Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mock Draft Round 1

The NBA Draft is on Thursday night and everyone has their mock drafts so why not us. Here is what the teams should draft in the first round if they all kept their picks. However, we know that's not gonna happen.

1 Wizards: John Wall
He is a Rondo and Derrick Rose type of player. Shoots like Rose but has the body of Rondo. Obviously not as good of a defender as Rondo but a much more explosive athlete. Can he play with Gilbert? Who really knows but he is by far the best player in the draft so you can't pass him up.

2 Sixers: Evan Turner
He is a Brandon Roy type of player. Does he fit perfectly with this current Sixers team? No, but he's the best player available and you can't pass on that. Just ask the Wizards.

3 Nets: Derrick Favor
He is an Amare/Dwight type of player. He has the same type of athleticism as Amare when he was a rookie and the same type of jumper as Amare now. Favor and Lopez would create the most devastating front court in the NBA.

4 T-Wolves: Wes Johnson
He is a Danny Granger type. Better jumper than Danny but not as built. Should help that team become a better offensive team.

5 Kings: DeMarcus Cousins
He is Charles Barkley with height. On and off the floor he reminds me of the Chuckster. Things are looking up in Sac-town if they can get DeMarcus to focus on the court.

6 Golden State: Greg Monroe
Vlade Divac type of player. One of the best passing big man to come out of the draft since Pau Gasol. Monroe can get the ball to those shooters in Golden State and create even more open space for them.

7 Pistons: Cole Aldrich
Todd MacCulloch/Greg Ostertag comes to mind when I think of Cole Aldrich. That's not a bad thing both guys were very serviceable in their NBA careers. Cole would bring a skilled big man to the Pistons which they desperately need.

8 Clippers: Al-Farouq Aminu
He reminds me of Shawn Marion with a better jumper: I'm not a big Aminu fan because I see bust all over his face. He does remind me a little bit of Marcus Haslip and we all know how that turned out.

9 Utah: Ekpe Udoh
Travis Outlaw comes to mind minus the shooting. Big time rebounder and defender. I think his athleticism would be a welcomed addition to the Jazz

10 Pacers: Patrick Patterson
Chris Webber comes to mind minus the build. Despite what people may think Webber was a very smart and crafty player. I see the same type of game with Patterson. He's one of my favorite players in this draft and the Pacers would do well to draft him

11 New Orleans: Gordon Heyward
Believe it or not but he reminds me of Paul Pierce. He has deceptive athleticism and a good jumper. He's a big time sleeper and could be the best player from this draft

12 Memphis: Paul George
I see some Iggy in this guy. This pick might be unnecessary if Gay comes back but I don't see that happening.

13 Raptors: Hassan Whiteside
He is a Sam Dalembert type player with a slightly better jumper. He's a bit immature, but who isn't at the age of 20? He's huge and skinny, but has the frame to put on weight. Hassan can occupy the 5 and put Bargnani at the 4 to replace Bosh. If the Lakers taught us anything this season it is that you can't teach height.

14 Rockets: Solomon Alabi
This is a Mutombo type of player. He's a much better jump shooter than Mutombo, but doesn't have as good of defensive skill as Mutombo. The Rockets played well when Mutombo was their center when Yao got hurt. Why not have a younger version as their insurance policy?

15 Bucks: Xavier Henry
He's a Michael Redd/Ray Allen type. He can put it on the floor but his strength is being a knock down shooter. Henry and BJ would be a great back-court for the future.

16 T-Wolves: James Anderson
Glenn Rice/Isiah Rider come to mind. Solid shooter and knows how to use his body to get to the hoop. Not a willing defender and has a bit of a lazy side. This pick may not be necessary for the T-Wolves but I like the combo of Flynn and Anderson for the future.

17 Wizards: Damion James
Reminds me of Mbah a Moute. A better shooter than Mbah a Moute, but not as good of a defender. Great addition with John Wall.

18 Thunder: Daniel Orton
Reminds me of big Perk down in Boston. Very big body and very raw on the offensive side. Having Orton will give the Thunder a tough big, which they desperately need.

19 Celtics: Avery Bradly
Reminds me of Shannon Brown. He could be their Ben Gordon/Jamal Crawford off of the bench.

20 Spurs: Larry Sanders
Reminds me of Theo Ratliff. Very long arms and can fly down the court. He is very raw offensively like Theo Ratliff and will give the aging Spurs a young forward.

21 Thunder: Ed Davis
Al Horford type of player, but has that UNC aroma on him. UNC players haven't really produced lately so I am a little leery on Ed Davis. However, if he can put everything together this would be a big steal for the Thunder.

22 Trail Blazers: Kevin Seraphin
Portland loves French players so why not draft another good one? He's kinda like Jason Thompson but more athletic. He's a solid pick for Portland that learned the hard way last year that you can never have too many bigs.

23 T-Wolves: Craig Brackens
He reminds me of Kenyon Martin minus the explosiveness. I hope the T-Wolves don't keep all three picks because they need veterans more than rookies. I like Craig Brackens. He's a tremendous player, but I think his talent would be wasted in Minnesota.

24 Hawks: Luke Babbit
More athletic Austin Croshere. He can hit the three and get to the hole. He can't defend which is why I have him outside my top 20. Not a whole lot of potential but he's good enough to give a team 15- 20 good bench minutes each game.

25 Memphis: Eric Bledsoe
Mario Chalmers type of player. Conley has been a disappointment and Bledsoe maybe the upgrade they need.

26 Thunder: Jordan Crawford
Reminds me of Gilbert Arenas. He's a volume shorter with crazy athleticism. Yes he's famous for dunking on LeBron, but his leadership ability with Xavier is the reason why people should take notice of this kid. He'll be a solid player for this young Thunder team as they continue to stockpile young talent.

27 Nets: Dominque Jones
Martell Webster type of player, with a better jumper. He would greatly elevate the Nets bench. He was the most exciting scorer in college basketball last season and Jersey would be stepping in the right direction with him.

28 Memphis: Lance Stephenson
He's a Latrell Sprewell type of player. He's got some attitude issues but so did Brandon Jenning. He's a good scorer and has the most NBA ready body and game out of all the prospects. Not sure how he works in Memphis, but Memphis usually draft the best player available and Lance would be that guy.

29 Magic: Stanley Robinson
He's a lesser talented Vince Carter. Very athletic, but needs a more consistent jumper. Vince Carter is at the end of his career and Stanley Robinson would be a very welcomed addition.

30 Wizards: Quincy Pondexter:
A Mickael Pietrus type of player. He can play terrific man to man defense and can spot up an hit a J. Could be drafted higher but has a very inconsistent game. With John Wall his game should become more consistent.

Well this is how the first round should go, but we will see which GM will be trying to lose their job come Thursday night by reaching or adding players that just don't fit.

Sit back and enjoy draft night.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Don't Talk to me Unless You're a Sports Fan !

Excuse me but, this is personal. I know that sports is a common part of human nature. This is because we are all naturally competitive. However, that does not mean that we are all sports fans. Sports provide a social venue for all of us. Sports provide us with the great opportunity to relax, yell, and be a part of a group. According to a study by the University of Kansas students that regularly attend sporting events generally have better GPAs. However, those people that go with their face painted or the hot chicks that only know the players by number are not sports fans. According to me their either leaches or one dimensional fans. You see when I was a kid I was like any other naive boy who thought I could play in the NBA, NHL, MLB, or NFL. All I had to do was choose and I'll be their on draft night. However, as high school approached and my height stayed the same, I started to realize that the only way I would be in any of those professional leagues would be if every capable athlete in the world was killed or had career ending injuries and my services became required like being drafted into the army.

My lack of athletic build and skill never deterred me from watching or following sports. In fact it made me want to know more about them. I even broadened my scope as the years passed. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a city that had a professional team in all of the four major sports leagues (Philadelphia). I was instantly hooked on the four major sports by the age of 6. Over the next 16 years I became a follower of other sports such as NASCAR, Tennis,Golf, Women's basketball, MMA, and soccer.I mean there are a lot of other sports that I have looked into but they never really did anything for me like horse racing, rugby, or eating contest.

I guess at this point you're probably wondering what am I getting to. Am I here just to list all the sports I know...No. Am I here just to brag about myself? No. Then what is my point? Well it is simple. Look at the title of the post!

I am sick and tired of non-sports fans calling themselves sports fans. Just because you like your local sports teams does not make you a sports fan. It just makes you a homer. I mean I like Garth Brooks, but that does not make me a country music fan. It just means I like Garth Brooks...and Darius Rucker ( you know...Hootie from Hootie in the Blowfish). I am not trying to be an elitist I am just trying to clarify the difference between me and the guy in the sports bar that considers sports jerseys as business casual. Getting into sports conversations with these people are awful. It like getting into a political conversation with Glenn Beck.

Typically the conversation with me and the sports bar guy goes like this:

Bar Guy: Man, Kobe is just as good as Jordan. Don't you think so?
Me: No. Not even close. Kobe isn't even the best Laker of all-time so how can he be just as good as Jordan?
Bar Guy: What are you talking about? Everyone on ESPN says that Kobe is just like Jordan so it must be true.
Me: No. Not even. ESPN exaggerates all the time just to start debates. I bet you most of them would probably not rate Kobe better than Magic Johnson.
Bar Guy: What? Kobe is way better than Magic Johnson, he scores more points than Magic.
Me: And?
Bar Guy: So he's a better player.
Me: No.
Bar Guy: That's all Jordan did. All he ever did was score and dunk and people call him the greatest. Kobe does that too and he scored 81 points in a game! Jordan never did that!
Me: Okay.
Bar Guy: Okay what?
Me: Jordan did more than score. He played defense very well. He even won the Defensive Player of the Year Award. He was also the ultimate teammate. I mean he was a part of the winning-est team in NBA history and never lost in the NBA Finals. He also won the Finals MVP every time he was there. Not to mention he left for a year and a half to play baseball. Imagine if he didn't retire. He could have won two more titles and two more MVPs. Jordan also has the....
Bar Guy: Whatever. I don't think that is all correct. I never saw Jordan win the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Me: (sigh) I'm gonna go grab another drink. It was nice talking to you (not really)

I understand not everyone has the same passion for sports like myself and David. I mean we write a sports blog that nobody reads besides us. And we enjoy it. Sports Bar Guy wouldn't do this. He's too busy yelling, playing beer pong, eating nachos, and/or watching Sportscenter all at once. I watch Sportscenter, but I also read articles to mold my own opinion. Many people watch sports for the social experience. It's like social drinking. However, I can watch the Super Bowl by myself and be perfectly fine. I watch sports because I absolutely love it. My day begins with sports and it ends that way, seriously. When I wake up the first thing I do is turn to Mike and Mike in the morning on ESPN2. When I fall asleep the last thing that I see is Sportscenter. Sports Bar Guy doesn't do that. I recite sports sports players the way preachers quote bible verses. Sports Bar Guy can tell you his team's all-time great players and nothing else.

Some may say that I have an obsession with sports, however it's far from that. Sports is part of the fabric of society and I recognize that it is important. Sports Bar Guy understands the importance of his team and nothing else. Sports provide the ultimate equalizer in society. Racial issues disappear, poverty issues are non-existent, and classicism is banished. Sports is the ultimate proving ground where politics do not influence the outcome. I absolutely hate when people say that, "It's just a game." Ask New Orleans if the Saints are just a team? Or ask the Ivory Coast if Dider Drogba is just a soccer player? Teams and their athletes provide us an escape from the trials and tribulations of life. Though sports provides us with just as many heartaches as blissful moments it is still a break from that brute force called responsibility. Life is hard enough and Sports makes it much more bearable.

I am not calling out people, but I just want to set the record straight. A German Shepard is a dog, but it does not deserve to be lumped in with all the toy dogs, it has it's own category. Me and Sports Bar Guy both will watch a basketball game, but we are not in the same category.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

24 Does Not Equal 23

As Kobe Bryant reaches for his fifth title out of seven title series that he has played in many people feel compelled to put Kobe in the Jordan category. Many even try to seriously argue that Kobe is just as good if not better than Jordan. As a very knowledgeable basketball fan I must say nothing angers me more than this so called argument.

Yes, Kobe is the best player in the NBA. I will agree with that. Until he retires or his skills seriously diminish he will hold that title. However, this label is fairly recent. I would say Kobe has been the clear cut best player in the NBA since about the 05-06 season. Tim Duncan in my opinion has been the best post-Jordan era player, but Kobe could surpass him if he continues to play at this level. Kobe will go down as one of the top 25 greatest basketball player of all-time maybe even in the top 10, but never number 1. MJ is in the realm of untouchable greatness. The club of untouchable greatness is a very small club. Jordan, Babe, and Gretzkey are guys that you can't argue against. Kobe will never reach that club, but that is not to say that he is an underachiever. Kobe has done a lot for the league. I give Kobe a lot of credit for wanting to be great. I think his desire to be great is what separates him from LeBron James.

Kobe will do whatever it takes to win and has the killer instinct just like Jordan. However, Jordan is an icon and a titan of his sport. I know people like to point to stats and Kobe may break the all-time scoring record, but points per game, will go to Jordan. Plus Jordan won a defensive player of the year award as well as several MVPs in the regular season and in the finals. Also, it wasn't like he was playing with some slouch as his sidekick. Scottie Pippen is probably the best to ever play defense at the three position. He was good enough to win a finals MVP, but couldn't because he was Jordan's teammate. Kobe has won four titles but only one finals MVP. He's won only one regular season MVP and only two scoring titles. Jordan is better than Kobe in all of those categories.

Jordan played in an era of great players. Because of Jordan players like Barkley, Ewing, Miller, Malone and Stockton did not win rings. And if he never played baseball you could probably add Hakeem, and Clyde to that list. I mean if a person wants to look at stats, AI has more scoring titles and just as many regular season MVPs as Kobe. The only thing he doesn't have is a ring, which is I guess you can say is due to Kobe, but I'd say it's more because he played with George Lynch, and Eric Snow.

Kobe is a special player and even a great player. However, the label of the greatest is too far from his reach and he will never obtain it.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

PFC #11 Denver Broncos

QB: John Elway, Craig Morton, Jake Plummer
RB: Floyd Little, Terrell Davis, Sammy Winder
WR/TE: Rod Smith, Lionel Taylor, Shannon Sharpe
OL: Gary Zimmerman
DF: Tom Jackson, Karl Mecklenburg, Champ Bailey, Steve Atwater
ST: Jason Elam
CO: Mike Shanahan, Marty Schottenheimer
Extra: Ed McCaffrey, Clinton Portis, Riley Odoms, Willie Brown, Tom Nalen

Well, I had pretty high expectations for this Broncos team given that around the time I started watching football, this was one of the premier franchises in the NFL. Also John Elway is my favorite non-Eagles QB of all-time. However, it seems that this team was more a collection of good players that maximized their talents and not a group of great players. I mean Willie Brown, John Elway, and Gary Zimmerman are HOFers, but the rest of the group is lacking. Besides Elway, their QB core is a group of perennial backups that had a few good years with the Broncos. Terrell Davis’ career unfortunately was cut short and leaves us with a lot of questions. For two years he was the best back in the league and was on his way to being an all-time great. However, a devastating knee injury ended his rise to greatness and left him with a poor man’s version of Gale Sayer’s career. Floyd Little is a great back and is very underrated in the NFL history and Sammy Winder is even more underrated, but these guys fall short to the upper echelon of running backs in this tournament. The receivers are very good, but not great. I mean Shannon Sharpe is one of the best tight ends ever and Rod Smith is a fringe HOFer who has a chance of making it in, but Lionel Taylor is just a very good player. The Defense is pretty good, but the orange crush doesn’t seem like they will be good enough to stop these other all-time offenses. Steve Atwater is one of the best safeties I have ever watched and Champ Bailey is a pure shut down corner. I am not to wild about Tom Jackson and Karl Mecklenburg, but they are solid all-time defensive players. The O-line made Denver during the Shanahan years and Gary Zimmerman was the best. I mean the Denver O-line made guys like Olandis Gary and Mike Anderson look like great running backs. Denver also has a great kicker in Jason Elam, which should come in handy in these close games against the all-time great teams. The coaching in Denver also falls into the very good, but not great category. Mike Shanahan has two Super Bowl wins and did go to the AFC title game with Jake Plummer as his QB, but his career has suffered since losing Elway. Marty is also a good coach, but could never perform on the big stage and no stage is bigger than this tournament. It will be interesting to see how this team will matchup in the first round against their AFC foes the Cleveland Browns. Historically they have owned the Browns, but we’ll see if that matters in our tournament.