Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mike Wallace

One more Dwight trade I forgot. This one is my favorite, and actually makes basketball sense.

Dwight Howard/Ryan Anderson for Blake Griffin/Deandre Jordan- The Clippers won't trade Blake for financial reasons, but they should. You would be selling high on a big man that has already missed an entire season due to a knee injury. Dwight is the best center the league, and a top 5 player in the league (I would argue top 2, but that's a different argument). Blake is great, but he's not the best player on his own team and you could argue that he's not even top 3 at his position. Dwight/CP3 instantly makes you into a title contender. You turn Deandre Jordan's 8 ppg/9 rpg into Dwight's 20/15. You only take a slight hit going from Blake's 21/11 to Anderson's 16/7 and Anderson's ability to hit the 3 pointer helps to offset that. Orlando gets two young big men to build around...until Blake's contract comes up for renewal and he decides he wants to take his talents back home to Oklahoma. Then we start the process all over again.

Agreed on Braun. I really want to believe. He seems like a decent enough guy. Now I'm hearing that the reason he tested positive for PED's is because of medicine he was taking for his herpes. That puts Braun in a terribly awkward spot. "Selig baby, you gotta believe me. I'm not juicing...it's just a little herpes!" But of course, if Braun admits that it gets leaked like the rest of the information in this case. As you said, this information should have never been leaked. Braun will wear the scarlet letter for the rest of his life because of this, when it really could have just been a misunderstanding. Not to make light of it, but it seems child molestation and steroids are the two unbeatable raps. Chris Brown hit him a woman and he's back on his feet. Kobe and Big Ben are doing well. Leonard Little killed a woman driving drunk, got arrested later on for driving drink and still seems to be doing OK. There's no proof that Jeff Bagwell used PED's, yet there's already talk he won't make the HoF because there's a chance that he might have! It's ridiculous and I really hate to see someone get a lifetime brand for something they didn't do.

I'm over the moon that Bill Barnwell has been breaking down the top free agents. I'm dying for the Bengals to make a play for Mike Wallace and Barnwell confirmed it, albeit from an agent's point of view. The cash strapped Steelers are looking at having to let Wallace go. Enter the Bengals. Cincy has plenty of cap room and the need for a receiver opposite of AJ Green. At the very least, Cincy could offer Wallace an extremely front loaded contract. Worst case scenario: The Steelers match and have to restructure some contracts/cut some veterans to keep him. Best case scenario: He accepts, we pay him big money during his peak years and give up one of our first round picks (Thanks Carson). Dalton-Green-Wallace-Gresham. Yes, please.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Griffin, Braun, and Basketball

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to watch any of the combine.  This whole "not having cable" stuff is for the birds.
I've read a handful of Griffin interviews, and have (of course) tracked down some of his combine highlights.  I'm a big fan of his.  We have talked about him throughout the year.  I caught at least 5 Baylor games this past season, and he was incredible in each of them.  For being predominantly known as an "athletic" quarterback, I was amazed at his accuracy.  He would hit guys 40 yards down the field (in tight coverage) in stride, while he was on the run.  And he would do that on a regular basis.
I think he's going to be great.  He's fast, but he is always looking to pass rather than to take off at the first sign of trouble.  I'm really excited to watch him in the NFL.
I don't want him to end up in Cleveland, but it has nothing to do with your Bengals.  I just don't want to see him waste away in a place with very little talent to surround him.  But, from the sounds of it, he's either ending up in Cleveland or Washington, and neither one of those places gives him very much to work with.  I would like to see a team on the verge nab him.  I think he could do great things in Seattle, Arizona, Kansas City, or Houston.  I would throw Oakland into that mix, but they don't have a shot in hell at getting him, which is a shame.  Can't you see him throwing to that group of burners?  If Al Davis was still alive, he would murder a man to get a shot at Griffin.

Regarding Braun: I want to believe him, just like I want to believe every baseball player who is accused of using performance enhancing drugs and later denies it...but the whole thing just feels weird.  Like you said, it feels like he's getting off more on a technicality (the sample wasn't mailed for a couple of days) than because of his innocence.  Braun claims he is innocent, and that he will pursue every avenue to prove that.  Personally, I hope he does.  I hope he is able to prove his innocence.  If he can't (or if he doesn't try any harder than OJ did to find the real killers), I'm afraid that it points to his guilt.  But I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.  At least for now.
This whole thing also raises other questions.  The information about his test was leaked to ESPN.  That information never should have gotten out.  If that initial information didn't leak, he could have gone through the process and been found to be "not guilty" without anyone even knowing.  Who knows how many other times this same thing has happened, only no one ever knew about it.

I'll tell you this, though: I can't wait for baseball season to start.  It looks like Spring Training games start this weekend.  I'll be sitting down at some point in the next week or so - hot dog and beer in hand - and watching whatever game happens to be on.  If that game happens to be Houston/Washington, then so be it.  I'm downright giddy for this season.

The Cats are looking pretty amazing.  What's so terrific about them is that they have so much talent at so many positions.  They can get consistent scoring from at least 7 guys, and they're playing terrific defense.  Of course, their defense runs through Davis, but they always seem to get key defensive plays from Jones and Miller, too.
Now, if Davis goes down, they'll have a hard time keeping up with their current level of play.  But, if one of their other starts gets injured, I think they'll be able to weather the storm pretty well.

I certainly like your Howard trade scenarios better than what I'm currently hearing.  The Nets?  Even with Williams there, I just can't get excited about that.  Would I try to watch more Nets games?  I guess.  But I'd rather see him go somewhere he can put a contender over the top.  Pairing up Howard and LeBron in Miami would be amazing to watch.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

RGIII and All Star Game Thoughts

I've been watching some of the NFL Combine off and Robert Griffin III continues to impress me. His interviews have been entertaining, there always seems to be a couple of guys around him on the sidelines and his athletic numbers were off the charts. 4.38 40 yard dash, 39" vertical and he measured a little over 6'2. One of the concerns about him was his size, as scouts thought he was smaller than the 6'2", 220 he was listed at. He exceeded both measurements and put questions about his size to bed. He also has an obvious confidence about him. For all of his skills, the confidence worries me the most. Not because I think it will get the best of him, but because I think he winds up in Cleveland and he has just enough confidence to think he can turn that team around. Cleveland has the need for a QB and the assets to trade up to #2 to snag RGIII. I can only hope they mess this up and keep Griffin out of the AFC North.

What do you make of this Ryan Braun business? From what I've read, Braun beat the charges based on the way the sample was handled and not the actual results of the sample. Seems a bit OJ-esque.

The Cats are still cooking. They handled #7 Florida by 20 points. Vandy, who always plays UK tough, couldn't beat them in two tries. Mississippi State had a 13 point lead on the Cats at halftime in Starkville. UK won by 9. Davis is showing more versatility in his game by taking some jumpers and even taking guys off of the dribble. Darius Miller has came up big several times late in the game recently. MKG has been off lately, but appears to be getting it back. As well as this team is playing, I still feel like they haven't peaked. I'm stoked for the March Madness.

I'm currently watching All Star Game, which means that a Dwight Howard trade is probably on the way. (Sidebar: Dwyane Wade just busted Kobe's nose with an unusually hard foul. This game is about to be good.) With the game in Orlando, there was no way Orlando brass could have Howard play that game as a member of another team. Now that it is out of the way, I'm guessing a trade will soon follow. I've heard a couple of trades I would like, and one I made up that I would also enjoy. Of course none of them will happen.

1. Dwight Howard/Hedo Turkoglu/Ryan Anderson for Dwyane Wade/Chris Bosh. Bosh in a second option, where he belongs, and Wade motivated by being traded within the same division? Yes please.

2. Dwight Howard/Hedo Turkoglu for Carmelo Anthony/Tyson Chandler. Not the biggest Carmelo fan, but you aren't going to do much better in terms of swapping individual talent. Chandler/Ryan Anderson/Melo isn't a bad frontcourt.

3. Dwight Howard for Kendrick Perkins/Serge Ibaka/James Harden/Nick Collison. Not a fan of Perkins, but I think it'd be worth it to take a chance on James Harden. I'm impressed every time I watch him play. I don't know if he's a #1 option, but I wouldn't mind finding out. Also, a trio of Dwight/Durant/Westbrook>>>>>>.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Earl Sweatshirt and Random Thoughts

First things first, Earl Sweatshirt is Home. And boy is he! I'm delighted to have him back, and it appears he hasn't lost a step in his absence. Very excited to hear some new stuff from him this year.

Ah. The Super Bowl. There's not much to say that hasn't been said, other than I really believe Chad 85 could have played a bigger impact in that game. They showed a couple of plays where Chad was one on one with a corner with no safety help. You're telling me that throwing the ball up wouldn't allow Chad to make a play or at least hope for a pass intererence? You'd rather send a crippled Gronkowski out route after route even though the Giants know he's a decoy? Chad also would have caught the game ending hailmary. One handed. So there. Congrats to the Giants.

The footage of Gronkowski dancing his ass off at the club after the Super Bowl killed me. Absolutely killed me.

As far as the reasons for Patriot hate goes, I'd go with your option #3, "Everyone is so sick of Boston sports in general that the Patriots are hated because of that." Personally, I don't hate the Patriots, but I do have a general disdain for the majority of Boston sports fans. Belichick is an easy guy to dislike, the Celtics are all dicks and the Sports Guy playing the "Woe is us! Larry Bird would have never allowed Danny Ainge to trade Kendrick Perkins. It's just a fact" card. Also, the Patriots started the run of Boston area sports good fortune so they seem to be the easiest to hate. My old man, the bandwagoner of ALL bandwagoners, even hates the Pats. The conversation below has not been altered in any way.

Pops: I hope the Patriots lose.
Me: Why?
Pops: Don't like the Patriots. Never have.
Me: Why?
Pops: I don't like Belichick and I think Tom Brady gets too much credit.
Me: Who should be getting the credit?
Pops: I don't know. Brady is pretty good...
I am extremely excited for the NFL offseason. The Bengals are coming off a good year where we made the playoffs and send 4 guys (24 years of age or younger) to the Pro Bowl. It didn't end the way I expected it to, but we have two first rounders, a lot of cap space and Mike Brown/Whoever is making decisions for Mike Brown has been somewhat competent lately. I'd love to get Trent Richardson in here to grow old with Dalton/Green, but it seems unlikely. Some O-line help, a consistent #2 WR on the other side of AJ Green (Pierre Garcon maybe?) and some help in the secondary and I think we're back in the playoff hunt next year. Really looking forward to this offseason.

It's almost time for baseball as well! I'm excited about the Reds potential as Walt Jocketty appears to be going all in. He traded for Mat Latos, Sean Marshall and signed Ryan Madson to shore up the pitching. Hopefully, we have enough out of the bullpen to allow Aroldis Chapman to get a fair chance at starting. Hopefully Scott Rolen and Zack Cozart can stay healthy this year to lock down the left side of the infield. With Albert Pujols on the Angels, Prince Fielder on your Tigers and Ryan Braun on the bench for the first third of the season, I'm really hoping the Reds can take advantage of a wide open NL Central.

A couple of random NBA thoughts.

- Ricky Rubio is legit. That jumper needs worker, but he rebounds well for his size, leads the league in steals and is a terrific passer. He has share of fancy assists, behind the back/through the legs, but the touch passes and good decision making set him apart. There's a lot of Jason Kidd there in the sense that he can really have an impact on a game without taking a shot.

-Don't look now, but I think I'm becoming a LeBron James fan. I won't be getting a #6 jersey, or rooting for the Heatles anytime soon, but he's having a remarkable season and it seems to be getting overshadowed. He's taking less three pointers than he has ever has, and is hitting them at a career high rate. It seems like he really can't win though. When Miami was losing a couple games, the story was "This will never work." Now they are second in the East, and it's "This is what they are supposed to be doing." The Heat beat the Lakers with a great game by LBJ, and the story was "This is what LeBron does. He wins the regular season games, but Kobe wins in the postseason." The guy truly can't win, and for that reason I kind of want him to do so.

-Not that anybody cares or remembers a week after they were announced, but Josh Smith was robbed as a NBA All Star. The selection of Luol Deng over him is laughable. Still, the East is rolling out a Dwight-Melo-LeBron-Wade-Rose starting lineup. Sheesh.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl

I agree with you that, if Dwight has to go, Dallas - especially Dallas with Deron Williams - would be his best option.  Beyond being his best option, it would be the most fun to watch.  That would suck for your Magic, but it appears to be an inevitability at this point.  Sorry man.  If it helps at all, the Pistons are beyond terrible to watch right now (although they have won their last 2 games).  I sat down to watch one of their games earlier this week, and didn't make it through the first period.  Their offense never really looks like it has a plan.  It's extremely stagnant.

Here's an off phenomenon I ran into this week: I was at the UPS store, and all the employees were talking about the Super Bowl.  They asked who I was rooting for.  "The Patriots."  I was met with disgust.  A girl in a Cowboys sweatshirt said, "I'm just so sick of the Patriots," and that seemed to be the general consensus among everyone there.
But why?  Why is everyone sick of the Patriots and not the Giants?  They haven't won a Super Bowl since 2004 (the Giants, meanwhile, won a Super Bowl in 2007).  My initial thought is that it's because everyone is sick of the media over saturation of Brady and Belichick.  They do get a lot of hype and coverage.  But you know who else gets a lot of coverage?  Manning and Coughlin.  They get just as much hype and coverage.  I have three possible ideas for why people are sick of the Patriots and not the Giants:

1. Of the two New York teams, the Giants are the least obnoxious.  The Jets are so loud and brash that the Giants seem likable by comparison.
2. People still hate the Patriots for "SpyGate".  I've even seen a handful of articles this week asking, "Do the Patriots need this Super Bowl win to legitimize their previous Super Bowl wins?"  (The answer, of course, should be a resounding "no".)
3. Everyone is so sick of Boston sports in general that the Patriots are hated because of that.

Of course, there's not one answer.  I'm sure it's a combination of the three, and I know there are other issues that I didn't list.  If Rex Ryan wasn't the coach of the Jets, and if the Knicks were any good, I wonder if the tables would be turned.

I'm cheering for the Patriots because my older brother is a big fan.  Also, I just can't bring myself to cheer for the Giants, especially this year.  I just can't do it.  I'm not going to be living or dying with the Patriots, obviously.  If the Giants win, I won't be torn up over it.  But I really would like to see the Patriots win.

As far as the game itself, I'm picking the Patriots.  I could definitely see the Giants winning this game, but for some reason I'm just feeling a Patriots win.  They'll be able to establish their running game, and that will help with their passing game (even with an injured Gronkowski).  And here's the angle I haven't seen written up in too many places: the Giants defense is not great.  They have some good players, but they have some serious issues.  If they can't generate pressure with their front four on passing plays, they have a hard time covering anyone.  And, with their undersized front four, they're susceptible to runs.  And the Patriots have a better running game than most people seem to think.
The Giants won't be able to get much going on the ground, but that shouldn't matter too much.  They should be able to light up the Patriots secondary.  Between Nicks and Cruz, they'll have their hands full.
I think Brady will come out of the gates a little slow, allowing the Giants to jump out to a bit of a lead.  But Brady will improve, and they'll be able to claw their way back into the game (the Giants lack of a running game will hurt them), and there will be at least one Manning interception to help the Patriots' cause, too.  I think there will be a couple huge, lead-changing drives in the fourth-quarter.  And the Patriots will come out on top.  Something like 31-27.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Super Bowl, Fielder and Anthony Davis

Dwight Howard, quote machine: Regarding Orlando's losing streak: "It happens to everybody in the league and we just have to continue to remind ourselves that we're a good team and we're going to have rough patches. We just have to stay together and remember we can't allow anything to separate us."

Except for that trade you demanded, Dwight.
Taken from basketbawful.blogspot.com, a terrific site. Dwight, please stop saying things.

We talked about it some, but this article lays it out in great detail. "It" being the possibility of Dwight Howard and Deron Williams joining Dirk in Dallas next season. Basically, the Mavs are a couple of moves away from having enough cap space to give max contracts to Deron Williams and Dwight Howard. Deron Williams is from the Dallas area. Deron and Dwight have reportedly requested to play together. New Jersey was the original plan, but Williams appears unhappy and that team is terrible. The final move was Dwight listing Dallas as a team that he would sign an extension with. Dallas doesn't have the pieces to trade for either, but with a crafty summer they could have enough money to sign both outright. If Chicago doesn't shake for Dwight, and it appears it wont, I want this to happen.

Wow at Prince Fielder going to your Tigers. That's a lot of years and a lot of money, but a 3-4 of Cabrera/Fielder should be dynamite for the next couple of years. I'm skeptical about Cabrera going to third base, but maybe he'll show up in decent shape and play a respectable third. That's all you really need with the offensive production he figures to provide. To Fielder's credit, I have been impressed with his mobility/durability for a man of his size. Can that hold up well into his 30's? We shall see, but it should provide a great next couple of seasons for Tigers fans.

I must say that I am somewhat excited for the Super Bowl. I seem to be in the minority. Part of this stems from my delight that we avoided two weeks of Harbaugh brother stories. Part of this comes from me not counting on Joe Flacco or Alex Smith to come through with a good game in the Super Bowl. Eli potentially doubling Peyton's Super Bowl wins intrigues me, and I believe he-Brady will provide the best game so I'm happy with the outcome. I'm still undecided on who wins the game though. Eli with Nicks/Cruz/Manningham against the NE secondary favors NY in a big way. I'm not sure why NYG wouldn't just find whatever WR that Edelman is covering for the entirety of the first drive. If the Patriots ending having to double cover Cruz in the slot, Nicks should get some nice looks downfield. I imagine Bradshaw/Jacobs will be able to run enough to keep NE honest, but NY should be able to move the ball fairly easily through the air. On the flip side, Gronkowski's limitations should hinder the Patriot offense. With Welker/Gronk/Hernandez, Brady gets rid of the ball quicker which somewhat neutralizes that NYG pass rush. Without Gronk, does NE turn to a Branch/Ocho for some snaps? If so, the Giants may be able to give some more attention to Welker and make Branch/Chad beat them. I'm hoping like hell that Chad gets a ring, and has some sort of impact in this game. I thought he'd have a great season with Brady, and it just hasn't worked out. There are some questions as to if he'll even be active for the game. Here's to hoping Chad gets some playing time and makes the best of it with a big catch or two. Patriots 27, Giants 23

EDIT: I just saw this story. Wow. I hope Underwood is on the phone with Tom Coughlin now going over the Patriots plays. Kinda hoping NYG wins big now.

I'm watching UK destroy South Carolina as I type. I love this team. Terrence Jones has been a new man since conference play started, and Anthony Davis is getting even better. He just broke Shaq's SEC freshman block record, and he has 22 points/8 rebounds/8 blocks with 7 minutes left in the second half. At first, I heard Tyson Chandler comparisons to Davis. Then it turned into Marcus Camby. Then a rich man's Marcus Camby. Now I'm hearing a lot of Kevin Garnett. I don't know if I see the intensity that makes KG what he is, but the skills are very similar. Davis really can do a touch of everything. I've seen him switch from guarding a center, to a point guard and back to a center on the same play. I've seen him grab the rebound and take it through his legs while bringing it up the court. I've seen him set the pick, step and shoot the jumper. I think Camby is his floor at this point. I have no idea what his ceiling is.