Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sometimes you just need another point of view

So, "Rich" (see photo caption) Carlisle is out of a job now, probably for reasons that are largely not his fault (see: Artest, Ron; Jackson, Stephen; trade, bad and desperate). However, team president and master trade architect Larry Bird wants him to know that hey, it's not you, it's us: "He had a lot of ups and downs," Bird said. "With some of the problems we've had over the past few years, it's been tough on everyone. He's been awfully good for this franchise." Bird also said that Carlisle has the option to return to the team in another capacity.

"I asked him if he wanted to trade jobs," Carlisle said. "And that didn’t interest him."

Maybe Bird was thinking about something more like this.

Hey, we hear there's a job opening in Sacramento. Though in Carlisle's place, we'd be afraid to ask Ron Artest to "bury the hatchet."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

I have to say up front that I like Mark Madsen. He went to school at Stanford, and plays for my favorite team. What's not to like?

He is joining the ranks of pro athlete/bloggers with a well-written blog that is an enjoyable look at life as a pro basketball player. The funny thing about the blog, though, is that it has Google ads on it.

I'm sure Mark didn't set up the site himself--he probably just posts. But there's very little traffic to the site (and not likely to be more as a result of this post), so the revenue he's getting from Google can probably be measured in dollars over months. Considering he made over $2 million this year, does he really need the extra ad revenue? Maybe he's just jealous at all the endorsements those other athletes are getting.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

NCAA Evolution

I was watching some rebroadcast of the 1990 UConn-Duke game from the Regional finals, which was coincidentally the first year I really started watching the NCAA tournament at the urging of my then-roommate. We picked teams (alternating choices, and giving the other person the first-round opponent, meaning each of us only picked 16 teams), and I picked UConn, I think because they had sent me an application to grad school once upon a time. Well, in the semifinal game against Clemson that preceded this one, UConn was down one with a second to go when Scott Burrell launched a full court pass to Tate George, who caught it on the opposite baseline, spun, and buried a jumper to win the game. That moment made me an NCAA Tournament fan.

The UConn-Duke game was similarly thrilling, going to overtime before being decided on Christian Laettner's buzzer-beater (his less famous one). What I noticed in watching this game over again was that both teams ran a very simple offense: get the ball to Laettner/Bobby Hurley/Tate George.

Compare that to the Ohio State-Florida game Monday night, which could have been an NBA game for the style of play. Even though OSU featured an NBA-caliber center, they spread the ball around a lot. Florida has five guys who can all score. Both teams ran a balanced offense that allowed them to score inside or out, and involved everyone. Has the game changed that much from 17 years ago? I think so, considering that the Duke team that beat UConn in a thriller ran into UNLV in the finals and lost to what was unquestionably the most talented roster in college basketball at the time. That kind of disparity doesn't really exist any more at the top tiers, not because of talent fleeing to the NBA, but because there is (I think) so much more talent at the college level. A school like Florida wasn't considered elite until their run last year; they will be now, because they'll continue to attract new talent. The explosion of media attention beyond just sports nuts has increased the pool of talented players, despite the most talented ones jumping to the pros as soon as they're allowed.

Note that all of this hasn't made the college game more interesting to watch, but then, I have trouble focusing through an entire NBA game as well.

And for your amusement, a mis-captioned photo (from DJ Gallo's Masters Preview, now corrected).