by Craig Kwasniewski
According to the LA Times on Tuesday, "Ronny Turiaf is closer than anyone expected to becoming a member of the Lakers this season." The guy had open heart surgery to repair an enlarged aortic root a few months ago and he may be ready to play this season? Whatever. With the potential rush to judgement, the early lines for the NBA Dead Pool 2006 are up. Here are a few of them:
Ronnie Turiaf - 5:1: Unless you are a porn star, an enlarged aortic root just sounds awful. Plus, Mitch Kupchak added, "To date, the [medical] results have been very encouraging." Believe me, Kupchak saying that things are encouraging IS the kiss of death. The line dropped down from 10:1 as a result.
Eddy Curry - 10:1: The line is rising, but it doesn't mean that his survival rate will. The guy missed the the playoffs last year because of irregular heart beat. A telling sign: the insurance company that underwrites NBA player contracts has decided against insuring Eddy Curry due to his heart condition. Add in the pressure cooker that is the New York media with Larry Brown pushing him hard. This guy is almost a lock.
Quentin Richardson - 20:1: His stock is rising, this has not been a good year for the guy. First off, he is shipped from the most entertaining team of the decade (Phoenix Suns 2004-05) to the slow-it-down slug-it-out Larry Brown style of play. He's forced to play under the microscope of the New York media. The guy's engagement to singer and future cruise ship entertainer Brandy ended at the beginning of the season. Last week, brother Lee Richardson, 31, was shot and killed outside the family's Chicago home during a robbery. Finally, there's the potential for extended depression if teammate Eddy Curry drops dead during the season. Watch out for a Ricky Berry situation.
Pat Riley - 100:1: Was off the board a week ago, but now is a sleeper. Experiencing a typical Antoine Walker 2-17 game may cause a heart attack alone. Mix in the frustration with Shaquille O'Blob mailing it in until the second round of the playoffs; plus Jason Williams killing the half-court game with ill-advised three's and ZERO defense; and add the inevitable Gary Payton blow-up and Riles is a solid pick. Added bonus: you can kiss that bizarre slicked-back, highlighted mullet that Riles had in the summer good-bye.
Shareef Abdur-Rahim - 500:1: Steadily dropping, but don't forget this: He's playing in hell's version of hell, Sacramento. The guy is in his 11th season and has never played in the post season. Not once! And Sac-town is even sitting behind the Lakers in the standings. The guy is the NBA version of death. Four franchises, zero contention, no future.