I was watching MLBTV on Monday and saw Byrnes lay out Harold Reynolds. I was hoping someone would put it on youtube because I’m way too lazy to do it, and that would also mean I’d have to make a youtube account. Luckily someone else uploaded the video. It’s funny that Byrnes takes his demonstrations as serious as when he was playing, and if you think for a second he wouldn’t plow over anyone in his way to get to a pop up, you probably never really saw him play…
Monthly Archives: June 2011
All-Star Voting Makes Sense for the Most Part…
This morning I was checking out how the All-Star voting was going, and to my surprise there weren’t a ton of terrible choices on the ballot. It’s the final update until the selections are revealed, and since I’m much more of an AL guy, I’m only going to break down who I feel should be starting for the AL. In the NL I only see one real snub. Matt Kemp not being in the outfield is f***ing ridiculous, I mean Holliday and Berkman have had a nice season and all, but their seasons don’t even compare to Kemp’s triple crown numbers.
Catcher: Russell Martin (2,779,592 votes), Alex Avila (2,345,065 votes), and Joe Mauer (1,699,604 votes). Might be the first year in awhile we don’t have Joe Mauer starting for the AL behind the plate. Russell had a nice start to the season, and has rode the wave of Yankee voters. I’m torn because Avila clearly has better numbers than Martin, but he also plays third and first from time to time. Martin plays catcher every game he plays in. There aren’t any super standout catchers this year, so I’ll say the voters got it right…
First Base: Adrian Gonzalez (4,014,722 votes), Mark Teixeira (3,077,242 votes), and Miguel Cabrera (2,184,480 votes). You’d think first base would be a tough choice with so many stars manning the position. Not so much in this first half, as Gonzo has been going off since opening day. If he decided to sacrifice some of his average for power, he might be in the triple crown race. Hitting .357, with 16 homers, and 71 rbi’s might just be more offense than the A’s have had all season… My runner up for the position isn’t even on the list. I’d have Konerko as my backup above Tex and Miggy, because he’s been a guy on a mission to destroy pitching this year and has done it.
Second Base: Robinson Cano (4,724,816 votes), Dustin Pedroia (2,979,181 votes), Ian Kinsler (1,896,259 votes). For some reason I thought Ben Zobrist belonged on this list, but I guess he was only hot for a quarter of the season since his numbers didn’t look that good when I just looked at them. Cano easily has the best numbers of the AL 2nd baseman, and is also a gold glover in the field. The people made a solid and correct choice imo.
Third Base: Alex Rodriguez (3,735,406 votes), Adrian Beltre (2,935,373 votes), and Kevin Youkilis (2,724,286 votes). I think I’d actually take Longoria if he hadn’t been hurt for a month of the season. This is probably the toughest choice for me. The top three all have similar stats, Beltre has more HR’s and RBI, but A-Rod is hitting nearly 50 points higher, so I’d probably give it to the best fielding 3rd baseman, which is Adrian Beltre. I don’t feel like you could go wrong with either of these three candidates though.
Shortstop: Derek Jeter (3,392,128 votes), Asdrubal Cabrera (2,885,778 votes), and Elvis Andrus (1,971,514 votes). This is the first ridiculous selection. Not sure why Jeter was in the running in the first place, because he started the year worse than we’ve ever seen him play. Asdrubal on the other hand has had a break out year that nobody saw coming. If it weren’t for him, the Indians wouldn’t have had nearly as much success. This is the first eyesore in the AL lineup.
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz (4,237,043 votes), Michael Young (2,235,504 votes), and Jorge Posada (1,453,385 votes). Big Papi is easily the guy here. I would’ve had V-Mart in second place over Young and Posada. Actually, I’m not even sure why Young is on this list since he plays pretty much every position. Ortiz is the right choice though, he’s been mashing the ball all year long, and made people forget that they thought his career was over last year.
Outfield: Jose Bautista (5,263,846votes), Curtis Granderson (4,582,419 votes), Josh Hamilton (3,173,000 votes), Jacoby Ellsbury (3,051,675 votes) Carl Crawford (2,294,337 votes), Nelson Cruz (1,912,783 votes), and Ichiro Suzuki (1,912,062 votes). If you asked me a month ago I would’ve said Matt Joyce deserved to be on the team, but since I wrote about him at the beginning of the month he decided to come back to earth with a prolonged slump. I also wondered out loud why the Asian voters can get Yao into the NBA All-Star game, but can’t get Ichiro in. Ichiro doesn’t deserve it this year so it’s a good thing, but I will miss his pregame speech trying to fire up the AL team. Jose and Curtis are the obvious choices and having monster seasons, but Josh Hamilton as the third outfielder? He’s only played 42 of his teams 80 games. I’d take Joyce or Ichiro over Hamilton’s first half, because they played pretty much everyday. I think Jacoby Ellsbury deserves the third spot of all the guys in the top six in voting. All in all pretty good selections from the voters, and probably the most reasonable choices in years. Are more people paying more attention to baseball this year, because we might miss the first half of the NFL season? Maybe, and it’s reflecting in the voting…
A Spending Spree, Starring the Warriors?!?
When Peter Gruber and Joe Lacob bought the Warriors, it was a wait and see kind of deal in my mind. Being a Warriors fan over the past few decades you rarely know what direction they are going or if they even have a plan to begin with. It feels like the new owners DO have a game plan that we are finally seeing put together. Not a whole lot happened last year aside from them trading for David Lee during the off-season. At the end of this year, I figured I’d give them at least one more season to figure out how the NBA worked and what it takes to build a winner, then I’d start getting critical. I was pretty sure they weren’t planning on making big changes to the team since we are pretty close to the cap and won’t have money to sign a bunch of free agents heading into the lockout, but much sooner than I expected they made some big moves that really impressed me. They didn’t make a lot of moves that effect the on-court players, but in the front office we’ve been significantly strengthened, and seems to have some stability for the first time in god knows how long. All the moves led up to today where they bought a D-League team, the Dakota Wizards, and capped off an impressive pre-lockout flurry of moves that shook up our whole front office, and made Warriors fans like myself believe that the owners aren’t the cheap bastard we used to have.
Their first major move was hiring on Jerry West as our main consultant. I’m sure he didn’t come to Oakland cheap. It ultimately gave the organization instant credibility, and an amazing sound board to bounce ideas off. Their second move was hiring Mark Jackson to man the bench. Not positive if he’s going to be a great coach, but he seems like he’d be great at teaching Curry and Ellis how to manage games better, and be consummate professionals. I hope he’s the next Doc Rivers, but you never really can tell. I mean if you gave Doc Rivers the W’s roster, would he be able to bring them to glory? Probably not… Shortly after hiring Jackson, they acquired a top assistant in Mike Malone, who they somehow outbid the Lakers on. Does that mean he didn’t get along with Mike Brown during his time in Cleveland? I dunno, I guess you’d have to ask him.
Fast forward to the draft last week. It’s been awhile since we had a draft that didn’t have one mind boggling decision in it. Our picks made sense. Our previous owner would sell our picks for cash from time to time, which is why this years draft was so surprising. They actually bought the rights to Jeremy Tyler the 39th pick for $2M (a huge project that could be nothing or could be an All-Star), but the fact that they were spending money instead of just trying to make money during the draft was amazing to this longtime Warriors fan.
Today it was reported that they bought the D-League franchise, the Dakota Wizards. It seems like a great move, because the Warriors seem to be calling up D-Leaguers more than any other team, and have been very successful in doing so! They are now one of only four teams that have a “farm system”. Seems like a perfect place to let Tyler develop into a player, right? It will also keep Jeremy Lin busy instead of riding the bench in Oakland. Now they can sign players that they just want to look at. With access to their own team in the D-League that team can be run with the same concepts as the pro team, which will help them immensely when players are called up to the NBA because of injury or a player X sucking. They also can groom coaches whether they are assistants or head coaches. The team won’t be moving to Northern California until after the upcoming season, and if the Kings move, maybe
Arco PowerBalance Pavilion wouldn’t be a bad site for the team!
Do NBA Draft “Projects” Ever Work Out?
It was probably all the European players selected in the NBA Draft, but one phrase I heard a lot was, “won’t be able to help right away.” This is a relatively new phenomenon for professional basketball, since it used to be the one leage where your draft picks were expected to make a sudden impact. Not so much anymore. When I do a quick recap of players in the past that weren’t expected to contribute right away but had successful careers, I immediately think of Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. But they both became legit players in just their second year. Since then, I’m left coming up with names like Korleone Young and Hasheem Thabeet. Was Thabeet even supposed to be a project in the first place? I thought he was supposed to be able to contribute right away. Instead, he spent the majority of the season in the D-League, before being traded with a future first round pick for Shane Battier. Obviously the move seemed to pay off for Memphis, but what a quick decline that was for Thabeet! Let’s take a look back over the last 10 years or so at guys who were drafted with the hopes of them contributing for their team a few years down the road. I’ll leave out Hassan Whiteside, who just over a year ago was projected as a lottery pick. When he slipped to number 33, he was considered to be a steal. In his rookie season, he only saw two minutes of action, and his only statistical contribution was a pair of fouls. Here are some guys who had a bigger pair of shoes to fill….
Michael Olowokandi, 1998 – I think the Kandi Man was supposed to make an impact right away, but the Clippers still drafted him on potential. He put up decent numbers in five seasons in LA, but the team gave up on him after 5 years. His career began its rapid decline as soon as his stint with the Timberwolves began. Clipper fans will always wonder what if they had selected Paul Pierce or Dirk Nowitzki, and would happily settle for Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison, or Mike Bibby.
Al Harrington, 1998 – Harrington may be one of the few exceptions. Drafted out of high school, it took him about four and a half years to hit his stride, but he’s carved out a pretty decent NBA career.
Rashard Lewis, 1998 – Up until a few years ago, Lewis was the perfect success story for draft projects. It took two years of work, but he blossomed into an all-star for Seattle.
Jonathan Bender, 1999 – It’s been said that injuries kept Bender from becoming a great NBA player, but in seven seasons, he never really got over the hump. At least the team that drafted him, Toronto, quickly flipped him to Indiana for Antoni Davis. At least that selection didn’t haunt them, like if they had taken Trajan Langdon or William Avery.
Darius Miles, 2000 – Another blown pick by the Clippers. He seemed to finally come into his own five or six years in, but then injuries derailed his career. Instead, his best performances will be forever be remembered as his roles in Van Wilder and The Perfect Score.
DeSagana Diop, 2001 – I don’t remember what exactly was expected of Diop at the time, but with the number 8 pick, you probably expect more than a career 2 pt, 2 reb player.
Nikoloz Tskitishvili, 2002 – I probably don’t even have to explain how this one went.
Amare Stoudemire, 2002 – Stoudemire went four slots later and was a 20 pt scorer in his second season. Obviously this was a pick that paid off. Cleveland and the Cippers also passed on Amare, for the likes of Dajuan Wagner and Chris Wilcox.
Darko Milicic, 2003 – Not needing help right away, the Pistons swung for the fences with Darko and whiffed badly. Even though they were already a contender, they would have been better off trading the pick, or as big of a problem as it would have been, drafted Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh… or Dwyane Wade or Chris Kaman.
Ndudi Ebi, 2003 – Who actually remembers this guy? I remember reading about him in SLAM magazine when he was probably like five years old. He may have been a little older, but he was supposed to be a future star. Looks like he’s found a gig in Europe these days.
Shaun Livingston, 2004 – I don’t even know why the Clippers try. I mean, I guess it could have been worse. They could have gone for Robert Swift instead.
Lebron Loses WWF Mashup
Nothing like a good ol WWF mashup to explain why the Heat lost. From Lebron fighting Riley and his teammates to Barkley and Stern, then Dirk walking away with the belt, can’t get more classic than this.
Excitement in Oakland, and His Name is Jemile Weeks
It’s been a little over two weeks since the A’s called up the 2008 #1 pick, Jemile Weeks. MCeezy already declared him his favorite current A’s player on facebook the other day, and I have to say I’d agree with that sentiment. Hopefully writing about him doesn’t jinx him like I did writing about Matt Joyce’s great year, but sometimes you have to risk it when you’re excited. It’s been awhile since one of our position player prospects caused this much stir on Athletics Nation (the best A’s blog). Yeah, there was excitement when Chris Carter was called up last year, but ultimately he didn’t do anything. Weeks on the other hand, has been tearing the cover off the ball. He hit three triples in his first week in the big leagues. He has been playing so well he has earned his spot as our leadoff man the past few games. He’s also seems to have taken our longest tenured A’s player’s spot, 2B Mark Ellis (11 years with Oakland), in those two short weeks. If we still had Geren as our manager, I bet Weeks would go back to the bench when Ellis comes off the DL today, but now that we have a competent manager, I don’t see Melvin taking the hot bat out of the lineup. He’s already given Matsui some confidence, and has shown that he will play the best players every night. How has Weeks earned that leadoff spot? By taking professional atbats and swinging at a very low rate of balls out of the strike zone. Translation; he doesn’t swing at bad pitches, and when he does swing he connects on 80% of pitches. So far the switch hitter is batting .362 with an OBP% of .400, .572 SLG%., and 4 steals to boot. To say he’s been our table setter over this current six game winning streak would be the understatement of the day. He’s had a couple of blemishes in the field, but that can be overlooked when he’s making more great plays than bad ones. Weeks has great range because of his speed, and even with this very short sample size, I feel he could win a gold glove one day if he continues to work on his fielding.
Maybe A’s fans are getting a little ahead of themselves with Weeks already saying that he is the next Reyes. I saw a comment yesterday that Weeks even hit a triple off Chuck Norris! All kidding aside, even though his small sample size has been great, it’s tough to see him being able to keep it going as well as he has. I’m sure he’s bound to hit a rookie wall at some point. Even if he does, I can’t think of a prospect that we’ve called up in the last four years that wasn’t a pitcher that I was this excited about! Maybe Kurt Suzuki, but it looks like we finally found a solid offensive piece, after numerous underwhelming prospects (Barton, Pennington, Carson, Watson, Crosby, Buck, Keilty, and many more). The only thing I’m cautioning myself for is that he has been hurt a lot over the three years in our farm system. It’s probably because he plays with reckless abandon, which usually results in an injury or two, but there’s noway you’d want to change that since that’s what makes him successful. Maybe he needs to learn something from Reyes as he said this year that he needed to learn when to go 110% and when to go 80% which is why he’s been a lot healthier this season. As of the moment, I’ve developed a Curry-like mancrush on Jemile, and he’s already paying dividends if you picked him up for your fantasy team!
Doin Work NorCal NBA Draft Preview
The NBA Draft is becoming more and more like the MLB Draft with all the unknown players. These days, it’s pretty much one-and-done college players and international guys who most of us have never heard of. Fortunately Chappy still keeps up on his scouting and put together a mock draft for us, but I’m going to zero in on the Kings and Warriors. I’ll start with the Kings, mainly because they pick first out of the two teams. Also because at number seven, there will be fewer players off the board, so it’s easier to narrow down the search.
# 7 pick – Sacramento Kings: If ONLY one of the following names is available at number seven, it’ll be Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker, Kawhi Leonard, or Jimmer Fredette. I’d like to think those names are also in order of preference, but of that, I’m not so sure. The main area of need for the Kings to address in the draft is the point guard position. The verdict is in from last season and it looks like Tyreke Evans would be more effective off the ball. Marcus Thornton is locked in as a building block for the team as well, but after the opening tip, there’s no reason both of those guys couldn’t play with a third guard on the floor. Brandon Knight is the top PG in the draft, but also widely considered to be long gone before the Kings make their pick. That’s why it’ll likely come down to whoever is available between Walker and Leonard. Personally I hope it’s Walker. The Kings desperately need a small forward, but they need to get a veteran who can step in right away. They simply can’t afford to roll with Francisco Garcia and Omri Casspi at the three this season. Leonard’s defense and rebounding would be much-needed, but unless he can produce right away, it’s going to leave a gaping hole at the wing. The wild card pick would be Jimmer. Most people think he’s a stretch at number seven, and some even question whether he can be effective in the NBA, but the Maloofs may not be able to resist the fanfare that is Jimmer Fredette. One of the greatest draft picks in Kings history was also a reach of sorts, taking the iffy Jason Williams at the same slot back in 1998, which in a way, kickstarted the Kings into contention. Maybe a quick little white guy who can pull up from 28 feet on a fast break is what a team needs to get over the hump. In all seriousness though, I really think his shooting is exactly what the doctor should be ordering for them. They are awfully short at long range shooting, and adding Fredette would seemingly help extend the defense. With guys like Evans and Demarcus Cousins, who are already elusive in traffic, Jimmer could be the most impactful selection should the team go in that direction. It will probably take a perfect storm to happen, but I would welcome the consolation, should the other two more highly-touted guards, Knight and Walker, go off the board.
# 11 pick – Golden State Warriors: It’s a lot tougher to call who the Warriors are even considering, let alone who they may take at number eleven. Most of the chatter out of Oakland these days is in regards to how many trades they propose with Monta Ellis, or how many trades are proposed to them for Stephen Curry. The Warriors obviously need size, but they try that every year and it never really seems to work out. It’s been 10 years by my count since the W’s had a successful selection at power forward or center – that’s if you count Troy Murphy (which I do). The list of name since then includes Andris Biedrins, Ike Diogu, Patrick O’Bryant, Brandan Wright (acquired by draft day trade), Anthony Randolph, and Epke Udoh. Most don’t expect the W’s to break this lineage either, with Bismack Biyombo the most popular choice. If not Biyombo, it will likely be another international big man. However, guys like Klay Thompson and Alec Burks are getting a lot of hype of late, probably due to the likelihood of an opening down the road at the shooting guard position. Monta Ellis’s departure seems more like a matter of when, not if, so the front office seems poised to find a bigger replacement to plug into the lineup once that happens. I think the team would be best served trading the pick for a veteran big man. I don’t think this year’s #11 pick would make the Ellis-Biedrins-Udoh for Dwight Howard offer any more enticing, but maybe it would be enough for the 76ers to throw in Marreese Speights or Thaddeus Young in that Ellis for Iguodala deal. If they don’t trade the pick, I expect Jerry West to put his stamp on the first draft pick of his Warriors tenure, whoever it may be.
Dubbing Up Your Tuesday
I was thinking of writing about Rory and his very impressive US Open win, but didn’t really watch much of it, so that went out the window. Is he the next Tiger or Arnie? I don’t really want to debate that since he has ONE major, compared to Tiger’s 14 or Arnie’s 7. Hell, why doesn’t anyone like to compare him to Gary Player? I feel like his 9 majors are the most overlooked of any of golf’s “superstars”. Lets wait until Rory wins each of the majors before we make comparisons to the all-time greats. It feels like comparing Lebron to MJ a couple weeks ago all over again. Anyways, I said awhile back I’d put up some reggae artists, but haven’t really come through on that. Since I called reggae the golf of sports awhile back, in that everyone plays/listens to it, but most don’t really know many artists/players. It seemed like a good time to revive the series as I start bumping more reggae with the weather heating up.
This Sizzla song is as close as you’ll see me listening to the Beanie Man or Sean Paul type of reggae. I’m more of a dub reggae fan, but once in awhile you break the mold. The one below is my favorite of his, and my second favorite song of his is, Give Me a Try.
Doin Rants: Apple’s Atrocious Customer Service
Sorry it’s not sports related, but this is too funny not to share with the world. It’s a good example of why I’m so offended by modernity. I stole that quote from a 92 year old guy on American Pickers. But it’s true. I had a minor billing issue with Apple, but it wasn’t my fault, so I decided to try to get it resolved. BIG MISTAKE. Here’s what happened….
Two years ago… I’m not a huge iTunes user, but it comes in handy at times. One day I had a Visa giftcard with about $4 left on it, so I figured what a great idea it’d be to download a couple songs and use up the card. I picked three songs, the transaction was approved, and the goods were tendered to me. A couple weeks or months later, I went back to buy a few more songs for the hell of it. But I was greeted with an error message stating that there was a problem with my previous purchase and that I owed $3.27. Normally I’d be happy to authorize a company to charge my credit card again if the original transaction failed, but this was a gift card – I had long thrown away that card. I’m too stubborn to pay for those songs again. So I said f*** it, and moved on with my life. Of course, every few months, I’d forget and go back to try and buy more songs. Each time, the same reaction. Nah… I estimate that I tried to spend over $100 on songs, but was denied due to an alleged $3.27 outstanding balance. I even bought CDs for the first time in about 10 years! To me, this whole thing is the equivalent of if I had paid cash for something, and the vendor later LOST the cash, and thus demanded that I pay again. Not gonna happen.
So now that I finally made the jump to the much maligned iPhone, I find that I’m still blacklisted, YEARS later. I can’t even download FREE apps. I decided it was time to do something about it. Again, big mistake. I figured all I had to do was take 5 or 10 minutes of my time and explain the situation to someone and they could correct the error and clear the balance. Not so fast. I can’t even speak to anyone in my own country! I’m an advocate of globalization and outsourcing, but customer service is the one thing that I disagree with. How is someone who doesn’t speak English supposed to help ANYONE? I don’t wanna name names, so let’s call him Purush. Purush replies to me with an e-mail that looked like it was written by an 8 year old. Not an American 8 year old, an Indian 8 year old. I get insulted when customers of mine can’t craft a grammatically correct e-mail. Clearly I’m less than impressed when someone who is supposed to help me can’t even understand what I’m saying, let alone reply to me in an informed matter. He kept feeding me canned responses that really didn’t apply to my situation. What frustrated me most though, is despite multiple requests to please forward my issue to someone else who is able to help, he repeatedly refused to do so, and continued to tell me I need to pay again. He finally has stopped responding to me altogether. I’m as stubborn as they come though, so I’ve just decided to boycott Apple altogether. I won’t spend a dime on apps or games or songs. I’ve talked two people out of iPhones. With Father’s Day coming up, my sister suggested we get my dad Apple TV. I don’t know what that is, but it sounds expensive, and I explained to her I am boycotting Apple so it’s not gonna happen. Classic American business move: alienate a customer over $3.27, and in turn, lose over $500 in sales due to neglect.
Look, I provide terrible customer service at times, but if someone is affected by a mistake I made, I’ll man up and correct it. When I don’t, I’ll still hear you out and try to work something out. But you know what Purush? Even though you were rooting for me to fail, you still have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that you had before you woke up today. You’ll have the same personal problems you had today. I’m going to live my life. You have to get back to the real world at some point. (Lebron James, 6/12/2011)
Purush denied my request for comment or a personal photo to share for this feature.
“Moneyball” Means The A’s Will Be Around In September
While Chappy and I have spent the majority of the 2011 season calling for Bob Geren’s head and preaching conspiracy theories about ownership sabotaging the team, Moneyball the movie has begun to emerge and take us back to the good ol’ days. The movie has been in the works for years now, but it looks like it’ll finally come out this September. It’d be really nice if the A’s were still playing when it comes out, but I’m not holding on to much hope for that. Hopefully it’ll force fans outside of Oakland to wonder, “what the hell happened to the A’s?” A star-studded cast gives the movie credibility, and the presence of Brad Pitt as A’s GM, Billy Beane, will help a lot of guys convince their wives and girlfriends to go with them to see it. Aside from Pitt, I’m interested in seeing Jonah Hill in a serious role, as the fictional Peter Brand, who is actually based on Paul DePodesta. I’m also excited for Andy from Parks & Rec to play Scott Hatteberg. The cast is so stacked that Phillip Seymour Hoffman doesn’t even have any lines in the trailer, and Robin Wright is nowhere to be seen, from what I can tell. The best part about all this for me is that I noticed former Royals pitcher, Jason Grimley, appears on the list of characters. That can only mean one thing – that the incredible 20 game win streak of 2002 is going to be recreated. In fact, I can tell just from the swing that Hatteberg’s walkoff homer from that game is in the trailer. Having been in attendance that night, I already have goosebumps just thinking about that moment being in the film. The downside is the list of filming locations includes Fenway Park, which was the site of games 3 and 4 of the ALDS that year, when the A’s squandered a 2-0 series lead and lost to the Boston Red Sox. That’s going to be a harsh reminder of walking out of the Coliseum after Game 2, thinking the series was in the bag. Nonetheless, you can bet that I’ll be hitting the theater to catch this one when it comes out….
NBA Mock Draft
Now that the season’s been over for a few days, I guess it’s time to do a mock draft! It’s been called a weak draft class by just about everyone, and I have no solid reasons to say it won’t be, but on the other hand you never really know until the guys start playing in the NBA whether they can survive or not. I mean all 5’6″ of JJ Barea started on a finals team afterall, so you never really do know. Looking at a bunch of other mocks online I’ve seen a lot of international players in the lottery, so I’ll put a few of those guys in mine as well. Pretty much every player in this draft looks like a crapshoot, so here’ show I think the lottery teams should draft, but it’s doubtful they will heed to my advice. It’s like thinking the W’s or Kings will actually get a top 3 pick…
#1 Cleveland Cavaliers – Derrick Williams, SF Arizona. Why would you draft Kyrie Irving when you already have Baron Davis!?! Ok, that question answered itself. Seriously though, DW is a beast. He’s the only player in this mock that I saw play live, and he truly looked like a man among boys. His tourney run was pretty impressive as well if you didn’t see all his dunks on the top ten plays maybe you should youtube them. Not sure what the downside is to drafting a guy with range, a post game, and the size of a PF packed in a SF body. Oh yeah, he plays above the rim too, I don’t see anything not to like.
#2 Minnesota Timberwolves – Kyrie Irving, PG Duke. Am I sold on Kyrie? Not really, and that probably goes back to him being hurt a lot in college, and not really seeing him play much. Wait till he runs into a meat wall like Dwight Howard, that’s going to cause a lot more pain than anything he experienced in college. You can insert pretty much any joke you want about the T-wolves taking a PG. Since Rubio probably won’t come here, and Flynn looks like a bust, so may as well pick another PG in Kyrie, the supposed can’t miss prospect. I feel like his career will be like Shaun Livingston’s, potential but injured all the time…
#3 Utah Jazz – Brandon Knight, PG Kentucky. The Jazz usually make smart decisions. While everyone seems to think Kyrie is hands down the best PG in the draft I feel like Knight is better. He feels like a more complete player from his above average jumper to the clutch gene he showed in college. Everything I’ve read says he’s a gym rat, so that’s another good thing about him. Having a 4.0 in college is another plus. He needs to work on his passing, but since I don’t think Devin Harris is the longterm answer in Utah, it would make a lot of sense to take him.
#4 Cleveland Cavaliers – Enes Kanter, C Turkey. He’s supposedly the biggest thing out of Europe in 10 years. Tough for me to judge how good or not good he is. He did put up 34 pts and 13 rebounds against team USA in a scrimmage last summer, and was finishing inside with the best of them. 7-footers with his skill set are pretty rare, so why not take him and pair him with Hickson and Varejao. If he turns out like Bogut, I’m sure the Cavs would be happy.
#5 Toronto Raptors – Kawhi Leonard, F San Diego State. The Raptors need help everywhere except SG and C. If Knight or Irving somehow falls to them, I’m pretty sure they would pick either of them, since Calderon digresses every year he’s in the league. I almost had them picking Kemba, but this team really needs someone that can play defense, and Kawhi can guard anyone from a PG to a PF. He doesn’t have a great shot, but they already have shot makers.
#6 Washington Wizards – Jan Vesely, SF/PF Serbia. A guy I don’t really know anything about. Sounds like he’s a project though, and why not take a chance at 6 to possibly get a solid two way player. I read that he might be a poor man’s Kirilenko, so I guess that’s a good thing?!?I just put him here more because I have no idea what he brings to the table and it sounds like the Wiz really liked him after workouts. Plus, I could care less what the Wizards do.
#7 Sacramento Kings – Jonas Valanciunas, C Lithuania. Another guy I don’t really know much about. Sounds like he’s a project though, and why not take him at 7 when he could possibly be the best player in the draft. Sarunas Marciulionis was one of my favorite Warriors growing up, and he was from Lithuania, so maybe he’ll be the next big thing out of that country. Since he is one of those “project” type players he can just sit behind Thompson, and Dalembert until their contracts are up while getting his learn on. I almost had them pick Kemba, but he’s way too much like Tyreke for that to work out imo.
#8 Detroit Pistons – Kemba Walker, G UConn. The Pistons need a lot of things. I don’t see Stuckey or Bynum working out in the long run, so you may as well bring in someone new at PG. Kemba was amazing in the tourney, and if he can make some of Detroit’s players passionate about basketball again, that’s a win, because they lack mental toughness, and Kemba clearly has that. I could also see them taking a SF to replace Prince who will be a free agent this summer.
#9 Charlotte Bobcats – Jimmer Fredette, G BYU. Michael Jordan will never be known for his greatness as a GM. He seems to like taking scorers over team needs. Maybe watching teach me how to Jimmer a few times and said what the hell, let’s take him, he can’t be worse than Morrison right?!? I’m sure he’ll compliment Gerald Henderson well in Charlotte.
#10 Milwaukee Bucks – Alec Burks, SG Colorado. This is probably who the Bobcats should’ve picked if they were going with a scoring guard, but that’s not how they roll. Burks is a perfect fit for the Bucks. They need someone to replace the never healthy Michael Redd, and Burks seems like he can fill it up coming off screens.
#11 Golden State Warriors – Bismack Biyombo, F/C Congo. Not really sure about him like a lot of the other foreign players, but he’s outstanding at protecting the rim. He put up a triple double with 10 blocks at the Hoops Summit in Portland. If the W’s are really committed to defense, this would be the guy to pick to show that they are making that commitment. Not sure I believe he’s the next Dikembe, but I’m onboard with them taking that chance on him! He’s got to be better than Biendris was last year (not saying much).
#12 Utah Jazz – Marcus Morris, F Kansas. I should’ve saved Jimmer for the Jazz, but it was too tempting for MJ to let him get past the #9 pick. Marcus is a very polished forward that can play the 3 or 4. I don’t see AK staying in Utah past this last year on his contract, so starting Morris and Millsap at the 3 and 4 is going to be tough for any team to guard. I think he’s a little better than his brother Markief, so that’s why the Jazz took him over his brother.
#13 Phoenix Suns – Tristan Thompson, F Texas. The Suns are looking for someone to replace Hakim Warrick, errr, I mean, Amare. I’m skeptical to think he’ll be the next Amare, but he’s got a huge wingspan and did shut down Derrick Williams in the tourney as well as one can shut that guy down. He’s super athletic, which is something that a player will really need playing with Nash.
Elephants and Seals
As always By will be covering the Giants and Chappy will be covering the A’s portions.
San Francisco Giants (38-29 1st place) Oakland A’s (28-40 4th place)
Oakland A’s – They broke their 10 game losing streak against the White Sox in a comeback win. Unfortunately they went from second to fourth during that losing streak. We thankfully have a new manager (Bob Melvin) that I wrote about last week, so now I can’t work in any disses about the team overcoming Geren’s minimal coaching abilities. The new Bob has already started making the players do some infield practice before games, which is rare this day in age for any team to practice much infield work before games. The good part about this hire is he’s already proactive attacking one of our big weaknesses (A’s are ranked 27th in fielding with 51 errors). Now if he could only figure out some good drills to get them to hit! Bob Melvin seems to like keeping Matsui in the lineup everyday, which was something Geren couldn’t seem to do as he sat Matsui against lefties. Matsui even answered with a homer off a lefty last night. Hopefully this means Matsui will get comfortable at the plate knowing he’ll be in the lineup all the time. Andrew Bailey is finally closing games for us this season, too bad there aren’t any games for him to close. Scott Sizemore, who we got from Detroit, is already our best option at 3B even though he’d never played the position prior to coming to the A’s. Jemile Weeks was also called up when Ellis went on the DL, and has impressed me a lot more than Chris Carter did last year during his first MLB stint with three triples in his first seven games.
SF Giants – I just got home from a fantastic early dinner and as I type this, the G-Men hold a 5-0 lead against second place Arizona in the 5th. I also see that Pablo “Panda” Sandoval has already left his mark on this game, bringing in the game’s first run. Panda provides us with a much needed bat, at an absolutely desperate time. It’s one thing that we lost Buster Posey for the entire season, but now Freddy Sanchez’s year is in jeopardy, and Freddy has been knocking in clutch runs all season. I guess a positive we Giants fans can take out of all of this, is the fact that we’re still in first place, believe it or not! And the reason why, is that the Giants epitomize the concept of team ball. When someone goes down, the next person simply steps up and fills in. I mean, we’ve had Nate Shierholtz hitting third at times, Nate Shierholtz people! And now he has a few walk off base hits notched under his belt. There’s a different hero every night with these guys, very similar to last season. So if you’re an optimistic person, which I’m usually not, but if you are, you must be thinking we’re sitting pretty atop the division despite being dealt the worse possible hand you can be dealt. Things can only get better from here, right?
Oakland A’s – We have five starting pitchers on the DL, and Brett Anderson was that fifth starter to land on the DL. He’s avoiding Tommy John surgery, but it sounds like he might still have to have it down the road. I’m no doctor, but it doesn’t sound like these plasma injections do very much from other players accounts. We’ve called up some prospects mainly because of the numerous injuries. SP Graham Godfrey had an interesting way of getting called up the the big leagues, but we are really missing those starters that went down. Hopefully McCarthy comes back soon which seems likely. We’ve lost 13 of 14, and I might already be rooting for Seattle to take the division. (I’ll wait till the All-Star break, but it’s sad I’m already pondering picking who I want to win the division not named the A’s.) Daric Barton continues to digress this season. Not sure how much longer I can root for a guy that is in his third year, and having his worst season of those three years, he feels like Bobby Crosby all over again. Hopefully we are prepping Chris Carter or Michael Taylor in the minors to play first base. Maybe we should’ve hung onto Brett Wallace who is having a decent year in Houston…
SF Giants – To the outsider looking in, you’d probably chuckle at the idea of being unhappy with a first place team. But if you’ve been following the Giants closely like I have, especially these past two seasons, you know we win a lot, a lot of close games. In unbelievable fashion at times. How much magic do we still have at our disposal? We’ve got to run out eventually right? As long as we’re bottom dwellers in terms of offensive production, specifically scoring runs, and as long as our aces look like jokers on the mound (Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez), we’ve got reason to be concerned. Hopefully Brandon Belt can get healthy and show us some of that bat we’ve all been told is coming. The only consistent thing I can count on with these Giants, is Ryan Vogelsong giving up two runs or less every game. The sad part is, some of those games are losses.
The All-Time Dallas Mavericks Team
The Mavs are about the same age as I am, and they beat me to an NBA Championship. Even still, I think of losing when I think of the Mavericks, as a result of their first 20 years in the NBA. Their first coach, Dick Motta, took them from 15 wins to 55 in 7 years, but then he left and the team was in the cellar for the next 15 years. The bulk of those losing years were headed up by Richie Adubato, with Quinn Buckner doing a one year cameo and flirting with the all-time losingest record. Fortunately, the Kings were there to help the Mavs break losing streaks of 15 and 16 games. Sadly, neither of those were the longest streak of the year. They reached 20 consecutive at one point. I’ve been in attendance for a 20th consecutive WIN before, but I can’t imagine what they felt after a 20th straight loss. That season has since remained the benchmark season for the franchise in my mind. But despite all the losing, they’ve had some pretty good players pass the through the tunnel at Reunion Arena. Here is my all-time Dallas Mavericks team, PRE-Dirk and Don Nelson……
G – Rolando Blackman
G – Derek Harper
C – Shawn Bradley
F – Sam Perkins
F – Mark Aguirre
Bench – Roy Tarpley
Bench – Herb Williams
Bench – Jamal Mashburn
Bench – Jim Jackson
Bench – James Donaldson
Bench – Popeye Jones
Bench – George McCloud
Inactive List – Brad Davis
Inactive List – Terry Davis
Inactive List – Sean Rooks (gets the nod over Samaki Walker)
Congrats Kidd and Dirk!
Two guys that have paid their dues and deserved a ring. Now they can say they have one more than Lebron and tie Lil Bowow for the time being. Hats off to the Mavs for taking out the up and comers in OKC, the early season self proclaimed champs in Miami, and last years champs with a sweep in LA. There’s noway you can say they didn’t earn this championship, and finally broke the soft label. Here’s a couple videos that came to mind when the Mavs won.
Everyone’s Bagging on the Heat… Even this Guy…
I don’t feel bad for the Heat, because they did it to themselves, but it’s pretty amazing when guys like this are on the internet ranting about them. This guy was oddly funny. Needless to say, I’m rooting for the Mavs, and would love to see Stern hand the Larry O’Brien trophy over to Mark Cuban. That would be the most exciting trophy ceremony ever. Hopefully this gives you a laugh to start your weekend.