Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ten Things I Like and Don't Like

I had been kicking around a few things I wanted to write about, but can't really decide where I want to go with them, so I'll blatantly steal borrow a gimmick from the great Zach Lowe. Without further ado...

1. The Dwight Howard trade looking better and better from Orlando's side.

Dwight's still the best center in the league, and he is finally starting to look like his old self. But as I've mentioned here, Orlando still didn't come out too shabby for dealing him. I've written about Nikola Vucevic, and he is still having a great season. He is averaging 12.3 PPG and 11.6 RPG on 53% FG shooting in the 18 games since that post. Moe Harkless has also been coming on strong since the All Star break with 12.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 1.9 SPG on 49% FG/40% 3P shooting in 17 games since the break. He's also 19 years old. Add in the fact that Andrew Bynum won't play a game all season, and now GM Rob Hennigan looks great for refusing Bynum in the deal. With the additions of Vucevic/Harkless and the ability to find value with non-lottery picks (Tobias Harris, Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O'Quinn), I have more than enough faith that Hennigan can get this club back to championship caliber.

2. Rushing the court

There are some instances where rushing a court is absolutely justified. If Lord Fauntleroy's School for Albino Hemphiliacs knocks off the #1 seed Hoosiers at home during the regular season, by all means rush the court. Any victories over a team that is currently unranked, despite their previous ranking is considered null and void. Also, accepting a bid to play in the NIT, CIT or CBI should come with stipulations that you agree not to rush the court under any circumstances. I'm hoping that a school with enough wit will begin rushing the court after every single victory to further show how meaningless the court rush has become.

-Signed, a fake bitter Kentucky fan.

3. Speaking of those Wildcats...

Goodness gracious, what a squad Cal has put together for next season. Six of the top 18 recruits in the country have signed on to play with UK, and that doesn't include #1 overall recruit Andrew Wiggins who has yet to decide where he will play college ball. Throw in Kyle Wiltjer and Jarrod Polson returning, and the Cats look to be in good shape for next season. I know that Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein have raised a few eyebrows by saying they mar return to school, but I think that was the emotion of an embarrassing loss talking. Once these guys realize what a weak draft it is, and the competition for solid minutes there will be next season, I think they will go pro.

4. The Bengals offseason moves.

The Bengals made a commitment to re-signing their own players first before they ventured out into free agency. I got no beef with that. This is a relatively young team coming off consecutive playoff appearances. By all means, please lock up some of the core pieces that got us there. Only they haven't really been re-signing those guys. We are amongst the top 3 teams in the league as far as cap space, yet deals have yet to be reached with our two top FA's. Michael Johnson was franchise tagged, which I guess I understand. Nothing wrong with daring him to duplicate his 11.5 sack season before locking him up to a long term deal. But Andre Smith is still a free agent, and the longer he sits the more I fear a team will overwhelm him with an offer that Cincy won't match. Smith quietly turned himself into a great right tackle and I would love to see him back in stripes. Meanwhile, we re-signed some special teams players and gave the ABYSMAL Rey Maualuga an agreement tied to legal tender to play football in Cincinnati for another two seasons.

5. John Wall putting it together.

In the 34 games that John Wall has played this season, the Wizards are 19-15, a vast improvement from the 5-28 record they amassed sans Wall. He's also in the midst of the best month of his professional career. In 11 games this month, Wall is averaging 20 PPG (52% FG/ 55% 3P/ 85% FT), 4 RPG, a shade under 8 APG and 2 SPG. 11 games is an extremely small sample size and that three point percentage is unsustainable, but I'm hoping this is the start of Wall realizing his potential.

6. The Houston Rockets

They are currently  in a position to play the Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. What a great series that would be. The top two scoring offenses in the NBA facing off, along with the subplot of Harden returning to play OKC. I really like Houston's team going forward. They have found a legit star in Harden, have some nice pieces around him in Omer Asik/Jeremy Lin/Chandler Parsons/Thomas Robinson and still have the cap space to add another max contract (Plenty of young pieces to send to LA for Dwight Howard). Darryl Morey should be commended for his great work and some moves that looked questionable at the time appear to be finally paying off.

7. The 20/20 Experience

After all the hype from Justin Timberlake's latest album, I was ready for a classic. What I got was some fantastic elevator music. The songs weren't bad but each song seemed a couple of minutes too long. And I love long songs, but not when it feels like you're making the song long just for the sake of making it long. The second part of the album will be released this fall, and I will probably give it a listen but I won't be expecting much.

8. And speaking of The 20/20 Experience...

It might be time for album participant Jay-Z to hang up the microphone. After a subpar verse on "Suit and Tie", Hov was absolutely washed by Kendrick Lamar on the "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe Remix". You have no idea how hard it was for me to type that, but my goodness.

9. Baseball season is almost here

Tigers in good shape. Reds in good shape. Good weather is on the horizon. This pleases me.

10. March Madness is amongst us.

And I don't have to worry myself sick with each minute of a Kentucky game. I can watch these games and just enjoy good games without praying that the Kansas team plane left without Thomas Robinson before the championship game. Ready to slack off of work while checking multiple games at once, like a real American. All is well. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Where Have I Been?

I apologize for my absence.  Around this time of year, I usually find myself with a lack of things to talk about.  The two sports I follow the closest are football and baseball.  We currently find ourselves post-football and pre-baseball.
I wanted to do some more NFL analysis (breaking down plays and whatnot), but I ran out of good ideas.  If you (or anyone reading this) happens to have any ideas, let me know and I'll work on it.
I love basketball and hockey, but, with no cable for the majority of the week, I don't get to watch much.  If I'm lucky, I get to watch 3 NBA games and 2 NHL games.  It's a sad state of sporting life for me this time of year.

But we've got March Madness coming up (I plan on taking a day or two off work to watch the first round), and Opening Day is in a few weeks.  So I'll be back to my semi-regular blogging ways very soon.

I plan on doing a bit more baseball blogging than I have in the past.  I watch roughly 80% of Tigers games for the year.  I'm hoping to do a post after each game, with little thoughts about each one.  Not recaps, really (you can get those anywhere), but maybe catching up on some running storylines throughout the year.  I assume it will start to take form as the season progresses.

Last season, I adopted the Dodgers as my west coast team.  It worked out well.  I got to watch more NL baseball than I usually do (living where I do, MLB.tv blacks out Reds game, so I can't get my fix there), I got to watch some great baseball, and I got to listen to Vin Scully.
With the way the Dodgers have spent money in the offseason, I don't feel right about following them again.  They seem like a trendy team this year, and I don't feel like joining in on that.
I may roll with the Padres.  Or I may just see who is playing late on any given night and watch the one that interests me the most.  I guess we'll see what happens.