Guerry Clegg commentary: Time to check area sports portfolio

June 18, 2013 

Buy low, sell high, cut your losses. That seems to have worked pretty well for Warren Buffett. Time to take another close look at the area sport portfolio.

• The new Hawks regime: It's hard to buy Hawks stock. The Chicago Cubs will probably win a World Series before the Hawks win an NBA title. But I'm a sucker for a good bargain, and it's so darn cheap. The Hawks are probably not going to become bad overnight. General manager Danny Ferry had his chance last year to blow up the roster and start over. Instead, he simply dumped Joe Johnson's salary and made a commitment to remain competitive. Nobody who follows the NBA closely believes in the Hawks as a legitimate playoff team. And that's what makes their stock so cheap. Look at it this way. They have a competitive team without a great player. So imagine one great -- or even very good -- player with that solid supporting cast. Are you listening Dwight Howard? Chris Paul? Buy.

• Evan Gattis as a Brave in 2014: This is harder than you think. Gattis is a rising young talent. But is he an every day major-league catcher? Could the Braves really let Brian McCann leave via free agency? You know American League teams are going to be lined up in the off-season trying to get Gattis. As valuable as he is, the offers may be too tempting to pass up. But here's hoping they will. Buy.

• Matt Ryan being widely recognized as a top three NFL quarterback. This is tricky because it's all in how you define top three. There never will be a consensus. In my opinion, he already is a top-three quarterback. In fact, Aaron Rodgers is the only one I'd rate ahead of him. No, I'm not forgetting about Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco or any of the rising stars. But anytime you hear national media talking about the elite quarterbacks, Ryan is an afterthought at best. Tony Romo gets more discussion. The week of the championship games, Ryan was easily regarded as the fourth-best quarterback still playing. But he was supported by the fourth-best defense and an ineffective running game. Ryan is like Carmelo Anthony. He doesn't play defense. If Ryan played for one of the New York teams or the Cowboys, they would already be working on his Hall of Fame bust. So unless the Falcons win it all, that probably won't change. Sell.

• Paul Maholm finishing the season with the Braves: Despite his recent setback,Brandon Beachy will be back soon. The Braves have well over a month to deal a pitcher. Maholm would be the odd man out even if he was not going to be a free agent next year. The fact that he is and the fact that the Braves are highly unlikely to re-sign him would make him the guy to move. Look for the Braves to get a minor-league prospect and a big league bullpen arm in return. Maybe this is wishful thinking, but it would be better for the Braves to use Maholm as a leverage to dump Dan Uggla. May

be some team in a pennant race that needs a starting pitcher will be desperate enough to do that. That is, after all, how Boston unloaded Josh Beckett last year. Sell.

• A Georgia-Alabama rematch for the SEC championship game: Do I believe both teams are the best in their respective divisions? Yes. But that's not really the question. A Georgia-Bama matchup is one of several strong possibilities because so many things have to go right to win a division. That may be obvious in George's case with Florida and South Carolina in the Eastern Division. But it's even true for Alabama. The Crimson Tide has made winning divisions look so much easier than it actually is. Remember, if Texas A&M had not stumbled early against Florida and LSU, the Aggies would have played Georgia. Look at it like Bama-Georgia versus the field. I'll take the field. Sell.

• Johnny Manziel as the first-team All-SEC quarterback: He was a great story last year and deserved the Heisman Trophy. But even then, Manziel was not necessarily the best quarterback in the SEC. Georgia's Aaron Murray and Alabama's AJ McCarron are both better quarterbacks. Defensive coordinators have had all off-season to devise ways to stop Manziel. Sell.

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