Friday, May 28, 2010

PFC#1 Dallas Cowboys

QB: Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach, Don Meredith
RB: Tony Dorsett, Emmitt Smith, Don Perkins
WR: Michael Irvin, Bob Hayes, Jason Witten
OL: Rayfield Wright
DF: Darren Woodson, Mel Renfro, Chuck Howley, Bob Lilly
ST: Deion Sanders
CO: Tom Landry, Jim Johnson
Extra: Daryl Johnston, Randy White, Lee Roy Jordan, Cliff Harris, Tex Schramm, Harvey Martin, Nate Newton, Flozell Adams
They are ranked number one for a reason. America’s team has an abundance of talent from the top down. It is amazing that this franchise almost spent the last twenty years without winning a playoff game. This team is deep at every position. Dorsett and Emmitt Smith create possibly the best backfield that any of the other teams will have. Also, Dallas has a stable of Hall of Fame QBs with Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach. In addition, they also have Don Meredith who isn’t a bad player either. Irvin and Bob Hayes create the perfect combination of speed and power at the WR position. They didn’t call Bob Hayes , “Bullet” for no reason. The speed of Bob Hayes running those 9 routes and with the unstoppable force of Irving going across the middle, there is no amount of down in distance that this team can’t easily cover. Also they have Jason Witten as a tremendous red zone option. On defense…forget about it. The Cowboys have four defensive players that have won Super Bowl MVPs, even though two of them shared the award. The Cowboys are stacked everywhere defensively and have a tremendous special teams player in Deion Sanders. This team’s biggest edge is probably at coaching. Tom Landry is basically the symbol of coaching with no disrespect to Vince Lombardi. The hat, suit, and stoic look of Tom Landry is unforgettable and is synonymous with greatness. Jimmy Johnson was also able to etch his own image in Cowboys history. He engineered an unstoppable offense and a defense that was as impenetrable as his hair. The Cowboys are the favorite since they are the number one overall seed, but that doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to win this tournament. They should be able to dismantle the Eagles in the first round, but after that it will be a tough road for them to travel through.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

PFC #16 Philadelphia Eagles

QB: Donovan McNabb, Ron Jaworski, Randall Cunningham
RB: Steve Van Buren, Willbert Montgomery, Brian Westbrook
WR/TE: Tommy McDonald, Harold Carmichael, Pete Retzlaff
OL: Bob Boomer Brown
DF: Reggie White, Brian Dawkins, Chuck Bednarik, Eric Allen
SP: David Akers
CO: Earle Neale, Andy Reid
Extra: Bert Bell (owner), Troy Vincent , Mike Quick, Irving Fryar, Norm Van Brocklin, Sonny Jurgenson

I am a life-time Philadelphia Eagles fan, but I’m not going to lie to the world. This team isn’t going anywhere. A lot of it is due to the fact that the Eagles have either had a lot of moving parts or solid to good players. Donovan McNabb and Chuck Bednarik are by far the two best players the Eagles can offer, but besides that there really is not a lot to show, especially against the other 15 teams. The Eagles’ best position is at QB. Donovan is a possible HOF QB. Jaws use to hold the record for most consecutive games played and led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl appearance. Norm Van Brocklin is a HOFer and so is Sonny Jurgenson, but their better known for playing with other teams. However, Norm Van Brocklin did win a MVP and a championship with the Eagles in 1960. Randall Cunningham is by far the most exciting QB ever in NFL history and opened the door a little wider for African-American QBs. The other positions are not as deep as the QB position. On defense they do have Reggie White, Chuck Bednarik, and Brian Dawkins, but once you get pass those players the talent level drops tremendously. Troy Vincent and Eric Allen are very good players but in the realm of greatness they fall short. You know a team is in trouble when you have to add an owner to the all time great list. Unfortunately for this all-time Eagles team they go up against their rival the Dallas Cowboys in the first round, which should spell the end for this team. But who knows.

PFC #10: Indianapolis Colts

QB: Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas, Bert Jones
RB: Marshall Faulk, Edgerrin James, Lenny Moore
WR: Marvin Harrison, Raymond Berry, John Mackey
OL: Jim Parker
DF: Gino Marchetti, Dwight Freeney, Bob Sanders, Art Donovan
ST: Mike Vanderjagt
CO: Weeb Ewbank, Tony Dungy
Extra: Earl Morrall (QB), Alan Ameche (RB), Reggie Wayne (WR), Don Shula (CO),

Let's see...
By far the best QBs of any team yet presented. Best coaches (heck-- the all-time wins leader is ON THE BENCH, for goodness sakes!), best overall receivers, and their running backs are so stacked, I had to put a Hall of Famer in the "Extra" section. Lenny Moore would also be a fine returner, by the way. One of the best in this tournament, actually, and he's already on the roster, which is why I didn't include him a second time. As for the defense, I know it's a little early on Bob Sanders, but the guy is lights-out. Also, Marchetti is one of the 10-12 DEs who got absolutely SCREWED by the fact that sacks were not counted until the 80s. One of the best passrushers of all-time-- and Dwight Freeney is another, so that will go nicely together. The hardest choice was a fourth defender. To be honest, Colts defenders are a pretty lackluster group (especially at linebacker), but since we're not emphasizing defense too much, that'll work in their favor. By the way, I knew Jim Parker was a great offensive lineman, but what I learned is that he was the first full-time O-lineman in the Hall of Fame. Interesting, no? Anyway, I really, really like this team, and expect them to do very well. They're first-round matchup with the Niners should be fascinating, since this team is probably the most similar team to San Francisco of any team in the tournament.

PFC# 8 Oakland Raiders

QB: Ken Stabler, Rich Gannon, Jim Plunkett
RB: Marcus Allen, Clem Daniels, Bo Jackson
WR/TE: Tim Brown, Fred Biletnikoff, Dave Casper
OL: Gene Upshaw
DF: Howie Long, Willie Brown, Ted Hendricks, Jack Tatum
SP: Ray Guy
CO: John Madden, Al Davis
Extra: Lester Hayes, Mike Haynes, George Blanda, Art Shell, Jim Otto, Sebastian Janikowski
The Raiders might have the most complete all-time team in this tournament. The QB position is a little lacking, but they are set at their skilled positions. Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson would be a deadly back field, creating the perfect combination of speed and power for any team. They would also have wide open lanes to run through too. I mean Gene Upshaw, Art Shell, and Jim Otto would clear lanes wide enough for me to run for a 100 yards in a game. Furthermore, if the run game was not working they can toss it to their hall of fame receivers and tight end. Despite the somewhat lack of talent at the QB position offensively this team would be difficult to stop and they can stop everyone with their defense. The Raiders have an amazing history of secondary players. I think any all-time team would have to run well to beat these Raiders because any ball in the air is probably landing in the hands of a Raiders secondary player. The training staff would be extra active for the opposing team facing these Raiders. I mean just having to face Jack Tatum alone spells trouble, but also having to go against Howie Long and Ted Hendricks is a lot to ask out of anybody. And don’t forget about Ray Guy. The Raiders would win the field position game against almost any all-time team and with great kickers like George Blanda and Sebastian Janikowski, the Raiders are pretty much guaranteed to score on every possession. This Raiders team might have the best combination of coaches as well. They have the voice of football in John Madden and “Just win baby” Al Davis. It will be interesting to see how far this team will go in this tournament. They are seeded number eight in our tournament but that should not scare the Raiders. I mean they were the first franchise to win a Super Bowl as a wild-card team. So winning this tournament should be a piece of cake. First up for the Raiders are the New York Giants.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

PFC#6: Cleveland Browns

QBs: Otto Graham, Bernie Kosar, Frank Ryan
RBs: Jim Brown, Leroy Kelly, Marion Motley
WR/TE: Ozzie Newsom, Paul Warfield, Dante Lavelli
OL: Gene Hickerson
DF: Len Ford, Warren Lahr, Jim Clay Matthews, Jerry Sherk
ST: Lou Groza
CO: Paul Brown, Blanton Collier
Extra: Bobby Mitchell, Bill Willis, Mike McCormick, Joe DeLamielleure,

I choose to do the Cleveland Browns due to their historical importance. The Browns are one of the oldest franchises in NFL history and have done a lot for the history of African Americans in pro football. Marion Motley and Bill Willis were the first African-Americans to play pro football in the modern era. In addition, the Browns drafted Jim Brown who was an important black activist during the civil rights era and is arguably the best running back in NFL history. Furthermore, the Browns also drafted Ernie Davis who was the first African-American to win the Heisman trophy. The Browns have not had great times in recent years, but the base of this franchise’s history will give them a chance to go far in this tournament. They have two positions (kicker and running back) in which they can claim they have the all-time best. In addition, Otto Graham is a top ten QB and Bobby Mitchell was an electrifying player way before his time. I like this Cleveland team, but it will be difficult to compare them to other teams since a lot of their great players are pre-merger players. However, Cleveland has 16 HOFs which is fifth most out of all NFL teams. The Browns are an important part of NFL history and they should get the respect that they deserve. First up for them is the Denver Broncos.

PFC #15: San Diego Chargers

In our Pro-Football Challenge, I'm going to lead off with my lowest-seeded team, and perhaps the most surprising inclusion of the top 16: the San Diego Chargers. Well, here are the players.

QB: Dan Fouts, Philip Rivers, John Hadl
RB: LaDanian Tomlinson, Natrone Means, Chuck Muncie
WR: Lance Alworth, Kellen Winslow, Charlie Joiner
OL: Ron Mix
DF: Junior Seau, Leslie O'Neal, Rodney Harrison, Fred Dean
ST: Darren Bennett
CO: Don Coryell, Sid Gillman
Extra: Antonio Gates (TE), Darren Sproles (KR)

This is a really trick franchise to pin down. They have some really stong points, like QB and especially special teams (I didn't mention Andre Coleman above, but you may remember this play, formerly the longest play in Super Bowl history; also, his 1995 season was pretty great all-around). The defense isn't strong past these four, but what a strong four! Fred Dean may be the most underrated defensive player in the history of pro football. Look him up.
The rub with the Chargers, though, is that the other positions are just awful. True, Lance Alworth and Kellen Winslow are all-time greats, but there's really not much after that. I like Charlie Joiner, but his numbers, even for his era, aren't great-- they're very, very good, but not great. The gaps that hurt the most, though are at running back and o-line. I find it pretty hard to believe that they'll go very far in this tournament with the three slightly-above-average backs on this roster. I shouldn't be so harsh: Tomlinson is an all-time great. But seriously: no one better? I thought about Terrell Fletcher, but if you're even CONSIDERING Terrell Fletcher, what does that say about the team you're working with? Well, we'll see how they do. First up for them is the Dolphins.

Pro Football Challenge

Here's a little dose of football for you in the offseason, so my baseball posts don't keep boring you.

Jordan and I were discussing the other day about which NFL franchise was the greatest. We decided that perhaps the best way to determine this would be choose an all-time team for each franchise, and have them "play" in a tournament. We decided on 16 teams, because not all 32 (nor the many that have folded) actually merit inclusion in this discussion. Here are the teams we are using:
Cowboys - .580
Dolphins - .579
Bears - .577
Packers - .558
Vikings - .555
Browns - .553
49ers - .551
Raiders - .550
Giants - .547
Colts - .531
Broncos - .528
Patriots - .518
Steelers - .517
Redskins - .517
Chargers - .503
Eagles - .483

They are seeded by all-time winning percentage. The Steelers won the honor of playing lower-seeded Green Bay while Washington will play Chicago because the Pittsburgh has won more Super Bowls. It was an arbitrary tiebreaker, but I knew the answer offhand and didn't need to look it up, so that's why it was chosen. Anyway, each "team" will consist of the following:
3 QBs
3 RBs
1 OL
4 Defensive players
1 Special teamer (meaning kicker, punter, or returner)
2 Coaches
Any additional players or coaches the picker sees fit. For example, if, as a picker, one of us we saw that there were two, three, or even four offensive linemen who merited inclusion, we would certainly be entitled to mentioning those players here. The above numbers are simply minimums (or minima, if you're into Latin plurals).

Beyond that, things should be pretty self-explanatory. We split up the teams, so we'll each take eight. We're hoping to post at least one per week, but that is going to be a little tricky for me in the coming weeks, since I'm getting married two weeks from today. If nothing else, I'll catch up when I get back. Regardless, it'll start with a quick team-profile, and once all 16 teams are selected, we'll start the "tournament." Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rethinking OPS

So, I've been thinking about baseball stats lately. Of course, I spend a lot of my time thinking about baseball stats. Particularly, what I was thinking about, though, is Bill James's reason for creating Win Shares-- he wanted a simple number (integer, actually, but I'm not that picky, since even a percentage could be converted to a larger number and rounded, if one were so inclined) to define players. That's what I'm after, too. Specifically, what I've looked into was OBP, SLG, and OPS.

For a long time, I've felt that those three statistics were really key in determining the value of a player. Now, that's probably the most obvious thing ever, but we have to start somewhere. Anyway, here's what I've thought about those stats:

OBP: Perfect. Well, as close to perfection in the history of baseball prior to sabermetrics, anyway. This is a fantastic way of valuing offensive contribution for two reasons: one, we know that on-base percentage is more closely tied to run-scoring than slugging percentage. Second of all, most "sluggers" have high OBPs anyway. And third, it actually measures contribution on a per-plate-appearance basis, which is extremely valuable in assessing a batter before he comes to the plate.

SLG: Positive and negative. In my humble opinion, not as strong as OBP for a couple of reasons. First of all, it's much more affected by ballpark than OBP (although both are certainly affected, it's undeniable that SLG is affected more). That's an issue I'm not really ready to touch. But, there are other problems. First of all, it's inadequate to value a batter before he comes to bat, because SLG does not factor in alternative ways of getting on base to hitting the ball. Third, while it certainly does an excellent job of covering most offensive situations, it does not cover the stolen base, which is an incredibly important thing, particularly to a few players (Rickey Henderson, Lou Brock, Tim Raines, Maury Wills, Ty Cobb, Vince Coleman, etc.) who are incorrectly undervalued without it.

OPS: You know what's funny about OPS? For a long time, it's been the Holy Grail of stats. Sure, it's simple and crude, but it's easy and it gets the job done. Well, the point here is accuracy, not just adequacy. In my opinion, the first major flaw of OPS, which is really obvious to me, anyway, is also the biggest. If you imagine OBP and SLG as fractions, rather than as decimals, it's pretty obvious that the denominators (that's the bottom number, in case you've forgotten) are different. While OBP is over PA, SLG is over AB. That's an issue for me. So, I tried to correct this problem. Here was my process:

I first went about with the theory that SLG was the right idea, but that it merely needed to be tweaked. Therefore, I decided the best thing to do would be to tweak it. So, I decided to incorporate on-base (and steals, actually) in the best way I knew how. I "fixed" the denominator to be "total offensive chances (TOC);" that is PA+SBA. Pretty easy, huh? So, then I had to fix the numerator. I called this "distance travelled," because it measures the distance on offensive player moved himself with his bat, his eye, or his legs (or any part of his body that were to be hit by a pitch). Anyway, that looks like this: TB+BB+HBP+SB. I was later informed that I should have been accounting for GDP (just to name-drop, the person who suggested I should do this was none other than Sean Forman of I sent this to him the day I figured it out, and he looked at it because he's a wonderful human being. Anyway, it was also his idea to include CS. He mentioned Ks as well, but I've decided that doesn't really jive with what I'm going for, so I decided to ignore that suggestion while I accepted his others), which I should have. Initially, I subtracted this from the numerator, but decided it was actually better described as a wasted offensive chance than as the removal of a Total Base, so I added that to the denominator instead. The only downside to this approach is on the micro-level (because in the course of a season, it all works out): that is, if a player did nothing but ground into double plays, he would have a value of "0," when anyone can see that his value is, in fact, negative. I would, though, like to point out that this problem is also present in OBP, SLG, and OPS, and my goal wasn't to create a perfect stat (not yet, at least)-- merely a better one. Anyway, when you divide the whole thing out, I call it "average distance travelled (ADT)," and it looks like this:


The vast majority of the time, this number will be pretty dern similar to SLG. Personally, I like doing all this extra work, though. Other than the extra work, the only real downside is trying to factor in CS, since those data are not always available. Anyway, I thought this would be a passable substitute for OPS, since it factored both statistics into the equation. I did this two summers ago, and have only looked at it a couple of times since then.

Yesterday, though, I had a breakthrough. I realized that what I had really done was fix slugging percentage, which I knew from the beginning. What I didn't really realize until yesterday was that this statistic, in and of itself, was not, in fact, enough to compensate for OPS. I thought that modifying SLG to incorporate OBP would be to fix the problem of why SLG wasn't sufficient by itself. What I now think I did (by accident, I'll admit) is to fix a standard error in OPS-- or at least I removed a small chunk out of that error. For those who don't know, OPS actually slightly overvalues SLG. What we know from research is that OBP is actually slightly more valuable than SLG. That is, it's more important to get on base often than it is to go far on the basepaths. Since I've "corrected" SLG, what I actually needed to do was to still add in OBP. The only issue with OBP, as it would normally be used, is that to simply add it to ADT would be creating the same fundamental problem of OPS I railed against earlier-- the different denominator. So, I merely fixed that issue, again by incorporating steals, since they represent additional offensive chances-- in other words, chances to make outs or bases. There's the much higher success rate of stolen base attempts to be contended with here, but, for the vast majority of players, that won't really fudge their numbers too deceptively. Anyway, the new on-base (nOBP) formula looks like this:


Obviously, combining the two makes a newer formula for OPS. I call it "expected offensive contribution (EOC)," and it looks like this:


or, more simply:


It kind of looks complicated compared to OBP SLG, or OPS, but I really think it's a simpler and much more elegant estimate of how much a player has contributed. Here are some examples of some well-known seasons, and what they look like with the traditional measures (OBP/SLG/OPS), and my modified measures (nOBP/ADT/EOC). First, some that change very little:

Babe Ruth, 1920: .532/.847/1.379; .526/.862/1.388

Robin Yount, 1982: .379/.578/.957; .377/.589/.966

Hank Aaron, 1959: .401/.636/1.037; .397/.643/1.040

Interestingly, if Ruth had grounded into as few as 5 double plays (those data are not available), he would actually be worse by EOC than by OPS. Anyway, here are some of the players with a more “normal” difference:

George Brett, 1980: .454/.664/1.118; .455/.680/1.135

Albert Pujols, 2003: .439/.667/1.106; .435/.693/1.128

Sammy Sosa, 2001: .437/.737/1.174; .433/.761/1.193

This seems to be (for high-caliber players who are more traditional power/average hitters) about the normal rate of change—somewhere in the .015-.020 range. Here are some guys with big changes:

Ted Williams, 1941: .553/.735/1.287; .542/.783/1.325

Lou Gehrig, 1936: .478/.696/1.174; .475/.748/1.223

Mickey Mantle, 1957: .512/.665/1.177; .518/.737/1.255

As you may notice, the huge difference here is that these guys walked a lot, and that added plate discipline makes them much, much more valuable. Anyway, the common thread you’ll notice in this last group is that these are guys with uncommon plate discipline and base-stealing numbers. That shouldn’t be a surprise, since SBs are weighted so heavily by this system. Anyway, some .100+ point guys:

Craig Biggio, 1997: .415/.501/.916; .444/.593/1.037

Rickey Henderson, 1982: .398/.382/.780; .469/.544/1.013

Ty Cobb, 1915: .486/.487/.973; .620/.714/1.334

There were a lot of other guys I could have picked here (Maury Wills in 1962 had a difference of .164; Vince Coleman in 1987 was a difference of .192; heck—Ron Hunt, virtually on the strength of HBP alone moved up .097 in 1971), but I thought this was an interesting sample. Biggio’s is truly fascinating, as it’s powered by the big, fat goose-egg in GDP, a ridiculous 34 HBP, 47/57 in SB, and enough patience to draw 84 walks. An all-time underrated season. But enough about that—as you see, Cobb’s difference is over .350 points! It’s really interesting, actually, that by traditional OPS, Cobb’s best season is 1911 at 1.088, followed closely by 1925 at 1.066. That may sound suspicious to many of you baseball fans out there, since 1925 was well after Cobb’s prime. However, he did have limited PAs that season (490). Anyway, people who are familiar with Cobb’s career may know that he had an excellent 1915 season—although his OPS that season was only .944—which is one point below his career average. However, throw in 96 steals (caught 38 times), 118 walks, and 10 HBP, and suddenly we have an interesting discussion. Here are Cobb’s numbers from those two seasons:

1925: .468/.598/1.066; .469/.646/1.115

This is a sizeable difference, as measured by EOC. However, the next one is unbelievable:

1915: .486/.487/.973; .620/.714/1.334

I think it’s safe to say that Cobb was a better player in 1915 than in 1925, and this number supports that.

Another interesting case is Hank Aaron’s. Here are what I think are his two best seasons—1959 and 1963 (even though they’re printed above, I’ll repeat them side-by-side):

1959: .401/.636/1.037; .397/.643/1.040

1963: .391/.586/.977; .407/.629/1.037

Wow. What a difference, huh? Obviously, the stolen bases are huge (31 compared to 8), but so too are HBP (4 to 0), and his improvement in GDP (from 19 down to 11). Likely, though, it’s the walks that make the biggest difference. With only 51 walks in 1959, Aaron wasn’t setting the world on fire. However, his 78 in 1963 make a huge difference. Anyway, the 60 points of OPS are reduced to a statistically insignificant level, more accurately depicting these two seasons.

Finally, because I found this amusing, I think I’ll share it with you. In conducting this research today, I sample 41 seasons, and no two had a smaller difference (.002) than two A’s players of the 1980s—Rickey Henderson in 1982, and Mark McGwire in 1987. Sorry to re-hash Henderson, but I want you to see the comparison:

Henderson, 1982: .398/.382/.780; .469/.544/1.013

McGwire, 1987: .370/.618/.987; .367/.649/1.015

I found this hilarious. Can you imagine a funnier pair than the top SB season of the decade (and the century, for that matter) to be paired with the top HR season of the decade? You have to love baseball.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Good To Be Young

Hello sports fans!

The NBA playoffs is up and running (along with the NHL playoffs) and these are exciting times. The NBA might be in the best shape it has ever been in since the 1980s. The NBA has a great combination of declining, well established, and rising stars that makes this league possibly the most exciting professional league in all of sports. Today I'd like to comment on the young rising stars in the league that well continue to propel the NBA to the status of being the worlds most popular sports league. Below is a list of the best players that have been in the league from the start of the 05-06 season to the present. I've created a first to third team of young stars in the NBA. Now I know you might disagree with me, but I only speak the truth.

1st Team

PG: Chris Paul: CP3 is the best PG in the game period! I know everyone gets caught up with players when they have a great post-season and Deron Williams is having one, but let's not forget the impact of CP3. CP3 has more career ppgs, spgs, apgs, a better shooting percentage, and more rpgs. I know CP3 does have injury issues, but when he is healthy there is no point guard in the game that can keep up with him

SG: Brandon Roy: I am sure that the Minnesota fans wish that they would have kept Brandon Roy instead of trading him for Randy Foye, but nobody's perfect right? In four seasons Brandon Roy was able to turn the Portland Trailblazers from a toxic wasteland back into Rip City. Brandon Roy is basically the new Tim Duncan of the NBA. A four year college star, an instant impact player, and light skin and quite.

SF: Kevin Durant: While watching Kevin Durant in his one year at Texas I knew that he was going to be a star in the NBA. He's George Gervin part 2. I hope that he continues to develop and stay healthy and become the superstar that we already claim him to be. It's still to early to tell if he will be a superstar player. he could be Kobe or he could be T-Mac.

PF: Al Horford: This is probably the toughest position to chose. I choose Horford over Aldridge basically due to his defense. Aldridge is a better offensive player than Horford, but only by a little bit. However, Horford is a better defensive player than Aldridge and that's by a wide margin. So advantage Horford.

C: Andrew Bogut: Bogut gets this spot mainly because Dwight Howard doesn't qualify for his group (Howard was drafted a year before). Andrew had his best season this year and has gotten better each season he has been in the NBA. Bogut is by far the second best center in the East and is probably in the top 5 centers in the NBA today (which really isn't a big deal though).

2nd Team

PG: Deron Williams: Deron Williams may never be John Stockton, but he will go down as one of the best point guards to ever wear a Jazz jersey. Deron Williams is one of the strongest guards in the league and has a crazy combination of court vision and scoring ability. With Deron Williams in a Jazz jersey I find it hard to believe that Jerry Sloan will be leaving the bench anytime soon.

SG: Derrick Rose: So I know he's not a shooting guard, but I figure it makes more sense to have a guy like Derrick Rose on this list instead of Nick Young or Rodney Stucky. Derrick Rose is one of the most athletic guards in the NBA and if he continues to improve his defensive efforts he could someday overthrow CP3 for the thrown of best point guard in the league.

SF: Danny Granger: Has the skills to be the best small forward in the game. He can score, defend, and has natural leadership ability. He does need players around him to make him better and he needs to improve his offensive game a little more. However, Danny Granger is the type of player that you can build around and create a winning team.

PF: LaMarcus Aldridge: I could have put Jokim Noah here, but I think Aldridge has been more consistent in his career than Noah. If Aldridge could just have Oden healthy he could be his Duncan to his Robinson. Aldridge has the offensive game down, but it is imperative for him to learn to play defensive if he ever wants to evolve into a NBA superstar.

C: Andrew Bynum: This is more so based on speculation. Bynum has the body and skills to rival Dwight Howard for the number one spot at the Center position. However, he has a terrible work ethic and he seems too immature to be able to ever put it all together. I hope he can someday put it together because the NBA needs quality centers just as much as the NFL needs quality QBS. Bynum is close, but will he ever reach his potential? Only time will tell.

3rd Team

PG: Rajon Rondo: You could argue that he should be rated ahead of Rose, but any PG that shoots free throws worst than me can't be on the 2nd or 1st team. Rondo has the defense, court vision, and offensive game to become a hall of fame point guard. If he continues to work he will become that player, but he has to improve his free throw shooting and have a more consistent mid-range game.

SG: Russell Westbrook: Again I know he's not a shooting guard, but he's a much better player than the other shooting guards out there. He's been in the league for only two years, but he is a tremendous player. Playing along side Kevin Durant probably helps, but Westbrook's performance in his first post-season series and his performance this season shows that he's got the goods to be a great player in the league.

SF: Rudy Gay: Rudy Gay is a rare case of a UConn player actually living up to their ability. His performance in last summer's Team USA tryouts showed glimpses of greatness. He then went on to have his best season in his career and lead Memphis to 40 wins, which is pretty darn impressive. Rudy Gay may not turnout to be anything close to a hall of fame player, but he does have that potential to be an influential player in the NBA.

PF: David Lee: Whoever thought that a good player in New York would be under the radar? David Lee is one of the most complete forwards in the league. He's a threat for 20 and 20 every time he steps on the court. He's an athletic freak of nature and if a team can't sign Chris Bosh this year I wouldn't be upset if David Lee was my constellation prize. I thought about putting Noah here but David Lee is a much more complete player than Noah

C: Brook Lopez: You could argue that he's better than Bynum, but Brook Lopez did just play for a 12-70 team. Though it wasn't his fault, he surely didn't help that much. Brook Lopez has a great array of low post moves that remind you of the great centers that played in the NBA and his defense is solid. He still has a lot of room to improve and has the time to do so.

Well that's the future of the NBA and I didn't even mention players like Jennings, Curry, Evans, Luc Richard, Omari Casspi and many more. We are in great hands and I can't wait to see how these players and future players develop in the NBA.