Sunday, August 05, 2007
BIG SPORTS POST
I know that means most of you will just skip this, but hey, try to read through it, and get some valuable water-cooler chatter (do people actually talk around water coolers anymore? Do they even CALL them water coolers anymore?)
PART I: AN OPEN LETTER TO RORY SABBATINI
As legal council for every single athlete who does something stupid (and as such deserves mention on this blog) I have to advise you to cease and desist all comments concerning Tiger Woods. It is never a sound idea to call him out in the media, and by saying he was "As beatable as he has ever been" and "I like the new Tiger" you just lit a fire you will not be able to put out for a very, very long time.
Please use the Stephen Ames
debacle as proof of what such stupid, off-the-cuff comments can do to the number one golfer in the world. And please, do a little research before flying off again.
Maybe you could reference his three tour wins this year, matching your career total. Or his 8 of 12 top ten finishes. Or his World number one ranking, to go with his PGA leading earnings.
Or, you could just look back at the final day the two of you put in today at the Bridgestone Invitational.
You could watch how you started the day 4 under; one shot ahead of Tiger, and in the final pairing with him. You could watch as the rain, and your poor play, washed you all the way down to even par, and seemed to strengthen Tiger to the only under-par score of the tourney (an impressive 8 under).
You could see how he kept his composure throughout the day, making every singe putt under 8 feet, and storming through a very tough course while you imploded, eventually lashing out at a fan who asked you "Hey Rory, still think Tiger is beatable?"
But whatever you choose to do, please, for all of us, do it in silence. If ever anyone wants to have a chance to beat Tiger, and prove you right, they will have to have your cooperation in this matter. Your silence, your lack of soundbites, could easily contribute to someone else finally getting the big payday. We understand how hard that is for you, a self proclaimed "say it like it is guy". WE understand how hard it is to live in his shadow. Trust us, we understand. But talking, it turns out, is not your strong suit.
Neither, it seems, is playing golf.
PART II: THE KG POST
I have been putting this one off for awhile, trying to decide what I really thought of the trade. Here is the raw data:
Boston got Kevin Garnett
2 first round draft picks
That makes this the biggest trade for a single player (7 players) in the history of the NBA. And Kevin Garnett, I guarantee, is worth it.
The Celtics now have three superstar starters in KG, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce. They also have, in those three players, three very versatile, easily coached, true ballers. Some might say they have little else on the team, and I agree. But...
SO THE HELL WHAT? Those three players are good enough to get you to the Eastern Finals. Seriously. Anyone who writes anything else is just a hater, or does not understand the game of basketball. I am not talking about ANY three superstars, which, it could be argued, would lead to bad chemistry. I am talking about THE most unselfish Forward to ever play the game, and a star who took a back seat to Antoine Walker.
But that's just talk. Let's look back to the raw data. Last year, as a team, Boston took almost 79 shot attempts a game. Paul Pierce took 18 of those. That leaves 60 shots for the rest of the team (a team which was not very good). KG, while playing for the Wolves last year, took 17. Ray Allen, also on a bad team, took 21. That means that the three of them, while trying to carry bad teams, took a combined 56 shots. That is 70% of the shot total for the Celtics last year. If Allen and KG both go back down to their career averages (likely, as they will not have to take every shot to win a game), that total is 50, or 63% of the shots available.
The Celtics scored 96 points per game last year. Assuming THAT stays the same, these guys will be responsible for 77% of the points (74 ppg). I think we can assume someones numbers are going to drop off (Pierce, probably), so that number is more like 70%. That means they are taking 63% of the shots and contributing 70% of the point totals. I don't know what's wrong with that, do you?
Fuzzy math aside, these three all contribute in different ways, and they all share well. Allen is a spot up shooter, KG is a mid range to back-to-basket player, and rebound shooter, and Pierce is a slasher/driver. The Spurs seem to do well enough with the same combo. And the truth is, most teams employ a similar mix. The difference is most teams do not have this level of talent at all three spots.
This will only be good for Boston, as each player will have the benefit of single coverage at times, and each player will singlehandedly win games for the team.
Now, the hard part is being a Timberwolves fan.
See, we lost a great player. The thing is, we never built around him, and we were always handcuffed by his salary. This move solves the salary problem for years to come.
And that might be my worry. We got back an OK player in Jefferson. I am not yet sold on Green, as a think he needs to develop an all-around game, and not just fly to the hoop all the time. He could also use some defense. Telfair and Gomes were throw-ins. One of them will be cut before the season begins. Ratliff will actually give us a few quality bench minutes, and at the end of the season we can take his 14 million off the books.
On paper, that looks like an OK. If Jefferson becomes what NBA scouts say he can become, we get another 20-10 guy back for KG. WE have the potential to sing a good mid level guy, and with two high draft picks we should get at least one serviceable player.
Add that to our core group of youngsters, and the future is supposed to look bright. Only, we have to make sure we keep this future. We will have about 20 million to resign Jefferson and Green, who are both in the last year of deals and looking to cash in, and then we will have to resign all of the rookie contracts from two years ago. Then, we will have to find a player good enough to fill in our weakness, and willing to play in Minnesota (a problem we had when KG was still here, and a bigger problem now that he is gone).
If all those things fall into place, we still have to hope McCants can develop and stay healthy, Foye can become a true point guard, We get value for Jaric and Hassell (who will most likely be shipped), Brewer becomes a better scorer than Hassell, and our rookie coach can actually coach.
And we have to have all that happen while playing in the ultra competitive Western Conference.
Meanwhile, we have to find SOMEONE to root for, so the fans will stick around, and the team won't get shipped to the coast.
Still think we bartered a good, fair trade?