Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Durant, Afflalo Go Pro ... Silence on Imus/Rutgers ... and Sanjaya Stays

In the foregone conclusion section of your news yesterday, you probably saw that Texas Longhorns freshman phenom Kevin Durant is declaring himself eligible for the NBA Draft in June. According to most draft projection sites with a conscience, he is slated to go as the second pick overall behind Ohio State's Greg Oden, who has yet to declare. A lot of sites have Durant going as the top pick, but that's difficult to understand because bad teams ( i.e. those drafting in the lottery) usually lack a defensive presence. Why not draft the guy who can alter the most shots, knows how to patrol the lane and has plenty of unrealized offensive upside?

Among the players who were on the fence about declaring was Arron Afflalo, who decided to forgo his final year at UCLA to enter the challenge of competing in the Association. Last spring, Afflalo tested the draft waters but pulled his name out of the bag prior the deadline and returned to Westwood. By rule, Afflalo's decision makes him draft-bound because he has tested the waters once. As for his stock, many of the NBA mock draft outlets are not impressed. In fact, according to five such outlets, he is listed between picks 21 and 34.

NBADraft.net 26
Inside Hoops 24
CollegeHoops.net 21
DraftExpress 34
NBA Wire 25

Although these are just educated projections lacking the knowledge of how teams will rate these players at league-sponsored camps, well-known players from nationally-renowned programs rarely climb the ladder. That's why I fear the worst in terms of draft position for Afflalo. Nevertheless, whichever team drafts Afflalo knows that they're getting a very hungry player, who can score in many different ways, has a good mid-range jumpshot and can play lockdown defense. He just gets penalized because you can watch him every Thursday and Saturday on national television.

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I'll be honest. When I heard Don Imus refer to the Rutgers women basketball team as "nappy-headed hos", my first thought was "another bigot who'll get away with saying something ridiculous and blame it on senility". By now, the same people who have Oden as the first overall pick should he declare ( i.e. having a conscience and a brain) know that "nappy-headed" refers to African Americans and that referring to a woman as a "ho" is misogynistic. The bullish Imus apologized, though many doubt his sincerity.

In short, I'm surprised that the wheels starting turning and that MSNBC (has more letters in name than viewers) pulled the plug on the Imus simulcast. Clearly, this wasn't a moral decision. Key sponsors pulled out. I know I'm beating a dead horse, but people with favorable positions - be they professional football players or hosts of a nationally-syndicated radio talk show - must be accountable for their actions. There are no two ways about it. In these two weeks off, Imus can get lessons in eloquence and class from Rutgers women's head coach C. Vivian Stringer.

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I'll be vilified for this admission, but I've [sorta] watched [parts of] American Idol this season. No, I don't watch every episode. No, I don't attend Idol parties. With that piece of self-incrimination out in the open, it is with great sadness that we say goodbye to the legs of the competition, Haley Scarnato. While overall ratings will remain high, ratings in the "horny male" demographic are bound to drop.

The real reason I'm blogging this evening about a non-sports topic is an analogy for the enigmatic Sanjaya Malakar. In a singing-only competition, he's toast. Stephen A. Smith would've called him "TARRIBLE" [sic] if he had the chance.

In recent weeks, I've noticed a trend more disturbing than awkwardly high number of votes keeping him on the show at the expense of better talent. Lately, he's been judged based on an adjusted scale [because he's an atrocious singer] and America (and India) won't vote him off the show. Let's not get a "not horrible" performance mixed up with an "okay" one. All in all, this is crystal clear to me. This is reminiscent of the 2000 Presidential Election race between then-governor George W. Bush and now-Oscar Award winner Al Gore when political pundits graded Bush on a different scale due to his comparative inability to participate in an actual debate requiring intelligent answers.

While I'm not telling you to vote Sanjaya off (I'm lying), I'm asking everyone to not get it twisted. He's tarrible [sic] and should be graded just like everyone else. That's all.

4 comments:

Terry said...

Sanjaya should be forced to keep the same hairstyle. While he's at it, he should sing in English.

Chris Clement said...

We're gonna get twice as many hits with the Idol mentioning.

There goes space for a Masters preview with Sanjaya in town, lol.

Paymon said...

Ok, let's follow a tournament where no golfers finish better than par.

Chris Clement said...

dang...he got me!