Posted: Tuesday May 16, 2006 12:42PM; Updated: Tuesday May 16, 2006 1:44PM
Rasheed went so far as to proclaim that his boast was not "bulletin-board material," thereby undercutting every analyst who was going to call it just that. No one will ask the more pressing question here: What's on the Cavs' bulletin board instead? A sign reading "Free Jazz Lessons -- Ask for Wayman" or their favorite comic strips? (Damon Jones thinks Dogbert is just like Zydrunas Ilgauskas.) Wallace even offered to put it on video, apparently not realizing that when people want to watch something boring, rambling and semicoherent, they'll pop in Tom Emanski'sDefensive Drills, the back-to-back-to-back AAU national DVD champion.
The real sticking point for Rasheed is that once you've broken out the guarantee this early in the playoffs and had it blow up in your face, how do you motivate your teammates in the later rounds? It's not clear that a team that narrowly missed last year's title and probably could have won 70 games if they'd wanted to needs any extra goading, but if Wallace wants to light a fire under his mates, he's going to have to channel the heavy-handed manipulation used by the makers of Crash. Of course, this is Rasheed, so there's a slim chance that he's already plotting to kidnap the other Pistons' families for some extra motivation in the Finals, or at least their pets for the conference finals. "Win this one or I'll make you listen to Reggie Miller doing color commentary for two straight hours" would be a good threat, but Rasheed's just crazy, not an inhumane monster. Some torture should be reserved for the fans.
Generally, whenever anything in the NBA gets remotely out of hand, fans can count on David Stern to bring his own brand of iron-fisted, occasionally bearded justice to the rescue. If he has the power to crack down on the players' off-court clothing, he should be able to make a few rules about the use of guarantees. The guidelines could be pretty simple. No guarantees for non-elimination games. Nothing before the conference finals, and even then, only for Game 7. No guarantees against a team that has Eric Snow in a fairly prominent role, especially not if you're going to make him look like Eric Snow circa 2001 (who was no Aaron McKie circa 2001). No more than one guarantee per team, per playoffs. Finally, for every failed 'Sheed guarantee, every fan in attendance gets 'Sheed's throwback one-game Atlanta Hawks jersey at his expense. Maybe that will keep him from guaranteeing the Pistons' exhibition opener next year.
Ethan Trex couldn't find a cake boring enough for the WNBA's 10th birthday party. He can be reached at email@example.com.