Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I Finally Agree With Kobe

Kobe Bryant recently made comments about how fans shouldn't vote for him to go play in the All-Star game and should vote for the wave of young and talented kids that are going to be the next stars of the NBA (and of course fans voted for Kobe to start in the All-Star game even though he's been hurt for the majority of this season). But what I truly do agree with Kobe on is that he said that the NBA is soft compared to when he broke into the league in 1997, when what would be flagrant fouls now was just a normal foul back then. When Charles Oakley and them boys were in the league defense was played much more roughly with the paint being a playground of bruises and rough housing. Hand fouls (when a shooter is shooting the ball and gets contact on either of his hands) were nonexistent and that's one of the more popular fouls that's called in today's NBA.

But I'm going to go further than Kobe did and say that ALL sports have been softened since the rough and tumble 80's and 90's. When I started to watch sports (especially football) violence was at an all time high. Going over the middle in football wasn't for the weak. Wide receivers would get hit right when the ball got to them whether they were ready for it or not and that was entertainment. All of which is now borderline against the rules if not completely banned all together. Most of the time while I'm now watching a football game the statement "That's a flag?" is repeated several times. It isn't only football and basketball that's being affected by the softening of sports. In baseball there's a now a proposed rule change where catchers are now being told that they can't protect home plate because of the collisions between runners and said catchers. Next thing you know scoring in basketball games is going to average over 100 points per game and football players are going to be playing with flags attached to their hips.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A True Test for the Union

So Roger Goodell is thinking of getting rid of extra point kicks; and I think it's actually a good idea. The extra point is the biggest waste of time in football. After the touchdown the kicker comes on the field for the easiest kick ever. Only 5 kicks were missed out of over 1200 attempts so it's futile to think that it is a vital part of the game. Putting the onus on the team to truly earn the "extra point" would be much more entertaining. Lining up the team to earn the "extra point" whether it be with a running or passing play would be much more competitive. The roll of the kicker would severely be cut down with this change in competition, but I bet you more people would rather see the teams line up than watch some ex-soccer player kick a ball from the 10 yard line.

On another note I think this would be a bigger test for the player's association. In baseball the player's association would no way allow for the commissioner to cut down a position the way Goodell is planning. Because without having the extra point there would only really be a need for one kicker on the team and that means 32 kickers without jobs and that would lower the average salary for players something no union should allow, but then again this isn't baseball and the NFL owners pretty much control the union so we'll see how this transpires.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Close Your Eyes it's Ugly

Charles Barkley now commentating for TNT after a successful Hall of Fame career has made it known that he doesn't like jump shooting teams and to an extent I see the method to his madness. My biggest problem with jump shooting teams is that a player's touch with the ball in his hands differs from day to day. No matter how many nights a player is on point with his shot there are going to be nights where the player is going to be off. Yes, the great shooters are able to repeat their motion and be more consistent with their shot, but I can't shake the night when he's off. I've seen great teams look unstoppable because every shot that is put up hits the bottom of the net and I've also seen those same teams flush games down the toilet because their jump shooters can't hit the broad side of a barn.

Most times when a player is off it's ugly off. Where for example a player would need around 12 shots to make 6 points. That's incredibly inefficient. I can see the great nights where the shooter knows it's going down and takes every shot in the gym and is unstoppable. Shooting from half court? Nothing but net, shooting with three guys defending you? Buckets, that's three points, but then comes that night when it's ugly and it happens to every shooter when the opposing team pit its worse defender on you because they know you can't hit the simplest shot. The "solution" to these poor shooting nights of course is to keep shooting which makes it worse because those are a waste of possessions and it rarely gets better.

The Right Teams Made it to Sunday

This Sunday the NFC and AFC Champion games are going to kickoff and with that there are two very compelling games. In the NFC you have the Seattle Seahawks against the San Francisco 49ers two very good teams that have quite a few things in common including two very strong defenses, two very strong running backs, and two quarterbacks that can run and throw with the best of them. While in the AFC there are the New England Patriots against the Denver Broncos two teams that are a bit more traditional compared to their NFC counterparts. Both teams rely heavily on their quarterback play while their defenses aren't necessarily as elite as their quarterbacks. The matchup between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady is always an intriguing one, even though they're never on the field at the same time, they're the two marquee names in the game since they're both eventually going to end up in Canton, Ohio at the NFL Hall of Fame.

Now to my outcome of both games. In the NFC game I believe that the San Francisco 49ers are getting better quarterback play from Colin Kaepernick compared to that of Russell Wilson of the Seahawks and considering the physical nature of the game on Sunday I feel like Kaepernick's play will be the factor that will put the 9ers back into the Super bowl. While in the AFC I feel like the Broncos have the better overall team with a better defense than the Patriots and a more consistent running game. So in my eyes it'll be the San Francisco 49ers against the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.    

Monday, January 13, 2014

All Net?

There was a team that up until this past Saturday hadn't lost in 2014 it wasn't the Miami Heat, not the San Antonio Spurs, not the Indiana Pacers, or any of the favorites for the NBA title, but the Brooklyn Nets. The Brooklyn Nets hadn't yet to lost in 2014 up until they lost to the Toronto Raptors. I'm not sure if Kevin Garnett has found a time machine, but he's been playing closer to his former self. The quiet Joe Johnson has been playing well, not at an MVP level, but damn near close and maybe the Nets have just found their stride and this is just may be temporary, but they have pulled of some impressive wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder, they snapped the Golden State Warriors win streak, and yes even beat the two time defending champion Miami Heat.

Sure the Heat were playing back to back games, and sure the Nets only beat the Thunder by two points, but a win is a win and the Nets have to be feeling better about themselves considering where they were just one month ago. The Nets are 15-22 4 games back of the division leading Toronto Raptors (which shows how sad the Eastern Conference is this year) and have a mix of teams coming up starting with the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks. The Eastern Conference is so sad that I wouldn't put another streak out of reach for these Brooklyn Nets.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

If I had a Vote...

Since the announcement for the MLB Hall of Fame is going to be to released later today I thought I would give it a shot at the vote for the Hall. The players that would get my vote would be:

Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez, and Jack Morris.

The obvious names are going to make it with Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas. The DH position since it has been a legit position for a while now it is time to put one of the greatest hitters of all time into the Hall so that's my nod for Martinez and for Thomas for that matter. The two names I can see me catching heat for are Bonds and Clemens.

Let me explain my vote for Bonds and Clemens. Both players at the peak of their career when they were young (Clemens with the Red Sox and Bonds with the Pirates) already had Hall of Fame credentials. Bonds had 400 home runs and 400 stolen bases to go along with 8 Gold Gloves and 3 MVPs all before he transformed his body into a walking building. While Clemens had 3 Cy Young awards and an MVP award (which is difficult for a pitcher to win) all of this before 1992. Oh and he had 1,665 strikeouts in that span with an astonishing 291 strikeouts in 1988. I don't care what these guys did late in their career to add more time to their careers all I know is that at their peak they were the best players in the league and that's what the Hall is all about.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Can there be some Love in Chicago?

The Bulls have decided to finally start to look toward the future and with their first move traded Luol Dang to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum and three draft picks. The next move I'm expecting is the Bulls to FINALLY use the amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer. I would've used the amnesty clause on Boozer about two years ago, but the time has come and after this season and before the 16 or so million that Boozer is owed for the final year of his contract he will get hit with the amnesty and I couldn't be happier. So with Deng off the books, Bynum off the books, and Boozer the loser finally off the books the Bulls are set up with cap space AND draft picks to do whatever they want to do, but with great power comes great responsibility.

The last thing Bulls fans need is for the management to mess up this opportunity by doing something stupid like trade for Dwayne Wade or another player that's on the wrong side of his career. Not that there's anything wrong with Dwayne Wade he's just not what the Bulls need. The Bulls have the chance to build through the upcoming "Mega Draft" and also sign another star in the 2014/15 offseason. If I'm looking at a wishing well with a hand full of coins I'm throwing them all in for a run at Minnesota Timberwolve Kevin Love. With Love, Rose, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, plus whatever player the Bulls nab in the lottery, the Bulls would have the necessary pieces to make a run at the Indiana Pacers and for that matter the Miami Heat for the East. So as I'm sad to see Deng go having the chance to bring some Love to Chicago is something that shouldn't get passed up.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Cavalier Conundrum

Andrew Bynum was once a star center for the Los Angeles Lakers, but due to knee injuries he was limited to playing 392 games in his 7 year stretch with the Lakers and missed his whole year in Philadelphia after he was traded to the Sixers after the 2012 season. So Bynum has been relied upon as a centerpiece once with the Sixers and to an extent with the Lakers, but with another devastating knee injury where he needed ACL surgery again on his right knee he missed the season with the Sixers. As a free agent Bynum signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers for a team friendly 2 yrs and 24 Million dollar deal because the second year is an option instead of a guaranteed 24M the Cavs are on the hook for about 6M the rest of this season if he is not waived or traded by Jan 7 so the clock is ticking on the Cavs.

The Cavaliers are 10-21 this season and dedicated minutes from Andrew Bynum are difficult to come by because the youth movement (polite way of saying rebuilding effort) is not something Bynum is used to since he's been on winning teams for the large part of his career especially in LA. When Bynum isn't interested in playing basketball it's evident in his off the field behavior so it's no surprise to hear that the Cavaliers are trying to move Bynum. In my opinion the Cavs are going to waive Bynum before the Jan 7 deadline and avoid having to pay a player that doesn't want to be there. My question to Bynum is how much longer are you going to put teams through this? Your body isn't reliable enough to play 50 games much less the full 82 games in a season and your attitude sours the minute the team isn't winning call it a career or suck it up and play hurt. You're getting paid like an All Star so show up and be one.