I’m about to do something that is going to hurt us both. I’m sorry for doing it, but if I don’t, it’ll get worse and fester and eventually form an outgrowth that will poke holes in both of our faces AT THE SAME TIME! I’m going to defend Chris Bosh. I’m not going to spend a lot of time doing it and I’m not going to like myself immediately afterward. Shaquille O’Neal debuted in his new role as hoops pundit on Tuesday and took the opportunity to do exactly what we all knew he’d do: attempt to outdo Charles Barkley by not only saying whatever enters his brain, but only genuinely believing half of what he says. Episode 1 featured O’Neal referring to the Heat as “The Big 2.” Never mind that ridiculing “The Big 3” is so December of 2010, at what point do Bosh critics have to admit that either they were a) wrong about his first seven seasons when he was widely considered one of the five best PFs in the league or b) still just pissed how things went down last summer? Bosh had an off year. He did. It was his statistically worst year since 2004-05 and he still ended with a 19/8/2 season average. Was he soft during the regular season? Unreliable and poor on defense in the Finals? Yes and yes. But that’s not what O’Neal implied and it now matters more than ever what O’Neal implies because people will now look to him for his opinion on this stuff. Don’t get it twisted, the Heat made it to Game 6 of the Finals in part because of Bosh, not in spite of him. No one ever claimed Bosh was the biggest of the three, nor did anyone believe he’d maintain hisToronto production inMiami. But a 19/8/2 “third wheel” who will almost certainly improve in 2011-12 still makes them The Big 3, nothing less. Now, I’m gonna go shower and hope this Bosh love doesn’t give me gangrene.

If you scroll down, you’ll see more fantasy basketball words!  

Rudy Fernandez – RuFer is the favorite to start at SG for the Mavericks, or as coach Carlisle said, Fernandez “would seem the top candidate to start.” The NBA quickly pounced from the shadows, kidney-punched him twice, ripped his back pants pockets and stole his left loafer before disappearing quicker than a puddle in the desert. That’ll teach Rick Carlisle to publicly mention players during a lockout. Also, it will teach him to wear shoes that slip off so easily. Also 2: Electric Boogaloo, it will apparently not teach anyone on the Mavericks from projecting their probable starting candidates as Rodrigue Beaubois has fallen far on the depth chart, and he was the future of this franchise 11 months ago.

Mickael Pietrus – Had some loose cartilage removed from his knee this week, but should be okay for the start of the season next March. Never having had loose cartilage removed from my own body,  I’m imagining a bunch of floppy, wet tissue hanging on the outside of his knee like a turkey neck. That’s probably an inaccurate depiction.

Gerald Henderson – At the top (front?) of the depth chart at Charlotte’s SG position. This is kinda like when the Secretary of  the Treasury takes over as president after five other outranking officials get taken out.

Mario Chalmers – The Heat “has grown comfortable with the idea of  Chalmers starting.” Don’t write home about it, they can’t afford anyone better.

Lamar Odom – Remember that part in Driving Miss Daisy when Jessica Tandy was on her way to a funeral and Morgan Freeman hit a biker and killed a pedestrian? Really? ‘Cause I was hoping that scene existed and that Tandy maintained her 14/9/3 average anyway.

Evan Turner – Shot specialist Herb Magee said that Turner shoots the ball essentially with both hands and that his 3-point shot is going to “take a while.” Not the same way Kevin Martin‘s three-point shot takes a while to go from the side of his hip to over his head; Magee meant it more like the way chunky people with a half-dozen plastic garbage bags full of TV Guides tend to “take a while” to ascend the stairs when you’re behind them.

Lawrence Frank – The Pistons offered the head coaching gig to Frank over the weekend.  Frank is expected to accept the head coaching gig by mid-week. And Adam will then have to restructure his upcoming draft rankings to actually include Pistons.  Damn you, coaches supportive of consistent and reliable rotations!