We have a real champ of the so-called “blogosphere” on board for the first of Empty the Bench’s ongoing series of interviews with some of the best and brightest NBA writers out there. Oh, who are we kidding: all of these interviews will feature some real heavyweights.
J.E. Skeets first made his name as co-chair of the wildly popular Basketball Jones blog and podcast. He’s since assumed lead duties at Yahoo!’s still relatively new Ball Don’t Lie, which under his expert direction has quickly developed into one of the most entertaining and informative NBA reads you’ll find on the Web.
Without further ado, ETB lobs 10 questions at Mr. J.E. Skeets.
ETB: You made your name, so to speak, with The Basketball Jones podcasts. Was the transition from podcast/radio to the written word a difficult one for you?
Skeets: Not really. I might be the worst writer in the NBA, ahem, “blogosphere,” but I was writing at the now-defunct jeskeets.com long before that Greek in the tucked-in Garbajosa jersey strolled into my basketball life.
ETB: Is the blogosphere supplementing or replacing traditional media for your gathering of NBA news and info?
Skeets: The traditional media is becoming the “blogosphere,” so, yes, most definitely. Minus actual NBA games and maybe the odd MacGyver rerun, I’d take a Ziller, Dwyer, Shoals, or Abbott post over just about anything you’d find exclusively on television or in print.
ETB: You’re NBA Commissioner for a day and have been given permission to permanently change one rule. Which would it be and why?
Skeets: Am I crowned NBA Commissioner around the All-Star Weekend? If so, I’d really like to make that one-on-one tournament a reality. Sixteen players, games to seven, and the winner takes home a cool million — with another million going to a charity of their choice.
ETB: What was your favorite or most memorable moment from the 2007-08 NBA season?
Skeets: It’s a tie between the Suns-Spurs double-overtime thriller, and unexpectedly running into Commissioner Stern in a washroom at the New Orleans Arena before the start of 2008 All-Star Game.
ETB: Which one NBA team do you feel has the most potential for significant growth next year, and why?
Skeets: The Heat. No doubt. A healthy D-Wade, Marion, Beasley, Superintendent Chalmers, and Haslem should be good for 40+ wins. What’d they win/forget to throw last year, like, six?
More Q & A with J.E. Skeets of Yahoo!’s Ball Don’t Lie after the jump…
ETB: Shaquille O’Neal has 2 years and $40 million left on his current contract. Do you think he’ll end his career in Phoenix? How many more seasons do you think he has left?
Skeets: He’ll play about 60 games this year, and then start up the goodbye tour (ala Kareem) in ’09.
ETB: You and ETB both like Dallas Mavericks swingman Gerald Green more than most. Talk about one or two other unheralded/ maligned young players you think could make a name for themselves in the right situation.
Skeets: Julius Hodge has kicked assed and chewed bubblegum in almost every league he’s ever played in. College, NBDL, Australia… he’s a gamer. I love watching him play. He reminds me of D-Wade, circa ’03-04 playoffs vs. the Hornets, when he took over quarters at a time on will alone. I hope Godge — not a typo — gets a legitimate shot in the NBA.
ETB: Pistons GM Joe Dumars has made it known that he’d like to change up his core. Rumors involving Tracy McGrady, Carmelo Anthony, and Andris Biedrins have been floated. Can you think of a fairly significant trade that would make sense for both parties involved?
Skeets: Tayshaun Prince for Joey Graham, some ketchup-flavored potato chips, and two free rides up the CN Tower. The Raptors get that lockdown wing defender they so desperately need, while the Pistons get a nice snack and a great view of Toronto. Oh, and Joey Graham.
ETB: How far will the Boston Celtics go in the 2009 NBA Playoffs?
Skeets:Very far. They’ll probably fly out West again.
ETB: You knew we’d bring Canada into this somehow: please select your favorite SCTV cast member. Explain why, and cite a specific example.
A) John Candy
B) Joe Flahrety
C) Eugene Levy
D) Rick Moranis
E) Dave Thomas
F) Martin Short
Skeets: Well, my favorite song is “Mom Pressed The Crease In My Chinos” by the 5 Neat Guys, so I’m going to cop out of this one, thereby sparing myself the anguished guilt at not spreading the love the entire SCTV crew deserve, and say all of the above. (Martin Short probably wrote the damn skit.)
More ETB’s Scribes of the NBA Interview Series:
– J.E. Skeets of Yahoo!’s Ball Don’t Lie
– David Friedman of 20 Second Timeout
– Ron Hitley of Hornets 24/7
– Ryne “Odenized” Nelson of SLAMonline
– Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty and FanHouse
– Brett Hainline of Queen City Hoops
– Dave Deckard of Blazer’s Edge
– Kurt of Forum Blue and Gold
– Brian Powell of Awful Announcing
– Lee Grammier of The Dream Shake
– Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead
– Scott Carefoot of Raptor Blog
– Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Part 1
– Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Part 2
– Matt Watson of AOL FanHouse and Detroit Bad Boys
– Natalie Sitto of Need4Sheed.com