I’ll be honest: it’s the summer and my mind’s pretty much toasted. After half-writing a half dozen different articles, I realized it’s simpler to get my point across in some Tracy Morgan style quick rants. I hope everybody is insulted…
The Mavericks’ overall success as a franchise over the past fifteen years, culminating in a championship, further proves Mark Cuban should be an owner in any other league- no questions asked. Bud Selig, please tell me why you rather have Frank McCourt as an owner than Mark Cuban? You have a bunch of owners stealing money from you every year. Cuban put in offers for both the Cubs and Rangers (and probably for others that we don’t even know about), outbidding everyone else both times. Yet Selig still managed to stop him from buying a team. David Stern might hate all the shit Cuban does, but knows he’s an innovative, successful owner who has created a culture of winning where one didn’t exist before. The most important thing an owner can do is create a culture of winning. Soulless corporations (MLSE, Rogers, Atlanta Spirit) aren’t very effective in doing this. The most successful franchises in the past decade (Lakers, Yankees, Red Sox, Patriots, Colts, Mavericks) all have strong owners who created a culture of winning and success.
Now take this fundamental truth and apply it the Canadian Mark Cuban- Mr. Jim Balsillie. Everything you want in an owner- intelligent, determined, has a sense of vision yet is willing to acquiesce to others- is present in Balsillie. The same way MLB needs Cuban to buy one of the Dodgers, Pirates, or Orioles for the sake of the league, the NHL needs Balsillie to buy one of the Coyotes, Predators or Panthers. Is he gonna move the team? HELL YES. Should one of those teams be moved north? HELL YES. Would Tim Horton’s (will go Canadian for the argument) keep a franchise open if it was losing money like Barkley at a casino? No! It would move the franchise to a place where it would be successful.
ON TO THE NEXT ONE
Rory McIlroy had one of the greatest golf performances of all time last weekend, leading to his tutelage as the next Tiger (It’s been 18 months, no more sex jokes). But is that really good for golf? Or for that matter, any sport? Does a sport’s professional circuit/league become “better”-more interesting, more exciting- if there is one dominant figure?
I think not. Golf’s best days were the rivalry between Nicklaus and Palmer, with Gary Player, Nick Faldo, and Tom Watson usually contending (sorry for being a pretentious golf nerd there). MJ was exciting but the 90’s were weaker basketball years. I’ll take the intense Sixers-Celtics-Lakers-Pistons battle for hegemony in the 1980’s any day. Basketball enthusiasts say the 1997-98 Bulls had the greatest season ever but that’s one team; the 2010-11 season was the best season ever (damn you lockout!) because there was dominant displays by so many teams. Watching Wayne Gretzky skate circles around everyone is indeed awe-inspiring but watching Crosby and Ovechkin in the 2009 Eastern Conference Semis is way more compelling.
Personally, the fact that McIlroy was so far ahead made me want to watch the U.S. Open less. Sports is drama in real-time; having the tournament in the bag by 4:00 on Sunday renders the last 3 hours pretty much unwatchable.
STAY WITH ME HERE
The NBA Draft is tomorrow night and there are a lot of rumours starting to swirl around, which our friend Alex Bogach has summed up well. But all these trade are reminders that while a weak draft is seen negatively by most, it can be a significant opportunity for teams to build solid foundations quickly. From 2006-2008, which featured drafts ranging from weak to average overall, Portland acquired 8 first round draft picks. In contrast, the Clippers and Timberwolves (two equally horrible teams over that span) had 2 picks each. The sheer volume lead to some great picks: Roy, Aldridge (basically the two best players in ‘06), Batum, Fernandez, and Bayless. It wasn’t like Portland was sucking its way to success either; these picks were all over the first round (ranging between 2nd and 30th) and Portland actually made the playoffs in ’07 and ’08. It can be done.
The Cavs have an excellent chance to do this tomorrow night. Whether it’s sticking with the two picks how they are (likely Irving and Kanter) or being creative, they can easily move their team forward in a relatively weak draft. Teams such as the Kings and Timberwolves have plenty of assets to make moves if they find players they think are important in building a successful team.
THAT’S A WRAP
I will be doing a retro diary of sorts for the draft tomorrow (Sorry Simmons is too busy to do one himself so I guess I’ll step up), so look for that on your next visit to TGSB!