Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Eddie House Era Begins

Alright, well, maybe not. But as some of you may have heard, the C's wasted no time in scrambling to re-stock their laughably depleted bench, signing Eddie House and Jackie Manuel to one-year contracts yesterday. Celtics fans are undoubtedly familiar with House, who started his career with the Heat and spent last year with the Nets. The C's will be his eighth team (damn). Jackie Manuel hasn't played in the NBA before, but college hoops fans will remember him as a key role player on the 2005 North Carolina title team. Both signings seem pretty decent: House is basically a professional shooter, and it's always good to have one of those on the bench, and Manuel's apparently a hard worker and a tough defender at the guard position (hey, that makes one of them).

Bob Ryan's got an irritatingly bitchy column in the Globe today in which he plays a hackneyed devil's advocate and rips the C's for essentially giving up too much in the KG trade and arguing that with the supporting cast as currently constructed the C's won't win shit. He closes the column with the snarky one-liner, "They might even make the playoffs." Take that, hopeful Boston sports fans!

First of all, let me say that I don't hate Bob Ryan. He is a once-great sportswriter who's still capable of excellent moments but who has clearly been lulled into a sort of vain laziness by a glut of meaningless television appearances. Now he's got this crappy "Globe 10.0" show on NESN, which like all NESN original programming (anyone catch "Sox Appeal" last night?), is mind-numbingly retarded. Today's Ryan column seems born out of a knee-jerk tendency towards idiotic "point-counterpoint" situations that proliferates sports media today; sometimes it's enjoyable ("PTI" with Kornheiser and Wilbon), but mostly it's flatly idiotic. Ryan's column seems to only exist because yesterday Jackie MacMullan wrote a typically lucid and insightful column praising the C's for the Ainge trade, and God knows we don't want any positivity going unchecked, right? Whatever, this is turning into a general sports-media rant that's probably best saved for another time. What I want to say is that the only way the Celtics "might even make the playoffs" next year is if two of their big stars suffer serious injuries. Then they're fucked. Otherwise, have you seen the Eastern Conference? Besides possibly the Knicks and Magic, it's difficult to argue that anyone's even improved at all from last year.

They still need more players, obviously. There's talk of Brevin Knight and Dale Davis, both of whom would fit well, Davis because he's big and cheap (and unfathomably old at this point), Knight because he's a good, smart point guard who can have lots of conversations with Rondo about how much they hate making open jumpers. It's widely thought that we won't be able to afford Knight, but I feel like you have to at least try and offer him a one-year deal to play a key role on a team that looks to go deep into the playoffs... then hopefully at the end of next year, Rondo will be ready to take over the whole thing and Knight can sign a bigger and better deal elsewhere based on the success. Just a thought.

Or you figure out a way for McHale to take over the Lakers, then trade him Glen Davis, Gabe Pruitt, Tony Allen and a conditional second-rounder for Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom. Either way.


tim said...

Jack, we are doing a Boston media bash soon. People give Ryan WAY too much credit, he hasn't written an insightful NBA article in years. I mean that. I really want to read some of his old stuff again, because he is so crappy today I have a hard time believing he was ever great.

Ryan comes off as a blabbering idiot these days, look no further then his defense of Doc Rivers for the past few years. He has no idea. The fact that he totally denies the obvious (that superstars are what count in the nba)in today's column shows just how out of touch he is. I could go on about this, but we'll all get together as a Shamrock Panel and bash shira, may, ryan, bulpett, et al. I'm looking forward to it.

Mike said...

I wrote Bob Ryan an email today essentially saying that the 04/05 Miami Heat were Shaq, Wade, Eddie Jones and a roster of nobodies that were arguably one Wade injury in Games 6 and 7 of the 2005 Eastern Conference Finals away from a Finals apperance and possibly a title (though I don't think they would have beaten the Spurs). I think on the Bell Curve of sportswriters he is close to the top however, I think he is comparing the new "Big 3" Celtics to the great Celtics teams of yesteryear and not the NBA of today, where a couple of real stars (read: not Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis) can make you a legit contender. It's almost like he forgets the basketball axiom that made Magic and Larry so great. Great players make average players around them better. Did Damon Jones or Udonis Haslem have any instrincic value in the NBA pre-Shaq's arrival in Miami? No, they were simply journeymen, that were allowed to thrive at their one skill that keeps them in the league because opposing teams had no choice but to leave them free because of Shaq and Wade. Anyone think Jason Kapono is going to be getting as many open looks in Toronto this season? The NBA is a stars league in which great teams are borne from great players dominating and allowing average guys to excel at their craft. Eddie House is our Steve Kerr, Damon Jones, Brian Shaw (LAL 2000-02) and you know what, he'll be pretty damn good at it.

Mike said...

P.S. I'm really looking forward to the sports media rant, it makes ESPN almost unwatchable at times...I'm thinking specifically about "Around the Horn" where 4 guys essentially play devil's advocate defending all sides of an issue that none of them really beleive in. I'd rather watch the ESPN News loop for an hour with John Clayton, Andy Katz, and Peter Gammons periodically dropping knowledge. Not every issue in sports is an either/or black/white proposition, though apparently thats what sells and is the direction the industry is headed in unfortunately.

tim said...

mike, exactly. this is a superstars league.