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.