Righteous Ramble


So nice to have a couple days off from…everything. Which means I’ve got plenty of time to be here.

First off, it was a sad day for the NFL with the official retirement of Priest Holmes. He was already a good story just coming back and showing small flashes of his former self, but he could have been a great story filling in the rest of the season for Larry Johnson. Not everyone gets the storybook endings — unless your Ricky Williams apparently, who doesn’t even have to battle Ronnie Brown right now. How bitter would you be if you were Priest hearing about Ricky getting reinstated?

The NBA lost someone coming back from injury too, Gilbert Arenas, but for three months. After seemingly every talented player in the league missed time last season, it was looking like we might finally have a consistent first three months star-wise — well, minus poor Elton. Without Arenas, the Wizards just aren’t any fun to watch. That is no slight on Butler or Jamison, but without young intriguing talent, Arenas was that transcendent talent.

How are some of those preseason predictions for our esteemed “experts” around the country? Well the Knicks sure aren’t looking much like a playoff team. Let this be a lesson that whenever there are at least 10 mental reasons you don’t think a team will be a contender, it’s generally not a good idea to pick them for the postseason. People were blaming Marbury there for awhile, but I don’t see how anyone can give Zeke Thomas a pass anymore. In fact, I don’t see how he did enough last year not to get fired. Thomas does not understand how to build a team; he understands individual talent and hard working mentality, but not chemistry. The Knicks need a new GM, but no matter who it is, there will be no Celtics-esque immediate makeover.

What about those uptempo Rockets? Why did people think that was going to work again? Adelman has done what Steve and I expected by using Yao more in the high post, but the guy is too slow to run very often. McGrady is actually more effective now in the half court anyways. The Houston O certainly looks more fluid, which is what should have been expected, but not a fastbreaking offense — certainly not without a high-quality PG. Still, Adelman will get credit just for not being the speed-averse Jeff Van Gundy, as he should. The Rockets look like a B- contending team.

Too many people are sleeping on the Mavs, by the way. As I’m writing, Dirk is taking over this Wednesday Rockets matchup. This team seems to be taking the right approach the the regular season, play well against most teams, play big in the marquee matchups, and become great in March and April.

And now we go to our dear friend Mr. Simmons, who has woken up the past two weeks with a fairly decent belated season preview. Good lord, he even had good things to say about the Blazers for once, ranking them 11th in the West. But then he said this.

"Now the bad news: Not only will Oden miss the season after microfracture surgery, but Brandon Roy slipped in the 2006 draft specifically because teams were terrified of his right knee (not the red flags from two surgeries as much as all the cartilage Roy was apparently missing). I hate to be a party pooper, but isn’t this the elephant in the room here, that Portland built around the young nucleus of Oden, Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge and two of them already have knee problems? I can’t stop thinking about this every time I watch them play."

When was the last time anyone talked about Roy’s knee? Aren’t we all a little more bothered by his heel problems? What about Aldridge’s back problems, or his abnormal heart problems that thankfully have not popped up again. I know it is hard to keep up with the problems of each team, but Simmons often comes close to convincing me he doesn’t even bother doing the required research, not to mention I’m fairly certain he never uses NBA League Pass to it’s fullest extent.

Speaking of people I’m positive don’t watch the players they are writing about: 90% of fantasy sports writers. Eric Karabell knows what he’s doing, but most others are poor talent evaluators and do most of their work from box scores. The thing that really bothered me, one of the ESPN guys (I don’t have his name on hand but the one who does stock watch) said the words “[Martell] Webster isn’t a very good shooter.” I’m just going to leave things at that for those of you who have followed the Blazers, read anything we write, or just have common sense.