Before we get started...some shout outs:
S/O to Grace Baker for her rousing profile on Jon Leuer as the "embodiment of a white baller." The saddest part of Mike Miller leaving was a chance for a white out on the court (Nicky Buckets, Beno, Miller, Jonny Badger, and Koufus). Ahhh....A guy can always dream.
S/O to Charlie GrrrBrrrr for his in-depth look at the FIBA World Cup and the top twenty players involved. The Photoshop of Steph Curry's face on Keri Russell still haunts me.
Your Memphis Grizzlies
Grizzlies' Training camp in San Diego, California- Chris Faulkner already wrote a great piece on the Grizz taking their training camp out of the Mid-South area and settling in San Diego. However, some other interesting factors can come into play as to this being not a big deal at all:
1) It is in San Diego- No matter what your job is or where you are reading this from, if your boss came to you and said you are moving to San Diego, you pack up your desk and leave immediately.
2) It's Robert Pera's alma mater- UCSD is where the Grizz boss matriculated and he probably is also the recipient of some pretty big alumni checks. Plus, we need to keep the boss happy, or we have seen what he can do. I'm pretty sure he can fire me at this point.
3) It bumped the Clippers from their training camp- this one makes me laugh. Enjoy East LA losers!
The Beale Street Bull signs his contract- Late last week, the last rookie on the Grizz roster, Jarnell Stokes, signed his deal to become the 15th player on the active roster for the Grizzlies. Although I have not heard if this contract involves body fat percentage, it does make the roster completely full.
I believe that the Grizzlies are not done in their roster building, and there are only two methods to change the roster: cutting a player and trades. The roster is still short a third point guard for the first twenty games and a third center. After doing some reading and such, here are the most likely Grizzlies to move:
1) The "Grindson" Jamaal Franklin- the first draft pick by Jason Levien's regime may be the first player to go. He was a second round pick in a bad draft that did not get much play time during his rookie year and has not performed well in the summer league. I suspect he will probably be cut.
2) Courtney Lee- Another Levien deal, as Courtney was one of Levien's clients as an agent. There is a log jam at the SG/SF position, and he has the worst contract except for...
3) Quincy Pondexter- I hope he can play and the team sticks with him, but if not, he may be relegated to the status of...
4) Tayshaun Prince- The Old Yeller of the roster. While I think he will be the least likely to be moved, his minutes have to come way down this year...right??? Right???
1) Expand the NBA by 6 teams, with new franchises in Seattle, St. Louis (BRING BACK THE SPIRIT!!!!!!), Louisville, Las Vegas, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh.
2) Eliminate conferences and replace with four divisions
3) Set up a playoff system where sixteen teams make the playoffs, and eight more have a chance to qualify
4) Improve the draft lottery so that each pick has a lottery, instead of one lottery for the entire draft.
I love hypotheticals and I love forward thinking, but the league has over expanded. If the league was going to expand, it would expand overseas I'm sure, but even that is a dicey proposition. I think that in order to restore competitive balance, a twenty-four team league would change the balance of power with the availability of talent.
As to who gets the ax, how about Milwaukee, Sacramento, Orlando, Charlotte (again), Detroit (this city is not what it once was), and maybe combine two of the teams in Texas (the Austin Spurkets? The Rockurs? The Ft. Worth Rocket Mavs?). Oh...and at least get rid of the Raptors name and replace it with the Huskies. However, we know that the league will never retract a team, even if it makes sense.
As far as restoring competitive balance, how about this idea:
1) Restore the idea of a hard cap- no Mid Level Exceptions, no Bird rights, and no luxury tax...just a hard cap.
2) Install league wide revenue sharing, like the NFL.
3) Eliminate the rookie salary restrictions so that you can...
4) Eliminate the NBA Draft- Now...I love the draft like anyone else. But what if instead of the silly season of free agency in July, out of high school and college players could just sign with an NBA team. Then push free agency to late July/early August. Teams would have to make hard choices about personnel, especially with the hard cap, and every team would have the same shot at every new rookie in the league. If a team wants to go young, they will have to let go of some vets in order to do so, and if a team wants more experience they will have to sit out of the rookie signing period. This pays rookies what they are worth and makes veterans worth something again.
Does this sound crazy??? This to me sounds like it could work.
Eric Bledsoe trade madness- Eric Bledsoe is still not under contract. It is the last week in August. What we've got here is failure to communicate. This week it was reported that Phoenix attempted to trade Bledsoe to Minnesota for Kevin Love (first reaction: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO) which was declined by Minnesota in favor of the deal with Cleveland. But this means that Bledsoe is still out there and available.
I know that as Grizz fans we still remember the terror that Bledsoe was in the Clippers series three years ago. Essentially, he and Jamal Crawford, a one armed Caron Butler, and Reggie Evans, the nard grabber himself, put the bench of our fair Grizz to shame. I still have visions of silently eating cheese in my boxers at 2 A.M., when my wife came in. She asked me what was wrong and I honestly could not tell her. But I digress...
As a Grizz fan, he needs to be traded out East. If he stays in Phoenix on a one year qualifier and has to prove himself, that could be scary. If he ends up on a Western team, like Houston or OKC, that's scarier than Shaq coming at you in the shower naked.
(S/O to Chris Faulkner...and sorry...)
Life, the Universe, and Everything Else
Criticizing The Simpsons- It has become a cliché in television criticism to say that The Simpsons are not what they used to be. May I remind you that the show has been on for twenty-six years...twenty-six!!!!! The show is almost as old as I am. Of course it has slipped over time and has become a bit more "slapsticky".
I still get an amazing amount of joy out of watching both new and re-run episodes. And just wait until the numbers come out for viewership of The Simpsons' Marathon on FXX this week. It should be huge. It is highly re-watchable and is just a classic show. But I can make the declarative statement: The Simpsons is the best show on television....ever. Here is my top ten of shows in my lifetime:
1) The Simpsons
2) The Wire- Best live action show, worst opening credits.
3) Breaking Bad
4) Mad Men
5) Justified- the best written and coolest show on this list
6) The Sopranos seasons 1-4- I hate the dream sequence seasons.
7) Lost- except for literally the last 15 minutes
8) Sports Night- Haters can hate...but I love this show
9) Dead Like Me- too tragically short
10) Pushing Daisies- another clever and short lived show
The Simpsons themselves- I have already made a lot of lists this week, but my five favorite Simpsons episodes are as follows:
1) Homer's Barbershop Quartet (Season Five, Episode One)- Soooo many Beatles references....
2) Marge vs. the Monorail (Season 4, episode 12) Monorail!!!!...Monorail!!!!!.....MONORAIL!!!!!!!!!
3) Every Treehouse of Horror- When my wife and I went on out first date, we simultaneously quoted "Televison...master, teacher, secret lover." That's how you know you share a forever type of love.
4) Homer at the Bat (Season Three, Episode 17)- Shave off those sideburns Mattingly!!!!!!
5) One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Bluefish (Season two, Episode 11)- Homer has eaten a poisoned blow fish and is told he has twenty four hours to live. He makes a bucket list that ends with "Be intimate with wife." It may or may not get dusty in here during this episode.
Some bonus episodes include the Hank Scorpio episode ("The only thing I want from you is to die and be a cheap funeral,") "The Eternal Moonshine of the Simpsons Mind," last season's "Days of Future Future," and any episode where the Simpson kids are small.
That's it....that's the list.
See you next week