Photo by Tim DeFrisco/ALLSPORT/Getty Images
By now most fans of sports talk shows on radio and TV can figure out that Skip Bayless is all about stirring the pot for the sake of clicks, retweets, and shares. I have found myself caught in the middle of one of his ludicrous takes and responding to him on social media as if he would actually have data and back up to validate his ridiculous opinion.
It's all fun and games until he involves your favorite team or the best players in your franchise's history and then it becomes personal. Yesterday he went a bit too far for most Rockets fans and fans of NBA basketball in general when he said Manu Ginobili was a better player than Hakeem Olajuwon. There is fodder and playful banter, and then there is blasphemy and blatant disrespect. This comparison blows right by the first option and firms plants itself smack dab in the middle of the latter. You can't compare apples to oranges and you can't compare the Dream to Ginobili.
About the only way you can make a case for the Spurs legend over Olajuwon is to count rings and NBA championships. Hakeem has the two titles that he won in the back-to-back seasons of 1993-94 and 1994-95 with the Rockets, while Ginobili has four rings all with San Antonio. Aside from this catagory, the rest of the comparrison is so heavily weighted in Olajuwon's favor it's not even funny and for Rockets fans it's downright insulting.
I mean Ginobli was a fantastic international player winnig a gold medal for his home country of Argentina as well as a Euroleague championship. When you add his four NBA titles he is one of only two players in the history of the game to have won those three prestigious championships in a career. He played 16 years in the NBA and made the playoffs in 15 of those 16 seasons. He was the NBA 6th man of the Year in 2008, All-Rookie 1st team in 2002-03 and a 2 time All-Star. He averaged 13 points per game, 3.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists over his NBA career and Basketball Reference gives him a 20% chance to be ellected to the Hall of Fame for his total body of work. Whether or not he makes the Hall is not the issue, the fact that Bayless decided to make the outlandish comparrison to Hakeem and the nerve to say he was better is what is so offensive to so many. It's a compliment to Manu but a slap in the face to Olajuwon.
Hakeem Olajuwon averaged 21.8 points per game in his storied career along with 11 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 3 blocks and 1.7 steals over an 18 year career. He was a 12 time all-star that played in the postseason 15 times, was a two time defensive player of the year, two time Finals MVP, one time NBA Most valuable player, six time all-NBA first team, five time all defensive first team and all- rookie first team in 1984-85.
There is hardly a conversation about the best and most athletic and comlete centers ever to play the game that doesn't include Olajuwon. He is the all-time leader in blocked shots in NBA history and the only player ever to win the MVP, Defensive player of the year and Finals MVP in the same season. When he retired he was in the top 10 all-time in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks. He is the greatest player in the history of the Houston Rockets and his No. 34 has been retired by the team.
To top it all off he appeared in back-to-back Final 4's with the University of Houston and was named to the NBA's top 50 players of all-time. If you want to compare "the Dream" to other players in NBA history, you start with names like Jabbar, Chamberlin and Russell, not Ginobli. The numbers don't lie and neither do the awards and accolades. This is one debte Bayless needs to skip just to save face and attempt to salvage a shred of credibility. Dream on Skip, dream on!
The Houston Astros were in need of some serious help in the bullpen with Phil Maton, Hector Neris, and Ryne Stanek likely leaving this year in free agency.
The Houston Astros have acquired RHP Dylan Coleman from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for RHP Carlos Mateo. pic.twitter.com/hDYuBLn2Kv
— Houston Astros (@astros) December 6, 2023
While some fans were getting concerned about the quiet offseason, the club has made two moves this week to get the ball rolling.
First the team signed Victor Caratini to be the backup catcher, and now they have added some relief pitching.
The Astros traded pitching prospect Carlos Mateo to the Royals for RHP pitcher Dylan Coleman.
Coleman appeared in 96 games in the past three seasons for KC, including 68 games in 2022 and 23 games last season. He has a career 3.88 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. He’s fastball (95 mph), slider (81) and cutter (90) and walked 57 batters and struck out 99 in 92 2/3 innings.
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) December 6, 2023
Coleman is under club control for the next several years, and made just over $700,000 in 2022. With the Astros right up against the tax threshold, this is a good way to add to the bullpen without having to hand out a large contract.
The Royals had a tough roster decision to make with Coleman, and the Astros made the decision easy for them by making the trade.
Something to note
There's a reason Kansas City wasn't determined to protect Coleman from the Rule 5 Draft. Despite his decent numbers over the last three seasons, 2023 was a rough year for him, posting an 8.84 ERA over 23 games.
In fact, Coleman pitched more innings (30.2) for the Royals AAA team than he did for the big league club (18.1) in 2023.
Hopefully, the Astros can get him back on track this season with some help from their highly touted player development program.
You can watch some of his 2022 highlights above.