Thursday, November 19, 2009

Don't Hate the Bulls, Adam

You see Adam, the NBA actually does a lot of things right. You don't have cases like the Yankees for a few reasons. There is the luxury tax, which does allow big market teams to throw their money to some extent. However, it is a pretty steep price matching the dollar. This keeps teams in check from getting too ridiculous. Imagine if MLB set a limit at $100M. A few teams would pay a bit over. The Yankees would have had to pay $300M, which probably means no World Series this year.

The main reason is that the NBA rewards teams (and GM's) for drafting successfully. That is why they can always give their own player the largest contract. The flip side of this is, of course, those teams who have some poor drafts. In many cases, the Bulls (largely thanks to Krause) fall into this category. Some were also just bad luck. Missing out on Yao Ming, poor draft class with Marcus Fizer, the motorcycle incident, Riley snagging Wade, etc.

Paxson understood that roughly 1/3 of draft picks are busts. He worked to get as many as possible by buying Loul Deng from the Suns, trading Curry for Tyrus and Noah, and dealing Thabo for Taj Gibson. People always seem to forget those were picks the Bulls would not have gotten if not for craftsmanship from the GM.

I actually felt Paxson did a good job with the hand he was dealt. A poker player would understand you must have patience. Sometime you gotta wait for a good hand and go all in. He tried that with Wallace and lost. 2010 is that next hand for the Bulls. Remember they almost had Tim Duncan, T-Mac, or Grant Hill. Certainly would have changed the team's path if we had the greatest power forward of all time, right?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bengals Sign Johnson

It has been public knowledge for about 18 hours that the problematic, Larry Johnson, planned to sign with the Bengals. The hip injury to Cedric Benson escalated this. Here is my take.

The Bengals needed some veteran help as insurance. Bernard Scott seemed to fill in aptly but you never know long term what issues he might have blocking, fumbling, etc. That being said, Johnson was not the answer.

The Bengals have spent years (and plenty of PR dollars I am sure) to get the right players in this locker room improve their image. Getting the wrong guys out was the most important part of that. Guess what? Now, they are winning despite not making any dramatic new additions. Let's face it, Coles was a mediocre add, after losing TJ.

Now, after their biggest win in a long time, they decide to throw all that mindset to the wind and bring in one of the biggest problem players in the NFL!? Hey Marvin, I heard PacMan also needs a job. The Bengals would have been wise to bring in a player like Edge, Stecker, Rhodes. there are still decent options out there. Beside, LJ was averaging 2.7 YPC! Granted, his line is terrible but that production is hardly worth the headache. Just ask the poor Chiefs fans.

The Bengals are one of the feel-good stories of the year. I hope this is not the beginning of the end for them and their fans. Well, except for the few (most were very good) jerk fans who rubbed it in out faces when we made the trip for the Bears blowout.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This Week In Chicago Sports

Rick Morrissey is completely wrong on the subject of retiring Jordan's number. Ask the 83 International players in the NBA how his global icon status helped change their lives. No player has changed the game as much as No. 23 did. This is a nice change in maturity from Lebron.

Rookie, Brandon Jennings, drops 55! Wow, that is a great showing for an undersized point guard the scouts said couldn't shoot. Scott Skiles is at it again by helping a young team overachieve. He sure has a way to make it work for a few years.

Jay Cutler should be glad many NFL fans do not have the NFL Network. Thankfully, plenty of analysts took the time to share how poor his decision making was/is. He cannot take full blame as he has one of the worst offensive lines to ever take an NFL field protecting him.

The Bears simply have a ton of problems. No true #1 receiver. An again, overrated defense. The aforementioned line. They basically have Lance Briggs, special teams, and a QB with tons of physical talent. On top of that, no draft picks in sight. It is going to be awhile, and you have to wonder how long before Jay really starts crying publicly. Bring in Mike Shanahan. Move Lovie, at all costs.

Another hot seat is Weis. Most ND fans want him out. It sounds like he is done. I say ride another year and see how the recruits continue playing out. ND is just not the attraction it once was, and they may have a hard time finding a drastic improvement making the costs worthwhile.

The Blackhawks continue to play strong and are the only thing in the city carrying serious playoff hopes for the foreseeable future. I have concerns about goalkeeping in the playoffs but that remains to be seen. Should be a nice improvement when Hossa gets back. It is nice to see him working out with the team.

Marlon Byrd? Is that really priority #1, Jim Hendry? Did you not learn your lesson from bringing in the last aged, Texas outfielder? Granted, he does not have the attitude problems of Mr. Bradley, but come on! We are the Chicago Cubs. You can and have to do better than that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chicago Flag Football

Those who came last night to Field 6 of the Lincoln Park South fields, witnessed one of the most competitive 8 on 8, recreational, co-ed flag football games you could ever imagine. The Dutch Ovens came out flat. It almost seemed as if they were drinking beer and eating pizza right before the game. It was quickly 14-0 but they were determined to change the tides.

The calm, California-looking quarterback, Jason Robelia, marched the Dutchesses down the field. A leaping grab as the first half expired from Rick Kerley left the score 14-7. A few quick sips of water and all were back on the field. Sometimes ovens take awhile to preheat and this team was planning for a strong second half.

The Dutch Ovens marched again to tie the game with a corner pass to Tara Gibney. She seemed refreshed after her recent exit from rehab. Her new focus could make a big difference in this team's playoff push. More lock-down, man defense forced the opponent to punt, which was a terrible call considering they did not gain a single yard. This left the Dutch Ovens with a short field and they made the most of it. Kerley came down with his second TD of the game, and quickly claimed himself, "Unstoppable".

This would come down to the wire as a few lapses gave up another touchdown. However, TGIF decided to go for two and the win. Ryan Habich collided with two players in the endzone and the ball hit the ground. The players complained to the refs that he gassed them out. It is likely those two players will face steep fines. Dutch Ovens took the win 21-20. They walked off victors to a nice bottle of red wine. There are rumblings of a long extension to potential coach of the year, Shane Summers.

Tara Chinski also had a surprisingly strong showing. Her new, black hair must have given her super powers. Most suspect it is the upgraded last name, though. She recorded two tackles, broke up a potential touchdown pass with her face, and recorded her first reception of the year.

To those who have not seen this team play, it would be wise to take the time next Thursday. All could learn from the heart and sportsmanship the Dutch Ovens put on display week in and week out.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Daly Limo

Buyer Beware! Daly Limo does not understand what honoring a contract means. They called us at 11 am the day before our wedding and informed us the bus broke down. The first explanation was internal/under the hood. Upon further questioning, we were told it was interior. Lastly, it was something mechanical with the TV. Loose, dangerous, exposed wires when we said we didn't care about the TV. This was for a 20 person wedding party and all they offered was two cheap, stretch limos. I book standard limos all the time and gave them a shot because they had a good rate on the bus. Do not risk it because they overbook and do not hold their end up. I had to scramble to find a replacement, which cost me an extra $400 over the original $500 they were legally bound to. Needless to say, they have not offered a check or any concession for the mishap. I got a call the morning of our wedding and all they said was, "There is a note here to call you. I am not sure what we can do to help" Funny, because my contract said, "We don't promise. We deliver". I got none of that.

This was the only problem I had with our entire wedding. I highly recommend finding another reliable service.

Friday, April 24, 2009

NFL Mock Draft

This is the 3rd edition, but I only had time for one version of the NFL Mock Draft this year. The NFL draft is a thing of beauty. Every fan can talk about their new sense of hope come Monday morning.

1. Lions - Matt Stafford
2. Rams - Eugene Monroe
3. Chiefs - Aaron Curry
4. Seahawks - Mark Sanchez
5. Browns - Brian Orakpo - 17 teams sacks, really?
6. Bengals - Jason Smith - this mock draft gives the Bengals a perfect scenario
7. Raiders - DH Bey - that 40 time may be the biggest money maker ever
8. Jaguars - Michael Crabtree
9. Packers - Tyson Jackson
10. 49ers - Michael Oher
11. Bills - Andre Smith
12. Broncos - BJ Raji
13. Redskins - Aaron Maybin (Ayers may be the better pick)
14. Malcolm Jenkins - would be very surprised if this wasn't the pick. Will be good FS.
15. Texans - Clay Matthews - Say hi to Uncle Bruce. Won't lack in effort and has the pedigree.
16. Chargers - Ray Maualuga - toughest team to predict (3 USC linebackers all options here)
17. Jets - Josh Freeman (very possible Bucs trade up to Texans and take Freeman, making Maclin, Wells, or Moreno the choice)
18. Broncos - Robert Ayers
19. Bucs - Michael Johnson - also like Jerry
20. Lions - William Beatty - Britton may be better but suited for right side
21. Eagles - Knowshon Moreno
22. Vikings - Eben Britton - may look Unger as RT/C
23. Patriots - Brian Cushing
24. Falcons - Peria Jerry
25. Dolphins - Everette Brown - one thing is sure, Parcells will pick LB or CB (Butler, Davis)
26. Ravens - Jeremy Maclin
27. Ziggy Hood -
28. Bills - Brandon Pettigrew
29. Giants - Hakeem Nicks (RB-Brown if trade for Boldin)
30. Titans - Darius Butler
31. Cardinals - Beanie Wells
32. Steelers - Vontae Davis (if he doesn't fall, I think Alex Mack)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Boldin Might Not Play, Are Days as a Card Over?

Anquan Boldin is hurting and may miss the playoff game this weekend. I predict if he does, this will be his last game in Arizona. Arizona has the best receiver in the game and another 1,000 yard receiver this year in Breaston. They also have Early Doucet waiting in the ranks. The Cards shocked a lot of people by winning a playoff game after collapsing into the postseason.

Their defense is improved but still has some big holes. A playmaker on this side of the ball would make a big difference. Running back is the most obvious need. QB or O-line could even be a possibility. Warner is aging and it appears Leinart could care less about being an NFL quarterback. So, where could he end up?

Titans - a very good team in need of a #1 receiver. Gage is a good #2 but Boldin makes this team much better.

Eagles - They have a lot of decent receivers, mainly because of Westbrook and McNabb. McNabb is getting up there and probably has 1-2 season left of successful play. The torch was nearly passed this year. They have been looking for a playmaking receiver (without the attitude) since TO left.

49ers - SF fans would love him and would create additional excitement for this team that won 4 of their last 5 games. Who wouldn't want to play for Singletary?

Dolphins - Was Fasano their best target this year? Legitimate question and scary to think about. Ginn is developing and this would be escalated with a major threat lining up on the other side to draw double teams.

Ravens - Mason is getting near his end. Boldin would be an excellent option for Flacco. Scary to think if the offense had a playmaker coupled with that defense.

Giants - replacement for Burress? Slightly better player. Much better person.

Bucs - I cannot imagine Boldin being happy about leaving Arizona and Warner to Garcia, but they do need help at the position.

Bears - clearly a need. Same problem as above but would be a god send to Chicago.

Redskins and Cowboys - when aren't they in the discussion. They are like the Red Sox and Yankees of football.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bulls Ready to Dump?

With the same record as they had through 34 games last season, is it time to dump players? I believe so. This was never thought to be a season of serious contention. A shot at a bottom playoff spot, at best. I think the Bulls are about a .500 team, barring injuries. They have had 3 starters out for serious time. Either way, there are too many players blocking each other on this team. So, who goes? Let's look at some options.

Nocioni - He has a big contract and is largely a role player. He is known for hustle but watch him on the offensive end. He stands in the corner outside the three point arc waiting. If he ran around, a la Rip Hamilton, and tried to get open his game would be much more effective. He is a typical Paxson player. He does a lot of things decently but none extremely well. Except complaining to the refs. Seriously, he argues EVERY call. Even the most blatant hacks.

Hughes - Hughes is pretty much everything wrong with the NBA. For some reason, I actually like his play. He is a ball hawk on steals and has some flexibility at the 1, 2, and 3 positions. Although, I do not like his play at the point. His main problems are being selfish, whining about playing time, and terrible shot selection. He is not exactly the player you want mentoring younger guards, especially Rose since his game and demeanor is a polar opposite. That being said, I would take him over Ben Wallace.

Hinrich - I think talk will heat up once he is back and plays for a few weeks. As with Nocioni above, Hinrich does a lot well but nothing great. He is too small to be the 2 next to Rose and makes to much to be your first guard off the bench.

Gooden - he is arguably the most valuable player on this team. They have been horrid while he was out, winning only one game. He is, sadly, the best post player and rebounder on the team.

Gordon - he would have to approve any move so hard to discuss. I would love to keep him as a 6th man, if he realized what he is worth due to his shortcomings.

Pretty much anyone not named Rose is touchable and this team. I still like Tyrus and he has seemed to respond to Vinny lately. He is moving around on both ends of the court. He has abandoned the ridiculous outside shot and slashing to the hoop. Most importantly, he is challenging shots without drawing too many fouls. His 8 blocks the other night (granted against a terrible Minnesota team) should tell you something.

Side Note: While typing this, Rose has successfully slashed to the hoop 3 straight times. He is going to be an amazing player. He will be one of the most un-guardable players in the league.

So, what are some trade options?

Nocioni to the Thunder for Wilcox. This gives them a team player they could use on a team of individuals, led by the overrated, ballhog Durant. The Bulls get a very good rebounder and some athletic, size to their frontcourt. Wilcox is an upcoming free agent, so the Bulls could decide to re-sign him or Gooden at the end of the year. Throw in your 2nd round pick, if need be.

Hinrich to the Clippers for Kaman. This is likely nowhere near enough. Maybe a draft pick could be enough. Otherwise, find out if they want to want another guard thrown in. You might have to swap Thabo for Skinner to complete the deal. I say it is worth it.

Gordon or Hinrich to the Bobcats along with Noah for Okafor. The Bobcats are not crazy about Okafor, but he is a big presence not used effectively. I would like to see Rose, Gordon, and Okafor all play together. I think they would complement each other in a team game very well.

A 3 way trade with the Clippers and Golden State. Could be small or a huge deal. Davis goes back to the Warriors. Maggette comes home to the Bulls and gives them a big guard. The Clippers get Hinrich as a point to play with Gordon. A bigger deal would include Deng, Gooden, Hughes, or Gordon and Kaman.

Getting more unlikely is going after Boozer. He will be a free agent and word is the Jazz will work to kee Millsap, not Boozer. I think they will look to move him and get something. However, his trade value is lower after being injured all year. Would Gooden, Thabo, and Noah be enough? Might get you in the room to talk about options. Maybe Boozer likes Chicago and stays. Maybe an extension is done with the deal. He would solve a lot of problems.

All somewhat unlikely, but I will be surprised if the Bulls don't start selling and building around Rose with a few other players they determine as core over the next few weeks. Hint: Tyrus and Thabo have looked good lately. This either ups their trade value or shows Paxson they are pieces of the future.