Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Michael Vick "reinstated"

Michael Vick's "reinstatement" into the NFL and the five game suspension

I realize what he did with the killing of the dogs was heinous, and what he did running the gambling ring revolved around dog fighting, deems him untrustworthy at this point. That being said, suspending him for 5 games in my opinion is a bit much. I know the suspension 'can be uplifted' on 'good behavior, but the man has done two years in prison, lost two years of his NFL career, lost a lot of money. When does punishment beyond that become excessive?

I've heard this, 'Well, he's lucky he has a chance to play in the NFL, and he's lucky he still has a job.. If that was me...' Well, it isn't you. The reality of the situation is Vick is a professional athlete, and professional athletes, like it or not, are held to different standards. Leonard Little killed a woman and did three months in jail, Donte Stallworth killed a man and did 20 days. They are held to a higher standard, so in some instances comparing the average human being to an athlete is a really flawed way to look at things. For the most part, common folks don't have the access to the money, the legal teams, and don't have the notoriety that these athletes do. 50,000 people aren't coming to see 'us' play. Fact of the matter is, athletes for the most part are viewed in a different light when it comes to everything. Is it fair? Not necessarily, but it's the way it is for the most part.

Am I saying Vick should have gotten off scot free? No, not necessarily. I think a two game suspension would have been just and fair. Suspending him two games is a punishment, it's clear, and it gives Vick a better opportunity to catch on with a team and potentially restart his career. Now with the five game suspension that is "subject to change", none of the teams know when the guy is going to be officially off the hook. Hell, Goodell can get up tomorrow morning and while eating his wheaties say, 'Hey, I should suspend Vick until week 10, ' Who can stop him? After all it IS subject to change. I think the five game suspension does a major disservice to Vick because the teams are going to be gun shy as it is with all the negative press, but not knowing when he's going to play could affect these teams and their pursuit of him as well. The suspension just puts an even bigger cloud of uncertainty around Vick.

So my question to Goodell is, when is enough, enough?

I'll leave his startling inconsistency when it comes to issues around the league for another day.

Potential suitors for Vick?

As far as the his potential suitors, it comes down to a few questions in my opinion:

1. When does he get to start playing?
2. What are the teams going to look at him to do?
3. Is his potential production as your starting QB good enough to offset the negative press and the distractions that are bound to come from his involvement with the franchise? I think that is a resounding 'NO', but who knows, maybe in the right offense he can improve. I doubt it, coming off of two years in the pen, but crazier things have happened.

If a team is really desperate (Minnesota I'm looking at you) , I think signing him, bringing him in on a cheap deal couldd be an astute move. If he doesn't work out, cut him. As a starting QB, I'm not sure his caliber as a QB offsets all the baggage he brings at this point. I don't think it does.

That being said, I think EVERY team in the NFL should look into him as a gadget player/weapon because (assuming he can still run CLOSE to the way he used to) he is still useful in the fact that you can line him up on the field and do some different things using Vick in space. Having a weapon like that can't hurt, and I think it would be smart for all the teams to at least entertain that idea.

I don't see him starting this year for someone barring an injury, but I think in a QB starved league for the most part, some teams should at least look into it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Top 10 Building Blocks/Cornerstones- NFC South

If I was to draft 10 players from the NFC South to serve as my core of a Superbowl contender for the next 3-4 seasons, the players I would draft and the priority I place on them are:

10. DeAngelo Williams- I thought coming out of the draft that Williams would be the best halfback of the 2006 class, and so far he has been up there with Maurice Jones Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars production wise. He is coming off a career year where he ran for 18 TDs, and 1,515 yards. I don't expect him to replicate those numbers again, but he will be solid along with Turner in support of Brees

9. Gaines Adams, DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Adams, is a young, gifted DE who showed a penchant for getting to the QB in his rookie season with an impressive 6.5 sacks. He has all the tools and while we have two other stud DEs on the team, you know the saying, 'You can never have too many pass rushers'

8. John Abraham, DE, Atlanta Falcons- As much as I don't particularly like this fellow, going back to the Jets days, his impact cannot be understated. While he isn't exactly the most stout player against the run, he makes up for it with deadly pass rushing moves that makes Sundays difficult for a lot of tackles in the NFL. While his injury history, and his limited threshold for pain is definitely a concern, it's hard to overlook his production and pure ability. He is coming off a season where he put together 16.5 sacks, and has 50 in his last 5 seasons. The bottom line is, this guy can get after the QB, and guys who can do that are extremely valuable commodities.

7. Jon Beason, MLB, Carolina Panthers- The University of Miami aka 'The U', is just a factory that produces very good NFL players. Beason is just one of the many to come from Miami. He burst onto the scene in 2007 as a rookie, and has started every game since. He has put together 278 tackles, 14 deflections and four interceptions. He's a young, fast, athletically gifted LB who has a bright future, and will be the captain of the defense for many years to come.

6. Jordan Gross, T, Carolina Panthers- I need a guy to protect my superstar, shiny QB, and Gross is widely considered one of the best tackles in the game. He should keep the star pass rushers in check a bit.

5. Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans- Colston is one of the best late round gems in the 2006 draft (Good job to the Jets missing out on a guy that played in your backyard). In three seasons, Colston has put up 3,000 yards and 24 TDs, and that is with missed time last season. He's the big possession target that is often important in an offense and with his 215 catches during his first three seasons he has proven his hands to be more than reliable. He has a chemistry with our QB, and is a 26 year old with a bright future

4. Michael Turner, HB, Atlanta Falcons- I'll be honest, I thought Turner would be LaMont Jordan Part II in Atlanta. To this point I couldn't have possibly been more wrong. Turner was the heart and soul of that offense last season, as Atlanta shocked everyone in posting an 11-5 record, making the postseason. Turner is a great north and south runner who has enough speed to separate in the open field and is an absolute terror to bring down. The Falcons have built a nice offensive nucleus for this upcoming season with Ryan, Turner, White and newcomer Tony Gonzalez. Expect Turner to have even more space with which to work this season.

3. Julius Peppers, DE, Carolina Panthers.- Yes, I already have two defensive ends but you can never have too many pass rushers. While Peppers had a very shaky 2007 season, he rebounded last season with 14.5 sacks, reestablishing himself as one of the premiere pass rushers in the NFL. Supreme physical ability, great pass rushing moves, and incredible closing speed make Peppers a nightmare for offenses all around the NFL. 70 sacks in seven seasons and still chugging. Peppers will be the anchor of my defensive line for the next 3-4 seasons, and I expect him to play at a high enough level to make that a smart choice.

2.Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers- He is arguably the best player in the division, and clearly the division's most explosive player. At a diminutive 5'9, Smith offers incredible strength, breakaway speed, and good route running. Overall he has a good polish to his game, and has been very productive for a long time despite the not so ideal QB situation in Carolina. Smith and Brees will make my offense a force.

1. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints- What more can be said about this guy at this point? At this point, the guy IS the New Orleans Saints offense, yet goes out there and throws for 5000 yards. He has been the most productive QB in the league statistically since he signed in New Orleans, and has done so without much of a supporting cast. He hasn't had much at WR outside of Marques Colston and he has had nothing at RB to take pressure off him. He goes out there every Sunday with a Bulls eye on his chest and produces. I want that guy leading my football team, though I think he has some questions to answer as far as performance in big situations goes.

Others who garnered serious consideration:

Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Aqib Talib, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tony Gonzalez, TE, Atlanta Falcons
Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Jonathan Vilma, MLB, New Orleans Saints
Barrett Ruud, MLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Antonio Bryant, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Top 10 Building Blocks/Cornerstones- NFC North

If I was to draft 10 players from the NFC North to serve as my core of a Superbowl contender for the next 3-4 seasons, the players I would draft and the priority I place on them are:

10. Brian Urlacher, LB, Chicago Bears- I'm aware that Urlacher is getting up there, and that he has declined a bit but he is still a good LB. He has always made all the difference in the world to the LBs playing with him, and is a great leader. He is also an asset in coverage. He should be good for the next three to four seasons. And if not, he still has some value in the "mentor" role.

9. Steve Hutchinson, G, Minnesota Vikings- Even though he is 34 years old, Hutch is still one of the best run blocking linemen in the business. That being said, I'm putting him on the list more for the influence he'll have on the rest of my linemen, than his actual caliber. Along with being great in run blocking, Hutchinson also brings a significant mean streak to his craft. Hutchinson has also made quite an impact on the RBs he has played with, most recently been Adrian Peterson. Just think, Shaun Alexander with Hutchinson was an MVP. Without him, witness protection? Where has he been anyway?

8. Greg Olsen, TE, Chicago Bears- Olsen will never be confused for an extra offensive lineman, but the size and skills he brings to the position aren't matched by many. He can split out if you need be, and is a guy that has to be accounted for at all times. With a new QB, and the QB of my fictitious team, Jay Cutler now leading the huddle, Olsen should see a rise in his numbers as more balls will come his way.

7. Aaron Kampman, DE, Green Bay Packers- Kampman is a very good pass rusher, which is shown with his 37.5 sacks over the last three years. It will be interesting to see the transition he ends up making this season since he will be playing in a 3-4 defense for the first time in his NFL career. Pass rushers come at a premium and Kampman is one of the better ones in the league.

6. Kevin Williams, DT, Minnesota Vikings- There might not be a better OVERALL defensive tackle in football than Mr. Williams. Not only is Williams one of the two main anchors on a consistenty great run defense, he has put up 16.5 sacks in the last 3 seasons, along with 16 pass deflections and 2 INTs. He can do a little bit of everything and he will be the anchor of the run defense.

5. Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers- I mentioned him in another entry as the most underrated player in the NFL. He has explosive speed, good hands, is tough as nails, and is great with the ball in his hands. He's a cost controlled, young stud WR, who reaches the endzone a lot. He will be one of the best complimentary players in the game on my squad.

4. Adrian Peterson, HB, Minnesota Vikings- Now, before I go on, let me just make it clear that Adrian Peterson is the best player on this list and that point probably isn't debatable. That being said, he is a running back and the career spans for those guys are fairly short ,and I don't think having a great RB is really a necessary component of a championship team. Peterson is definitely the best RB in the league though, and one of the most explosive players in the entire NFL.

3. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions- I don't know what is more scary: how good this guy already is on the worst team in NFL history, or how good the guy CAN be given he just completed his second season in the league. Johnson is arguably the best WR prospect ever, and put up a monster season this past season. In my opinion, he is the best WR in the league, and he is all of 23 years old. His potential is scary.

2. Jared Allen, DE, Minnesota Vikings- I flip flopped one and two for awhile before finally coming to a conclusion. I don't think people really see and appreciate just how good this guy is. 30 sacks in his last two seasons and 57.5 sacks in the last 5, show that this guy is one of the very best pass rushers in the business. The only thing that I value as much as good QB play, is a good pass rush, and who better than Mr. Allen? Not many.

1. Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears- Cutler is currently one of the more polarizing figures in the NFL right now based on his tantalizing talent, the people who realize that talent and the production that comes with it, along with the people who criticize him for the way he orchestrated his way out of Denver or because he hasn't had the ability to single handedly bring garbage teams to the promised land like so many other QBs in the NFL do (that is sarcastic). Consider me in the "fan" boat, as I love the guy and the way he plays. His arm is among the best in football and he came off a season where he threw for 4500 yds and 25 TDs. He was the focal point of the Broncos offense and yet still succeeded with the pressure of having to score on damn near every possession. Cutler is still learning but has already established himself as one of the top young signal callers in the game. He has the physical tools, and his pocket presence is very good. A young franchise caliber QB with a rifle arm, accuracy and top notch production to go with it trumps all.

Guys who garnered consideration:

Ernie Sims, LB, Detroit Lions
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Chad Greenway, LB, Minnesota Vikings
Lance Briggs, LB, Chicago Bears
Matt Forte, HB, Chicago Bears
Charles Woodson, CB, Green Bay Packers

Antoine Winfield, CB, Minnesota Vikings

Nick Collins, S, Green Bay Packers

Olin Kreutz, C, Chicago Bears

Nick Barnett, LB, Green Bay Packers

AJ Hawk, LB, Green Bay Packers
Robbie Gould, K, Chicago Bears

Top 10 Building Blocks/Cornerstones- NFC East

If I was to draft 10 players from the NFC East to serve as my core of a Superbowl contender for the next 3-4 seasons, the players I would draft and the priority I place on them are:

10. David Diehl, LT, New York Giants- You need someone to protect the QB's blind side. After watching Jason Peters get beaten like a runaway convict all of last season, I can't put him on the list. Diehl is a good, but flawed player. He makes the list by default.

9. Osi Umenyiora, DE, New York Giants- Umenyiora showed his value in the Superbowl, as him and the rest of that defensive line was all over Tom Brady like Roseanne Barr at a buffet table. The only reason he isn't higher on this list is because of the injury he is coming off of last season. From 2004-07, Umenyiora compiled 40.5 sacks, establishing himself as one of the best pass rushers in the business. As is proven over and over, a great pass rush is one of the most important components of a Superbowl winner. The last two SB winners (Giants, Steelers) are great examples of that. With Umenyiora, who is only 27, he should continue to be a productive pass rusher for the next 3-4 years.

8. LaRon Landry, FS, Washington Redskins- Landry is an intimidating safety who runs like the wind, and hits like a truck, but is also more than adequate in coverage. I like those kind of players. I thought he would establish himself as a top two or three safety but he is still very raw. He has all the skills in the world, but he has a lot of growing to do on and off the field. He is only 24 years old and the sky is the limit, and if Landry reaches anywhere near his potential he could be the best safety in the entire NFL down the line.

7. Justin Tuck, DE, New York Giants- In the last two seasons, Tuck has 22 sacks, and has proven to be a terror for offensive linemen all around the league (just ask Logan Mankins). He has the ability to line up anywhere on the defensive line, as he lined up mostly at the tackle spot in the "four aces" look the Giants employed in 2007. He is now a full time defensive end, but has the versatility to line up at tackle if need be. In addition to being a deadly pass rusher he also plays strong against the run. At 26 years old, he has many more good years left, and with Umenyiora we have a fearsome DE combination.

6. Brian Westbrook, HB, Philadelphia Eagles- I'm not a big fan of putting Westbrook this high because of his age and injury concerns but there is no denying this man's talent and production. While he's on the injury list every week, and never practices he still manages to produce. He has also played in 44 of a possible 48 games the last three seasons. While he had a down year (for him) last season, his versatility and the threat of him out of the backfield make him a good pick at this spot.

5. Chris Cooley, TE, Washington Redskins- Cooley has always been among the most productive tight ends in the league despite not ever having a good quarterback to throw him the ball. He has always been a focal point in the Redskins offense but still has managed to get his. Cooley is a great pass catcher, who brings versatility and good hands to the table. He is also taken at that spot to make up for a lack of clear, legitimate receiving options available at the WR spot in this division (Roy Williams has a lot to prove).

4. Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys- Another TE? Really? Yes, I want my QB to have plenty of weapons to throw the ball to, not taking into account the form in which they come. Witten is a "seam buster", a guy who has good hands, and is very much in tune with the QB who will lead my team (Romo). He is the definition of safety blanket, and should be the 'go to guy' when Romo is in trouble.

3. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys- I don't put much stock into the fact that Eli Manning "won" a Superbowl, and no I don't care what McNabb does or has done in his career. Romo is clearly the best QB in the division in my eyes. His arm, the touch, the accuracy, and the arsenal of throws he brings to the table as well as his mobility and feel for the pocket make him the pick here. There is no doubt that Romo's performance in big games is worrisome, but that can be alleviated over the course of time, especially when you consider his "failures" in big games are at a whopping number of two. That being said, you can't teach the skill that Romo has.

2. Albert Haynesworth, DT, Washington Redskins- Haynesworth is a beast without question. The guy is a disruptive force, and for a man that size he is quite nimble. He was a wrecking ball in the middle of the Titans defense and also lined up at end many times and was a nightmare for tackles all over the league. The thing about Haynesworth is I truly believe that the guy could also be an all-pro defensive end if placed at that spot. He is truly a special player, and hopefully he keeps motivated enough to make full use of those tools. With the defense we employ, we now have another guy we can lineup all over the place.

1. DeMarcus Ware, LB, Dallas Cowboys- I'm still not quite sure how he didn't win Defensive Player of the Year this past season, compiling a mind blowing 20 sacks, but this guy is an unbelievable football player. Is there anything he cannot do? The best pass rusher in the business, and the best 3-4 OLB in the business, Ware has absolutely dominated to the tune of 53.5 sacks in 4 years. He is a dominant, unstoppable force who is also a do-it-all LBer. I definitely think Ware will eventually set the record for sacks in a season, when it's all said and done. With Ware, Umenyiora, Haynesworth, Tuck, QBs better watch for their lives!!

And my coaching staff, for fun
HC- Tom Couglin
OC- Andy Reid
DC- Jim Johnson

Others who garnered serious consideration:
Desean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Roy Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Antonio Pierce, LB, New York Giants
Chris Snee, G, New York Giants
Shawn Andrews, G, Philadelphia Eagles
Clinton Portis, HB, Washington Redskins

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thoughts on the Baseball Season halfway through

-Joe Mauer is a complete and total stud. The guy missed an entire month and still managed to hit .373 with 15 HR, 49 RBI, a .622 Slugging Percentage and 1.069 OPS. The guy is so good it's ridiculous and he's only 26 years old so he has room to improve. It will be interesting to watch his progress in the second half of the season. You can make the argument that he is the most valuable commodity in baseball, and that he is the game's best player. All I know is, when it comes time for free agency Mauer will get paid hansomely. He is a machine.

-Albert Pujols' first half would be a breakout season for 75% of the players in Major League Baseball. He is hitting .332 with 32 HRs, 87 RBis, twice as many walks as Ks (71 to 35), .456 OBP, .723 slugging, 1.179 OPS, and just to add the cherry on top he also has 10 stolen bases. The NL MVP race is over.

-Justin Verlander is absolutely nasty. It is good to see him performing at a high level once again, as he is exciting to watch. He possesses a high octane fastball, and nasty breaking stuff. He has a 3.38 ERA and has struck out 149 batters in 122 innings and has a WHIP of 1.19. He's shown glimpses of why he was considered one of the best pitchers in baseball just two years ago.

- Yankee Stadium needs to be altered in the offseason. And as a type this I just hit one out to right field from the seat of my desk chair.

-It will be interesting to see what happens with the Halladay situation in Toronto. Unless you live in a cave, you know that Halladay has been made available by Blue Jay management. I've heard that Toronto is essentially using Vernon Wells as a poison pill in the deal. In other words, if a team wants Halladay they have to take on the remainder of Wells' 100 million contract. That narrows down the potential suitors to a select few. Toronto, given their position, probably will not get market value for him if they decide to move him. I'm curious to see who antes up for Halladay. The guy is a top 3 pitcher in baseball right now, and an asset to any team.

-Citi Field might as well be called Yellowstone. When you hit one out there, that is a REAL accomplishment. I feel bad for the Mets though, as it seems like every significant piece of their lineup but David Wright has been hurt all year. The Mets have fielded the near equivalent of a Triple-A lineup for far too long. I hope Reyes, Beltran, and Delgado get healthy soon. Hang in there, Mets fans.

- I hope the Washington Nationals set the record for most losses in a season (121). Why? I don't know. I'm an evil person, apparently.

-The Dodgers have made the jump to MLB's elite. A big reason for that is the high level of performance from three young stars in the making in Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, and Chad Billingsley. Those guys have all taken major strides this season, and it has helped the Dodgers establish themselves as arguably the best team in baseball. Andre Ethier has also made major contributions, and Jonathan Broxton has been steady. In the offseason, the Dodgers also got the steal of the offseason, signing Orlando Hudson who has been his usual steady self. The Dodgers are obviously the favorite in a very weak NL, and it'll be interesting to see if they are able to win it all.

-The Phillies signing of Pedro Martinez will end up being a good one. Martinez isn't going to turn back the clock to 1999, but he can definitely be solid enough to help Philadelphia maintain their division lead. He'll probably pitch to a 4 ERA, with around a 1.3 WHIP, go at or around 6 innings per start.

-If the Giants can acquire a power bat from somewhere, they will be a tough out come postseason time. Lincecum and Cain form arguably the best 1-2 punch in baseball, and we have all seen how a great 1-2 pitching combination can elevate a team to heights they otherwise wouldn't see (see: 2001 Diamondbacks).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Shawn Marion traded/Anderson Varejao resigned

Marion traded to Dallas in four way deal.

While this deal makes Dallas better for the moment, does it really put them over the top? I think this deal could potentially make Dallas the 4th best team in the conference behind the Lakers, Spurs and Nuggets. Marion, while his statistics took a precipitous dip without Steve Nash, is still a versatile player who can guard multiple positions, run the floor and finish. Marion can also guard PGs, which helps since Jason Kidd can't stay in front of the quicker PGs in the league.

I think Dallas is right in the middle right now, in between being serious title contenders and being a lottery team. It's that kind of "basketball purgatory" that can lead to long periods of futility as in most cases, the GM tries to add little pieces that really don't get the team any closer to a title but "show the fans that they are serious". Ultimately the team comes close but never wins, and as a result get no premium draft picks out of it. It was a good move for Dallas for the moment since they gave up nothing, but 3 or 4 years from now, it probably won't look as good. Marion isn't the type of player that SIGNIFICANTLY boosts your championship chances as his own entity.

Cleveland signs Anderson Varejao (6 years, $50 million).

This seems like a lot of money to pay for someone who has little to no offensive game. I am not trying to say basketball is all about offense because it is not but unless you are Ben Wallace (in his prime), or someone like a Dwight Howard, how many people are really worth this much based on what they do defensively and energy wise alone? I know LeBron James loves the guy but does he really love him that much? Now Cleveland has, in essence, taken themselves out of the 2010 FA bonanza in the name of giving big money to Anderson Varejao.

The only logic I can see to defend the deal is the decrease in cap this year and the potential for a bigger drop in cap next year, so they wanted to keep someone they liked. Other than that, it's somewhat baffling especially considering that he wasn't likely to get that from any other team so the Cavs essentially bid against themselves. "Hustle players" who can rebound and defend are a necessity on most basketball teams, but paying them that much money is somewhat detrimental to the long term, continued success of the team. Of course though, they could have let him go, then watched the cap shrink $3-5 million next season, and end up with neither Varejao or a big FA. Also taking into consideration the Cavs lack of depth among the front court, and lack of options for a starting power forward, Varejao had leverage in that regard. All in all though, I think the Cavs will regret that deal.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thoughts on the NBA offseason developments

Spurs trading for Richard Jefferson

Although I have always felt Richard Jefferson was overrated this trade was about as one sided as can be. The Spurs gave up four virtually useless players, and got back at the very least, an above average one. As of right now, there probably isn't a better fourth option in the league. Jefferson doesn't really excel in any part of the game, which is why I view him as overrated and overhyped, but in San Antonio he really doesn't have to carry the load because of what they already have on the team. All he has to do is play within himself, score a little here and there, provide some defense and have a couple games where he picks up the scoring load on an off night.
From Milwaukee's vantage point it was a salary dump and nothing more. Considering Jefferson is scheduled to make 33 million over the next two years, it was a smart move on their part as well. Great move for both sides.

Lakers signing Ron Artest:

The Lakers now arguably have the best scorer and best defender in the NBA, along with a very skilled big man. Artest brings a toughness, a nastiness to the team, and can also score on the low post. His offensive game is very erratic though, as he takes a ton of bad shots, and isn't a particularly good shooter. Considering what the Lakers already have, Ron won't be anywhere close to a primary ball handler or scorer, as others can create offense for him. I don't see his often combustible personality being an issue since the Lakers are the World Champions, and Kobe will put him in place if he gets out of line. Jackson has already handled a player like this as well (Dennis Rodman), so I don't see his personality being an issue. Artest is a major upgrade over Trevor Ariza, who is the latest marginal player to get far too much love and appreciation for simply being in the right place at the right time.

The rich continue to get richer.

Minnesota drafting Rubio and then the potential aftermath

David Kahn had to have taken this guy with the thought of a virtual auction in mind. That is the only thing that makes sense. Did he really think Rubio was going to fork over six million to come play in Minnesota? And to add to the matter, they then drafted Jonny Flynn, who plays the same position as Rubio. Did Kahn really think that was going to sit well with Rubio? Why not just draft Flynn and Curry/DeRozan and call it a day, avoiding all this drama. Given all the uncertainty surrounding Rubio at the moment, it's not a given that Kahn is going to get a team to pony up for him. Then if they don't trade him, what if he doesn't come to America at all? Then the T'Wolves wasted a top five pick, in a situation where it made little sense to take the guy. Seriously, they took Rubio then took someone who plays the same position with the NEXT PICK. The ensuing drama was bound to happen. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Boston signing Rasheed Wallace:

The economy along with the potential bonanza in 2010 really helped out the Lakers and the Celtics who signed Artest and Wallace to bargain basement deals. Wallace helps the Celtics because he is a nice player, he helps the overall depth on the team as well. He is a big man who can shoot the three, hit the mid range jumper and most importantly is a very good post defender. He is another presence down on the block, who can do a little of everything. But I think an aspect that is being overlooked in the signing is the impact on Kevin Garnett. Garnett can now be relied on for less minutes, and in the event that Garnett comes back and isn't right, Wallace can step in during Garnett's absence. This is a good move on all fronts for the Celtics.

Allen Iverson:

'If I can't go somewhere and start, I'll probably retire.' That is paraphrasing what AI said, and I find ir particularly odd, that he feels that way. Is his ego that big? I respect AI from the standpoint that he doesn't just want to latch onto a championship team, as I find that to somewhat lame. That being said, he is going to "ego" himself out of the league with that attitude. Is it not enough to go and get significant playing time from a team? Iverson apparently has an ego the size of China, and he might force himself out of the league as a result.

Orlando trading for Vince Carter/losing Hedo Turkoglu:

Hedo Turkoglu was a nice player for the Magic but I think he is overrated based on the virtue of the Magic making the Finals. He is a nice player who is better than his statistics indicate, but he is also a 30 year old small forward who isn't getting better. I think the loss hurts from the standpoint that they lose what in essence is, a 6'10 point forward who can handle the ball, run the offense and do most things you would want in an offensive player. It puts more pressure on Nelson to handle the ball handling and distributing duties, but I think the addition of Carter can offset the loss of Turkoglu even though they are different kind of players. Carter is just a flat out better basketball player than Turkoglu, and he can get to the basket on pretty much anyone in the NBA. I can understand the owner declining to pay Turkoglu 10 mil a year over the course of the next five years when he is a 30 yr old player, who has reached his peak. I can't blame the guy for trying to be fiscally responsible.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Thoughts on the Knicks offseason to this point

The drafting of Jordan Hill
with the #8 pick in the Draft

I wanted Stephen Curry badly on draft night, as I think that kid has a bright future in the NBA. When he went the pick before to a team who is already full of shooting guards who play no defense, I was upset as I think Curry has a nice future ahead of him in the NBA. That being said, the Knicks got one of the guys they coveted, according to Coach Mike D'Antoni and GM Donnie Walsh. He is an active, athletic big man who can rebound, score a little and block a couple shots here and there. He is raw and still has a long way to go in his development, but there wasn't much there at 8 for the Knicks to take.

David Lee's pending restricted free agency

I am not a big fan of Lee. I respect his effort, I respect his intentions but after watching him for the last 4 seasons, I just don't feel he is that good a player. I recognize that his production, statistically speaking, has improved every year since he has been in the league and I recognize that he is an absolute demon on the boards which is obviously valuable to a basketball team. That being said, where is the offensive game? Where is the jumper? Where are the post moves? Where is the post defense? He is a useful player with a ton of easily noticeable flaws. If the Knicks could bring him back at a reasonable clip like 7 or 8 million I have no problem with that, but anything above that, ship him somewhere and try and get some young talent in return (like Rudy Fernandez). He's a nice player, but he isn't a centerpiece to a title team so it makes no sense to overpay for his services. I'm pretty sure you can get similar production from someone else for less $$$.

Nate Robinson's pending restricted free agency-

I wonder what the market actually is for Nate. He doesn't really have a clear position, as he is not a distributor, and is far too small to be taken seriously as a shooting guard. I like Nate's game, and when he is clicking on all cylinders he is one of the most explosive offensive players in the entire league, but it seems like D'Antoni isn't really a big fan of his antics and his attitude. The Knicks also drafted Toney Douglas, a similar small off guard type who can score, in what looks like an effort to replace Robinson.

Considering the market doesn't look too strong for Nate, the Knicks could bring him back at a reasonable and that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Nate can play, but his attitude and general lack of consistency are his two biggest issues. Having a guy who can fill it up like Robinson can coming off the bench can be an asset going forward. Robinson is an exciting player who is likable more times than not, but if the Knicks manage to move him for young talent OR to get rid of the contract of Jared Jeffries I won't lose any sleep.

The Knicks interest in Jason Kidd and offering him a 3 year contract

I have changed my mind on this topic about 100 times, as it is a hard topic for me to have a definitive opinion about given the player involved. Jason Kidd is probably my favorite player of all time, and still is a productive player despite his decline. The floor vision, the passing skills and the leadership skills he possesses are second to very few. He has lost most of his lateral quickness and cannot guard the quicker guards in the league, but contrary to the seemingly popular belief he isn't "useless" defensively, as he can still guard bigger guards. If you have a smaller guy who can keep up with PGs, Kidd can be an asset defensively. On offense, Kidd will never be a knock down shooter, or great scorer but he did shoot over 40% from 3 last year. Throughout his career has made teammates better, can push the pace, and is as good a passer as there is in the NBA.

I think the Kidd signing makes sense from the standpoint, that a guy like Kidd, even at his age, making MLE money is a steal in today's NBA where you have guys like Troy Murphy making 10 million and the like. Also, considering the Knicks won't have their first round pick, doing all it takes to win this year makes sense. It doesn't make sense from the standpoint that you are banking on Kidd being Kidd until he's 40. That is a gamble that isn't likely to pay off. Ultimately, if they sign him, it's a decent move that can either boom or bust. However, I do believe that Kidd can "quarterback" the Knicks to a fringe playoff berth.

The Knicks interest in Grant Hill-

Just... why? I understand the need for veteran leadership but why? Hill definitely has something left to offer, but he isn't going to turn the Knicks into a winner, and the team already has 1000 SFs, so the need for another or the inquiry for another is mind boggling at best.