ESPN-Lakers president Jeanie Buss has a message for any player who doesn’t want to play with Kobe Bryant: good riddance.
“Any free agent that would be afraid to play with Kobe Bryant is probably a loser, and I’m glad they wouldn’t come to the team,” Buss said during a “SportsCenter” interview Thursday.
Lakers president Jeanie Buss flatly denied reports that the Lakers have had trouble finding top-level players willing to play with Kobe Bryant.
Buss was asked to comment on an ESPN The Magazine feature published earlier in the week, in which several agents and NBA personnel — including Lakers insiders — said that L.A. has been unable to attract top talent in free agency because players don’t want to work with Bryant.
“I read the story,” Buss said Thursday. “I don’t agree with any of it. If there is somebody that’s on our payroll who is saying things like that, I’ll soon get to the bottom of it, and they won’t be working for us anymore.”
In fact, Buss has a warning for all of Bryant’s detractors: “I have no doubt that Kobe will make people regret ever saying” those comments, she said.
Jeanie Buss is an idiot. The arrogance that she showed in responding to the (correct) assertion that Kobe is holding the Lakers hostage was disgusting and has to make an outside observer very excited for the years of upcoming futility that the Lakers are almost unquestionably facing. Saying, as Buss did that anyone who doesn’t want to play with Kobe is a loser is one of the most delusional and arrogant statements in recent memory. Kobe a regressing, injury prone almost-40 year old who’s contract has crippled the Lakers ability to build around him and who dominates the ball despite his diminished skill set. And everyone hated playing with him when he was good.
But definitely. If you don’t want to get involved with that, LOSER!
Usually I wouldn’t bother getting fired up about an NBA story, but this was so breathtakingly dumb that I had to say something. Dr. Buss isn’t running this team anymore, and his kids seem to have little of any of his savvy for the NBA. With a former superstar (two, actually) sinking the ship, and an owner who is placing blind loyalty over reason, the purple and gold arrogance will soon come home to roost, and it will be fun to watch.
1. A week ago in this space I told you, the loyal reader that I would be headed to Boise for the Broncos tilt with the Fresno State Bulldogs, but I promised a NitPicks in some form from the road. Indeed, I’m writing this very intro on the notes ap of my phone as we approach PDX, because I refuse to let travel or a lack of Internet get in the way of this column. You’re welcome.
2. This has nothing to do with anything but I have a unique relationship with Portland. I’ve never really been there but I fly through all the time, so from the air I know it well. It’s probably the city I’ve been to physically the most times without ever actually having visited there. It looks beautiful, very Central European from the air, anyways, although I’ve never actually seen the sun while in Oregon.
3. On to actual football: like I said in headed to Boise right now to watch the game tonight. Ice never actually gotten in a plane before just to watch a sporting event, and while I’m going to see friends as well, without the game I probably wouldn’t be headed up. It isn’t like it is a barn burner of a matchup, either. Frssno has rebounded in the past couple of weeks, but it isn’t their strongest team and whatever excuses, optimisms and expectations I may have, this is a Boise team with two losses. Still, I consider myself a die hard Boise State fan, and that means that if I have a chance, I should go to a game. Granted, this is a pretty liberal definition of ‘chance': I’m hopping on a plane, ignoring the rest of my life and missing 3 key games for the hockey team I coach (not to mention a Vegas road trip with the team- sorry boys, give em hell), but it’s well worth it to make sure I get to see the Blue in person at least once this year.
4. I’m absolutely surrounded by Ducks fans on the way to the Washington game in Eugene on this San Jose to Portland flight. They seem like nice people so I’ll keep my thoughts on the program to myself.
5. I could never have envisioned being this fired up about the Cowboys. Competitive would have been a great showing in Seattle. To get the win was unbelievable.
6. I had a Boise based flight crew from SJ to Portland. Good sign/start. Even got a ‘go Broncos’ from the pilot.
7. If Tally actually does boycott GameDay for negative reporting by ESPN…screw them. Gameday is a privilege and if the showing is lackluster then I hope they never go back. It isn’t ESPNs fault your qb can’t stop being an idiot.
8. I’ve heard that Portland was big on the soccer European foot hockey, but that was no joke. Been here for 20 minutes and I’ve seen 3 Timbers jerseys. Good on em.
9. I don’t get why everyone complains about it. I like flying.
10. The picks. The right sides. Cash money. Winnings. Let’s go.
1. I’ll get into the football in a second, but this week number one is going to be a site note. Between the NHL starting up and work/school getting busier, these may get shorter. I’ll put picks out every week with as much ‘rant’ content as possible, but it could get to be less and less. Hope I’m wrong but there you go. Continue reading →
I have a confession to make. I’m not super proud of this, but I feel like I should get it off of my chest.
I’ve been pretty busy the past few days, so I haven’t had a ton of time for entertainment, but when I have, Shake it Off has been on repeat. (I was a little late to the party on this one, so I’m making up for lost time)
I also mixed in Ugly Heart a lot. That song is volcanic. Not sure how it isn’t bigger:
Apart from that I watched the end of the Giants game (and made a Giants fan mad when I told her that I didn’t care about the G’s, I just wanted to see Bryce Harper hit another one off of Saturn) and then watched my new show:
Tonight, it is the Sharks game, and then I’ll probably watch Nashville live, pushing South Park to the DVR.
I don’t know. I have nothing to say for myself. It is what it is. I’m on to Cincinnati.
(And by Cincinnati I mean an ALL NEW NASHVILLE! tonight after the Sharks game).
A quick version this week. Sorry, I’ve been busy and I’m getting this in late.
The Grove is always the place to be. Wherever Gameday is is always the place to be. Oxford, MS could not be more “The Place To Be” this weekend. They may not beat Bama, but the Rebs never lose a tailgate. Between that and Ms St./A&M, it’s the biggest day for Mississippi since Dread Scott.
The game of the week is one that will not be appearing in the 10 picks below, and the simple reason is that while I don’t like the line, I have a guaranteed way to win on the game. I’m speaking off Ole Miss-Alabama, and I can see that game one of two ways. I think that Ole Miss could beat the Tide, but I also think that it could be a blowout. The line is around 6, but I have a solution. I’m taking the money line on Ole Miss (around 2/1) and selling points on Alabama to get that spread to around 13 at about 2.5/1 odds. If it is a close Bama win, I’m out double, but I think that is the best play there.
So I managed to jinx myself off of the 6-4 trend, but it did NOT go the way that I would have liked. On the back of one of my worst sports days ever, I put up a 2-8 last week. Luckily I had enough equity built up to keep myself over .500 at 26 and 24, but I now need a bounce back week to get back up around .600.
College football slate is loaded this week. It got started early with the Oregon Arizona game, but around 11/12 on Saturday it will become apparent that the meat of the season is here. Can’t wait.
It’s been bizzaro world the last two weeks. Both times, I got crushed (or was at least down) on Saturday, and clawed back on Sunday going to the NFL games. Right after I claimed that college was where all the value was. I need to turn this around, since the higher volume of games is on Saturday, but I guess I’ll take the NFL
Saturday was quite literally the worst sports day of my life. A quick recap:
– Woke up at 7 to watch Villa lose by 3
– Watched BC fall to CSU
– Florida State came back and avoided an upset
– Pete and the Huskies lost to Stanford
– A’s failed to clinch (magic number was 1)
– Boise lost to Air Force, by literally doing everything wrong that they possibly could have.
– South Carolina goes down to Mizzu
– Picks got crushed.
It wasn’t fun.
Apart from the above, I don’t want to talk about Air Force. Just don’t want to talk about it. It was awful. Whatever. I’m on to Cincinati Nevada. I’m on to Nevada.
Arizona (+23) over Oregon
Your boy LOVED Zona here, went on record early and pounded the Bearcats. Cleaned up with the money line. This isn’t even a #humblebrag, I’m just strait up bragging.
Another week is in the books, and we have another NitPicks coming at you right now, meaning that I need to choose whether to start with an NFL point or a college point. The verdict? Neither. I’m going to start with my favorite subject: ME.
We are officially into the portion of the season where it’s getting weird. The picks overall record has climbed to 24 and 16. Obviously, I’m happy with that record, and if you are going 66% against the spread you’re making money, but to do it with four consecutive 6-4 weeks is getting weird. I even tweeted this after I dropped to 1-1 on Thursday night:
Scottish separatists: I got back door covered by K-State and played Julio Jones in 3 leagues. It could be worse.
When I can call my own record based on a 1-1 Thursday, you know it’s getting weird.
The most important takeaway from this whole episode is this: Nit Picks needs a new subtitle. I don’t know how you can give a subtitle to a weekly column, but there is one that is simply too not to use. You probably know where I’m going, since it is right above, but here it is:
Nit Picks: 60% of the time they work…every time.
The disadvantage of writing a once a week column on what are essentially viral topics is that a lot of times, I can be a bit late to something. That’s the case here, but it’s still worth mentioning that this is Steve Adazzio’s world and it’s only by his good graces that the rest of us don’t have to pay him rent.
Man, I wanna be a dude.
I don’t know if this is a controversial take or not, because the backlash against Goodell has been so strong, but I think it is okay to root for Ray Rice to win his appeal. He is an aging player with declining production at a position that has come to be viewed as interchangeable, and he comes with a PR CIRCUIS. There really won’t be any harm done if he wins, and it would be nice to see the arbitrary and reactionary way in which Goodell dished out the ban get called out.
I swear I looked up when Nashville was going to come back like 3 days ago and it said that it was mid-October, but turns out it was last night. I take no shame in saying WOOOHOO! I’m a little pissed that I didn’t know before hand, but I’m way more fired up that with that and South Park back in the fold, you can add Wednesdays to Thursdays through Sunday (football) when I get to ignore the world and watch TV.
Two top 4 (playoff team) lists. One based on what teams have done this year, the other based on where I think we will be at the end of the year:
If the playoffs started today:
4. (wait for it…) the Duke Blue Devils
Alabama and Oklahoma are more or less no-brainers. I wanted to punish Oregon for playing Wazzu close, but they are undefeated and they might have the best win on the board. Tough to pass on A&M but they have only played 1 good team, and I’m not sure the Gamecocks are any good anyways. Tie break goes to not wanting two teams from one conference.
When it’s all said and done:
4. Florida State
Ultimately, I think that Bama gets by Auburn and A&M to win the SEC. Too many weapons. Too deep. To well coached. Oregon has at least two tough ones left, but it’s hard to say they aren’t the favorite if you’re making projections. Oklahoma I believe, will get past Baylor (more on them in a sec) which leaves Florida State. I don’t want to see it, but I’m just not sure I see a loss on their schedule, and even a 1 loss ACC Championship probably gets them in.
Speaking of Baylor, I can’t tell if I love or hate what Coach Briles and that program does down there with regards to scheduling. I definitely respect it though They are just playing the game. They know that if they win the Big 12 and run the table, they are going to make the playoff, so you know who they are going to play non-conference? CUPCAKES. They are going to steadfastly refuse to play anyone who even has a chance to challenge them. It sucks for fans, but you can’t claim that it isn’t smart. (I would include Duke in this category, but it isn’t really their fault that Kansas is as bad as they are. At least they scheduled Big 12.)
This is me not saying anything about a quarterback that may or may not play for an NFL franchise in the bay area and who may or may not have gone to a school that frequently plays Boise State, and who I may or may not hate, because he may or may not be in the process of being exposed and I may or may not be afraid that if I say anything about him (which is NOT what I’m doing right now) I could end up jinxing it.
Don’t look now, but while everyone is talking about BYU busting the New Year’s Party (despite their fact that they have a late October game that could be problematic), Marshall is sitting at 3-0. They have scored 40+ in every game and have only given up 20+ once (a 44-27 win over Miami-OH). What’s more, their toughest test remaining is…actually I have no idea how to end that sentence. Based solely on record, its 3-1 OLD DOMINION (based on power rankings it’s probably Western Kentucky at 79 according to CBS, but they were as low as 94 in some rankings). Basically all they have to do is get off the bus to run the tables (on the 126th hardest schedule in D1-A), so watch out for a BIG strength of schedule, provided they don’t trip on a stray cupcake.
10. THE PICKS!
Best of luck choosing which 6 you should follow.
(Also, I’m probably going to get this up on Friday, that’s fine though because as I look at it/write this on Thursday, all of the Thursday lines are hot garbage. Now watch my bets go 3-0 and me regret not throwing in Arizona to win outright.)
I. Wyoming (+28) over Michigan State
Pokes are 3-1, and while they lost to Oregon by more than this 28, Michigan State doesn’t have the ability to run it up the way the Ducks do.
II. Penn State (-10) over Northwestern
Christian Hackenberg is the real.
III. Georgia (-17) over Tennessee
Georgia had a hiccup against South Carolina. It was a really bad day and it will hurt if not kill them in the playoff picture, but you can’t convince me that they aren’t one of the best teams in the nation. Tennessee has a ton of true freshman getting playing time, look for them to struggle between the hedges.
4. Texas A&M (-10) over Arkansas
Arkansas is hot in the streets, but I’m pretty sure that as much as we all love Kliff Kingsbury, I’m pretty sure that TexTech isn’t very good. I like Kenny Hill to run it up on the Hogs.
V. Duke (+7) over Miami
This line is downright insanity. 100% reputation based.. Miami has been shaky at best, and looks every bit like the .500 team that they are. Duke, on the other hand, won their division last year and has blown everyone out getting to 4-0. When I glanced at it, I thought that this line was Duke (-7)…and I still loved it. Lock of the century of the year of the week right here.
VI. Boise State (-13) over Air Force
I’m not a homer, it just works every. Time.
VII. Notre Dame (-10) over Syracuse
Everett Goldston has this Irish team looking legit, and I have no reason to believe that Syracuse isn’t a dumpster fire.
VIII. Lions (-2) over Jets
Jets have yet to look impressive, or really even competent. Not going to touch them against a good team getting less than a score.
IX. Steelers (-7.5) over Buccaneers
Write this down. In pen. The Bucs are BAD. REALLY, REALLY bad. Please do yourself a favor and bet against them.
X. Falcons (-3) over Vikings
Rookie quarterback, no AD and a team that dropped like 80 last week? Yeah I’ll let you have the three.
I’m done. I’m officially done. I am like a girl at a Beyonce concert, in that I can’t even. I have lost my ability to even. I may even die. Because I’m out of outrage. If you came here looking for talk about suspensions, coverups or arrests, go somewhere else. This is probably going to be a shorter NitPicks, but my promise to you is that the names of NFL running backs that are not playing this weekend will not be brought up.
If nothing else, Mirco Mueller looks like an NHL player at this point. The 6-foot-3 defenseman was listed at 175 pounds when he reported for training camp in 2013, but he’s up to 205 now, per CSN Bay Area.
That’s including 10-to-12 pounds added since the end of the 2013-14 campaign, but the question is if that extra muscle will be enough to push him over the edge in the battle for a roster spot. The 19-year-old defenseman hasn’t made his NHL debut yet and only has nine games worth of AHL experience.
I don’t remember if I said it on here (probably not because I’ve posted like 3 times since the Sharks got eliminated), but at some point somebody asked me what the Sharks should do this offseason to be a better team next year.
My response was that number 1, they should have Mirco Mueller be Olli Maatta, a rookie who can step in and be a bonna fide #2 defenseman and turn a lacking blueline around, and they should trade 2013-2014 Anti Niemi, who was average at best, for 2013 Anti Niemi, because that guy was awesome.
No word yet on number 2, but puting on 30 lbs of muscle between your draft and your debut is a good start.
(PS. I say the Maatta thing as if I’m joking, but that really is what they need: a young defenseman to step up and contribute in a key role. Hopefully Mueller is that guy, although I’m still holding out hope on Nick Petricki.)
Neither Johnny Chase, nor Kevin Dillon are mentioned here, but I called this post ‘Drama, Drama, Drama,’ and Entourage was awesome.
I changed the default settings on my Microsoft Word this week so that when I open a new document I’m automatically in Times New Roman. Absolute game changer. I tell you that because I never know what to say in these intros and that’s as good a way as any to break the silence
The thing that stuck out the most to me this past weekend is this: Every team wants to go to an up tempo game where you air it out, stretch the field and make big plays. There is talk about how the game is changing, about how the hurry up, big play, offensive juggernaut style is the way of the future, and it isn’t wrong. The problem is, when teams get inside the 10, they look absolutely lost trying to punch it in, because their style of play just doesn’t work in short yardage situations.
Guess what, offensive coordinators of America? Unless you have like 1 of 4 receivers in the pros (maybe a few more in college), a corner fade is a REALLY EFFING LOW percentage play. Stop trying it on first and second down every time you are trying to punch it in for 6.
The most obvious reason is simple. Teams are running offenses inside of scoring territory that have little resemblance to what they’re running between the 20s, and when your entire scheme changes trying to end a drive, the results aren’t likely to be great.
I was tempted to dig into this even deeper, and raise questions about a general move away from the run (I do think that the abilities of D-linemen are moving away from the abilities of O-lines to run block), but I’ll wait to see if it continues before I get into that. Suffice for now to say that it looked extraordinarily sloppy in both the college and the pro game this far.
Lastly, I will say that it’s possible that this is an early season thing; that is a result of defenses being ahead of offenses schematically. That’s entirely possible, but there are other factors that could explain it, so we will have to wait and see.
I’m so sick of the Ray Rice thing so I am going to make this as fast as I possibly can. It isn’t incumbent upon the NFL or the Ravens to investigate one of their players. That is 100% on the Atlantic City Police and the District Attorney, who had subpoena power to see the video and the authority to press charge. In not doing so, they put the other organizations in the position of having to punish a player who was not charged and prosecuted, or risk looking extraordinarily bad, which they do now.
I’m not saying that they didn’t mess up (what happened could reasonably have been inferred from the available video), but I place 99% of my scorn on the authorities whose job it actually is to enforce this sort of thing.
There is a Pandora’s box of issues that I could get into, because a million things about this make me angry, but one is the incessant coverage of it completely overshadowing what is taking place in the sports world, so I will recuse from the issue here and get back to sports
HOOOLLLYYYY JUMPIN, Big 10. That is what could fairly be considered a worst case scenario. If you were following the blog this weekend, you saw me post a .gif of a flaming dumpster, titled ‘live look at the Big10,’ which I thought summed it up nicely. It looked for a moment like Sparty may be up to the task of bailing the conference out, but that was rendered unrealistic when Oregon pulled away.
The conference was 7-6, which doesn’t sound that bad, but it was…oh it so was. The top of the conference got killed in the three “prove it” games, looking simply overmatched in prime time national slots. The contenders in the conference got embarrassed, and the perception of the conference was destroyed. For purposes of a national picture, that’s what is important. On top of that, though, the lower half of the conference got just as embarrassed, if not more so. It took a miracle play for Nebraska to get by McNeese State, Iowa squeaked by Ball State by just 4, and Illinois was in a 1 score game with Western Kentucky. The bottom part of the conference then saw two non-power 5 losses, with Northern Illinois taking down Northwestern and Central Michigan knocking off Purdue. Only Wisconsin and Penn State took business as you would expect from a power conference (perhaps the third most impressive win on the day was Rutgers, who gave up 25 points to an 0-2 1-AA Howard).
The “power 5 want to pull away and play each other, but the Big 10 is doing a bang up job of knocking down that argument.
Just for kicks, and since everyone else seems to be doing it, here are my 4 playoff teams:
Georgia, Oregon, Oklahoma, Florida State
I’m not convinced that Florida State will get it done but it’s hard to find a loss on their schedule, and if they run the table they will be in. Georgia looks stronger than Alabama right now, but that may as well just say ‘SEC Champion.’
I started writing and working as for the Santa Clara Law School paper, The Advocate, as sports editor this week. I will post a link to my first column (surprise! I’m complaining about college football) as well as an extended version of it here after they post the online version (which is just a .PDF).
I will be writing in every issue, so you can expect 10/12 column links there. If it is worthwhile, I will also post extended versions on the site. Just an update.
Dammit. So I wrote the whole Ray Rice thing on Tuesday evening, and while not much has changed from that perspective, with the news coming out that the League received video, I now have a big issue with Goodell. Can you see that video, suspend the guy 2 games, and still keep your job? Maybe. Can you see that video, suspend the guy 2 games, claim you never saw the video then suspend him indefinitely and then have it come out that you were given the video despite your claims that you tried and failed to get it? Absolutely not. Later, Rog.
For what it’s worth, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t actually see it. The lie is just as bad, because you claimed to have done due diligence in trying to get the video. In what universe do the police say they sent it, you say you didn’t got it, and the conversation just stops there?
The more I think about it, the worse it gets. I really did want to talk about other things this week, but Wednesday’s events have my mind working, so I put together a timeline of more or less what happened, in my suspicion, in the NFL office.
That timeline was going to appear here, but as it approached 1000 words, I decided to break it off, so even though I wanted to avoid the story, I guess you should be on the lookout for a Ray Rice column
This hasn’t been particularly light hearted thus far, so I may as well take this opportunity to point something out: there is a song out there, a reasonably popular one at that, called Donkey, and it’s about riding a donkey to a party. I don’t really have anything to add to that, other than that maybe typing it out will make it seem less ridiculous and…nope. It didn’t.
Not a terrible song, though.
Look this has been a brutal week. The Ray Rice story has dominated the news cycle to the extent that discrimination suits with the Mets and possible racism in Atlanta have been more or less pushed aside. The start of the football season and the MLB playoff race have been completely ignored the past few days
This stuff is all important and with the way the story has gone down, I get it. Still though, as I said above, I am SO sick of the attention this is getting. That’s why I’m so happy the weekend is here. Thank god we ca finally get back to what we enjoy about sports, the SPORTS themselves.
So go out there this weekend, enjoy the football, have a few adult beverages if that is your style (collectively as sports fans we earned them), and hopefully next week we can come back and talk about what happened on the field.
Bonus: Go read my sister’s stuff. You probably don’t care about BC football, not many people do, but this one was a good read. http://bcheights.com/sports/2014/even-in-futile-situations-football-can-inspire-hope/
AAAAAANDDDD THE PICKS
6-4 LAST WEEK, 12-8 ON THE SEASON
I’ll take 60% all day every day, but I think we have a breakthrough week coming here.
It’s actually a tough week for college. You’re either giving a TON of points, or betting on a team that you probably don’t think is very good, in most cases.
BYU vs. Houston UNDER 58
This was a push, so since I picked it before the column posted, I’m going to exclude it and pick 10 for the weekend.
Boise State (- 16) over UConn
‘Hey Jack, you’re such a homer. You pick Boise every week. You have no credibility.’
Yeah no kidding. Don’t care. Like the Broncos on the road giving the points. Minus another 4th quarter meltdown this should be easy.
West Virginia (+4) over Maryland
This week is phase 1 of my ‘bet against the B1G and get rich’ scheme, and even though it feels weird to call Maryland a Big10 team, WV looked good against Bama, and even on the road I’m not sure why they’re getting points here.
Wyoming (+44) over Oregon
The first couple of weeks suggest that the Pokes may not be all that bad. Oregon, obviously, is really good, but I think that they will give up a few points, and without getting to 65 or so, 44 is going to be a tough cover.
Georgia (-7) over South Carolina
I don’t think that this is going to be a rout, but Georgia’s running attack is formidable enough that if they get a lead, they can keep scoring by running the ball. Giving up a single score seems like a great deal here.
Washington (-13) over Illinois
The Dawgs have NOT looked good thus far under Chris Peterson, with narrow wins over Hawai’i and Eastern Washington (THE RED!), which doesn’t seem to bode well heading into the hellscape that is the Pac12 North. Having said that I think they get it going in Cyler Miles’s second game under center. Also, Big10, bet against, rake money…you know.
UCLA (-8) over Texas
Texas has looked downright shaky thus far, and at a certain point the conclusion has to be that Mac Brown just left the cupboard bare for Coach Strong.
Texas A&M (-33) over Rice
Notre Dame beat Rice by 31, so it can be run up on them, and while 33 is a big number, it isn’t as daunting with an offense like A&M’s.
Arizona State (-16) over Colorado
Colorado is terrible, right? They got gashed by a CSU rushing game that couldn’t get anywhere in Boise, and as much as I would like to think that was all our rush D being impenetrable, I think the Buff’s D is just pretty bad. They also had trouble with the powerhouse that is UMass. Arizona State, on the other hand has 103 points in 2 games. This one could get ugly.
Cowboys (+3.5) over Titans
The Titans looked better than they are last week, and the Cowboys had a disastrous first quarter that caused everyone (myself included to an extent) to count them out. A week ago they would have been favored, so I’m going against this overreaction line.
Cardinals (-2.5) over Giants
The Cardinals’ passing game looked pretty decent last week, which is all it should need to be against the Giants. Start Larry Fitzgerald if you’ve got him.