By Ben Osborne

So it’s the second-to-last day of my first closing. Past experience was enough to tell me it’s a grinding time, but there’s no comparison for actually sitting in the editor’s chair…it is no joke. Hopefully you guys don’t realize this because you think our quality is so high, but SLAM is done by a really small staff. On the editorial side now it’s basically just Khalid, Lang, Susan and myself finishing off the issue, so we each get hella busy. This should partially explain why Khalid hasn’t posted a column since the Eagles were still a question mark. And why my column figures to be kinda short—again. It also explains why Sam’s presence in running the site is so key. Write on, Rubenstein!

Anyway, besides reminding you all that all this bitching and moaning about “hard” work is also due to the fact that we’re breaking in some new sections that should contribute to the next SLAM being the best-looking one ever, I figured I’d share an actual basketball thought with you guys.

Usually, when All-Star Weekend is around the corner, I’m as curious to see what rookies and “sophomores” will get chosen for the Friday night exhibition as I am to see the real All-Stars get selected. But where years past featured relatively early looks of exciting rookies who blew up in the game like Caron Butler, Luol Deng, Dwight Howard, Jason Richardson and Amare Stoudemire, what first years could anyone be gassed about seeing this year?

Adam Morrison? Brandon Roy? Shelden Williams? Roy’s probably the best of this year’s marginal class, and he’s been hurt as often as not. I’m sure others have noticed how unexciting this year’s group of rooks is, but I’m just here to remind y’all that, to paraphrase an old EPMD track, it isn’t them, it’s the rules.

Imagine if the NBA didn’t implement it’s “no high schoolers rule” last year. Then we’d be talking. If I knew Kevin Durant, Greg Oden and Brandan Wright were headed to Vegas to form the freshest rookie frontcourt ever to take on the equally ill second-year backcourt of Monta Ellis, Chris Paul and Deron Williams, I would definitely be gassed for the rookie-sophomore game. The way it is now, though, I may just spend Friday night on line for parties.

Thankfully for fans of the League, of course, this is a one-year problem. The ’07 draft, spurred by the “extra” class of kids who couldn’t declare last year, should be one of the deepest in NBA history. I can’t wait.