I don’t get it, where is all this Lebron is better than Jordan talk coming from? Why are guys like Scottie Pippin saying things like this? Does he still have some animosity towards MJ? Are youtube videos like the one above being made, because there’s nothing else to debate about at the moment? Personally I don’t understand why it’s even a debate. For years we compared Kobe to Jordan, and over the last couple years we’ve seemingly put that argument to bed, aside from a short sighted Lakers fan here and there. Now Lebron is better than Jordan when he hasn’t won anything yet?!? Jordan was 6 for 6 in his career in the finals, and won 6 Finals MVP’s while Lebron is 0 for 1 with a sweep in the finals to his name. Wake me after Lebron has a single three-peat, and we can maybe start this argument. Hell, Dwayne Wade has more “Jordan-like” credentials than Lebron with a 1 for 1 in Finals appearances, and earning a finals MVP. I understand that a lot of us want to see another Jordan, but in reality I doubt we ever will see anyone with the drive that Jordan had. He made it so everyone around him would never give up, because he wouldn’t let them. I can’t say the same for Lebron at any point in his career so far. Lebron doesn’t seem to mind losing while Jordan died a little inside every time he lost a meaningless regular season game, and that my friends is what will separate these two for eternity. I think we should be comparing Lebron to Kobe first, then Magic, then maybe Jordan if he ever gets that far. It feels like we skipped a few legitimate and major steps in our comparisons with this guy. It’s scary to me this is going to be a debate for the next 10 years regardless of how many titles the Heat do or don’t win…
Monthly Archives: May 2011
It’s Monday… Light It Up
What can I say, it’s Memorial Day weekend. Nothing happened in sports. Unless of course, you’re a fan of the Indy 500. But in that case, we have different definitions of sports. What did happen though, is I came across this old music video from an old friend from college. Every time I watch this video it gets better. So, until something more eventful happens in sports, let’s go and light this Monday night up….
Hopkins Found the Fountain of Youth
I’ve had one of those super busy weeks, and neglected the blog a bit. Last night I finally had a chance to watch the Hopkins-Pascal fight that I Tivoed on Monday (thanks for airing it Showtime). Sorry this took me until almost a week after the fight actually took place to write about it. It’s pretty impressive for any 46-year old to be in the ring, let alone a title fight. The Executioner was nothing short of brilliant in the fight, and became the oldest boxer ever to hold a title. He will also be the oldest boxer to have a title defense when he decides to fight again. He’s a genius in the ring as he gets into the head of his opponent as one of the best trash talkers/taunters the ring has ever seen.
Was this one of the greatest achievements of all time? I’d argue it is. We see ageless wonders like Jaime Moyer in baseball that somehow keep pitching, but boxing is a much different animal. Hell, you see the best professional athletes try to do boxing workouts and can’t even hang, so that’s got to say something about the sports ability to define athleticism. Fighting is and has always been the best way to tell how athletic any person is. You can’t fake anyone out or flop your way to a victory you have to stand toe to toe with the other man in the ring.
Why is this such a great feat when boxing seems to be in a constant state of flux and turmoil constantly losing popularity? I personally think that only the heavyweight ranks have lost their luster. The middleweights are scattered with a few quality boxers. I feel like if the NFL didn’t exist we’d have another good American heavyweight, but instead all those guys play football. Maybe if boxing had a commissioner like MMA does they’d be able to have better fight cards and be more organized.
Anyways, back to Hopkins. Pascal might not be the best fighter in the world, and many seem to discount Hopkins achievements simply because they say he’s boring to watch. Others discount him because he hasn’t beaten that many really good fighters throughout his career. Is that his fault that the middleweight division didn’t produce many quality opponents aside from Oscar and Trinidad? He beat everyone that challenged him for 20 straight title defenses. He moved up to the light heavy division, and won there too. Now he’s back on top of the middleweight division. He’s changed his fighting style since his younger days, and is now much more calculated than his early Executioner style. I still can’t get over how a 46-year-old can have more stamina and be more fit than someone 18 years younger. I’m actually more excited for Hopkins next fight than I am for Pacquiao’s next fight. 23 years of dominating the most physical sport you’ll ever come across is no small feat, so when Bernard has his next fight, you should be watching.
Let’s Change Baseball Because One Guy Got Hurt
I really don’t know why this is a debate right now. I thought it was just homerism as I listened to Giants play-by-play man Duane Kuiper whine about Buster Posey’s collision last night. Add to that, Posey’s agent sent a memo to MLB pleading to ban home plate collisions. But when I saw Buster Olney pleading his case for the change, I knew it wasn’t just local sentiment. Unless he’s just trying to protect a fellow Buster, I don’t know why he’s on this bandwagon. It’s classic American knee-jerk reaction to something that happened once out of a thousand times. What’s next, banning talking on cell phones while driving? Oh, wait a minute… Anyway, the last home plate collision I can remember that left a catcher significantly injured was Ray Fosse in 1970-i don’t even know because I wasn’t alive. It’s NOT that serious. What IS serious is Posey’s injury. Now, I’m no Giants fan, but I root for them about 150 games per year. I spent the greater part of a decade living in San Francisco, so I definitely want them to be good, but I never really forgave them for blowing the 2002 World Series. I certainly will never forgive them for winning the 2010 one. Now that they’re up to three-less championships than the A’s, I don’t want them to get any closer. On the other hand, Buster Posey is the catcher on my fantasy team, and more importantly, probably was going to be a major piece of my team’s future. Now I have to decide if he’s worth a roster spot just for the sake of keeper consideration. (I might have to let go of Strasburg, ha.)
What makes my perspective unique though is I never saw the collision before I heard all the hullabaloo. I first learned of it this morning reading the game recap on my phone while doing something that starts with an S, and isn’t showering or shaving. Like the baserunner, Scott Cousins said, it was the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. He had to do whatever he could to score. However, before saying my piece, I decided I had better watch this play finally. I was surprised to discover that it seems running into Posey WASN’T, after all, necessary. That collision had all the makings of your typical small guy complex. Cousins isn’t that small per se, but it looked like a kid who’s been bullied his whole life that was about to get back at everyone who ever picked on him by mowing down a defenseless super star. Apparently Cousins played at the University of San Francisco while I was there, and claims to be a Giants fan. Well, I never heard of Scott Cousins until yesterday, so that’s saying a lot. USF is a small school – everybody knows everybody. So to not know a guy who would go on to play major league baseball is saying something. I guess the only way he could get the City’s attention is by blindsiding the Giants star catcher. Well congratulations, kid. You got SF’s attention now. Just don’t plan on ever coming back.
RFP Of The Day: Dan Quisenberry
What a whirlwind this feature has been… When I saw the headline, Royals Winningest Pitcher Dies, my first thought was “Oh no! Dan Quisenberry died!” I come to find out it was actually a fellow named Paul Splittorff who passed, and on top of that, I discover that Quisenberry wasn’t even a starter. Turns out he was a closer, and a damn good one at that. He finished in the top three in Cy Young voting for four years in a row from 82-85. I guess I’m really giving away my age here. Sure I had a lot of Dan Quisenberry baseball cards, but clearly I didn’t watch a lot of Kansas City Royals games. The only highlight I can remember is George Brett charging the field during the infamous pine tar incident. I was a bit too young to remember their 1985 World Series win.
In a shocking turn of events, while looking for a good picture of Quisenberry, I come across one of his grave. Apparently the guy passed away from brain cancer in 1998 I must have erased that from my memory, because I sure as hell don’t remember that. What I remember though is a nasty submarine delivery and an even NASTIER mustache…..
The Best Grandma To Play The Game
I’m still not sure, to this day, whose idea it was to dress Larry Johnson up as an old lady, but it seemed to work out pretty well. I wasn’t a huge fan of the campaign, but I WAS a HUGE fan of his shoe. Easily my favorite pair of shoes I ever owned. You know, the black ones with the Hornets teal and that React juice inside. I had some black and purple Kevin Johnson’s too that were essentially the same, but none could top the LJ version. Grant Hill’s Fila shoes a couple years later are probably a distant second on the list. I can’t remember if I ever had any Derrick Coleman BK Dymacels though!
It’s actually far from mundane where the sports world is concerned, but the A’s got swept by the Giants and I’m not really able to see a lot of positives out there at the moment. The world is lousy right now as far as I’m concerned, but at least we’re all still here, right? Well, maybe minus 100+ of us out in Southwest Missouri. That storm was nasty, and while I constantly question why anyone would settle in Tornado Alley, I don’t think anyone could have seen one of that caliber coming. Oh, and we also lost a legend in the Macho Man Randy Savage. Dude took intensity to a whole nother level and probably should be credited as one of the primary founders of the concept of swagger. Turning my attention back to sports, here’s what captivated my interest now that the weekend is over….
FIRE BOB GEREN – I told Chappy the other day that we need to bring back the “Fire Bob Geren” movement. That was before they got swept in San Francisco, and have now lost 5 in a row to drop to 22-25 on the season. People who aren’t fans of the A’s – which apparently is all but 10,000 people in this world – will say Geren doesn’t exactly have a lot of talent to work with. The reality is he has the best pitching staff in all of baseball. Even with injuries to Dallas Braden, Brandon McCarthy, and Tyson Ross, as long as Cahill, Anderson, and Gonzalez are still standing, they’re alright. Admittedly the offense is terrible, but they went out and got Josh Willingham, Hideki Matsui, and David Dejesus. None of them are all-stars, but each has proved himself as a big league hitter, which is something I can’t say for guys like Daric Barton or Cliff Pennington. This is Geren’s 5th season as Manager, which is practically an eternity in this day and age. The problem is he’s Billy Beane’s best friend, so you can’t count on him firing his best friend. Now, if he were Lamar Odom it’d be another story! (And if you get that reference you should be ashamed of yourself)
If you care to hear more about the Fire Bob Geren Movement, head over to AthleticsNation, where someone apparently felt the same way I did waking up this Monday morning. Only this person must not have a job to go to, because this is the longest blog post I’ve ever seen. On the other hand, Geren’s managerial shortcomings can provoke one to express a lot of frustration, so I completely get it.
Joakim Noah Called Someone a Fag – Man, why is this such a huge story today? Maybe I tuned in at the wrong time, but this entire Thunder – Mavericks 2nd quarter broadcast has been all about Noah’s “homophobic slur.” Now don’t anybody comment on why it IS such a big deal, because I’m not saying he shouldn’t have been fined and publicly reprimanded. What’s frustrating for me, and everyone else out here in California, is it has been acceptable to be gay for like 20 years now. I’m tired of seeing the rest of the country showing up all late to the party trying to overcompensate. Add to that this ridiculous commercial with Grant Hill and Jared Dudley telling us that it’s rude to call things gay. Please, Jared Dudley grew up in San Diego. I’ll bet my life he’s called plenty of things gay in his day. I guess these commercials are breaking news to a large population of the U.S., but what’s next, Shane Battier and Blake Griffin telling kids it’s okay to be of mixed descent? Get with the times. (I just saw on the ESPN ticker that the Phoenix Suns President announced he’s gay. That happened like two weeks ago. It’s a big move for him, but we should have moved on by now.)
Ray Lewis NEEDS to Remain in the Public Eye if the NFL Has a Lockout – If you saw Sal Palantonio’s interview with the Ravens’ linebacker you know what I’m talking about. I like Ray Lewis on the field a lot, but I MAY just like him even more in a different capacity, like, say a reality show. He might even have a career as a pro wrestler. Shoot, just as long as he keeps doing interviews I’ll be interested. Just watching the man talk…. it reminds me of nights in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. You know that old probably homeless, possibly a crackhead grandpa that tries to talk to you and you just keep walking? Well I have a tendency to engage that guy in a conversation. I may not always take away something constructive from it, but grandpas always seem to have a way of making it seem like what they’re telling you is the most earth-shattering stuff you’ve ever heard, even though you have no idea what in the world they’re talking about. That’s the same feeling I get when I watch Ray Lewis talk. I just want to see more. (If there’s a fantasy football season, I’m naming my team “Evil, Which We Call Crime”)
Asdrubal Cabrera is the MVP of the American League – Sure, Jose Bautista has better numbers (he just hit his 19th HR of the year tonight), but how is HIS team doing? I’m the last guy you need to notify that the Cleveland Indians have the best record in baseball, seeing how I made them my preseason pick to win the AL pennant. I can’t say I saw Cabrera being this good though. If I did, I would have drafted him instead of Omar Infante in the 22nd ROUND of our fantasy league’s draft. True, yesterday’s 5-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI performance may just be fresh on my mind, but thanks to a little ESPN2 exposure tonight, I’ve just watched this kid go 3-4 with another home run, plus a key go-ahead RBI double in the 8th inning. If the Indians do end up making it to the World Series like I’m predicting, it will because Asdrubal Cabrera got them there.
Warriors Hired Jerry West – This is exciting for obvious reasons, but I’m not sure what effect it will actually have on the team on the floor. It doesn’t seem like anything will really get the Warriors over the hump anytime soon, but you wouldn’t just bring on Jerry West if you didn’t have a good reason would you? Well, maybe. Like Matt Steinmetz points out, it will, at the very least, give the Warriors a little more credibility. If I were a free agent, I’d probably let Larry Riley go to voicemail. But if Jerry West were calling…. You see where I’m going with this. We’ll see what the results end up being, but this is the biggest hire since the Chris Mullin / Don Nelson regime was brought back, and THAT got us that one memorable playoff appearance, so there’s reason for optimism. Just like comedian/actor Kevin Hart says, “You ain’t a Warrior if you don’t G.S.!”
Elephants and Seals
As always, By is covering the Giants portion, and Chappy is covering the A’s portion for this post.
San Francisco Giants (1st, 24-19) Oakland Athletics (2nd, 22-22)
Oakland Athletics – They swept the Angels in a quick two game series, and also swapped positions with them to be in a tie for first place in the AL West for the first time this season. That didn’t last long as they lost two straight to the struggling Twins and were promptly sent back to 2nd place. Their offense has gotten progressively better over the last week and a half. They’ve actually averaged nearly 5 runs a game over their last 10. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Coco Crisp has been getting on base, stealing bases, and scoring runs. When he does well, they seem to score a lot more runs. Their pitching has still been their crutch to lean on. They lead the majors in ERA at 2.68, which is the only sub-3.00 ERA in all of baseball besides the Braves 2.88 team ERA. Andrew Bailey is getting closer to returning, and will be a welcomed addition to an already great bullpen.
San Francisco Giants – Giants are sitting pretty at first place despite playing average ball. So there’s not much to complain about here, furthermore, they just did a mini sweep of division, no everything rivals LA in LA. So a major f**k yeah for that. The Mark DeRosa injury could be looked at as a down, but I see the positive in it. For one, he was hitting like s**t. Second, we’re too deep not to circulate other players in and out of the lineup, giving tough-minded guys like Mike Fontenot a shot at some p.t. Hopefully DeRosa takes this time to clear his mind, and find his swing. Finally Madison Bumgarner finally got his first win of the season, the Giants are on the up and up from here on out.
Oakland Athletics – Hideki Matsui hasn’t really shown much promise thus far in the season. Maybe the inconsistent playing time has something to do with it, but I feel like there’s a chance he might just be old. Dallas Braden had season ending shoulder surgery, which was a downer but not unexpected. I’m a huge Tyson Ross fan, and he’s done admirable filling in since Braden went down, but he got injured, and apparently Brandon McCarthy did too, so that’s a hole in the rotation. Maybe Harden will eventually not be hurt or maybe another round with Outman wouldn’t be terrible. Bob Geren is still making questionable lineup/bullpen changes and tinkering that seems to prevent the team from keeping their continuity, but the players seem to be overcoming the handicap of having him as a manager, which must be one tough obstacle.
San Francisco Giants – I can’t complain about much these days, perhaps the injury to Pablo Sandoval has put a damper on our inconsistent hitting. I’m not satisfied with Tim Lincecum’s 3-4 start. I was hoping for him to be blazing toward another Cy Young early on. But those are all ‘whatevers’ in my book. The Giants are in first in the NL West, and this should lead to an interesting series with the A’s.
Next Up – The battle of the bay. Inter league play starts and the battle for bay area bragging rights is on the line.
Win or lose Chaps, we’re still friends o.k. !?!?
Yeah, no hard feelings a quarter of the way through a season!
We always try to bring you cool Asian stuff as we run across it. This game is called Botaoshi, and is a new one to me. I guess the goal for the team with the pole is to keep it upright, and the other team is trying to get the pole to the ground. I always find it refreshing to see a sport without a ball. It’s a little less structured than the fight league, but a very entertaining minute of play nonetheless. I’m not sure why it helps the team protecting protecting the pole to have the guy on top, but there must be something to it since all the other youtube clips I watched employed the same strategy. I can understand why there’s a minute time limit on this game, seems like if it went much longer everyone would be too injured to go on.
May The Worst Team Lose
Last year I wrote a pissed-off mock draft after the NBA Lottery was drawn. This year I just turned my TV off and left my house. Not surprisingly, neither the Warriors nor Kings moved up, but that’s nothing new. And fortunately, the talent this year is so dreadful, that it’s not like I feel like they’ll be missing out on anyone. But it just never ceases to amaze me how the NBA Lottery can defy mathematics nearly every year. I really thought Stern was going to throw the Kings a bone this year, but I should have known better. The Lottery left me scratching my head though, and wondering two things: One, what were the odds of winning for the team that won the lottery each year? and Two, how many times in the last 15 years or so has a Northern California team moved up into the top three? The only time that comes to mind was 2002 when the Warriors got Mike Dunleavy at #3. (I have since gone back and discovered that they tied Chicago for the worst record in the league that year, but Houston got the #1 pick to take Yao, so the W’s actually moved DOWN). With all this curiosity in mind, I’ve decided to go back year by year and see who got the #1 pick, and how amazing it was that they got there….
2011 – Cleveland. They finished with the second-worst record, but won the lottery with a pick that had less than a 3% chance.
2010 – Washington. Tied for 4th worst record
2009 – Clippers. Tied for 2nd worst record
2008 – Chicago. Jumped 8 other worse teams to land hometown star Derrick Rose.
2007 – Portland. Jumped 6 worse teams to assume the Greg Oden burden.
2006 – Toronto. 5th worst record
2005 – Milwaukee. 6th worst record
2004 /2003 – Orlando and Cleveland actually had the worst records in those years.
2002 – Houston. 5th worst record
2001 – Washington. 3rd worst record in a terrible draft
2000 – New Jersey. 7th worst record
1999 – Chicago. 3rd worst record.
1998 -Clippers. 3rd worst record.
1997 – San Antonio. 3rd worst record.
Rainouts Aren’t Always Bad
There’s been a ton of rain outs in the MLB this year. Too bad the pros aren’t allowed to have fun like these college kids during rain outs. They can’t afford to get injured. I think I posted a video like the one below last year with two teams having a talent show trying to one up the other team. This one was a lot more friendly. A few of the skits were a little lame, but all in all it looks like a good way to spend a rainy day…
Can Jaime McCourt Save the Dodgers From Frank?
For some strange reason Frank McCourt has been trying to sell to the fans that he actually cares about the team. He’s been making appearances on local TV as well as radio shows. The callers have been funny as they tell him how much they dislike him, and all the questions on his moves being for the “best interest of the team” usually net a comical response from Frank. I understand the team has gotten to the playoffs 3 of 4 years under his rule, but the players that got them there were in LA before he took over, so I’m not sure why he keeps playing that card. He overpaid for Manny, but that’s the only guy I can think of that he really brought in. It’s painfully obvious to a non-financial guru like myself that he has been in over his head since he bought the team, and NOTHING he does will ever get the fans to trust him again.
As a Warriors fan, I know about battling an owner, and I battled with deciding what degree of support to give the Warriors for years under Cohan rule. It’s almost impossible to abandon your team, but once fans start the revolution there’s no going back. Just like the Warriors fans did with Cohan over his final couple years, Dodgers fans are starting to do the same. I guess it helps that both owners were on the verge of being broke. I feel like it’s way past the tipping point when fans pleading with anyone and everyone that will listen to buy their beloved team. Some Dodgers fans have even started sites like this one, which is begging Mark Cuban to buy this team. I’m sure Cuban is probably into the idea, and has been in the running for purchasing a few baseball teams, so if you can get one at a discount why not try. Maybe he’ll wait till after the Mavs are done with their season.
All in all it’s been a wacky year for the Dodgers. Aside from Kemp and Ethier there haven’t been a ton of bright spots for them, until today. Ethier might have even made a salute to the owners during batting practice yesterday. Jaime McCourt decided to sound off for the first time in awhile. Today she requested that the Supreme Court look into a forced sale of the team to prevent the MLB from seizing the club. It’s not a shocking move by any means, but it is a huge step to getting the Dodgers back to their normal selves. It would be great to see more talk about their on-field product instead of what Frank messed up on in the news headlines. The MLB looks like it’s almost assured to seize the team, so if Jaime can get the court on her side which she’s been trying to do for months, it will speed up the process of getting a new owner in there that would be a relief to all Dodgers fans. I highly doubt anyone wants the league running their team, unless you’re the Hornets and are being saved.
Obviously Jaime has been against the big Fox television deal that Frank keeps insisting will save this team financially. I have one reason to side with Jaime, and that reason is you’re never in a good position when you’re broke. It sounds like $3B would be a huge TV contract and would relive some debt for the short term, but I’m almost positive they could do better than the deal offered. Fox probably smells blood and wants to take advantage. Here’s a good quote from Jaime that really shows the differences between the two sides as in I don’t think Frank really has the best interests of the team in mind.
“As I’ve said all along, my goal is to resolve this situation for my family in a way that also advances the best interests of the Dodgers fans, players and franchise. This motion will hopefully provide some momentum in the right direction.”
Stern’s Letter To Sacramento
As much as I wanted to talk about how much I love Derrick Rose and the Bulls right now, I’m sure you’re all aware already of how Chicago fared against Miami last night. What you may not have seen in your usual news outlets is a letter written to Sacramento from NBA Commissioner David Stern. I usually will take the first opportunity I can to jump all over Stern, but this letter impressed me…. the first time I read it, at least. He talks about how support from everyone from Mayor Kevin Johnson, to other state politicians, to local businesses, to of course the fans, was “a phenomenon unlike any other (he) has seen in almost three decades as NBA commissioner.” Just when Sacramento seemed all but certainly to be the next Seattle, too many people stepped up to say, NOT SO FAST. Even Seattle fans, who are forced to endure the Oklahoma City franchise’s run deep into the NBA playoffs, lent their support to the cause. Anyone with any knowledge whatsoever of the situation who didn’t think a month ago that the team was moving for sure is lying. I sure did.
Though as nice as the concept of the letter is, a second read opened my eyes to how – well, “Stern” this letter really is. No matter how much the commissioner tries to sugar-coat it, the message, I believe, is simple. “You better pony up for a new arena. You need it. It’s in your best interests.”
TO READ THE LETTER, CLICK HERE
Memphis vs. OKC: Their Futures
The theme of the NBA playoffs seems to be the youth movement. Aside from the Mavs, all three teams left are fairly young, and look like they’ll be around for years to come, which had me thinking more about the future than this year. Today I was looking at the Memphis and OKC rosters for the next few years, and there was one thing that stood out to me, how can they keep these cores together? There’s a couple of reasons I think a team like Memphis has a better chance than OKC at sustaining success for the next six years like say Miami and Chicago probably will too. The reason I decided to compare Memphis and OKC is because they are both small market teams that are very young.
I’ll start with the Grizzlies, since it’s a team that for some reason has grown on me a lot over the season. What made Memphis successful this season? Their size and scrappiness on defense. Their size with Marc Gasol and Z-Bo is tough to match for any team. Z-Bo already got his extension, and obviously Gasol is going to be making more than $3M next year and every year after that, so Gasol is priority #1 for them this off-season. They have a bargain PG in Conley locked up for five years, who seems to be slowly getting better even though barely anyone had faith in him (myself included). They will also have Rudy Gay back in the lineup next year. He’s been labeled over rated, but if you saw him play much this year you’d know that isn’t the case, and he might even be worth his huge contract when it’s all said and done. The media talk about Gay has bugged me, because everyone seems to think he is Joe Johnson part II, when a) he’s five years younger than Joe, and b) he gets more steals, rebounds, and blocks than Joe (ie. plays defense). Am I the only one that thinks it’s obsured that people think they need to trade Rudy Gay? After Gay played with team USA on the gold medal run this year, he seemed to get it, which is a time when normally players seem to figure it out (mid-20’s) or be destined to never figure it out. Unfortunately for us (and him), he broke his arm during the last month of the regular season, so he wasn’t around this year in the playoffs, and now he should be traded!?! Really!?! My question for those people calling for them to trade Gay is, are you really putting a lot of stock in OJ (I play no defense and am a little crazy) Mayo. That’s what you’d be replacing Gay with in the long term if they’re building from in house talent. Tony Allen and OJ Mayo both feel like 6th men types to me, and you can find them elsewhere if you need to. Tony Allen is a shut down defensive guy, but is limited in offense. OJ is great when asked to help out the offense, but doesn’t play defense as we saw Harden torching him over and over. Gay plays both ways, and no, I’m not sure on his sexual prefrences, but I do know he works as hard on defense as his offense. He also made a few game winners this year if you didn’t remember, don’t you think he would’ve helped in that triple OT game when they needed a clutch bucket from anyone badly? I do, and think this is a team that hasn’t reached it’s full potential as Gay, Conley, and Gasol will all improve. As I said in the past, Memphis has a bright future for at least the next five years.
The curious case of OKC. They currently have a roster that has ALL their big names at or under the age of 22, which seems great on the outside looking in. It’s amazing to me that everyone thinks that everything will be great for them for the next decade when there will be a ton of franchise changing decisions on the horizon. It’s a team that has dealt with little as far as basketball careers go, since almost all of the important players except Perkins and Durant are still on their rookie contracts. What I understand about this team is this, Durant works harder than anyone on the team, he’s their best player, it rubs off on everyone else, etc., but does it rub others the wrong way on how he’s mister perfect? I’m asking Westbrook this question as I go along, because he’s the main player that you have to question within this team. Forget all the ill-advised shots he took against the Grizzlies, the real question becomes does he want to be Robin or does he want to be Derrick Rose (aka Superman) on his OWN team?
Does Westbrook have the Scottie Pippen and Lebron gene that says “I’m okay being the sidekick”? From what I’ve observed, I feel like Westbrook has more of an alpha type personality than Durant as far as being demonstrative on and off the court. At times we saw him ignore Durant during the game, which begs the question if we have to pick one, who is it? If you didn’t pick Durant your fooling yourself. Yes, I understand that the way this team was built was genius, and the envy of the league at the moment, but how sustainable is this team? They picked Ibaka, Harden, Maynor, and Westbrook all in the top five, and all of them are going to be asking for their paydays once they are done playing for these very friendly rookie contracts they are currently in. I think Ibaka just started playing hoops last week and is getting better by the game, so aren’t he and Westbrook going to command top dollar? Would they stay to play with Durant for the sake of winning or do either of them think they can do it on their own elsewhere? That might not even be the biggest question for them moving forward. Money is a funny thing that can lure anyone away from anywhere, and I’m sure Ibaka has some homies that need help in the Congo. Westbrook was born and raised in LA, and doesn’t it seem likely with his alpha type character he’d want to try to spread his wings on his own to see if he can lead a team like Derrick Rose is? I’m not saying that this team is going to get blown up for sure, but you have to wonder in a small market like thiers how big is that window. You’d think with them all being so young it would be a decade long window, but at the moment I just don’t see it being anywhere near that long. The Heat and Grizzlies both have their cores locked up for a lot longer than the Thunder do. The 2012-13 season might be their last hurrah as a group together, and if that’s the case, Miami and Memphis will still have their cores locked up for three more years after that. All I’m saying is that this groups window might only be three years, and I’m praying I’m right since I’d love to see Durant getting frustrated and leaving so his paychecks aren’t signed by Clay Bennett anymore…
Can the Sharks Actually Come Through?
I don’t follow hockey aside from the Sharks, and by saying I follow them, that mostly entails looking at where they are in the standings every once in awhile. Once the playoffs roll around I usually start watching some of their games, and this year hasn’t been any different. I mean you gotta take a break from the NBA playoffs every now and then! I think the real reason I don’t get entirely into hockey is because nearly every year I watch the Sharks just to be disappointed with their playoff performance. They usually have a pretty high seed, and a solid team, but never make it over the hump. It must be the same kind of feeling that Mavs fans have as they are great through the regular season only to suck and collapse in the playoffs. I thought maybe this year would be different, kinda like I think every year will be different for them, but looking at it a little before the game 7 tonight, I don’t seem to have much faith in them. They had a 3-0 series lead on the Red Wings, and are faced to play a game 7 tonight at home in HP Pavilion, which doesn’t feel like much of an advantage. The Sharks are on the verge of being the fourth NHL team to lose a series after going up 3-0. I’m tentatively excited about the game if the SJ star (Marleau) can get his act together, because he’s been non-existent this series. Even his former teammate and my favorite player in video games when I was younger Jeremy Roenick, even called him out. The whole team has lacked energy in the losses, and it’s probably fair to blame their captain, so I agree with Roenick that Marleau needs to stop being so gutless. I feel like they’ve already booked their off-season plane tickets like Andrew Bynum did. Hopefully they win tonight, but I feel like there’s a much better chance they’ll lose…