Friday, August 22, 2008

All-Export Team

With all the talk of players headed for greener pastures (and bigger paychecks) overseas, I'd like to single out some players who haven't gone yet but definitely SHOULD.

Introducing the All-Export Team, losers who've worn out their welcome on this side of the pond and need to get their sorry asses to the Euroleague pronto.

Stephon Marbury
Pleasepleaseplease just go to fucking Italy already. Sell your crappy shoes over there. What a douche.

Steve Francis
Spare me the headache of hearing about your latest failed comeback attempt. Go try your luck in Juventut or Maccabi. Or retire gracefully into the waiting arms of Cuttino Mobley.

Ricky Davis
Why would the Clips trade for this guy? Not since JR Rider has there been a player this bad for team morale.

Antoine Walker
I'm sick of his sadsack face. With all his pouting and grimacing, he's like the black Danny Ainge.

Brad Miller
Just seems like kind of a dick, right? Maybe he'd fit in better in Poland.

So there's my starting five. If they were on the next flight out, I'd be a lot happier about putting up the money for League Pass next year.

All-Export (dis)honorable mention: Zach Randolph, Jamaal Tinsley, Jason Williams, Erick Dampier, Reggie Evans.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Andrew Bynum: The Next Benoit Benjamin?

As the Lakers contemplate whether or not to give young, recently injured Andrew Bynum a max contract, I�m reminded of another talented center with limitless potential and a questionable work ethic- Benoit Benjamin.

In case you don�t remember Benoit, he was a lottery pick of the Clippers in �85. His first few years in the league, he showed steady progress and appeared to be on the verge of stardom in �88 when he averaged over 16 points, almost 9 boards and over 3 blocks a game.

Then he got a big contract.

The rest of Benjamin�s 15-year career was respectable but hardly noteworthy. Particularly annoying to fans and management alike was Benoit�s complete lack of focus. His legacy was bringing two left sneakers to an exhibition game.

Numerous times in his first three seasons, Andrew Bynum�s attitude has been questioned by not only Kobe Bryant (the parking lot rant) but also by Hall Of Fame mentor, Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Phil Jackson repeatedly called him out for being lazy and slow to learn defensive rotations.

In fact, until this year, Bynum didn�t impress anyone except Jim Buss, the man responsible for drafting him against the better wishes of just about everyone else in the organization.

Then early last season, the kid had his big breakout. With Chris Mihm injured, Bynum stepped into the starting role and played like he belonged there, averaging a double-double and blocking shots at a league-leading pace. With each impressive performance, the critics grew quieter. Kobe stopped pining for Jason Kidd. Phil seemed genuinely surprised and delighted at this unexpected good fortune. Great nicknames like 'Mandrew' and 'Bynumite' started popping up all over the place. People started comparing him to Shaq, for fuck's sake.

As you know, the story doesn't end well. Bynum hurt his knee and missed the entire second half of the season plus the playoffs. In the aftermath of the Lakers/Celtics debacle, many wondered whether his presence alone would have altered the outcome. Wow. Think about that for a sec. Thirty games of solid basketball and suddenly Andrew Bynum's absence is the reason LA lost the title.

Pretty good time to negotiate a new contract, right?

Laker fans think Bynum deserves a max deal now, even though his rookie deal's good through the end of the year. They want to lock him up to keep him from leaving as a free agent in '09.

But what's Bynum proven, really? He hasn't been an All-Star or a Finals MVP. And he's coming off a knee injury. Why not wait until the kid shows he can do it for a full season before breaking the bank?

Remember Benoit Benjamin? I do. I remember a talented big man who stopped caring the second he got paid.

Note: Compare third year numbers between Bynum and Benjamin.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Collective Shrugs For Departing Scrubs

Add Earl Boykins to the list of marginal players who are bailing on the NBA for better contract offers overseas, joining such fan favorites as Carlos Arroyo, Bostjan Nachbar, Nenad Krstic, Carlos Delfino, Josh Childress and Juan Carlos Navarro.

When Josh Childress is the biggest name on any list, you know it's a non-issue.

Here's a picture of Shaq preparing to EAT Earl Boykins.

'C'mere, Lil' Boykins. Get into my belly!'

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Team Nike vs Adidas Brotherhood

Everyone knows that Nike absolutely dominates the US basketball shoe market. Adidas is solidly in second place but it's an extremely distant second, like Phil Mickelson chasing Tiger Woods.

The men's US Olympic team is basically Nike's honor roll: Kobe, Lebron, Kidd, Chris Paul, D Williams, Boozer, Bosh, Carmelo, Tayshaun Prince, Mike Redd- all these guys have Nike contracts. Even Coach K has a shoe deal with Nike. Of the entire team, only Dwyane Wade (Converse, which is now owned by Nike) and Dwight Howard (Adidas) are non-Nike members.

Now look at the players Adidas currently has on its roster: Howard, KG, Duncan, Gilbert Arenas, Chauncey Billups, Tracey McGrady, Josh Smith, Leandro Barbosa and Antawn Jamison.

Get where I'm going with this?

I'm saying fuck the Olympics; nobody gives a shit how many points the US beats Latvia by. I WANNA SEE THE NIKE AND ADIDAS TEAMS GO AT IT.

I wanna see a qualifying series, best of seven, and the winner then gets to represent the USA in the Olympics.

The NBA's always talking about 'transparency.' How about some transparency about how our US team is chosen? Instead of selling the public the ridiculous idea that 12 out of 14 members of our 'national' team just coincidentally happen to be represented by the same conglomerate, why not make the shoe companies battle it out for all the marbles?

This will never happen, of course. Nike wouldn't have the balls. And these millionaire athletes would have to admit that their interest in the tournament was as much financial as patriotic.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Charles Oakley: From Enforcer To...Chef???

Charles Oakley built his career on the ability to simultaneously intimidate and entertain. Best known for beating the shit out of anyone who laid a finger on Michael Jordan or Patrick Ewing, Oak was like a hockey player on the hardwood, the Marty McSorley of the NBA.

He wasn't that tall (6'9) and could barely jump but was still consistently one of the top rebounders in the league simply because of hard work and desire. Fans loved him for it. His jersey always outsold other high profile Knicks at the MSG store.

His off the court antics were well documented, too. He was particularly fond of slapping people that disobeyed him. Like Tyrone Hill. Or Jeff McInnis. Or Scottie Pippen.

So what's Oak up to these days? Um, apparently he's hosting a low budget cooking show. And if you believe John Starks (I do), he just might have the chops in the kitchen to pull it off.