Each week, Dan Rubenstein, Ty Hildenbrandt and Jacob Osterhout will jump on e-mail and riff about various subjects in the news offered up by SI.com's Jimmy Traina. Ty couldn't join us this week, so rounding out the panel is SI.com's own Andy Gray.
Traina: The NBA draft is Thursday. If you were the Memphis Grizzlies, who would you take at No. 2 (after the Clippers select Blake Griffin at No. 1?)
Rubenstein: I'd take whatever it is another team with a top-10 pick is offering. An unhappy Ricky Rubio, or really, any reach here (HasheemThabeet, James Harden, TyrekeEvans, etc.) probably won't inject the right talent or attitude to significantly turn the team around, so get some value for your pick. If I were the Wizards, I'd trade up, even if it means throwing in cash considerations and a generous gift certificate to Ben's Chili Bowl.
Osterhout: First off, if I were the Memphis Grizzlies, I'd have a tough time looking myself in the mirror every morning. Giving away Pau Gasol for next to nothing (Kwame Brown!) is a sports management nightmare. Based on their dubious track record, I'm guessing the Grizzlies take Rubio despite the fact that the kid doesn't want to play in Memphis, and they already have a point guard in Mike Conley. If I were making the decision for them, I'd take Hasheem Thabeet. He's the safest bet. Sure, he might not end up being a superstar, but he'll be solid in the paint, at least on defense, and the Grizzlies won't have to worry about paying him money they can't afford.
Rubenstein: Please, it was more than just Kwame. They got Pau Gasol Lite (his brother, Marc), just with significantly more hair. I think Kwame and Darko Milicic should play a one-on-one game to decide their own fates. The loser is banished from the NBA and the winner gets his name limited to only five to seven references during TV segments about draft busts. Oh, and Michael Olowokandi has next.
Gray: If I were the Grizzlies, I'd draft Rubio. People say he doesn't want to play in Memphis, but I think he's just a little naive about the city. Memphis has some of the best-looking girls in the country and Rubio seems like the type of dude who likes his women. From all I've read, he has women surrounding him everywhere he goes -- almost like a Spanish basketball version of a Jonas brother. So instead of filling his head with horror stories about general manager Chris Wallace and his inability to put together a good basketball team, sneak him into a couple of bars and let the fine Memphis women do the recruiting. Let him bring fellow Spaniard Marc Gasol with him as a wingman. And I think Sam Bowie and Pervis Ellison should do play-by-play for the Kwame-Darko battle.
Osterhout: Yeah, and if sneaking Rubio into bars doesn't work, Memphis could always FedEx him back to Spain.
Rubenstein: Rubio is probably the smart pick. He looks like the clear No. 2 talent-wise. As for Memphis, you can also sell the world's best BBQ, and the proximity to college football tailgating at the Grove (Ole Miss), where they "redshirt Miss Americas." Plus, the Grizzlies play at the FedEx Forum, so you know you're at least getting a healthy discount on overnight shipping and packing tape.
Osterhout: I'm also going to go out on a limb here and say that this Rubio kid is going to be a bust. He's got no jump shot, no jumping ability and no possibility of blowing by NBA defenders one on one. He played well in the Olympics and held his own against the U.S., plus he's guided his Spanish club team to multiple titles, but does European success and a few YouTube clips really make him the best point guard in the draft? He's too young and he's going to crumble under the wear and tear of the NBA. Call me crazy, but in three years, he's going to be an average point guard -- closer to Smush Parker than Tony Parker.
Rubenstein: It looks like it'll be a matter of the situation he lands in. If he lands somewhere that runs (New York) or already has multiple pieces in place (OKC), he'll have time to learn and develop without being counted on for an instant impact. If he goes to Memphis, chances are he's working for FedEx in six years instead of playing in their arena.
Traina: Gloria Estefan reportedly is buying a small ownership stake in the Miami Dolphins. What other celebs should buy what other franchises?
Rubenstein: First of all, how many seconds into his first Dolphins highlight does Chris Berman make a Miami Sound Machine joke? I'll take the under at 10.2 seconds. Second, Matthew McConaughey should become for Texas what Phil Knight is for Oregon, Prince should buy a piece of the Timberwolves (we know he can ball) and Steve Jobs should simultaneously buy the Clippers and Nationals, just because it would be the greatest combo turnaround project in the history of mankind.
Gray: Oh, man, where to begin? I'd love to see Eddie Vedder buy the Thunder and move them back to Seattle, rename them the Sonics and force some Hollywood company to make a sequel to Singles just so we can get another weird dream sequence with Xavier McDaniel. I'd also have Madonna buy the Yankees and have her new boyfriend, Jesus, play third base over Alex Rodriguez. And I'd have the Bonnie Raitt buy the Marlins so Southern Florida could have a monopoly on bad music for the 50-and-over crowd. Lastly, what about the Miami Sound Machine? Do they get a piece of the Dolphins, too, or is it just Estefan?
Osterhout: Great question. I'd like to see Betty White buy the Lakers; she'd give great pregame pep talks. I'd also like to see Kirstie Alley buy a stake (steak) in the Giants. Boom, double entendre.
Rubenstein: I'd like to see an under-18 celebrity come into money and do wacky things with a team. It would be like Little Big League meets Blank Check, two increasingly important cinematic treasures from my childhood. I'm calling for an investor to buy the Clippers in the name of Bobb'e J. Thompson, the little kid from Role Models and Human Giant. You know you'd watch that movie.
Osterhout: My mother will be very upset with your Bonnie Raitt reference, Andy. By comparing the tender, bluesy sounds of Raitt with the poppy nothingness of Gloria Estefan, you are not only degrading Raitt but also that Something to Talk About song that I had to listen to repeatedly on long road trips as a child. If that song is bad music, then I have wasted hours of my life, and I just can't accept that.
Rubenstein: I'm fine with Raitt buying into the Marlins. If Jacob's mom ever found herself in Miami and bought a couple of Marlins tickets, you're already increasing attendance by a hearty margin.
Gray: I think it'd be funny if Perez Hilton owned the Clippers and set up mid-level celebs (Tara Reid, a Kardashian who isn't Kim) to hit on members of the opposing team the night before. Then he could put it all in his blog and see if that gave the Clippers a boost.
Rubenstein: Wow, your use of "mid-level" is exceedingly generous. You may even get a call from a lesser Kardashian just for suggesting that they're not on the bottom rung. As for Hilton, if he sat courtside and a brawl broke out, you at least know that he can take a punch.
Traina: Perez Hilton is sign that it's time to switch topics. Manny Ramirez is about to start a minor league rehab assignment. Should someone who is serving a suspension be allowed to play in the minors?
Gray: Absolutely. What bad thing can possibly come from him playing in the minors? It allows people to see him in a smaller venue for much less money, and the good hecklers won't be drowned out by the 40,000 Dodgers fans on their cell phones during the game. One thing that might worry me if I were a Dodgers fan (besides my fake tan wearing off) is that Manny went on a rehab assignment for the Red Sox a few years ago and didn't want to go back to Boston because he was having so much fun. Then again, he wasn't returning from a steroid suspension at that time.
Rubenstein: How dare you, Andy. Everybody knows that the L.A. sports fans don't speak on cell phones anymore -- they just text at games until their thumbs bleed. As for the question, I've been thinking about this, and even though I'm a Dodgers fan, the answer should be no. A suspension should be across the board, and if Ramirez isn't even allowed in the Dodgers' clubhouse, he probably shouldn't be allowed to play for their AAA affiliate in Albuquerque. The bright side, though, is that if he comes back looking bulkier than usual, it's probably just home-cooked tamales from New Mexico, and nothing else. I suppose from a general interest standpoint, it's a good thing for the Isotopes (surprisingly not from Springfield), but it still feels like a weird loophole to me.
Osterhout: What is Manny rehabbing from? Steroids? Is that like pulling a hamstring? If MLB is serious about punishing players who use PEDs, it should ban players from participating in all league events, and that includes minor league ball. This sends a bad message to players and only increases Manny's celebrity status.
Gray: I still say let him play. All Albuquerque has going for it is heat, a depressing Neil Young song named after the city and the Isotopes. They deserve a break.
Traina: There's only so much "Isotopes" talk I can take. Let's bring this back to where we started. What is your all-time favorite NBA draft moment?
Rubenstein: Tough question. I want to say Steve Francis' face when he got drafted by the Grizzlies is an all-time classic, but what words can adequately describe this? Since so many picks don't work out, I generally just focus on the fashion. Also, I wish the Lopez brothers could get lifetime gigs as on-air correspondents. It keeps things interesting around pick No. 57.
Gray: There are so many to choose from -- the bad suits, the awkward postdraft interview with a foreign player who speaks no English, the look David Stern gives the audience right before announcing the Knicks' first-round pick. But nothing makes me happier (and at the same time, completely annoyed) than Dick Vitale going on a predictable rant about how whichever college player was chosen will be great in the pros because he attended school and learned how to play "the right way." Especially in 2006, when that speech was given after Charlotte picked Adam Morrison and Orlando picked J.J. Redick. Good call on that one, Dick.
Osterhout: One moment instantly comes to mind: when the Boston Celtics selected Len Bias of Maryland with the second pick. The actual video clip is chilling to rewatch, knowing that Bias would die less than 48 hours later. On a lighter note, I liked the photo of Joakim Noah with David Stern two years ago in which he's flashing the peace sign and his hat is fighting a losing battle against his hair.
Rubenstein: I'm always a fan of a team picking a foreign guy and then having Jay Bilas or another analyst talk about how they don't even think that he'll ever even travel to the United States to play. The clips always look like they were shot with a VHS camera 17 years ago and they don't even appear to be dominating vastly inferior competition. I'm looking at you, Joel Freeland. Go Blazers!!
Dan Rubenstein hosts and produces the SI Tour Guy video series for SI.com and co-hosts The Solid Verbal podcast. He can be reached at email@example.com. Ty Hildenbrandt writes for SI.com and co-hosts The Solid Verbal podcast. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter. Jacob E. Osterhout is a features reporter for the New York Daily News and a former writer for Sports Illustrated On Campus. His work can also be found at the College Sports Examiner.
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