Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tuesday's Starting Five

1) During this holiday week there may not be anyone more thankful for Isiah Thomas and the New York Knicks than Lawrence Frank and the New Jersey Nets. Losers of six straight, after last night's beat down at the hands of the Jazz, the Nets have dropped as many on the bounce as their crosstown rivals. They've just done it without cross-country temper tantrums, threats of blackmail or fundamentally and comically flawed ownership.

2) A-Rod wins MVP and NY writers complain that two Detroit reporters (who voted for Magglio Ordonez) kept it from being the first unanimous vote in a decade. All of a sudden the whole opting out fiasco is in the rearview mirror. Rivera is locked up for another three years (although thinking of Mo hobbling out to Enter Sandman in 2010 doesn't strike much fear). Posada is locked up until his knees snap off. It seems the last outlier is Pettitte. And if they sign him then the Yankees are right back to being a team who needed an amazing second-half run and the best player in baseball to have the best season in his career just to make the playoffs and be perfunctorily dismissed in the first round. Well played, Hank. The Torre departure seemed like the ideal time to work on reconfiguring the team (not the dreaded rebuilding) but it seems like all the efforts thus far have been to maintain the status quo. At least, so far.

3) At 6-4 the Charlotte Bobcats are off to the best start in franchise history. The perpetually under-pubbed Gerald Wallace has scored 27 points in three straight games and these guys seem like they're doing this on purpose. Meanwhile, the Orlando Magic team that was last seen beating the Celtics is very quietly 10-2 after a win at New Orleans. Dwight Howard is a beast (no doubt due to the tutelage of Patrick Ewing) and their only losses have come against Detroit and Phoenix.

4) Ron Mexico, er...Dog Fighter McGraw, I mean former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has turned himself in early to police in hopes of beginning his yet to be determined sentence a few weeks early. Vick is not due to be sentenced until Dec. 10 so this is either an attempt to score some points with the sentencing judge or it's just a way to get that whole jail thing over as soon as possible. I'm sure the recent reinstatement of Ricky William and Chris Henry and Tank Johnson and Chuck Manson into the League has given him some hope regarding his on-field future.

5) Lloyd Carr announces his retirement as head coach at the University of Michigan. The name everyone mentions is Les Miles from LSU. But can you really leave the LSU job these days? Is Michigan still a top-5 gig? If Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia gets shut out of another BCS championship game perhaps he would be ready to jump ship and head to a school with an easier path to the title. And who really has it easier than Michigan (or Ohio State)? You've got all the name recognition and pre-season poll hype in the world year in and year out and you've only got one perpetually tough game per year. Dan Shanoff took a good look at this yesterday.

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