Saturday, May 21, 2005

Jeff: It's Not Miller Time

Let me just get this out: Reggie Miller is one of the most clutch shooters of all time. One of the best three point shooters ever (I would take only Larry Bird over Reggie if I needed a game-winning 3). Classic Reggie was running through a playoff gauntlet of screens and elbows and forearms, like some kind of Fear Factor event, and burying a 3 from an impossible angle. All of this I admit. But since Reggie hung 'em up Thursday after his Pacers were eliminated by the Pistons I've been hearing some crazy things from some very respectable NBA people. People who (I thought) know infinitely more about basketball than I do. Reggie Miller a Hall-of-Famer? Debatable to me. But not only were these experts saying Reggie was a FIRST BALLOT Hall of Famer, they were suddenly saying he was one of the great players of the last two decades? HUH?

Tell me what I'm missing here. Please. Because, at least to me, here's what Reggie COULD do:

  • hit 3's, especially in clutch situations
  • flop and draw fouls on his shots that didn't go in
  • Bow to the opposing crowd after hitting a big shot
  • Infuriate Spike Lee
  • give thought-provoking interviews after games
Here's what Reggie COULDN'T do:

  • create his own shot
  • pass
  • rebound
  • play any real semblance of defense
  • win a championship
And this is a 1st ballot hall of famer? Are you sure? I heard nationally renowned writers and experts saying he was right up there with Barkley and Ewing and Clyde Freaking Drexler?!?!? I thought they were kidding, but they were not. The argument was, knowing how their entire careers played out, who would you rather have: and Reggie Miller was getting taken ahead of or right with the Ewings and Clyde Drexlers. Am I the only one who has a problem with this? Reggie was NOT on the original Dream Team, Reggie has NEVER made 1st team all-NBA or even 2nd, and has played in 5 all-star games in 18 years.

Think about that: he's never been considered one of the two best players at his position in any of 18 seasons, and has only been considered one of the 24 best 5 times. I'm not sure Reggie should be getting into the Hall of Fame, let alone on the first ballot. Before my computer crashed and died, I made a chart of the players who I thought compared favorably with Reggie during his prime years- the late '80's-late '90's. I had the following criteria a player had to have in that time frame:
  • make at least 3 all-star games
  • be named 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team All-NBA at least 3 times
  • NOT win a regular season MVP award

I came up with 17 guys along with Reggie who met this criteria, and you know what? I'd take almost all of them over him. When it comes down to it, knowing now what you know about their whole careers, Reggie had a nice run and some longevity to it, as well as some clutch moments. But as clutch as he was, he never won a title, and was never more than a glorified sharpshooter. Oh, and the argument about how many career points Reg scored and all the three's? He played his entire career with a three point line. Jerry West, a guy people commonly mention as a great player Miller has passed on the all-time scoring list. How many more points would West have scored always having the three? Or Pistol Pete Maravich? I'm not saying REggie wasn't good, because he definitely was. But great? At times maybe, but I'd rather have a Joe Dumars or Clyde Drexler anytime.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Jeff: A Commission We Actually Need

I realize this is a sports site, but with the approval of The Jer, I am going to delve into another area of life, one that I have even less expertise and authority to speak on than sports. But it needs to be said, so bear with me. And if anyone's seen TheDan, please let him know there's some love-struck bandit masquerading on his website, posing as TheDan himself. Thank you.

After purchasing the new Dave Matthews Band cd, I have come to two conclusions:
1) Dave is officially off my "Eagerly and Automatically Buy Their New CD" list
2) a new commission or law needs to be made against musicians and the music industry

Now listen when I say this, NOBODY hates all of these frivalous lawsuits and whiny "I HAVE RIGHTS" crap more than me. I'm going to give people something to complain about if I hear one more person whining about how their 19th amendment rights were violated. Shut up. If you have a roof over your head, a decent job and a family you can come home to SHUT UP. There are a lot of people in the world who have it much worse than you, whose needs are being overshadowed or drowned-out by your whining because your kid got cut from their volleyball team or because God-forbid somebody has an "I Love Jesus" bumpersticker that offended you. Trust me when I say I'm the last person that wants to see another commission or more rules or more people telling other people what their rights are or are not. But after listening to Dave's newest cd, and reading band comments (thanks for those Joely) about how "this is our best studio session ever and everybody really gets it" and blahblahblah, something must be done.

Maybe it's my fault for holding DMB to a higher standard. I still consider them the most talented band on the planet, and if you look at any of their EARLY work, regardless of whether you like their music or not, I don't know how anyone could disagree. But this new cd is their worst, and yet they are not the first band, and certainly not the last, that will continue to pump out crap long after they should, and promote it like it's the greatest thing they've ever done. Like athletes, I think 99.9% of bands have a shelf life. Some athletes hang on longer than they should, but generally because your body can't perform in your 40's like it did in your 20's or 30's, sporting careers have a limited time frame. And in some cases, even that's too long. I wish the same were true for musicians. I believe most musicians (I of course don't included boy bands or most of these "Top 40" divas in this because, after all, they're NOT musicians but rather plastic puppets--or as they'd say in Office Space "No Talent A$$ Clowns") start out writing music and creating songs out of passion. Whether it was a life event that changed them or something in them that stirs, they are provoked into expressing it in song. They're doing it because they love it, not because they'll sell a bazillion records and get on MTV and be famous. They have something to say, something that's important to them, and they've found a passionate creative outlet for that. Look at some of the best rock songs of all time, from the '60's to today, and you'll see my point. The vast majority of it was written early in an artists' career, before overwhelming wealth and fame took over.

To me, it's just not possible to find that same creativity and passion when you're cruising in your Bentley with your "bling-bling" and Playboy playmates on your way to one of your 7 mansions in paradise. Good for those who accomplish success and fame and enjoy it to the fullest, but there's no way on earth you can make good music living that lifestyle. You just can't. Look at Lenny Kravitz. He had something to say back in the day, he had some soul and some great songs. Now he's simply making songs that he hopes gets picked up for commercials (Gap) or intros to sporting events on TV. Essentially it's crap, but those who have no taste or are diehard fans hoping for a glimpse of the old days, will keep getting duped into buying his albums. If we had warning labels


Just something to let people know they're mailing it in from their yacht in the Camans. How do we determine when a band has peaked? Why a commission of Jer and myself and our friends of course (we'd include TheDan but he's too busy making out these days). Anyways, we'll give a band one album after their first platinum album, be that 2 or 12 into their career, before their work comes before"The Committee". NOw we're not going to stop people from putting out music, after all, stupid people have rights to buy music too, but we're going to at least warn people if a band has peaked. Now bands that, despite great success, steer clear of the spotlight (Radiohead and Pearl Jam come to mind), we will have no problems allowing them to continue. We also don't want to stand in the way of the next U2, who despite fame and fortune have incredibly turned out good music for 20+ years. But they're the exception. Bands like Creed are the rule. It's the least that we can do to prevent unfortuneate things like heavy sales for Dave's new songs from people that still think the old, talented free-flowing DMB may return someday. Because it's not.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Jeff: Because somebody has to care about the NBA

So I'm board-op'ing a Twins game for the next 3 hours, and Ive been enjoying the NBA playoffs. Since the WOlves are out, I doubt Jer has watched much, and since I have no life, well, it makes sense for me to be the one to keep you abreast of what's going on. (Yes that entire paragraph was set up just so I could use the word "abreast" in a sentence)
  • Jeff Van Gundy is crazy, but I love him for standing up to The Don Stern. Sure, JVH will be wearing cement shoes at the bottom of the Hudson when he goes to Stern's office for a"visit" in New York later this month. But he finally said what all of us have thought about the NBA and the refs and conspiracy theories: they exist and we know it. Like so many have pointed out, I would think The Don Stern would want Houston to advance with Yao and T-Mac, but it's nice to see somebody step up and say something. It'll mean losing his job and probably most of his toes after a visit with Stern's "friends" Sonny and Vinny, but hey I think it's defintitely worth it.
  • speaking of the Rockets, Yao's window to jump into NBA Superstar status has officially closed. Hey, he's a great passer and a creative offensive player, but I can think of at least 20 guys I'd want taking the final shot instead of Yao. Make that 30...yeah probably 40. And that's not to mention his defense. He's 7'5 TRYING TO TAKE CHARGES!!! Apparently the concept of the blocked shot hasn't made it to China yet. I figured once they got McDonald's they would just figure it out, but I was wrong. Anyway, Yao is a nice player, but he's a good 2nd banana and no better, no matter how much the NBA tries to convince you otherwise.
  • Guaranteed contracts are the worst thing to happen to the NBA. Vince "Charmin" Carter and T-Mac are two of many examples. Guys can tank it and loathe and complain and whine and they either get the coach fired or get themselves shipped somewhere else for pennies on the dollar, screwing the team they leave. If this happened in real NBA markets instead of Toronto and Orlando, you'd hear more about it.
  • Of course folks in the Raptors front-office will be getting Christmas cards from Heat fans for the foreseable future if Alonzo Mourning helps Miami win a title. Not too bright up there in Toronto for paying him to leave (think about it). Too much Molson, probably.
  • Along the same lines, here's a question: why wouldn't you bench somebody like Charmin or Spree or any other player that doesn't want to play hard for you? And I don't mean benching him for just a quarter, or a game. I mean for as long as it takes until he gets the message that he's not getting traded or cut or playing ANYWHERE until his attitude improves. Why is this such a difficult concept to understand? Yeah, you're paying a guy a fortune, but why cave in to his whining and sniveling, especially after seeing what Charmin and T-Mac have done, WHY would you trade these guys for under market value only to watch them flourish somewhere else? A guy has 3 yrs left on his deal and stops playing hard? I tell him he can sit on his can at home or with his posse or wherever he wants for those 3 years. His value on the open market would be so diminished by the time his contract ran out, I doubt you'd see anybody call my bluff. I love the NBA but I hate how the players are basically running the show. It's nuts. Reason #1026 why the NFL is the premiere sport in the world right now.
  • Usually I hate watching the "goliaths" of the NBA, aka the teams that will make the NBA the most money, which means they hype them to the moon. But seriously, is there anybody who DOESN'T want to see a Suns/Spurs and Heat/Pistons conference finals? Anyone? Just checking.
  • Remember last year when we were comparing Melo and Lebron to each other? Whoopsy daisy!! Melo's looking more Big Dog Robinson than NBA superstar with every game he plays.
  • It would be bad enough to live in Cleveland, what with the sewer--I MEAN beautiful lake Erie, a football team with colors that resemble the colors in that lake, and a terrible baseball team. But now Lebron's talking about leaving? The suicide watch in Cleveland will be on red-alert status if that happens. Almost as bad as it will be in Wisconsin when Favre retires.
  • The longest we'll see a 2nd round series go is 5 games.


  • You heard it here first: the Detroit Lions will be the most improved team of 2005.
  • Order of finish in the NFC Norris for 2005. 1) Minnesota 2) Detroit 3) Chicago 4) Green Bay (if the town and Lambeau hasn't been burned to the ground before the season's over. I hope Mike SHerman has life insurance on his dog. I'm not sayin I'm just sayin).