Thursday, August 26, 2004

Weekend Notes:

Well after bemoaning the fact that I hadn't yet seen Andres Nocioni play with team Argentina, turns out I missed a televised game on Thursday afternoon against Greece. The good news however is that Argentina won and will play the US. So you figure that game, whether its live or not, will be in primetime. Here's another report on Nocioni by Trib columnist Mike Downey. Check out the zinger at the end of the article. Ouch. But don't be too upset Bulls fans, this is the same guy who wrote a column comparing Ronald Reagan to a Horse. And I'm not talking ironically or anything. For real..a horse.

Some other things I noticed this week:

  • Toni Kukoc will not be having a Pippen-esque (injuries and all) reunion tour with the Bulls, as he has re-signed with Milwaukee.
  • Say what you will about Eddy Curry, but at least he isn't involved in this kind of crap.
  • Linton Johnson has signed with the Spurs. Johnson, if you remember, won his job with the Bulls after beating out Trenton Hassell in last year's preseason. Then when the season started he couldn't hit a shot. Not to take away from the effort he put forth, but jettisoning players like Johnson and Dupree and replacing them with non-NBDL talent can only be a good thing. Ya hear, Paul Shirley?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Are you excited about Olympic Softball???

You're not? You mean the endless coverage hasn't made you a believer? Oh?

I'm not blaming THAT for the lack of basketball news lately, I'm just easily bothered by such things. Didn't you know that Softball is giving Americans that thirst for dominance that USA basketball soured? Why, listen to this idea!

"Turn the guys' Home Run Derby on its head and create a one-on-one exhibition that showcases the pitchers. (You wouldn't tune in for a "Jennie Finch vs. Crystl Bustos" one-on-one showdown? More intriguing than Big Unit vs. Bonds.)"

Oh, I'm there!!! I know exactly zero people who would want to watch this! In fact, I am more likely to be 'intrigued' by those two in a pie-eating contest than a Softball showdown.

Sure its nice to see an American team dominate, and equally interesting to question the Men's Basketball team for their failure to dominate. But there's a fundamental difference that has been looked over when comparing the two. People care about Basketball. Not nearly as much as the gambling Juggernaut that is Football, or even maybe this recent Baseball renaissance that is happening. But while conceding that, there are way more basketball fans than softball fans. If the Softball team went over to Athens and won a Bronze, nobody would be decrying the loss of an American-born when they do well, lets not go overboard in ushering in a new major sport here. (you want to bet that ESPN has the broadcasting rights to team USA softball?) Instead, I will now sit back and wait a week for nobody to care anymore. again.

Instead lets focus on important least what should be important to Bulls fans: a possible Olympic Basketball semifinal matchup between team USA and Argentina. For this to happen, the American team has to beat undefeated Spain (which due to their style of play may not be that difficult), and Argentina has to handle the surprising host Greece. If this happens it will be my first chance to see new Bull Andres Nocioni, whose scouting report by Chad Ford makes me salivate:

Nocioni is the team's starting small forward. He's been quiet in the Olympics so far, but he's widely considered one of the top players in Europe. The Chicago Bulls signed him to a three-year contract for most of their mid-level exception earlier this summer. Nocioni is an aggressive athlete who can pound you in the post or take you out to the perimeter and kill you with 3s.

Most importantly, Nocioni is a good defender who should be able to lock down the Shawn Marions and Richard Jeffersons of Team USA. He hasn't been making a lot of noise offensively in the Olympics, preferring to defer to Ginobili and Scola, but he's capable of going off whenever they need him to.

This possible matchup is slated for Friday, and hopefully can satisfy that Bulls-watching itch I've been suppressing all summer. I just thank god Softball is over so I won't be distracted by its awesomeness.