If it wasn't for the FIBA Worlds, this would be the slowest weeks of the year.
Thankfully, because the Worlds are here, we get beatdowns like the one SLAM's Sam Rubenstein laid down on SI's Chris Mannix!
Mannix wrote a column blasting Team USA's style, comparing them to the Indianapolis Colts, Jerry Quarry, and Craig Ehlo, all in one sentence. In toto, the column is ten times more egregious than anything ESPN's Chris Sheridan wrote over the past month. Sheridan, while in my eyes completely off-base, at least tried to give reasons why Team USA was doomed to fail (including the potentially critical issue of international hygiene regimens). Mannix doesn't even try, instead insisting that Argentina is the FIBA version of the New England Patriots, Muhammed Ali, and Michael Jordan.
Mercifully, Rubenstein takes Mannix to the woodshed in a column aptly named "I Hate Chris Mannix":
Like most people, I don't care what columnists predict or insist is going to happen. I like to read different points of view, and solid analysis from people who have seen more basketball than I. Chris Sheridan has seen more basketball than I. When he's discussing the styles of different international programs and giving insight on particular playsets and the like, I enjoy reading him. It makes following the sport a little more fun.
But you know what I hate? Reading columnists who don't analyze, who don't try to give insight, who don't say anything about the game itself, focusing instead on being controversial and making a statement and being clever. I like clever writing, I like boldness, I like a bit of bite in a column. Put please bring something real to the table. That's why I don't regularly read Mannix - I would've probably never see this column had I not got Sam's post this morning. And I really like SI - I read Kelly Dwyer religiously (and not just because he interviewed me recently), I read Ian Thomsen, I read Marty Burns.
Look at Dwyer's Thursday column, which essentially has the same bottom-line point as Mannix's: Team USA is not a sure bet to win the tourney. The difference? Dwyer talks about creating and limiting turnovers, the importance of Elton Brand and Dwight Howard on the boards, and the need for Shane Battier to step up his defensive presence. He's relies on, you know, actual analysis and commentary to make a point. And basketball fans actually appreciate that. Shocking, I know.