After the success that was last week’s MLB awards column (and since nobody sent in any questions to answer and I didn’t feel like making any up this week), I had to decide between two possible topics: NFL Midseason Awards or NBA Season Preview. Although making fun of Brett Favre never gets old (can’t say the same thing about Brett), anticipation over the return of Hubie Brown to our televisions made this one an easy decision.
Trailblazer most likely to be arrested: Sebastian Telfair, Celtics
What has happened to Portland? Take a look at their roster: there are only two bad character guys on the team, and one of them is injured (Darius Miles). Luckily Telfair is picking up the slack, because apparently you can take guys out of Portland, but you can never take away that Jailblazer spirit. Considering that he had to leave a preseason game at Madison Square Garden to be questioned by the police about his involvement in the shooting of rapper Fabolous, the smart money is on Telfair to win this honor.
Biggest Free Agent Bust: Jared Jeffries, Knicks
After starring at Indiana in college, Jeffries ended up being a nice role player in Washington. He averaged 6.5 points and 4.9 rebounds a game last year for the Wizards while playing good defense. In the mind of Isiah Thomas, not only was Jeffries a perfect fit for the Knicks, but he gave him a five-year contract worth $30 million. The signing was made even worse on Tuesday, when Jeffries had wrist surgery. He will be out for at least two months.
It really is time for Isiah to go. Let’s put it this way: if Isiah had been put in control of “Beverly Hills 90210,” he would have traded Luke Perry for Cody from “Step by Step,” replaced Nat with Balki from “Perfect Strangers” and hired Lisa Turtle from “Saved by the Bell” instead of Kelly Kapowski. Oh well, at least he didn’t used to be the backup goalie for the Islanders.
Most Disappointing Hair: Steve Nash, Suns
Why, Steve, why? Back in the day you and Dirk had the best 1-2 hair combo in the league. First Dirk gets a hair cut, and now Nash shaves his head. I don’t know if the NBA will be able to survive. Oh well, there is always Ben Wallace.
Breakout Rookie: Rajon Rondo, Celtics
If Telfair does end up in jail, the Celtics have the perfect replacement for him. With Delonte West as the other point guard, there is no doubt that Rondo will end up playing a big role this year for what should be a decent Boston team in a weak division. You know he’s just waiting to pull a Paul Pierce and get back at the 20 teams that passed over him (he went one pick after Renaldo Balkman was picked, oh Isiah was at it again), and he has Pierce on his team to help him out with that. Between the two of them, they probably have a grudge against 90 percent of the league.
Most Disappointing Rookie: Adam Morrison, Bobcats
For every great sports moustache, there is a bad one, and Morrison may have the worst. However, his biggest problem isn’t that he looks like a 15 year-old boy who can’t really grow facial hair. Morrison was awful over the summer, not showing off the shooting touch that made him a first-round pick. Even if he shoots as well as he did in college, Morrison isn’t the kind of guy who a franchise can be built around. If he can’t adjust his shot to the NBA, Morrison won’t be around the league for long.
Story everyone is already sick of: The New Ball
This season, the NBA will use a new composite ball, as opposed to the traditional leather model. Apparently players don’t like it because the new balls are too slippery, which will cause more turnovers and worse shooting.
At this point, the ball really shouldn’t be blamed. There are very few true point guards anymore, so ball-handling isn’t that big of a deal, and I doubt Antoine Walker went 0-6 from 3-point range on Tuesday night because of the new ball. It looked like the same old ‘Toine to me. The players will adjust to any changes very shortly, and until then, it is a problem that they are all having, so the playing field is still even.
Well, that’s it for this week. There will be no column next Thursday, as it will be replaced by a preview of the AU men’s basketball team. That’s right, it’s time to break out your Lithuanian flag because Linas and the boys are back, and I couldn’t be happier about it.