Friday, July 16, 2010

Ronnie Brewer signs with the Bulls

The Magic matching the offer to JJ Redick was a huge blessing in disguise to the Bulls.  They already had their three point sharpshooter in Kyle Korver.  That left a bigger need for a long, athletic defender.  Ronnie Brewer was quickly scooped up as a backup.

The thing is, I don't see him as plan B but rather what should have been one of their top targets all along.  He is a great fit to this team and will thrive with Thibodeau's defensive schemes and teachings.  He is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league and will force a lot of fast breaks.  Something the Bulls are very good at but need to do more of.

Brewer has an awkward shot from a childhood injury.  It is very unorthodox but still a lot of his game is above the rim.  He is an excellent finisher and loves to throw it down.  That will really warm up the United Center and get fans on his side quickly.  His 52.1 career field goal percentage should tell you how much of his game is around the rim.  He will help Rose get more assists, rather than Hinrich/Salmons throwing up a brick.

Deron Williams was pretty upset when Brewer was traded last year to the Grizzlies.  It says a lot when one of, arguably the best, point guards in the NBA talks about wanting to leave the team after you are traded.  Williams talked about his three year deal and leaving his options because of this trade.  That really has to scare the Jazz after losing Boozer, Korver, Matthews and now Brewer.  I love Jerry Sloan but they could be in a real bind here soon.  They surrendered two, first-round picks for Jefferson.  He better work out.

The Bulls are assimilating a lot of the right pieces.  Basketball is, after all, a team sport.  Their games should play well together.  It certainly helps that three of the new guys all played together in the past and will help them all adjust to the new scenery.  The Bulls have room for another add and rumor is Matt Barnes while possibly re-signing Brad Miller.  That would leave them with one of the deepest 8-9 man rotations on the NBA.  A deep team worked for the Blackhawks didn't it?    

Chicago White Sox Outlook for Second Half

I am not writing this post as a Cubs fan just hating on the White Sox.  I simply do not think the White Sox best baseball is ahead of them.  Their roster looks mostly like an average team, which is how they were performing until a nice run heading into the All-Star break.

The problem with that is it created false hope and has many South siders believing their team is better than it really is.  They hit an easy stretch that included the Pirates, Nationals, Cubs, Royals twice, and a four game series with the Angels.  Not to completely discredit their run, as they torched through that 25 game set, which also included the Rangers and Braves.  They play the games for a reason.  A team like the Cubs would probably still have cruised through at a less than .500 clip, so they accomplished something.  Note: the Cubs stink.  They are really pushing me to my limits.

It is likely Kenny Williams will look into his magic hat and find some move.  I just don't see the current roster as a playoff-bound team.  Four of the five starting pitchers have ERA's over 4 and one of those [Peavy] is, of course, gone for the season.  At a minimum, they have to replace him.  Probably Freddy Garcia, too.  If they do that, you will see a different stance from me.

They have had offensive woes leaving some reason to believe a few of those players could turn things around.  Carlos Quentin got a hot power stroke going into the break.  Do you really think Konerko can keep up his pace, though?  How about Rios?  I would probably say Rios is more likely as I have always thought he was a decent player.  Konerko has been a terrific first baseman over his career but he hasn't hit .300 or had 100 RBI's since 2006.  Something's gotta give.  I guess his back.

Detroit has there problems and Minnesota seems to be missing some pieces, too.  You can't ever count a Gardenhire team out, though.  Pending upcoming moves, I predict both teams finish the season ahead of the White Sox.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Past statements from Lebron prove interesting

OK, one last post here on the Lebron saga.  Besides, the rumors of Favre playing with high-school kids are already swirling, so we should have our next male soap opera soon enough.  I found this interesting and wanted to share and add some insights.

In an article from Jan 5, 2006 by Chris Broussard, the Queen had some very interesting quotes.

          "I don't try to pattern my game after anybody's, but if I had to talk about similarities, I'd look at Penny  Hardaway when he was in Orlando. He was a 6'7" point guard. He had flair, he could pass, he'd dunk on you and he could shoot jumpers. Then I'd look at Oscar Robertson and Magic and the way they were able to dominate games. I don't say I'm going to try to be those guys, but I can see a little bit of my game in each of them. And I'm not really concerned about surpassing them in history. I just hope that one day people will think I was one of the best players to ever play in this league. Ever."

Many knew he wanted to play more of a point role and distribute the ball.  He clearly states that above.  His first reference was really Penny Hardaway, so why did the media appoint him as the next Jordan?  He never wanted it.  It would have changed a lot had he come out and said so.  He says "one" of the best ever.  Go back and watch interviews, tapes, or especially Jordan's Hall of Fame speech and tell me he was OK being regarded as just "one" of the best.  No way.  He wanted to be THE best NBA player of all time.  At all costs.  Just ask his wife and kids or go back again and watch the Jordan HOF speech.

          "I know that'll take titles, though. When I think about the best players in the league, I think of the guys who've won championships, guys like Tim Duncan, Kobe and Shaq. Of all of them, I like Kobe....I don't think I have an instinct like Kobe, where I just want to kill everybody. But I do want to be the best player on the court every time I step out there."

There is still no mention of Jordan.  He even admits not having the killer instinct of Kobe.  That is pretty clear after the Boston series and then, of course, the stampede to Miami.  He still wants to be the best player on the court, which he is night in and out.  What he doesn't have or want to be is the bona fide leader.  Now comes the most interesting quote of all.

          "I don't want to go ringchasing, as I call it; you know, going to a team that's already pretty established and trying to win a ring with them. I want to stay with the Cavs and build a champion. And I feel like we're on our way."

That is certainly quite the opposite of the reasoning behind, "in this fall I am taking my talents to South Beach", which said it was all about the chance for a championship.  If that's not ringchasing, I don't know what is.  I still don't blame him for leaving and completely understand going somewhere else.  It just becomes interesting to look back at past quotes and reflect.  Thanks for the media and digital archiving.     

Here is the entire Down the Road article.  Maybe we should have known Broussard had some real insight on the topic.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shady, Aftermath

Yes, that's a reference to Eminem.  Thank you, you sons of bitches, for captivating everyone's attention the last few weeks/months for a pre-determined, fake going through the motion of evaluations, free agency process.  This was clearly a decision you made up a long time ago.  You could see it on the $hit-eating grin Queen James (that's what his new nickname better be as second fiddle to Wade) when he was asked the question.

First feedback, is that this is not a good thing for the NBA.  I hope most fans don't forget this and hold true.  I don't care if they top the 72 win season (which they won't), it's all fabricated.  We were basically watching a WWF ( I don't care what the name is now that's what it will always be referred to by me) match.  A few close people decided the outcome and everyone else was left watching the fake blood and chair smashings. 

Mark my word, the owners will react to this.  There will be a new team rule, a la the Larry Bird rights rule, where no team can go below a certain threshold.  There will be exceptions for bankruptcy, but they will make a change so the league is never taken hostage like this again.  It will be the Miami triumvirate or trifecta rule.  I am going to check trademarks to purchase the rights now.  Maybe I can spoil in the riches, too.  If only I were in Miami and didn't have to pay the taxes.

Let's face it this was all about two things; money and fame.  They could all save tax money there.  They could also stroll the beaches with their white suits and stroll the beaches (yeah this is him on draft day, so we all should have known this day was coming).

As for play on the court, I am sure they will figure out and win the championship they seek.  I hope Wade gets hurt from having to play 45 minutes a game and it never happens, but that seems pretty unlikely for five years straight.  Stranger things have happened. 

One last question is, say they win the next five championships (and pretty much any less than 3 is a failure in my opinion), who will be regarded as the best player from those teams?  Does Wade rank higher than Lebron on all-time lists because this is his team Lebron had to follow and join and Wade always has the extra championship?  Something to think about for his royal highness and all his posse.

Lebron's Big Mistake

I don't care where Le' bron signs anymore.  He tried so hard to make this the relevant story for months, it became completely irrelevant.  "The Decision" is more like "It's Finally F'ing Over".  This hijacking is worse than Brett Favre.  I love Kevin Durant.  He quietly re-signed and put out a simple tweet.  He is now my favorite player not named Derrick Rose. 

Interestingly, Baby Bron (screw the king nickname, an immature, baby is what he is) could have used his very own name for a better way to handle this.  The classic song by Led Zeppelin, Bron-Y-Aur-Stomp, carries one of the greatest, rhythmic beats ever produced.  It was written while the band took some time to recover from a concert tour in a small, cottage.  They utilized the change of scenery to re-vitialize and seek creativity, which ended in a masterpiece.  Mr. James had exactly the same chance this off-season.  A quiet getaway to look deep into his own self (if that even exists) would have given him the answer he sought.

Instead, he chose to work on building his global "brand".  What exactly is the Lebron brand, anyway?  Whatever it is you can rest assured, I am avoiding it and encourage you to do the same.  Take a page from Kobe, who quietly signed his extension and won his 5th championship.  That's what great players do.  They win championships.

You may ultimately win wherever you end up.  I really hope you stay in Cleveland.  That would create an exciting competition in the Eastern conference with Miami, Orlando, Cleveland, Boston, and Chicago.  If Magic and Larry had teamed up, would they live the same as legends today?  Personally, I don't think so.  People love rivalries, not hand-made championships.  Miami is the cop out and people won't be as interested.  Take the most challenging path and finish what you started.  It will be the most rewarding, personally and to your global icon dreams (as well as the much-needed championship for Cleveland fans).

Friday, July 2, 2010

Comparison of two NBA small forwards

Let's take a look at the stats for two players last year.  Which player would you rather have going forward?  Which contract would you rather have, too?

Player A:  17.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 46.6%FG, 0.9 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 38.6 3P%, 25 years old (403 career games)

Player B:  18.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.1 APG, 47.2%FG, 1.2 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 41.4 3P%, 31 years old (884 career games)

Player A:  4 years for $51 million.
Player B:  4 years for $61 million (reportedly).

OK, this comparison is not about their careers but more looking at their futures. 

Player A is Luol Deng.

Player B is Paul Pierce

I am not saying the Celtics are making a horrible deal here.  They have to re-sign their heart and soul, franchise player.  It is also great to see Pierce should end his career with one team, assuming he isn't traded towards the end of this impending deal.  Pierce has had a much better career than Deng as a perennial All-Star, NBA Champion &MVP and will end up as a Hall of Famer.  

However, what I don't get is why everyone is always down on Luol Deng.  Why is his contract considered one of the worst in basketball?  I think it is fairly reasonable looking at his numbers and comparing them with contracts being signed today.  He is not going to be a superstar and is slightly overpaid but it certainly doesn't seem to qualify in the untradeable category.  If you showed those stats to someone, especially including his age, and asked what he was worth, what number would come back?  Especially, given what bench players like Amir Johnson and Darko are getting.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thursday's Thoughts

Theme of NBA 2010 Free Agency - comfort and loyalty.  Majority stay right where they are and soak in the riches.

Tony La Russa - one of the greatest baseball managers of all time.  I can respect your honesty to state your feelings on the Arizona issue, but what were you thinking?  I'm not touching how I disagree with your stance but rather questioning if you discussed this with any of your Latino players.  Albert Pujols, anyone?

Are we seeing, or have we seen, the reign of Federer come to an end?  Looks like it.

How sad is the story about Randall Cunningham's son?  My thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

Hey, Vincent Jackson, you might want to consider changing your stance on not reporting to camp.  Two DUI's leading to a 3 game suspension.  I think your public image could use a boost.

Some things never change...Benson and Vick.

Pretty obvious Phil was coming back when Byron took the Cleveland job.  Did anyone mention that was his backup option and the Lakers were Plan A?

Interesting to see how full circle the salary cap is coming on the Hawks.  It allowed you to sign some of the players who helped you win the Cup.  Now, you are on the other painful side of staying on top and having to shed key players.  Steeger was one of my favorites and will be missed.  I just read about Ladd and am now really sick of the unraveling.

First free agent contracts...Darko for $20 million and Drew Gooden for $32 million.  Really?  You couldn't find a better way to invest that money.  I am a GM for hire and have a few ideas.

Doesn't it make you laugh all these billionaire owners having to sit down and run a sales pitch to a bunch of twenty-somethings?  Who writes the checks?  They have to go home at night and laugh.  Honey, how was your day?  Well, two of the most successful business men in the world came in and told me how they could turn me into a global icon and a rich man like them.  One of them had never even heard of Akron but he was about as tall as me.  Have you ever heard of this thing called Power Point?  However, I told them thanks and we'll see.  A few more are coming in tomorrow to do the same thing.

Yeah, that's my $730 million villa and you can have it.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dan Le Batard

There are plenty of horribly annoying personalities ruining sports today but are there any worse than this moron?  I can't stand looking at the guy.  Then, he opens his mouth and just makes everything even worse.  He is like a hangnail.  It just festers and bothers you all the time but seems to keep resurfacing.  You know, damn well, he is the sole guy pushing this Miami trio story.  Why?  He wants a team worth covering to elevate his own national status.   

He actually stated that Chris Bosh is a younger version of Nowitzki!  What?  Has he ever watched anything other than box scores for either of those two players?  They have completely opposite games other than playing the same position.  Plus, one is a winner who has led his team to multiple playoff appearances and one visit to the Finals.  The other hasn't won since high school.  Get a clue, pal.

I am all for pushing controversy.  You just have to make some sense if you want to stand alone and push the button of normalcy.  You also said you don't believe in team chemistry.  I don't even know where to start.  Unless you are talking about chess, chemistry is one of the most critical pieces you can have.  Guys might not have to be best friends off the court but they have to respect each other and know how to play together.  That is why Lebron will not end up with D-Wade.  He doesn't want any question who is the sidekick or whose team it is.  Sorry, Dan, he is not coming to Miami.  It will be Cleveland or Chicago.  You might get Bosh but should be wishing for Dirk.  Maybe you would understand that if you ever watched them play in a game that wasn't the All Star or Team USA game.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

NBA Free Agency 2010 Is Almost Finally Here

ALERT: Spoiler review below.  I did try to keep my bias' aside and think about what are the best fits but some of that was bound to get thrown to the wayside. 

The most talked about free agency period in sports is almost upon us.  Will it live up to to all the hype and salary dumps some teams have made for a slim shot at a superstar?    We know the so-called summit occurred this past weekend and this may likely shape the foreseeable future of the NBA.  I find it interesting how quiet David Stern has been through all this.  You know he has his hands in it somehow behind the scenes.

David Lee - a hustler and good player but, in the end, a stat-sheet filler on a horrible team with a great offensive scheme.  He is a good player as your third option but not a cornerstone piece.  Houston would be a good fit after they traded Carl Landry last year.  New Jersey is another option, especially as they just cleared more cap space (look for Rudy Gay to end up there, also).    

Dirk - ho hum.  There is no way Cuban lets him leave town.  He just wants the guaranteed extension, to see a little extra TLC, and be a part of the legendary 2010 NBA Free Agent Class.  He stays and misses his chance to determine his destiny for a championship.  The only other option would be the Nets, but it seems he prefers Jason Kidd over Devin Harris.  That could be an option, though.

Carlos Boozer - wouldn't it be comedy to see Cleveland as an option for Boozer after the infamous handshake deal?  Maybe Gilbert goes through all the motions and then rips up a contract at the last minute all on a webcam for Cleveland fans to have some form of pleasure this summer!  I think he ends up in Miami with his buddy, D-Wade, as he wanted all along.  Utah, you actually messed up for once and should have traded him last year.

Joe Johnson - he chased money before and has no problem leaving a team.  Otherwise, why would he have left Phoenix for the Hawks?  He reunites with D'Antoni, only to fill the box score, put seats in MSG, and get knocked out of the playoffs in the second round every year.  That is the ceiling for that system without defense.  Some players are OK with that, as long as the checks are coming in.

Amar'e Stoudemire - similar situation to Johnson.  You have to think he is sick of being the center of all trade talk over the last two years.  Sure, Phoenix just had a good run but what makes you think they can even match that next year?  Nash and J-Rich are only going to decline.  The financial situation there is an absolute mess.  Why not bolt for the exact opposite and go to NYC to play for your old coach? 

Chris Bosh - it sounds like he will pretty much follow Lebron, which is exactly what he should do if he wants to win.  That means he looks at the Nets, Bulls, Heat, and Knicks.  One thing that I am surprised has not come up is the potential of a pick and roll with D-Rose.  Go back and watch clips of him running this with Brad Miller.  Yes, Brad Miller.  The slowest, most awkward player in the league.  Just imagine what he could do with Chris Bosh.  Chris, imagine someone other than Calderon feeding you the rock.  Devin Harris and Mario Chalmers cannot run the pick and roll anywhere near as well as Rose.  You play like a superstar but have been buried in the NBA Toronto market.  Chicago elevates your brand awareness on and off the court.

D-Wade - done deal to stay in Miami, in my mind.  He can continue throwing stones at why other cities aren't good but everyone knows that was just to convince free agents to join him.  If nobody joins him, he could join forces with Boozer in New Jersey.  It sounds like players have a lot of respect for the new 6'8" Russian owner.   

A few side notes here.  Are the Bulls really that disloyal to their players?  Jordan wanted to be an owner so there was never any hope for life after his career with them.  Pippen was brought back as a player-coach to end his career.  Then, they have Paxson, BJ Armstrong, Stacey King, Kendall Gill, Bill Cartwright, Bill Wennington and even Pete Myers all have had post-NBA careers with the Bulls.  How is that anything but loyalty Mr. D(bag)-Wade?  

Also, what about your kids?  You think your recent divorce would have you thinking about Chicago as an option to be closer to your children.  The fact is you are saving face to avoid that media mess and know most real Bulls fans understand you are a horrible fit for this team and you are not wanted here.  I know you can fly your kids to see you whenever you want but that isn't the same as living near them majority of the year.  If Wade ever wins another championship we better not see him on the podium holding his kids (a la Kobe), or I will throw whatever is in my hands at the screen.

LBJ - much has been said and this could go on for infinity with different theories.  I still think Cleveland is the front-runner.  The incumbent always is.  Anything else represents change.  I like change but most people don't.  It has been said, the only people who like change are babies with wet diapers.  If I were Gilbert, I would meet Lebron at a Famous Dave's and walk in with an autographed photo of the "The Shot" by Ehlo.  I would say, "you know we love you as a part of our family" and walk out.  Keep it home and simple.

The Bulls should begin explain the young nucleus, building another dynasty, etc.  Then, pull up
Be Like Mike" and show the recent list for Forbes Richest Athletes.  Yes, the Chicago Bulls and Reinsdorf were part of building the $1B Jordan empire.  That's not to take away from MJ, Nike, and the parties who mainly drove the success but not other organization has the experience of dealing with that.  The Chicago Bulls know how to build a dynasty and develop a global icon.  Imagine what they could do in today's global economy.  Look at the Hawks.  Two years ago 95% of the city couldn't tell you a player on that team and they certainly weren't mentioned on ESPN, ever.  Now, they are all heroes. 

Lebron, if you make the jump to Chicago, I will have to change my opinion and find a way to like you.  I will also kick all my idiot friends for not agreeing to split season tickets.  I couldn't do it alone because last time I did it led to the colossal, Ben Wallace flop season.  My guess is it won't take long to get over past issues.  After all, if you want a revolution the only solution, evolve, you gotta evolve.  Let's change together.  Make us all witnesses that championships are the most important thing to you, not winning 60 regular season games, dancing on the court, and early playoff exits.