Monday, January 13, 2014
5 comments Derrick Rose Isn't Humble, He's Injured; Another Example of the Sports-Talk Radioification of Modern Sports Journalism
Complaining while not playing is a bad look for someone who has sold a phony reputation as a humble, team-oriented kid.
Derrick Rose doesn't want to rebuild. This is completely understandable. No professional athlete wants to rebuild. No professional athlete wants to be injured two years in a row and watch his team lose while he is on the bench. Everyone is happy when a team wins, everyone is unhappy when a team is losing. Winning covers up flaws a team has, while losing creates flaws where there may not actually be flaws or exacerbates current flaws.
Derrick Rose isn't not team-oriented because he doesn't want to rebuild. He's a human being because he doesn't want to rebuild. The Bulls don't want to sit around and wait for Rose to get healthy and plan around a player they aren't completely sure will come back as their franchise player. Derrick Rose knows the Bulls either (a) want to rebuild and possibly not have him be the centerpiece of the rebuilding plan or (b) rebuild in a way where the Bulls aren't a championship contender when Rose gets healthy. Not looking forward to a rebuild is being human and not in any way non-team-oriented or not humble.
According to a story in the New York Daily News, Rose is now unhappy that the Bulls will have to reconstruct their roster in an effort to win a championship, apparently thinking that such a move would be a waste of his precious time and efforts.
I wonder how Dan Bernstein would feel if he missed a month of work with a health issue, only to return to hear that his co-host and many of his best co-workers were fired? Would Dan Bernstein roll with the punches or be upset while he was out of the office his employer gutted the office? I really, really doubt Dan would just roll with the punches and be pleased. This also wouldn't make Dan Bernstein selfish for not liking that his favorite co-workers were fired. Of course putting himself in Rose's shoes takes too much work, so Bernstein points a finger at Rose instead.
‘Derrick is worried that the Bulls are going to lose what they have,’ said a league source. ‘He doesn’t want to go through rebuilding.’”
This statement may be true/untrue depending on if the league source is a Bulls employee or a guy who works for another NBA team who wants to create drama on the Bulls roster. It's not like that type of thing doesn't happen, especially concerning a report coming from a league source reported in a New York paper. You think the Knicks wouldn't want Derrick Rose or Joakim Noah on the roster in the near future? Who is this league source?
To Dan Bernstein it doesn't matter because anonymous league sources and their quotes are a good way to have a hot sports take and change the narrative around Derrick Rose to one that says he is selfish and not humble.
What does he think they have, and where does he think it’s going? Most importantly, what does he not understand about the primary reason for the Bulls’ current plight?
He's a frustrated basketball player. Again, if Dan Bernstein came back from an extended break and found that his employer had fired many of his favorite co-workers or were planning on cleaning house at some point in the near future, do you think he would be happy about it? I really doubt it. He would be frustrated and upset.
It takes some nerve to call out his employers after they have paid him 30% of their salary cap to miss consecutive seasons.
It takes some nerve to call out a player for not being humble and then seeming to act as if Derrick Rose has gotten injured on purpose.
This is typical behavior from a player who has always done only what is in his personal best interest, everybody else be damned. He’ll take every last dollar, and enjoy all the team-supplied resources for medical consultations, surgeries, rehabilitation programs and various therapists, only to ignore their professional opinions just because he feels like it.
How dare a professional athlete take his own personal health into his own hands and not count on the medical staff on his team to do what is best for him instead of what is best for the team. We all know that the medical staff of a professional NBA or NFL team would NEVER do what is in the best interest of the team as opposed to what is best for the athlete. There are multiple stories of an NFL team's medical staff doing what is best for the team while risking the long-term health of the player. It's not crazy for Derrick Rose to take his own personal health into his own hands.
At this moment, John Paxson and Gar Forman are trying to win an NBA championship more in spite of Derrick Rose than because of him.
Of course they are. Derrick Rose keeps getting in the way of the Bulls winning an NBA title by intentionally getting injured.
It doesn’t help anything that Rose is not among the brightest bulbs, and that he still lives in an insular camp of cronies that is too often at odds with his team.
Again, Derrick Rose has a career to worry about and sometimes that career is at odds with what his employer wants for him. I guess Dan Bernstein wants Derrick Rose to live in an insular camp of cronies that does exactly what the Bulls tell him to do? That's the better option?
It was understandable for him to be shielded from Englewood gangs and other unsavory influences enough to get him a fair shot at a pro career, but enough already. He’s 25 years old, in his fifth NBA season, is worth a quarter-billion dollars and has a family of his own,
Which is why he has an obligation to his family and himself to not blindly trust the Bulls are going to do what is best for him and why he isn't completely pleased the Bulls are looking to rebuild. No player likes rebuilding, especially with the uncertainty of coming back from two straight seasons of suffering major injuries.
Reggie Rose is a clown, using the guise of brotherly love to aggrandize himself after a failed career as both player and coach that was marked by bizarre, immature behavior. Bulls officials have become increasingly frustrated by continued communication problems with Rose due to Reggie’s invasive influence, with one source telling WSCR “It’s like talking to a wall.”
Perhaps the best advice came from Charles Barkley last February, when he opined on TNT that instead of complaining about Bulls business, Reggie should “shut the hell up.”
Maybe Reggie Rose is a clown. Maybe he doesn't have Derrick's best interests at heart. Derrick Rose may be guilty of poor judgment in trusting his brother, but he isn't guilty of not being humble and being selfish for continuing to trust his brother.
Another problem is the presence of BJ Armstrong as part of Rose’s group as one of his agents. Armstrong’s personal bitterness toward Paxson and the Bulls runs long and deep: he’s still angry that he didn’t get the chance to replace Jerry Krause as GM and Paxson did, and the two former teammates are not on speaking terms. As long as he is allied with Rose there will be an undercurrent of conflict, with any comment or action subject to interpretation regarding ulterior motive.
How interesting that Dan Bernstein makes a comment saying any comment from Derrick Rose, B.J. Armstrong or John Paxson is subject to interpretation regarding ulterior motive while writing a column where Bernstein takes comments by an anonymous source in a New York paper and doesn't at all think about the source's ulterior motive. Bernstein feeds this undercurrent of conflict by choosing to interpret comments and Rose's actions in the way he does.
Derrick Rose needs to grow up, wise up, and seize control of his image and career before he and the bozos around him fritter away a mountain of good will, scattering his civic capital to the winds.
This is absolutely possible. Rose may need to trust different people, but his trust of his brother and his agent doesn't make him not humble.
He says he’s all about winning a championship, but then he carps about rebuilding when it appears his team is trying to do what it must to give him that very opportunity.
But Rose may not see rebuilding as the solution to winning a championship. Therein lies the problem. Rose knows the Bulls were close with him on the roster and healthy and doesn't want anything to change. It's human nature to feel this way.
And it’s certainly not humble, so we can stop with that. The quiet superstar is quiet not because he is naturally self-effacing, but because he is bad at talking. The local-kid-made-good storyline is over.
Okay then. Time to tear him down as quickly as possible.
He likes to let his game speak for him, but then refuses to play even when instructed to by doctors.
Let's not forget that Rose sat out the entire 2012-2013 season, which many felt was too long, and he still suffered another knee injury less than a month into the 2013-2014 season. Any athlete who has been injured knows he/she needs to come back only when that person feels comfortable having recovered from the injury. The idea Rose didn't play when "instructed to" by the Bulls' doctors doesn't seem like a terrible idea in retrospect considering Rose suffered another knee injury the following season.
He opts for cartilage repair that requires a longer-term recovery, and then lacks the basic understanding of how that changes the team’s title trajectory.
Right, because Rose got injured intentionally and then selfishly chooses a recovery process he thinks will bring him back to 100% health (which will benefit the Bulls greatly by the way).
As always, the Bulls are trying to take care of themselves while Derrick Rose tries to take care of Derrick Rose on the Bulls’ dime.
The Bulls can take care of themselves, but Derrick Rose isn't allowed to take care of himself. Got it.
Sadly, the two endeavors don’t always seem to be working toward the same ends.
Derrick Rose is concerned the Bulls are rebuilding because he thinks this negatively affects his goal to win an NBA title, while the Bulls are possibly thinking of rebuilding so they can win an NBA title. It seems the two sides just have different ways of reaching the same end. It's just Rose isn't humble anymore because that's the new narrative required to tear him down.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Did you know that oysters are aphrodisiacs? Maybe you didn’t, but you probably weren’t surprised when I told you. When you eat them, there’s that little extra kick that rattles around your body. It’s that same inexplicable, know-it-when-you-see it quality that defines NBA megastars. There are plenty of superstars, don’t get me wrong. Amar’e Stoudemire, Dwight Howard and Deron Willams immediately come to mind. Yet they seem to occupy a different, slightly lesser dimension of greatness that merely agrees instead of supersedes. That is, they fulfill our expectations from the onset. Nothing less, nothing more. A grilled chicken sandwich, of sorts. It’s going to be good, maybe great, but it’s not going to unequivocally bewilder and amaze your taste buds. When these players step on the court, we don’t hold our breath for the spectacular because we already know they’re spectacular.
That next level, the one that Dirk, LeBron and Kobe occupy, flirts with the unknown. We know they’re spectacular, but we can’t help but wonder and anticipate. They accomplish the unfathomable. Kevin Durant is waiting to join this group. As I wrote the other day, it’s not a question of his natural ability.
Instead, he’s grappling with Westbrook for the right to progress to that final echelon. On the remaining playoff teams, there’s no question that Dirk, LeBron and Rose will be the ones to put the nail in the coffin. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the stats. Of these five end game closers, (LeBron, Dirk, Rose, Westbrook and Durant. We’re ignoring Wade because he does not have enough attempts), here’s how their true shooting percentage in clutch situations breaks down during the 2011 playoffs:
(clutch situation = 5 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, five point game or less):
Player A: 47 points, 19 FGA, 26 FTA, 77.20 TS%
Player B: 37 points, 25 FGA, 11 FTA, 62.00 TS%
Player C: 30 points, 21 FGA, 13 FTA, 56.14 TS%
Player D: 39 points, 31 FGA, 9 FTA, 55.78 TS%
Player E: 25 points, 31 FGA, 13 FTA, 34.04 TS%
Can you identify who is who? The two-horse race for most clutch player left in the playoffs isn’t as close as people actually think. With a whopping 78.48 TS%, Dirk has established himself as the preeminent finisher. As deadly as Dirk’s jumper is, it’s his free throws that are doing the main damage. With double the output of the next closest competitor, teams clearly can’t keep him off the line.
So who’s in second (Player B)? You might be surprised, but it’s actually Kevin Durant at 63.85%. Despite being limited to 21 FGA, Durant has succeeded when given the opportunity. But that’s exactly the point. Coming in at an awful 33.01 TS%, Westbrook has attempted two more free throws and six more field goals than Durant. Is it just me or is something backwards here? To take the next step, Durant needs to demand the ball in every late game situation. What do you think Kobe would do if Phil Jackson drew up a last second shot for Pau Gasol? Slap the clipboard out of his hand? Knock over Phil’s throne on the bench? Call him a word that might lead to the inevitable $100,000 fine? What about if Mike Brown drew up a play for Ron Artest? I don’t even want to think about the carnage, half-hearted apology and incessant media debate.
In 4th place, LeBron’s 55.78 TS% is actually slightly lower than his 59.4% output during the regular season. Although some of this can be attributed to the tough Boston and Chicago defense he has faced, let’s not forget that LeBron’s late game shot selection is often less than stellar. How many times have we seen him pull-up early in the shot clock during the waning moments for a knife-in-the-heart three? Sure, he’s hit a few in the playoffs, but he misses a lot as well.
All I can say about Derrick Rose’s 3rd place and 56.14% is wow (in a positive sense). Despite the ungodly amount of attention he receives, especially throughout the stretch run of the 4th quarter, he’s stepped up to the plate. Okay, so maybe he missed some contested step-backs against LeBron last night, but give the man a break. He has everyone and his mother focused on him. And thanks to Kyle Korver, he has to waste defensive energy on Dwyane Wade.
So what do we take away from this? You should have given more touches to Durant, Westbrook. Go get the ball from Westrbook, Durant. Stop taking ill-advised shots early in the shot clock, LeBron. Demand that the front office trades for any functioning NBA 2-guard, D-Rose. And Dirk, you probably deserve the NBA title already.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
When C.J. Watson replaces Derrick Rose, Chicago fans collectively hold their breath. While their star briefly recharges the batteries, they can only hope that he does not shed his offensive leash. In a structured offense, an overconfident backup can singlehandedly ruin the dynamic. Think Jamal Crawford when he’s ice cold. This, in a nutshell, is C.J. Watson. But the emotional rollercoaster that is Watson’s game does not provide a concrete answer to the following question: How much do the Bulls actually miss Rose when Watson is on the floor? More generally, how great a difference is there between a starter and a backup in the playoffs? Let’s find out.
After sifting through the PER and plus/minus of the players on the remaining playoff teams, some interesting results surfaced. As most would expect, Rose is the most valuable point guard remaining, with a PER that is 16.96 higher than Watson’s and a plus/minus that is 11.75 higher. AlthoughRussell Westbrook has risen to new heights, culminating in his Game 7 triple-double, Rose still reigns supreme. Part of the blame, however, lies with Eric Maynor’s improved play. In the playoffs, Rose has sported a 26.10 PER and a plus/minus of +9.75 per game, while Westbrook has posted a respectable 21.12 PER and +1.37 plus/minus. When Maynor enters the game, the falloff is only slight: his 16.08 playoff PER and +2.4 plus/minus provide solid backup support at the point guard position.
At shooting guard, the roles are generally reversed. Keith Bogans, Thabo Sefolosha andDeShawn Stevenson are severely outplayed by their bench counterparts. Jason Terry’s outstanding play takes the cake with a PER of 23.76, 18.9 higher than Stevenson and good for eighth in the NBA during the playoffs. His 7.83 PER improvement from regular to postseason also ranks him No. 1 of all players remaining.
Small forward is a two-headed race. LeBron James or Kevin Durant? Durant has already answered questions about his ability to close, exploding for 39 points in Game 7 against Memphis. LeBron was no slouch in the conference semis either, reeling off 10 straight points in Game 5 and deciding that enough was enough. But who’s more valuable on the floor relative to their teams? The easy answer, of course, is Durant. With Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at LeBron’s side, one and a half stars are still on the court when he rests. But Durant’s value is in fact only slightly greater. The -17.11 dip in PER from Durant toDaequan Cook is closely rivaled by the LeBron to James Jones substitution (-14.48).
Power forward value is owned and dominated by Dirk Nowitzki. As well as Peja Stojakovic has played of late, he’s no match for Dirk’s 26.14 PER and +7.3 plus/minus. At center, Joakim Noah is the runaway winner. Although his 18.93 PER and 6.58 plus/minus have remained relatively stable from the regular season to the playoffs, Omer Asik’ has suffered through a -4.5 PER nosedive.
Random stats of note: Excluding Carlos Boozer, the entire Bulls starting lineup has seen a spike in PER and plus/minus. The bench, on the other hand, has fallen off course. Chicago’s supposed depth has disappeared, applying extra pressure on starters to play exceedingly higher minutes. This can be attributed to a natural, yet difficult to break cycle that often manifests in the NBA Playoffs. With more at stake, greater playing time for starters reduces the action for the bench. When called upon, the bench has less time to produce before the plug is pulled. And if they squander a lead, the leash only shortens. With a shorter leash comes less confidence and the pressure further builds. Yet the coach cannot be completely blamed. The goal, after all, is to win. He cannot worry about the morale of his bench when all the chips are on the table. Those who produce will play and those who don’t will not.
For all the LeBron haters out there, I’ve got the ammunition you’ve been looking for. The best players of each team (Chicago’s Rose, Miami’s LeBron and D-Wade, Dallas’ Dirk and OKC’s Durant) have surpassed their regular season PER in the playoffs with one exception: King James. Just as the saying goes, each of these players has literally risen to the occasion. Although all were already top 10 in regular season PER, they have lifted their individual play and thus their teams as well. Yet Wade, the most improved in PER (and No. 2 overall in the postseason), has more than made up for LeBron’s slight decline. That said, LeBron still ranks No. 3 in postseason PER.
In the end, statistics are an indicator, not an answer. But they have shed light on why certain teams still remain in contention while others do not.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
I was one of those foul, disgusting and disrespectful media members (okay fine, I'm not a media member). I had dubbed Rose as my MVP (ya know, because my vote counts since I'm a media member). Once Stan opened his trap, I decided to give Dwight a fair shot and actually take a look at the statistics. Here's what I found:
(I'm ignoring LeBron in this article because he has Wade and Bosh. I simply cannot give the MVP award to a player with such high quality teammates. That said, LeBron is the best player in the NBA, hands down.)
Derrick Rose - 24.9 ppg (7th in NBA), .440 FG%, 7.8 APG (10th in NBA), 22.84 PER (15th in NBA)
For a clear cut MVP candidate, these numbers are less than impressive. Don't get me wrong, though. Take away Derrick Rose and the Bulls mirror the Nets and Cavs. His value, as the literal meaning of the award indicates, is extremely high. But the NBA MVP is not the most valuable player, but some arbitrary mixture of team winning percentage, most valuable player, best statistics in the league and that intangible "Wow" factor (when you watch him play, he's doing things no one else can). Using these four categories as the benchmark, Rose clearly has three of them. The Bulls are the leader of the Eastern Conference and Rose, as mentioned before, has LeBron James circa 2008-2010 value and "Wow"ness. Statistically, however, Rose is lacking as compared to his competitors. And not in a negligible way, either.
Dwight Howard - 23.1 PPG (12th in NBA), .602 FG% (1st in NBA), 14.2 RPG (2nd in NBA), 28.67 PER (2nd in NBA), 2.44 BPG (2nd in NBA).
Outside of scoring (and even that margin is not great), Dwight Howard has Rose statistically dominated, and it's not even close. In every category that a center can impact a game, Dwight is at the top of the league. His scoring is only down because he receives less touches than Rose, who handles the ball on every possession. Meanwhile, Dwight Howard has to pray that the non-pass happy combo of Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas, Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu find it in their hearts to dump it down low.
Looking at the Eastern Conference standings, Rose clearly has Howard beat. But the difference between 1st and 4th is a mere 6 games. Are we really going to punish Dwight because his team wins slightly fewer games? As this season has proven, basketball is a team game. So how can we vault one player over another with a small margin of wins as the deciding factor? Rose's skyrocketing to the best-player-in-the-NBA conversation has left most of the media dumbfounded and amazed. In a season in which the Magic, Celtics and Heat were expected to duke it out, the Bulls have snuck in and grabbed the conference's top spot. While this is very impressive, we have allowed this team accomplishment to cloud our view of Rose. Is he one of the league's best players? Yes. Are the Bulls terrible without him? Definitely. But would you say the same about Dwight Howard? Absolutely.
Those making the argument that Rose has worse teammates are sadly mistaken. Put simply, Howard has a group of jump shot happy teammates whose inclination towards defense and passing match that of Carmelo Anthony. To make matters worse, only Jameer Nelson can somewhat get to the basket. On the defensive end, Howard makes up for everyone's deficiencies. Orlando's defensive strategy, it seems, is to crowd all shooters and dare them to drive on Dwight. If I could tangible display a "wow", this would be it. Dwight's one fault, however, is that he does not possess this same magnificence on the offensive end. Rose, on the other hand, has a reinvigorated Loul Deng, a defensive anchor in Joakim Noah and an excellent inside scorer in Carlos Boozer. The only thing mitigating this disparity is the Bulls' constant injuries.
So let's go back to my 4 NBA MVP categories.
Statistical Winner: Dwight Howard (strong edge)
Most Valuable Player: Draw
Wow Factor: Draw
Team Winning Percentage: Derrick Rose (slight edge)
And that, my friends, is why Dwight Howard should be the MVP.
In my opinion, of course.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Unfortunately, Wilbon recent foray into writing has signaled his transition into, "one of those guys." Normally I do not do a line by line dismantling of writers (as fun as it seems), but I believe that it is time. I still, and always will, enjoy Mike Wilbon on PTI. I even went back to the Washington Post archives and enjoyed many of his musings. But since Wilbon began writing for the almighty corporation, a growing trend has emerged. Today, my frustration came to a head. This puff piece on the Chicago Bulls leaves me utterly disappointed.
There was sobbing throughout Northeast Ohio and plenty of whining in New York City when LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach. Meanwhile, in Chicago, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah shrugged and went back to the gym.
Along with every other player not named Allen Iverson. I'm tired of the "this guy works harder than everyone else cliche. If so many guys work hard, then no one is actually working harder than anyone else. And to be honest, some players do not work hard. The entire Boston Celtics' roster spends every non-basketball minute resting their fragile shells. If they were to take the court on a more-than-necessary basis, impending doom would probably overwhelm the gym and send Pierce, Allen and Garnett into the depths of injury-plagued hell. After Garnett witnessed "The Decision," he probably continued icing his knee while murming trash talk to no one in particular. If there were ever a man predestined for senility, it was this guy.
[Rose] already thought his team worthy, and after Bulls management redirected its free-agent efforts and signed Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver, Rose believed his boys could rumble with anybody. Nothing has changed his mind, especially now that Chicago has won six straight and begun to fully incorporate Boozer into the lineup since his debut Dec. 1.
The only problem with the statement above is the statement below.
Don't get me wrong, this season's team isn't a finished product in terms of personnel -- acquiring a proven shooter is an absolute necessity.
It's OK, finally, to fall in love with the Bulls again, starting with the fact Rose and Noah didn't spend all summer begging for help; it's indicative of a tough-mindedness that ought to immediately endear this squad to Chicago.
Most players would not beg for LeBron. Most players want to win on their own. Is this not the debate the has continued to permeate every aspect of NBA discussion? LeBron choosing wins (well, at least that's what he planned) over glory is the unique move, not Rose and Noah watching their roles diminished by the addition of another superstar.
Not trading Noah -- in fact, doing just the opposite and signing him to a long-term deal -- already has proved to be the right move, if for no other reason than Noah's value to the Bulls is so much greater than his statistical contribution, even his prolific rebounding.
Trading Noah may have upset team chemistry, but take a look at the NBA over time: talent almost always defeats chemistry in the long run. You may point to the Heat as the perfect counter example, but we are yet to surpass the 30-game mark of the season. The Lakers add Pau and they get 3 straight finals appearances and two titles. Boston acquires Garnett and Allen and chemistry magically ignites, leading to 1 and 1/2 NBA titles (they gave away last year's title. As much as I appreciate Derek Fisher's ability in the clutch, he should never be the reason a team wins an NBA title. Sure, Pau played well but the corpse of Derek Fisher brought it home).
Noah is one tough SOB, as evidenced by him playing through a right hand injury. Rose is toughness squared. And the rest of the Bulls had better take a cue from them. Each was instrumental in leading his college team to the NCAA title game, which historically has forecast a degree of success in the NBA.
I love unprovable generalities.
He made himself a better 3-point shooter the old-fashioned way: by practicing the darned thing until he got it right.
If it were that easy, the entire NBA would do it. Apply that to free throws and maybe Shaq hits 75% from the line. Imagine the NBA titles/scoring titles/unstoppability due to the loss of hack-a-Shaq that would ensue.
Rose's emergence as a 25-point scorer and the acquisition of Boozer means Deng, who is so much more comfortable in Tom Thibodeau's offense than he was in Vinny Del Negro's, should be much more effective as a guy who is often the team's No. 3 scoring option. The clamor to trade Deng (along with Taj Gibson) for Carmelo Anthony has rightly quieted.
When Derrick Rose gets triple teamed and needs another perimeter scorer to help out, luckily he can look to Deng instead of Carmelo. Noah would have been part of that deal as well, but you can replace a Noah for half the price. You don't pay for energy/rebounders, especially when that negates a Carmelo trade. They're everywhere (see Ronnie Turiaf).
And let's be honest. Does a team with Melo and Rose and Boozer have a worse chance against the Celtics than one of Noah, Rose and Boozer? It's not even a comparison.
Though Carmelo is one of the league's top seven or eight players, and though teams that acquire great players in exchange for nice players usually make out like bandits in the long term, the Bulls would have had to rework everything had they traded for Carmelo.
I just hate the general "I'm going to support the contrarian argument simply because it sounds nice" cliche. Sure, they would have to rework a bit, but are you telling me that 50 games is not long enough to get to know each other?
You would not want to take the ball from Rose, or let go of Noah or Gibson, or do anything that would dramatically change the Bulls from what they appear to be at the moment, which is no worse than the third-best team in the Eastern Conference, depending on how convinced you are that Miami has found its stride.
Third best in the East does not equal best in the East. Nor does it mean you can defeat any top West team. So you can have 3rd best with just Rose guiding the offense, or a Melo/Rose tandem terrifying opposing defenses. Seems like an easy choice.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
-Jay Mariotti starts us off with a discussion on Derrick Rose. If there is ever a person who is not likely to be able to lead a discussion on cheating and having great ethics and values, it's Jay Mariotti. The same guy who re-wrote an entire column in March about conference tournaments that changed the entire premise of the column and he never acknowledged it and tried to play off like he had not changed anything. The same Jay Mariotti who constantly has a little note at the beginning of his columns that says,
Editor's Note: The following is an updated version of Monday's original column.
In Jay's case "updated" usually means "was corrected due to an incorrect fact or false premise the author originally included in the column." This is not the guy we want discussing how dirty college basketball is. Yes, this column has also been "updated."
It's much more important that he address this: A gifted player from the president's home base of Chicago,
This fact has nothing to do with anything related to Derrick Rose or this situation. Chicago was also the home base of Al Capone...this still means nothing.
just voted the NBA's Rookie of the Year, is accused by the NCAA of knowingly allowing an imposter to take his SAT test so he could gain admission to the University of Memphis, where he spent all of one season leading the Tigers to within a few seconds of a 2008 national championship.
Just to play devil's advocate here, but Rose would not have had to take the SAT or pay an imposter to take the SAT if the NBA allowed him to go straight there after high school. I am not for allowing players to go straight to the NBA after high school for purely selfish reasons, but this would never have happened if the NBA did not require him to go to college.
Also, I would like to know who the dumbass that checked the Rose imposter in at the SAT was? Did he/she not know what Rose looked like? I thought he was a legend in Chicago? I feel like someone would have seen it wasn't him. I took the SAT in the same building as Jerry Stackhouse and Jeff McInnis (both went to UNC) and trust me, everyone knew they were in the building. No one could see it wasn't Derrick Rose?
The fallout is wicked in multiple directions. It impacts our perception of Rose, whose potential Hall of Fame career now is marred by the indelible smudge of academic fraud.
Hold on just a second there partner. I like Derrick Rose's potential as much as the next guy, but let's not go overboard quite yet and say he may have "a potential Hall of Fame" career. Give it two more years. Also, in those two more years, no one will remember anything about this incident or anything of the like. It will be forgotten. People tend to have very short memories when it comes to academic fraud...it's not very sexy.
It makes me wonder why Kentucky, a program scarred by scandal in the past, was so quick to hire Calipari while claiming to have known about the probe and apparently sneaking it past some of the school's trustees.
They want to win and they weren't winning, so they hired a coach who will put asses in the seats and trophies in the trophy case.
And how many high schools are participating in altering the grades of athletes?
If I conclude "altering" includes helping them get good grades using a type of help other students don't receive, but not counting tutoring, and including the type of help Derrick Rose received?...75%? Is that too low?
Rose needs to come out of hiding and say something, anything. The longer he stays quiet -- the story broke four days ago -- the more guilty he is in the eyes of the public. If he was innocent, wouldn't he be voicing outrage about the allegations?
Yes Jay, if Rose was innocent he probably would be voicing some sort of outrage over the allegations...if he was innocent he would do this, but he hasn't. Maybe there is a reason he has not expressed outrage.
(Bengoodfella waiting for Jay to get it...)
Contrary to what the Rose camp seems to believe, this story is not going away like that speeding episode last year, when Derrick was ticketed for going 106 mph in a 65 zone on Interstate 88 and all of Chicago immediately forgave him.
They covered up a speeding ticket that Rose got? When will the outrage and cover-ups end?! If the Rose family is also covering up several parking tickets, he should be thrown in jail immediately. Chicago should never have forgiven him for speeding. So many traffic violations, so many cover-ups...
Not only might Memphis lose its runner-up finish, it could face sanctions that reduces its new coach, Josh Pastner, to a newer and perhaps more hapless version of Tom Crean, the Indiana coach who is rebuilding a ravaged program after the scandals under predecessor Kelvin Sampson. What's pathetic in Pastner's case is that he wasn't made aware of the full depth of the probe until after he was hired.
Pastner is a more hapless version of Tom Crean because he coaches at Memphis, which is in Conference USA and he coaches a team that is nobody now in a conference that is full of nobodies, while Crean's team is in the Big 10. Basically Pastner will be fired in three years, while Crean will have a great chance at rebuilding the Indiana program.
So, who exactly did Barnhart interview about a coach to whom Kentucky is paying more than $31 million over eight years? The family gardener?
Yes, they did. That's exactly who they interviewed. He reported that Calipari prefers perennials and tends to want his flowers mulched during the winter, regardless of how little sense it makes.
And why did at least two members of the UK Board of Trustees not know about the investigation until the other day?
Why do I have to answer all these pretty obvious questions? Because those were probably the two members of the UK Board of Trustees that were not in favor of hiring Calipari and wanted to hire John Pelphrey, Travis Ford or someone else who had some affiliation to the University of Kentucky.
accomplishing that in the form of John Wall, the nation's top prep point guard; center DeMarcus Cousins, who was to have joined him at Memphis; 6-10 center Daniel Orton; small forward Jon Hood; junior-college transfer Daniel Dodson and a second star point guard, Eric Bledsoe. Patrick Patterson, the talented big man, decided to eschew the NBA Draft to return. If Jodie Meeks does the same -- he of the 54-point game at Tennessee -- Calipari has the makings of a Final Four team.
Kentucky is going to be loaded. I think a certain college team located in North Carolina that wears dark blue uniforms at times and has a coach who's last name begins with a "K" needs to make a completely illegal phone call to Eric Bledsoe and convince him to come play PG for that certain team located in Durham. Illegal, yes, but they need a point guard badly and winning is everything.
I am kidding, I would never want that to happen. I was serious about the winning is everything thing though.
School is wrapping up, summer is ahead, and it's no news flash that the world is crooked. Why would anyone care, you ask, if Derrick Rose had an imposter take an SAT test?
I'll tell you why: Because it reeks of flagrant dishonesty, athletic privilege and academic fraud. And one of these days -- or years or decades -- it has to stop.
There is a better chance of Jay Mariotti actually coming within 10 feet of Ozzie Guillen than this type stuff ever stopping.
-Bill Simmons writes a David Ortiz eulogy. It's a typical Bill Simmons joint, full of hyperbole and stories of the wonderful things Ortiz has done.
In the academy award-winning classic Cocktail, Coughlin tells young Flanagan, "Everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn't end." It's the single greatest yearbook quote ever. Hell, it may be the greatest movie quote ever.
I am not even sure that is an original quote and am pretty sure that was said at some point prior to the movie. That being said, if I listed the top 1,000 quotes in movie history, this may make the list...maybe. So greatest ever? Probably not.
Remember in Superman II when Clark Kent gave up his superpowers so he could be with Lois Lane -- lesson No. 184 on how women ruin everything -- and then a bully beat the crap out of the suddenly mortal superhero in a diner? That's been Big Papi since Opening Day.
Remember when human beings could say what they meant or felt without using a pop culture analogy? That's not Bill Simmons, ever.
The steroid whispers started quickly. By late April, every conversation I had with a Sox fan seemed to include a "We need to mail Papi some HGH" joke. It was an easy leap for a couple of reasons: First, his power numbers leapt like Obama's Q rating from 2003 to 2007. Second, he's Dominican, and more than a few of his brethren -- Sammy Sosa, Miguel Tejada, Guillermo Mota -- have been in the center of PED controversies.
I am not saying that Big Papi is now or ever was on steroids. I am not saying that is why he is slumping this year. I don't have an idea of why he has dropped off so quickly and that is what is so puzzling. I will however dispute some of Bill's ideas. Also, if Ortiz was ever going to start using steroids, now would be a good time to start. The BoSox and my fantasy team could certainly use him.
We braced for Ortiz to be linked to a bombshell headline that began with the words "Former Sox Clubhouse Attendant … " But one thing nagged at me: He wasn't belting bombs that were dying at the warning track like so many other former 'roiders.
I don't even know how this is any type of proof of anything. If you ever need hyperbolic evidence, call Bill Simmons, he can give it to you. I have no idea what the trend is for the ball to do when an ex-steroider hits it, but I know the trend is not that the ex-steroider hits a proliferation of baseballs that go 385 feet instead of 410 feet. Every baseball player has hit a few balls that almost went out of the park but did not, that is neither proof of steroid use nor proof of no steroid use. It's proof the ball hit was not a home run.
I would not use this as proof that Ortiz was not a former 'roider. How about the fact he has never been linked or caught with them? That sounds better.
It reminded me of watching Jim Rice fall apart in the late '80s, when he lost bat speed overnight the way you and I lose a BlackBerry.
That's not even a great comparison. Rice did not fall off this quickly. He did not fall off this badly at the age of 36 in his last year and his decline seemed to be much more gradual than Ortiz's.
Ortizn also had a better run in the 2000's than Rice ever had, I just found that interesting. Rice was more consistent than Ortiz. (I look at Rice's numbers and can't help but wonder if he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame)
Look at the numbers:
This is an epic fall off. I can't think of another hitter that has fallen off so quickly and in such a dramatic fashion.
By mid-May, I was pondering another theory: Maybe Papi was older than he claimed. In Seth Mnookin's book Feeding the Monster, he recounts the story of how Boston nearly blew the chance to acquire Ortiz because they were concerned that he was much older than the media guide said.
Ah yes, the "Maybe my son is not using drugs, but all of his friends are" theory. It avoids any type of acceptance of a potential problem (like the departure of Manny), while still giving a possible reason for Ortiz's decline that is not Ortiz's fault and doesn't reflect poorly on him.
How many Latin players have been exposed for lying about their ages in the past few years? Hell, one of Papi's best friends -- Tejada -- was found to have cut two years off his birth certificate when he was 17, er, 19 … you get the point.
Yep. What else did one of Papi's best friends, Tejada, also lie about and get caught doing? Here's a hint, it begins with steroids. I find it interesting that Bill is willing to accept that Ortiz lied about his age like other Latin players, but is not willing to accept Ortiz lied about using steroids like other Latin players, and he bases this belief purely on the fact the balls he hits are not dying at the warning track.
Watching Papi flounder now, I'd believe he's really 36 or 37 (not 33) before I'd believe PEDs are responsible.
Of course he would. That's natural. Unfortunately there is no proof either way, but certainly no proof Ortiz lied about his age, while hardly any circumstantial proof of steroid use. All I know is that it could also be both. Yes, since Tejada lied about his age and steroids, Big Papi could do both as well.
Let's be honest, Ortiz did not always look to be in the best shape. I did not affectionately (or maybe not) call him Big Fatty for nothing. Maybe he's kind of hit his baseball wall. I don't have any good explanation really.
Some players hit their peaks at different ages. Jeff Failcouer hit his at age 22.
The fans are suffering just like he is. Only when he left 12 men on base against Anaheim on May 14 did I receive a slew of angry e-mails from back home, but even those tirades centered more around Terry Francona's steadfast refusal to drop Ortiz in the order.
That's actually anger directed at Ortiz because they would not have to drop him in the batting order if he did not suck. So yes, BoSox fans were indirectly mad at Francona for not dropping him in the order, but were really deflecting anger at Ortiz onto the manager.
Really, that's a tribute to what he means to his fans and how delightful it was to watch him play. His career might be over (notice I left the door open; I'm such a sap), but Ortiz has reached the highest level an athlete can reach: unequivocal devotion. Sox fans love him the same way you love an ailing family member. In the end, at his bleakest point, he's brought out the best of an entire fan base. He has inspired dignity and emotion and loyalty. The fans could have sped his demise (and saved a few games) by booing until Francona benched him. They didn't. How often does that happen?
As always, you Red Sox fans are the best. The world would give up without your constant loyalty to your players. You give me a reason to go on in my life. (Ok, I am done...sorry I had to do a little bit of that)
Barring a miraculous return of bat speed, he'll be benched or released soon. It'll hurt, and I'm going to feel bad.
At some point I am going to release him off my fantasy team. I still refuse to do it, and there he is sitting on the bench ranked around #1200 offensively and can only play the Utility position and I still have him there waiting for a big break out game.
-On his Twitter, Peter King responded to the question, "What is your fondest memory from the past 20 years, the one that you will tell your grandkids about with a big smile on," with this answer:
Hmmmm. Fondest memory of last 20 years ... Probably spending a week inside the Packers, seeing everything. that was fun. '95.
He is obsessed Brett Favre. It's actually not really funny and bordering on pathetic. He asks for more abuse about Favre than he actually gets. He asks for and deserves more.
Peter King finally put his MMQB-Tuesday up.
As you read this, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith might still be assessing the damage in his Washington office after what can best be described as a bizarre fire in the bathroom adjacent to his office around 5 a.m.
I knew Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes faked her death. This is further proof. (Anyone get it?)
One: Jack Donlan is not dead. That's a pretty big mistake, and I've apologized to Donlan, the longtime Management Council czar with the league, for killing him in the column.
I have no excuses for the screwup; it's just one of those things that happens when you don't check all your facts, and it's a good warning to me.
By the way, Jack Donlan, you are dead to Peter King. Just thought you may want to know about this.
Talk about not checking your facts. He wrote someone was dead who was alive. Maybe 20 years at SI was one month too long for Peter.
From Eric Batchelor of Acton, Mass.: "Hope you are still enjoying Boston! Last season Tom Brady didn't even play in the preseason; considering he's coming off knee surgery, do you expect him to play in a few games this year or do you think the Pats will sideline him until game one of the regular season and have him only participate in practice?''
This is an absolutely urgent question that must be answered immediately. Will Tom Brady play a couple series in an absolutely meaningless games that few diehard fans of the Patriots care about? Peter answers this question and ignores many other great questions, like mine. That irritates me.
I can tell you what Brady told me: He wants to play in the preseason, and he wants to play in the preseason badly.
Great, glad we know the answer to that. All Patriots fans can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing Brady will be playing in meaningless games. I can't tell you how happy I am that question got answered. Well, I can actually...1.2%.
Peter also defends Matt Millen as being a good announcer in this column. I remember Millen being a decent announcer, but I also remember him being an NFL official for one game, so my memory may be a little fuzzy. I really do remember him being an NFL official for a game or a half, something like that, before he got the idea of murdering the Detroit Lions team and fan base.
From Rich Eisen of Culver City, Calif. (and NFL Network): "Rumor has it SI will celebrate PKing's 20-year anny by making him the cover model on swimsuit issue.''
No comment. But my agent has been in negotiations with the Omar The Tentmaker Swimwear Group. That's the only statement I am free to make at this time.
As if his random shoutouts to people who we don't care about weren't enough, now Peter is relaying jokes he is making on his Twitter. More football, less bullshit please.
Michael K. of Jacksonville: "Great write-up on Austin Wood. In an age when pitch counts have major league managers pulling pitchers out of games when they are cruising and mowing down opposing hitters, this kid's performance is a rare thing. Are any MLB teams giving him a look?''
Michael K from Jacksonville, I agree that managers are too tender with their pitcher's arms, but his career high for pitches thrown was somewhere below 40 and he threw 169 pitches. That's like if Peter's record for running was one mile and he decided was going to go out and run four miles. Then he had to run again in two days. Remember this guy is a closer, not a starter. There is also an economic term called declining returns and that pertains to pitchers, which is why they tend to get pulled when they may look like they are cruising. I am not defending the babying of pitcher's but at a certain point a pitcher will quit dominating and a manager has to decide when that point will occur.
I would like to see Austin Wood throw 100 more pitches two-five days later and see what happens. I bet he will get lit up.
John Trent of Reno: "After reading your column today marking your 20 years with SI, it got me thinking about you and your writing career. What has always struck me about your writing is how you've never lost your sense of wonder, and your enjoyment of what you do (rarely, if ever, have you penned columns bemoaning the difficult travel, the 24/7 nature of reporting in the electronic age, or dealing with millionaire athletes who can be, as Al Michaels would say, "truculent" from time to time).
Are you fucking kidding me John, the Dumbass, from Reno? (Caps lock alert) EVERY SINGLE FUCKING WEEK PETER BITCHES ABOUT TRAVELING ACCOMODATIONS, THE TASTE OF COFFEE, HOW A HOTEL DOES NOT MAKE COFFEE EARLY ENOUGH FOR HIM, HOW MUCH SOAP IS IN THE HOTEL, WHAT KIND OF SHAMPOO IS AT A HOTEL, IF SOMEONE RUNS A STOP SIGN, OR 100 OTHER THINGS IN THE WORLD THAT PISSES HIM OFF. HE HAS SPECIAL SECTIONS DEDICATED TO BITCHING ABOUT THIS STUFF. READ HIS COLUMNS AND DON'T BE A DUMB KISSASS.
John, does not read Peter's column. Peter complains about everything and criticizes restaurants performance serving food and pretty much anything else he doesn't like.
Last year, I was at a minor-league baseball game in Kannapolis, N.C., and sitting there on a hot summer night, I thought how great it was that my job allows me to go to places I'd almost certainly never go to, even places most people think, "Why'd you want to go there?'' Because it's there.
I am shocked he did not bitch about something at the game as well. Peter's sense of wonder often comes from complete and utter ignorance at the world. Many times people who have a childlike wonder have that wonder because they spend most of their time being so self involved they don't have a chance to notice that Drew Brees is good or that coffee can be better at a local chain.