Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Roundtable: The Next Former NBA Player Turned Owner

Which of these guys deserves to own an NBA franchise? Probably not Damon Stoudamire. Sorry. (Tsugufumi Matsumoto/AP)

BDD's Friday Roundtable is a weekly discussion among a group of our writers on a trending NBA or college basketball topic.

This week's question: Shaquille O'Neal recently became an owner of the Sacramento Kings. What retired player do you want buy an ownership stake in an NBA team next?


I'm 100 percent sure this is okay within NBA guidelines: Jason Kidd should buy a piece of the New York Knicks. Not only does Kidd have recent history with the 'Bockers, but, if for some reason David Stern and Adam Silver were to look down upon such a purchase, they're overlooking the fact that it would virtually ensure Kidd doesn't become the first NBA player-coach in decades. What we lose in the potential player-coach situation and Kidd backing up Deron Williams while logging minutes with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, we gain in one of the greatest point guards ever becoming the King of New York. Barclay's Center, where Kidd's Brooklyn Nets play, is the House that Jay-Z Built, but could Hova - now without an ownership stake in the BK franchise - really rival the owner of both New York basketball teams, one who happens to hold multiple assist and three-point records in a professional tenure that includes stints with both the Knicks and Nets? I can't decide, and I'm betting you're likely split, too, since no one has been able to agree who rap's King of New York is since the Notorious B.I.G. passed away. Hip-Hop can't agree that Jay is the top dog in its own community; how would they be able to present a united front against Kidd, whose presence would be felt in more than the two boroughs in which his NBA franchises would reside?


Guys, there's plenty of good answers out there. Shawn's is a fine example. I would very much enjoy Barkley as an owner. Kareem could become an owner and have the power to make himself the coach so he can finally get a coaching job. I can't say this one, because the question says retired player, but who wouldn't want to see LeBron James buy the Cavs once his playing days are over to have the Cleveland sports fans who ridiculed him so much in the palm of his hand. Not to mention keeping Dan Gilbert on but in a new role as one of the boys who wipes down the court during timeouts. Then LeBron could trade for and subsequently trade away Andrew Wiggins to New York, where he then buys the Knicks with Jay-Z and sells the Cavs to Chris Bosh.

But again, LeBron isn't retired yet, so that answer will have to wait. So my answer is ... Brian Scalabrine. Why not? I imagine he got the money when challenging and beating all of those civilians to 1-on-1 games in Boston. And that's exactly why he should be an owner. Everyone will doubt him. He will be the butt of jokes. He's a guy who was the butt of jokes throughout his career, yet played 11 years in the league. Scalabrine will compile a team of underdogs who no one will take seriously, Moneyball style, because how could they compete with Miami and then oh my god they are up by 14 already how is that possible? A movie will be made where Scalabrine will be played by Louie C.K. and he will be one of the most praised owners of his generation.

When I first began racking my brain for a suitable candidate to answer this question, I found myself continuously drawn to players who I thought would make good NBA coaches, rather than owners. There are some prominent names who could potentially be very good coaches, but I struggled to find one I thought would be a good owner. However, when it comes down to it, I was able to settle on one former player I desperately want to see become an NBA owner above all others. And it’s really not even close.

It has to be Charles Barkley. 

Think about it. Barkley has the personality to rival even the most flamboyant and impassioned owners, like a Mark Cuban. His personality is infectious and he would be a fantastic interview for journalists and broadcasters who cover his team. Having worked on the other side of the sport as an analyst and broadcaster, I feel Barkley would be very open with any person who is fortunate enough to earn the assignment of interviewing him. His personality lends itself to being very forthright anyway, so having the experience on the other side would only encourage him to be open and honest, with the frankness that only Barkley can provide.

Barkley also has the well-deserved reputation of being a big spender, so opening up the checkbook to bring in high-priced free agents won’t be a problem. His history of gambling could potentially drive fans crazy if Barkley has a hunch on an unproven player. But overall, the willingness to spend money is a plus for an organization. I think you could potentially see another “Dream Team” similar to the one in Miami, because I think Barkley is more than willing to spend what it takes to bring the best to his team. 

Finally, there is one major reason I feel Barkley would be a fantastic owner: He’s never won an NBA championship. Ever. I remember an instance on TNT where everyone on the panel had been to and won an NBA championship, except Barkley. It was brought up extensively, and you could tell it ate at Barkley. He wants that ring. He wants to hoist that trophy in the air, and this is his best chance to do it. His competitive fire would be fantastic to see on the sideline, and a real asset in the locker room. All of these elements combined culminate to why I believe Barkley should absolutely make the investment and become an NBA owner.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

NBA Considers Putting Nicknames On Heat, Nets Jerseys

"King James" could soon make its way to the back of a Miami Heat jersey. (

The NBA is about superstars. It is also about the money, like any other successful business. The league is considering yet another way to capitalize on player stardom to sell more jerseys; putting the players' nicknames on the back of the jerseys. posted a story from the Associated Press on its website late Monday night that the league may replace Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets players' last name with their nicknames on the back of the jerseys for one of the teams' four head-to-head matchups. For example, LeBron's jersey would say "King James," Paul Pierce would have "The Truth," Kevin Garnett "KG," Chris Andersen would be "Birdman" and Ray Allen would have possibly the best of them all with "Jesus Shuttlesworth," in reference to his role in the movie "He Got Game."

Allen was quoted in the AP story saying, "It shows growth in our league and it shows we do adapt to what's going on around us. And we're still kids, playing a kids' game. Even though we're now men playing a kids' game, we still remember where we come from. Everybody had a nickname and it's a way to let the fans in a little bit more."

Whether for or against the idea, it is sure to sell jerseys, especially with the younger audience. The NBA is the only sport in which nicknames are prevalent, due to the visibility of players and amount of impact players in the league. The NFL and MLB are leagues where the teams are mostly still the focus more than the individual, minus a few elite quarterbacks. 

The question will be what will happen for players who don't currently have a nickname? Will they just have their last name on the jersey, or pick a name out themselves? Maybe it could be left to a fan vote? Players might not be thrilled when Greg Oden is forced to have "Crutches" on the back of his jersey, or "Grandpa" for Juan Howard thanks to the fans, but it would be interesting.

This is just the latest step in the evolution of the uniform as a marketing tool for the league, and it surely won't be the last.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday Roundtable: What Cinderella Can Repeat At The NCAA Tournament?

Who doesn't want to dance in March? (Sarah Coward/AP Photo)

BDD's Friday Roundtable is a weekly discussion among a group of our writers on a trending NBA or college basketball topic.

This week's question: Which Cinderella team has the best chance at making a repeat to the NCAA tourney? 

Wichita State. I know it isn't the sexy choice and their dorms are mired in a college hill area with a less-than-stellar reputation rather than on a beach, but this works not only for the homer angle but because the Shockers knocked off a then-No. 1 Gonzaga and came within minutes of upsetting eventual national champion Louisville and making it to the biggest game in college basketball. WSU returns tournament spark plug Ron Baker in a talented guard corps than also includes Fred VanVleet and Tekele Cotton, plus forward Cleanthony Early will be the Shockers go-to when the team needs baskets and make no mistake -- Early is likely one of the best scorers in the NCAA. However, the loss of point guard Malcolm Armstead's senior leadership and Carl Hall's commanding defensive presence in the paint leave holes that head coach Gregg Marshall will have to patch. Compounding the problem of needing a dominant big man in the paint due to Hall's graduation is the fact that the Shockers also lost 7-footer Ehimen Orukpe, who was at least good for committing fouls, when needed.

Not to be underestimated is the Shockers' undisputed big man on campus status in the Missouri Valley Conference now that Creighton and that Doug McDermott guy bolted for the new Big East. It was usually a two-man race between WSU and the Bluejays for the MVC title, with Indiana State making a valiant effort to contend and ultimately collapsing at the end of last season. The conference's crab-in-a-bucket mentality (Creighton and WSU finished first and second, respectively, in 2012-13 with each successive team trailing by just one game with a three-way tie near the bottom) sees a looming Northern Iowa, but should be able to stave off the Panthers for at least one more season atop the MVC and an easy entry into the big dance.
Yes, I'll admit I'm jumping on the bandwagon. I'll also admit that the team popped into my head first out of emotion and reaction. How can you not think of Florida Gulf Coast after what that team did in March? The Eagles were the talk of the tournament, and overall were just really fun to watch. Who doesn't like Dunk City? Then I did some research. FGCU lost it's leading scorer in senior Sherwood Brown, but he and senior Eddie Murray (who averaged 3.8 ppg last season) are the only players not returning. Everyone else is back. Bernard Thompson, Brett Comer and Chase Fieler will lead the Eagles and revive Dunk City for another year. FGCU also lost head coach Andy Enfield to USC, but brought on long-time KU assistant Joe Dooley. Dooley has been offered head coaching jobs for years now, and the fact he took this one should mean he's ready. Dooley has long been seen as one of the best assistants in the country, and if he can bring a piece of Bill Self's system to FGCU, the Eagles should be fine.

FGCU's schedule is also favorable. The Eagles scheduled games against power-conference teams, traveling to Nebraska to start the season, then going to NC State in late November and back-to-back games against South Florida and Mississippi State on the road right before Christmas. Those are opponents that are recognizable names, but also teams that can be beaten. The Eagles will then head to conference play in the very winnable Atlantic Sun Conference. FGCU actually finished second last year to Mercer (14-4, 24-12) but they were the only two conference teams with more than 15 wins. Be honest with yourselves, a piece of you wants to see Dunk City back in the big dance for another year.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Chris Andersen Latest Victim of Catfishing Hoax

Chris Andersen was the latest victim of a catfishing hoax. (

It has to be a pretty elaborate prank to be called "Manti Te'o on steroids."

A Canadian woman created this super-charged hoax that had police investigating Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen's home in regards a possible relationship between Andersen and a minor in California while he was a member of the Denver Nuggets.

The woman, Shelly Lynn Chartier, not only used social media to pose as Andersen while talking to the underage woman in California, but she also posed as the woman in conversations with Andersen. Threats and extortion attempts followed, and even got the California woman to travel to Colorado.

Te'o's hoax cost him a high draft status, but Andersen's nearly ended his career. Chartier was arrested by Canadian police in January.

Now professional and collegiate athletes can add catfishing as the latest concern to deal with as part of the fame. No longer is being told you suck the worst thing that can happen to players on social media sites. That's child's play compared to this. Those fans are venting. This is someone trying to ruin an athlete's life.

It is doubtful Andersen is the final person to be duped. Andersen is now able to clear his name, but Te'o can attest that it is not just over and gone now.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Roundtable: Next to Enter Hall of Fame

Is Tom Izzo the next college coach to be inducted in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame? (

BDD's Friday Roundtable is a weekly discussion among a group of our writers on a trending NBA or college basketball topic.

This week's question: Rick Pitino was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last week. Who is the next active coach(es) most likely to be in the HOF?

Compared to his contemporaries, this man may be the most precise college basketball coach in the NCAA landscape. His team is always expected to contend for a title in one of the nation's most competitive conferences and never, under any circumstances, to be discounted when March Madness arrives. Consistency has been his key.

Over the past 18 years, head coach Tom Izzo has led the Michigan State Spartans to a combined record of 439-178, earning an eye-popping 71.2 win percentage and fielding some of the toughest squads in the history of college hoops. Although Izzo only owns one national championship, his Spartans are no slouches around tournament time, compiling a 39-15 record in the NCAA Tournament and failing to make the big dance just twice since Izzo took the reins in 1995-96. Other active coaches may have more championships than him, but when looked at on a macro-level, none is more worthy of being enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame than Izzo.

Three names instantly jump out at me: Tom Izzo, Bill Self and John Calipari. I know, I know, many of you think Calipari is a glorified recruiter, but he's a glorified recruiter who has won a national championship and taken multiple schools to the Final Four. Self also has a national championship under his belt, and also wins conference championships like they are written into his contract. He's won nine straight Big 12 titles and 10 of 12 conference titles going back to his time at Illinois. Those other two years? His team finished second. Echoing Alex's statements about Izzo, he really has been one of the most consistent, productive forces in coaching. This stat from Sporting News is all you need to know about Izzo: "every four-year player that has completed his eligibility under the Spartans head coach has been to at least one Final Four." That is a truly astonishing stat. Most coaches are happy to reach a Final Four in their career, and Izzo is offering it to nearly every player he has. Michigan State will have to make the Final Four this year for that to continue the streak, but I won't count him out.

I think Izzo will make it in the hall first (he is the oldest of the three) but all three get in. If you want to put some bigger odds on a younger coach eventually reaching the HOF, Shaka Smart seems to be everyone's top choice. But I'm not going to take the easy way out. I'm giving a legitimate long-shot dark horse. It's probably crazy, but I really like the potential of Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State. He's only 40 years old, and in his first three years of college coaching he has averaged 20.6 wins per season and has reached the NCAA Tournament twice. There's a chance he could take the Brad Stevens route and head for the NBA (he did play in the NBA for 10 years) but ISU is his alma mater and if he stays, Hoiberg has a promising future in college basketball. 

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rhode Island Keeps It Simple With New Court Design

Rhode Island keeps from going over the top on its new court design. (

The newest college basketball fad is redesigning the basketball courts to be covered in trees, national monuments or tiger stripes.

Schools are trying to take a piece of their environment and enshrine it in the court. It makes sense, and is a nice gesture, but rarely is it done well.

When Rhode Island announced it was unveiling a new court design Wednesday, more of the same was expected. Yet URI didn't give in to peer pressure and managed to create a design that was not over the top, but still easy on the eyes. Rhode Island has included plenty of color with the two-tone logo at half court and the darker wood inside the 3-point arc, and proudly displays the athletics website and Twitter handle on both sides of the court.

The goal of any court design is to easily let people watching at home know where the game is taking place and to add to the atmosphere of the arena. By looking at this design, it is easy to figure out what school the court belongs to, so what else is needed? Is the action on the court not interesting enough that fans need something else to look at during games?

If Rhode Island wanted to take a piece of its environment or history and place it on the court, top choices probably would be the state bird (Rhode Island Red - a type of chicken) tree (Red Maple), flower (Violets) or maybe Peter Griffin from Family Guy.

It's probably best to stick with the final product above.

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Roundtable: Best Early-Season College Basketball Tournament

Is this year's Maui Invitational the best early-season tournament? (

BDD's Friday Roundtable is a weekly discussion among a group of our writers on a trending NBA or college basketball topic.

This week's question: What is this year's best early-season college basketball tournament?

Every tournament seems to have roughly four interest-worthy teams and an equal or greater number of programs that warrant a shoulder shrug followed by a muttered, "Meh." Though it's not nearly as high-profile as some of the other early-season gatherings, the Wooden Legacy should be on every college hoops fan's radar for the following reasons:

1. High parity. Mixing the nation's best college basketball teams with mid-major is a standard expectation for such tournaments, but the Wooden Classic features a surprisingly even battlefield. The tourney's heavy-hitters are Miami, Marquette, Creighton and San Diego State. The Hurricanes seem like an early favorite until one remembers about the departure of Shane Larkin, the team's 2012 spark plug, for the NBA. Enter: Kansas State transfer Angel Rodriguez, a sometimes frustrating point guard with a knack for big moments who will still be learning head coach Jim Larranaga's system. Creighton, the new-look Big East's representative, features one of the nation's best players in senior small forward Doug McDermott, who may be the NCAA's single most talented scorer. Buzz Williams' Marquette squads are never pushovers and Steve Fisher always has the Aztecs ready for anything, as seen during the program's increased national exposure over the past 14 years. They're not blue-bloods, but opposing coaches would be foolish to overlook any of these programs now or in March.

The (relatively) minor players of the Wooden Legacy are Arizona State, Cal-State Fullerton, College of Charleston and George Washington. Cal-State and CoC are capable of capturing Big West and Colonial Athletic titles, respectively, whereas George Washington is a routine member of Kansas State's non-conference schedule, usually playing the Wildcats close until the end. This means the Colonials will have some level of familiarity with the Hurricanes' showrunner when they face Rodriguez and Miami in the first-round.

Any mix of Creighton/Miami/San Diego State (and possibly Marquette) match-ups will be great early-season theater for fans, but that doesn't mean the field's mid-majors won't knock off any of the higher regarded teams. And, yeah, this explanation ended up being only one point — but look at the potential semifinal games and find a game that won't be close. You likely won't.

I don't know if the Champion's Classic counts here because it's not a typical early-season tournament, but more of a three-year, round-robin event with the site location changing each year, and the teams involved go on to play in another tournament a few weeks later. Some of you may be taking the wording of this question extremely seriously, and because of this, I will select a new answer. It's probably best, because I don't think any tournament can compare to having Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and Michigan State make up your field in any year, but especially this one. All four are top 10 teams. People are starting the "Kentucky might not lose a game" talk again, while Kansas has the No. 1 recruit in Andrew Wiggins and Duke has the No. 2 recruit in Jabari Parker. Wiggins and Parker will square off in one game, with Kentucky and Izzo's Spartans in the other. What are you doing Nov. 12? Watching that all night is the correct answer.

The Hall of Fame Tip-Off has a good field, which includes defending national champion Louisville and North Carolina, as well as a couple of strong mid-major programs in Richmond and Belmont. The NIT Preseason Tip-Off is also strong, with Duke and Arizona, who could be a preseason top-five team with freshman Aaron Gordon, headline the field, along with Alabama and Rutgers as regional hosts. The reason to watch this is for the potential Arizona vs. Duke showdown in the finals.

But my pick will have to be the Maui Invitational. Maui is always a star-studded event, and one that major programs love to participate in. Who could blame them? They get to spend a week in Hawaii and winning this tournament is great for the résumé. Although this year's lineup has teams that can potentially be great, but have question marks. Syracuse, Baylor and Gonzaga headline the field, followed by Arkansas, Cal and Minnesota, and while people seem to have a good barometer on Syracuse, Baylor is a team that is expected to be good, but was also expected to be great last year and underperformed. The Bears have no Pierre Jackson, but Isaiah Austin should be improved. Gonzaga has to bounce back from losing several key players, including Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris, but still has one of the best point guards in the country in Kevin Pangos.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Michael Beasley's Roller Coaster Career; What's Next?

Michael Beasley has gone from the No. 2 overall pick to being released by the Phoenix Suns. (

Michael Beasley was working his way toward being a veteran in the NBA, already with five seasons under his belt and only 24 years old.

Yet in a day that veteran status is in question as the Phoenix Suns, Beasley's third team since being drafted by Miami, released the troubled forward Tuesday. Beasley was recently arrested on a charge of suspicion of marijuana, just another time when the drug has gotten him in trouble with the league.

Even without the drug charge, Beasley is dropping off as a player. Just two seasons removed from the best year of his career, where he averaged 19.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game for Minnesota, last season those numbers dropped down to a career low 10.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.

The question now is if a team will give him another chance? It's hard to imagine Beasley without a job in the league after five years, mainly because of the hype around him entering the league. This is also proof of how far he's fallen.

To be far, he hasn't been a Darko Milicic-type bust. Other former No. 2 overall picks have fallen harder and faster. Beasley has still put up very respectable numbers, so it's hard to call a player like him a bust.

But remember back to 2008 when Beasley was drafted. He was a national phenom at Kansas State and was expected to be an all-star in the NBA. Just look at the list of players he was drafted ahead of: O.J. Mayo, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Brook and Robin Lopez and Roy Hibbert are a few. It was Beasley and Derrick Rose at the top, and the conversation was who would have a better career.

The biggest disappointment with Beasley is his poor play and inability to stay with a team seems to be more a fault of his, both with the drug use and attitude, than outside factors. He hasn't suffered any major career-setback injuries that have taken out other top picks. He didn't have trouble adjusting to the game like a European transfer such as Milicic.

In fact, Beasley proved he could be a successful scorer in the league. His first three years were a steady rise into what looked to be a very good career. But Beasley hasn't been able to stay out of his own way, and his drop off in production from the 2010-11 season to last season makes it more difficult for teams to put up with the marijuana charges.

Beasley has had plenty of ups and downs already in his young NBA career. It's now time to see where the Michael Beasley roller coaster takes him next.

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