Michael Beasley's Heat future (with poll); in defense of Jeff Ireland (with poll); 'Run Ricky Run' a letdown & more
SHOULD BEASLEY BE A PART OF HEAT'S FUTURE?: Miami's season is done and so the real season is close to starting. The Big Summer. The major remodeling. All eyes will be on whether Dwyane Wade re-signs and what big gun (Chris Bosh?) is hired to partner up with him. But Michael Beasley (pictured) is the other big question, and our poll subject here. Has he played his last game for the Heat? (Do you hope he has?) His two-point disappearance last night -- and not leaving the bench the entire second half of an elimination game -- suggests his Miami future is on trembling ground. I've been a too-soon-to-give-up-on-him guy, but am beginning to really wonder. Take a dip in our poll and expound.
[Note: No. 3 is No. 6: Dwyane Wade finished sixth in 2009-10 NBA jersey sales according to new figures from the league, following (in order) Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard. Rounding out the top 10 after Wade: Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony].
[Blognote: The poll that follows, and the one on Jeff Ireland below that, are the latest in our blog to blast past 1,000 votes the first day of release. Thanks, again, to all!]
LAY OFF JEFF IRELAND A BIT, OK?: [Click here for my full column on this, newly online and shipping to Thursday's pulp edition]. It came out that Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland, in a pre-draft interview with receiver Dez Bryant, asked Bryant if his mother was a prostitute. The politically correct outrage that has followed -- "Oh the (lack of) humanity!" -- and that forced a public apology from Ireland has been comical. I thought it to be an overreaction on the face of it. I think a club preparing to give $15-20 million in guaranteed money to a player with controversial baggage has every right to probe that person. Also I didn't think the question was all that off-the-wall considering Bryant's mother Angela had done 18 months in jail for drug trafficking. Upon investigation I think the question was legitimate given that the conversation led to it (see column). Ireland's question might have been clumsy, too direct, but given Bryant's background and the context of the interview I don't think it was egregiously unfair. Dear Athletes: If you come from backgrounds that raise questions about your less-than-tranquil upbringing, you might anticipate being asked some of those questions. Even the ones put bluntly. You might not agree. Take a dip in our poll, then say why.
'RUN RICKY RUN' DISAPPOINTING: I must say I was a bit disappointed in the ESPN documentary on Dolphin Ricky Williams that aired for the first time Tuesday night. You know what I mean? Maybe it's that we in South Florida have sort of lived the story and know it pretty well, arguably too well. Maybe it's that so much of Run Ricky Run was from five, six years ago. It just felt dated to me. Rehash-y. Nothing in it made me think, "Really? Wow. I didn't know that." Another factor, for me, is that I'm about done with the overindulging of Ricky's tortured search for self-enlightment. Not sick-of-it done. Just past-it done. I mean, move on, yes? He's an intriguing character of unusual depth -- especially for an athlete, and in the context of the NFL -- but please don't make us feel guilty if we'd sort of prefer at this point to think of him as a running back. Is that OK?
COLLINS GETS THE BOOTSY: (A reaching reference to Bootsy Collins). Power-forward Dwayne Collins, only NBA Draft-eligible Miami Hurricane, sneaks into an ESPN.com top-100 prospects list at 85. He's seen as late-second-rounder-to-more-likely-undrafted. He has the body at 6-8 and 240, but is undersized for power-forward and slow for small forward, with underdeveloped offensive skills. Best case? He develops into a Udonis Haslem type who makes somebody's roster as a rebounding role guy. Pictured: the Collinses, Bootsy and Dwayne.
FOR THOSE WHO PARK LIKE AN A--HOLE: Saw an idiot's car in the Publix lot straddling the white stripe, his SUV intentionally glomming two parking spaces. I'm not a criminal or mean, so keying his car is out. But it's annoying, so here's the solution. Visit youparklikeanasshole.com and print an admonishment to stick under the perp's windshield wiper. You'll feel better and he'll feel like, well, you know.
THE LIST: HIGHEST HEAT DRAFT PICKS: Grading the players drafted in the top 10 overall in franchise history, listed in order of earliest selection:
2nd Michael Beasley, 2008 (C-minus so far)
4th Glen Rice, 1989 (A)
5th Steve Smith, 1991 (B)
5th Dwyane Wade, 2003 (A-plus)
9th Rony Seikaly, 1988 (B-plus)
9th Willie Burton, 1990 (C-minus)
10th Kurt Thomas, 1995 (D)
10th Caron Butler, 2002 (B)