Sunday, February 24, 2008
But that doesn’t mean that Billy Knight is a genius or even that deserving of credit. I’m pretty sure that somewhere, the law of averages says that even a monkey can screw up enough times and still manage to get it right. Just look at George Bush’s foreign policy.
See, even throughout the deadly exploding slapstick known as “Operation: Comedy of Errors,” we’re beginning to see positive results. The surge is working, even though it’s actually about six years later than his generals initially requested. Things are seemingly calming down over in Iraq and just through sheer persistence (and the fact that the enemy is willing to lessen their own numbers by blowing themselves up), the U.S. Military is probably going to prove the old axiom that you can’t kill them all utterly wrong.
At this point, you might be wondering to yourself, “Is he really comparing the Skirmish in Iraq to basketball?” If you’re looking at the fact that there were eventually lucky idiots at the helm in both situations, then I sure am.
Billy Knight came to Atlanta and immediately began dismantling the losing squad that was here, something he’s immensely good at. “Bargain Closeout” Billy Knight got rid of everyone that was here, and got to work drafting high school players and early draft entries based on “potential.” Then, he started just defying the smarts that God gave retards and passed up Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Brandon Roy to draft Marvin and Shelden Williams (no relation).
He brought in Antoine Walker, Stephen Jackson, and Al Harrington. He traded away Boris Diaw, who blossomed somewhere else. He’s managed to cement his place as one of the worst GMs in the NBA today, and yet no one’s demanding he be fired or keying his car or anything like that. Why?
Because he’s letting Mike Woodson take the fall for all of this.
Mike Woodson has coached the team that Billy Knight has put together and done it without complaint. His coaching has actually made the ragtag group of journeymen and small forwards better than they were before he got here. Under his watch, Josh Smith “Is In Foul Trouble” and Marvin Williams are exactly where they would have been had they gone to college for four years. He’s gotten this team to play defense. Their wins have increased every year since he’s been here. And yet, the Atlanta sportswriters’ community (whom no one has ever accused of being knowledgeable) thinks that Woodson is the problem.
Let’s be real here, when your team is undersized in the frontcourt and has no real floor general, and the guy making the trades is forever distracted by buzzwords like “potential” or “freakish wingspan,” your coach could be Phil K. Riley-Wooden and still lose 60% of their games. A lesser coach would have set a record for being the first coach to have a negative win total when you consider everything Mike Woodson’s been saddled with.
And now that Mike Bibby is here, everyone believes that this team no longer has any excuses. That Mike Woodson is on the hot seat. That all is right with this roster filled with redundant players who just got out of puberty five minutes ago. The truth is, even that will take a period of adjustment. After all, Mike Bibby is something that the Hawks haven’t had since Mookie Blaylock: A real point guard. Thing is, if Knight had drafted Chris Paul to begin with, he wouldn’t have had to trade for Bibby.
Even though Knight has shot Mike Woodson in both feet every time Draft Day comes around, if Woodson can’t get this team to the playoffs this season, he’ll likely be fired. Knight will have bought himself another few years to screw up, and Mark Bradley of the AJC still will have no idea what he’s talking about.
But this team has managed to get positive results despite the string of blown moves by its commander-in-chief, who will come out of this smelling like a rose. Unfortunately, for Mike Woodson, he’s about to be judged based on whether or not he could succeed despite his incompetent leadership.
Sounds just like Dubya to me.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Basically, if you live in Georgia, get your abortions while you can, because something this vague has an excellent chance of passing, even though it grants protection to what's essentially a virus or a symbiote, something completely incapable of independent life. But that's not the real issue here.
The anti-abortionists will have finally found a way to win, but what will that victory mean? At first glance, it just seems like abortion would just be illegal. All those "planned parenthood" clinics all over the country that are killing babies on the government's dime would have to cut all that noise out. But would that be the end of abortion in America?
The short answer is "no." The long answer is "Man, hell no."
How naive do you have to be to think that the law or a court case being overturned would get rid of abortion? The law can't even get rid of bootleg movies. Remember the Prohibition? All that did was make people rich and get Irish Catholics elected President.
All that's going to happen, should abortion ever be outlawed, is that black market sales of abortions will skyrocket. That's all. Everyone that really wants one will get one, like hookers. It doesn't matter what the churches or pro-lifers want. This is America, the land of supply and demand. If you want it, it can be had. Someone will always be willing to cut a baby out of you, albeit for a higher price, if it's illegal. Sterilization and continued health, not guaranteed.
Pro-lifers should just let this one go, because all it's going to do is make things worse. Much like the choice that the Catholic Church had to make with the fight against AIDS vs. the fight against protection against AIDS, sometimes you gotta pick the lesser of two evils. Yeah, you might get rid of legal abortions, but you just opened the floodgates for very illegal ones. I know pro-lifers have good intentions, but aside from being extremely annoying and judgmental people, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. And in this case, so is the road to bacterial infection.
Sure, in a perfect world, there would be no need for abortions. But we don't live in that world, because people won't stop humping each other. In this flawed world of ours, we have to have realistic solutions to the problems that we face, like attacking terrorists with bombs instead of flowers or canceling reality TV shows instead of watching them.
Attacking abortion isn't solving the problem. It's just a symptom of a greater problem, the root of which is unprotected sex, something almost impossible to solve because people seem to really hate condoms. And while we might not always agree when our 17-year-old daughter says, "I want an abortion," if they were to do it, would you prefer that they went to a place that's all legal and clean, or go behind your back and hit up Dr. Craig, the Back Alley Practitioner?
Really, you'd be impressed to see what Dr. Craig can do with a minimum of actual training and a lack of time, due to the planned police raid at his "office."
Whether abortion is right or wrong can be argued from here to eternity, and I don't have the time or energy to do that. But until we actually decide the rightness or wrongness of it, let's at least agree to keep it where we can see it and regulate it. Making it illegal won't necessarily make it all better.
Except for Dr. Craig. Business has been kind of slow lately.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
The training wheels come off as he makes his first big trade and likely sends that Phoenix bike careening headlong into that San Antonio oncoming traffic. The Suns are reportedly trading the disgruntled Shawn Marion and the completely ineffective, yet overpaid Marcus Banks for Shaquille O'Neal, apparently so Steve Kerr can experience crushing defeat, after all those years of winning championships in Chicago and San Antonio. Steve Kerr is going to cripple the league's most explosive offense by adding a 35 year old center that has trouble just staying healthy these days, let alone running up and down the floor.
Of course, this gives Shawn Marion what he wants, which is a chance to prove that he can be the man, which he'll get every opportunity to do after Dwyane Wade gets hit with double teams and is forced to give the ball up. I say that to say that Wade is the man in Miami and will stay the man in Miami, unless Wade has a heroin habit that we don't know about yet. Dwyane Wade made one of the greatest players of all time HIS sidekick. What chance does Shawn Marion think he'll have of breaking out?
Months ago, I predicted that Marion would leave Phoenix and become the answer to "Whatever happened to...?" question. I set the over/under at 2 seasons.
Phoenix will have an extra $20 million in cap space to play with in two years, when Shaq's deal is up, and they get rid of a scowling face in the locker room, one with freakishly long arms, could jump out of the gym, and could defend four positions. I don't know what Shaq is getting, except the chance to actually hinder a team for once in his career. When asked for comment, Shaq quickly ended a phone conversation where his last words were, "Make sure no one can identify the body. She'll be home alone tomorrow night." I wonder what that was about.
In between short moments of actually doing what I was supposed to be doing at work, I thought about why this deal would actually be made. I can't say that Miami is really benefitting, because outside of Shaq and Udonis Haslem, everyone on their roster is a forward. I guess 6'2" Marcus Banks will break up the monotony. They still don't have a second dependable scorer, because unless I missed the part where Shawn Marion developed a game that didn't revolve around catching lobs from Steve Nash, they still don't have one. They still don't have any reliable outside shooting, but I guess having Marcus Banks is better than having Ricky Davis or an empty pair of sneakers out there. On a side note, the sneakers have a higher shooting percentage than Davis.
I don't see how Marion is benefitting, other than getting out of Phoenix, which is what he believes he wanted. But in two weeks, he'll be sitting on the bench wondering exactly when he smoked all the crack that made him think that leaving Nash was a good idea.
Phoenix isn't benefitting, because they just lost a key component to their offensive game plan. If this was Shaq 2000, I'd suggest bringing in some investigators, because there was some theivery that went down. Or at least some regret, because there would have had to been some embarrassing pictures involved. But that's not what they got. They got the 2008 model. This model is still pretty funny, but this one backfires when you start it up and the bumper falls off if you stop the car too fast. I don't see how the Suns are a better team with Shaq and not Marion, but then again, if I could see how this would work, I'd either have a much better paying job or an LSD habit.
So I guess the winner here is Shaq, because he's going to keep his streak of teams with records at .500 or better going, thanks to a mathematical impossibility (there's only 34 games left). He doesn't really have to work that hard, because all their positions are already filled. He's in the same division as L.A., which already has something of a rivalry with the Suns, and with Kobe still a Laker, I'm sure David Stern already has the promotion machine lined up, with advice from Don King.
Of course, purple's not really a slimming color. Just ask Charles Barkley. Even still, Shaq wins. And chubby chasers who are also basketball fans.
Monday, February 04, 2008
But why am I so defensive? I don't even like the Patriots. I mean, Rodney Harrison and Asante Samuel are cool, and if the Falcons had an offensive line half as good as theirs, Michael Vick wouldn't have taken that bump on the head that made him think he was a criminal mastermind. I could watch Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Donte Stallworth until Cross Colours come back in style, but I flat-out despise Tom Brady, to the point where I could actually be considered a "hater." And there I was, rooting for the Patriots to blow teams out all season long. The Evil Empire.
This Patriots loss, however, is going to go down as the single biggest upset in professional sports. Bigger than Buster Douglas, bigger than Broadway Joe. Let's face it, the season, in the eyes of many, was decided in September (or in my case, before the ink dried on Randy Moss's contract). For Boston fans, the Red Sox winning the World Series was a nice surprise and the Celtics success has been icing on the cake, but the Patriots winning the Super Bowl this year was supposed to be sure thing, a foregone conclusion, kinda like "Cavemen" getting cancelled or when fat people enter a buffet. The Patriots losing this game was like watching six fat people at the buffet, but they're all on a diet. Just a horrible, horrible letdown.
It really doesn't hurt though, because I've never liked the Patriots in the first place. I've spent many an hour defending my stance that Tom Brady is not the bee's knees. I've wasted lots of time that I could have spent talking to girls or being productive claiming that Brady is merely a very good quarterback who benefits from a very balanced system. If anything, this loss gives my argument a little traction. This is the kind of loss that I've envisioned for five years for this team, and it came at the time when I was actually on their side, no matter how many ulcers it caused me. I couldn't wait for the game to be over so I could get back to hating Brady, like God intended. I had mentally written a column about it all two weeks ago.
As for the Giants, they played an awesome game. Their victory is like the ending to a movie or something. Starting with Michael Strahan's holdout, Tiki Barber's retirement and subsequent bashing of Eli Manning, the 0-2 start (with the defense giving up, like 80 points), Plaxico Burress's ankle kissing its health good-bye, the controversial decision to actually play the Pats in the last week (not knowing that it would inspire the Giants to beat that same team a month later), setting an NFL record with 11 straight road wins, everyone overwhelmingly picking against them in each round of the playoffs and ending the season with an emotional interview from Plaxico. It was more unreal than the ending to "Teen Wolf," and that movie involved an imaginary monster who played basketball.
The most interesting thing here is Tiki Barber's reaction to everything. I think he's just better of just changing his name to "Ronde," or better yet, "Shaun Alexander," because no one watches Seahawks games, anyway. No one will know the difference except for the obvious improvements in rushing yards.
But here was a guy who was supposed to set the broadcasting world on fire. Here was a guy who was supposed to have modeling and acting deals falling from the sky. Here's a guy who couldn't wait to get away from football and the Giants and start working the talk show circuit, even though he's never exhibited any real charisma or insight into anything, including football. And so, he spent the entire 2007-08 season playing quietly at the retarded kids' table on NBC's "Football Night in America," watching the team that he abandoned (and constantly insulted) exceed all expectations and win the Super Bowl, fighting back in the inevitable onslaught of history called the New England Patriots.
Good call, Tiki. You're a true wealth of knowledge.
Really, I wonder what it's like being Tiki Barber today. I mean, I'm sure he'll be alright, what with his adventures tag-teaming women with his brother, free Escalades, and diamond-encrusted dinosaur-egg breakfasts, but even still, this has got to sting. In one fell swoop, his entire retirement and broadcasting career was reduced to being the tell-all interview with an actor who just left a hit show to pursue an ill-fated movie career and the show got better in his absence. Congrats, Tiki. You are football's version of David Caruso on an old episode of Access Hollywood.
On another day, I would have been rooting for this team, because it's hard not to be proud of them, having seen what they had to deal with all season. And through it all, they beat that which was unbeaten, in addition to three other teams that were all supposed to be better. Even though I picked against you (four times, you bastards), congratulations to the New York Giants.
Still...it would have been nice to see an undefeated team. Oh, well. They'll all be back next year. It's not like they won't try it again.