I've no doubt raised some eyebrows around these parts with my thoughts on Manny Harris and his NBA prospects. It should be noted, however, that when it comes to thinking about NBA personnel and style of play, I largely favor the FreeDarko way of thinking: This is to say, I believe the NBA is increasingly moving toward hyper-athletic tweeners and a blurred sense of definite positions, giving way to a uniform, flowing attack (see: Oklahoma City Thunder, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trailblazers, etc.). And in that regard, I think that DeShawn Sims projects much better to the NBA (a tweener, SF/PF that can shoot from the outside, play the post, rebound) than Harris, who is a fairly rigid and somewhat unassuming shooting guard.
I bring all of this up because Bethlehem Shoals, one of the FreeDarko writers and recent FanHouse blogger wrote a piece on Trevor Ariza that really hit me when thinking about Harris. Basically, Shoals talks about Ariza's move from LA to Houston and his subsequent position as The Go-To Guy. Says Shoals,
|In Houston, with Tracy McGrady off in the woods trying to walk, Ariza assumed the mantle of go-to guy. That meant firing threes at will, and not just from that one spot; revealing plainly to the world the limits of his ball-handling; and making us realize the difference between a slasher and a guy who creates his own shot.|
Man, I can't think of a better description of Harris than this: A guy who has been forced into the superstar role because there's not much else on the roster and whose deficiencies are plain as day (poor decision making, can't drive left, lack of strength getting to the bucket, subpar outside shooting). Regardless of whether or not you think I'm crazy on the topic or not, I suggest reading the piece. And everything Bethlehem Shoals/FreeDarko produces. Best basketball writing around.
Meanwhile, UMHoops has an interview up with NBADraft.net president Aran Smith that covers Harris and Sims' pro potential. Consume.
96 Team Tournament
So Sports by Brooks recently said that a 96-team NCAA tournament was a "done deal". The internet freaked out.
Let me make this as clear as possible: This is not true. Relax. They cite a few different unnamed sources inside ESPN that said that this was over and done with and everyone else in the America was just going to have to deal with it. And Michael Wilbon had insider information that Rich Rodriguez was going to be ousted three months ago.
The SportBusiness Journal writes:
|Greg Shaheen, the NCAA’s senior vice president for basketball and business strategies, is leading the RFP process.|
“There continues to be dialogue with a number of entities that are interested in submitting a proposal,” he said, but no time frame has been established. Shaheen has said that the NCAA is doing due diligence to explore alternative tournament formats, but it is not leaning in any direction.
However, industry sources indicated that the NCAA has until Aug. 31 to exercise its right, though it hopes to conclude the process much earlier.
Now, of course anyone inside the NCAA isn't going to go off spouting about the change until it actually occurs, but I'll believe this over unnamed sources inside a company that's attempting to put in multi-billion dollar bid to get a stranglehold on one of the most profitable sporting events in the world--to boot, the NCAA could opt out of this contract and still not expand. I'm not suggesting that I the NCAA won't expand or that it won't in the future. But the idea that this is a done deal right now is borderline ridiculous. Not to mention that SbB is basically the TMZ of sports reporting, a slightly more reputable Deadspin.
No thanks. Like Wilbon, come back to me when something actually happens. Until then, it's all just static.