Monday, June 30, 2008

Why Tennis Sucks

I guess Wimbeldon is going on right now.

Who knew?

I was listening to the radio this morning and heard the announcements concerning who won, who was upset, et cetera, et cetera. Then, something dawned on me: I cannot remember the last time I actually watched tennis. It's been at least 15 years since I watched a whole match. Oh, I've seen a minute or two of it in the last few years, just enough to remind me that tennis sucks.

But why? I played regularly as a child, even making and captaining my high school tennis team (to mostly poor results.) I remember walking around as a kid and seeing the courts full at night, after it had cooled down. I remember having to wait to play. But now? I couldn't tell you the last time I saw someone actually playing tennis at a local court.

A few reasons for the decline of tennis:

1. Technology. The rackets are so superb, and you can hit the ball so damn fast, that it takes all of the art out of the game. It's just pound it, pound it, pound it now.

2. Golf took over: as the weenie sport for people to play. I mean, it's less physical work to play golf, and if you are going to suck at a sport, like you most certainly will with golf or tennis, you might as well play the sport Tigah Tigah Woods plays.

3. No good Americans: When that douche Andy Roddick is your best hope on the men's side, and Venus and Serena Williams, who care more about designing ugly clothes than playing tennis, are your best hopes on the women's side, you have problems.

4. Wimbledon coverage starts at 7 AM: People aren't going to get up at 7 AM to watch no tennis. If you even want a chance at getting people to watch, you've got to change that.

5. You're only good until you're 22 years old: What other sports exist where you peak at 15? Gymnastics? You know how gymnastics is just killing it in the ratings.

In the end, maybe I don't know why tennis sucks, exactly. I just know that it sucks. And someone needed to say it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fantasy GM Challenge: Game1

Well, game 1 is in the books. Playboyd's All-Stars won the coin toss to have the home court advantage, and off we went.

The first quarter was evenly matched. Both teams made the majority of their shots and we ended with a 23-22 score in favor of T-Bone's All-Stars. The most intersting thing was to see Brandon Roy raining in 20 foot jumpers with 1 second left on the shot clock. (Did it 3 times).

The second quarter was played again to a draw. And we go into halftime 46-45 for T-Bone. I'm beginning to regret drafting LeBron and Wade as Deron Williams never touches the ball. One of the other 2 brings the ball up and dominates it for 20 seconds and then shoot a lousy shot.

The third(and decisive quarter). T-Bones All-Stars simply take over, while the Playboyds are left in the dust. This is Carmelo Anthony's quarter as he gets 12 in the 3rd. Score is now 71-60.

The fourth was never in doubt as T-bone pushed it to as much as 15 and Playboyd could never cut it below 9.

Final Score: T-Bone's All-Stars 91, Playboyd's All-Stars 79.

Carmello Anthony is the game's MVP with 25 pts, 5 reb, and 9 assists.

Chris Paul 6-9 1-2 0-1 1 7 1 0 5 13
B. Roy 7-13 0-1 3-4 1 4 1 0 0 17
C. Anthony 9-21 7-8 0-2 6 9 2 0 0 25
A.Jefferson 3-7 0-0 0-0 5 1 0 1 0 6
D. Howard 7-12 0-0 0-0 11 1 1 1 0 14
J. Calderon 2-2 2-3 0-0 2 1 1 0 1 6
A.Iguodala 3-4 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 2 1 6
R.Gay 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 0 0
D. Granger 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 0 0
L.Aldridge 1-2 0-0 0-0 2 1 1 0 0 2
A. Horford 1-4 0-0 0-0 3 1 0 1 0 2
39-76 10-14 3-7 33 28 8 5 7 91

D. Williams 2-5 0-0 1-2 2 3 0 0 2 5
D.Wade 7-15 0-0 1-1 5 5 2 0 3 15
L.James 8-18 2-3 0-3 4 4 3 1 1 18
J.Smith 4-8 1-2 0-0 7 1 0 0 0 9
A.Stoudamire 12-19 2-3 0-0 11 4 0 1 2 26
R.Rondo 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 3 0 0 1 0
B.Barry 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0
M.Ellis 0-6 0-0 0-1 0 1 0 0 0 0
B.Bowen 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0
P.Millsap 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0 0 0
G.Oden 2-2 0-0 0-0 4 0 1 1 0 4
J.Moon 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 0 0 0 0 0
36-78 6-9 1-10 36 22 6 3 9 79

Game 2, coming up. There's no way Carmelo can outplay LeBron for 2 straight games, is there?

Friday, June 27, 2008

The NBA Draft - Thoughts

Sometimes I think analyzing professional sports drafts immediately after they happen is a waste - we don't know who deserves an A+ or a D until these players have had some time in the league and we can see how they progress. That being said, I think articles and analysis immediately after the draft is fun, so here are some of my thoughts and projections.

Chicago and Derrick Rose - I think Rose is a really good player and should become one of the 5 best point guards in the league pretty quickly. He is not a good outside shooter, but he can penetrate, finish with strength, and has the potential to be an elite defender. Comparing him to Chris Paul and Deron Williams when they came out, I liked Paul and Williams better than I do Rose. Both were more polished when they turned pro, but they each had longer college careers too, so it's a tough comparison. I think Rose is a good fit for Chicago and he might do for Tyrus Thomas what Chris Paul does for Tyson Chandler.

Miami and Michael Beasley - Why on earth was there any debate about this pick? Were the Heat seriously considering Mayo at #2 over Beasley? I hope not. Beasley is a stud and will be a fixture in the All-Star game in the future. From what I have seen of Beasley I think he is better now than Kevin Durant was last year. Beasley has a good outside shot and a solid post game. He gets so many And-1s it's crazy. He's strong and can take a hard foul and still finish. People dog on his defense, but I don't see why. He's not Marcus Camby, but he has all the tools to defend well in the NBA. Miami also got a steal in the early second round in Mario Chalmers. Chalmers is a great defender who can develop into a nice team leader in Miami. Chalmers, Wade, and Beasley can be a good nucleus for the future. Also, when Marion is gone and they can spend that money somewhere else, they could be contending again soon.

The Eternal Losers and Eric Gordon - I think Gordon is a good player who will eventually be a good scorer in the NBA, but he won't be a superstar. He reminds me a bit of Michael Redd or Ben Gordon. He's a great shooter but there isn't anything else he does all that well. If Shaun Livingston comes back and ever comes close to reaching his potential, Gordon could be a solid backcourt-mate for him, but I don't see Gordon ever being a number-one option in the league.

Memphis, Minnesota, Kevin Love, and OJ Mayo - I watched a ton of Pac-10 basketball this year and I can't stress this enough - Kevin Love will never dominate in the NBA. He was a stud of a college player, and he will be a solid pro because he is so fundamental, but he is just not athletic enough to dominate the pro game. I just don't see him as a futute star. He kind of reminds me of Andrew Bogut - someone who will be good but not someone you build a franchise around. Mayo, on the other hand, has huge upside. I don't know that he'll be amazing right away (or ever), but his ceiling is really high. He's a good defender and knows how to score. As he progressed and got better last year, USC really improved. Some people say that Mayo is selfish, but he was a good facilitator within the scheme of the offense last year.

Joe Alexander and Milwaukee - Alexander is a good player and an impressive athlete, but why this pick after picking up Richard Jefferson? I wonder if they are looking at Alexander to play the 4. Otherwise, I don't really like this pick.

Brook Lopez and New Jersey - Lopez is a good post scorer and the Nets haven't had that in, well, maybe ever. Derrick Coleman I guess? Lopez can be a good offensive contributor, but he isn't very athletic and he doesn't play great defense. I see him similar to Kevin Love - really good college player who won't be amazing in the NBA.

Jerryd Bayless and Portland - My goodness the Blazers might be good in the future - the near future. Bayless has loads of talent. If he can learn to defer a bit more, he could be downright scary in Portland. Look at all the young talent - Bayless, Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Oden, Martell Webster, Travis Outlaw, and Sergio Rodriguez. The only player on that team making over 5 million is Raef LaFrentz. His contract comes off the books soon and they can sign Roy and Aldridge to deals and maybe add some more pieces. This team could be very scary very soon.

Russell Westbrook and Seattle - Many people have been dogging this pick, but I think Westbrook is a stud. I don't know that I see him as a point guard, but I think he can be really good at the 2 if he plays there. His defense is awesome - he's probably the best defensive perimeter player in this draft (Chalmers might be a good argument) and his athletecism is crazy. If you haven't seen him throw it down, look at THIS and THIS. Westbrook is a good selection because, as we saw with the Celtics this year, perimeter defense can win championships (i.e., Kobe and LeBron).

Anyway, those are a few of my thoughts on the draft. If you don't agree, let me know...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Boyd and Taylor as NBA GM's - how did we do?

To preface this, I'll state that Boyd and I did this draft yesterday using IM. The great thing about this is that neither of us exactly have a ton of time - we actually made time to do this. In and of itself, that's awesome. Boyd (the salary cap guru - seriously) lays out exactly what we did at the beginning, so, I'm just going to copy and paste this in. It's a bit long, but it's entertaining, so give it a look:

Playboyd: Today, The Bone (Taylor) and I, the Playboy (Boyd) have gotten together to do a little NBA GM'ing. The NBA Draft is today, and someone, presumably the Bulls, is going to squander its pick on Derrick Rose. Well, T and I have decided to test out our GM skills with a little mock draft of our own. We won't bore ourselves with breaking down the current draft "And with the 26th pick, the Washington Wizards pick---some foreigner you've never heard of!" Instead, we decided to use the current NBA players for our Fantasy Mock Draft. The rules are simple: Any player currently in the NBA is available, but here is the catch: we must keep our salaries within the Salary Cap "guidelines"of 55.63 Million.

Playboyd: Of course, if a team is OVER the cap (The NBA has a "soft" cap) then a player can be signed with the so-called mid-level exception (up to 5.356 Million).
: Let's do it.
Playboyd: No one will be allowed over the Luxury Tax Threshold of 67,865,000. As you can see, that gives you quite a bit of leeway
Playboyd: Hang on!

Taylor: Sorry - I thought you were done articulating
Taylor: Actually, I need a pepsi. I'll be right back.
Playboyd: The test of who does better will be tested in a world that Taylor and I both love: XBOX360. I will rent NBA 2K8, plug in the players and pit them in a 7 game series against each other. The winner gets a Macho Burrito from Del Taco.
Playboyd: Let the games begin!
Taylor: PlayBoyd won the coin flip, so he gets the first pick. I’m going to guess he’ll go with a Boston Celtics player…
Playboyd: Ok. With the first pick, it is pretty obvious where I am going. The undisputed best player on the planet.
Playboyd: Labron James.
Taylor: You mean LeBron James? And he isn't the best player on the planet... Probably number 2 though.
Playboyd: If I spell it wrong does that mean I don't get him?
Taylor: Not necessarily. It just shows a lack of respect/credibility. My first selection is a steal at 4.5 million dollars a year - Chris Paul.
Taylor: How many Celtics are you planning to take?
Playboyd: Chris Paul? What a ....great pick. He was next off my board. Oh well, with the 3rd Pick, I will select Dwayne Wade at 14.4 million. Can you imagine that tandem?
Taylor: Crap!! That was my next pick. I was hoping you wouldn't go that way. I don’t want to pay 21 for Kobe or KG. I need just a moment now...
Playboyd: That puts my cap figure at $28,821,162
Taylor: My second overall pick is Dwight Howard. Imagine Paul throwing oops to DH all day. Make Tyson Chandler look like a pansy. Did I spell pansy right? Pansey maybe? Anyhow - Dwight Howard.
Playboyd: that puts your cap number at $17,615,439
Taylor: Thanks. I can't keep track.
Playboyd: With my 3rd Pick, I'll take Amare Stoudamire at 15 million, putting my cap figure at $43,891,712. Might not be enough balls to go around!
Taylor: Crazy scoring on your team. How will they share the ball? It's like the Celtics—how will they ever coexist... Oh, right, by winning the NBA title. Hmm.
Taylor: My 3rd pick is Carmelo Anthony at 14.4 mill. Pretty solid. I need a go-to scorer, so why not him? I’m still upset that you took Wade. Jerk.
Playboyd: Your cap number is now at $ 32,026,020.
Playboyd: Carmelo is solid. I’m sure the video game will over rate him
Playboyd: With my 4th pick, I'll take Deron Williams for 5.0 million. That puts my cap number at $48, 961,160. Already perilously close to the cap. (It should be noted that you can always add a veteran at the veteran’s minimum of 1.3 mill or a less than 3 year for 700 k., even if you are over the cap)
Taylor: My next pick is probably better in reality than he will be on the video game, but I'm going with Andre Iguodala at 3.8 million. He’s obviously not the best player on the board, but at that price he’s a steal baby. Wade won't get his usual numbers against Iguodala.
Playboyd: Not a bad pick. Puts your number at $35,826,645 - still a lot of talent out there.
Playboyd: I now have to go value, and I need another big, so I'll take Josh Smith of the Hawks for 3.2 Million. That puts my cap number at $ 52,129,043
Taylor: He's a good pick. I like that move. I need a big man for a low price, so I'll follow your lead in getting a steal. I want LaMarcus Aldridge for 4.6 million. Good value for 18 and 7 or 8 boards. I like these guys in their first few years - good value.
Playboyd: I don't like that pick-at all. I think Ron Artest of Shane Battier would BOTH be better values. Especially with your cap number being so low. That puts you at $40,458,045. I was above that after three picks!
Taylor: You don't have to like that pick. I thought about Battier, but he probably sucks on the game. If it were realistic, I would have leaned toward Battier because I love the D. Artest is too injury prone, but same thing on the D. I guess it doesn't matter on the game though...
Playboyd: My next pick is probably the highest value/cost ratio in the leauge: my little sparkplug off the bench: at 770 K, Monta Ellis. That puts me at $52,899,652
Playboyd: that is such a sick pick
Taylor: Nice. He’s super underrated. I'll go with a similar player and take another Trail Blazer. Brandon Roy at 3.1 million.
Playboyd: He's a stud. You are at $43,542,285
Playboyd: Need a backup PG. On the cheap, a defender off the bench, PG for Your World Champion Celtics, Rajon Rondo (I had to go with someone from the C's, didn't I?) at 1.6 million. That puts me at $ 54,546,436
Taylor: True. I also need a backup point, so I'll go with Jose Calderon at 2.471 million. I had Rondo on my short list. I figured he'd be the Celtic you would pick - got to go with the good value.
Playboyd: Nice. He's one of the best in the league. Puts you at $46,013,285
Taylor: Thank you.
Playboyd: This is gonna be tight, but I'll take Bruce Bowen for 4 mill flat. Need that D off the bench. That puts me at $58,546,436. I'm over the cap so now I can sign one player for up to the mid-level exception or players to the minimum contracts.
Taylor: I'll take Al Horford for 4 mil. He can back up Dwight or start at the 4 if I don’t like Aldridge there.
Playboyd: That puts you at $50,040,005
Playboyd: I'll use my midlevel here at pick 9, and take Greg Oden at 5 million. That puts me at $63,546,436
Playboyd: I can now only take minimum contract players.
Taylor: Ok. You're the salary cap guru, I'll just do what I do and assume you'll tell me if I'm breaking the rules... I'm going to take a sleeper pick here and go with David Lee for 1.7. That cat is underrated bigtime.
Playboyd: Nice. I wanted him but couldn't work it out. Puts you at $51,828,038. Still 3.8 million below the salary cap-with the full midlevel available.
Playboyd: Ok. so here I'll grab Brent Barry for some outside shooting (probably won't play a minute) at the league minimum for a 10 year vet-1.2 mil, putting me at 65,546,017
Taylor: Okay. In order to keep me below the salary cap, I want Rudy Gay at 2.5 million.
Taylor: You see the Richard Jefferson to the Bucks trade?
Playboyd: Rudy Gay. Nice. Puts you at $54,407,438. 2 big ones coming up for you. (yes I saw the trade but don't know enough of the details yet to say.)
Playboyd: My next pick I take Jamario Moon for 700 k and that puts me at $65,459,943.
Taylor: This is tough. I can't decide if I want one stud and a throw away bench player or two solid guys. I’m leaning toward a stud because your starting lineup is crazy.
Playboyd: you need another stud: Paul, Howard and Anothony aren't going to be enough
Taylor: That's what I'm thinking. I like my depth but your starting lineup is way better than mine.
Taylor: Give me some Al Jefferson. 21 and 11 baby. I like that.
Playboyd: Nice, you know I love me some BIG AL. That puts you at $65,407,438.
Playboyd: I'll take Paul Millsap with my final pick, at the league min for his years at about 800k, bringing my total to $66,257534. I like my team.
Taylor: you'll like my last pick - I have a few wings, but one more can't hurt. I'll take Danny Granger at $2,329,804 to slide in at just under the luxury tax. Beautiful.
Playboyd: absolutely. Nice.
Taylor: Wonderful. I like my depth, but your starting lineup is amazing.
Playboyd: Well done. Puts you at $67,737,242.
Playboyd: Best of 7, may the best Virtual Fantasy GM win!
Taylor: Cool. I hope my depth will win out in a 7 game series. As long as you don't turn off the fatigue on the game.
Playboyd: I'm not going to alter any settings
Taylor: Sounds good. I'm still a bit mad that you took Wade at 3. I was hoping you'd go Amare or Dwight so I could get Dwyane or Dywane or Dewayne or however you spell it.
Playboyd: Good luck, you'll need it little man.
Taylor: Alright, take care bro -


Boyd’s Team –

Deron Williams
Rajon Rondo
Dwyane Wade
Brent Barry
Monta Ellis
Bruce Bowen
Jamario Moon
LeBron James
Paul Millsap
Josh Smith
Amare Stoudemire
Greg Oden

Taylor’s Team –

Chris Paul
Jose Calderon
Brandon Roy
Andre Iguodala
Carmelo Anthony
Rudy Gay
Danny Granger
David Lee
Al Jefferson
LaMarcus Aldridge
Al Horford
Dwight Howard

Monday, June 23, 2008

Best Centers in the NBA - Taylor's version:

  1. Dwight Howard – I’ll be shocked if Boyd doesn’t have Kendrick freaking Perkins at the top of his list. Never mind the fact that Dwight Howard might be the nicest guy in the NBA – this guy is just athletically superior to basically everyone in the league (he had 267 dunks this year—that’s 3.25 a game. Crazy). If he can develop more lower-body strength he might end up as one of the best of all-time. I hate to say it, but I was actually on the Okafor bandwagon when Orlando had the #1 pick. Needless to say, I was way off. In case you don’t recognize his skills, watch him kiss the rim – seriously:
  2. Yao Ming – when he’s healthy he can be dominant. He’s amazingly boring to watch, but he has developed a nice little post game. His outside shot is pretty slick too. I’ve always wondered what his hat size must be—the guy’s cranium is ginormous.
  3. Marcus Camby – this guy is so underrated it’s not even funny. He isn’t the best offensively, but defensively he’s an absolute brute and he rebounds like a champ. He can run the floor and is super physical. Plus, in college he collapsed before a game due to over-the-counter cough medicine. Talk about overcoming adversity…
  4. Shaquille O’Neal – Shaq is the best center I've ever seen, and he's the best since Abdul-Jabbar, and don’t give me that Hakeem Olodjuwon crap. When Shaq was in his prime he was as unstoppable as anyone who ever played (other than maybe Wilt). He’s on the down-slope now, but he is still a game changer. As he and Amare learn to play together, the Suns could be impressive. I love me some Shaquille O’Neal.
  5. Chris Kaman – another underrated player. He’s goofy, but underrated. He put up about 16 and 13 this year when he was healthy – those are great numbers from the center position. Too bad he plays for a team that will never get him anywhere. He’s pretty mobile for a center too.

Best defender: Camby – he can do it all. Samuel Dalembert is an underrated defender, and Okafor is pretty solid too, but Camby is the best.

Best shot-blocker: Camby – Howard averaged more blocks per game, but many of his came on help defense. Camby is better at guarding his man one-on-one and sending the shot back. I’ve got to give it to him.

Awesome-est center in the world (not NBA-specific): Rafael Araujo. This list wouldn’t be complete without this guy. I had to find a category for him. He plays for Spartak St. Petersburg in Russia. I’m sure he’s dominating…

Most overrated: Ben Wallace – everyone talks about this guy like he’s the best defensive player of all time. He’s not. Mehmet Okur is a bit overrated too. He can shoot like a champ but, like his frontcourt-mate Carlos Boozer, he can’t play D unless it’s the only thing he focuses on. He played great D against Yao in the playoffs last year but couldn’t score. When he scores, he doesn’t play D. I don’t know that this makes him overrated, but he certainly isn’t well-rounded.

Most underrated: Andrew Bogut – Bogut has improved and quietly become one of the top 10 centers in the league. If he played on a team that utilized his skill set better he’d get more credit. Well, maybe not—he plays in Milwaukee. Bogut is certainly one of the top 10 ugliest players in the league: Dalembert is pretty underrated also.

No specific category, but deserves mention: Tyson Chandler – Chandler is fun to watch, but I wonder if he is just a product of playing with Chris Paul. Chandler gets tons of open looks (he was 3rd in the league in dunks) because of Paul, so his stats look pretty good. He does play solid defense and is an excellent rebounder. I’m not really sure what to make of him.
Best in 5 Years: 1. Dwight Howard (and it’s not even close) 2. Yao Ming 3. Greg Oden 4. Al Horford 5. Andrew Bynum

The Center Position or "The Position That Doesn't Exist Anymore"

I'll give you who I think the top 5 centers are, yadda yadda, et cetera and so on, but let's be honest: There are only a handful of true centers left in the league. Most players are a hybrid of Power Forward and Center. But I digress. To the list.

Top 5:
1. Dwight Howard: Now imagine if he had any offensive game at all. Dude averaged 20 points a game without having a go-to move, or really, any semblance of a post game. The Magic rarely pass the ball to him, and the offense stalls when the ball is in his hand. He turns the ball over too much (his turnover rate was in the bottom 20% of the league) and is a poor passer (assist ration was 48th of 60 in all players qualified as center ), but if his basketball IQ ever comes up, or someone can teach him a post move or 5, he could be in the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) discussion at center, he's that physically gifted. He rebounds like a beast (highest rebound rate in the league), defends exceptionally well, and works as hard as anyone in the game. Oh, and he'll still be 22 at the start of next season.
2. Yao Ming: Was man meant to be 7'6"? If this dude could stay healthy (no more than 57 games over the past 3 seasons) he could be right there, if not above Dwight Howard. He has an excellent scoring touch, can shoot free throws, is a better defender than advertised, is a decent passer, and is a solid rebounder. He does turn the ball over a little to much, and doesn't attack in the post maybe as much as he should/could, but the main negative is the injury histroy. Time will tell if he can overcome that (Like Zydrunas Ilgauskus did.) He'll be 28 at the start of next season and should be entering his prime.
3. Marcus Camby: Very overlooked player. I like this guy a lot. Is an elite defender, probably the best defender at Center in the league. He's been over 3 blocks per game for the last 4 seasons. Gets very little usage in the Nuggets high octane offense, but when he does touch it, he leads all centers in assist ratio, is a low turnover player, and can knock down a shot or two if left open. He is a monster on the (particularly defensive)glass. Like Yao, the main detraction is the injury history. He's only played above 70 games thrice in a 12 year career, which is scary.
4. Tyson Chandler: This is a big step down from 1-3, but Chandler is a solid Center. He is excellent at doing what he does well: rebound, defend, catch the ally-oop and slam it on your head. More importantly he generally avoids what he does poorly: shoot, do anything on offense besides catch the ally-oop and slam it on your head, handle the ball. He's just an efficient guy who is in the right system and will get you 10 and 10 every night. The big detraction: He's always bitchin'. Shut up Tyson, you make 10 million a year to catch ally-oops from the best point gaurd and slam them down on people's heads. It's okay that fould just got called on you.
5. Zydrunas Ilgauskus: Pencil him in for 12-15 points, 8-9 rebounds, 1-2 blocks, and you have a good, solid player. That's Z. Good and solid. Him ranking this high just shows you how bad Shaq has gotten.

Most Underrated: Andris Beidrins, Chris Kaman, Brendan Haywood
Overrated: Andrew Bynum (you still would have been beaten like red-headed stepchildren, you'll find out next year.), Shaquille O'Neal.

Best in 5 years: 1. Dwight Howard 2. Yao Ming 3. Andrew Bogut

Most looking like a sad hound dog: Mark Blount
Most looking like Tracy Morgan: Andrew Bynum
Most looking like he has Downs Syndrom: Shaquille O'Neal

Friday, June 20, 2008

Boyd's Power Forwards in the NBA

For those of you who don't know, you betta aks somebody. Taylor has his lists, and I'll have mine. That's part of the point of this blog: conversation and debate. Today, I'll look at some Power Forwards in the NBA.

First of all, this and Center are basically the same position in today's NBA. With that being said, here is my list:

My Top 5- (best season)
1. Kevin Garnett (03-04: 24.2 ppg, 13.9 rpg, 5.0 apg, 2.2 bpg, 1.5 spg)
2. Amare Stoudamire (07-08: 25.2 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.1 bpg 59.0 fg%)
3. Tim Duncan (01-02: 25.5 ppg, 12.7 rpg, 3.7 apg, 2.5 bpg)
4. Dirk Nowitzki (05-06: 26.6 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.8 apg, 40.6 3ptfg%)not the mvp year, but a better year.
5. Chris Bosh (aka Snoop Dogg) (06-07: 22.6 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 2.5 apg)

Thoughts and observations-
1. KG averages only 2.5 fouls per game despite averaging 1.7 blocks and 1.4 steals per game for his career. That's impressive. He is easily the most intense player in the game today. (who is #2, btw? I'd say Lebron.)
2. Amare Stoudemire is still only 25 years old. Imagine if he never had the microfracture surgery. He gets the nod over Duncan because currently, I feel he is superior. He got a 17 foot jumper last year and after they got Shaq was un-freaking-stoppable. He averaged 29.0 ppg after the trade.(Career wise it's not even close with TD being tops on the list, maybe of all time power forwards.)
3. Tim Duncan is not underrated. Whenever an announcer says this, I want to kick him in the nards. Everyone knows Tim Duncan is one of the best all time by now. The only area of his game that is underrated is his D. He is a beast on D.
4. People who think that Dirk needs to shoot less 3's suffer from all 3 major forms of retardation. I think it finally got banged into his head last year that he should shoot less threes and because of it his scoring, shooting percentage, and offensive efficiency declined. When you have a guy that shoots close to 40 percent from the three point line you want him shooting more of those shots, not less.
5. There is a big drop off from #4 to #5. Bosh is nice, but brittle, and lacks toughness. Then you get into a slew of guys like Carlos Boozer, Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, Pau Gasol, David West, Shawn Marion, and maybe even Antawn Jamison. These guys are all about on par with each other with some warts, but a lot of good, as well.

Overrated: Pau Gasol, Carlos Boozer, Shawn Marion, Rasheed "what the hell is that white thing in his hair?" Wallace
Underrated: David West, Al Jefferson
Best Bench Players: Carl Landry, Leon "pincers of" Powe, David Lee, Paul Millsap, Jason Maxiel

Top 5 in 5 years:
1. Amare 2. Kevin Garnett 3. Al Jefferson 4. Josh Smith 5. Tyrus Thomas

Bottom 5 Right Now:
Brian Scalabrine takes all 5 slots.

Worst Player of All Time:
Brian Scalabrine

Ranking the best 4s in the NBA

1. Kevin Garnett – I love me some KG. I’d probably make out with him. Partly because he’s insane, and partly because he’s 7 feet tall and can play like a 3. He’s one of the most intense players in the league and he has pretty amazing facial hair (see ). That is amazing stuff. He is the best all-around 4 in the league, but Duncan is close.
2. Tim Duncan – I think he’s the best PF of all time, but he’s not as good as KG right now. Duncan is so fundamental that I find him a bit boring to watch at times. The way he uses the glass is a thing of beauty. It’s hard for me to put a Spurs player on one of these lists though.
3. Dirk Nowitski – Dirk is an amazing shooter and is a better rebounder than he gets credit for. He’s got a swagger that is pretty annoying, but he backs it up, so I have to give him that. The best Euro in the league right now – and he doesn’t even flop that much… Next year he’ll lose his title of ugliest player in the NBA to Trent Plaisted.
4. Amare Stoudemire – I love watching this guy play. I can’t help but wonder how good he’d be without Steve Nash, but he has a pretty well-rounded offensive game. His dunk over Olowokandi is classic ( If he could play better D he’d be higher on the list.
5. Al Jefferson/Chris Bosh – This is kind of a copout, but I’m putting them both because I can. I haven’t seen Jefferson as much as Bosh, but I’ve been super impressed with what I’ve seen. Bosh spending his own $ to promote himself as an all-star is classic, so he makes the list.

Best looking: Even though he retired this year, it’s got to be Chris Webber. That is one handsome cat.
Best defender: Garnett – He was the defensive player of the year, so this is a no-brainer.
Most irritating: Kenyon Martin – I actually like watching Martin play, but it’s like he thinks he’s a more intense version of KG or something. He’s always screaming and pulling his jersey back so we can see his stupid boob tattoo. Nice work Martin. He’s got to be the worst #1 pick in the past 8 or 10 years. Except Kwame Brown.
Most underrated: Al Jefferson – he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. My boy Boyd has been telling me about Al for a while now and I doubted him – a little. Al might be the best rebounder in the league.
Most overrated: Carlos Boozer – I love Boozer. And he's really good. But, seriously, he can’t play D at all. He’s terrible. His offense is good, and he’s strong, good left hand, but his D is horrible. I’m surprised Sloan hasn’t taken Boozer out behind the woodshed. And my money would be on Sloan.
Best in 5 years: 1. Amare 2. Michael Beasley 3. Jefferson 4. Bosh 5. LaMarcus Aldridge (this position seems like it will drop off big…)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ranking the best small forwards in the NBA

1. LeBron James – He’s a freak. Being as athletic as he is at 6-8 and 250 is practically unfair. The scary thing is that he is steadily improving. His defense was much improved this year and he is knocking down his outside shot with more regularity. He can do everything, as evidenced by his stats: 30ppg, 7.9rpg, 7.2apg. If we ever see someone average a triple-double again, it’ll be LeBron.
2. Paul Pierce – Paul is not as pretty to watch as some of the other guys in the league (and many whine about him exaggerating when he gets bumped) but Pierce is impressively fundamental. He has an all-around game: underrated defender, solid shooter, good rebounder, impressive passer, etc. Pierce does whatever his team needs. His D is severely disrespected – witness what he did when matched up one-on-one with LeBron and Kobe in the playoffs. Impressive.
3. Carmelo Anthony – It’s a bit hard for me to put ‘Melo here because I don’t like the guy. That said, he has major talent. He can score in a variety of ways and has an excellent post-up game. His defense is lacking but he has improved throughout his short career. For him to cement his place as a superstar he needs to get it done in the playoffs…
4. Andre Iguodala – Most people don’t recognize how good this guy is because he plays on a crappy team, but his abilities deserve serious respect. AI’s defense is excellent and he has developed his offensive game in the past two years. Plus he rebounds and dishes the ball. As his confidence grows, expect to hear a lot more about him in the future.
5. Richard Jefferson – If you thought his stats were impressive just because Jason Kidd got him easy looks, check out his stats after the Kidd trade. No drop off. Jefferson is super athletic and has a good perimeter game. For some reason he gets more credit than he deserves for his defense – it’s solid, but not as good as people seem to think. He doesn’t have the lateral movement required to keep some of the quicker 3s in the league from getting to the tin. Jefferson gets the nod over Shawn Marion here, but just slightly.

Best defender: Shane Battier – this spot has gone to Bruce Bowen for years, but Battier takes the spot this year, and that’s saying something. Consider the quality defenders in the NBA at this position: Bowen, Pierce, Marion, Iguodala, Artest, Kirilenko, Josh Smith, Prince, and James Posey, to name a few. Battier is the best of the bunch and the most versatile: he can defend the post and the perimeter equally well.
Best dunker: LeBron James – Is there another wing who throws it down with such authority? Um, no. Josh Smith is pretty awesome though.
Best offensive game in the post: Carmelo Anthony – he can score so many ways on the block – up and under, step back J, spin moves, fadeaways. He can do everything.
Best rebounder: Josh Smith – Smith gets tons of rebounds from the 3 position. His strength and jumping ability allow him to put up big numbers.
Most underrated: Danny Granger (barely over Caron Butler) – This guy is really good. The only real weakness in his game is his ball-handling, but he is improving that constantly. Expect Granger to get better and better, and as the Pacers improve he’ll start to get more attention.
Most overrated: Andrei Kirilenko – This guy has a max contract? Seriously? AK47 plays amazing help defense – maybe the best in the league – but what else does he do? Score about 11 a game. Wow. What a joke.
Best in five years: 1. LeBron 2. Carmelo 3. Kevin Durant 4. Iguodala 5. Josh Smith

Tiger Woods - The Best Ever?

Has anyone ever dominated a sport the way Tiger Woods dominates golf? Federer in tennis? Jordan or Chamberlain in basketball? Ruth in baseball? Stretching to sports that don't get as much attention, Michael Phelps in swimming? Tiger might be the best of all time in any sport. We get to watch greatness several times a year and it's just awesome. This US Open was one of the most impressive things I've ever seen. It was remeniscent of Michael Jordan in the NBA Finals - when he was sick with the flu in Utah and went for 38 points. He was pushed to the limit and responded with his will to win. The US Open was that moment for Tiger. Coming off a knee injury and having not played in a tournament in months, he wins a major. A major! He was pushed to the limit and responded with a championship victory under intense pressure. He had to birdie 18 to give himself a chance to win the championship - twice. He did it. He persevered as he was put in a position he had never experienced before. He had never squandered a 54 hole lead in a major before. He lost his lead in the final round and came back. Then in the 18 hole playoff he gets a 3 shot lead, loses it, and comes back to force another playoff. All this while injured and rusty. The legend grows. We are seeing dominance like never before. Sit back and enjoy it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ranking the best 2 guards in the NBA:

1. Kobe Bryant – the best player in the NBA and it’s not that close. Kobe is an amazing offensive player and a very good defender (although his D is a bit overhyped). KB24 has become a more trusting team player this year, elevating his teammates in the process.
2. Dwyane Wade – Wade is scary good. It was tough to decide between he and AI for the #2 spot. AI is more durable and has superior stats, but Wade is an absolute game changer. When healthy, he is one of the 5 best players in basketball. Wade is strong and extremely athletic. He is in line with Kobe when it comes to determination to win ball games – he will do whatever it takes. Wade is a solid defender and his outside game is improving rapidly. As his jumpshot becomes more consistent he will become that much scarier.
3. Allen Iverson – AI might play harder than anyone in the league. He takes so much punishment and gets right back up. AI averaged 26 ppg, 3 rpg, and 7 apg this season, great numbers at this stage of his career. AI is a better defender than he gets credit for and distributes the ball like a point. A guy this size putting up these numbers is a bit ridiculous.
4. Tracy McGrady – While I feel like T-Mac is a bit overrated, he is a very solid all-around player. He gets 20-5-5 consistently and has become a more effective floor leader in the past few years. If he was a more consistent defender he would be higher on this list. It was tough to keep Joe Johnson out of the top 5.
5. Gilbert Arenas - Arenas is a bigtime scorer and is one of the fastest players in the league. I don't know that Arenas is as good as he thinks he is, but when he is on he scores at will. When healthy he is as good offensively as anyone not named Kobe or LeBron. Arenas is not as solid all-around as the players above him on this list, but he is one of the best clutch players in the league. It will be interesting to see what happens next year when he is healthy.

Best defender: Raja Bell – Raja is the only person on the Phoenix roster who even knows what defense is. Bell isn’t above giving a good cheap shot to get the job done, either. Bell is very physical and uses little tricks to keep his man from scoring – how many times do we see him grabbing a jersey or dropping an elbow. Whatever it takes…
Best scorer: Kobe Bryant – KB24 might be the best perimeter scorer in NBA history. Kobe and MJ are the only two even in the discussion. Kobe can score every way – getting to the line, getting to the rim, posting up, outside shot, in transition. He can do it all.
Best shooter: Michael Redd – this one is tough, with guys like Peja and Ray Allen being great shooters, but Redd is unreal. He is the focal point of the opposing team’s defense and still shoots a high percentage. Redd can hit from anywhere and does it with a hand in his face.
Best dunker: Vince Carter – Vince is the best dunker in NBA history. Period. An argument for anyone else is futile. Vince is the best in-game dunker ever. Jason Richardson is pretty insane too. He and Kobe are the only two you can even make an argument for, but no one matches Vince’s in-game dunks.
Most overrated: Manu Ginobili – He probably doesn't actually deserve this spot, but I’m giving it to him because I hate him. He flops too much and needs to recognize that his bald spot is very noticeable to the people in the crowd (Manu – they are above you and can see it easily).
Most underrated: Monta Ellis and Brandon Roy – these two are absolute stars in the making. Roy has a surprisingly complete game for such a young player and Ellis is beginning to find his stride in the league. Ellis shot over 50% this season – awesome for a SG. Kevin Martin is close behind these two but he doesn’t have the all-around game that Ellis and Roy do.
Best in five years: 1. Kobe 2. Wade 3. Joe Johnson 4. Roy 5. Ellis

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ranking the best Point Guards in the NBA:

1. Chris Paul – as good as Williams, Nash, and Davis are, this is not even close. Paul had the best season by a PG in years. Paul’s court vision is incredible, as evidenced by his 11.6 assists/game and the fact that he has made Tyson Chandler relevant. Paul seldom turns the ball over (about half as often as Williams), is a solid defender, and can score like a 2 guard. Paul is clearly the best PG in the NBA. While Williams is a better man defender, Paul turns the ball over less, is a better outside shooter, and gets more steals.
2. Deron Williams – Williams gets the nod at #2 over Nash for one major reason – defense. Williams is as strong as any PG in the league and has good lateral movement; he does a very good job of staying in front of his man and preventing penetration. Williams is a great passer and is surprisingly quick. Interestingly, he has dominated the head-to-head matchups with Paul so far in their careers, but his body of work is not as impressive as Paul’s. If Williams can cut down on turnovers the gap between him and Paul will close.
3. Steve Nash – Nash has been the best PG in the league for the last few years, winning two MVP awards (him winning even one is a bunch of crap, let alone winning two…) and leading the league in assists a few times. Nash might be the best outside shooting PG in the NBA, but he couldn’t guard me. Nash’s defense is terrible. He plays matador defense – he just gets out of the way as if he is about to get gored. Offensively, Nash is second only to Paul.
4. Baron Davis – Davis is probably the most physically impressive PG in the league. His strength gives him an advantage on every other point in the league (with the exception of maybe Williams) and he plays like it. Davis is very physical and often overwhelms other players. Davis had a huge season and may be finally developing the consistency that has been lacking throughout his career.
5. Tony Parker – Parker must be the most frustrating PG to defend in the NBA. He can get to the rim on anyone. Is there another guy in the league under 6-5 that gets so many layups? It seemed like he was laying the ball in on every other play against the Hornets and Suns in the playoffs. Parker has improved his shot and defense big time in the last few years, but he still leaves something to be desired.

Best penetrator: Tony Parker – slightly over Chris Paul.
Best defender: Devin Harris – Harris is very quick and is an underrated defender. Dallas trading him for Kidd was stupid because defense is where the Mavs constantly fall short.
Best passer: Chris Paul – Nash, Williams, and Jason Kidd are great passers, but Paul is at a different level right now.
Best ball-handler: Paul – it’s like he has the ball on a string. With the minutes per game he plays and the number of assist he gets, his low turnover rate is incredible.
Best scorer: Baron Davis – Paul is an excellent scorer, but Davis can be overwhelming.
Most overrated: Jason Kidd – Kidd is nowhere near what he used to be. He is still one of the ten (or so) best in the league, but people still act like he is in the echelon with Paul, Williams, and Nash. He’s not.
Most underrated: Jose Calderon and Mo Williams – these two don’t get the credit they deserve. Williams because he plays for a crappy team and Calderon because he plays in Canada. People will start to notice Calderon as he continues to get better and the Raptors keep getting to the playoffs, but Williams may remain relatively unknown because of where he plays.
Best in 5 years: 1. Paul 2. Williams 3. Derrick Rose 4. Jose Calderon 5. Parker (keep an eye on Brandon Jennings, a freshman at Arizona next year. He’s awesome)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Five reasons the Celtics will win the NBA Championship:

Reasons the Boston Celtics will win the NBA Finals:

1. Defense. Boston has the best defense in the NBA. Period. Their help defense is some of the best I have ever seen – which will be huge against a team who moves the ball as well as the Lakers do. Boston has the best interior defender in the league in Kevin Garnett. Look for Gasol to have to score more off of the pick and roll and cutting to the hole after penetration to get his points because Garnett will be able to adequately guard him straight up. Boston won’t win shootouts with L.A., so defense is the biggest key for them to win. The Celtics did a great job on LeBron (other than game 7), so it will be interesting to see how they do against Kobe. The Celtics get stops when they need them; can they stop Kobe in crunch time?

2. Paul Pierce. Garnett is going to average about 20 and 10, so Pierce will be the difference maker. Will the Lakers put Kobe on Pierce? Not likely – Pierce is stronger than Kobe and the wear of guarding Pierce one-on-one will take its toll on Bryant. Fisher might guard Pierce at times, but Pierce has a few inches on Fisher and can post him up. Kobe and Fisher will probably rotate on and off of Pierce during the game as the Lakers look to defend Pierce by committee. No one on the Lakers roster can match up with Pierce (other than Kobe), and if he plays big, look for Boston to win.

3. Home Court. Boston has not fared well on the road in these playoffs after posting the best road record in the league during the regular season. It looks like the Celtics finally began putting it together on the road against Detroit, but the Lakers are a whole different ballgame. Obviously, if Boston protects its home court they win. Boston has only lost once at home during the playoffs and no one has put the Lakers in a hole yet this postseason. If Boston can win the first two games, it will put pressure on a relatively inexperienced Lakers team to win. The 2-3-2 format means that if Boston wins the first two, L.A. will almost have to win 3 straight at Staples. Plus, Boston has already won 2 game sevens at home.

4. Kobe Bryant. If Boston’s defense can make Kobe feel like he needs to win games by himself, the Celtics will win this series. This is the biggest stage, and Kobe wants to be remembered. He wants to be MJ. If Kobe goes into me-against-the-world mode, the Celtics will win. The Lakers are here because they play so well as a team. If Kobe forgets that, Boston will be raising another banner.

5. Rebounding. Boston has a big advantage on boards against the Lakers. Los Angeles was outrebounded handily by Denver and Utah but better talent won out. Boston dominated Detroit on the boards and will probably do the same against L.A. If the Lakers don’t do a better job on the glass, Boston will limit the Lakers to one look and will get second opportunities consistently. The glass could be the Lakers downfall.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Five reasons the Lakers will win the NBA Championship:

  1. Kobe Bryant. Kobe is the best player in basketball and his will to win is unmatched by anyone in the NBA. We haven’t seen a player so determined to win since Michael Jordan. He has elevated his game this season at the expense of scoring – he does not automatically take over games in the fourth quarter, keeping defenses honest by playing everyone on the court. It was easier for teams to guard Kobe knowing he would shoot every time. Boston no longer has that luxury. In a game 7 I might bet on Kobe against Boston if he had to go it alone – he’s that determined to win.
  2. Ball movement. The Lakers have the best ball movement in the NBA. No team can pass the way LA can. Everyone on this team is a very good passer. The triangle offense has become much more dynamic with Gasol in the middle because of his passing and movement without the ball. The Spurs are one of the best defensive teams in the league and they were consistently scrambling to follow the ball against L.A. Los Angeles can move the ball well enough to outplay Boston’s touted defense.
  3. Coaching. Are you kidding? This is the biggest mismatch in Finals history – Jackson vs. Rivers. Phil has forgotten more about basketball than Doc knows. The Lakers will be more prepared than will Boston. Phil had 9 rings. 9! That is insane. Phil gives the Lakers an almost unfair advantage.
  4. Bench. The Lakers play so well together as a team and they lose very little when the bench players come in - actually they often build or expand leads with their bench. Vujacic, Walton, Turiaf, Farmar. These guys play so well together that Boston will need to play their starters extended minutes so they don’t get behind. The Boston bench isn’t even close to as productive as the Lakers’ bench.
  5. Derek Fisher. If you don’t think Fisher has played a huge role in the Lakers transformation you’re fooling yourself. Look at what Fisher’s tutelage did for Deron Williams while Fisher was in Utah—Deron is now one of the 2 or 3 best point guards in the league. Look at the improvement of Farmar and Vujacic from last season to this. Fisher is the one player on the team that Kobe trusted going into the season and Fisher has helped cultivate Kobe’s trust in their teammates. Fisher is a calming influence for this team, and his championship experience and leadership will make the difference for LA. He's also a solid defender who may be able to match up well at times with Paul Pierce.

Next up: Why the Celtics will win.