Lions Around the Dorm

This week’s Around the Dorm features retired NBA stars making a comeback, an NFL off-field policy and the NHL trade deadline. The contestants this week are Signal managing editor Lauren Kohout, Signal sports editor Brandon Lee and WTSR station manager Greg Miller. Signal sports assistant Justin Jez returns as the referee after being a contestant last week. Have a great Spring Break!

1) Former NBA stars Scottie Pippen and Reggie Miller are attempting to make a return to the league. Can these guys still have an impact? Which teams do you see taking a chance on them?

LK: Are you kidding me? Pippen said he felt great enough to play to which Charles Barkley responded: “That’s because you haven’t played in three years.” The only type of impact these players will make is on a team that needs a leader with experience. The only teams that will need guys like these are probably the ones in the bottom of the pack who need direction and guidance that their coach can’t give them. Maybe Miller should smack around Allen Iverson for the Nuggets and tell him to pass the ball before dribbling away over half of the shot clock.

BL: Shooters are always needed in the NBA and Miller can probably hit the three-ball with his eyes closed. However, he probably can’t shake defenders and run off screens like he used too. He might come out of retirement for an NBA Championship but he’ll have a minor role. I don’t see him or Pippen having an on-the-court impact. Both would be a great defensive liability, although they could provide some veteran leadership and mentor young players on a championship-level team. Wouldn’t it be sweet if Reggie came back to the Knicks? Just kidding. I really don’t see anyone really needing Reggie’s services but I do see Pippen on the Lakers. He knows Phil Jackson’s offense and can help out youngsters such as Luke Walton and Andrew Bynum.

GM: Unlike other sports, basketball demands a lot from a physical standpoint and gets more difficult to play as age starts to wear players down. Even though these guys are in phenomenal shape compared to the average American, I don’t think that they would be able to make a major contribution to any of the current contenders in the NBA (Phoenix, Dallas, etc.). That doesn’t mean that they couldn’t come back and play at a level worthwhile for them to come out of retirement. I just see them doing it more for themselves and less for the team they are playing for, at least in Pippen’s case. Pippen, 41, has six rings and more money than he can hope to spend. One team that has shown interest is the Lakers, who would be able to use Pippen’s defensive prowess (the career steals leader at the forward position) to provide some bandaging to their anemic defense.

JJ: I like Brandon’s answer the best because he identified that both players would be defensive liabilities and that Pippen already knows the triangle offense – 3 points. Kohout gets 2 points, although I don’t think either of these guys want to play for a non-contender. Miller, you had a good answer, but you said that Pippen could still play defense. I disagree.

2) Amid numerous off-field indiscretions by NFL players, a discussion has begun about creating some code of conduct. The idea of the NFL adopting an MLB-like three-strike policy has been mentioned. What kind of policy changes do you envision for the NFL?

LK: Even the players want this kind of policy so these kind of things don’t happen as often. A couple times is understandable, but three or four acts of lunacy are a bit too much for fellow players to cope with. Instead of using a baseball term with the three-strikes policy, maybe they should try giving players four downs to make up for things that may be out of a player’s control (like throwing over 80 grand on a bunch of strippers and then realizing that it’s a hell of a lot of money and trying to take it back – honest mistake). That way you can really say that a guy went three and out and had to bail the NFL on his fourth mistake. They have to do something, otherwise no stripper will ever get their money’s worth from Pacman Jones (insert Pacman noise here).

BL: The NFL should have a three-strikes you’re out policy, or in this case, three and out. Guys like Pacman should be banned from the NFL. He should feel lucky to be a player in the NFL and should set an example for college and high school players. Pacman wastes his money by showering strippers with thousands of dollars for a visual effect. The NFL should suspend those who disrespect the game with those kinds of actions.

GM: Rae Carruth. This name may not be familiar to most of the readers, but this was the former Carolina Panthers receiver who hired a hit man to murder his girlfriend and unborn child. Although this was an extreme case, the NFL is no stranger to players having run-ins with the law. Case in point: Last year, the Cincinnati Bengals had more arrests (nine) during the season than victories (eight). Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson needed an Illinois judge to grant him permission to play in the Super Bowl because of his ammunitions charges. Enough is enough. The policy change is a simple one. A player’s first arrest is a $100,000 fine and a game suspension, regardless of the offense. Harsh, yes, but sometimes, deterrents to crime must be drastic to get the point across. Second offense is a four game suspension and each additional offense results in a year suspension. Commissioner Goodell wants to show he was the right man for the job; this would be a good place to start.

JJ: Miller, 3 points for giving me a fair policy for dealing with behavior issues. Kohout, indeed strippers deserve better from young NFL talent – 2 points. I have to give Brandon 1 point since it was not in-depth enough. However, I really like your point that a policy is needed for these players to set a better example.

3) The dust has settled after an eventful NHL trade deadline. Which organization improved itself the most? Which significant player(s) now have a better shot at holding a Stanley Cup after being dealt?

LK: I have to say the Flyers are in great position. Not only did they get a replacement goalie for Shittymaki and Esche, but they got enough draft picks to get all the Sidney Crosbys and Alex Ovechkins they need. Peter Forsberg has a great shot at holding up the Cup since he went to Nashville, who at the time was the No. 1 team in the league. But then you have to think, if something ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However, I will still stand by the fact that he now has a better chance of holding the Cup because he came from the last place team. Those aren’t just better odds, those are quadrupling your odds. No one else made that kind of transition. Go Predators!

BL: The San Jose Sharks improved its team the most by trading for Bill Guerin and Montreal defenseman Craig Rivet. Guerin will pair up with defending Hart Trophy winner Joe Thorton for a devastating duo. With the trades, San Jose has a shot at the Stanley Cup. The St. Louis Blues were falling out of playoff contention and decided to trade its best player. Guerin now has a better chance of winning a cup with the Sharks.

GM: I don’t believe any one team made itself significantly better than they already were. However, if I were forced to pick a team, I would have to say the Atlanta Thrashers provided the most improvement. They added some punch to both sides of the ice by adding center Keith Tkachuk from St. Louis, left winger Pascal Dupuis from the New York Rangers and defenseman Alexei Zhitnik from Philadelphia, but had to give up five draft picks and two young players to do so. San Jose also helped its cause by adding Guerin to its offensive juggernaut of Thornton, Cheechoo and Marleau. As for which player put himself in a better position to win the cup, I’d say Forsberg because with a healthy Forsberg, Kariya, Arnott, Sullivan and Vokoun (just to name a few), this year’s Stanley Cup has Nashville written all over it.

JJ: Kohout gets 3 points. I guess Forsberg did exponentially increase his chances, and the Flyers actually accepted their mistakes and stockpiled draft picks. I also like Brandon’s answer – short and sweet. He gets 2 points for his legit picks. Miller, you gave me too many names and teams – 1 point.

With a score of 7-6-5, Kohout wins this week’s title.