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Howard Beck: Are The Celtics As Great As Their Record?

The Rich Eisen Show / Rich Eisen
The Truth Network Radio
April 16, 2024 3:38 pm

Howard Beck: Are The Celtics As Great As Their Record?

The Rich Eisen Show / Rich Eisen

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April 16, 2024 3:38 pm

4/16/24 - Hour 2

Rich weighs in on the impact Caitlin Clark will have on the WNBA and reacts to former Clippers #1 overall draft pick Blake Griffin’s retirement.

The Ringer’s Howard Beck and Rich discuss the top storylines heading into the NBA Playoffs including how much Steph Curry and the Warriors have left in the tank, which team in the Western Conference has the best chance to unseat the Denver Nuggets, what Giannis Antetokounmpo’s calf injury means for the Bucks’ title hopes, Knicks guard Jalen Brunson’s NBA MVP chances, and what Caitlin Clark has already done to raise the league’s stature.

Rich reacts to Yankees’ longtime play-by-play announcer John Sterling’s retirement.

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Find out how to bring your ideas to life at slash welcome to now. The Rich Eisen Show Studio in Los Angeles. It's a witches brew of incompetence and arrogance. Today's guests, co-host of Good Morning Football, Peter Schrager, writer and comedian, Neil Brennan. Plus, your phone calls, latest news and more. And now, it's Rich Eisen. Our number two The Rich Eisen Show is on the air. Howard Beck of the Ringer is going to join us to talk all things basketball. The NBA playoffs begin essentially tonight. The play-in tournament games go down this evening in the Western Conference. And then you've got the Warriors and the Kings playing tonight on TBS. And then the Los Angeles Lakers take on the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans.

That is a compelling double dip tonight. Obviously, the loser of Kings Warriors is out. The winner moves on to take on the loser of the Lakers and the Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans for the right to be the eight seed. The winner of Pelicans Lakers moves on to take on the Denver Nuggets. And you counsel tonight, Christopher, you think the Lakers should just rest their stars. And take on the winner of the Timberwolves and the Warriors and the Kings just to try and see who could take on the Thunder.

Gotcha? Smart. That's a bold strategy, Cotton.

It's not smart though. And then of course, let's just say LeBron goes triple-double tonight. Let's say Zion is one of the biggest games of his career. Let's say Curry goes for 50. Or let's say another sub-bonus triple-double. Or D'Aaron Fox scores 45 or 50. Let's say something big like that happens.

The statistics go nowhere. I think you know what it does? It goes in the Phantom Zone from Superman II. General Zod. It just goes flying through the nether regions of our galaxy until some sort of nuclear event gets flown through the roof of the Eiffel Tower by Superman.

Thrown into space and then all certain holy heck breaks loose and records start falling from the sky. Maybe that's what it is. Is there a T.J. Warren's 50 piece from the bubble?

You know, who doesn't? Jason Tatum had 50 in one of these games, right? Did he? I don't know. Why can't they be? I don't understand the concept of the stats don't matter, but the games do matter because the loser of tonight's Warriors-Kings game is done for the year. They're finished. And then the loser of the games between tonight's winner and 9-10 and the loser of 7-8, they're done. I mean, we got elimination games.

That's the point, right? That's why I don't think you should, the Lakers should take that night off because now you really, if you lose today now on purpose, this is one game that is in. You're playing with fire. I don't think they have to try to lose on purpose tonight. They're just going to lose. Dude, Anthony Davis back in New Orleans. Do you think the Pelicans are a better team? I think the Pelicans are just better. Okay, we'll find out.

And when you lose, I win. The Lakers have played better more often than not, you know, over the last, what would you say, since the All-Star break. They've had some nice stretches.

Yeah. I'm just glad LeBron, who once said this was the worst idea in the history of the NBA, is not playing in his third one. Three straight years, right?

Congrats to him. Well, they would, or they'd be the eighth seed. They'd just be moving on to take on Oklahoma City. So this gives the Warriors and Kings new life. Yeah. Yeah.

You know? Well, anyway, we'll talk about that with Howard Beck. Also, the WNBA draft. Listen, they've had next for a while, right? But it does seem like they've got now, right?

They've got now for the first time? And that's no disrespect to people who have come out of college, out of women's college basketball, as it ascends. And there's been, I mean, Stacey Dale said that when she came on the program to talk about the national championship game between South Carolina and Iowa coming off of the women's final four.

That was one of the highest rated games in the history of the sport between Iowa and Yukon. And she basically, you know, they've had star players and terrific players, and there still are terrific players. And there's been an incredible amount of momentum that's been built ever since they started the WNBA. And they came up with that phrase of we've got next.

It does appear that they've got now. Kaitlyn Clark coming off of Saturday Night Live, coming off of all of these highly rated games, and she, with her stardom, helped raise a ton of other boats. And apparently, according to all metrics from Fanatics, her jersey in two hours became the most sold jersey. The Indiana Fever jersey became the most sold jersey on a draft night ever in any sport, beating Trevor Lawrence's 2021 draft night of the number of people that bought his jersey as a Jacksonville Jaguar.

Wow. And then we were talking before, hey, man, Chicago gets Camila Cardozo and Apryl Reese in the same draft. And these are two people who have a history against one another, and now suddenly they're teammates. And so now we're talking about history between a couple of players who hated each other or seem to go against each other, stood in each other's way, and now here they are as teammates. Sparks had a good draft, too, getting Cam Brink and Ricky Jackson out of Tennessee.

I fully tuned in last night to this draft. You did? Yeah. Right.

And I think many people are plugged in. May 14th is when the Connecticut Suns take on the Indiana Fever. That is going to be Kaitlyn Clark's first WNBA game. And attention will be paid because attention is deserved, because we've seen some battles in women's college basketball and some cases literal. And now we get to see them at the next level and we get to see who else has been there at the next level with a spotlight thrown on it that hadn't been there before, quite frankly. And the spotlight also includes the amount of money they're getting paid, the WNBA players. Because I do believe, if I'm not mistaken, that the four-year contract that Kaitlyn Clark is inking, her fourth year, tops out in the mid-80,000s. And so it's just like, well, wait a minute, what's up with that? This is how it's always been. That's why Brittany Greiner was playing in Russia and wound up in a jail, because she was playing wrong place, wrong time.

Had to go over there to make some money. Right. You know, these girls, women are averaging about 75,000. I think over like a four or five years, Kaitlyn Clark's sum is going to be $336,000. And that's why her off-the-court money is what's going to fill her bank account, as she deserves. Get paid by the league, yeah. Right.

Now, I need to, I guess, add more meat. I yada, yada, yada'd a lot by saying, you know, Brittany Greiner wasn't paid a lot. Yada, yada, yada, she winds up in jail.

So in a Russian prison, I'm just pointing out that perhaps if the funds were here, domestically, as a salary, you don't have to go overseas. The greats go overseas because that's where the money is for women's basketball. And, you know, we've seen the eyeballs, we've seen the ratings, we've seen how much dollars all these women have made in college. Now, will the eyeballs now move to the WNBA and follow them to their new teams? Well, they will in our household, I know that. Which maybe will rise the boats of the salaries here across, you know, ratings generate dollars.

Ticket sales generates more dollars, which gets filtered down to the players. So let's hope that that does continue. Indeed. Hey, Blake Griffin retired. Yeah, man.

What's your two cents on that one? Let me tell you, I was a huge Blake Griffin fan, still am. That guy brought me so much joy as a Clippers fan, like, when he got drafted, I was actually there. I think it was June 25th, 2012, it was the day Michael Jackson died, as a matter of fact. I was in the building in the garden to watch Blake Griffin get drafted, as you can see there.

Hey, look at that photograph. I had a Sam Cassell jersey that I was in the cab and I took it by some tape and I covered up Cassell in the nine in his 19 and wrote Griffin on there. And by the way, that was also when Steph Curry got drafted, too, just a little friendly reminder. But yeah, the second he got in, you know, he missed his rookie year, he hurt his knee. So we had to wait an extra year for Blake to play.

But, hey, DeAndre Jordan and then Chris Paul coming to create Lob City. I mean, obviously we didn't win any championships, but it was so much fun. It was so exciting. And he really brought eyes to the Clippers. And man, it was a great time back then to just watch him. His athleticism was just unbelievable. And, you know, a human highlight reel.

Yes. Jumping over a Kia in a slam dunk contest, notwithstanding. And by the way, I wouldn't even put that in the top 30 Blake Griffin dunks.

No jumping over a car doesn't even we were talking about it. Blake member sat out his quote unquote rookie. He got hurt. And then his first game I was at the Clippers. He had four dunks that were just like, who is this guy? This is so fun to watch.

Yeah. And that's kind of what his clipper, you know, career was highlight real dunk after highlight dunk. And they were a fun team.

They won playoff games. And then he just kind of gets unceremoniously shipped out to Detroit. And it's, you know, it's kind of a major bummer how the second half of his career went. I mean, he played pretty well for the Pistons. I can remember specifically watching that first game and it was just it was just I was bummed, man. You know, it was a contractual thing.

They paid him a lot of money and then they let him go is almost a restart. But watching him play for the Pistons was hard, rich. It really was because, like I said, he was so well loved here, brought so much joy. And it was it was awesome. He was a 20, 20 and nine, 20 and 10 guy. Just man, it was fun. Yeah, it was a great era. I mean, for it kind of what put the Clippers on a map in this town in a way that they desperately needed it.

And have not had not really had obviously right. Always a Lakers town, a Lakers building and a sense of humor also that that that that kind of fit this town. A funny guy as well, you know, and he's done well on his off court endeavors. Right. You know, doing stand up, producing movies and TV shows.

But on the court, man, he the man was a beast and I think very underrated for some reason. Was he part of the crew that snuck towards Cuban's house when they had DeAndre Jordan in their clutches or something like that? The emoji crew. Matter of fact, Blake's was the one he tweeted out. He put a chair in front of D.J. 's door.

Right. During his house is almost to be like knowing. So he stuck the chair up under the doors to keep him from going. Yeah, from leaving for his friends.

So he definitely didn't want him to leave at that. What a time here, man. Yeah. Yeah. It kind of put the Clippers back on the map. There's no question. Absolutely.

There's no doubt about it. And then, you know, doubt about it is, you know, kind of took away his athleticism in the end of his career. But for the first, you know, six, seven, eight years, Blake Griffin. Yeah, we'll see what he does next.

He was amazing. OK. NBA, man. Fantastic. WNBA is got it's got now. Will they change their phrase? Good question. They haven't gotten that, but I'm sure they they got rid of we got next a long time ago, but they've got now. They really do, man.

Because the the players, the players that they are drafting and over and over and over again and amassing in this league more than more than ever before have have name recognition and name recognition for having game and being badasses as well. I mean, all the fits were trending last night on social media. It was it was a fun.

There was quite a bit. And and and, you know, and Caitlin Clark, you know what she did today? She was on Good Morning America because ABC and ESPN is all in on this. They are all in on it. But 37 of the Indiana Fever 40 games are going to be nationally televised by some partner of the WNBA. So Caitlin Clark's going to be everywhere.

And she already is. So at any rate, let's take a break. We've got Howard Beck of the ringer to discuss this and what we're going to see tonight. And by the way, you know, there's a new Team USA that's out as well. Missing one guy.

The hell's Jalen Brunson on that roster discuss who should be on the team. Howard Beck coming up from the ringer, senior NBA writer next. A lot of you folks who've been listening to this show know about our relationship with game time, which is the ticketing app that gives you complete peace of mind with your purchase because you could see views from your seat. And before you buy your tickets, before you hit that purchase button, you get all in pricing.

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That's slash Eisen. Hey, we're back here on the show. I was like, what are you doing, Rich? I was going to start talking. Sorry, I was in my own little world right here. You go. What would your segment be right now?

What would your segment be? The Masters ratings are insane. It's down 20 percent, though. I know, but it's still like on Thursday. Great take. No, but there's still Thursday.

You know whose ratings never go down 20 percent? That's just Tiger. The Tiger element, we talked about the same. It's not the same.

It is. When Tiger brought it up when he was playing. How about this for a hot take? You ready for this hot take?

Here's the hot take. How about this? That after in the long run, we'll find out that playing 54 holes.

In tournaments that don't have a single ounce of feel of competitive nature on the live tour will eventually cost you on a spot like Augusta National. How does that sound? Oh, I like that. By the way, the live guys did pretty bad. I know that could be recency or even Bryson DeChambeau had a decent, you know, first go of it.

First day. I know that. And then meltdown the next three. But, you know, let's let's see how it all goes now, because I know last year they did really well. Last year, the guys played pretty well. Right. So let's see how it all goes.

How long it lasts for. I mean, how long the 60 60 year old Jose Maria Ola Fabel. Oh, see Brooks Koepke and John Rahm this week. Didn't John Rahm say there that live should start playing 72 wants him to go to say right to you. So he also said he thought him signing with the wave was going to help bring everybody together.

And it's done the opposite. Well, I mean, Rory already said he's playing on the PGA Tour. The rest of it was a cockamamie report in London. Eight hundred fifty million dollars for the lift.

Rory's just like, I don't know where any of that comes from. All right. Not a bad segment coming out of me not paying attention that we're back on the air. And they'll do for having a terrible take. And I say terrible. The Masters.

It's a terrible, awful take back on The Rich Eyes and Show Radio Network. I'm sitting at the Rich Eyes and Show desk furnished by Grainger with supplies and solutions for every industry. Grainger has the right product for you.

Call click Grainger dot com or just stop by. The stats don't count, but the games do. How's that for a phrase for the playing tournament? Hey. And and then the NBA playoffs are kicking off the WNBA draft last night has a buzz about it. That is considerable to discuss all of this back here on The Rich Eyes and Show.

The senior writer of the NBA for the ringer, Howard Beck. Good to see you, Howard. How are you? I'm doing well, Rich. Good to see you. What's the most compelling storyline entering the NBA playoffs in your estimation, sir?

What do you have? Oh, I mean, there are many, many to choose from. Are the Celtics as great as their dominant regular season record? Sixty four wins. Are the Denver Nuggets capable of repeating given all the parody? And then, of course, there's just the parody thing like there's just a lot of parody. There's, you know, a boatload of 50 win teams in the West.

You know, everybody all the way down through. I mean, you could even say down through the Warriors at the 10 spot who are going to play in game tonight believe that they probably have a shot at a deep playoff run. And certainly the Lakers, who went from play in to Western Conference Finals last year, are aiming to repeat that and believe they can. And I think finish strong enough to make the case that they can.

But we'll see their eighth and will be playing in a playing game of their own today. So it's just a really interesting field because, you know, the Nuggets are the obvious favorite as defending champs and have had a solid enough season that you expect them to to be right there. But there's just a lot of teams that can make the case for themselves, right? Timberwolves and Thunder with breakthrough seasons, young teams that we really haven't seen prove them, prove themselves. The Clippers are finally healthy ish, I think, and have the talent to make a deep run. And then just the fact that you've got, you know, teams like this, whether it's the Suns, the Lakers, the Warriors, the Clippers. We have these older stars, Rich, who the window is getting really thin for them to make another mark in the postseason. And so you kind of wonder, too, when is the last chance that Durant, LeBron, Steph might have?

I mean, maybe this is it. And let's just pull on the Warriors strand a little bit, obviously, because they play tonight and they do involve some big names in this mix right here, Howard Beck. So you're saying and rightfully so, Warriors think they can go on a nice run with a win tonight and see how things go if they lose tonight, which is entirely possible. What what what happens when they look in the mirror?

What happens next? If that is what is at stake this evening against Sacramento, Howard. So, you know, last year, the first strand of that Warriors dynasty kind of peeled away with Bob Myers leaving the organization as the architect of the show. But you still had, of course, Steph Clay Draymond and Steve Kerr. Kerr has signed on for another couple of years to extend himself to match Steph Curry's contract. Draymond is under contract. Clay, of course, is a free agent. And by all indications, Clay still wants to be there. The Warriors still want to have him there.

But, you know, there's going to have to be a negotiation. And there will be teams out there that might want to throw some money at him. And Clay's had a pretty great season, all things considered.

And it was a little wonky at times, but he finished pretty strong. And I my suspicion, Rich, is that the Warriors will look very familiar at their core on opening night next year, regardless of how tonight goes in the next several weeks ago that we'll see that course still together. But have they seen enough from Jonathan Kuminga, from Pajemski, from Trace Jackson Davis? Do they have enough in that youth to feel like, well, we could just kind of keep this together and, you know, we'll straddle the line here and the young guys will come through and we'll be right back in it? Or should they I mean, this is this feels like, you know, the same theme every year is, do they need to package some of the youth and or picks and get some immediate help?

Is there any help out there available? That's always a question. And I'll just make this point, too, with the Warriors. Andrew Wiggins was absolutely phenomenal the year that they won the championship just two years ago. And for all of the consternation over Draymond, reasonable consternation, for all their consternation over their age at their core, all of which is valid. If Andrew Wiggins were just still the Andrew Wiggins of a couple of years ago, the Warriors might be in a very different place right now. And that's another factor the Warriors have to consider in the offseason.

Howard Beck from the ringer here on the Rich Eisen show. And then tonight, the winner of Lakers, Pelicans, congratulations. You're in a seven game series with the defending NBA champs. And then you've got the Thunder taking on the eventual eight seed as well. Obviously, you're not going to try and massage your way to the one seed.

But would you would you counsel something like that, Howard? Or how dangerous are the Thunder here? You know, it's I love a lot of things about the play in rich. It's been absolutely net positive, absolutely. Just a smash hit for the NBA. It has created these funny little side discussions like this, where there are even some hardcore Laker fans I've seen on social media suggesting very strongly that the Lakers should kind of take their way out of the seven eight spot by losing the first play in game. And then I guess just assuming they will win the next game to grab the eighth seed against either the Warriors or Kings. That's a dangerous game to play. I think that's something that only we in the media and fans would actually even consider.

Right. It's like I don't think teams are thinking that way. Do teams sometimes mess around on the stretch of a season to arrange their seating and to avoid certain matchups?

Yes. We see that, you know, almost every year. But this is different. You know, this is you make one mistake in the play in or one bad turned ankle and you're done. You know, forget whether you'd rather face the Thunder or the Nuggets.

You might just be, you know, you know, facing a beach instead. So I don't think that's advisable. I don't think the Lakers themselves are seriously considering taking out of the seventh seed to get the eighth. Would you say it's also then let's ask if this is fair, that the four or five matchup in the West are between two teams that can absolutely win the conference and win it all potentially.

Whereas the four or five in the East is not in that category with the Cavs and the Orlando Magic. Is that fair, Howard? Oh, yes, that's absolutely fair.

It's absolutely fair. We've gone right back to where the NBA has been for most of the last, you know, 20, 25 years, which is that the West is stacked and the East is kind of outside of the top. So and look, if the Knicks were fully healthy, you know, they could make an argument. If the Sixers hadn't lost MB for the last couple of months and who knows, listen, MB is back. And so this is one of the other fun things about the way things are set up now is with the Sixers in that seven spot. And as a playing team, they are not your average low seed, right? Like if MB doesn't go down, they would have been top two or three in the Eastern Conference almost certainly. But yeah, to your question, like Cavs Magic in the four or five, you know, somebody is going to be the sacrificial lamb in the second round against the Celtics. You know, the Magic are a team on their way up, but missing some just don't have the exact supporting cast yet.

Right. Like they're still they're still building and the Cavs are kind of wonky in places. The Clippers and Mavericks at various times this season. And, you know, it doesn't take much in this league a few weeks after you see this than you think.

I'm not so sure. But both those teams at their best have looked like they absolutely can win the West and win it all. And they certainly have the requisite talent, but they've both given us reason at times to to doubt them. So we'll see. But I will tell you, Rich, people around the NBA, when you ask about the Western Conference and who's the biggest threat to the Nuggets, the team that I've heard mentioned the most often in the last few weeks is the Mavericks.

Why? Because Luca and Kyrie are scary as heck to opposing teams. And while this is not your prototypical super team and they don't have necessarily an elite defense all the time, the the ways in which Luca Doncic can orchestrate and get whatever shot he wants any time he wants. And then if you are going to throw everything out of the kitchen sink, Kyrie Irving can manufacture anything out of thin air at any time as well.

And I think there were reasonable doubts. I had them myself about whether those two would play off each other well, whether they would figure out just the overall chemistry, because they're both so ball dominant. But Kyrie Irving, I think for the first time since he left LeBron all those years ago, has found a way to absolutely thrive and play it at his best and has conducted himself well off the court as well since arriving in Dallas, that he's become that ideal number two.

And I wasn't sure I didn't know what a good number two for Luca could even be, given how ball dominant he is, given his usage rate. But they have found a really nice kind of arrangement there between these two. And then you've got, you know, the Daniel Gaffords and the Derek Lively's and the PJ Washingtons and guys who just, you know, whether they defend or whether they are vertical threats, they just fit in nicely around them. So it's not a team that's stocked with talent. But Rich, nobody really in today's NBA is super stocked with talent.

This is not we're we're past the era of super teams. The Clippers have kind of the the, you know, the facade of one. The Suns have tried to do that, but Bradley Beals not really in that category anymore. The Celtics are absolutely stacked in just terms of having really great talent one through six. But it's not like the the old heat teams of LeBron, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh. It's not the Warriors of Prime Steph, Klay and Kevin Durant. So if you just have two absolutely elite score playmaker types like the Mavericks do and a really orchestrated cast around them as they have created, you've got a shot.

Because most teams that have won the title in the last several years are really just one supreme player, one superstar and a great ensemble around him. And that's kind of what the Mavericks look like. So Howard Beck of the Ringer here on The Rich Eisen Show, what's your reporting on Giannis' health?

I can't say that I have any insights on it myself, Rich. You know, the the rumblings have been that he's probably missing at least the start of the playoffs, which is not surprising given what the injury was. It looked much worse when he went down.

Right. Like that was one of those words like, oh, non-contact, lower leg. Is this going to be an Achilles? You know, thank God it isn't. But you don't want to mess around with, you know, what do they call it, a calf strain, whatever it is.

It's unfortunate. The Bucks have already had a really rough season. And I thought they looked vulnerable going in, even if Giannis was at full strength. If they're missing him for a game or two, I mean, they very quickly could lose home court advantage. And that's a really fun, scrappy Pacers team that's, you know, hungry to make some noise in the playoffs. And certainly made a lot of noise against the Bucks in the regular season, including ballgate or whatever we're calling that game. So I think the Bucks are very much in danger of losing the first round for a second straight season here. Yeah, I mean, they could at least use Giannis' absence, hopefully before his return, to figure out if he returns and has a big night, who's in charge of the commemorative basketball. We could at least use those first couple of games of this series to get that all settled, Howard. We can only hope for that. But is there any truth to some of the rumblings you hear or one hears that the concept of Lillard's long-term stay in Milwaukee is in the balance of what happens with the Bucks in these playoffs, Howard?

Is there any truth to those rumors that are out there? Listen, only Damian Lillard at the end of the day can tell you that, but have there been indications over the course of the season that maybe he wasn't thrilled with life in Milwaukee or with the basketball in Milwaukee? I mean, it's been a tough season for all of them, clearly, and it wasn't where Damian Lillard set out to be. We all remember all that summer it was Miami or bust, and it didn't go that way. And that's life in the NBA. That's how trades go sometimes. But it's questionable whether the Bucks have gotten what they wanted out of this deal, too. So if they lose in the first round, all things are on the table.

And I'm not saying this to be dramatic or hyperbolic, Rich. I've covered the league a long time, and especially in the last five to ten years. If there's one thing that should be clear to all of us, it's that nothing is forever in this league. Things change very quickly. And when you combine high expectations with early flame outs, anything is possible. Coaches get fired. Front offices get fired.

Superstars ask out. The Bucks already for the last few years, you can see it, right? The roster was aging. The group that won the championship in 21 was starting to fray a little bit. They were having difficulty just because of the way the NBA system is set up.

They were having difficulty replenishing as they went. And they made a swing for the fences move. And I don't blame them. I think most people believed at the time that they swapped out Drew Holliday for Damian Lillard that this was a logical move. Sure, it was going to hurt them defensively. But, man, Damon and Giannis combined, the firepower there alone should make up for whatever you lost defensively. It hasn't really been the case. And then they had to change coaches mid-season.

And it's just been a really rough go. I know Giannis signed his extension last fall right before the season. Lillard's under contract.

But if you lose in the first round, and again, given all the awkwardness of their season, I think everything is on the table. Howard Beck here on the Rich Eisen Show. Any chance we see a ton of MVP votes for Jalen Brunson? I think he deserves it, Howard. I think he totally deserves it.

What do you think? Is the question whether he's on a lot of ballots somewhere in the 1-5? Or are you asking does he actually get some No. 1s? No.

1s. And I understand shiny objects get covered and shiny objects in New York get revered. And sometimes there's a bias towards it.

But straight up, man. This team banged up. They get OG Ananoba. He hardly plays. Julius Randle's gone. This is a team that, you know, famously Kenny Smith from Lefrac City, too.

That should mean that it should have anything to do with his analysis. But he's like the Knicks never have the best player on the court. And you could make the case he was the best player in the Eastern Conference the last two months.

They're a 50-win, two-seed team. And the reason why has to be because of what Brunson did and put the team on his shoulders and got it done. Jalen Brunson has been absolutely incredible. And if you had asked anybody around the NBA two, three months ago, certainly going back to the start of the season, whether Jalen Brunson would be in an MVP conversation and all-NBA, one of the top all-NBA spots, I think people would have said, ah, you know, he's really good.

But yeah, calm down. You're getting ahead of yourself. But if you watch the season Jalen Brunson just had, holy moly, everything you just said, Rich, he's been absolutely incredible. He will be on my MVP ballot, but he will not be at the top of my MVP ballot. And I think that the race, as it has shaped up over the course of the season, between Jokic, Shane Gildas, Alexander and Luka, I think that that group, the cases for them are just stronger. And I say that versus Brunson. I say that versus Giannis.

I would say that versus Tatum or anybody else, Anthony Edwards. There are always a lot of guys who are really worthy of being in the quote unquote conversation. But it's a five person ballot. Obviously, it's weighted and you adjust as you go. And to me, the definition of MVP is some version of outstanding individual season on an outstanding team, a team that that is a plausible contender for the title. And, you know, you kind of adjust that as you go. And every year the field's a little bit different, too.

But there is nothing in Jokic's case individually or team wise that would suggest that he shouldn't be one of the top three spots. And on my ballot, probably number one, we have to file those in, let's see, four and a half hours. Oh, boy.

OK, so there's still time to talk me out of it. Well, I'm trying to talk you in a Brunson, you know, obviously I'm coming from it with a hint of bias, but truly what he has done and what he's turned himself into and what he continues to get continues to get better. I can't wait to see what he does in these playoffs, certainly if they take on the Sixers to start a good old fashioned, you know, Amtrak series here, man like that.

I'm that would particularly interest me. Oh, no, that would be a blast. Right. Nick, Nick, Sixers would be a blast. And just obviously, you know, very different. You know, when one team built around Joel and beat an absolute giant, literally, figuratively and otherwise versus a team built around Brunson. Yeah, I mean, listen, the playoffs will obviously have no bearing because the ballots will be in by then. The MVP thing is funny, Rich, just because everybody comes to it with their own sensibility and their own definition of what it is. And if you want to say what's the most impressive feat this season by one player? You could say that the most impressive thing done was Jalen Brunson getting the Knicks to 50 wins in the two spot in the East. And I wouldn't probably argue the point, but MVP brings in a lot of different elements. And it is, to an extent, a team award as well, in the sense that the vast majority of MVP is over the last 35 years.

There have been a couple of exceptions have been great players who had absolutely outstanding seasons, packed the box score every night and were on outstanding teams, teams that were among the favorites to win the title. I think that could the Knicks make a run? Yes.

Do I expect that? No, because of all the injuries that they've gotten and without Randall, they don't really have a clear second option. That's not Brunson's fault. But again, MVP has always combined elements of both individual and team success. So if anybody wants to make the argument for Brunson up top, I'd listen to it.

And I think there is a compelling case, but you have to explain why you would put him over Jokic, why you'd put him over Shaye Gilders Alexander and Luka Doncic. And I think that's a really tough bar to clear for anybody. Before I let you go, Howard, how over the moon is the NBA about the WNBA draft and the stars that are entering it from the women's college game? And and whatever you might be hearing, how the NBA can continue to raise the profile of this league? Not a conversation I've had with anybody at the league office recently, Rich, but I will just say, you know, David Stern, the late David Stern put everything he had personally, professionally, spiritually, even you could say, into getting the WNBA going all those years ago. And there are many others along the way who are really important in this.

And I don't want to just give him undue credit. But this it hasn't always been easy, I think, for the NBA and the WNBA financially. You know, just the the level of fan engagement and obviously some lean years and ownership changes and franchise changes.

And now here we are in this position where women's basketball is absolutely, whether at the college level or the professional level, they are holding their own. And the star power is there. The excitement is there. The fan engagement is there.

I don't actually have to have a conversation with Adam Silver to know the answer. I'm sure he's absolutely thrilled with the level of of interest and popularity, the surge that that is happening with this league. It's it this feels like a real moment for the women's game. And again, at both the college and the WNBA level. And, you know, I was watching social media light up last night with the WNBA draft and all the commentary.

That's that's not something I don't think we would have seen 10 years ago. Agreed. Agreed. Thanks for the time, Howard. Enjoy the playoffs.

We'll check back in with you as as we matriculate. Appreciate it. Thank you. Thanks, Rich. Appreciate it. You got it. At Howard Beck, follow him and check out everything he's got to write about about the NBA playoffs that begin in earnest with the play-in tournament tonight.

You don't want to do what I'd like to do. Top of the next hour. Let's let's start wondering about who's lasting longer in the NBA playoffs. Like who lasts longer? And obviously, if you choose a team in the 910 game tonight or tomorrow, you're you're being you're you're going out on a limb.

Because of the first ones that could be eliminated. We'll do that because I am fascinated that Mavs Clippers series is fascinating. Nick's Sixers would be outstanding.

We got to get there first. Nick's Sixers would be outstanding. Or Nick's Heat.

Old school. Let's get Van Gundy out there around somebody's ankle. Let's roll. As long as it's not Sixers-Celtics in the first round, I'm good with that.

Sixers and Celtics. I don't want that. Not in round one. Well, for that happens, you have to lose and then win. Lose then win.

Which is what he's counseling the Lakers do to get themselves to the Thunder. I don't know, man. I don't know. You're you're you're it's a tough one either way.

Tough one either way. We'll take a break. When we come back, a top five that's near and dear to my heart. After that commercial break, it will be high. It will be far.

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You won't regret it. Our house is a mess. Come on in. I'm Amber Wallin, Internet comedian and host of your new favorite podcast, Fly on the Wild. That's pretty presumptuous to assume that this is going to be their favorite podcast, by the way. Anyway, that wasp that you just heard interrupt me is my husband and co-host Benjamin Wallin. Listen in as we discuss relationships and keeping our sweet baby kid alive.

Fly on the wall and wherever you listen. In this day and age, though, I've had a conversation with fellow Hall of Famer John Smoltz a couple of weeks ago, Reggie, that that that kids don't mind striking out as much these days. Did you have did you have an all or nothing mentality? Obviously, you're we all know how many strikeouts you had in your career. But did that matter at all to you?

Because there's a lot of hand wringing over it today these days. Well, I think I struck out too much and I average somewhere twenty five hundred and twenty one years is one hundred and twenty five. So but that's too many.

And I think for one hundred and sixty two games, if I would have played him, I'd have averaged one hundred and forty. So that's too many strikeouts. You can get by with it.

This is wow. Hold on. Let me take this call from Al Steinbrenner. Call him right back. OK, you got to call your right back. It's right.

OK, thank you, Reg. I mean, seriously, you could take that. I mean, you could put me on hold for the boss. That's OK. I got I wouldn't want that. Can't have you hear what I'm saying now. Hold on a second, Reggie. OK, hold on real quick, though.

I would not be doing my job if I didn't ask this question. If that was George back in the day, would you have been able to tell him? No, no. What you just told his son?

No, no. I hung up on you. I might not even have told you. I just acted like I just acted like I wasn't on the phone.

I don't know. Oh, man. If that was Hank, I'd have probably got off the phone because he'd have had some choice words for me, too. Oh, gosh. One of the many times Reggie's been on this program. Seek out when he was here in studio as well on our YouTube feed. That's for sure.

All right. Back here on on the Rich Eisen Show. Listen. Local sports announcers are not the cups of tea for a lot of folks nationally or for the rivals of the local team.

For instance, Chris. I grew up despising Johnny Most, the voice of the Boston Celtics. Yeah, he had a great voice.

Right underneath the D.J. You know, I just couldn't I couldn't handle him. But I imagine you, you know, had you been, you know, alive for for much of it. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

You know, you've been great. Exactly. Exactly. Because they they root for the home team. Like Tommy Hines. And they can. Right. They can get on the home team, too, though.

But they also have a certain style that that makes you feel good inside because you grew up listening to them. The big moments of your team they've delivered for you and you have a connection to them. And that's the way I felt for many times, many a moon about John Sterling, the voice of the New York Yankees, who surprised a whole bunch of folks by announcing out of the blue. He's done after 36 years in the booth. He's finished. He's called his last game. He's retiring immediately.

And on Saturday, he's going to be honored at the stadium. Now, my first thought is, oh, God, I hope he's OK and healthy. And I started reaching out to people and they're like, he's fine.

He just doesn't really want to do it anymore. And I called him today. I got his number through Michael K because Susie and I want to send our best him. Because when when when the Yankees were winning all those World Series and Susie was covering them and I was covering them for separate entities in the late 90s and the early aughts, he couldn't have been nicer to Susie and he couldn't have been nicer to me. And we love him. We got to know him a little bit personally. And we wanted to say, you know, hey.

Congrats. And so he we got his number. I spoke to him today, invited him on. He's going to come on tomorrow. He sounds great. Oh, nice.

Sounds great. And he's been calling games since 1960, professionally spent nine years in Atlanta calling Braves and Hawks games. But folks of the Nets and the Islanders know him from his W MCA days in New York City. And then, of course, calling Yankees games since 1989. Put up this tweet that hit my timeline yesterday. Ryan Spader, the put this on on Twitter yesterday.

And I assume he's correct. Sterling's called twenty nine and a half percent of all Yankee games ever, and includes almost 50 percent of New York's postseason games and 100 percent of Derek Jeter's plate appearances. OK, so in that respect, I've got a top five to say thank you to John Sterling. Hit it by one, two, three, four, five, richest top five. My top five. John Sterling calls. And here we go. Number five. I need to cover my ears.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. These are great moments. I mean, maybe not for you as a Red Sox fan, but these are great. These are moments in baseball history. May 17th, 1998 against the Minnesota Twins, the Yankees at that point in time at only one perfect game ever.

It was Don Larson in the World Series and then David Wells took them out on that day. Bernie Williams plays a step around the left. The one swung on. He's going to get it popped up to right field. O'Neill near the line.

He makes the catch. David Wells. David Wells has pissed off. Perfect game. Twenty seven up.

Twenty seven down. Baseball immortality for David Wells and the Yankees win the Yankees win. Of course, that's his famous called the Yankees win, which is what a lot of folks from other parts of the country didn't really get into. I did.

I loved it. Number four on the list. It was the 2001 American League championship series against the one hundred and sixteen win Seattle Mariners. Yankees took the first two games in Seattle. Yankee. The Seattle Mariners took Game three decisively in Yankee Stadium. It's Game four.

Brett Boone. It had a home run in the top of the eighth inning and a scoreless game. And these Yankees were staring a two two series right in the face when Bernie Williams stepped to the plate with one out in the eighth. One out.

No one on. Bottom of the eighth. One nothing Seattle.

It'll be a three two. Swung on and hit high in the air to deep right. That ball is high. It is far.

It is good! Bernie goes boom. He drills a home run the short way in the right field. And the Yankees tie the ball game at one.

Burn, baby, burn. And of course, that's his home run call. It is high. It is far.

It is gone. I believe the Angels announcer did one of those last night in honor of Sterling when Mike Trout went yard last night. Number three, the Yankees made the World Series that year, as we all know, was a very emotional year for New York City.

2001. Game four of the World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Arizona was up two games to one. Up two runs in the eighth inning. They pitched Kirk Schilling on short rest.

Remember that? He went seven innings and then they tried to get a two inning save from Byun Hong Kim. He struck out the Yankees, struck out the side in order in the eighth. And then Paul O'Neill with a one out hit in the ninth. Down three down in this game by two runs, three to one. That's when, with two outs and one on, Tino Martinez stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth.

There's Tino. One on, two out. Pitch is swung on and drilled. The deep right center. It is high.

It is far. It is gone. The Bam Tino with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. He drills a game tying two run home run.

Oh, the Bam Tino delivers big time. And the Yankees on the precipice of defeat tie the game at three. They went to extras.

That was when Jeter became the first Mr. November. They won that game and they tied the series at two apiece. And then in game five, Miguel Patista had seven and two thirds of scoreless baseball.

They out-dueled Mike Massino. Led two nothing in the ninth inning. Jorge Posada let off against a yes.

Brought Byun Hong Kim out for another save. And then Scott Brocius steps to the plate with two outs in this one in the ninth. Two run home run by Scott Brocius. Probably the most unbelievable feat in World Series history. Scott Brocius ties the game with a two run home run. What was it Al Michaels said?

Do you believe in miracles? 56,000 Yankee fans here say yes we do. I mean what a big night. And then number one is history.

On October 4th, 2022 with 61 home runs trying to set the American League record for home runs in a season. Aaron Judd stepped to the plate in Toronto and John was at the mic. Here's the 1-1. There it goes. Deep left it is high. It is far.

It is gone. Number 62 to set the new American League record. Aaron Judd hits his 62nd. All the Yankees out of the dugout to greet him.

Just think of it. Three Yankee right fielders. The Babe hitting 60 and 27. The Jolly Roger hitting 61 and 61. And now Aaron Judd hits his 62nd home run. The most home runs any American League has hit in a single season.

And the American League has been alive for 120 years. This is Judgement Day. Case closed. I love it. Case closed indeed. Thank you John Sterling. I love you man.

And I've got one more. There we go. And I know this is the thing that you found most hokey Chris and his turns of the phrases on home runs.

Glaber Day. The Jambino for Jason Giambi. The A-Bomb for A-Rods.

Tony and Blast. By the way his last home run call was Stanton's grand slam last week. Text message for Teixeira. Robbie Cano.

Don't you know. This is my favorite one. July 24th 2018. Masahiro Tanaka throws a shutout against the Rays. The pitch to Duffy is grounded to short. DeeDee Fields and throws to first in time.

Ball game over. Yankees win. And Masahiro Tanaka pitches a complete game shutout and a beauty. Giving up only three hits.

One walk and striking out nine. The sun will come out. Tanaka.

Bet your bottom dollar with Tanaka. The sun will shine. Wow. I do not like that man. I appreciate that. It's so good. You gotta like it. You gotta appreciate that. Tanaka. Tanaka. Come on.

I mean. Del Tufa that should be your ringtone. Thank you John Sterling for all the memorable calls and the smiles and the laughs and the memories. Enjoy your retirement sir. That'll wrap it up for hour two.

Something you should know. Search on YouTube or wherever you listen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-16 17:00:40 / 2024-04-16 17:23:06 / 22

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