Thursday, August 18, 2005

Jump Ball: August 18, 2005

One of my favorite sports columns to read is's Bill Simmons' mailbag. If you haven't gotten the chance to check it out, all it is are ruthless, thoughtless, brainless, inquisitive sports fans asking The Sports Guy their most pressing questions while Bill provides his most witty, insightful, and hilarious responses. The array of questions range from your serious, sports-related topics to ridiculous inquiries on something like Simmons' best advice for cleaning a 3-foot bong. No matter what the questions may be, the mailbag always seems to produce a great deal of sports knowledge while also allowing the reader to unwind with a few chuckles (a.k.a., your perfect bathroom material). So it got me thinking, wouldn't it be cool if Paul and I could get a steady fan base to write us weekly emails so that we could set up a similar piece? Well for now, the emails are far from pouring in, so for this installment of "Jump Ball", I'm simply going to pose the questions I feel an NBA fan would be thinking while providing my most thought-out answers. If all goes well, hopefully you, the readers, will catch on to the idea and start sending us some emails so we can turn this into a monthly routine.

Q: Why the hell isn't Gary Payton just retiring?

A: We all know that Gary is one of those players with a tremendous amount of pride and would prefer to go out on top. After a sub-par season with the Celtics last season, Payton has made it no secret that he'd like to go to a contending Western Conference team (Phoenix?) and show that he can be a valuable contributor off the bench. While he may very well be able to do that, what he showed me last year in Boston is that he's much more of a cancer than an asset. Unless he's running the point down at a senior citizen pick-up game, his slow-down-the-pace style just isn't going to cut it. If Gary wants to ride the coattails of say an Amare or T-Mac in order for one last shot of a Title, fine. But he has to understand that he's nowhere close to being "The Glove" anymore. He's more like that old ass mitten you can find in every lost-and-found box in elementary schools. Time to hang 'em up Gary.

Q: What happened to all the buzz surrounding Shareef Abdur-Rahim?

A: Remember a week or so ago when a lot of us believed that New Jersey could be a top-tier team in the East once they added Abdur-Rahim? And then remember how Paul and I kept an updated log on the happenings surrounding the collapse of that deal? Um, well how come none of us have even mentioned the fact that Sacramento scooped him up? Is this a moot point now that the rap is out on his bum knee? But didn't we already know he had knee problems from his various IL stints last season in Portland? Fact is, SAR is still relatively young (turns 29 in December) and unlike New Jersey, Sacramento isn't expecting him to come in and be an All-Star again, just a guy that can provide some low-post help for Brad Miller. What I don't understand though is that they already have Kenny Thomas and Brian Skinner (FA). Did they really need SAR? Is Thomas going to come off the bench now? It should be interesting to see how this turns out, but my bet is that no matter what the Kings should be right around the 50 win total again.

Q: Where will Michael Finley end up?

A: I can't say for sure where he'll be playing next season but understand that money will not (well, should not) be an issue. Remember that Dallas still owes him $51.8 million over the next three seasons. Finley can play wherever he wants next season for free and still be raking in plenty of dough. So what this will boil down to is if he wants to be, A) a starter with a decent chance at a Title in Denver or, B) a more limited guy in say San Antonio or Phoenix with a much stronger chance at winning it all. My guess is that he goes to Denver. That team is in need of some veteran leadership and Michael knows he's still more than capable of posting 35-40 minutes per night. With his veteran savvy and outside shooting ability, Finley could be just the player the Nuggets need to be a top-3 seed in the West.

Q: What are the Bulls doing right now?

A: The team recently re-signed PG Chris Duhon and hopes to do the same with big man Tyson Chandler in the coming weeks. Chandler has the option of re-signing for one season at just over $6 million which would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent next season. However, Tyson has made it clear that he'd rather get a long-term deal squared away now with the terms similar to those of Samuel Dalembert (6 years, $60m). The Bulls on the other hand would like to have him sign an incentive-laden deal to ensure that the 7-1 center work harder and stay healthy to earn his keep. While that appears to be an intelligent move on the Bulls part, Tyson would be foolish to make such a deal seeing how he's had several nagging injuries throughout his career. Both parties are set to meet on Tuesday and presumably take a step closer to getting a deal done. Where that leaves Eddy Curry on the Bulls radar, well I think that depends on what they do with Chandler. They certainly can't afford to pay for two monster deals right now. If Curry does re-up look for it to only be for one year, especially with questions surrounding his heart ailment. Atlanta still remains a possibility.

Q: Will the Celtics trade Paul Pierce?

A: Perhaps one of the most intriguing questions that really doesn't have a definite answer. Right now Danny Ainge is not shopping Pierce, or so he claims. But one has to think if a team calls him with an offer that blows him away and/or rids them of a nice chunk of change, that Ainge would have to bite. Boston has done an excellent job stockpiling their young talent, but Pierce could very well take that as his first push out the door. With guys like Ryan Gomes, Justin Reed, and eventually Gerald Green itching for PT, then the Celtics could sooner, rather than later be waving goodbye to "The Truth".

Q: Non-NBA related, but worthy...Who will be the surprise NFL teams this season?

A: Looking at the individual team over/unders last week, Vegas gives you a pretty good idea who they think is going to be good and who's right on the fringe. But what people tend to do is go with the powerhouse teams that should win x amount of games like Indy, New England, Philly, etc. What you need to do is find those middle of the pack teams that are set too low and make your wager with them. For instance, the Giants won 6 games last year with something like 15 guys on IR to end the season, including Michael Strahan and Amani Toomer. Vegas set them at 6.5 wins this year, a total that seems far too low. As a Giants fan, you'll just have to take my word for it. Among the other teams set to over and under achieve: AFC SURPRISES: Jacksonville and Cincinnati, AFC BUSTS: Pittsburgh and San Diego. NFC SURPRISES: Giants and Detroit (I do not buy into all this crap about Arizona being that good). NFC BUSTS: Green Bay and St. Louis. Paul and I will come out with a brief article in the coming weeks with more of our NFL picks and predictions. Good luck with your preseason bets.

--That's all for today and hopefully next time we can do this with help from our fans. Send your emails to or just click the link that appears on the top right on the webpage. Thanks


At 3:34 PM, Blogger Paul Benedict said...

Quick note--
I'd love to see Finley in Denver and if you think about it, the move makes the most sense for him as Ant mentions. He'll earn as much money there as from anyone else and he'll be able to step in and play 35-40 mins a night. But someone reminded me yesterday that Finley shares the same agent as Dwyane Wade and played under Stan Van Gundy (who was an assistant while at Wisconsin-- things to consider that nobody's really mentioning right now and might end up factoring into his decision.

-And Anthony, how about updating your archive so our loyal readers don't have to scour through the monthly archives for your articles. Remember it was your idea in the first place. Dddddddumbass

At 5:38 PM, Anonymous Saddie said...

Nice article! I'll definitely send in a question to you guys!

At 6:16 PM, Blogger Tobey said...

Michael Finley:

I think Finley will either end up in Miami or Detroit. They both (also) still have the mid-level exception available and are more of a contender then the Nuggets are.

It has been rumored that Mark Cuban will speed up Finley's payment (the remainder of his contract payment is supposed to be spread out over 15 years)if he signs with an Eastern Conference team. That sounds like a good incentive to look East...

Gary Payton:
The Suns really don't need Payton to back-up Nash. That would make for two free rides down the lane for opposing guards. Nash isn't all that at the defensive end but Gary (at this point in his career) may even be worse. Payton would also slow them down way too much.


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