Tuesday, June 27, 2006

James Dolan and Isiah Thomas: Poetry in motion

---How great was yesterday's interview with Knicks owner James Dolan and Isiah Thomas? Dolan explaining how Larry Brown screwed them and how Isiah made his bed and now has to lie in it--and he better make that bed look better soon ---or else!---all with Isiah sitting right next to him, had to be one of the most fascinating and extremely comedic moments for me this summer. Isiah had a look on his face that was priceless. It was that "I can't believe your saying this with me right here, you dumbass" looks. I was drinking a coke at the time and snorted it through my nose when I laughed. That was slightly less awesome than the interview, but I digress. --anyway back to Dolan's comments on Brown. He acts shocked that Brown laid a big turd on the Knicks logo. This is akin to an interview I saw once of a pornstar who had contracted aids after shooting a gang-bang video. She was in tears and was shocked that she had gotten the disease. Yep, that came out of nowhere. I mean she had done some great stuff in the past I'm sure. How could she have know that one of the 60 guys she did that day might be HIV+ or have Aids? I mean Larry Brown had done some good stuff as well right? So what if he's fueded with stars before or changed jobs more times than I've changed my kids diapers. Oh but wait, there was that little incident in Detroit just before Larry was hired to help clean up Isiah's mess. Oh yeah, that's right Brown did sabotage the Pistons and screw his players in Detroit. And I seem to remember he did this even before the seasons was over. Then he proceeded to bend the Piston's brass over for a chunk of change he didn't deserve. It might have been just me but some alarm bells were ringing after that.
You know, I have a sister like James Dolan. Can't tell them anything. They have to learn everthing the hard way. Well James ol buddy, get the Ben-Gay out and ready because you've still got Isiah and the abusing ain't done yet.

Other random ramblings today:

----Anytime the North Carolina Tar Heels get beat is a good day for me. It doesn't matter what sport. So a championship choke job to the Oregon State Beavers in baseball calls for night out at McDonalds. I'm buying.

----The fact that the first player to be taken in the NBA draft might just be someone you have never heard of before (Andrea Bargnani) tells you all you need to know about this draft class. If the Raptors are smart they'll trade the pick.

----You know how when you were a kid and you picked favorite teams based on how cool their uniforms were? I think I'm reverting back to that trend. I found myself rooting for the Ukraine yesterday in World Cup action. Yellow shirts, yellow shorts, yellow socks (with a little tiger stripe blue thrown in for good measure). I'm guessing even their jock straps were yellow. I don't know if you'd call those unis cool but those dudes have some serious balls to be wearing what they are, and that rates high with me.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Dwyane Wade: Is he the best player in the NBA?

I was torn watching game 6 of the NBA finals last night. I really wanted a to see a 7th game but I didn't particularly relish the idea of the Mavericks (ie. Mark Cuban) winning the title if if went that far. Now I'm not a huge Heat fan (I don't like Shaq, Riley, Walker, Payton, or Haslem) but if you have read any of my previous posts this year you know I'm a Dwyane Wade fan. What happened in the finals is what happened all season for the Heat. Wade took over when it mattered. Shaq is still relevant but not to the extent that he or others think. This is Wade's team and Shaq is an accessory, albeit a rather large piece of bling. I'm feeling somewhat justified about my pick for this season's MVP now and I would think that if the Heat are contending next season Wade will be a larger part of the MVP discussion.

I notice after many people having anointed either Lebron, Kobe and amazingly even Dirk (after his pre-finals play) as the best player in the NBA, they are now jumping on the Dwyane Wade bandwagon as the best player out there. People need to just relax. I have stated before that I thought Wade was the best this season but let's see what the next couple of years have in store. I think it will be a battle between him, Lebron James, and perhaps Kobe (if he can mentally ever get it together--doubtful). Kobe's disappearance in his final game this season as well as other games where he has pouted have put him on shaky ground but I'm convinced that to be called the best you have to be like a player like Kobe that is able to dribble and create your own shot. Nowitzki and even Tim Duncan rely on others to get them the ball. Notice that one of the last plays in the game last night was one in which Nowitzki got the ball at the top of the key but couldn't break his defender down and had to pass off (a pass which Eric Dampier couldn't handle). That's just too big of a limitation for a candidate for "Best player in the NBA". Same with Tim Duncan. Many times it's Tony Parker or Ginoboli who ends up taking the big shot at the end. They can create the shot whereas Duncan (as most bigger guys are) is limited. Plus you don't want Duncan shooting free-throws at the end of the game. That right there takes him out of the discussion.

Jordan is held as the gold standard and haunts all other players who would be called the "best". Besides Jordan's 6 rings there are other reasons why he is the template for which guys wanting to be called the best are compared to. He had the basketball qualities that defined greatness and if a player has most or all of these characteristics he could be called the "Best player in the NBA". These charactaristics include:

1. You have to be able to dominate an entire game offensively. This doesn't mean every game is this way but you have to physically be able to do it if needed. Wade, Lebron, Kobe, Dirk, Tim, and a host of others can all do this.

2. You have to be a clutch shooter late in the game including on the free throw line. Games are won with shots both ways. Obviously Duncan is not someone you want to depend on if there were no seconds left on the clock and a free throw decides the game.

3. You have to be able to dribble the ball (including slicing and driving) and create shots against multiple defenders. This goes back to clutch shooting. You have to be able to get in position to take the clutch shots and without the ability to create that shot you are putting the ball into someone else's hands. Like Eric Dampier or Jason Terry. Dirk Nowitzki can shoot and create better than any 7 footer out there but he's just a step too slow if he has multiple defenders.

4. You have to be good defensively. I think a great defensive player obviously make this a slam dunk but if a player has all other qualities and is still "good" on the defensive end then he could still be called the best. You can't be a defensive liability though. Wade still needs to improve in this area as he is not great defensively but he is a decent defender and I think on the verge of being a good one. Nowitzki could be called decent as well but you wouldn't label him a good defender by any means and I don't think he's going to get any better. Lebron James on the other hand is really not good on the defensive end. This is a big reason why right now I would rate Wade above James. I think James physically has it in him to be good or even a great defender but he has not yet made an effort to do it. We'll see if this changes in the future. Of all the "best in the NBA" candidates, Kobe Bryant takes this category hands down. There is a reason why he makes All-defensive teams.

5. This is a big one and yet it's one that has the least amount of physical traits attached to it. You have to be able to elevate the play of your teammates and be a true team leader. It can't be a one man show all the time . Sometimes guys like Steve Kerr, Brent Barry, or even James Posey (last night) have to have the confidence to hit big shots and make a difference. Jordan learned this the hard way. But he did learn it. I think Duncan, Wade, Lebron, and even Nowitzki in varying degrees are able to do this. This is where Kobe Bryant is still lacking.

---Three players have at least 4 out of the 5 qualities here. Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, and Kobe Bryant. I think Kobe physically is the best of the three but mentally his immaturity has and will keep him from assuming the mantle of "Best player in the NBA". I see Dwyane Wade and Lebron James as the two that will fight for this title (and who knows maybe the Eastern conference and NBA titles as well) in the next few years. As this season ends, Dwyane Wade in my mind holds both titles. But Lebron James may have something to say about that next year and the in the years to come. Should be fun to watch.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Mark Cuban swaps recipes with David Stern....or not.

This picture is one you won't be seeing replicated anytime soon. Cuban obviously is in full conspiracy mode right about now. Either that or he was mouthing "you complete me" to David Stern last night after the game when he was staring him down. But that's iffy at best. The rest of the Mavs are pissed too. What they should be upset about is that they aren't playing like they were the first two games. That and the fact that Dwyane Wade is killing them. He's just fun to watch isn't he? I'm interested to see how the Mavs respond in game 6. I hope this series goes 7 games just so I can watch Wade and Mark Cuban. Their entertainment value has gone through the roof! What would be really great is if Dallas loses in the last seconds of game 7 and "Cubes" goes beserk and goes into the stands after Stern. This is then followed by a court mandated counseling session with Ron Artest. I'm an optimist I know.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Dream Big: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson at the US Open

I had a dream last night that I was in the U.S. Open Golf Tourney. I was ripping drives 50 yards past Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. My short iron game was on and my putting was unbelievable. Of course I was doing it while wearing clown feet and sporting a Ben Wallace Afro. Oh and occasionally a cartoon character would give me high fives. But that aside it was a very cool dream. I made a hole in one on a par 4 and promptly told Lefty and Tiger to eat my shorts. Then I made out with Jessica Alba. Which was nice.
So what does the dream mean? I don't know and frankly I don't care. I was kicking ass and scoring with a major hottie. Does there need to be complexity here?

And speaking of no-brainers, there is the matter of the real U.S. Open and the media's wet dream of having the final day come down to Tiger and Phil. I like everyone else would like to see this happen. We've been waiting for a rival for Tiger for years. Vijay Singh gave it a run for a year or so before his putter ran away with him (Maybe he'll make another go at it starting today. Hopefully not because Vijay's a major weenie. Nobody likes him because win or lose he pisses people off with his attitude).

Anyway back to Phil. With some Majors in his pocket now he has catapulted his way into the role of legitimate Tiger rival. A duel between these two this weekend would solidify it. It's what we all want. And since I won't be staring down Tiger and Phil anytime soon and a hookup with Jessica Alba is unlikely, this is the only dream that has a shot of coming true.

Monday, June 12, 2006

When will people get it?

I saw something on tv last fall about Kellen Winslow's motorcycle accident and Ben Roethlisberger was being interviewed about his penchant for motorcycle riding especially without a helmet. He defended himself saying he's careful. I thought to myself at the time that that was the most idiotic thing I had heard in a while. I told my wife watching with me at the time, "I hope he is around someday to regret what he is saying". I hate to be right about these things. If you've seen the news on Big Ben then you know what I'm talking about. Hopefully he turns out to be ok. If I was a Steeler fan I'd hope he never looks at a motorcycle again.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Heat vs. Mavs

I'm out of town on a work conference this week so I'll keep this short. Where can I buy the Mark Cuban voodoo doll complete with complimentary pins and matches? --Go Heat.