Apr 30, 2008

The Browns Get a Lion

Congratulations to Columbia Lions quarterback Craig Hormann, who was signed to a contract by the Cleveland Browns following the NFL draft this past weekend. He's off now to the Browns' rookie mini-camp from Thursday to Sunday, along with all other drafted and undrafted rookies. Best of luck to you Quarterback Hormann, and congratulations again.

Beginning of The End

Apologies for that last, now deleted post. I was a little overexcited right after the big win in Game 4, but I've collected myself, and have some more coherent thoughts on this series.

Look, I am really glad that we were able to steal a couple of games here in the A, but I think our little run is over. In these 7 game series, the better team tends to win pretty consistantly, and there is no doubt, the Celtics were the best team all year. I'm just glad we didn't get swept, and even showed some real heart, what with Zaza going toe-to-toe and head-to-head with KG.

Josh and Joe played out of their minds at home, but I think they're going to go back into their shell facing the domineering Boston crowd. We may be athletic and whatnot, but you can't beat experience, and we don't have it. Thanks for the two wins and the little hope the Celtics allowed this city and this fan, but all good things must come to an end. We had a good run.

Oh, and if you know me at all, you know what this is...

Another elaborate anti-jinx. Go Hawks!!! (just not too loud)

Apr 28, 2008

Let's Get Two!!!

Here we go Birds!!! What a weekend. I lose one team, and the other makes me prouder than I could ever say. Let's get two!!!

Apr 26, 2008

Christmas In April

Wow, the NFL draft. And my allegiance as a Falcons fan on the line. I know, I'm against sports turncoats as much as the next man, but I feel like I have been wronged repeatedly by the Atlanta Falcons, and if they continue the trend, I will walk away today.

2:58: Oh my God, oh my God, what is Keyshawn wearing, oh my God.

3:00: And, we're off. Apparently with a 'new streamlined presentation of the Draft. We'll see.

3:03: Some are telling me that Jake Long was selected by the Dolphins earlier this week. Tuesday, in fact. Why did no one tell me this; you would think it was covered SOMEWHERE before now...

3:12: YES!!! Great move by the Rams. Taking a good college player who will be a mediocre NFL player. Mostly, they didn't take Dorsey!!! Look, Long was very good in the highlights shown against UNC and Maryland, but how many of those kids he played are ever going to play on Sundays? Unless the AFL plays on Sundays. I don't know, I haven't done the appropriate legwork.

3:15: Great Falcons this past year recap package. Ugh.

3:19: And, I'm out. Look, Glenn Dorsey comes in and makes your team better right now, and wins you games. Matt Ryan is more than 2 years away from playing, let alone from being an impact player. Mel Kiper JUST SAID he has poor arm strength, and played from behind alot. You get behind because your quarterback didn't lead the team early. Steve Young just said he doesn't know much about he game. What is the difference between him now, or Brian Brohm later? I hate this.

Titans fans, make room for one more.

3:23: So, first time two ACC players taken in the first three. And we all know what a football powerhouse the ACC is. Yikes.

3:29: Glad to see the rumor mill didn't keep Darren McFadden on the board a long time. I'm too shocked to tell jokes right now. I wonder how long the drive is to Nashville for home games.

3:36: Okay, I'm feeling a little better. Great (easy) decision by the Chiefs, getting a legitimate playmaker. Best player in the draft. Funny Daniel will be back after I figure out the drive to Nashville.

3:40: Approximately 4 hours.

3:45: Gholston continues the tradition of NYJ futility. You can't coach playing hard, and he doesn't do that. Plus, he was 'quicker' than the rest of the mediocre Big 10, but didn't look so fast against LSU. Hmmmmmm...

3:52: "Last year's No. 7 was Adrian Peterson, who cost the Vikings $17 million in guaranteed money. This year it will likely be $18 mil. Since the Pats wouldn't pay Asante Samuel $20 mil, it doesn't seem very Piolichickian that they'd pay that much to an unknown commodity. " -- barstoolsports.com, 4/22/08

3:54: And the Aint's take a good DT at 7. And Jacksonville moves up to take...who exactly?

4:03: Anyone who takes a Florida guy off of that team is alright with me. Jacksonville, atta boys!

4:09: I joke alot about USC, and how they play an inferior style of football, but they have been pumping out good defensive players recently like whoa. Like the pick for the Bungals...I wonder what they are going to get out of Chad Johnson this year. And by out of, I mean what can they get for him in the open market.

4:14: I trust the hell out of Belichick, but wow. I would have thought he would shore up the secondary... but I trust him.

4:17: Damn, this draft is MOVING. This time last year we were on pick 7, and we just made the 11th pick. Atta boy Goodall.

4:20: And with the 12th pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Broncos take Kenny Bailey, to play alongside his cousins Boss and Champ. He may have lost the naming lottery, but at least the Broncos got 'em all!

4:26: God hates the Matt Ryan pick too, as an 80 degree day just transformed into liquid Armageddon with a single thunderclap.

4:28: Panthers are jumping on the 'running back by committee' bandwagon, picking up Jonathan Stewart. Ew.

4:35: First Grossman, and now Bears have to deal with watching a Vanderbilt tackle try to protect him. They would have been better off drafting an actual Grizzly Bear. Named Ditka.

4:42: Ooh, ooh, Matt Millen is on the clock! Yay!

4:43: Traded pick? I've been robbed of the comedy of a Millen pick? This is my least favorite draft ever.

4:57: Well, Millen bounced back! Nufer, you think he was just looking for the goofiest name left in the draft?

5:03: Joe Flacco can make all the NFL throws...much unlike the new quarterback for the Falcons, who apparently has 'it'.

5:11: Very trade heavy 1st round...and very OT heavy. Is OT this year's DE?

5:20: For the first time ever, the word 'Kansas' is uttered regarding the 1st round of the NFL draft.

5:30: Kiper says this is where you see a lot of reaches in the draft. And the Falcons just moved up to take a less than decent offensive tackle. R-E-A-C-H.

5:39: Jerry Jones got his Arkansas running back, and ANOTHER running back controversy, just after they got rid of Julius Jones.

5:41: I'll bet the farm that the Steelers take the running back from Illinois...why do they show the kid on the phone, cheesing his face off before they announce the pick. Takes all the drama out of it.

5:43: I am Nostradamus.

5:48: Are the ESPN analysts drunk today? The only person making sense today is *gulp* Keyshawn Johnson.

5:50: My first pick with my new team: I'm so nervous. And we blew it. Chris Johnson is a good back, but when are we putting some weapons around Vince on the perimeter. Maybe Johnson can be the Bush to LenDale's LenDale on the Titans. Uh oh, Mel Kiper just said Thunder and Lightning. They're doomed. I mean we. We're doomed.

6:07: More O-Linemen going off the board...I wrote the following about Defensive Ends last year, and it applies to the O-Linemen in this draft: Either a lot of elite talent at the position this year, or a bunch of combine heroes who will end up underachieving. Which is really more likely?

6:13: Since I haven't done this yet...who is going to take a flier on a washed up running back late of Seattle? Does anyone really think Alexander has a future in this league any more? Not me. RIP 37.

6:18: A whole bunch of USC players being taken...but no offensive players. Weird.

6:22: Just wanted to say a big thumbs up to the NFL. Last year's first round went from 12 pm EST until 5:45. We're clocking in today at potentially under the 4 hour mark. Good for you NFL.

6:29: Good pick by the Jokes, I mean the Jets. He was a standout tight end all year, and he'll be a Dallas Clark type player in the League.

6:35: The Giants are in...and the 1st round of the NFL Draft is over in under 4 hours!!! Wow. Plus, the Champs made a great pick of Kenny Phillips from Miami to try to help continue securing Tom Coughlin's job.

Been an okay day. Beer + Wings = pretty good Saturday. Even got a new team to cheer for.

A little wary of joining a team that so resembles the Falcons from 3 years ago though: an exciting black quarterback, a dominant running game, and a strong defense. I just hope Vince doesn't have property in VA.

Have a great weekend all, I'm OUT!

Apr 24, 2008

Looking Back: 2007 NFL Draft

As I get prepared for the best day of the year (that has inexplicably been pushed back to 3 pm), I decided to post my draft diary of the 2007 Draft, to get me even more excited for this year.

And by more excited, I mean more terrified about what the Falcons are going to do to me this year.

12:00: And, we’re off…

12:10: Does anyone else think that the Raiders coach should grow some facial hair to demand some respect? If he starts now, he should probably have a decent five o’clock shadow by 2008.

12:20: For those keeping score at home, JaMarcus Russell’s career is now in the capable hands of the Raiders newly named quarterbacks coach, John DiFillipo, late of Columbia University. Expected competition for the starting job will include Josh Booty, of LSU fame, and Jeff Otis of Columbia…well…

12:30: Ron Jaworski thinks that the Lions are should take a quarterback…shocking.

12:32: Lions took Calvin Johnson. Glad to see common sense overcoming fear. 6’5”, 240 lbs, 4.35 40 in borrowed spikes? Yes, please.

12:37: Congratulations Brady Quinn, you are this year’s Matt Leinart, destined to be awkwardly seen waiting to be drafted. You may now fornicate with Paris Hilton, may God have mercy on your soul.

12:40: Great shot of Joe Thomas fishing as opposed to coming to New York…I really hope he becomes a Viking all of a sudden.

12:43: Ah, to dream. Nice pick by the ‘Browns’, not only to shore up a bad O Line, but also to continue to make Quinn feel awkward. (The reason ‘Browns’ is in quotes is because the real Browns are the Ravens. The team playing in Cleveland now is an expansion team that just happens to be called the ‘Browns’. But I digress.)

12:48: Tampa Bay, still on the clock. Between all the build-up, and draft specials, wouldn’t it just be responsible to have every possible eventuality mapped out, and have your pick ready? Sometimes, NFL GMs cannot be affected by what most of us would see as common sense.

12:55: Can’t argue with Gaines pick at 4, just glad they didn’t draft Quinn, only to trade him to the Lions for Johnson. No matter how much sense it would have made, I would have hated to see Calvin Johnson play the Falcons twice a year. Tremendous upside on that kid. Just ask Mel Kiper.

1:10: Very ‘meh’ pick of Levi Jones by the Cardinals, no shock, no surprise.

1:22: I wanted LaRon Landry to be a Falcon so bad…Didn’t talk about it as not to jinx it, for all the good that did.

1:28: Good for Adrian Peterson and the Vikings. Peterson goes to a team headed in the right direction, and the Vikings get a player with little nautical expertise.

1:39: Okay, I’m not going to have a heart attack, we needed defensive help, especially since Kerney left. Still, Petrino is changing the whole blocking scheme…maybe we should have picked up a lineman along the way! Maybe I spoke too soon about that heart attack. At least we have another J. Anderson on roster. Dirty bird indeed.

1:53: Ted Ginn Jr. is how I spell stretch, how about you? I’m just glad that Brady Quinn’s girlfriend is openly pouting, while she imagines her house getting smaller and smaller.

2:07: Okoye. One of the youngest players drafted ever. 19 years old. 6’3”, 305. WHAT?

2:11: Unless all of a sudden Buffalo is displeased with Losman, Quinn may fall back to the Lions in the second round.

2:19: I would love to shake the hand of the man who is in charge of drafting for the 49ers. That’s four straight strong first round draft picks. Attention NFL GMs: sometimes common sense just works.

2:26: Marshawn Lynch looked really good in those highlights, turning the corner, making good cuts, against Pac-10 defenses. Let’s see what he can do against elite speed. Then again, I said the same thing about Reggie Bush. But he’s no Reggie Bush (see Cal v. Tennessee, 2006).

2:30: Great point I overlooked; if Okoye is so good, why did his ex-coach Petrino pass on him?

2:40: Here’s to Brady Quinn falling all the way back to the Raiders, to be picked as Russell’s back-up.

2:45: What’s the over/under on the pick where Quinn’s girlfriend gets up and leaves his ass at the table? 20? An Aaron Rogers-esque 24? How low will she go?

2:55: Poor Jets fans. Picking up a Big East cornerback. He did manage to run back 2 punts against the elite speed of teams like Rutgers. So he’s got that going for him. Which is nice.

3:03: Mr. Quinn, Mr. Quinn, this is the Sugar Bowl…again. We still need you to gather your shattered hopes and dreams off of our field; we would like to start preparing for next season. Please stop avoiding our calls.

3:14: It’s official: teams would rather take a chance on a player (Justin Harrell) who missed all of last season (torn biceps) than take a chance on Brady Quinn.

3:19: No more MLS commercials during the NFL draft. That is all.

3:26: Great pick-up by the Broncos, who have developed into a defensive powerhouse, perfect for the maturation process of Jay Cutler. Always a good decision to draft a ‘too quick’ DE who was one of the principal reasons The Ohio State University looked so pedestrian in January.

3:38: I bet the Titans don’t take a quarterback. Or the Giants, or Jacksonville, or Dallas…well, you get the picture.

3:50: Would have rather seen Titans pick up a receiver; give Vince some weapons. Oh well, guess they believe in the Madden curse even if he doesn’t.

3:58: Back-to-back Texas DBs taken…I guess winning still matters to someone in the League.

4:07: Nelson taken by JAX…that’s 4 players out of 21 who have won national titles in the last two years…these things might matter.

4:17: The ‘Browns’ have traded picks with the Cowboys, to acquire Brady Quinn. He had taken his coat off, and it looked like he had resigned himself to a long day, only to be as shocked as the rest of us. Giving up a second rounder and next year’s first rounder, huh? Really?

4:30: Dwayne Bowe. Remember the name. Trust me, no matter who’s at QB next year for the Chiefs, remember it.

4:50: “This will be a draft where character matters above all else.” The New England Patriots, with the 24th pick, select Brandon “I stomp people out with my cleats” Merriweather from the University of Miami. God bless America.

5:04: Dallas trades with Philadelphia to acquire Robert Meachem? They’d better, because Dwayne Jarrett is a poor man’s Keyshawn – attitude problems and all.

5:09: And as opposed to taking WR to spread the field opposite TO, the ‘Boys pick up the fifth DE of the first round. Either a lot of elite talent at the position this year, or a bunch of combine heroes who will end up underachieving. Which is really more likely?

5:24: The NFC South just got tougher, with the team formally known as the Ain’ts picking up Robert Meachem. Thanks for nothing, Dallas.

5:32: Now, Belichik is stockpiling late picks through trades. Kill me now.

5:45: Longest. First. Round. Ever. I’m tired, I’m angry Quinn got drafted, and I’m out.

Dear Mike Bibby...

Game 2 against the Celtics: 28 minutes, 12 points, 1 assist...

Shhhh...Or Kevin Garnett might get really mad.

Apr 22, 2008

NBA Playoffs Grand Finale

In case you missed my earlier picks, click here for round 1, and here for round 2.

Well, this weekend reaffirmed my love of the second season. We had 2 upsets, 1 actual (Sixers) and 1 perceived (Hornets), 1 instant classic (Suns/Spurs), and a host of potential moving forward. On to the title bouts:

Boston (1) vs. Detroit (2)
On paper, the Stones actually present an interesting matchup for the Boston Three Party. Billups will look to muscle young Rajon around, while Ray Allen will be struggling to keep up with a much more mobile Rip Hamilton. Pierce has been best defended all year by Mr. Prince, and the center match-up will be a push. The real focus of this series, the fight within the fight will be Rasheed Wallace vs. Kevin Garnett. Both present the type of inside-outside game that makes them so valuable to their team. Both are the emotional cores and leaders of their respective squads. This will all come down to who can enforce their own considerable will into inspiring their troops and willing their team to the Finals. Since this year, Garnett has been focus personified, and the team has gone as he has led.
Boston in 6.

Lakers (1) vs Phoenix (6)
As I already said, this is the marquee matchup the NBA is salivating over. The storylines that would normally exist in a rivalry series are multiplied by the addition to Shaq to the Suns. After approximately three days of harping on this being a legacy defining series for pretty much everyone involved, we'd be treated to good basketball. And alot of it. The Gasol-O'Neal showdown alone would be worth the price of admission, as would Kobe making a run at the team that has taken him out of the playoffs repeatedly in recent memory. In the end, I think KB24 shows out to his full potential and carries this thing. Remember, I may not have picked him as MVP, but Mamba is still the best player in the Association. It's true this year, just like it was true last year, and the year before that. And the Black Mamba can strike with 99% accuracy at maximum speed, in rapid succession.
Lakers in 7.

Boston (1) vs. Lakers (1)

What a fitting end to the best NBA season in recent memory, than to have it's two most storied franchises battle it out for the honor of hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy. While the Lakers have given us an up and down season, and the Celtics were marked for greatness all year, both teams proved their mettle by winning their respective conferences and surviving the playoffs until this point. This series will be remembered for one thing: Kobe Bryant, and the way he imposed his will on every game. Even the Celtic victories will be colored by the best player in the NBA playing the best basketball of his career. The series ends in six, because I can't see the Celtics losing at home in a Game 7. Sorry Boston hopeful. Maybe next year.
Lakers in 6.

Finals MVP: Kobe Bryant

I love this game.

Apr 19, 2008

NBA Playoffs Round 2

In case you missed my Round 1 picks, click here.

Before we get to the playoff prophecy found in this post, it's time to hand out some hardware for the regular season.

Coach of the Year - Rick Adelman
This season has been one illustrating some amazing coaching jobs. Eddie Jordan in Washington lost his best player, and sewed up a five seed, Byron Scott brought basketball back to New Orleans, and Doc Rivers hit the lottery of getting Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and an assistant coach who can explain defense. But, I have to give the nod for COY to Rick Adleman because of the reaction he spearheaded after losing Yao for the stretch run. Peeling off a NBA best 22 game winning streak, and cementing a place in the record books is a good way to get my vote.

Rookie of the Year - Al Horford
Ok, here's where you ask yourself: do I believe the hype, or do I react to results? Kevin Durant had all the pundits crowning him before the season, and had a helluva season post All Star break. But he's at home. Al Horford averaged a double-double while starting on a playoff team. It's really no contest to me.

Most Improved Player - Hedo Turkoglu
Did nothing but hit big shots.

Defensive Player of the Year - Kevin Garnett
Go ahead. Argue. I dare you.

Most Valuable Player - Chris Paul
Now THIS is an MVP race. With four legitimate contenders, I do not envy the actual voters. Garnett and LeBron are eliminated because they play in the East. Sorry fellas, that's just the way it is. Which leaves us KB24 and CP3. All second half, I had thought that whoever led their team to the 1 seed deserved the hardware, and there is an easy case to make for Kobe. Not only was he his usual level of greatness, but he also provided great television with a soap opera-like season. From whining about his teammates, to the Great Gasol Heist, to jumping Aston Martins on YouTube, to claiming the number one seed, it has truly been a memorable season. But Chris Paul submitted the best PG season since Oscar Robertson. Memorable vs. historic? No contest.

Now, onto Round 2:

Boston (1) vs. Washington (5)
The Celtics will have their hands full with the only team within the Association completely unafraid of them. Owning a winning regular season record against the PGA Tour, this scrappy bunch will bring a fire that would be lacking from Boston's first round opponent. But, Garnett will continue to drive and will his team to victory as he has all year, and secure a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Boston in 5.

Detroit (2) vs. Orlando (3)
Dwight Howard had monster games against the Stones this year, but everything else is stacked against the Magic. Their guard play is woefully unprepared for Rip and Chauncy, and Prince will be instrumental in making Hedo less of a factor. Even in light of this teams predisposition to slack off in series like this one, I think they learned their lesson from last year.
Detroit in 6.

Lakers (1) vs. Utah (4)
The biggest strengths of this Jazz team are Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer. With three PGs to run at Williams to throw him off his game, and an underrated Lamar Odom checking Boozer, there is no one on Utah who can guard Kobe, who will be focused in his quest for the Finals. TNT has the rights to the Western Conference Finals, and half of their dream matchup is finalized in rather short order.
Lakers in 5.

Phoenix (6) vs. Dallas (7)
Sorry Mr. Kidd. Maybe next year. With no one to even slow down an Amare who would be MVP if we just looked post-Shaq trade, and no one to body Shaq in the post, this will not be pretty. With Amare getting physical with the Big German, I think that TNT gets the other half of the dream, ratings wise, and storyline wise. Lakers! Suns! Shaq! Kobe! Only on TNT...brought to you by The Closer.
Phoenix in 6.

NBA Playoffs Round 1

The next few posts will be me revealing my NBA playoff picks round by round. Round 1 now, round 2 next, and round 3 to follow. Plus, you'll get my picks for awards season! It's FANNNNNNNNNN-TASTIC!!!

This is, quite simply, my favorite time of year. I know, I'm a football fanatic, but the end of April brings me NHL Playoff Hockey (I don't care what you say, OT in a NHL Playoff Game is the best period of time in sports), NBA Playoff Basketball (See below), and the NFL Draft. It's almost like God wants me to spend the next 50 days talking, watching and thinking sports. His will be done.

Boston (1) vs. Atlanta (8)
We're number 8! We're number 8! Doesn't quite have the same ring to it like the stuff these Boston people keep yelling, but what can you do? Usually, I would say that the underdog could steal the first game at home, since the crowd would be into it, and the favorite might lay off the gas because of the two first game blow outs. This will not happen. There are only maybe 500 Hawks fans in Atlanta, so it will be a pro-Celtic crowd, plus do you really think that Kevin Garnett will let this team let up? I didn't think so.
Boston in 4.

Detroit (2) vs. Philly (7)
Not the squash I would have thought it would be a few weeks ago. This Sixers team has gotten better and better down the stretch, and have handed losses to the Spurs, Suns and Pistons over the past 2 months. These wins, coupled with Detroit's tendency to become complacent against inferior opponents lets the Sixers stretch this thing out. But not too far.
Detroit in 5.

Orlando (3) vs. Toronto (6)
I don't see it. Toronto hasn't been healthy all year, their best point guard is coming off of the bench, and to say that Chris Bosh's toughness is questionable is being way too kind. Sure, the Toronto guard play is, on paper, vastly superior to the Magic, but between Dwight and Hedo, I don't see this series going all the way.
Orlando in 6.

Cleveland (4) vs. Washington (5)
A popular school of thought is that it isn't a rivalry until the other team wins one. According to that school, this is the year this playoff matchup becomes a rivalry. Ever since the big trade, the supporting cast has significantly underwhelmed. Ben Wallace (who will be making more money than LeBron next year) has been exceedingly dismal, and the others acquired haven't given this team the boost some (not me) expected. On the other side, the Wiz pose questions that the Cavs just can't answer: who guards Caron Butler/Antwan Jamison? Who in their second unit checks Agent Zero coming off the bench? Is a Mike Brown-Eddie Jordan coaching matchup anywhere near fair? Well, I can answer the last one, but I don't think Cleveland can answer the others.
Washington in 6.

Lakers (1) vs. Denver (8)
The most frustrating thing is that, on paper, the Nuggets should be a top 5 team in the NBA. The reality is that it took Nellie being Nellie for them to back into the playoffs this year. Granted, this is the year that the Western Conference went nuts, but that's no real excuse: this team, featuring my all-time favorite player, is flawed and has no heart. I just hope that Kobe's return to Colorado gives us some great signs in the crowd
Lakers in 5.

New Orleans (2) vs. Dallas (7)
All I've talked about since the trade deadline is how much I didn't like the move for Jason Kidd, how Avery Johnson refused to change his coaching style to fit his new personnel, and how Dirk just didn't seem to have 'it' this year. Apparently, Dirk nearly losing a leg changed all of this. The Mavs seem to have figured out how to stop CP3 and if you stop him, you stop their offense. Kidd can't check him one-on-one, but as the nation saw in the N.O. season finale, they learned how to use team defense and traps to get the ball out of his hands. This will also mark the first playoff series ever that Avery Johnson does not change his team's game plan to fit that of their opponent. Good times.
Dallas in 5.

San Antonio (3) vs. Phoenix (6)
Wait, what the hell. If you had polled EVERYONE who watches the NBA before the season, this was the pick for the Western Conference Finals. And we get it in the opening round. Wow, I don't know who to thank. I do know that no matter who won the Finals MVP last year, the best player in that series was Tim Duncan. I do know that the only player who seems to consistently stymie The Big Fundamental's game is the (newly christened) Big Cactus. I do know that Manu has been hurt, and if he isn't 100%, and Shaq can stay out of foul trouble, I don't like the chances at a repeat.
Suns in 7.

Utah (4) vs. Houston (5)
Really weird that because of records, home court advantage is in the hands of the owners of the third longest winning streak in NBA history. Well chronicled is the fact that Utah has been awful on the road this year; but with no starting point guard for at least the first two games, and the next two being in Utah, this could be the stage where Utah starts winning road games, builds some confidence, and makes a deep run into the playoffs. Well, at least they'll beat the Rockets.
Utah in 5.

Happy Trails

After a season of disappointments, the announcement finally came this week where the hammer finally fell, and we were forced to say goodbye to a prominent sports figure.

They fired Isaiah Thomas. And I for one am outraged.

Seriously, this week is marked by the retirement of one Steve "Air" McNair, a great player and a greater influence in the league than simple numbers can measure. Though, he does have some pretty good numbers. His final season was marred by injury, but no one will ever forget seeing him play. See you in Canton.

Apr 15, 2008

We Made the Playoffs...

But Simmons still got me. He went ahead and ranked the MVPs from 450th - 48th, and graced celebrating Hawks fans with this:

166th Most Valuable Player - Marvin Williams

The whole "Atlanta could have taken Chris Paul!" thing has officially become awkward. I can't even make eye contact with Hawks fans anymore.

(OK, I don't know any Hawks fans. And neither do you. But if we DID know any Hawks fans, we'd have trouble making eye contact with them. You have to admit.)

Damn him. I guarantee that there will more updates soon. Not guarantee, but hope. Well, think. See you later.

Apr 4, 2008

40 Years

His last speech...

Apr 3, 2008

Breaking Down the Least

Baseball season has started...only one million games left. That said, baseball starting can mean only one thing - The NBA Playoffs!! Since the West seems to be in a constant state of flux, let's take a look at the Leastern Conference, and see how things look like they're going to play out (standings are of April 3, 2008):

8. Atlanta Hawks

Well, I guess I'm confident enough to risk the dreaded jinx. And let me clear something up: I know that nothing that I write has even the slightest impact on the real world, but I still felt guilty after Trent Green went down in week 5 after I predicted it here, and I would feel bad if I jinxed my Hawks' playoff run.

Strengths: A super athletic starting 5 that can push the pace. Mike Bibby's growing comfort with the Hawks has proven invaluable as they make the big push for the playoffs. Joe Johnson is a proven leader and scorer, and Josh Smith is a literal swiss army knife. Al Horford should be the ROY, and all these pieces add up to a pretty good first team.

Weaknesses: Everything else, including but not limited to: bench play, coaching, lack of clear ownership, front office infighting, fan support, home court advantage.

2008 Playoff Forecast: 1st round swept by Celtics...and a parade thrown by a grateful city for the first playoff appearance in 10 years.

7. Philadelphia 76ers

What the hell, man? Okay, so Billy King puts together this team over the past few years basically with scotch tape, bubble gum, and loads of money, the ownership FINALLY fires him, and the team goes on a miracle run not only to the playoffs, but potentially as high as a 5 seed in the East? Ew.

Strengths: Um, I really don't know. Okay, they play hard, they play fast, they have a lot of young legs, and they play good defense.

Weaknesses: No outside shooting since Korver left, and they have no defining star on their team. Maybe if you could merge Andre Igodala and Andre Miller into one player, but until then, who is taking the last shot in crunch time?

2008 Playoff Forecast: Could get swept in the first round. Could push Detroit to the wire, and very well could upset them. I can't seem to figure this team out. Parade given due to Billy King being gone.

6. Toronto Raptors

Ever since they eliminated purple from the team color scheme, this has felt like a new franchise. Gone are the hangover effects from Vince "Cancer" Carter, and instead it has been replaced by a high scoring, up-tempo, international team.

Strengths: Chris Bosh. This kid tends to get overlooked for some of the flashier stars in his generation, but watching him last night (lose) against Atlanta, he is very, very good. Coupling his talents with a talented PG, and a bench with Bargani and Calderon, and you have a good team.

Weaknesses: No matter how much I like Bosh's talents, I have to question his toughness, especially looking at a first round match-up with Dwight Howard down low. I also question some of the defensive ability of their back court players.

2008 Playoff Forecast: An all out war against Orlando in round 1, falling in 6 games to the Magic. Vince Carter is hit by a bus. Toronto throws parade.

5. Washington Wizards

Last night Agent Zero returned to the former Bullets, and ushered in the beginning of the end for the 2008 Wizards. All season, a certain chemistry had been built without the Hibachi, putting Eddie Jordan in COY discussions, and his return can threaten everything.

Strengths: Versatility. They can play lots of different ways, and have lots of different scorers. Coach Jordan has showed these guys that they can play without Gilbert, and they are confident heading into the playoffs.

Weaknesses: The reintegration of Gilbert Arenas, from both a stylistic and a emotional point of view. This is a unit that has defined itself separate of Agent Zero these past months, and now all of that may be shaken.

2008 Playoff Forecast: 1st round KO, as Mr. James attempts to reclaim the crown he gave away last year. Washington ownership lets Gilbert leave. No parade in the District.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James' playoff ceiling has officially been removed. After singlehandedly dismissing the entire Eastern Conference last year, anything is possible.

Strengths: The Boy who would be King. 30 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists a game. Need I say more?

Weaknesses: A team that has the single most naturally talented basketball player in the world has a negative point differential on the season. Reason? Defense and supporting cast. Big Z has shown promise, but injuries have slowed Ben Wallace from returning to underrated/overrated form of 3 years ago. On paper, the two deep doesn't look bad at all, but then you realize that you think this because Daniel Gibson went crazy last spring. Don't count on he or Delonte West to duplicate that.

2008 Playoff Forecast: They go as LeBron goes. If they want to keep him from running to Jigga in a few years, Cleveland better throw him a parade.

3. Orlando Magic

I LOVE this team...if this was last year. While Rashad Lewis hasn't had the impact his price tag would demand, the unit as a whole has developed from the jump into a real contender in the Least. Building an efficient offense around Dwight Howard, who has proven to be more mature than you may realize by rising to the public challenge Stan Van Gundy laid down earlier this year.

Strengths: Interior presence and outside shooting. Howard's development as a passer has been the most impressive and impactful aspect of this season as Turkoglu has been lights out all year. The team plays extremely well together, and just seems to get things done.

Weakness: One year too late.

2008 Playoff Forecast: Following a tough Toronto series, they fall in an absolute war against Detroit in 6 games, since the two teams split 4 close games this year.

No parade joke, sorry.

2. Detroit Pistons

Lather, rinse, repeat. Every year these guys are in the mix, and every year, certain problems tend to rear their ugly heads. But, they have proven the toughest, most consistent team in the Conference, and this year is no different.

Strengths: You've heard it all before. Their mental toughness and ability to adjust to different styles of play allow them to confuse and wear down any opponent. Except, I guess, LeBron James.

Weaknesses: This anti-Flip thing has gotten way out of hand. No one listens to him anymore, and this team is an implosion waiting to happen. Plus, this is a team that has a history of utilizing the dreaded 'on-off' switch against teams they feel are beneath them.

2008 Playoff Forecast: Surviving to face the final team on this list, they are summarily dismissed in 5 games. Parade for firing Flip Saunders, bringing back Larry Brown!

There, I bounced back.

1. Boston Celtics

Wire to wire, the single best team in the NBA all year. Pick your conference, home and away, this has been the dominating team of the 2007-2008. The Boston Three Party has run over everyone else's favorite team all year, but they should give us hope: a couple of shrewd free agent signings, and our team too could go from the outhouse to the penthouse in a year.

Strengths: Everything. Their better is better than your better. Rebounding. Clutch shooting. Playmaking. They do it all. Plus, Kevin Garnett's effect on their defense has created the most dominant defensive team today too.

Weaknesses: Who takes the last shot in crunch time? Garnett has habitually shown aversion to doing so, and if Sam-I-Am is on the floor, will he give up the ball?

2008 Playoff Forecast: I see an O'Brien Trophy in their future. And a really big parade.

April Fools?

In what I thought was an elaborate, and not very funny, April Fool's joke, the New York Knickerbockers announced Tuesday that Don Walsh had been hired to replace Isaiah Thomas as team president.

It wasn't a joke.

My hat is off to James Dolan to finally cutting ties with Zeke. This man has killed an entire basketball league and he threatened to do the same in New York. I know this was a great move, getting him out of the Knick organization all together. Wait, what's that? He's still coach?

What does he have to do at this point? Kill the mayor? Burn down MSG?

And I'm not even a Knicks fan...

Apr 1, 2008

I Really Hate Mondays

Okay, so yesterday my iPod crapped out, forcing me to dig through old boxes to find my long unused cds...

On the plus side, I did find out that my car has a six disc changer in it...Peaks and valleys my friends, peaks and valleys.