Sunday, March 30, 2008

Looking for my new Isiah

As the recent speculation has shown, I may need a new NBA go-to guy to help fill the bloghole. Here's my top prospects.

1) Pat Riley. From stabbing his coach in the back for a championship run to failing to ignore the de rigue Shaq Smack as he's leaving town, the man with the hairstyle from the mid '50s and '80s is slowly but surely rising in the ranks of Embarrassing Old Men.

With his Heat now dogged by the "injury bug" that always envelopes terrible teams and organizations (perfected by the pre-Nellie Warriors, and practiced by half of the Eastern Conference last year in the hopes to get Durant or Oden), and the clock ticking down on when Dwayne Wade will engineer one of those Unhappy Star Trades, Riles really needs to hang it up before anyone does the math and realizes that he's, well, doing a terrible job.

No one seems to be paying any attention to the breathtaking mail-in job that the Heat players are doing this year (tonight's half-time score: 50-30), but honestly... they are so bad, they don't even have a player you can own in roto leagues right now. I can't remember ever saying that about a team before.

2) Larry Bird. The hick who can't GM worth a lick is only the third worst star player / GM in the league, since Isiah and McHale both remain employed, but those teams haven't managed to shoot up the neighborhood the way that Bird's men have. Bird gets special bonus points for not only franchising the perpetual disappointment that is Jermaine O'Neal, but also keeping him forever, making sure that his millstone doesn't have any real trade value, either. And if the Pacers somehow stagger into the 8th spot in the East for a 3-and-flush effort against the Celtics... well, really, are the Pacers better off, given who is at the helm, with some balls in the lottery hopper?

3) Mark Cuban.
But the prize will, in all likelihood, go to the man who has done nothing for the past 2+ years but damage to his reputation. From the perpetual puling in the Finals to the refs giving ever call to Wade (he probably had a point, but he made it so badly, no one cared), to the courtside crying against the Warriors last year, to this year's hair-pulling fight with sports bloggers... well, let's just say that I'm beginning to think that Mavs' fans might be pining for the return of Ross Perot, really.

And maybe, just maybe, they'll lose tonight to the Warriors and find themselves out of the playoffs. Gosh, could we still have a playoff season in the NBA without being able to root against the utterly unlikable Mavs?

Seriously, Cubes, what good does it do you to engage in baiting the blogosphere with your locker room ban, and equating the entire output of all of the writers as one monolithic product o' gossip? Once again, sloppy generalizations from someone who should know better (see Costas, Bob) come into play.

Sure, some of us are just going for cheap laughs. Others are going to geek it up with Moneyball-esque stat work. Still more are going to be little more than talk radio (which, I'm noting, you don't seem to be willing to bait so openly, maybe because you've got just enough sense to fight only when you've got numbers).

Most of us don't need (or, in my case, want) locker room access to do what we do. Nor do we need to be baited by a dot-com billionaire, Ayn Rand-lover, egomaniac celebrity dancer and remarkably insufferable human being. Why don't you just go back to starting a new football league, not buying a baseball team, or following around Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson for media coverage?

In any event, Cubes, I'm sure you'll give me and mine plenty more to write about. Just not so much about, you know, basketball.

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