What happens when ESPN.com asks 93 sportswriters, who apparently know little or nothing about basketball, a nebulous question about basketball? I emerge dumber for having read the results, that's what.
ESPN asked a round(andverylarge)table of writers to weigh in on the standard pre-season stuff. Rookie of the Year, MVP, etc... They also opted to ask for predictions as to the best and worst new arrivals (free agent signings, trades, draft picks etc... Well, not etc... I guess, but this parenthetical aside has gone on long enough).
Best newcomer was LeBron James. No surprise there, though eight people apparently think Carlos Boozer and Amare Stoudemire are going to make a bigger impact with their respective ball clubs than LeBron James, and one smartypants decided to vote for T-Mac.
On the category of "Worst Newcomer", the group was evenly split between the unfathomable and the downright ignorant. Let's go down the list.
1. Amare Stoudemire
He was also tied for the second best newcomer, so I guess the sportswriters agree that Amare Stoudemire is, in fact, a newcomer. Great.
2. Carlos Boozer
That didn't take long. On what basis would you predict that Carlos Boozer is going to be the worst new addition to a team? How does he do anything but add to the Bulls win total?
3. Shaquille O'Neal
This makes more sense. He's not the worst, but there is a good chance he messes with what the Celtics have going and takes minutes from Jermaine O'Neal. This is a sensible pick.
Only because he's at least reasonably likely to wind up dead at the bottom of Lake Minnetonka holding a bong and a My Little Pony playset (still in the box).
5T. Chris Bosh
I kid you not. I wonder if some of the voters know that Miami wasn't the only team that brought in free agents? What is the logic here? Team adds best power forward in the Eastern Conference. Worst move of the year!
5T. Joe Johnson
Wait! He didn't change... Oh, they're doing... Like a thing... I get it now. I'm laughing. Aren't you laughing? You're not? Well, apparently you don't get humor jokes. You'd hate my friend Roy. He's always pulling stuff.
5T. Hedo Turkoglu
Seriously, he tied with Chris Bosh. They play the same position. They are pretty much paid the same. Chris Bosh is a half-decade younger. Tied.
8T. David Lee
I don't like this trade for the Warriors, so I guess I can give this one a pass, in a sort of "it doesn't make sense, but sportswriters don't think in terms of sense" sort of way, sort of.
8T. Corey Maggette
What do people have against Maggette? All he does is put up 20 ppg without taking a lot of shots. Did he stab someone? I forget. Sportswriters hate the hell out of him, though, I know that.
8T. Travis Outlaw
That's random. Arguably the most average player in the NBA makes a list of worst newcomers for some reason. Even his contract is pretty much average. Keep in mind the Nets are also bringing in Johan Petro (who got one vote... Hollinger's?).
8T. Evan Turner
Ouch. I guess this reflects everyone's collective heebie-jeebies about the guy (I know I'm not going to be the one drafting him for my fantasy team), but how is he worse than Ekpe Udoh?
Other Receiving Votes
Ridiculous. The guy thumped his chest a few times during games as an 18 year old, so people think he'll be the worst addition to any team? The most unflattering comparison is to Zach Randolph, who was deservedly an all-star this year. That's his basement.
What is it with sportswriters and power forwards? Pau Gasol is "soft". Dirk Nowitzki is a "loser". Carlos Boozer is, apparently, the second worst free agent signing of the year. Chris Bosh is a "second fiddle". Zach Randolph is "trouble". Rashard Lewis is "overpaid". Tim Duncan is "a center".
Are there any good power forwards in this league? Maybe we should move to four on four.
He's an expiring contract, who is still actually decent. He'll be making $3 million more than Brendan Haywood, and he'll probably produce better results.
Apparently, some writers interpreted this question as "name a draft pick you can think of."
Sportswriters don't like Drew Gooden, for the reason that they think it does not matter whether you perform on the court, but rather that sportswriters like you. If sportswriters ran a franchise, it would look like the New Orleans Hornets, minus Chris Paul.
Keep in mind, they got ONE vote.
Okay. They did the thing like with Joe Johnson. Only this isn't interesting or funny, and could wind up being quite wrong.
He's on here because he isn't as good as he was when he was 24. In the minds of some sportswriters, a player who is not as good as he once was has no value. Stupid.
I'll buy this one.
Is someone being ironic here?
The mind-numbingly obvious choice doesn't even crack the top ten and, in fact, gets only one vote. Not only is Duhon arguably the worst guard in the league, he is almost certain to get minutes because he is so belligerently overpaid. He costs the Magic between 2-4 wins, and they are paying for the luxury.
Looks like a protest vote from the Memphis writer. Fair enough. Sorry, dawg.
So, here's the thing. ESPN is a rather prominent sports organization. I've had an article or two linked from the website. I take that as a point of pride. If ESPN asked me who I thought the worst newcomer would be, I would at least take the time to give a thoughtful answer.
Apparently, some sportswriters don't think it is worth their time to contribute to ESPN. Or, at least, one does not. This is stupid on every level. In reality, the Clippers need low post scoring. On the business side, he's paid $5M this year, and averaged 24 and 14 out of college. Ironically, it fails because nobody harbors ill-will toward a potential star who suffered a career-threatening injury. Literally, it fails because Griffin is already on the team.
The remainder of the selections are mediocre players, only some of who are actually newcomers.
But, damn. This is terrible content. If I were an editor for ESPN, I would find the idiot who picked Blake Griffin, out him, and blackball him from ever contributing to, or being linked to, from the site.