Thursday, June 25, 2009

2009 NBA Mock Draft – Top 20

It's been said many times, many ways: this draft stinks. In fact, one news source called this the “worst class in 20 years.” However, the situation is not as dire as these pundits will have you believe.

In the "average" draft class, there will be five or six star players and a slew of role players. This draft clearly lacks the surefire talents, but there are a number of players that will contribute for a number of years in the Association. When we look back, it is very likely that this draft will be better than average because of the role players picked. There will be so many role players that I propose calling this the "Tyler Hansbrough Draft" not because of how great he will be, but rather because of what he represents, a hard-nosed, competitor that finds ways to help his team wins.

Top 20

1. Clippers: Blake Griffin, F, Oklahoma - Ho hum. This has been a done deal for weeks. The Clippers will try to deal one of their big men (anyone want Zach Randolph? Anyone?) to clear the way for Griffin to dominate from Day One.

2. Grizzlies: Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn – With OJ Mayo entrenched as the point guard of the future, Thabeet is the choice over any of the guards. If Thabeet can develop any type of offensive game, the foundation will be built in Memphis (Mayo, Rudy Gay).

3. Thunder: James Harden, SG, Arizona State - Like the Grizzlies, the Thunder already have a point guard of the future (Russell Westbrook). Harden would start from Day One and provide another scoring option along with Kevin Durant. The nucleus of Durant-Westbrook-Jeff Green-Harden would be dynamic for years.

4. Kings: Ricky Rubio, PG, Spain - Four reasons why this is the best case scenario for Sacramento:
--They need a point guard in the worst way. Beno Udrih will not cut it.
--Rubio happens to be the best point guard in the class.
--He’s a marketer’s dream and will help the Kings sell tickets.
-- Rubio has a lot of Jason “White Chocolate” Williams in his game. Williams had his best years in Sactown.

5. T-wolves: Stephen Curry, PG/SG, Davidson - Minnesota now owns four first round picks. (First year GM must be in heaven.) With a nice foundation of Al Jefferson and Kevin Love, you have to think they will lean toward the guards early. Curry is the draft’s best shooter and a younger, cheaper replacement for Mike Miller, one of the two guys traded for this pick.

6. T-Wolves: Tyreke Evans, PG, Memphis - I love the idea of a Curry-Evans backcourt as both can handle the rock and score if needed. A nice combo.

7. Warriors: Jordan Hill, PF, Arizona - Since Monta Ellis apparently runs the draft for the Warriors, the team will steer clear of any point guards. If this is the pick, I expect Golden State to make a deal or two to rid their gut of athletic fours.

8. Knicks: Johnny Flynn, PG, Syracuse - The Knicks have been tied to Jrue Holiday, but I just don’t get that thinking. Flynn is a proven commodity while Holiday struggled for much of his only season at UCLA. Flynn also played one of the most impressive games in college basketball history at Madison Square Garden (6-OT thriller in Big East Tournament), home of the Knicks.

9. Raptors: DeMar DeRozan, SG, USC -DeRozan is an athletic freak and a nice replacement for Shawn Marion. His outside shooting has been questioned but he shot over 50% from the floor in his year at USC.

10. Bucks: Jrue Holiday, PG, UCLA - Back-to-back one and done players from the Pac-10. Holiday, as mentioned above, struggled at UCLA but is seen to have incredible upside. If Holiday goes here, do the Bucks re-sign Ramon Sessions?

11. Nets: Terrence Williams, SF, Louisville - Williams was plagued by inconsistency throughout his collegiate career. At times, he dominated, at times he looked awful. At 11, he seems like a worthwhile risk.

12. Bobcats: Gerald Henderson, SG, Duke - Although Larry Brown has no affinity for rookies, he loves good defenders, something for which Henderson is well-known.

13. Pacers: DeJuan Blair, PF, Pittsburgh - A beast in the paint that manhandled Hasheem Thabeet to the tune of 20 rebounds, Blair fits in nicely to the four.

14. Suns: Brandon Jennings, PG, Italy – The most polarizing player in the class, Jennings could be the heir apparent to Steve Nash in Phoenix. I will reserve judgment until I see him play in a game.

15. Pistons: Earl Clark, SF, Louisville - Eric Musselman, former NBA head coach, called Clark "a poor man's Tim Thomas." That's about as damning as it gets.

16. Bulls: James Johnson, F, Wake Forest – Johnson, a black belt in karate, brings a toughness that the Bulls crave. A trade up into the top-12 has been rumored here.

17. 76ers: Ty Lawson, PG, North Carolina - With Andre Miller a free agent, Philly is doing backflips if Lawson is still available at 17.

18. T-Wolves: BJ Mullens, C, Ohio State - Big men take longer to develop than guards in large part because they are constantly adjusting to a changing body. Mullens, a legit seven footer, has a ton of potential and is a lotto ticket for Minnesota.

19. Hawks: Eric Maynor, PG, VCU - Acie Law has not panned out, and the Hawks can use some solid guard play. Maynor won’t blow you away but he’ll be dependable for a number of years and is more than capable of replacing free agent Mike Bibby.

20. Jazz: Tyler Hansbrough, PF, North Carolina - A match made in heaven.

Other Thoughts

**Best Available:
Jeff Teague, PG, Wake Forest
Patrick Mills, PG, St. Mary's
Austin Daye, SF, Gonzaga: Most embarrassing stat I heard this offseason - At one point this season, Daye went six games without an offensive rebound. He played in the (weak ) WCC and stands almost seven feet tall. That’s awful.
Chase Budinger, SG, Arizona
Sam Young, F, Pittsburgh

**The Mavs won’t let Jeff Teague slip by them if he’s still around at 24.

**DeMarre Carroll seems like a cheaper version of Anderson Varejao. He makes a ton of sense in Cleveland.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Separated at Birth?

Heisman Trophy candidate Colt McCoy and OBYJ outfielder Tim Pitta

Thursday, June 18, 2009

NBA Trade Rumor (Update)

Just hours after the Banter proposed a Minnesota-Memphis trade, ESPN's Chad Ford had this to say:

While it seems clearer that neither the Grizzlies nor the Thunder will
select Rubio for themselves, the Minnesota Timberwolves are making a strong play to move up in the draft to get Rubio, according to sources. The Wolves have
tried to do it by packaging their three first-round picks (Nos. 6, 18 and 28).

Coincidence? I think not.

Two NBA Trades That Should Happen

These two deals would help all four teams involved, and they all work on the Trade Machine.

Memphis trades the 2nd overall pick to Minnesota in exchange for the 6th and 18th overall picks.

Why would Memphis do this?

1. Memphis doesn't need a point guard or center. The only players worthy of being selected this high happen to play those positions.
2. They could use the 6th pick to take Jordan Hill and the 18th pick to take another contributor (maybe, James Johnson). Hill would be a reach at 2 but a nice value at 6. He averaged a double-double last year (18 and 11).

Why would Minnesota do this?

1. Minnesota could use the pick to select Ricky Rubio, the point guard they covet and need.
2. Their undersized starting five of Rubio-Randy Foye-(the artist formerly known as) Mike Miller-Kevin Love-Al Jefferson could give team fits.
3. They have three first round selections but not enough room to house them all on the roster.

Real winner: Oklahoma City - If this scenario unfolded and Griffin and Rubio were off the board, Hasheem Thabeet would be ripe for the picking.

The Los Angeles Clippers trade Chris Kaman to Cleveland for Sasha Pavlovic, Daniel Gibson and JJ Hickson.

Why would the Clippers do this?

1. Over the course of the next five years, the Clips would save about $10 million.
2. They clear room in the frontcourt for Blake Griffin.
3. They take a chance on a player with huge upside (Hickson) while adding two solid role players.

Why would the Cavs do this?

1. When healthy, Kaman can be a dominant inside presence.
2. The LeBron window is closing quickly.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Separated at birth?

This has absolutely nothing to do with sports, but Bravo has gone too far this time. They are casting the case person in two of their Housewives series.

Housewife of New Jersey, Danielle Staub and Housewife of New York City, LuAnn "Countess" de Lesseps

Note: I am not proud of this.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Indian Wedding

Just got back from a jam-packed weekend highlighted by an Indian wedding. Blog back Wednesday.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Separated at Birth?

Cleveland Indians C Kelly Shoppach and Boston Red Sox C Jason Varitek. Oddly enough, Shoppach used to be Varitek's backup.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

NFL Wins – Over/Under

Last week, Bodog released it’s initial over/under lines.

Here are my five best bets:

Denver Over 7.5: The Broncos start with the Ohio sisters (Bengals and Browns); plus, they get four games against the Raiders and Chiefs. That's six games right there.

Miami Over 7: The Dolphins won 11 games last year. Vegas is expecting them to get four games worse? Why? Also, how can the Browns and Dolphins possibly have the same expected win totals? Makes no sense.

Jets Over 7: Sure, they will probably have a rookie starting under center, but has Vegas seen what Bo Ryan has done to this defense?

Chiefs Under 6: What has this team done to improve itself? Is Matt Cassel worth four wins by himself? I’m not buying.

Vikings Under 9: The team still has no quarterback of note, and I would double down if they sign Brett Favre.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Over / Under

How long before a team tries to pick someone that has already been taken?

The line: 21st Round

Man Crushes

Loyal reader BobbySanz makes a good point:

Last year's man crush, Justin Smoak was drafted 11th overall.
This year's man crush, Tyler Matzek was drafted 11th overall.


Separated at Birth?

Chicago White Sox SS Alexei Ramirez (estimated weight 140 lbs.) and Gumby

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Separated at Birth?

LA Lakers C Pau Gasol and... well, you can figure it out.

Quit your whining, Pau.

MLB Draft

We are now 83 picks into the 2009 MLB Draft, and Frank Marcos (the lead analyst on the MLB Network) has approved of every single one. It's uncanny that no one has made a bad pick, and we are almost four and a half hours in. Have an opinion!

Udated - Final Mock Draft

1. Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, P, San Diego State
2. Mariners: Dustin Ackley, CF/1B, North Carolina
3. Padres: Donovan Tate, CF, Cartersville HS (GA)
4. Pirates: Tony Sanchez, C, Boston College
5. Orioles: Zack Wheeler, P, East Paulding HS (GA)
6. Giants: Aaron Crow, P, Independent baseball
7. Braves: Tyler Matzek, P, Capistrano Valley HS (CA)
8. Reds: Alex White, P, North Carolina
9. Tigers: Tanner Scheppers, P, Independent baseball
10. Nationals: Drew Storen, P, Stanford
11. Rockies: Matt Hobgood, P, Norco HS (CA)
12. Royals: Mike Leake, P, Arizona State
13. A's: Grant Green, SS, USC
14. Rangers: Shelby Miller, P, Brownwood HS (TX)
15. Indians: Jacob Turner, P, Westminster Christian Academy (MO)
16. Arizona: Kyle Gibson, P, Missouri
17. Arizona: Bobby Borchering, 3B, Bishop Verot School (FL)

MLB - Mock Draft and Thoughts

Mock: Top 15

1. Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, P, San Diego State
2. Mariners: Dustin Ackley, CF/1B, North Carolina
3. Padres: Aaron Crow, P, Independent baseball
4. Pirates: Tony Sanchez, C, Boston College
5. Orioles: Tyler Matzek, P, Capistrano Valley HS
6. Giants: Shelby Miller, P, Brownwood HS (TX)
7. Braves: Zack Wheeler, P, East Paulding HS (GA)
8. Reds: Kyle Gibson, P, Missouri
9. Tigers: Jacob Turner, P, Westminster Christian Academy(MO)
10. Nationals: Mike Leake, P, Arizona State
11. Rockies: Tim Wheeler, CF, Sacramento State
12. Royals: Max Stassi, C, Yuba City HS (CA)
13. A's: Grant Green, SS, USC
14. Rangers: Tanner Scheppers, P, Independent baseball
15. Indians: Donovan Tate, CF, Cartersville HS (GA)

**Memo to Washington: Please do not give in to Scott Boras' supposed asking price of $50m for Stephen Strasburg. In fact, please give him less than 40% of that. No other player has received more than $10.5m; now, Strasburg is going to get almost five times that? Please.

**If the draft plays out like this and the Nats can sign both of these arms, they will have the makings of a solid rotation for the next few years.

**I will not speak badly against any agent, but I have to question why some top prospects sign with Boras. How does it make sense to hire a guy that some teams refuse to deal with?

**Don't worry Nats fans, all fourteen of you. You have a nine game lead in the race for next year's number one pick.

**Last year, my man crush was Justin Smoak. This year: Tyler Matzek.

Monday, June 8, 2009

MLB - Two Subtle Deals That Would Help Both Sides

The list of buyers this trading season figures to be extraordinarily short as only a few teams will be able to take on salary. However, teams willing to spend may be able to find a player or players that can push them over the hump and into the playoffs.

In both cases below, the team dealing the “established player” has very little chance of competing this year, and both established players will be free agents this winter. It would behoove these organizations to plan for next year and obtain a surer thing than draft picks (ie prospects that have proven something in the minors).

Cleveland sends 2B/3B Mark DeRosa to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for minor league 1B Mark Trumbo: The Angels steadfastly refuse to deal homegrown talent. However, now might be the time for them to make a deal. Consider the following:

--It's been a depressing year in Anaheim since the Nick Adenhart tragedy. For morale alone, the team should consider a deal to shake things up.

--They are only 3.5 games in a weak AL West despite only 11 combined starts by John Lackey, Ervin Santana and Kelvim Escobar. Plus, the Rangers don't exactly have a great track record.

--They lack the big bopper necessary for postseason success (Vlad Guerrero is clearly past his prime). They lost Mark Teixeira this offseason, and they missed out on Manny Ramirez.

--Their offense ranks 10th in the AL in runs scored. Small ball only gets you so far (ie one-and-done in the playoffs).

--DeRosa would rank second on the team in home runs. As an added bonus, Erick Aybar and his otherworldly .390 slugging percentage head to the bench.

Baltimore sends 1B Aubrey Huff to San Francisco for minor league P Waldis Joaquin: As bad as their California neighbors to the south have been offensively, the Giants have been worse. They rank dead last in the NL in numerous categories (R, HR, OBP, SLG). However, their pitching staff has kept them afloat (3.78 ERA). In fact, despite the ineptitude of the offense, the team is only two games out of the wildcard lead. Huff, a frighteningly bad defender, would be worth the gamble as he would be the team's leading home run hitter.

Other Notes

**Best money I spent all year: $169 on MLB Extra Innings. For baseball fans, especially fantasy baseball enthusiasts, you will not regret it. (Side note: the announcers for the White Sox take the cake of biggest "homers". I thought the Yankees announcers were bad. These guys are realllly bad, often complaining aloud about the umpire's strike zone and making gross exaggerations like "all day we did not get a close call" on a routine basis.)

**Speaking of the Yankees announcers, I watched the Rays-Yankees game on Saturday, and color analyst David Cone described the fluid, effortless velocity of Tampa Bay LHP David Price by saying he has "easy gas." Funny thing because my fiance said the exact same thing about me, albeit in a slightly different context.

I'll be here all week... seriously this time. The blog is back full-time. Check tomorrow for an update.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Separated at Birth?

Neither of these two individuals qualifies as a sports fgure, but I saw MG's face on the cover of so we can include it here.

Author Malcolm Gladwell and Actor Christopher Walken

Monday, June 1, 2009

Adam Archuleta vs. David Archuleta

A few weeks back, I compared the career paths of JT and LT. After much positive feedback, I will attempt to make this type of article into a recurring series. The second installment will pit a pair of Archuletas against each other.

Adam Archuleta vs. David Archuleta

31-year old, Adam Archuleta (nicknamed “Arch Deluxe” in reference to his weightlifter-like physique) stands six feet tall and weighs in at 215 lbs. A product of Arizona State University, Archuleta ripped through the NFL Combine and was selected with the 20th overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. He posted 31 repetitions of 225 lbs. on the bench press (unheard of for a defensive back), ran a 4.3 40-yard dash, and recorded a 39” vertical. These numbers were and still are mind-boggling.

The Rams signed Archuleta to a 5-year, $7 million contract. After being named to the All-Rookie team and five solid seasons in St. Louis, Archuleta signed a 6-year, $30 million free agent contract with the Washington Redskins, the most ever for a safety.

Two years later, he was traded to the Chicago Bears. Shortly thereafter, he was released and signed with the Oakland Raiders. After an unsuccessful stint in the Bay Area, he retired to be with his wife, former Playboy Playmate Jennifer Walcott.

Mrs. Adam Archuleta

18-year old, David Archuleta stands 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs in at 125 lbs (soaking wet with 10-pound dumbbells in each hand). He caught his break on American Idol where he finished second in 2008. His fan base consists mostly of tweens.

Tale of the Tape
Archuleta: Adam / David

Born: Wyoming / Utah

Height: 6’ / 5’6”

Weight: 215 / 125

Career Span: 2001-2008 / 2008-?

Significant Other: Walcott / Simon Cowell

Bench Press Reps: 31 / NA

Fan Base NFL fans, weightlifters / Tweenage girls, creepy older men

Advantage: Adam