Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Dolphins' Debacle

Unfortunately, it looks like absolutely no one is going to come out of this Miami Dolphins fiasco looking good at all. Not Richie Incognito, who quite clearly crossed a line from razzing to harassment. Not Jonathan Martin, who took his issues to the public rather than seek out in-house options. Not Dolphins coaches and management, who somehow let a loose cannon like Incognito assume an important leadership role. And not the rest of the Dolphins themselves, who now must play out the remaining half of the season without the starting left side of their offensive line, something that should lower their playoff odds from "marginal" to "almost zero" (especially if they're going to get beaten by previously winless Tampa Bay, a team that's no stranger to internal drama, and tally exactly two rushing yards while they're at it).

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

College Basketball Returns!

I think the last time I was this excited for the start of the college basketball season, Greg Oden and Kevin Durant were suiting up as amateurs. In a related story, this year's freshman class is, as everyone knows, positively loaded with potential one-and-dones, with a whopping eleven of them currently rated among the top thirty draft prospects, including six of the top ten. There's a lot not to like about college basketball: the too-long shot clock that encourages coaches to have their teams play at a slow and ugly pace, the excruciatingly inconsistent officiating that contributes heavily towards endgames that take half an hour because of all the free throws, those horrendously ugly Zubaz uniforms that keep popping up (this from someone who actually likes a lot of Oregon football's sartorial choices), over-expanded conferences that make zero sense from a geographic standpoint (let us all observe a moment of silence for the Big East), and of course, to crown all, the stupefying intricacies of the Luddite NCAA organization itself. But the talent level this season is so high that it should override all of those things except, perhaps, that last one. Let's take a look at some of the more compelling players, teams, and stories.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Solution for Tanking

Tanking entire seasons has long been an issue in the NBA, and in fact I would argue that it might be the biggest current issue with the league today. It's also a bigger problem in the NBA than in any other league because one basketball superstar has a bigger impact on his franchise than in the NFL, NHL, or MLB, and the top basketball prospects are also the best-known (and longest-known) commodities, barring the odd Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck. LeBron James and Greg Oden each were ticketed for the first pick in the draft when they were sophomores in high school; so was Jabari Parker until Andrew Wiggins reclassified himself as a member of the high school class of 2013. Tim Duncan was the presumptive top overall pick for three years running, and the advent of his senior season precipitated several teams to throw in the towel on that season, most notably the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs (after David Robinson's injury).