Pulse: What's going on at the All-Star game?

Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and offering opinions. We'll collect the daily highlights and create a running file throughout the week to measure The Pulse of SportsNation on a wide variety of issues. Check this page every day for an update of what the 'Nation is saying.

Friday's Big Question

1. What do you think of what's happening at the NBA All-Star game?

In town for an All-Star event, Scottie Pippen is thinking of getting back in the game.The NBA's All-Star weekend in Las Vegas has raised a number of questions.

Hoops fans who love excitement and athleticism are asking who will win the dunk contest. Business owners and gamblers want to know whether Las Vegas will ever get a team. Scottie Pippen thinks he knows the answer to the question of whether or not he can play again. Fans across the country are asking whether the All-Star game is even relevant.

SportsNation weighed in on these issues with an eye toward the future, hoping for a Vegas team and disdaining Scottie's chances of making it back.

Who will win Saturday's Slam-Dunk Contest?
31% Gerald Green
28% Dwight Howard
23% Tyrus Thomas
18% Nate Robinson

If Scottie Pippen returns to the NBA, will he be successful?
66% No
34% Yes

Should Las Vegas get an NBA team?
52% Yes
48% No

Have All-Star games jumped the shark?
77% Yes
23% No

From Chris Sheridan's Friday chat:
I say Gerald Green takes the dunk contest tomorrow night. Who ya got?
Hartford, CT

That's my pick, too, and I saw today on Bodog.com that G is listed as the favorite. I also like Jason Terry in the 3-point shootout and Bavetta in the race (see today's blog entry).
Chris Sheridan

Chris, what do you make of Pippen wanting back in? Do you think he can impact a contending team? Where do you see him going (if anywhere)?
Cleveland, OH

That one came as quite a shocker this morning. I'd be very surprised if he was in shape to make a comeback, but maybe he is. Another guy I expect to come out of retirement is Allan Houston. I spoke to him about it a couple months ago, and he said he was giving it serious consideration. Wouldn't happen until after this season, though, cuz he's still getting paid on his Knicks contract by an insurance company.
Chris Sheridan

If Las Vegas were to be awarded an NBA franchise, would it be a new franchise or an existing franchise on the move? An additional franchise would mess up the current alignment of 6 divisions with 5 teams each.

Myself and a few other writers were kicking this idea around last night, and I'm of the opinion that it would be an expansion franchise rather than an existing franchise relocating. I think the kings will get their arena deal in Sacto, and I think the Sonics will be in Oklahoma City in a couple years. Maybe the Hornets will end up here, but I could see that other owners hitting George Shinn with a $60 million relocation fee if he tried to move them again.
Chris Sheridan

Please do something or contact someone to allow Howard to attempt his dunks tomorrow night.

It figures the NBA would not allow him to raise the rim to 12 feet. Somebody comes up with a good idea, and they shoot it down. That's one of the reasons why the dunk contest hasn't been any good since Vince in Oakland. and don't get me started on Andre Iguodala getting robbed last year.
Chris Sheridan

Thursday's Big Question

1. What do you think of Tim Hardaway's comments?

Tim Hardaway had strong words about gay players on Wednesday.John Amaechi's coming out event has prompted at least one ex-NBA player to respond emphatically.

On Dan Le Batard's Wednesday afternoon radio show, Hardaway responded to a question about whether he could tolerate a gay teammate. Hardaway said that he would not want to have a gay teammate, admitting homophobia and saying "I hate gay people". Hardaway later apologized for his comments, and has been removed from NBA-related events by commissioner David Stern.

SportsNation thinks his comments represent the attitude of current NBA players.

Do you believe Tim Hardaway's statement reflects the opinions of the majority of NBA players?
63% Yes
37% No

From Thursday's morning Buzz:
Yeah, Hardaway's comments were wrong, but I loved Amaechi's response: "At least he's being honest." BRILLIANT.


Is Tim Hardaway trying to sell more books for Amaechi?
Cedar Falls, IA

Hardaway was wrong, but the truth is he was just saying what many people already think. May not be right or PC, but that's the truth.
Miami, FL

Wednesday's Big Question

1. What is best in baseball?

Albert Pujols dominated our polls like he dominates opposing pitchers.Spring training is nearly upon us, and SportsNation has been busy talking about the impending baseball season.

Old standards of greatness are changing, as the top players from the first part of the decade are entering their decline phases. Meanwhile, several young and exciting players are storming their way through both leagues, making a case for themselves among baseball's best. We asked SportsNation to consider the top players at each position, coming up with their absolute ideals. We also asked fans to rank the top managers and GMs based on performance and potential.

SportsNation went back and forth on who it considered the best at each position, but its top choices would create a team that would regard 100 wins as a disappointment.

Who is the best overall player in baseball?
31% Albert Pujols
25% Jose Reyes
13% Grady Sizemore
7% Alex Rodriguez
6% Derek Jeter
5% Vladimir Guerrero
3% Jason Bay
3% Ichiro Suzuki
2% David Wright
2% Vernon Wells
2% Carl Crawford
1% Bobby Abreu

Who is your ideal first baseman?
60% Albert Pujols
13% Ryan Howard
8% Justin Morneau
6% Mark Teixeira
4% Jason Giambi
4% Paul Konerko
3% Lance Berkman
2% Nick Johnson

Who is your ideal second baseman?
47% Chase Utley
29% Robinson Cano
6% Brian Roberts
5% Tadahito Iguchi
4% Craig Biggio
3% Marcus Giles
3% Dan Uggla
3% Orlando Hudson

Who is your ideal shortstop?

52% Derek Jeter
16% Miguel Tejada
16% Jose Reyes
7% Michael Young
4% Jimmy Rollins
2% Carlos Guillen
2% Hanley Ramirez
1% Bill Hall

Who is your ideal third baseman?

43% Alex Rodriguez
21% David Wright
16% Miguel Cabrera
11% Scott Rolen
6% Aramis Ramirez
1% Freddy Sanchez
1% Ryan Zimmerman
1% Garrett Atkins

Who is your ideal catcher?

46% Joe Mauer
28% Ivan Rodriguez
11% Jorge Posada
4% Victor Martinez
4% A.J. Pierzynski
4% Paul Lo Duca
2% Kenji Johjima
1% Ramon Hernandez

Who is your ideal left fielder?
61% Carl Crawford
28% Manny Ramirez
5% Nick Swisher
2% Jason Bay
1% Pat Burrell
1% Raul Ibanez
1% Carlos Lee
1% Adam Dunn

Who is your ideal center fielder?
54% Johnny Damon
32% Carlos Beltran
5% Andruw Jones
2% Vernon Wells
2% Alfonso Soriano
2% Torii Hunter
2% Grady Sizemore
1% Juan Pierre

Who is your ideal right fielder?

55% Bobby Abreu
30% Vladimir Guerrero
6% Ichiro Suzuki
4% Jermaine Dye
3% Michael Cuddyer
1% Jeff Francouer
1% J.D. Drew

Which five pitchers would make up your ideal starting rotation (number is % of ballots listed on)?
82% Johan Santana
51% Roger Clemens
40% Roy Halladay
33% Chien-Ming Wang
30% Mike Mussina

Who is your ideal closer (number is % of ballots listed on)?
48% Mariano Rivera
13% Joe Nathan
11% Francisco Rodriguez
6% Trevor Hoffman
6% Billy Wagner

Who are your five ideal setup men (number is % of ballots listed on)?

57% Joel Zumaya
29% Scott Shields
28% Francisco Cordero
23% Adam Wainwright
22% Scott Linebrink

Who are the best managers in the game?
1. Joe Torre
2. Tony LaRussa
3. Jim Leyland
4. Bobby Cox
5. Mike Sciosia

Who are the best general managers in the game?
1. Billy Beane
2. John Schuerholz
3. Theo Epstein
4. Brian Cashman
5. Omar Minaya

Tuesday's Big Question

1. Should the Chargers have fired Marty Schottenheimer?

Marty Schottenheimer's playoff struggles may have contributed to his firing.It seems that a 14-2 record wasn't quite good enough for the San Diego Chargers.

The former Chargers coach was fired Monday night by team president Dean Spanos, less than a month after a devastating playoff loss to the New England Patriots. The relationship between Schottenheimer had been strained for some time, finally coming to a head when Schottenheimer allowed several coaching assistants to interview for jobs with other teams. The Chargers will now have to look for a coach much later than would normally be expected, while Schottenheimer may have to wait until next year to coach again.

SportsNation generally disagreed with Schottenheimer's firing and believes he'll land on his feet.

Do you agree with the Chargers' decision to fire Marty Schottenheimer because of ''dysfunction'' in his relationship with general manager A.J. Smith?
71% No
29% Yes

How much did another early playoff exit factor into Schottenheimer's firing?

63% It was a contributing factor, but the poor relationship between coach and GM played a larger role.
37% It was the main reason. The loss of assistant coaches and the poor coach/GM relationship made the firing convenient.

Will Schottenheimer ever get another NFL head-coaching job?
90% Yes
10% No

Would you want Schottenheimer coaching your favorite team?

56% Yes
44% No

To what do you attribute Schottenheimer's playoff struggles as a coach?

58% Bad luck
42% He's been outcoached

Which head-coaching situation is more unstable?

79% NFL
21% BCS conference football

Will Schottenheimer ever reach the Super Bowl as a head coach?

66% No
34% Yes

Will the Chargers win a Super Bowl in the next three years?

52% No
48% Yes

From Mike Wilkening's Tuesday Pro Football Weekly chat:
With Marty being fired, who can the Chargers hire? Carroll? Rivera? I think Carroll makes sense since USC is going under all of those potential sanctions and now would be a great time to go out and possibly bring his cordinators with him.
Merced, CA

Lots of speculation about Carroll. I just don't know if he will get the control and money he would likely want to leave one of college football's finest jobs. I can't see him having much personnel power in San Diego.
Mike Wilkening

So if not Pete Carroll, then who? Who would you like to see (name several if needed) ?
Detroit, MI

I tend to think we'll see a few coordinators in the mix. Ron Rivera makes sense. So does Rex Ryan.
Mike Wilkening

Monday's Big Question

1. Will the Celtics set a new record for consecutive losses?

Doc Rivers and the Celtics haven't had much to celebrate recently.Danny Ainge's rebuilding process hasn't quite gone according to plan.

The Celtics certainly have a talented group of young players, along with a certified superstar in Paul Pierce. They've also lost a league-leading 18 straight games, with a seemingly clear path to the record of 24 straight losses, set by the 1981-1983 Cleveland Cavaliers. Celtics fans have actually cheered against their team, hoping for a free ticket in the Kevin Durant/Greg Oden sweepstakes.

SportsNation doesn't quite think the Celtics will set a new record for futility.

Will the Celtics break the NBA all-time record of 24 consecutive losses?
57% No
43% Yes

From John Hollinger's Monday chat:

I can only imagine that Boston cant wait for spring training to start. What is the atmosphere like inside the arena? What are the fans saying?
Pete Skeletor
Philadelphia, PA

The Gah-den was surprising lively on Friday considering the situation, though the return of Pierce probably helped improved the mood. I thnk the C's streak will end against Milwaukee Wednesday, but if they don't, they might set the record because the next five after that are out west.
John Hollinger

From Monday's morning Buzz outtakes:

I wonder if the Celtics will give Doc Rivers a VP position like they gave ML Carr after he "lead" them to the best chance at Tim Duncan....
Boston, MA

Knicks are STILL better than the Celtics!
HOF City

Somewhere in the city of Boston, there is a one-month-old wondering if the Celtics will win a game in his lifetime.
Boston, MA

Speaking of actively trying to drown you: I give you the 2006-2007 Boston Celtics!
St. Pete