A few D’s notes to wrap the week up.
Poor Reggie Miller. He signed his two year contract with the Pacers yesterday, and boldly proclaimed that even when he was injured last year, he was better than 2/3 of the shooting guards in the league. There are 29 teams in the NBA. I’m feeling charitable today (And Reggie is old) so I’ll round up and say that means he needs to be in the top ten of shooting guards to back that up. Reggie averaged 12.6 points per game last year. Four of the top five scorers in the league last year were shooting guards (Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, and Paul Pierce). In fact, Reggie’s scoring numbers don’t even get him into the top 50 in overall scoring.
Sure, positions aren’t set in stone in the NBA. You also ask, ‘Isn’t there more to basketball than scoring?’ Not at the shooting guard spot. If you rebound or rack up assist numbers at the 2 guard spot, that’s all gravy to the team. Your job is to score, and often. Reggie couldn’t ever play defense, so it’s not like he’s out there still shutting guys down when his shot isn’t dropping.
I think Ed Lilya summed it up best this morning when he said, ‘Ego is a powerful thing when you’re an up-and-coming player’.but after a while, ego is just a bitch.’ Well said.
Even better, the Pacers dicked around so long hammering out Reggie’s contract, and tied up so much money, that Jon Barry chose to sign with Denver rather than keep waiting for an offer from Indy. Let’s reset the Pacers lineup: All NBA caliber power forward (Jermaine O’Neal), role playing center (Scot Pollard), completely insane small forward (Ron Artest), Old Mother Miller at the two guard, and a wildly inconsistent point guard who can’t shoot (Jamaal Tinsley). No proven depth in the backcourt. Lots of ‘potential’ sitting behind the three frontcourt players. Donnie Walsh and Larry Bird better be damn confident about Al Harrington’s health and Jonathan Bender’s development otherwise this team has nothing.
Jason Whitlock beat me to a column about the off-season state of Big 8+4 basketball. Who knew that Larry Eustachy’s mess would completely be forgotten and the Ricky Clemmons situation at Mizzou largely ignored because of what’s happened at Baylor. Is it too late to get SMU to take Baylor’s place? Gives the conference a team in Dallas, plus all the kids from Johnson County who end up at SMU would still get a chance to see KU play every year (although, like Baylor, we couldn’t beat them in football either). Sounds like a deal to me!
Who decided Stuart Scott was worthy of endorsements? The guy is horrible on Sportscenter, NFL Countdown, etc. His exchanges with John Madden last year on Monday Night Countdown were some of the lowest points in TV sports history. There must be some threshold for working at ESPN at which advertisers say, ‘Well, he’s awful, but people have seen him for ten years. Maybe he’ll make them want to buy pain killers.’ The chest bump he does in the Tylenol commercial is classic Scott. Lays the ball up, then makes a big production of it. Dude is like 47 and he’s still trying to convince us he’s 21 and ‘in-touch’. Every time I see him on I Love the 70s or 80s, I immediately switch, because I know nothing of value is coming up.
Now some good TV, to balance that. I was a huge fan of the Daily Show in its first couple years, when ESPN alum Craig Kilborne was the host. For whatever reason, I quit watching several years ago (and have never really watched his show on CBS either). I’ve been watching a lot more lately, and Jon Stewart is a freaking genius. He had two great Arnold lines this week. First, when speaking to young kids in New York (they can vote in CA? That state is screwed up!), Arnold got the kids to say, ‘We say no to violence.’ Cut back to Stewart who stares blankly at the camera. ‘So The Terminator’..Conan the Barbarian says we should say no to violence?!?!’ Later in the week, when Arnold released his first campaign ad and talked about leading California into the future, Stewart said, ‘But what if, in that future, someone is sent back from further in the future to interrupt our prosperity. I don’t know, a robot or a hot chick, or a molten piece of metal that can morph into any shape. How will Governor Arnold handle that?’ The first ten minutes of each night’s episode are always worth watching.
I forget what the line was, but Mike Allison put odds on when I would first mention English Premier League soccer, I mean football. Well, Mike, today’s the day. I was watching the Portsmouth-Aston Villa game last Saturday. Newly promoted Portsmouth was hanging onto a narrow 2-1 lead late over traditional giants Villa. The camera focused on a fan in the stands who had both hands behind his head, face twisted with stress, squinting at the clock to see how much time was left. The commentator, in a classic, dry, English manner, said, ‘That’s the face of life in the Premier League there: 90 minutes of pure agony.’ I loved that comment. Erick R. and I have often talked about how sometimes we just like to get KU games over with, so we can relax. Isn’t that stupid? You look forward to a game for a week, then get so tense during the action that you can’t really enjoy it. The English angle was nice as well. Teams move among divisions based on their success from year-to-year in European football (If the Royals were a soccer team in England, they would have been relegated for a decade now). Fans of first division clubs hope their side finishes in the promotion zone so they can jump to the Premier League and play with the big boys. Their reward? 90 minutes every Saturday of not being able to breath nor see straight. Sounds like a good trade-off to me.