Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NBA Season Preview

As we enter into one of the most anticipated NBA seasons in recent history there are a lot of questions swirling around the league. ESPN made a very feeble attempt at trying to answer some of these and it took everything in me to not cry from laughter as I read it. So I figured since I didn't have time to do a complete team by team preview this year I would re-answer these questions properly. Also I will provide some other insight and include a few extra questions of my own, here is the link for ESPN's article on the 20 questions

1. Will the Lakers Three-Peat?
In short, yes. Anybody that reads this knows that I am a die hard Lakers fan and granted I will admit that I am bias but they are the two time defending champions and I believe that this is the deepest team that they have had yet with the additions of Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff. But there are three guys that nobody is talking about with this Lakers team and they are Shannon Brown, Devin Ebanks and David Character. From what I've seen in the pre-season and in the first regular season game is that Shannon Brown could be in contention for 6th man of the year if he continues to get big minutes. His confidence is at an all time high and his jump shot is much improved giving him a great all around game on offense. Devin Ebanks continues to freak me out with how much he is like Trevor Ariza. Ariza stands at 6'8" 210 while Ebanks is 6'9" 215. Both play SF and wore the number three for the Lakers and have extremely similar games. Not only that but both have super long wingspans, Ariza's is 7'2" while Ebanks has one of 7'4". This one always gets me, both players were drafted with the 43rd overall pick and if that isn't enough, they freaking look a like and have virtually the same tattoos on their left arm. With all that being said I'm super high on this guy, he plays with aggression and tenacity, he won't play enough to really stand out to people but this guy has a ton of game and should have a very successful NBA career. When he finally gets a chance to play in a year or two he will be a Most Improved Player award finalist. Character may not be as talented but with Bynum out may get more of a chance to play. He also gets after the ball aggressively and is a great hustle guy. He may not have a ton of upside but he can definitely be a key contributor to this team. With all the extra depth, a slightly depleted Western Conference and a very hungry Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson the Lakers should be hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy for a third consecutive year.

2. Are the Bulls Back?

First off this is a very stupid question, to me the Bulls being back means they are back to being the greatest dynasty in basketball and that probably will never happen again. They are moving in the right direction and I think that Derrick Rose is primed to take his game to an MVP type level, he is my sleeper pick for the award this year. I've been saying ever since all the off season moves that I believe that the Bulls will take down the Heat in the second round of the playoffs. I think that the Bulls are the 4th best team in the East but the third best playoff team. Miami will more then likely win a title soon but it won't be this year, they simply don't have the coaching or the depth. Perhaps Pat Riley takes over soon but I still think they are at least a year away, too many other elite teams have too much stability and much better coaching. You may laugh and scoff at this but I said the same thing the last two years about the Cavs and I think I earned the right to say I told you so. So no I don't the Bulls are "back" but with an improved Rose and Joakim Noah as a core surrounded by Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Luol Deng with a much better (yet inexperienced) coach in Tom Thibodeau this team is ready to make some serious noise out East. One last side not on the Bulls is that I love their fans. The second that Lebron James announced that he was going to do "The Decision" they immediately turned on him and decided they didn't want a narcissistic punk on their team, awesome!

3. Will the Heat win 72?
What should I do? Should I tell you that I knew Lebron would tank in the playoffs, that he isn't born to win or that he needs to piggy back off another superstar? What should I do? Should I not listen to my friends about how good the Heat are? They're my friends What should I do? What Should I do? Should I tell you what you want to hear?
Well unlike Lebron I'm going to give you an actual answer to a question. No, the Heat will not win 72, the East is too competitive and I like I said this Heat team still needs another year or so. I am so sick of hearing every stupid ESPN analyst saying that the Heat are built to win this year. Their three headed monster has just now hit their prime, all of these guys have several years left of dominance, they have are built for a future dynasty. They don't have the depth to win 72 games or a championship this year. I still say they are a lock for a top 3 seed but they won't be finding themselves even in the finals this year. Their biggest short coming is at the center position, every team they will be in contention with will dominate them in this aspect and you can't win that way. Nearly every Championship team of all time has had some sort of dominating big man, particularly at the defensive end, the Heat just don't have anything close to that. They will attempt to make me look stupid but trust me, come playoff time they aren't going very far.

4. Will Kevin Durant Be MVP?
I say yes, Kevin Durant has everything going for him this year. A great young squad that is built for him to thrive and be successful with. The Thunder are ready to take it to the next level but they only go as their super star goes. He had an incredible World Championship this Summer and that should carry over into the regular season. He still possess incredible guard skills but is starting to play bigger with his 6'9" frame. His scoring will probably be around the same but expect a much better rebounding year from him, possibly a double double average, and a big improvement in his defensive stats. My other possibilites for the award are Derrick Rose, Deron William, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. I don't see Lebron or Wade winning it as a duo and out of the other possibilities I have Rose as my dark horse and Deron Williams as my runner up but all in all this is Durant's award to lose

5. Where will Melo go?

The fact that we are still asking this question is one reason I couldn't finish my preview, he obviously isn't going to be staying in Denver and the most likely destinations at this point are the Knicks and Nets. I say it will end being the Nets if it happens sooner then later because they have a lot more to offer as far as young talent. Terrence Williams would have an immediate impact for the Nuggets and maybe Derrick Favors could even be included in the trade, which would be great for the Nets since I believe the guy to be a bust and a half. The longer this thing plays out the great the chance the Knicks have of landing Melo because even though they don't have much to offer the Nuggets they have some expiring contracts that will be a nice concellation prize for them to make a splash in free agency and not take a total loss on the deal. So for now I say the Nets but if it doesn't happen soon the Knicks become the favorite, regardless of which team it is they will be in the playoffs for sure if they land the 6'8" swingman.

6. Will Wall win ROY?
John Wall has a chance to be a very special player but I'm not convinced about his maturity. I don't think he is a guy that you need to worry about concerning his character I just think he may have some more growing up to do then people think and having Gilbert Arenas as a teammate is not going to help him at all. Blake Griffin is my pick for the award, not only has the guy been an absolute freak in the pre-season but he is in a much better situation then Wall and he is a much more proven competitor then Wall and he will be on a mission to prove himself this year. If he stays healthy then I think the Clippers can easily find themselves in the playoffs this year.

7. Boston still the beast of the East?
If you are talking about the regular season then no they aren't, I could realistically see them finishing as low as the four seed again although they will probably finish either 2 or 3. But are they still the team from the East most likely to make it to the finals? Absolutely. They quietly had a good off season and added some good depth. They may not be built for the future with their age or even for the regular season but they are built to win a championship and they very well might. I wrote last year that if I wasn't bias towards the Lakers then I probably would have picked Boston to win the Finals and I feel the same way this year. Sure they are old but as long as they stay relatively healthy heading into March and April they will be just fine. Forget the Big 3 this is no doubt Rondo's team and he will make things very easy for the rest of their starters which will really help keep their legs fresh. Unless Rondo gets hurt for the playoffs this team will be back in the Finals to face the Lakers for the third time in 4 years.

8. Knicks in the Playoffs?
I say yes, especially if they can land Carmelo Anthony but even if they don't I see see them sneaking into the playoffs. Amare gives them a nice go to guy on offense but the guy I'm focused on this year is Raymond Felton. He is my pick for Most Improved Player this year. The guy is a fast, pass first PG who has a pretty good scoring touch and a good 3 point shot which is the absolute perfect fit for Mike D'Antoni's system. Expect his numbers to balloon in this new up tempo system to around 17 points and 9 assists. As long as Felton plays at a high level then the Knicks will find themselves in the playoffs this year.

9. Are the Suns done?

I don't even understand this question, sure the Suns made it to the Conference Finals last year but did anybody really think they were a Championship contender? They simply have never been built for the post season so are they "done"? I don't think so. The biggest knock on them is that they can't rebound, apparently Amare Stoudemire was a great rebounder, that certainly is news to me. The Suns have never been a good rebounding team so it isn't like they are making some huge adjustment. They still have Nash playing at an elite level, Richardson is still a good scorer and Turkoglu gives them a lot of versatility up front. They will still be one of the leagues most dynamic offenses and will probably find themselves in the playoffs around the 6 to 8 seed. Don't sleep too heavily on the Suns, Amare was not as in-expendable as people may think. Just give them some time to gel and they will be fine.

10. Can Blake Griffin carry the Clips?
Again, I don't get this idiotic question. He may be the missing piece to the puzzle and the focal point of their offense but in no way is he going to be required to "carry" this team. Baron Davis may finally come to play now that he has an above average team, Chris Kaman is a very good center and will help take pressure off of Griffin up front and Eric Gordon is a very gifted scorer who had a phenomenal World Championship this Summer. Can he carry the Clippers? sure I guess but we won't ever find out because that isn't his job and to think that it is to me is absurd. Why am I answering these retarded questions again?

11. How is Yao?

Who is coming up with these questions? Seriously what the heck? How are we supposed to know how Yao is? he hasn't played in over a year and we have only had the pre-season and one regular season game to judge him by. Based on how big he is and how gifted he is offensively he will be fine, his minutes are limited but Brad Miller is a great guy to have coming off of the bench and Yao won't be relied on as heavily has he has in the past with Aaron Brooks becoming an All Star level PG and Kevin Martin doing a majority of the scoring for the Rockets this year. We just have to see if Yao is going to hold up physically, that is what the question is and obviously there is no way to even start to answer that. Freaking ESPN

12. Can the NBA Avoid a Lockout?

Sure they can, will they? I doubt it. David Stern is too stupid and too stubborn to allow a new agreement to get done unless it is completely on his terms. He is probably the worst commissioner in the history of sports and as long as he is calling the shots on this thing it won't happen. Since we are talking about him what the heck was Stern thinking when he decided that there should be an automatic technical assessed to any player who leaves their hands in the air after a foul or makes any gesture at all? Eric Gordon got a technical for tapping his arm after a lay up because he got hammered and there was no call! Seriously?!?! Pretty soon they are going to give out masks to players so that no expressions can be seen during games, Stern and Roger Gooddell (NFL Commissioner) need to realize that players have the right to express themselves, I understand limits but give me a break guys.

13. Should we expect the Blazers to stay healthy?
Well first off they aren't healthy right now so the question again doesn't make sense and the other things HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW?!?! There are certain things that you can have a pretty good indication of but injuries can be so random, I mean for particular players like Oden or Bynum sure you can probably guess that they will not play a full season unhurt but to predict that for a whole team is ridiculous. I'll tell you this though if the Blazers can get healthy and stay healthy they could end up being the second best team in the West this year. Don't sleep on them and for crying out loud ESPN stop asking stupid questions about injuries

14. Have the Cavs hit rock bottom?
I think that the city of Cleveland has but I think the Cavs still have a pretty good team. I have been so tired the last two years about hearing how Lebron James had no help while he was there, it simply wasn't true. Mo Williams is a very good PG who was never given the proper freedom in the offense, Antwan Jamison is a very good offensive player, Ramon Sessions is a great option coming off the bench, I hate Varejao but I guess he gives them "character" (nicest thing I can say about the over hyped piece of junk douche), they have great three point shooters to spread the floor and they have a very proven coach in Byron Scott. ESPN has this team as their third worst team in the NBA and SI has them as the second worst in the East. I think this is a gross under estimation of the team that Cleveland has. I'm not saying they will make the playoffs (even though they could) or scare a ton of teams but they are quite a bit better then people think and they do have cap room and draft picks to try and and make some noise in the future, maybe they get lucky again and land Harrison Barnes in the upcoming draft, karma is a funny thing.

15. Are we sleeping on the Jazz and Grizzlies?
ESPN I'm sure is, I'm not, at least with the Jazz. I liked the combination of Boozer and Deron Williams a ton but I think that Jefferson is a much better fit for the offense then Boozer. Jefferson is a much bigger body and allows the Jazz to start both him and Paul Milsap and have a guy like Okur coming off the bench. The loss of Korver definitely hurts but they will be fine. Jefferson will have a big year now that he has had more then a full year to recover from his knee surgery and is much better with his back to the basket then Boozer ever was. The division is going to come down to the Jazz and Blazers but because of the current (remember I said current) injuries to the Blazers I'm giving the edge to the Jazz. The Grizzlies I'm not too sure about, they have have gone undefeated in the preseason and had a very nice season last year which I thought they might but they still don't have a go to guy. Rudy Gay is a very good player but the Grizzlies are simply stocked with number 2 and 3 options. They need to find that guy they can rely on night in and night out. I don't see them making the playoffs until that happens. They did improve quite a bit last year but they aren't going to be sneaking up on anybody this year and we'll see if they can still keep that cohesiveness together for this season.

16. Are the Magic tough enough?

I'm just going to stop making comments about stupid questions because I just can't think of any more ways to make fun of ESPN. Yes the Magic are tough enough, they are only two years removed from the NBA Finals and even though they lost in 5 they went toe to toe with the Lakers that whole series. Last year they weren't overly impressive against the Celtics but they still made it to the Conference Finals again and have virtually the same team as last year. Dwight Howard leads a very balanced Magic attack and I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see them back in the Finals but I still like the Celtics just a little bit more. Especially this year I wouldn't question their toughness, they are going to be playing the whole season with a chip on their shoulder after flying under the radar for the past few months.

17. Can the Mavs make a move in the West?

Aggghhhh ESPN, whatever. The answer is yes, I mean is this seriously a question? what did they do to get worse? nothing. What did they do to get better? not much but Roddy Beabouis should be a force off the bench when he is back and Tyson Chandler gives them a very nice option at center and as the reigning division champs they should have a good opportunity to repeat last years season success, we'll just have to see if they can translate that into the post-season this year. But they still have a super talented and athletic team and will be a top tier team in the West this season. Also Beabouis is my second pick for Most Improved as long as he comes back strong from his injury.

18. Is Tim Duncan in decline?

Yes. His production on a per minute basis is still there but the knees aren't holding up great which happens when you are a big guy and 34 years old and he just doesn't play as much anymore. He hasn't played over 35 mpg since 03-04 and he will probably be around 30 mpg this year. He is still a force to be reckoned with which is what happens when you are the most fundamentally sound big man in the game he just simply can't play as many minutes these days so ya he is on the decline and has been for some time. Doesn't mean he still isn't an elite player, just means he has to adapt his game some which is what all the great players end up doing. Spurs are still a very good team and Duncan is still the man for them.

19. Will CP3 be happy?

Finally a legit question. I truly believe that Chris Paul wants to be in New Orleans and if they can get back to winning and he stays healthy then yes he will be happy. He realizes though that this league is all about winning and unlike Lebron James, he really isn't in a situation that he can grow in. New Orleans has screwed themselves over so badly financially that there really isn't a lot of hope for them to be a consistently good team. Paul knows this and although I think he wants to stay he realistically can't if he ever wants to win a ring. Lebron James had plenty of options to win in Cleveland but chose the easy way, I don't think Paul is doing that but I think he continues to ask for a trade if they Hornets can't win now because there isn't any hope for them for the future unless there is a drastic change in the way the team is run.

20. Will Riley return to the sideline?

Yes but I'm not sure if he will this year. I can see it playing out where he takes over but I think it will happen next year because I don't know if Pat Riley believes his team is ready to win right now. He is too smart of a basketball mind for that, I think he lets his team develop for a year, adds another piece or two and comes back next year, it would be a dream scenario for him if it is a shortened season so that he wouldn't have to sit on the bench for the whole year. It isn't for sure by any means but I have a hard time seeing him not being on the sidelines with this talented of a team, I'd put money on him coming back within the next 12 months.

My added questions

1. Which team this year has the best chance to be last years Bucks?
The Bucks took everybody by surprise last year by claiming the 6 seed in the East led by a rookie PG that nobody knew about coming into the season. Nobody saw it coming and I was one of their biggest critics and I'll admit it, not in a million years did I see that one coming. So this year I figured I'd take a chance on a team this year. I tried them last year and they didn't do all that great so this year I'm going to try them again and go with the Indiana Pacers. They have a very young roster but they did show a lot of potential last year. Roy Hibbert is a huge body at 7'3" and will anchor that defense with his shot blocking ability. We all know about Danny Granger's offensive scoring power and it is nice to have a guy like him to go to on every possession. Darren Collison is a star in the making at the Point position and will be a big improvement over the inconsistent T.J. Ford. They also have a lot of grit with guys like Tyler Hansbrough, Josh McRoberts and Dahntay Jones. Also Mike Dunleavy and Brandon Rush give them the ability to stretch the floor. They are supposed to be a bottom feeder team this year but I can see them making the playoffs this year. I think a couple teams out there like the Bobcats and Pistons are very overrated this year and I could see the Pacers sneaking by them. Especially since they play in a fairly weak division with no clear favorite. If any team is going to surprise you this year it will be this team.

2. Who is this years Memphis Grizzlies?
The reason I threw this one in there is because there is a team out West that I think can surprise people but still doesn't really stand a real chance of making the playoffs and that is the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors still have an amazing offense focused around their guard play but they finally have a go to big guy in David Lee who will also really help their poor rebounding. The other thing is that this team is finally healthy, whether they stay that way or not is a mystery but as of now they have a team that can surprise people and I wouldn't be surprised to see them elevate to around 40 wins this year. I watched them some in the pre-season and Monta Ellis is still an elite scorer but this team appears to be in the hands of Steph Curry and he appears ready to be the leader for this team. He has a great all around offensive game and keeps a cool head in pressure situations. He still needs to cut down on the turnovers and work on his defense but he has shown improvement there but that is one reason I don't see them making the playoffs this year. Don't be surprised though to see them sneak up on teams and give fits to a lot of really good teams this year.

3. Who is this years sophomore sensation?

Hasheem Thabeet!!!! haha if only. After a great season from last years rookies and sophomores it is safe to assume we are going to have at least one guy who is really going to emerge this year like Rose and Westbrook did last year. To me there are no real surprises, it is going to come to the guard trio of Curry, Jennings and Evans. I'm giving the nod though to Curry because he continued to get better throughout the season last year which is very rare for a rookie. Jennings hit the wall and Evans was just consistent but did hit the wall a bit. Evans just doesn't seem to me that he has a very high ceiling for his game which is fine considering he already plays at near All Star level. Jennings is going to be great but he still has to fine tune his game quite a bit. Curry simply has the best all around game right now and will have the most opportunity to shine. There are a ton of players who could really come through this year especially at the guard position. I've already mentioned Collison and Beaubois but there are two more guys you may be sleeping on this year. One is Dejuan Blair, the guy is a beast on the boards, has a great work ethic and with Duncan aging he will get a lot more minutes this year. The other guy is Terrance Williams. Think of Williams as a shorter more athletic Lamar Odom. The guy is a freak of an athlete who doesn't do anything great but is just solid top to bottom. He could really thrive in the 6th man role this year and emerge as a go to scorer for the Nets. I'm going with Curry but don't sleep on Blair and Williams.

4. Did Tracy McGrady die?

Worse I'm afraid, he went to Detroit. Everybody had forgotten about Tmac this year and you can't really blame them. He hasn't been a force in this league in a couple of years and time is not on his side. He is injury prone, getting old and not in a good situation really in Detroit. He can be a productive bench player for the Pistons but his glory days are over and he is on a team that is stuck with a GM who has made some genius moves and is now panicking to rebuild his reputation and team. McGrady's best option is to show that he still has some production left in him this year and hope for a trade deadline move to get him to a contender, possibly Chicago, Orlando or maybe even the Thunder. He could have an impact and when the the Pistons find themselves out of the playoffs look for them to move him.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

NFL Season Preview

It has been a grueling last few months but it is finally football season and I am finally back in action after my summer hiatus. After an amazing opening to the College season it's time to get ready for what should be an incredible NFL season. Instead of doing a team by team preview like I do with the NBA I'm just going to highlight some key elements to this season that you should keep your eyes fixed on. With a ton to talk about I'm going to jump right in, starting with the subject that is always the center of the football world, the quarterback position.

Homophobic QB's
Quarterbacks in this league are starting to become uncomfortable with their hands up other grown men's butts as well as no longer being ok with 300 pound men pounding them into the ground. This league has done everything to turn the NFL into a pass first league. 5 players had a QB Rating of over 100 (six if you include Peyton Manning's 99.9) and an incredible 12 were over 92.9. To put that in perspective here are the number of quarterbacks that had a rating of over 100 and quarterbacks with a rating over 90 for the previous 10 years.
2008: 1, 9
2007: 3, 8
2006: 1, 8
2005: 2, 8
2004: 4, 11
2003: 1, 6
2002: 1, 4
2001: 1, 5
2000: 2, 7
1999: 1, 5

You could chalk this up to quarterbacks making smarter decisions and being less conservative but is that really the case? An NFL record 10 quarterbacks threw for over 4,000 yards, heck even Kyle Orton who has virtually zero arm strength threw for 3,802 yards last year. So what gives? well like I said the big thing is that QB's have become homophobic, nearly every offense runs high percentage of plays now from the shotgun, even just a few years we'd only ever see the shotgun for 3rd and long situations. Peyton Manning is probably the most to blame for this, he has absolutely mastered and in many ways created the NFL spread offense, the way he changes plays and gets the right guy into space to make a play or take advantage of certain coverage schemes is incredible to watch. Because it's been so successful a lot of teams are starting to switch to it. It started off with the Pats in 07 and just took off from there. The other guy that is to fault for this is Tom Brady. Ever since the NFL's Prince Charming went down on a season ending knee injury from a perfectly legal and clean hit the NFL has made it illegal to do anything short of blowing kisses at the quarterback. Now QB's don't ever have to worry about getting hit or not having the right protection because as soon as you feel contact you know your getting a guaranteed 15 yards. Poor David Carr just came into the league too soon could you imagine how many calls he would have gotten? In 6 years with Houston he was sacked an astonishing 250 times, and if you discount the one shortened year he started in which the line actually protected him it's 235 in 5 years, if you want some perspective Peyton Manning has only been sacked 215 times in 12 seasons. There is one more player to blame for this and his name is....... REGGIE BUSH!!!! I know especially now its easy to look at Reggie Bush either being a disappointment or a guy who likes to try and cheat the system but just ignore all that for a moment, think back to College days when he was the most electric athlete people had ever seen. Ever single kid that watched him wanted to be just like him. We had been used to seeing running backs being patient and hitting holes and running guys over. I mean there plenty of guys that had flash like LT or Marshall Faulk but nobody like Bush. Bush revolutionized the position, with his ability to play slot receiver and his speed in the return game. I mean for crying out loud Madden put in their game the ability to pull off his step back move, what other guy has had Madden incorporate a move after them? The closest thing is Boise State's hook n' ladder play. Because of the way he dominated College Football nearly ever up and coming young running back is modeling themselves after him. I know we still have young traditional backs like Shonn Greene, Ray Rice, MJD or Rahshard Mendenhall but every single one of those guys was considered a "sleeper" pick, nobody was looking for them to be their feature back even though that is exactly what they are. Look at the guys who teams are targeting, Reggie Bush 2nd overall pick, Darren McFadden 4th overall pick, Knowshawn Moreno 12th overall pick, and C.J. Spiller 9th overall. I know there are other guys in there too that are more traditional backs (I didn't include Chris Johnson because I don't see him one way or the other, he's simply the perfect hybrid) but you think that those guys would have been so highly targeted if it was even 7 years ago? Backs have become more entertainers and a support system for the QB, a guy to check down to or to throw out wide in the slot for a 4th or 5th receiver and it's expanding the passing games of teams. So what does this all mean for the 2010 season? Well here a few things for you to focus on

1. Rookie QB's
It's no secret that this may be the most talked about rookie draft class of all time. With possibly a new future super star (Sam Bradford) the next passed over Aaron Rodgers type stud (Jimmy Clausen) and then the good guys whom "experts" believe to have better feel good stories then pro potential (Tebow and McCoy). I've spend a lot of time analyzing these qb's, especially recently since I am a die hard Rams fan and I want to make sure that my team is in good hands. So far from the pre-season I couldn't be happier with Bradford, he's shown poise, has taken some big hits and bounced right back, he got better with every game, his teammates are buying into him being the leader and every coach he's gone against has said the same thing, that he's a future superstar and a born leader. I'm stoked for all this but my question with Bradford was never about any of that, I want to make sure that he isn't going to throw for 4,000 yards 30 TD's get my hopes up in the next couple of years then blow his knee out. I know he took some hits in pre-season but I'm not convinced his body is going to hold up long enough in the NFL to ever accomplish what he is talented enough to do. I just know deep down in my gut that some how Bradford is going to have a big "what if" hanging over his career while Jimmy Clausen is winning MVP's in 5 years and Tim Tebow is collecting a Super Bowl ring. I'm getting depressed, time to move on since no one else from this group is going to start this year anyways and if they do I'll come back to it then.

2. Aaron Rodgers
I've been really high on Rodgers ever since he was drafted and he hasn't done a single thing to disappoint. During the whole Favre Packers divorce he is the only one that really acted mature about the whole thing, just letting them take care of business while he handled his on the field. He has matured into one of the best NFL QB's and is now a MVP front runner. Also Bill Simmons reports that Aaron Rodgers was out at a sports bar with some teammates and a few college buddies watching the NFC Championship game and Rodgers was openly cheering against the Vikings and was making a point of it to single out Favre in his jeering. If there was ever any doubt in my mind about being a Rodgers fan that definitely put me over the top, there is nothing to not love about this guy. I know he is everyone's trendy pick but it's too obvious to not agree with it, I think I'm going to kill myself for agreeing with nearly ever ESPN writer but I guess they have to be right about something every now and then. Don't be a bit surprised to see Rodgers throw for over 5,000 yards and/or 40 TD's. Sounds insane but he is that good and if there is any year to do it's this year.

3. Old Dogs Learning New Tricks
It's slightly ridiculous to me how many veteran QB's are assuming new roles this season. Not just guys changing teams but you look at guys like Chad Pennington or Marc Bulger, quarterbacks who are used to field general and are now back up quarterbacks to the new young guns. But I'm very curious to see how McNabb fares in Washington or Jason Campbell does in Oakland, I could honestly care less about Derek Anderson but for arguments sake we'll throw him in there. Jake Delhomme though is the guy I really want to see this year. I know it's random but poor Cleveland fans have gone through so much this summer and Delhomme actually looked great in the pre-season. I would love to see the Browns surprise teams this year and have Delhomme just start dominating. It can't happen, it makes no sense right? It sounds crazy, "so crazy that it just might work". I know I know I'm not really predicting this but I'm secretly rooting for this to happen this year just because Cleveland fans need something like this and I really hate Lebron James. One more fantasy tangent, could you imagine having Washington play Cleveland for the Super Bowl? I mean it would be the single greatest dual F you game of all time, especially if Cleveland beat Miami to make it, just saying.

The Brett Favre Category
Don't worry this isn't another quarterback section but Brett Favre epitomizes this category about the NFL and that is what I believe to be overrated. So here we go starting with overrated players for this year in no particular order.

1. Brett Favre - If you know it is no secret how I feel about Brett Favre. I understand that the fact that he had his best stastical season of his career as a 40 year old is miraculous and that he holds nearly every single quarterback record but I think to say that he is even a top 5 all time quarterback is a complete disgrace to the game of football. I'm sorry but if there is anything that I have seen from Brett Favre is that he is the biggest "me first" person I have ever seen. He has put himself above three different franchises, he cares way more about meaningless records then he does about team success and he has thrown away nearly 10 times as many critical games then he has won. Sure he has won a super bowl and we all remember the magical monday night game after his dad passed away or the last second touch down against the Niners but how quickly we forget the bad. The Super Bowl he lost when his team was an enormous favorite, the last two post season appearances when he made rookie like decisions and threw interceptions to lose the games or how he has progressively gotten worse and worse in the playoffs as his career has progressed despite getting "better" at the end of his career. From 93 to 96 (the year he won the super bowl) he was 7-3 in the post season. Since that time he has gone a very pedestrian 6-8 in the post season, but he is still dubbed a "winner". In a must win game I don't think there is anybody I would trust less then Favre other then Jamarcus Russell but even he may be smart enough to know he can't win it on his own. I can't wait to see Favre hype everybody up again this season just to throw it away again when it matters most, but of course it'll be excused because he'll be fighting through another injury or he's just a natural gun slinger or whatever excuse you want to give him, Brett Favre is vastly overrated.

2. Chris Johnson - I'm going to get so much crap for this but I don't care. All we heard last year was about Michael Turner and how because he led the league in carries would probably have a sub par year because of the work load that he had to endure the past season. Well Chris Johnson is in the same boat yet all anybody is talking about is him breaking the single season rushing record. I'm sorry but when you touch the ball over 400 times as 190lb back you are eventually going to wear down a bit. Does this mean I think that Johnson is going to bust this year? No not at all, he is still probably the number one fantasy back but I'm actually going to say AP will have a more productive year if he can cut down on the fumbles. The reason I'm saying he is overrated is only because of the ridiculous expectations that have been put on him. He has set high goals for himself but I can't fault him for that, he is a competitor and he wants to be the best and he may break the single season rushing record, I just don't think it's this year. Not only does he have the number of touches from last year but Vince Young is going to try and establish himself more this year, the Titans are going to try and establish a stronger passing game and while this will help open up the run game a bit it is also going to take away touches from Johnson. Remember the last guy to rush for over 2,000 yards? It was Jamal Lewis and his next two seasons COMBINED only equated to just over 1,900 yards and dropped from a 5.6 YPC to a 4.3 YPC to a humbling 3.4. Before him was Terrell Davis was before him and he never rushed for more then 700 yards in a season after that. The year before Barry Sanders rushed for over 2,000 yards and while the following season he still had nearly 1,500 yards he had the lowest YPC (4.3) of his career after a 6.1 YPC. The year after Eric Dickerson set the rushing record he only rushed for 1,234 yards with a very mediocre 4.2 YPC after having a 5.6 YPC. And the first man to ever rush for 2,000 yards O.J. Simpson barely eclipsed 1,000 yards the following season as his YPC went from a 6.0 to a 4.2. Chris Johnson's YPC last year? 5.6. I do recognize that he has younger and fresher legs then when the other RB's had their 2,000 yard seasons so let's say he drops to a 4.5 YPC (which is higher then any of the other backs ever did) and say we drop his carries to 300 (that's a 58 carry drop and with the exception of Davis because of injury the other backs dropped off by an average of 70) Johnson's rushing totals will be around 1,350. That's with being generous on the averages, obviously that is still a very good season and it may not play out like that but to me that seems like a much more likely outcome then a 2,500 yard season which is what Johnson is shooting for. I love Johnson as a player so please don't get angy with me for this but just understand that it is logical to expect a drop off in production while everyone is expecting this enormous season from him.

3. Matthew Stafford
Entering into his second season there is a lot of hype surround the Detroit Lions and their second year QB. Granted nobody is expecting them to make the playoffs but they may finally have an offense that is at the very least entertaining to watch. Stafford is a young stud and they have great young weapons in Calvin Johnson, Jahvid Best, Nate Burleason, Brandon Pettigrew etc. All the ingredients to a succesful offense and a breakout year for Stafford right? WRONG!!! HELLLLLOOOOO!!!! What happend for every football head in America to fall asleep, wake up and go "hey you don't need an offensive line anymore to have a succesful offense"? Stafford only played 10 games last year and most of those games were injury plagued because the offensive line couldn't keep him upright. I still can't figure out how Stafford only got sacked 24 times, to me that speaks very highly of his pocket presence because he should have been sacked around 50 times last year. The Lions did upgrade the line with acquisition of Rob Simms at left guard but still how is Jeff Backus still starting? The guy is as good at protecting his quarter back as Lebron James is at being loyal and mature. Why do people think that Stafford is suddenly going to have time to throw down field and get it to his receivers? Granted he's going to have some big games and I'm not nearly as down on him as I was during last years draft but I still don't see that elite level from him and a lot of quarterbacks struggle in their second season. Add all that with the porous O-Line and I just don't see that level of break through for him. Remember last year he only threw for 13 TD's while having 24 turnovers, an improvement on that still just puts him at a mediocre level.

(to be continued.......)

Friday, June 4, 2010

NBA Finals: Game 1 Recap

Remember the 2008 finals? Unfortunately for Boston both the Lakers and Celtics remembered it all too well. The Celtics came out and looked like they believed that the Lakers were the same team that got pushed around by them two years ago while the Lakers came out and made a point of it to do everything short of pantsing Boston to bully them in game 1. I haven't been this impressed with a Lakers win since game 6 of last years Western Conference Finals, they did everything a Champion needs to do. I expected the hustle and the game plan of going inside to challenge the Celtics, I did not anticipate them to be the more intense and aggressive team on defense. Their whole game plan was focused on the defensive end, even on plays when they were clearly beat you never saw the Lakers standing around, they constantly rotated and played great help defense. Even on plays were there was no chance of them preventing a basket somebody was always flying in to make one last desperate attempt and it even worked a couple of times, I have never been more impressed with the Lakers defense. Also I was incredibly relieved to see Phil Jackson start Kobe off on Rondo instead of waiting til game 4 or 5 to make the switch like he tends to do. The Lakers came out with a specific mindset and they stuck to their game plan from the start. On the other hand I couldn't begin to tell you what Boston's game plan was. The only player to get going was Paul Pierce but even he had to work for everything he got. Garnett looked like he did when he first came back from his knee injury and Rondo just completely disappeared after the first which was strange, he usually waits until the fourth to do that. I can't begin to explain why the Celtics wouldn't try and get KG to body up on Gasol and punish him inside. If a guy like Gasol is that fired up about completely dismantling his "soft" label you need to do everything you can to try and crush that drive. Think of how demoralizing that would have been to him to get tossed around by Garnett in the game he has been looking to redeem himself in for 2 years and yet Garnett just kept roaming out of the paint settling for jumper after jumper, the only thing going for him is that his shot was on. I'm giving Allen a pass this game because of his foul trouble, I thought he just played good solid defense, he really only had 3 fouls that game from what I saw, the refs called it pretty fair for the most part but they need to ease up on the excessive calls, it takes the stars out of the game and completely destroys the flow. Of course it was Joey Crawford, I could just imagine Duncan watching and breathing a sigh of relief that he wasn't playing. This was the first playoff game that Boston has played with the big 3 that I believe they were severely outworked, it just isn't them, I was shocked to see them look so lackadaisical out there. One of their big problems I believe is that they were too damn cocky. Every press conference I heard from the players, not Doc Rivers, sounded like this was a sure thing for them, there was a lot of smack talk disrespecting going on from the Celtics. Granted they earned the right to do that a little bit but it was completely contrary to the Lakers who were all business in all of their interviews and it showed in the game preparation. All of that being said the Celtics are savvy veteran team, I believe there is a greater chance of being growing to 6 feet by Sunday then for them to come out with the same intensity they did last night. This next game will be a completely different story for them but be assured that the Lakers are aware of this. They landed a staggering blow to the Celtics but they know it will take everything to knock them out, they will come out of the gates swinging in game 2 as well and I expect them to pull out a tight one.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NBA Playoff Preview: Round 2 Cavs Celtics

Because of the fact that the NBA knows how to do scheduling about as well as I know how to do quantum physics I have to start and post part of my second round predictions before the first round is actually over, crazy huh? So I'll be posting each series on it's own in order of when they will be played. First up, the cream of the crop.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers vs 4. Boston Celtics
At the beginning of the year most everybody thought that this would be the Eastern Conference Finals match up. Instead we get this clash of the titans match up in the second round but I'm not complaining. I knew that Boston was a far superior team to Miami but until the past couple of weeks I doubted their heart and will despite backing them up all season. If there is one thing to learn from teams like the Celtics and Lakers it is to never doubt the heart of a champion. 95% of teams don't get the privilege to coast into the playoffs and to rest players despite regular season outcomes. When you have a championship within the last 3 years you get that privilege and I am back on the Celtics bandwagon. I've said all year long that the Cavs will not make the Finals but I thought that would come at the hands of the Magic. I don't see them advancing any farther, and it isn't solely for how the Celtics are playing but also because some how Mike Brown has gotten dumber. I watched nearly the entire Chicago/Cleveland series and I saw absolutely no effort by the coach to get anybody else involved other than Lebron. Their "point guard" Mo Williams barely brings the ball up past half court before he dumps it to Lebron and runs to the corner. No Cav holds the ball longer than 3 seconds before they look to give the ball back to Lebron, it's pathetic. A lot is being made right now on the injury of Lebron's elbow, this has nothing to do with that, it may effect his shot some but he'll play through it, he may even benefit from it because he will get back to driving the ball to the basket. He honestly needs to play through it, his team is nothing without him and Kobe has been playing through injuries all season and regardless of what Lebron or anybody else says that does matter to him, he can't let Kobe out tough him if he wants to be the true King. If Boston plays with the same defensive intensity that they played with last series they will punch their ticket to the East Finals to take on the Orlando Magic. Also I expect a minimum of 4 triple doubles between James and Rajon Rondo. I will always pick a great team over a great player, no matter how great that player might be. Just a quick side note, since Dominique Wilkins was known as the human highlight reel and Lebron's highlights have already surpassed his what do you think of Lebron now being known as "The Human Youtube Video"?

Final Prediction: Celtics in 6

Thursday, April 15, 2010

NBA Playoff Preview: Round 1

Not to toot my own horn to much but last year I correctly predicted every series in the playoffs other than the Bulls Celtics. I'm not talking first round I'm talking the whole playoffs, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that now that I am actually writing it down this year that I will most likely fail miserably this year but I got to at least give it a try.

Western Conference
1. Los Angeles Lakers vs. 8. Oklahoma City Thunder
There has been a lot of talk about how the Lakers are not the same team as they were last year, they aren't playing good team basketball, the team chemistry is gone and so on. First off people talk every year about how important Bynum is to the team and then completely ignore it when he goes down with injury when discussing what might be wrong in lakerland. The Lakers have been plagued by injuries all year but it appears as if the key guys are getting healthy so that shouldn't be an issue. Their biggest problem is complacency right now but that is nothing knew with championship teams. Here is an interesting tidbit for you, the Lakers are trying to reach the finals for the third straight year, when the Bulls had their first 3-peat the third year of that run they weren't even the favorite team to win it all, they were actually third. The Bulls were being written off early and they finished at 57-25 while the favorite Suns finished 62-20. The Lakers this year are right now considered either 3rd or 4th to win it all, their record? 57-25 Cleveland's record? 61-21. Also don't forget who coached those teams for the Bulls and it isn't the only other time that Phil has had to deal with this. Remember the 01'-02' season? The Lakers that year went 58-24 and didn't even win their division. I know the conference finals is mired by a lot of controversy but the Lakers still got it done in game 7 and finished off the Nets for the Championship. Oklahoma City does have a team that is more than capable of pulling off an upset but they don't have anything that resembles Playoff experience and the Lakers have just too many mismatches for the Thunder to handle
Final Outcome: Lakers in 5

2. Dallas Mavericks vs. 7. San Antonio Spurs
This isn't your typical 2 vs 7 match up, it never is with San Antonio. With that being said I still like Dallas by a lot in this series. The second they made the trade with Washington I knew that they were going to be vastly improved and I already thought that they were going to over achieve this year. I also thought that San Antonio was going to be at worst a top 4 team this season and that obviously didn't happen. I still think the Spurs have the team to make some noise this year but they have just had too many injuries and I really under estimated the age factor. Duncan isn't himself, Parker is an unknown at this point in the year and Ginobli isn't going to be able to carry this team by himself to a win against a much deeper Mavs team. Dallas is long, athletic and has much fresher legs right now. I know that you shouldn't bet against the Spurs but Dallas has already proven they can beat them in the playoffs and when push comes to shove the Mavericks are simply the better team and should come away with the series win.
Final Outcome: Mavs in 6

3. Phoenix Suns vs. 6. Portland Trailblazers
This match up would be much more intriguing if Brandon Roy's season wasn't already over. Poor Portland just can't buy a good break, plenty of bad breaks going for them this year, literally. I can't remember a basketball team ever having this many injuries and yet the Blazers are still the 6 seed with a 50 win season. They have shown a ton of heart and grit this season and you need that in the playoffs. With that being said I still like Phoenix in this series. Phoenix is playing great basketball and they have been consistent all season long. Grant Hill was recently quoted as saying this team has the best chemistry of any team he has ever played on and that is huge for this time of the year. Nash is still playing great basketball and major kudos to Amare Stoudemire for his season performance with all the trade speculation going around. I mean seriously why would you ever want to trade this guy away? He obviously has the heart of a lion after coming back from TWO micro-fracture knee surgeries, he plays his best ball in the playoffs and he is a great compliment to Nash and that offense. I still don't think that Phoenix has enough D to win it all but I could definitely see this team in the Conference Finals and I'm fairly confident that they get out of the first round.
Final Outcome: Suns in 5

4. Utah Jazz vs. 5. Denver Nuggets
On paper this is the best first round match up by a long shot. You have two high powered offenses with great point guards and legit stars, they also have two of the most playoff seasoned coaches in the NBA. However I can see this playing out as a very one sided series for the Jazz. I said before the season even started that the Nuggets were going to struggle at some point this season and things were going to start falling apart chemistry wise for this team and that is exactly what happened. This team just doesn't seem to enjoy playing basketball like they did last year and that is going to hurt them. I would like this match up for Utah much better if Kirilenko wasn't injured for this series but I still think that Utah has more motivation to win now then Denver does. Melo might have a big series since Kirilenko's length won't be there to bother him but I think that Deron Williams is really going to step up and that will wear out Billups as the series goes on. Also Utah has flipped the script on Denver, one big question mark that always seems to be surrounding the Jazz is their road performances but this year they were a very good road team while Denver was a sub .500 team on the road and I could easily see Utah stealing one in Denver.
Final Outcome: Utah in 5

Eastern Conference
1. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 8. Chicago Bulls
This is by far the most one sided series of this playoffs, Cleveland is notorious for destroying teams that are less talented and while I'm a huge fan of Derrick Rose the Bulls just simply don't have enough to fire power to match up with the Cavs. They make their home games interesting but I'm expecting a pretty easy series win for the Cavs, which will be enough to give Cavs just that much more false hope. I do like the the team that the Cavaliers have but keep in mind they have 5 new players on their rotation this year from last year and when they are finally tested I'm afraid that their chemistry isn't going to be there and it is going to become the Lebron show again which won't win against the other big boys. Plus I will never bet on a team that has Mike Brown as their head coach, Cavs will roll early but I see a very similar scenario playing out as last year.
Final Outcome: Cavs in 4

2. Orlando Magic vs. 7. Charlotte Bobcats
This is a series that will be much more interesting to game cast then to actually watch. These are the two most efficient defensive teams in the league which wins games but doesn't necessarily sell ratings. I think that Charlotte can surprise the Magic especially if they get caught looking a head to the later rounds but I don't see that happening. Orlando is as hungry as any team out there and more talented than most. People keep talking negatively about losing Hedo and gaining Vince Carter but I still like the deal. Carter has gotten more comfortable in the offense and keeps getting better as the season goes on, plus Orlando is deeper this year than last with Reddick playing better, Ryan Anderson, Matt Barnes, Marcin Gortat and Jason Williams all coming off the bench. Orlando might get surprised in an early game this series but they will bounce back and they should be in the Finals again this year and yes you can quote me on that.
Final Outcome: Magic in 5

3. Atlanta Hawks vs. 6 Milwaukee Bucks
I really wanted to pick the Bucks in this series, mainly just for the "Fear the Dear" slogan and their awesome fan base but without Bogut I just don't think they have enough up front to compete with Atlanta. Atlanta is too deep, too talented and with home court advantage I think that the odds are just too stacked against Milwaukee. This should still be an interesting series to watch and I cannot wait to see the Bucks first home game. Atlanta is in for a bit of a surprise I think but should still find a way to get out of the first round against an over achieving Bucks team. But don't be surprised to see this series get dragged out for a while, the Bucks have absolutely nothing to lose and the Hawks are the type of team to get caught looking ahead.
Final Outcome: Hawks in 7

4. Boston Celtics vs. 5. Miami Heat
I honestly don't know what to make of this series, Miami still has no one outside Wade which makes me think they can't beat a team as deep as Boston and on the other hand Boston has lost all heart and swagger which makes me think they can't over come a hungry superstar like Wade. I'm seriously lost on who to choose for this one, if Boston can dig in even just a little and find some of that old championship attitude they should be able to pull this one out so I am going to go with that. I'm also going with them to win because I really want them to re find themselves some how because if they do I can see them taking down the mighty Lebron's but they don't stand a chance if they can't find any heart. Wade is in a prime position to put on the show of a life time and I think he should do it but I don't know if he is going to get enough help although Miami gained some momentum down the stretch by playing nearly every bottom feeder team. Still I'm going to say not enough depth and talent to pull this one out but I'm not giving permission to quote me on this one
Final Outcome: Celtics in 7???

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

NBA Season Awards

This is a list of who I think should win this season's NBA Awards, some real awards and some that aren't, yet.

MVP: Lebron James

I wanted so badly to give this award to Kevin Durant and I do think he is deserving, there is more to an MVP then just numbers. Unfortunately for Durant sometimes a guy puts up such ridiculous numbers that you don't have a choice but to reward him and that is what Lebron does. I think that Mike Brown's incompetency makes Lebron look like a super hero a lot and the talent level around him is a lot better then it gets credit for but it's hard to argue against a guy who is averaging 29.7ppg 7.3rpg 8.6apg and shooting over 50% from the field. I'm a much bigger fan of Durant's than I am of James but Lebron hasn't really given me much of a choice here.

ROY: Tyreke Evans

Again, I wanted to give this to Curry, I still think he will have the better pro career and has had an amazing rookie season especially when you consider that he keeps playing better and better as the season goes on and he is playing with one of the biggest me first guards in the league with Monta Ellis. Curry has not only shown great physical production but his on the court maturity is unmatched for a rookie. Unfortunately for him the numbers speak too loudly for Evans, he is going to go down as only the fourth rookie to ever average at least 20 points 5 rebounds and 5 assists in a season. The others being Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and Lebron James. With those kind of historical numbers it's almost unfathomable to give the award to anybody else, especially when you consider that he can't go left (much like Derek Zoolander). Evans has a lot to improve on and I still believe he needs to play off the ball but for this one year award he has to get it.

COY: Scott Skiles

This award is down to the two Scott's, Scott Skiles and Scott Brooks. I'm giving the award to Scott Skiles because he has led a team that was supposed to be in contention for the first overall pick to the number 6 seed in the East without their best player, plus I completely trashed this team in my season preview and feel slightly guilty for it. Scott Brooks has a more talented team but they are so young and inexperienced that his coaching job might actually be more impressive, especially when you consider how competitive the west is this year and the Thunder's record last year. The Thunder still show some signs of youth at times but their performance this season as been nothing short of spectacular. Like I said this award is a toss up between these two but I'm going to go with my guilt ridden soul and pick Skiles.

Defensive Player of the Year: Dwight Howard

Most of this year I have been putting Josh Smith here and then I realized how ridiculous it is to put anybody here other than Howard. His defensive numbers are actually slightly lower this year then they are from last year but if you have watched any Magic game over the last 2 years then you know just how much fear Howard strikes into opposing teams. Most teams are afraid to even come near the paint when is on the floor and he anchors the most efficient defensive team in the league. Even though his numbers are ever so slightly down his presence may be even bigger this year, teams just aren't giving him as much of a chance this year. Howard is by far the best defensive player in the league and this definitely won't be his last year winning this award.

6th Man of the Year: Jamal Crawford

This one has been won for quite a while, Crawford has just been too consistent and too impressive this season for the ever improving Hawks to not get it this year. Anytime a guy can come off the bench and get you nearly 20 ppg he is more than likely going to win this award. Crawford has not only accomplished this but has also played his best basketball when it matters most, including several game winning or changing shots late in games. There was a lot of doubtful speculation on Crawford going to Atlanta this year but with Bibby playing the worst ball of his career Crawford couldn't have come at a better time for the Hawks. Crawford deserves this award and hopefully he keeps up the level of play come playoff time.

Most Improved: Aaron Brooks

This came down to Kevin Durant and Brooks but I had to go with Brooks for a few reasons. One is Marc Stein sort of twisted my arm when he made a very valid point about how guys picked 1 or 2 overall are supposed to be doing what Durant is doing. Another reason is that Brooks has really stepped up as a leader this year with McGrady and Yao being down, plus he has improved every statistical category this season, scoring up by 9, rebounding up by 1, assists up by 2 and he is shooting more efficiently. The last reason is that I'm simply partial to little guys (for obvious reasons) and Brooks was one of 2 people I said at the beginning of the seasons would win this award this year.

Most Overrated Player: Anderson Varejao

Every time some idiot on ESPN says that Varejao should win 6th man of the year I puke a little bit in my mouth. The guy is completely worthless, he averages 8.6ppg 7.7rpg and a whopping 0.9bpg for a 7 footer that plays 30 minutes a night. The guy just runs around and every now and then Lebron finds him standing a lone under the basket for an easy dunk. He gets pushed around all the time on the defensive end and tries to make up for it by flopping every chance he gets. He can't do anything when Lebron isn't in the game, in the 5 games that Varejao has played without Lebron he is averaging only 6.6ppg and 6.5rpg despite being a more prominent target on offense and more rebounding responsibility. Plus seriously, which of you who have seen this guy play can honestly say he is a basketball player, watching him play is like watching an Asian woman attempt to parallel park in downtown LA, it's ugly and yet horrifically entertaining.

Most Underrated Player: Monta Ellis

Yes the guy plays in an up-tempo run 'n gun offense that inflates his stats some but come on, the guy is averaging 25.5ppg 5.3apg 4.0rpg and a very impressive 2.2spg. He is known as a one dimensional player but if you watch his games you'll notice right away that he takes pride in guarding the best player on the floor. He may be too steal happy most of the time but it works for him, he recently forced Kobe into 9 turnovers and the other night against OKC he made life a living hell for Kevin Durant despite giving up 6 inches to him. People just love to hate this guy and that would be ok if they had ever seen him play! Most of the haters have only seen him play for a total of 10 minutes and just trash him non stop for being a ball hog and his "inflated" numbers. Those same people however laud guys like Steve Nash for playing in nearly the same offense and even reward him with MVP's. I'm not saying Monta is an MVP by any means (he would say that) but the is at least worth of a freaking All Star appearance, especially over Chris Kaman.

Most Dilusional Player: Monta Ellis

Monta thinks he is better than Lebron, Wade, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and everybody else not named Kobe Bryant. Ellis was actually quoted as saying that Kobe is the best in the league, Lebron is third and the little guy himself is number two. I don't think anything else needs to be said. You're good Monta (as we discussed earlier) but you aren't quite that good.

Most Useless Asset: Mike Brown

Coach of the year last year, that still makes me laugh, how I love media hype. Brown is a good defensive mind, I'll give him that, unfortunately for him he wasn't blessed with the coaching gene of game management, player rotations, offensive schemes and just any real sense of basketball. His biggest accomplishment is taking an over achieving Cavs team to the 2007 finals except that he just lucked out that Lebron decided to become a man in the conference finals against Detroit. If you remember in that crucial game 5 Mike Brown basically said screw it and just put the ball in Lebron's hands and Lebron responded by scoring 29 of the teams final 30 points, good for Lebron but really Brown? He didn't even try to get anybody else involved which is why it was so easy for San Antonio to walk all over the them in the Finals. He showed the same incompetency in the Conference Finals against Orlando. I could go on and on but you get the point, anyone can coach a team with Cleveland's talent level but they will never win a Championship with Brown as a head coach.

Douche Bag of the Year: Kenyon Martin

I've never been shy about how I feel about the Nuggets, especially J.R. Smith, Chris Anderson and especially Kenyon Martin. The guy should get the award simply for having that ridiculous lips tattoo on his neck. Martin has always been complete prick on and off the court but he took it to a whole new level nearly 2 weeks ago. Admittedly filling a Range Rover with white leather interior with pop corn is a little excessive for an April Fool's joke but Martin absolutely flipped out and it was right after the team had a very impressive win after going through a rough stretch. Martin threatened to beat up whichever teammate did the prank, his own teammates!!! right before the playoffs started! Then he threatened to boycott the playoffs until whoever pulled the prank admitted to it. How can a guy put his stupid car above an NBA championship and his own teammates?!?! It just blows my mind that Martin could really be that selfish, next year I'm renaming this award after him.

Fountain of Youth Award: Jason Kidd

It seems like whenever you bring up Jason Kidd you have to bring up Steve Nash and vice-versa. This prestigious award came down to these two, Nash's numbers are better than Kidd's and both of their teams are playing very well right now but I gave the edge to Kidd because he is older and he is playing more minutes than Nash and more minutes this year than last year while Nash's minutes have steadily decreased. I still would rather have Nash on my team than Kidd but Kidd has shown a more increased vitality this season, part of the blessing with the last name.

Bonehead of the Year: Gilbert Arenas

First off, who in their right mind brings a gun to work? I mean I get personal protection especially for celebrities and athletes but leave the guns in your car at least. Arenas brought guns into the Wizards locker room!!! and then he and teammate Javaris Crittendon pulled guns on each other in the locker room!!! Oh don't worry it gets better. Arenas then decides that during the next game against the 76ers it would be funny to point his fingers at teammates like he was shooting at them and that it wouldn't catch the commissioners eye. This prompted Stern to take an even faster sentencing path for Arenas. Agent Zero then tells the media that he fears Stern more than the authorities because Stern was "mean". That makes perfect sense to me, antagonize the one guy who holds your entire professional future in his hands after clearly showing no remorse for what you have just done. Arenas joins Kenyon Martin to get his own award next year.

The Gerald Wallace Award: Rodrigue Beabois

One good thing about living in Sacramento is that back when the Kings were a good team I watched a lot of their games and there was something that I and most of their fans noticed quite often. This Gerald Wallace kid has a lot of talent, everybody who watched Kings games consistently constantly anticipated those brief few moments that Wallace would sneak into the game and do something that made you jump out of your seat and yell "why doesn't this guy play more often?!?!" Everybody knew he was a freak athlete and a star waiting to happen, everybody that is except the Kings. Wallace, averaging a double double, is now captain of the Bobcats who just clinched their first ever playoff appearance behind their vastly improved all star and all the while ever Kings fan is wishing he was still around. In honor of Wallace I am giving an award to the player in the league that I think can one day have the same effect as Wallace. Beabois definitely has the potential to do so, we have already seen what a late 1st rd draft pick from France can do. He only gets about 12 minutes a game and is averaging 7 ppg, nothing special but in Feb when he was getting solid minutes he was absolutely electrifying, including a 40 point explosion in 30 minutes, which for some reason has been completely overlooked. For whatever reason Dallas would rather play J.J. Barea and they will one day regret it. Beabois is a future star in this league and Jason Kidd isn't going to last forever, they need to start getting this guy minutes or he is going to bolt first chance he gets and Dallas will forever regret their decision. Nobody knows of this guy yet but they will, I promise you that.

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