Ethan: Welcome to an all-debate Straight Cash, Homey argument this week.  Commenters, tell us we're idiots and what we should be choosing.  Let's kick things off with the big question in college basketball this year:  which freshman do you like more, Greg Oden or Kevin Durant? 

Amir:  Durant. Next.

Ethan: Are you kidding?

Amir: No.

Ethan: Durant's a great player, but how often do dominant big men come along?  Especially ones who can shoot ridiculously high percentages with their off hand?  Oden's the best center in college basketball with his bad hand, and I think he'd still be in the top six or seven centers in the NBA if he started playing tomorrow.  Plus, his Social Security checks mean you don't have to pay him nearly as much, and Medicare takes care of his health insurance. Also,  I give extra points for looking like you could be Dikembe Mutombo's dad.

Amir:
Well, you asked me who I liked better, and I like talent. Durant is more talented than Oden, off -hand or not. He's shorter than Oden and putting up numbers like 37 points and 23 rebounds in a single game!? Everybody is saying stuff like "Durant is more talented, but you have to take Oden first." That doesn't make sense to me. Then again twenty three years ago they were saying, "Why take Michael Jordan!? He's talented, but he's not tall like that Sam Bowie kid."

Ethan: First, Bowie had bad luck to get all those injuries and to never get the nickname Ziggy Stardust.  Think about Hakeem, though, who also went ahead of Jordan.  He got two titles.  With a few exceptions (Ewing, Garnett), dominant big men win NBA titles.   Always.  Maybe for the rest of this season while they're both in college, you could argue for Durant, but it's not like he's made Texas unbeatable, while Oden's got a solid shot at the title.

Amir: A few exceptions indeed: Ewing, Garnett, Mutombo, Jon Amaechi… Hakeem only won championships because MJ took a few years off to play stickball. As long as whoever drafts Durant keeps him away from baseball, that won't be an issue.

Ethan: You want to debate smaller guys?  Who would you rather build around in the NBA, Kobe, Lebron, or Wade?

Amir:  Kobe. But it's not very fair because Kobe has been in the league for 10 seasons now. He's got the experience, he's a better shooter, and he;s more determined. Whatever he wants, he gets. AT ANY COST. Though that headstart is narrowing every day, and it's not LeBron closing the gap, its Wade. I would take Wade over LeBron in a heartbeat.

Ethan: I like Wade and Kobe, but I still think you've gotta take Lebron.  Have you seen the Cavs?  The team around him is a joke.  It's like the basketball gods said, "You think you're good?  Well, win a title with Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes in key roles!"

Amir: Do not speak ill of Big Z. That guy dominated my ninth grade fantasy basketball league ten years ago.

 Ethan: Wade's got an occasionally motivated Shaq, Kobe's got Odom and a slew of defense attorneys, and what does Lebron have to work with?  European guys named Sasha and Zydrunas.  It's like a pick-up team at a bombed-out rec center in Sarajevo.  And they still beat the Lakers on Sunday.  As soon as someone competent builds a team around Lebron, he'll be unstoppable. 

Amir: In a few years from now we'll all be sorry for not including Dwight Howard in that debate. He's the only guy in this league who can actually eat Earl Boykins. But, the debate machine rolls on, are the Chargers, for lack of a better word, fucked?

Ethan:  At this point they've lost their head coach, both coordinators and a handful of positional coaches.  I would say yes, but that coach was Marty Schottenheimer.  Maybe not.  The big worry is that the talent pool is kind of thin this late in the year.  If not Ron Rivera, then who else?  The Cowboys almost convinced themselves Norv Turner was a good idea.  A coach with a complexion worse than Gene Keady's?  Are you kidding?

Amir:
Skin has nothing to do with coaching, just ask Frank Beamer's neck. Any time you have LaDainian Tomlinson on your team you'll be fine. Even if it's just a quarterbacks coach calling two different running plays, Tecmo Bowl style, the Chargers are still a playoff team.

Ethan: That gives me a good idea, why not have the guy who wins that Madden '07 contest on ESPN to coach the Chargers? He obviously knows how to call plays. Though that fake punt on 4th and 27 was suspect at best.

Amir: Anyway, I can't believe we're talking baseball in February, but if you had to put $100 on the Yankees/Sox vs. The Field who would you bet on to win the AL

Ethan: The field.  There are some good non-Yanks/Sox teams in the AL.  If Colon can come back healthy, the Angels potentially have four ace-type starters.  My big AL sleeper for the year is Cleveland, though.  They had bad luck last year, but they've got a legit ace in Sabathia, a solid defense, and maybe the most racist mascot since the 1943 Atlanta Japs.  Any NL thoughts?  

Amir: Yeah, one thought: Wake me up in September, and even then I'll be too looking forward to football to really care about baseball. Also, the Cubs.

Ethan:
Whatever, the Cubs are still going to suck.  Jason Marquis and Ted Lilly don't fix your rotation.  Gimme the potential of the Brew Crew any day. 

Amir: The Brewers truly are the Bucks of baseball. They're never going to be good, and to compensate, they have ugly green uniforms. No wonder they make so much beer in Milwaukee, it takes a good amount of drinking to forget the last thirty years.

Ethan: Got an interesting fact for us?

Amir: Do I ever! My interesting fact brings us back to my boy: Dwight Howard. In his last 4 games, he has gone 9-9, 13-14, 11-14 and 11-15 from the field! And crazier than that, is the Magic record during those games: 1-3. What were you saying about surrounding LeBron with crappy players? Hedo Turkoglu makes Sasha Pavlovic look like Drazen Petrovic. …I think.

Ethan:  Um, Howard's got Grant Hill on his team, and Hill's going to be the best of all time, right?

Amir:  I quit paying attention to basketball in 1996, but I'm pretty sure that's right.

Ethan: Until next week, the West wins the All-Star game, and Tony Stewart surprises you at Daytona.

Amir:
It's only a surprise… if you watch it. Good night America!

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