Pittsburgh' Jack Franzi still the main man

Feb 17, 2009 5:09 PM
Diamond's Gems by Sid Diamond |

It was indeed my wife and my pleasure to accidentally bump into the legend, Jack Franzi, this past week as so many of the past and present sports book directors have looked up to "Uncle Jack."

It goes without saying that Art Manteris, Jimmy Vaccaro and myself, as well as many others, all took a little bit of Jack for ourselves. I remember getting invited to breakfast at local delis when Bob Martin was still with us and I was in awe of the guest list. The conversations were honest, and certainly stimulating, as well as educational, especially for a new guy on the block, such as myself.

It was always a refreshing and humbling experience. "Pittsburgh Jack" is a great guy and here’s hoping he stays healthy as Las Vegas needs men like him for its historical background.

To follow up on a recent article of those NBA teams you can never bet under, here’s an assessment of those you can never bet over.

The Spurs lead the pack in defensive efficiency, especially when they get into a key or post-season game. The best coach in the NBA has proven himself with always having his team on or near the top for a number of years. The Spurs not only talk defense, they walk it, and Coach Popovich has for years had his players buy into his successful system.

Coast Larry Brown played the game right and is developing a respectable team, as his players are now doing it right. Hopefully Larry will stay around long enough to see his efforts rewarded. Defense is a mainstay in the new Charlotte Bobcats formula. No overs here.

The Rockets play low, primarily due to Yao clogging up the middle so effectively.

Due to a lack of high scoring players, two other teams seem to play lower than you think. The Heat, with scoring leader Wade as the only real threat, limits their capability to reach the hundred mark very often. Slow down Wade and they’ll be in the 80s or 90s at best.

The Timberwolves will now fit into the under group with the season ending loss of all-star Al Jefferson. Not much firepower left on Kevin McHale’s club, so you can never bet them over either.

Some mid-term notes on some of the other teams:

Pistons: they have found a way to screw up a tough competitive team that was always a threat to make the playoffs to a mediocre club who’ll be lucky to advance anywhere.

Jazz: if they can get Boozer and others back from injuries they could be a force in the playoffs. Jerry Sloan, another exceptional coach, can’t do it without his full team healthy and intact, as his bench lacks the ability to sustain consistent efficiency.

Buy American except peanut butter!

Have a great week!