'Shaq Vs.' returns, America cringes


NBA_o'neal1_250.jpgAccording to Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Shaquille O’Neal’s…shall we say, interesting reality show, Shaq Vs., will be returning for a second season on ABC. It’s the perfect show for that 7’2”, attention-crazed NBA star in your life, but for everyone else? Well, it’s a bit silly. I’m sure Shaq has a lot of fun hanging out in front of the camera and making sure all the spotlights are on him. But for the rest of us? The first season of Shaq Vs. was almost unwatchable.

But have no fear! There’s still plenty of potential left in the concept, even if some of Shaq’s challenges were unimaginatively designed and poorly executed. Season one is in the books, but season two could still really find a rhythm with the right guests:

  • Apolo Ohno, Olympic speed-skater – Momentum is equal to mass times velocity, and what better way to establish some momentum for the series than put an NBA star with a ton of mass and attempt to get him moving at the highest velocity possible?

    The Handicap: Shaq obviously won’t be able to outrace Ohno, even with a sizable head start. So instead, we’ll put O’Neal (Ohneal?) and Ohno on the same starting line, but use a giant slingshot to hurl Shaq towards the finish line. And if I know anything in this world to be a universal truth, it’s that having a big guy go that fast on ice skates can only end well.

  • Tony Hawk, professional skateboarder – In keeping with our established tradition of putting Shaq in situations where he’d be completely out of control, let’s put his giant feet on a tiny skateboard and watch hilarity ensue. Hawk also happens to be a pretty charismatic showman, providing ample yin to Shaq’s yang.

    The Handicap: Shaq actually wins this challenge by default, as long as he can last through the entire competition. Hawk is the leader in a five-turn game of H-O-R-S-E; all Shaq has to do is attempt to replicate skateboarding moves of Hawk’s choosing. Completing the moves could net some kind of bonus points or prizes, but the important thing is that O’Neal gives them an honest try. Grinds and any half-pipe tricks are strongly encouraged.

  • Dwight Howard, professional basketball player – Should they see which among them is faster than a speeding bullet? Who is really more powerful than a locomotive? Which one among them can jump tall buildings in a single bound? Or maybe just make them go head-to-head in a free throw competition? No matter the contest, there’s plenty at stake.

    The Handicap: Whatever the competition, Shaq is given a nine-point, five-rebound handicap, per last night’s evaluation.

Kobe gets great introduction, loud ovation in Philadelphia

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Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game —  but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.

In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.

Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.

That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.

Rumor: Nets testing trade waters for Bojan Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic, Otto Porter Jr.
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If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.

First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.

Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.

Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.

Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.

Just a reminder that Joakim Noah would like some more run

Joakim Noah
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Joakim Noah is playing 20.6 minutes a night coming off the bench for Fred Hoiberg and the Chicago Bulls this season.

And he doesn’t like it. He wants more run. He was getting 10 minutes more a night last season under Tom Thibodeau, and Noah wants some of those minutes back. Nick Friedel of ESPN sent out a tweet that was a reminder of just that.

Three thoughts here.

1) Reducing minutes for guys who battle injuries every season by the time the playoffs roll around was one huge reason Fred Hoiberg was brought in to coach the Bulls and Tom Thibodeau was shown the door. This isn’t just Hoiberg, the minutes reduction comes from management. While it is possible Noah’s spot in the rotation shifts (he could start at some point) and he might get a little more run, the Thibodeau era is gone.

2) There are legit reasons for Noah to want to play. First, he is a competitor who doesn’t like sitting. Second, the Bulls’ defense is elite when he plays (allowing 95.5 points per 100 possessions) and the Bulls outscore opponents by 1.3 per 100 when he plays. Finally, Noah is in the final year of his contract and scoring just 3.1 points per game is not going to help him earn more cash in the next deal.

3) Barring injury to another big, don’t expect a change.

Jimmer Fredette scores 37 in D-League debut while Floyd Mayweather watches

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You can’t make this stuff up.

After being cut by the Spurs during training camp, Jimmer Fredette decided to stay stateside and play in the D-League, looking for a way back into and another chance in the NBA (the banged up Pelicans picked him up for four games but released him again). Fredette put up impressive numbers in his debut with the Westchester Knicks (the New York Knicks affiliate), scoring 37 points on 12-of-17 shooting, hitting a couple of threes and getting to the line a dozen times.

All while boxer Floyd Mayweather looked on from courtside (Mayweather was there to see buddy Jordan Crawford).

If Fredette keeps putting up numbers, maybe he gets a call up. But nothing is seriously going to change for Fredette unless his defense improves markedly — that has always been the big problem, and not always one exploited the same way in the D-League. He is on the low end of the athleticism scale for the NBA (not college) and that has led teams to just target him when he comes in games. There is no mercy in the NBA, and Fredette has been the gazelle outside the herd that becomes the clear target.

But he’s had a good D-League game, it’s a start on a road back.