You may not realize it. The NBA regular season has not only begun; it is almost 20% over. The Golden State Warriors have yet to lose a game and sport a 15-0 record. At the other end of the spectrum, the Philadelphia 76ers have yet to win a game and sport a 0-14 record. This has led some folks to suggest a prop bet:
What will happen first?
The Warriors lose a game or the Sixers win a game.
You should not be surprised to learn that there is one statistical category in which the Sixers lead the entire NBA. That would be turnovers per game. The Sixers – on average – turn the ball over 18.9 times per game; only one other team – the miserable Sacramento Kings – turn it over more than 17 times per game. Basically, the Sixers lead the rest of the NBA by almost 2 turnovers per game. To give you a perspective, the Lakers, Pelicans and Nets are also off to miserable starts this year. Compare the turnover per game stats here:
I would like to propose two other prop bets:
What will happen first?
The Sixers win a game or the Carolina Panthers lose a game.
The Sixers win 12 games or the Phillies win 12 games.
Back in 1973 when the Sixers set the NBA record for futility with a 9-73 record, I happened to see them play a handful of games because a good friend of mine was working for a newspaper in Philly and covered that miserable excuse for a basketball team. I know that I will be spending a week in Philly in January/February 2016 and I am going to be sure to watch this year’s version of the Sixers just because they may pose a challenge to that 1973 team in terms of futility.
Some sportswriters have suggested that American Pharaoh should be the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. Listing American Pharaoh’s accomplishments that support such a “nomination” is pretty simple:
He won the Triple Crown – a feat that had not been accomplished since 1978
He also won the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Since the Breeders’ Cup races did not begin until 1984, no horse has ever won this race and the Triple Crown in the same year.
Having now presented you with the reasons why American Pharaoh will – not should but WILL – be named Horse of the Year, let me say that I would not consider for even a moment naming him the Sportsman of the Year. The reason is contained in the name of the award; it is the SportsMAN of the year; that is easily extended to SportsHUMAN of the Year. It is not the SportsMAMMAL of the year or the SportsLIFEFORM of the Year.
Moreover, I do not need to hear any arguments about Secretariat and any “precedents” he may or may not have set with any awards he may have won years ago. Making a dumb decision in the past is not justification for making another dumb decision in the present. The Supreme Court of the United States made a dumb decision in the Dred Scott Case; that is not a reason for them to make another dumb decision in the current session of the Court.
Naming American Pharaoh the Sportsman of the Year makes as much sense as naming Kermit the Frog the Horse of the Year.
I have spent some time in previous rants on the subject of Daily Fantasy Sports and their relation to gambling. I will not bore you again with my views there. However, if you have not seen/heard John Oliver’s commentary from his HBO program Last Week Tonight on this subject, here is a link that will get you there. It is a long segment but it is worth your time.
[Aside: Some of the language used here – remember, this is late night cable TV – is absolutely inappropriate for the workplace or for children. Please use discretion and volume control whenever and wherever you check this out.]
Finally, here is a brilliant observation by Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot regarding fantasy football:
“Idle thought: Before believing the next NFL player who credits God for his success, I’ll need to know the lineup of the Deity’s fantasy team.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………