John Bazemore, AP
FILE - In this May 27, 2012, file photo, Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper (34) follows through with a solo home run in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta. Harper was named the National League Rookie of the Year Monday, Nov. 12. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

What cover jinx? That's what Sports Illustrated seems to be saying in its latest issue, which features Washington Nationals' outfielder Bryce Harper on the front.

After lauding Harper's otherwordly accomplishments as a rookie in 2012 (22 home runs, 98 runs, 57 base hits), SI's Tom Verducci dredges up the dreaded "sophomore jinx" of baseball, citing recent numbers to back up the curse.

You know, because any time greatness can be doubted, you have to do it.

Harper refuted the notion he's due for a dropoff, citing another sophomore season where he did just the opposite.

“I’m not going to put it in my head," Harper said. "Sophomore slump? I was a sophomore in college and raked. Why can’t you rake in the big leagues?”

Phil Jackson weighs in on Laker struggles

Former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who has 10 championship rings from his coaching, says the Lakers aren't using Dwight Howard enough these days.

"They just don't put the ball in the post. They'll use a screen-roll to get the guy in the post. But there's no consistent plan to do it. Yes, Kobe will go in there. But Dwight [Howard] just doesn't get any touches. They've basically eliminated his assets," Jackson said.

Addition by subtraction isn't a foreign concept in sports, but the Celtics' recent success sans Rajon Rondo has been a revelation.

Sidelined Rondo forced to reflect while team wins without him

Rondo himself has noticed, and rumors of how the team isn't missing his up-and-down attitude haven't fallen on deaf ears. The All-Star point guard admitted he's "not a great people person."

"I’m not trying to make friends on the court. … We can talk in the summer.”

With the NBA trade deadline looming and Rondo's name circulating, he may need to make new friends before all is said and done.

Matt Petersen is the sports Web editor for You can follow him on Twitter at @TheMattPetersen.