|Readers' list: Best moves of the year|
From the Page 2 mailbag
The season for year-end lists isn't over yet.
From a business standpoint, it was sheer brilliance. Already, Tech merchandise and ticket sales have increased exponentially. All but a handful of Tech's games are on TV this year, which is a major change. And from a basketball standpoint, the contrast is even more remarkable. What was a disjointed, undisciplined squad has really started to gel, despite the majority of minutes coming from first-year players playing in a brand new system. As of the end of 2001, Tech had already eclipsed the previous season's win total.
West Lafayette, Ind. The team already is 10-1 after a nine-win season in 2000-01, Knight has actually stressed respect for the team and the opposing team, Knight has led the charge in p.r. for the city and led the campaign in donations to the university library, he's been a hospitable speaker at city functions -- and I suppose what has been most fun for me personally is just being able to watch him coach and make decisions on the court. I don't think anyone is ignorant of Bob Knight's past. And I don't think wins would overshadow those sorts of personal mistakes here in Lubbock. I really don't. But Bob Knight appears to be comfortable, happy, competitive and driven. Hiring him certainly has to rank with the smartest sports moves of 2001.
Lubbock, Texas 2. Seattle Mariners sign Ichiro and Bret Boone (19 votes)
Vancouver, Wash. It might not have looked like a smart move early on; most Seattle fans were cursing the Mariners front office for "giving up" Alex Rodriguez (when they weren't cursing A-Rod for taking the cash and running and then having the moxie to say that it "wasn't about the money") and writing off the 2001 season before it even started. And then all hell broke loose in Safeco Field -- 116 regular-season wins and a whole lot less shelled out in salaries later, the Mariners look pretty damn smart, and Texas is kicking themselves for spending all that dough on one player and neglecting their pitching staff.
Provo, Utah 3. New Jersey Nets acquire ultimate team player Jason Kidd for perpetual malcontent Stephon Marbury (17 votes)
Talk about one trade turning around a franchise. I have always been a Nets fan, and they obviously have had some talent with a few of their last draft picks, but looking past injuries, there was still a gap. I thought Marbury would have been the answer to the gap, but he's a self-centered ball hog who just made all the players around him worse. Even though it was just a swap of All-Stars, you're talking about turning perennial losers, into a group of young hopefuls who are playing hard. Because of Kidd, they actually touch the ball, and are able to develop their talent, and score points. Not to mention they feel good about themselves, and they actually are a winning team!
Plainfield, N.J. The smartest move of 2001 is the acquisition of Jason Kidd by the Nets (and one of the dumbest by the Suns, but that's another story). The guy is the best point guard in the NBA, one of the best ever, has great vision, gets everybody in the action (even Todd MacCulloch has become an All-Star these days) and he replaces the ever unhappy-and-complaining Murbury, who, although a good player, is a lousy teammate. Congrats for the Nets. Just as a sign of the rightfulness of the move, there are no real injuries to the team this year ... That's gotta tell you something.
Felipe J Junqueira
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 4. L.A. Clippers acquire Elton Brand from Chicago Bulls for high school project Tyson Chandler (15 votes)
St Louis I have to give the Clippers front office credit. I tried to incorporate some of their trading strategies into my everyday life by offering my brother my unrefined but spotless napkin for his rack of lamb at dinner the other night. Unfortunately, negotiations broke down when he wanted me to throw in the rights to my desert and I just wasn't willing to go that far. What can I say, I'm no Elgin Baylor.
Cleveland 5. Jesse Ventura makes MLB commissioner Bud Selig look foolish at congressional hearing (12 votes)
Memo to Bud Selig: You've just been outed as the jackass you are in front of Congress and the world by a former professional wrestler who admitted to soliciting prostitutes and wanted to make prostitution legal. Take the honorable way out ... admit that you're an ineffective tool and exit stage left. If I were a Minnesota voter, I would beg Jesse to run again solely for what he did to Selig. It's about time someone, anyone came out and nailed one of these jerks in public. The league's going broke, yet you allowed a team to pay one person more than that team's worth? And you want our sympathy? Please. I'll think about feeling sorry for you after I pawn my wife's ring and dip into my children's college funds for a couple of tickets in the nose-bleeds and some hot dogs.
Brandon W. Mudd
St. Charles, Mo. 6.Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher sticks with Kordell Stewart (11 votes)
Alexandria, Va. 7. Islanders obtain Michael Peca and Alexei Yashin and pick up goalie Chris Osgood in waiver draft (10 votes)
This was a team that had the worst record in the NHL for years ... even with all the expansion teams around. Mike Milbury was a bad offseason away from getting fired and then he acquired a great scoring threat, a proven No. 1 goalie, and a born leader and captain in one offseason. Just go to the Coliseum and you will see what it has meant to the fans and the franchise. God bless Charles Wang and his deep pockets. Bring back the glory of the early 1980s. Let's go, Islanders.
Rockville Centre, N.Y. 8. Rams bolster defense (eight votes)
Carbondale, Ill. 9. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick sticks with Tom Brady after Drew Bledsoe returns from his injury (seven votes)
Your "addition of one (or more) players to team X" are sucker's picks. Teams are not buoyed by one or two or even three players ... it takes an entire mentality for a team to achieve. (Look at the Vikings' offense.) A team's personality is dictated by their coach. So, for Bill Belichick to say -- not privately at the quarterbacks' film meeting, but at his weekly press conference -- that Tom Brady would start for the rest of the season turned out to be the best move of the year. You hardly ever hear a coach put his job on the line publicly ... but Belichick did. The result: It galvanized the team and their mentality the rest of the way. The next thing you know, Bryan Cox is limping around on a broken leg, Terry Glenn crawled out of his cave to make some catches and suddenly the Patriots are "the team nobody wants to face in the playoffs." They are this year's New York Giants.
All the man did was take a team that was 5-6 in 2000 and take them to 10-1 and a BCS Bowl Game in 2001. This after losing their one bona fide player to the NFL. For evidence of what the Fridge meant to his team, look at his old team, Georgia Tech... a preseason slick pick to beat Florida State and be national champs; instead a lackluster 8-5 season and a disgraced ex-coach. The only bad part of the hiring in 2001 of the Fridge is that it didn't happen five years ago when Debbie Yow picked Rod Vanderlinden.