By Ken Cohen
Draft Turns Cold for Underclassmen
I’m wondering what Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Enes Kanter, Tristan Thompson, Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, Alec Burks, Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Vucevic, Iman Shumpert and Chris Singleton are thinking about their decision to leave college early and enter the NBA draft last June.
They were all first-round selections who because of the NBA lockout are now not playing anywhere, not getting paid and probably not too happy.
How could so many of them not see the distinct possibility of a work stoppage? You have to think some greedy agents were involved.
At least Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes and Baylor’s Perry Jones could “see the floor” returning to school this year, where they are now playing.
Just a quick comment on the lockout unlike the NFL situation where some petty owners were trying to hoard a few extra billion dollars from an economic juggernaut, the NBA is in dire financial straits. Two-thirds of the teams are losing money and the league is being dominated by a handful of teams. True, the owners agreed to the original labor deal that precipitated the crisis and they are solely responsible for the mess they’re in. But now that self-imposed jail sentence is over and they are free to rehabilitate themselves and the league’s existence. It’s their right and obligation.
What I just can’t get past is that the players do not think 50 percent of the revenues are enough. A quick check of most major businesses reveals they spend anywhere from 25-35 percent on employee salaries and benefits. Why do NBA players (and other professional athletes) feel they deserve that much more?
Caldwell Cost Colts
It’s very easy and plausible to blame the Indianapolis Colts’ winless record and complete collapse this season on Peyton Manning’s injury. But I think the Colts demise started two years ago when head coach Jim Caldwell opted to not chase an undefeated season and history by resting his starters the final two games of the season. They lost those two games and the Super Bowl that year and then went 10-6 in 2010, losing their first playoff game to the Jets.
So even prior to this year’s debacle, the Colts had gone 12-10 in their last 22 games. That after starting the 2009 season 14-0. Those are killer numbers that crystallize the catastrophic effect Caldwell’s decision to mail in the final two games of 2009 and forego a chance a history had on the Colts organization. It’s likely they will never recover.
College football’s much-maligned Bowl Championship Series which ultimately pits the top two ranked teams in a national championship game may be headed to its first real implosion. It’s conceivable if LSU and Oklahoma State lose one of their remaining games which is very possible that there will be as many as 10 teams with a legitimate claim to play in the championship game. And should this happen, no matter who ultimately plays for the title, it will be a marred game with no real winner.
Pointless Penalty Kicks
Here’s the problem I have with soccer penalty kicks which decide games after overtime periods are exhausted it comes down to a one-on-one confrontation. The whole game is played as a team and then after all of those minutes passing, dribbling, defending, etc., it essentially comes down to a guess on the goalkeeper’s part which way to dive to stop the free kick. It’s exciting and decisive, but it just seems flawed. Perhaps, each team receiving a set number of corner kicks with one shot and one rebound opportunity would be a better way.
Ken Cohen is an editorial advisor to the Democrat. He brings 30 years of publishing experience, many covering sports and working for sports companies. His “Further Review” column will appear every Friday.