ferrara, no Carife starter played more than 20 minutes. Two of the starters were Luke Jackson and Sharrod Ford; Ford had 16 points and 10 rebounds in 17 minutes, while Jackson had 40 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks. That's in 20 minutes, remember. Instead, Carife emptied their bench of youngsters, and gave them the opportunity to gain free minutes and free stats. And yet Carife's deep bench were still so ridiculously far better than Napoli, hence the 126 point victory.
Carife also played a 40 year old, Massimiliano Rizzo. Rizzo has been an Italian second division player for the majority of his career, and when Carife called him at the start of this season, he was down in the 5th division, playing for a team called Pordenone. Why Carife had called him up when he was so old and so far down the ladder is not immediately obvious, but nevertheless he had appeared in 33 minutes over 10 games, and totalled 4 points, 1 rebound and 6 fouls. So what did he do against Napoli? 21 minutes, 32 points, 14 rebounds, 16-17 from the floor. A forty year old man from the fifth tier of Italian basketball is easily, EASILY better than any player from a current SerieA team. It boggles the mind and offends the sensibilities.
It is simply amazing that they are allowed to continue operations, and even more amazing that they want to. There is literally nothing to gain from this weekly embarassment; the team will not stave off promotion, will not acquire any new senior players, and will not acquire any news sponsors. They exist now only to fail, and fail they most certainly do. So therefore, God bless all those heavily exposed teenagers for their valiant efforts, and for the remaining skeleton coaching staff who are trying to better some kids lives in the midst of complete and utter humiliation. Those are the heroes in an otherwise depressing tale of basketball failure.