Archive for May, 2011

Basically what happened in baseball – Buster Posey, a remarkable talent for San Francisco, he leads them in batting average, RBI’s …you know, he’s just a tremendously gifted kid, rookie catcher who came up late last year and guided them to a World Series behind the dish, remarkably smart and talented. They gave him a $6 million dollar bonus outta college, I think that was the largest bonus ever…at the time.

So he gets hurt – run over by a player, it’s a legal play. So now the question is: Should baseball change rules to protect catchers? The NFL did change rules to protect QB’s. Now, I wouldn’t change the rule – and I’ll just tell you why I wouldn’t, because in football it’s different. Every pass and every pass attempt, a QB is vulnerable to a blindside hit from a 265 lb defensive end who bench’s 440 and runs a 4.6…and on every play, that’s a real danger! In baseball, twice a year your catcher gets run over, your catcher is wearing gear, the guy who hits him isn’t, he’s getting run over by a smaller athlete and it’s not blindside.

So, let’s just think about this – big picture. In baseball, it’s a super rare event and the physical repercussions are limited. Asteroids occasionally hit the Earth, I’m not buying asteroid insurance…it just doesn’t happen enough. But yet for something in society that is a common danger, a regular occurrence like driving on the road and getting hit, death on the highway….yes! I’ll enact laws and legislation; I would change society and rules to protect a large number of people, who are in danger at any second!

In football, the dangers are greater – guys have been paralyzed! In football, the dangers are more prevalent, it happens on every play! But in baseball, the danger is what? Torn ligaments? And the regularity almost never happens – it’s like when you use to go buy a car and they try to sell you rust proofing. I’m sorry; it doesn’t happen enough in order to buy protection for it…so that’s my feeling on it.

Joe Torre was on The Herd with Colin Cowherd last Friday and Colin asked Joe Torre straight out, should MLB change rules? “No! I’d have to say that even at 2nd base, when your turning a double play…you’re in harm’s way. But we teach you to get in there and knock the ball out of his glove if you’re talking about a catcher or 2nd base or try to knock the 2nd baseman over. That doesn’t mean you want him to be hurt, you just want to keep him from throwing to 1st base” Torre didn’t even hesitate!

Now, let me take the other side – and I get the other side, there is more money at stake! You’re paying catchers big money. Now Posey had not signed a big deal yet, but he got a $6 million dollar signing bonus. Joe Mauer you pay $180 million bucks to – and like a QB, you want some assurances. Money alone changes all sorts of industries. I mean Progressive Insurance, year ago, when they came out with classic cars that are now worth millions of dollars, insurance didn’t cover that, they had to come out with specialty insurances….money changes everything folks!

Don’t forget, the NFL owners went to Roger Goodell and said “hey, we gotta change these QB rules. I’m paying $55 million for a QB. In the 70’s they paid them $300,000 dollars, now it’s like half the worth of their rosters and if they blow out a knee, they’re team now stinks!” So the NFL owners went to the commissioner and said “We have got to protect the QB!”

So, there is another side to this…that the NFL changed rules to protect their #1 asset. Now, baseball as a sport is not great at adapting. So that’s why I don’t believe there will be a change – I mean, asking MLB to be progressive is like asking my grandmother (82 years old) to open up a twitter account…it’s just not going to happen!

But I get both sides…its one of the most exciting plays in baseball – we’re massively overeating, it almost never happens and the repercussions are what? A twisted ankle and torn ligaments? What happen to Posey is incredibly rare.


The NFL coaching association is now backing the players and their legal fight to end the lockout. Basically now, coaches and the players are in the same spot because teams throughout the league are starting to cut coaches salaries…and I gotta tell you something about the NFL.

Basically Roger Goodell is the commissioner and he’s in a tough spot. He’s basically in a really pricey divorce and he is the attorney for the rich guy – the owner. He is going up against a less rich person, the players, being the woman. There is no question that Goodell, as commissioner, needs the rich guy – who he’s representing. But he can’t ultimately control him and so Roger Goodell has got no vote on this thing. He is paid for and hired by the owners, so every commissioner in the history of sports – when you think of Bud Selig, don’t you think he’s tied to the owners first? Of course! Don’t you think David Stern is tied to the owners first? Of course! You have to be as a commissioner…that’s not a debate.

But Roger Goodell admitted last week that there is now proof the NFL is losing some of you! “It’s clearly had an impact on our fans already. You see that in our various metrics we have, whether their ratings or traffic on, there are also financial consequences to that. I don’t think you can ever underestimate, because the fans are still going through difficult financial challenges, just in the general economy here. Those challenges continue to impact on their decisions and rightfully so.” TV ratings….down 4 million people for the draft, traffic….down, ticket sales….down!

People forget that one of the great things the NFL did – and MLB has lost this because they have no salary cap, so the hotstove league is really just New York/Boston league. It’s more of a microwave, than a hotstove….there’s only two evolved and it’s very fast, there’s one guy out there and they bid on him. So the off-season for baseball is not nearly as interesting as it use to be. Frankly, we take baseball off for 4 or 5 months…even in baseball crazy cities!

But the NFL, over the last 3 years, look at the off-season stories…its become a 12 month sport! Vick controversy/imprisonment, Favre to the Jets, Favre to the Vikings and Big Ben controversy. The NFL, in my lifetime, has become the only sport to become an 11 to 12 month sport. This year, their giving prime real estate back to the NBA, MLB and NHL. In Japan, they had an economy called “the lost decade” this has been the “lost off-season” They’ve given all that beach front real estate right to MLB and NBA. Now, the NBA is better than MLB at creating headlines – it has been, since David Stern took it over.

You have to realize that newspapers no longer dominate sports – sports radio is much bigger and more popular than newspapers. Jim Rome, Colin Cowherd and Jason Smith have more radio listeners than any columnist could have for their writings – those days are just over. Right now, I’d be ranting about football…and I’m not! The metrics numbers are showing up!…down! Tickets…down! Ratings….down! They gave it up! I’m not saying it’s a “lost decade” but it’s for sure a “lost off-season”

Now, maybe they get it back – they do surveys at places like ESPN, Fox Sports,, etc. Almost 100% of sports fans listen to sports radio, when you think about it….do you know how much advertising they gave football over the past couple of years in the months of June and July? The controversies were actually good for business…they talked about the NFL! It wasn’t good for the Steelers during that Big Ben saga, but it was great for the league…It was great business! The media loves urgency and urgency sells, controversy, urgency, hate…they all sell! This is a business; these are not “.org’s” nor “non-profits”.

So baseball doesn’t give you a ton of urgency, the NBA gives you some in the playoffs, the NFL was giving us more urgency than any place else!

Well well well, that was quite a series was it not? First of all let me admit, I thought Chicago was going to win Thursday night. I predicted that Chicago would win because they have a soul and a heart – by the way, they do….but they just don’t have an MVP! But they’ve got a lot of soul and a lot of heart.

Did you watch the game Tuesday night as well though? Erick Spoelstra said afterwards “boy, he’s an MVP player” never mentioned his name. By the way, the last MVP player to win a title in the same year? 8 years ago, Tim Duncan – a complete player like Lebron. So congrats on the hardware, thank the writers who were oblivious to your flaws…but you’ll be watching the finals from your couch…it’ll be Dirk and Lebron.

How about this number, Derrick Rose – you’re not going to believe this! You’re going to think I made this up. Derrick Rose, when Lebron James guarded him in this series, shot 6.3%. Not 16%, not 26% – those would be egregious, he shot 6.3%. Well the good news is…he’s 22 years old, that should go up to 9 or 10% in a few years For 3½ quarters, Heat/Bulls went exactly as I planned. Then the last 5 minutes…my bad! I forgot to factor in “the withering Rose” equation.

It’s amazing what has happened – Miami couldn’t have played worse for 3 quarters. Dwayne Wade was atrocious for 3 ½ quarters!! But like all stars do, they rise to the occasion. But my first thought Thursday night, when the series was over A) I’m tired! Honestly can you start these games earlier? B) I don’t think Chicago is as close as everybody thinks. I don’t think Derrick Rose is going to get those titles everybody thinks – the one’s that Michael Jordan also predicted he’d get. Noah and Boozer sat in the 4th quarter. They don’t even have a #2 guy and their #1 is very inefficient!

Whereas Chris Bosh – the #3 guy for Miami, shot 60%, 50%, 65%, 50%, 48% – he shot 55% for the series. Scored 30, 34, 22, 20 and had good rebound numbers 7, 8, 11, 7 and he was an excellent defender. So Miami’s big 3 were far more consistent and efficient than Chicago’s #1! I honestly don’t think Chicago is close. They need a #2 but there is none out there and they’re going to be jammed up against the salary cap.

But what this series really was…is an education! It’s an education to players around the NBA, teams like the Knicks that realize “you better get help!” Melo and Amare are not winning you a title, you need another one. It’s an education to young NBA fans – you veteran guys, you guys over 40; you know what wins in the NBA – rebounding, defense. Young people think “T-Mac, Stevie Francis, Iverson, Rose” Jump, dunk….wins!” Naw, it’s the other end of the floor too. To the media it’s an education as well, the “finding Derrick Rose an excuse” machine…it’s done! No more excuses…watch the games! You have to play on both ends. Derrick can’t guard Bosh or Lebron and they’d never put him on D-Wade, Lebron can guard anybody…that’s value! It’s an education to D-Wade, who deep down has always known it…this is validation; this is Lebron’s team in crisis. And to every GM in the league…don’t sign average players to long contracts. Whereas Pat Riley signs Bosh, Lebron and D-Wade…he’s got all sorts of guys coming off the books. The Bulls don’t! They’re gonna have to double, triple or quadruple what they pay Derrick Rose, they’re stuck with Boozer, stuck with Deng, stuck with Noah…it’s an education.

More than anything, what this really came down to – is in the 4th quarter, you can’t put Derrick Rose on the 3 best players of the Heat. Liability is too strong of a word because he is super quick and makes things happen. But it’s really a disadvantage to put him on Lebron, D-Wade or Bosh. D-Wade is just too thick, but yet you can put Lebron on ANYBODY of the Bulls and stop them completely. Arguably, even their big – Joakim Noah.

Let me say this though about Derrick Rose – this isn’t like overnight hate or something, I called him out months ago. I researched him, did some numbers and said – for the record, you had me going on Derrick Rose. I said I thought Derrick Rose was closer to Allan Iverson than anybody I could remember and many of you said “keep it going, keep pushing it, your right! Don’t listen to the haters” Now we watch him – heck he is Allen Iverson, although a more humble kid. But Derrick Rose is a lot of things, he’s not efficient. ESPN has seemingly – and I’m not sure if they have created it, but I’ve never heard of it until like 6 months ago, the term “Volume scorer” what in God’s name is that?

That’s a new term we’re using to describe and validate Derrick Roses’ inefficiency. “yeah that Derrick Rose kid is a volume scorer” Oh, so he needs 28 shots to score 25 points – that’s funny, because Lebron only took 13 in Gm 3 and still crushed him, he took only 19 Thursday night and carried his team. A “volume scorer” that’s how we describe Derrick Rose now, to validate his inefficiency! Can you imagine? “Yeah I like my stock broker; he’s a volume stock broker. He’ll find you 3 great stocks – now, he’s got to buy and sell 40 or so to get there” or in the football context “I’ll tell yah, I love our QB he’s a volume QB…I mean, he’ll get you 3 TD’s now, you have to let him throw 74 times…about 38% completion rate, but he’ll get you 3 TD’s!” it’s ridiculous! “Volume scorer” is an inefficient player, that’s all it is.

Larry Bird wasn’t a volume scorer, Magic, Jordan, Lebron…they’re not volume scorers. You know who is a volume scorer? Allen Iverson…how many titles? That’s just a ridiculous thing we’ve made up. Derrick Rose will improve – no doubt, he is a humble kid. I’ll say it again though, you guys went into this series calling him “clutch” and knocking Lebron for a lack of that skill. But leadership is willingness to be hated! And we know Lebron is willing to be hated.

Once again, Derrick after the game “hey, my bad!” this my friends, is NOT leadership! “It is what it is, you run a play – they’re a good defensive team, if my teammates are open they will shoot the ball. They were playing tough defense but in the end, it’s on me…everything is on me! Turnovers…missed shots…fouls and you gotta learn from it, that’s all I can do right now because the series is over with…” It’s not on you Derrick…that’s the easy way out! That’s for guys who don’t want to lead and don’t want to deal with conflict.

Erick Spoelstra said something after the game – read carefully, but he talks about Lebron late in the game “There’s a history in this game of great players shining and those moments – when the game is in the balance and all 3 of those guys are special players, that’s why we recruited them so hard this summer. So they stepped up big when we needed them”

Okay, so now ask yourself “the one guy in the series, who didn’t – Derrick Rose, is he really really clutch? Or is he just a completely inefficient yet dynamic player that we make up terms for, to validate his talent?” Volume scorer…how would you like to be a volume comedian? There is one…it’s called Dane Cook, every 38th joke is funny…it’s not acceptable! That’s not an acceptable term…for a point guard? A point guard is a volume scorer? I am however marveled at the efficiency of Lebron James – forget the body, we know he’s better than Derrick Rose, everyone knows that – every GM would take Lebron over Derrick; the bigger body has always won in the playoffs!

Lebron James – believe it or not, is improving. He didn’t play this good of a defense years ago. He didn’t shoot like this years ago! Lebron – like Michael Jordan, Jordan wasn’t a great shooter in his first 5 years in the league, went to the tin too much, people were concerned that he’d get hurt. Michael developed into a brilliant mid-range shooter, so you are seeing the improvement of Lebron. Lebron said afterwards, I’m as proud of my defense as I am my offense “ I take pride defensively, its whatever it takes for myself and for our team, you know…if that means me playing minutes guarding Derrick Rose, then I’ll do it. I don’t have a problem with that…I play both sides of the floor. I love defense much more than I do offense”

it should be noted that valuable in the NBA playoffs is when there’s 5 minutes to go. Derrick Rose – in sortable “clutch” statistics is not one of the 75 best field goal percentage shooters in the NBA with 5 minutes to go. Just how valuable is that…when you consider that on the defensive end of the floor, he’s also to some degree a liability. Valuable is 5 minutes to go – being able to guard anybody, being as good of a distributor as you are a scorer as you are a defender.

Now, Lebron James’ ability to score 7 points and dominate a game –even Scottie Pippen, who was on Mike & Mike Friday morning on ESPN Radio, the way Lebron can score 7 points and completely control the game is amazing “Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to ever play in the game, but I may go as far as to say Lebron James may be the greatest player to ever the game because he’s so potent offensively that not only can he score at will but he keeps everybody involved. You have to be on your p’s and q’s on defense because no guy on the basketball court is not a threat to score when Lebron James is out there, but not only that, but he’s also doing it on the defensive end…”  Volume scorer!! Tell me anything in sports, where you’d be happy having as your star “a volume (blank)” I mean, a volume running back is the guy that averages 2.4 yards a carry! Yeah, he’ll get you 100 yards, but he needs 48 carries!

Fred Wilpon is the principal owner of the New York Mets and he came out a couple of days ago – let me just say this. A) He’s brutally honest B) He’s not inaccurate. He said about David Wright, 3rd baseman of the Mets “he’s a really good kid! Very good player…not a superstar!” well, he’s right! He says about Carlos Beltran “we had some shmuck in New York” for the record, he’s talking about himself “who paid him based on one playoff series! [Astros vs. Cardinals 2007 NLCS] he’s now worth 65-70% of what he was then!” He says of Jose Reyes – if you don’t follow Reyes, he’s an exciting player – enigmatic, but he’s exciting, “he thinks he’s going to get Carlo Crawford money…he’s not going to get it! He’s got everything wrong with him!”

So all this stuff he’s saying? I think he’s bang on! but you know what? New York fans demand free agent signings and then they have buyer’s remorse. Warren Buffet – the investor, always talks about something, he calls it an “inner scoreboard” and a lot of people have an “outer scoreboard” – where they look great and they seem confident, but they don’t have an “inner scoreboard”. Maybe it’s a childhood issue, but they have low self-esteem,  and they don’t feel good about themselves. Warren Buffet says during crisis “I have a very good inner scoreboard…I know what I’m doing. I don’t worry about CNBC, I don’t worry about the financial media…I know what I’m doing, I have a very strong inner scoreboard”

The Mets have a lousy inner scoreboard! They have low self-esteem at their core, they are reactionary, they make signings – basically because they have a little brother complex with the Yankees, and that’s no way to run a business. They react to the media, they react to fans…I mean, Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran….were all bad signings! And Met fans demanded all of them. I mean, you go look at Johan Santana, you could argue that was the best signing out of these bad signings. But they not only acquired him for 6 years,  they also traded parts AND gave him 6 years. If you go to his last year in Minnesota – he gave up 33 home runs, which was like an 18-25% spike compared to his CY Young year (the year previous), his strikeouts went down and he was a .500 pitcher with a 3.30 ERA.

Now, he was still a really good pitcher – but you don’t give a guy with those numbers the previous year, a 6 year deal! But when your living in the shadow of the Yankees and you have a lousy inner scoreboard and you don’t really have any confidence about yourself…that’s what you do! Carlos Beltran – I remember the day he signed (I’m a die-hard Astros fan…enough said) and I was listening to some baseball analyst, maybe Buster Onley or someone else. They said “he’s a really nice player, he’ll give you 21 home runs and hit .274 and he’s got a good glove…he’s not a $20 million dollar a year guy…in any market! He’s just not!!”

But he had a huge series…and what happens in all these sports is that GM’s are busy with their own team. They don’t sit and watch everybody elses team all year!! Then they watch the NBA playoffs or their respective sports’ playoffs and they go “wow!! that Jeff Greene guy is…okay” GM’s make mistakes too and the Mets just massively overpaid for all of them. But, you go back…Jason Bay is a great example.

Listen, I don’t live, breathe and eat baseball like I use to (still obsessed at slightly unhealthy level, but not as before) but Jason Bay at Citi Field (home of the Mets) which is spacious, he’s a pull hitter – that’s a gap hitting park with tons of room in the outfield. He’s a slumbering outfielder who is a dead pull hitter. The Mets signed him; basically because you were it was getting late. The Yankee’s had signed other great players and there was this sense in Met land “we gotta sign somebody!” and Met fans start complaining and going to radio and going to the papers.

So, as much as everybody wants to bang on Wilpon…the guy is being brutally honest and you gotta get over, running your business…I mean, Pepsi may be to some degree, in the shadow of Coke. But if you really watch how Pepsi runs their business – they’re doing their own thing. When they try to copy…not so great.

First of all, tomorrow is Judgment Day and the world is going to end – I’ll get to that in about 5 minutes. But there was a Judgement last night and my judgement is – I still can’t tell who’s better, Dallas or Oklahoma City! When I watch the Bulls and the Heat play, I feel like every game is a strategic plot that affects the other game. I think Dallas and Oklahoma City are just going to play 7 entertaining games. I don’t think one has to do anything with the next – they’re not overly physical, just a bunch of really good players, 2 stars and a bunch of guys who can help. I don’t think Oklahoma City captured momentum, I still think Dallas has more players that can beat you. I still barely like – barely, like the Mavs, but not by much.

But I thought what was interesting last night – they benched the Russell Westbrook. Everybody is like “oh boy, you can’t do that!” Well, why not? He’s not Kevin Durant! There’s a big difference when Kevin Durant goes to the bench – that’s called a breather. You give stars like Derrick Rose and Lebron, Durant, Kobe breathers!! You sit guys like Carlos Boozer and Russell Westbrook. They are not “A+” players. Oh, but we’ve put them there –we’ve anointed them as stars, but they really aren’t stars. Stars give you the same great game 8 out of 9 nights, Westbrook doesn’t! Carlos Boozer doesn’t! Luol Deng doesn’t! But Lebron does, Kobe does, Dirk does.

But we love stars because we buy their jerseys and we root for stars…but every time something happens like last night, where Russell Westbrook gets benched, it makes me appreciate Derek Jeter. Before we anoint Robinson Canoe as a star – do it for about 7 years and get some big hits in the playoffs. Before we anoint everybody as a superstar and stars, slow down a little!

This morning I sat down and wrote out a list of players that I consider being “A+ players” in this league. 11 of 12 nights, you’re getting A+ material. Lebron, D-Wade, Kobe, Dirk, Dwight Howard, Durant, Chris Paul, Derron Williams, probably Melo and Derrick Rose – and Rose is the least consistent because he blows up about once every series. But those are the guys where…you know what you’re getting.  You are getting unbelievable talent and consistency.

I mean Carlos Boozer – every other playoff game disappears! We want to put Luol Deng and LaMarcus Aldridge and O.J. Mayo and Josh Smith, we want to put them up there…but they are simply not there! A lot of them have the talent but most of them lack the maturity, discipline, work ethic, IQ…whatever it is! So just appreciate, instead of just criticizing stars, appreciate how great they are. Chris Bosh is not one Rudy Gay is not – the stars give you the exact same basic things 7 out of 8 nights. If you got back – what’s amazing about Lebron James, the dude has played 83 playoff games and had only 6 stinkers. Meaning he gives you every 12 games he’s a little off. But he’s averaged, in 83 playoff games, 29.5 points, 9 boards, 7 assists, great defense and in an average of 43 minutes…DO YOU GET HOW GREAT THAT IS???

So before we anoint all these other dudes as stars! Slow down…Russell Westbrook? You can bench him. You can bench Carlos Boozer – now, you don’t bench Derrick Rose, and you don’t do that! That will come back to haunt you. But we love stars so much – Scott Brooks by the way, and he basically said afterwards that he had no problem with it [benching Westbrook]. Now, I don’t think Westbrook will fade, the difference between a good attorney and a great attorney – after a bad case is, how does he rebound? The difference between good and great is how do you rebound from crisis?

I think Westbrook will come out and play great in Game 3 and Brooks explained his move in benching him. “Sticking with an Erick over Russell, I thought Eric did a good job. You know, I’ve done it a few times during the year – doesn’t happen often because Russell is an incredible player, he’s our starting point guard. But, we weren’t getting a lot of things done and his time was to come out and I stayed with him. I thought Erick was terrific handling the decisions on the court and guys made big shots…” There you go! I’m okay with it…totally! I don’t think it will have a massive effect from here on out – and yes you can bench Russell Westbrook.

The other topic today –as you know, tomorrow is Judgment Day. According to the leader of the Family Radio Network, it’s pretty much going to end tomorrow. Here’s the thing, I’m going to roll the dice – personally and make plans for next week anyways, because I’m cluster phobic, I don’t do bunkers at all and I hate canned food. So I’m going to roll the dice and say I’m gonna write a rant next week. I’ve promised advertisers that I’ll be writing a rant on Monday. If not, talk to the man upstairs.

But, here’s all I gotta say about Judgment Day tomorrow – if the world doesn’t end, can at least the people who think it will, leave anyways? We’re sorta tired of you. But if it does happen, I will say this – I’ve got some wishes and hopes here and I’d like to explain them. If the world does end tomorrow – like I just hope that there’s a bunch of lasers and stuff because those things are so cool. I totally love lasers, like when you go to the planetarium “I love lasers” it’s like – I hope it ends that way. I have no idea what I’m wearing – I mean, do I have to dress formal?

The way I look at it – if I’m running and hurdling over embers and lavas as the world splits, I’m putting on running shoes! So I’m wearing my Nike Air Max 180’s. Now, I might wear it with a tuxedo t-shirt…but I’m wearing my running shoes. The only other question I had about this – when the world ends tomorrow is…Does Ryan Seacrest count us down on each coast? And is it tape delayed for people out West? I don’t know how that works!!

My favourite tweet on my twitter, somebody said “Typical…. the Red Sox’s are on a winning streak and the world is going to end…great!!” My favourite – from a comedian Jim Gaffgen on his twitter account he put in “I didn’t say Judgment Day, I said Judge Mint Day…which is better! Mentos or Tic-Tac’s? Hope there wasn’t any confusion, sign God” I thought that was funny. By the way, his wife said “I just hope blondy will be performing at the rapture”

So the Miami Heat changed the series last night – it’s very interesting. Think about both head coaches in this series like attorney’s. Tom Thibodeau is representing Rose, Boozer and his associates and Erik Spoelstra is representing Lebron and Co. Well last night, Erik Spoelstra, the attorney for the Heat, presented new evidence that dramatically altered his case, Erik Spoelstra presented Udonis Haslem.

Much like Chicago and Joakim Noah, he’s a big, he can finish, he can run and he may be the heart and soul of the team. He’s the Kendrick Perkins to Boston and we all know what happened to them, when Perkins left. Basically, Udonis Haslem is the glue nobody talks about. He was voted captain before the season, when he got injured – everybody that covers the Heat for a living said “ we just lost the soul of our team” Not the best player, not the second best player, maybe not the third best player – but like Joakim Noah, he’s sorta the soul and energy to the Heat.

Now, Miami wakes up today and everything lines up in Miami’s favour. Boozer and Bosh…they’re a wash; Rose and D-Wade are a wash as well. Now Noah…Haslem makes him a wash!! 2 Days ago – big edge Chicago and now the series comes down to Lebron and Luol Deng…that’s not a wash! Before Erik Spoelstra presented Udonis Haslem, Miami’s case was eroding…they had no answer for the Bulls length and the Bulls bigs. Now they do! Lebron then became the great closing argument and he’s always been better at that then everybody wants to admit.

But I’ll tell you what, when Udonis Haslem came into that game last night – he was a 911 tape, it was a Matlock moment, it was “ohhh wait a minute!!” and I’m in the jury and I’m thinking “ohh this changes everything! I didn’t have any idea that Udonis Haslem could play more than 2 or 3 minutes” we didn’t even know if he’d be the same player! What he did last night, he’s done all season when he played – that’s who he is! He is Joakim Noah. Big guy, runs, finishes – I’d say Haslem has a little better skill set, offensively, but they are the same guy and do the same thing for their respective teams…they are the soul of their teams!

If funny, because fans always want you to make a prediction and to stick to it, but if you get into a plane and you’re a passenger and let’s say the pilot gets new information – there’s a storm ahead, should he just fly into the lightning? Noo!! He’s got new information; he’s going to veer around it. If you go into surgery, you put your baby daughter or son into surgery and they have an X-Ray and they go into surgery and he opens up your son’s chest or your daughter’s chest and he sees something that could save their life – should he just use all the information from the X-Ray? Or should he use the new information?

In every other walk of life, you get credit for evolving and taking new information and using it to your advantage. But in sports, if you ever change your opinion “well your flipping and flopping” Steve Kerr was great last night as the game announcer, he was soo good! For the first 5 Qtrs of this series, Steve Kerr loved the Bulls and he was saying what all of us were saying that Chicago’s length and energy downlow…Miami has got no answer! Steve Kerr was saying that it allows Chicago to shoot 40% and still win these games – they don’t even have to shoot well to get so many second chances!

Then Haslem comes into the game for Miami, and Steve Kerr – and this is what all good announcers should do, but many don’t because they don’t want to be wrong, they’re stubborn, they refuse to move off their initial position, Steve Kerr went out and said “ Okay…this changes everything in the series!”and he was right! Now I don’t know how Udonis Haslem felt this morning because he hasn’t played 23 minutes in 5 months, the good news for Miami is that they get 4 days off – and I don’t know why in the world we schedule NBA playoff games like this, but in this case, that dude needs about 4 days off.

But Steve Kerr did a great job last night – allowing his opinion to evolve as the new information was presented. There is absolutely no question – Udonis Haslem, changes a lot of stuff in this series. I mean, Dwayne Wade – if you watched this game and maybe some of you didn’t. Basically D-Wade said, we won because of the guy nobody talks about! “I mean, he’s the player of the game…no question about it! I mean, we’ve been missing him all year and for him to come out and play that way – you know, very aggressively and get into the team force and go out there and rebound the ball like he did. Just shows a lot to his determination and we ain’t winning this game without him and we’re glad to get him back and hopefully he can keep going”

I’ll be last night to say that I watched Game 1 and middle of the 2nd Qtr I came out and I called a good buddy of mine in the middle of the 1st Qtr and I said to him “Miami doesn’t have an answer for Noah…they literally – Chicago can shoot 38% in all these games, Miami can shoot 48% and Chicago will win because they get 26 second chances…you can’t beat that!” Haslem comes into the game in the 2nd Qtr – the entire series, to me, felt different! I mean, he is the tonic…he’s the answer!

So now that we THINK he can play 25-30mins…wow, he’s one of those players in the NBA – like Kendrick Perkins, that if you don’t watch the Celtics and you just read the box score and you don’t watch the games…you have no idea how valuable Kendrick Perkins is. Same with the Bulls and Joakim Noah – I mean, you’re going to see 6 rebounds, 9 points…you don’t know that he’s the tomato paste of the pizza…he’s the glue! You may have a lot of stars and great toppings on the outside…but he’s the tomato paste of the pizza…he’s holding that puppy together! Otherwise, it’s just a sandwich.

So, I thought last night – I couldn’t believe it and I have to give Steve Kerr a ton of credit. When he came in, when Haslem came in, the only question was “how long can he play?” Cause when he’s out there and he’s not winded, he really changes everything for Miami – he allows the perimeter guys to worry about the perimeter and not be inclined to have to sit there – I mean Miami without Haslem, I don’t think they can win this series! I really don’t. If he gets hurt or re-injured, I don’t think Miami can beat Chicago without him, I really don’t.

Yet when he plays 25, I don’t think there is anyway Chicago can beat Miami with him because I get two stars you get one –everybody else is a wash now downlow.

The reason the NFL is king in North America – and why it’s lapped every other sport is the word “hope” and Cleveland this morning – it’s not a very good draft, but they’ve got “hope”. After watching Dan Gilbert – who I didn’t find likeable whatsoever and who I ripped the day after he released that foul mouthed presser on Lebron going to Miami, but after watching his completely cool son last night and what that young man has had to go through, I’m officially a Dan Gilbert fan again…I’m back on board! So, good for Cleveland! Now as I said, it’s not a good draft…but you know what, this morning in Cleveland they believe they’ve got something and good for them!

Can I just say this though? There is something that I like more than you do – I like the NBA draft lottery, it’s one of my favourite sporting events of the year and I have no idea why! I’m just fascinated by the drama – I love last night! It’s one of the few times in the year – you like the Home Run derby and you like the Pro Bowl,  I honestly couldn’t care less about either. I would sleep my way through a Home Run derby faster than an old cowboy movie.

But there is something about the NBA lottery – and the suspense and all these tin foil on their head guys, who think it’s fixed…I just find fascinating! But, it’s one thing for a radio caller or a blogger or emailer or twitter dude; it’s another thing for a GM of an NBA team to say it. Don’t be shocked if David Kahn, of the Minnesota Timberwolves, gets crushed by David Stern and he definitely should.

After – and here’s what’s amazing, Minnesota got the #2 pick, it’s not like they got the 14th! There was 14 chances and he got # 2, he had almost no chance – statistically to get # 1, yet Kahn said “ the league, the NBA’s got a habit and I’m just going to say – a habit of producing some pretty incredible storylines”  You’ve got to be kidding me!!!! Your now officially the guy who can’t get a job and blames the man, the government or grey matter! You’ve got to be kidding me!!! Yeah, the NBA lottery is fixed (sarcastic remark) that’s why Orlando has won it 3 times! Nothing the NBA wants more than a small market, in the middle of Florida, to dominate the league.

So that’s why Philadelphia, New York were dead for a decade and so were the Celtics…yah, the NBA is rooting for San Antonio and Utah to be good every single year! You’ve honestly gotta be kidding me!! A GM of an NBA team “let me just say the NBA got a habit of producing some pretty incredible storylines” yah, well the Minnesota Timberwolves won’t have any as long as you’re GM! Excuse me, 3 years ago you had 2 of the top 6 picks – you had the 5th pick and the 6th pick, you picked two point guards one never showed up and the other did and he’s not very good!! Honestly man, give me a break.

 Do you know how hard it is to rig things? Really? I mean, do you really believe everybody in the NBA would just keep quiet? 3 times in my life somebody has tried to throw a surprise birthday party for me. Each time, 2 or 3 days before – I find out! You can’t even throw a surprise birthday party – and I don’t think I’m overly observant, but every time you catch somebody making a goofy phone call or maybe there is a call to the house for a delivery…you can’t rig anything!!!

The NBA lottery is not fixed – if it was, they wouldn’t have Cleveland winning it! They wouldn’t have Orlando winning it! Good Lord!!! David Kahn …that is honestly embarrassing, it is absolutely unbelievable to me.  You know, as far as the draft goes –it’s a really bad draft. I’ll give you an example of how bad the NBA draft is. That the best players – there’s two of them that everybody acknowledges, Kyrie Irving from Duke who is a point guard, Derrick Williams from Arizona at #4, they’re both going to be nice NBA players. Neither is projected as a superstar – you know, we’re not talking Lebron or D-Wade here, but they’re both going to be high end NBA players. The third best college player – and I’m not making this up, I went and looked up the scouting report. The third best college player available is Kemba Walker at UConn, who’s a 5’10 scoring guard. Who – according to a Sports Illustrated story where they quote several NBA GM’s as saying “I’m not convinced he can even make the transition to become a point guard in the NBA. He takes a lot of hard shots that would be contested shots that you’re not going to make in our league. There is a lot to like about him” somebody said “but he’s a 5’10 scoring guard”

It is a historically atrocious draft and it really illustrates how bad college basketball has become. Think about this though.  There are twice as many – over 2x as many college basketball programs as college football programs. There are 119 college football programs – there are over 350 college basketball programs, yet you’re out of players by the third guy in the NBA draft this year!!!

In the NFL, the 240th player taken was Stanley Havili of the Philadelphia Eagles, a full-back. Now full-backs don’t play much in the NFL. This guy was USC’s best football player for 2-3 straight years! When he was healthy, he was the most consistent player in the program; he’ll make the NFL…240th pick! By the third college basketball pick, Kemba Walker, there are scouts all over this league that are not sure he’ll ever do anything but ride the pine!

So it would be better if Cleveland won – you know, last time Cleveland won the lottery, it was the Powerball lottery that was worth like $386 million, it was the Lebron lottery. This one is more like a scratch off…this is like when you win the Powerball, you know…your driving on the highway and you pass the Powerball sign and you’re like “$2.2 million for a national Powerball?” Then, sometimes it gets up to like $300 million and everybody buys a ticket, this was the small Powerball…but, there is hope!

You watch Dan Gilbert and you watch his son, you know what they’ve gone through and you know what? I find myself now watching what I saw last night – Gilbert, his cool kid….okay! I’m on board. Turn it around, do something well!