May 26, 2005


It's Friday, and you know what that means. No amount of headaches and frustrating Twins losses could possibly keep me from dumping a bunch of links you on heading into the weekend ...

  •'s Chad Ford had his first mock draft posted about three seconds after the NBA lottery was finished the other night, and he has the Wolves taking Oklahoma State's Joey Graham with the 14th pick.

    Here's part of's scouting report on Graham:

    Negatives: His rebounding and shot-blocking need work. So does the jumper. He still needs to show the ability to do more off the dribble, and some scouts have questions about his work ethic. Has the tendency to disappear in games.

    Great, he'll fit right in.

  • Here's the coaching record of P.J. Carlesimo, the guy everyone seems to think will be the next Timberwolves head coach:
    YEAR     TEAM      W      L     WIN%
    1994 POR 44 38 .537
    1995 POR 44 38 .537
    1996 POR 49 33 .598
    1997 GSW 19 63 .232
    1998 GSW 21 29 .420
    1999 GSW 6 21 .222
    6-YEAR TOTALS 183 222 .452

    Carlesimo didn't do much with a solid Portland team, winning 44, 44, and 49 games and going just 3-9 in the playoffs. Perhaps most importantly, the Blazers were very good before he got there and very good after he left. Then he moved on to Golden State and completely tanked, and also got choked by Latrell Sprewell (which I don't necessarily hold against him).

    I am not a big fan of giving jobs to coaching retreads. If you look at the coaches who have been successful in the NBA over the past couple years, guys like Gregg Popovich, Nate McMillan, Stan Van Gundy, and Mike D'Antoni had little or no head-coaching experience when they were handed their jobs. And guys like Jeff Van Gundy, Scott Skiles, Jerry Sloan, and Rick Carlisle had just one job before their current one.

    The notable exceptions are guys like Larry Brown and George Karl, but Carlesimo can't possibly be compared to them. If I were the Wolves, I would be looking for the next great head coach, not the next mediocre head coach who has already proven what he can and can't do with several other teams. Either that or you try to convince Brown that his next stop should be Minnesota.

  • Card Player Magazine recently ran a very interesting two-part excerpt from a new book entitled Aces And Kings. The excerpts (Part 1, Part 2) where mainly about Stu Unger, and earlier this week I also read that there is an entire book solely devoted to Unger coming out later this year. From all the stuff I've read about poker over the last couple years, no one person fascinates me nearly as much as Unger. His legend is unmatched, because Unger, who died of a drug overdose, is often talked about as if he had some sort of supernatural ability to play cards.

    Because of that, and the fact that his actual tournament playing record is pretty amazing (he won back-to-back World Series of Poker Main Events in 1980 and 1981, and then won again in 1997), I'm looking forward to reading One of a Kind: The Rise and Fall of Stuey 'The Kid' Ungar, the World's Greatest Poker Player more than I have any book since I heard Michael Lewis was coming out with something about Billy Beane and the Oakland A's a few years back.

  • I find myself wondering about the personalities and playing styles of poker greats, because that is one area of the sport that has not been sufficiently covered during its explosion. Plenty is written about who is great and who wins, but not enough is written about why they're great and how they win. That's part of the reason why I read blogs written by Daniel Negreanu and Paul Phillips every day, and it's part of the reason why I am so looking forward to the book on Unger.

    I want to know more about these guys -- how they think, how they act, how they play, how they came to play poker for a living. I want to know why Gus Hansen is so successful in tournaments despite people calling his style reckless and his results lucky. I want to know what Negreanu does that makes him such a force in tournaments. I want to know exactly why Phil Ivey is considered by almost everyone to be the best player in the world right now, and I want the answer to go beyond stuff like "he's fearless at the table" and "he doesn't make any mistakes" that you hear every time the question is posed.

    To think of it in baseball terms (since I think of everything in baseball terms), we know guys like Hansen, Negreanu, and Ivey are .300 hitters, but we don't know what sort of specific skills they bring to the table. Do they walk a lot? Do they control the strike zone? Do they steal bases efficiently? Do they have a lot of power? Are they great defensively at key positions? Whatever the poker equivalent of that information is, I want it. I'm hoping the book on Unger goes into those things, because that's what I'm hungry to read about.

  • I wish Scoop Jackson didn't try so damn hard to be incredibly cool all the time, but he and friend of Eric Neel teamed up for a very interesting idea at's Page 2 this week. I spend far too much of my time thinking about things like, "What would happen if [fill in the blank with a great, retired player] were playing today?" Jackson and Neel did just that, with Wilt Chamberlain.
  • You know someone is officially completely insane when they show up for their own murder trial looking like this.
  • Al Bethke made his second trip to a casino for some live poker and has a number of interesting observations. I keep meaning to go play some live poker myself, but then I start playing online and can't come up with a reason to get in the car and go drive somewhere so I can play fewer hands per hour and tip dealers.
  • I saw this on's front page the other day, and while it's not a link, I felt I had to share it with everyone:

  • This makes me very sad.
  • On the other hand, this made me laugh.
  • Stories like this one concern me. On one hand, it certainly seems like excessive force. On the other hand, if you put yourself in a position where a police officer might accidentally choose the wrong weapon to sedate you, I say you were pretty much asking for it. And yes, I'm a HUGE supporter of the police.
  • Anthony "Kiefer" Giacalone had a very nice "Division Diary: AL Central" article over at Baseball Think Factory earlier this week. It's a shame BTF can't find five other writers as good as Giacalone to write up the other divisions on a regular basis.
  • Stick and Ball Guy found out very quickly who is in charge once things become official. Oh, and congrats!
  • Anyone know anything about this new "Yahoo! Music Unlimited" thing? As discussed here last week, I need a new way to get my hands on some music, so I'm wondering whether or not this would be a good, relatively cheap option.
  • And finally, this week's Rotoworld column is ready for your perusal.
  • Today at The Hardball Times:
    - Dumb And Dumber (by John Brattain)

    Today's Picks (37-31, +$675):
    San Diego (Lawrence) -105 over San Francisco (Hennessey)
    Chicago (McCarthy) +125 over Texas (Young)

    Saturday's Picks:
    Boston (Clement) +120 over New York (Pavano)

    Sunday's Picks:
    Pittsburgh (Wells) -105 over Cincinnati (Claussen)

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