Jumping across leagues and sports, here we go:
1. Bosh out indefinitely; does LeBron deserve a pass if the Heat go down?
In short, no. For his legitimate value to the Miami Heat, and it is substantial, the Heat tend to ride on the shoulders of LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, and this is largely by design. One reason why Chris Bosh is so effective is that other teams focus on the two of them. The difference between Bosh and [insert random Miami Heat player name here] is that Chris Bosh has incredible talent; on a normal team, he would be better guarded and not have those openings.
However, one element that cannot be ignored is that great players put their teams on their backs and lead them to the promised land. It’s why we idolize Michael Jordan so much; he took the talent around him, made it better, and won titles. If LeBron plays awesomely great, and the Heat lose, then, and only then, does he deserve a pass; history tells us that when the Heat are struggling late in games, LeBron is hard to find; if he plays well through those, then the team gets more of the blame. Otherwise, he will get more of the blame. Oh yeah, one more thing, the Bosh injury means nothing with regard to this; this is what happens no matter what.
2. Donovan McNabb to your team?
Donovan McNabb is working out, working with a quarterbacks coach, and his former coach Andy Reid is speaking highly of him to the rest of the NFL. Will he get a place on another roster?
McNabb’s problem is that right now teams are flying high off of the draft; do they need another backup QB? Why for the older McNabb when you can go for a younger quarterback, like the Buffalo Bills did? I’ll tell you why: if McNabb is content to be a backup (and by content, I mean we don’t hear about him complaining), and is willing to mentor a young starting quarterback (unlike, say, Brett Favre), then a lot of teams might be interested in having him come on board.
However, he needs to (according to analysts) work on his behavior and motivations in meetings, learning schemes and playbooks; things done behind closed doors that are more academic. Devotion to that will get him a long way.
3. Lakers go down hard to the Thunder; series over?
No. Kobe Bryant is aging, but he will not take that lying down. Until the Thunder have won, I will not say the series is over, because Kobe has a drive and desire to win that is, frankly, unparalleled in the NBA, largely because he wants that sixth ring to help set him apart from other Laker greats and to tie him with Jordan. Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, Andrew Bynum, and the rest of the team don’t want to be remembered as having been blown out of the water by the Thunder either.
I am not dismissing the Thunder; they are a mighty team, and the favorites to win the series. I simply think it’s too early to start digging the Lakers grave. I honestly believe that while the Thunder are hungry, the Lakers will not giving them a place at the table without a fight, and I think a lot of people are dismissing the Lakers way, way too early.
4. The Rangers vs. the Devils: a hostile rivalry renewed
Compared to the United States and the Soviet Union in the Cold War, these teams really do not like each other, and yay, they are playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs. I really don’t follow hockey too much, but I can tell you this is one series I will be interested in watching, especially since the Rangers have won two straight series in the seventh game.
Now, having been raised in New York, I have a bias towards these type of series; however, this goes beyond that; this will be an epic matchup of two teams who really do not like each other.
5. Wes Welker and 9.5 million reasons
Wes Welker seems to be coming close to the idea of remaining with the Patriots, and according to the man himself, he has 9.5 million reasons to do so, referring to the tender offer the Pats have offered him.
However, money is only part of it. I mean, really, think about it. Remember the whole incident with Rex Ryan and the foot fetish video? You really think most coaches would have stood for the psychological warfare Welker engaged in afterwards? No. Belichick, for we all know, may not have liked, but he let it slide, probably because he fell out of his chair laughing the first time he heard it.
We’ve seen a lot of players leave the Patriots for more money, and doubtless what they viewed as greener pastures. What do those guys have in common? None of them repeated that same success elsewhere. Welker knows if he wants money, he has to perform, and if he wants to perform it’s extraordinarily stupid to leave the team with the best quarterback. Pats fans may remember his drop in the Super Bowl, but most of them have moved onto this season, and so has he.
My final thought:
The flopping issue in the NBA has become an epidemic, and the fallout from it is likely to be huge, especially in light of two words: the Olympics. American basketball will likely take a knock or two if American players pull that crap on the international stage. Worse, though, is that it threatens the integrity of the game of basketball; you know it’s bad when NBA Commissioner David Stern calls it a “legitimate concern,” meaning that it is a very, very serious issue and his office is petrified about the negative effects it is having on the game.
Now, I posted an article about it onto Facebook with the open-ended comment “I don’t know how to legislate against this,” to which a friend of mine responded “yellow cards.” Now, I’m not sure if he was saying this in jest, but regardless, I think this is a great idea, provided that a few things happen alongside it:
- The NBA needs to assign an additional official who will be sitting at the scorer’s table (kind of like the replay official in the NFL), who will review the replay of potentially nasty hits. S/he will review the tape, and if they view it as flopping (meaning that the player’s movement after the hit seems disproportionate to the energy transfered by the hit itself), then the foul that actually occurred will be enforced; if it was called a flagrant-2 and it’s actually a flagrant-1, then it is called a flagrant-1. I recognize this is subjective, but then again, it’s a start.
- A player who flops in such a manner to draw a worser call (like a flagrant) will be given a yellow card. Yellow cards will not be grounds for ejection; rather, after four, six, and eight yellows the player is fined, after ten the player is suspended, and for every third yellow afterward the player is both fined and suspended. Such fines will be pre-determined.
- The league can rescind a yellow card (like a technical foul); a player may appeal the yellow card.
- The player will be informed of the yellow card when it is given; arguing with the official can be grounds for a technical foul. Same applies with coaches.
- Players may be given more than one yellow card in the course of a game; however, the player will be permitted to finish the game if one of the yellow cards will result in a suspension. Should the player be given sufficient yellow cards for multiple game suspensions, then they will be suspended for the appropriate number of games afterwards.
- Yellow cards given in the regular season will not apply for the postseason; however, in the postseason, the parameters for fines and suspensions will apply as thus: fines for the second, fourth, and sixth; suspensions for every second yellow afterwards.
Now, this is just an idea, and I recognize that it’s pretty harsh; however, it’s one way of dealing with the issue. I don’t know how to implement a system like this, and implementation is the most important step; however, I trust that somewhere deep inside NBA headquarters, in a secure room that requires going through ten doors, each with their own seven-digit passcodes, fingerprint scanners, and DNA readers, someone is working on this problem.