Wednesday, June 27, 2012

NBA Draft Pickup Game

Situation: a random inner-city basketball court. Jason and Toph are each coaching a team. The players available for them to pick are everybody that's available for Thursday's draft. That's basically it.

Jason: Well I guess I'll just give myself the first pick. And it's a pretty easy one. I'm taking Anthony Davis out of Kentucky. I wish there was somebody else I could take here to make it more interesting. But if we're being any sort of serious, I have to pick The Brow. Just know that I'm not happy about it from a blogging perspective. From a basketball perspective though, I'm ecstatic.

Chris: Well, I can't say I'm surprised. However, I can already tell you my team will be better looking. That counts for something, correct?  I guess I'm going to take Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the Small Forward out of Kentucky. I think he's one of the most athletic guys in the field, and I don't trust Andre Drummond.

Jason: Toph, normally picking the most superficial team is my strategy, not yours. But I'm going to keep it in the front court and take Andre Drummond because I trust him more than you do. I think his athleticism will be both entertaining and useful. Team Jay is going to own the paint, the glass, and the rim.

Chris: Well, feel free to enjoy that headache. That was horrible strategy as I basically told you I wasn't taking Drummond. Unless you thought I was bluffing, you could've gotten him way later, at a much better value. That being said, I'm taking Bradley Beal from Florida. I think he's the best shooter in the draft, and I think those will come at a premium in this crop of players. A lot of size, not a lot of shooters.

Jason: See there really isn't a strategy here because the draft goes at least 3 deep at every position. I'm going Kendall Marshall with my next pick because I like how he orchestrates the offense and finds open guys. And when Davis and Drummond and (you know who else) flying around, it's going to be an assault on the rim. And see, there was a little strategy in that pick because I know you still need a point guard. So there.

Chris: I commend that. Well done, as I was going to take him next. I'm going to take Thomas Robinson, simply to rebound. If we're going up against Drummond and Davis, we're going to need some boards. Since there's nobody left as tall as them, I should probably take the guy who seems the widest/strongest, and thats Robinson.

Jason: Harrison Barnes. Easy and smooth all the way. Future rookie of the year with the Cleveland Cavaliers and future member of the Jason-Owns-My-Jersey club. Boom.

Chris: There's another shocker. I'll take Barnes' teammate, John Henson, to play almost a Serge Ibaka role in my squad. Robinson can provide the interior strength and physicality, while Henson can roam on the weak side and block shots.

Jason: I'll take that size advantage. Drummond is going to make Henson look like, well, me. To round out my squad I'm taking Terrence Ross out of Washington. He and Barnes will give the squad a rounded offense (the ability to shoot) and Ross brings some length on defense. Marshall-Ross-Barnes-Davis-Drummond is the team.

Chris: To be totally honest, I have no idea who that is. That being said, I'll take Damian Lillard from Weber State, and prior to five minutes ago, I had no idea who he was either. Given that he's from Weber State, I think going up against guys like Davis and Barnes could be troubling, however he'll be matched against Marshall, who is a subpar athlete. According to ESPN's scouting report he's a good scorer. I'm going to need it, as I think I drafted three athletes and Beal. However, I'm loving my squad.

Jason: We should make these teams up on NBA 2k13 and duke it out a few times. For the record, I think I'm going to thrash you. But part of that is I think I'm better at 2k than you.

PS: Let's add up the spots all of our guys get picked tomorrow night and see who does better? I don't feel confident.

Chris: Oh, you'll absolutely thrash me, but that the reason why. And we can keep track, lowest total wins. I, on the contrary, feel fantastic about this.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

NBA Offseason Checklist - Part 2

Last time I was here, we talked about what the Heat and Thunder can do this offseason to ensure their returns to the Finals next year. Now, let's get into the other playoff teams.

And because I tend to get bored I'm going to give you fourteen teams and fourteen needs. You try to match them up:

The Teams (in order of how they finished this year)

  • Chicago Bulls
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Boston Celtics
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Orlando Magic
  • New York Knicks
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Utah Jazz
  • Philadelphia 76ers
The Needs (in no particular order)
  • Blow it up.
  • Continue to be mediocre because that seems like the best you'll be able to do. 
  • Maybe make one blockbuster trade, but generally sit on your hands and let the team grow together more. 
  • Invest in a good knee doctor. 
  • Your current best player is not good enough to be the best player. Your current second-best player is going to probably leave this summer. Your President left you. Panic. 
  • Give your big three another shot (yes, another one) to prove themselves. I mean, they are good enough in terms of talent. 
  • Get rid of Dwight Howard!!!!
  • Continue to grow as a team. I can't even think of a single move to make. 
  • Figure out who your best player is, and then let NBA teams and fans know who it is.  
  • Fire your point guard talent evaluator. Look into trading the guy that everyone expects you to trade. 
  • Shooters and big men!
  • Don't even listen to my advice, because everyone knows you guys are a bunch of wizards that never seem to make the wrong move. 
  • Try and turn one of your (five or six) decent players into a bona fide superstar. 
  • Go for Deron and Dwight. 

(Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Indiana, Atlanta, Orlando, 
Denver, Utah, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, San Antonio, Memphis, Dallas)

There's only a few notes that I really want to make:
  • Yes, the Magic should get rid of Howard. If Houston offers you THREE FIRST ROUND DRAFT PICKS you take them. Especially when they could absolutely all turn into starters. Shooting guard, power forward, and point guard could all be filled. Who gives a shit how Dwight feels. Think of your organization and your fans. Not your dickhead ex-superhero.
  • I do think the Celtics glorious run is over. They weren't far off this year, but I don't think you can justify paying Kevin Garnett $20 million. Ray Allen is probably going to Miami. Go forward with Rondo/Bradley/Pierce/Bass/Jujuan Johnson/Greg Stiemsma. If a team offers your a decent draft pick for Pierce, think about it. You guys know how I feel about keeping guys that mean a lot to the organization and to fans. But just... think about it. 
  • The following teams (from the list above) don't really need to do anything: Knicks, Sixers, Bulls, Pacers, Hawks, Nuggets, Grizzlies. They either are young and just need to "find themselves" or are essentially at their peak. Indy may have some work to do if Hibbert leaves. 
  • The Clippers are kind of in the same spot as the Heat. They need outside shooting (and LAC needs it more than Miami) and some big bodies that they can stuff in the paint. 
Next time we'll get into the shit teams. Oh fun. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mock NBA Draft: Jay Edition

Just wanted to let you guys know the future winning entry for the Bullets Blog NBA Draft 2012 Tee Shirt Giveaway (check it out here), and give you some thoughts about a few players in the draft. 

1. Hornets – Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky
That's pretty much a gimme for every single entry. I think people's heads would literally explode if The Unibrow didn't go first overall. 
       Bobcats – Andre Drummond, C, UConn
The Bobcats need to sell tickets. The ultimate gamble in this draft is Drummond - he could fill seats like Dwight Howard and be the cornerstone of their franchise. He could just be a big, athletic bust. 
       Wizards – Bradley Beal, SG Florida
In trading Rashard Lewis to New Orleans for Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor, Washington basically solidified that they will be selecting Beal to round out their starting lineup of Wall/Beal/Ariza/Blatche/Nene.
       Cavaliers – Harrison Barnes, SF, UNC
I cannot wait for this to happen. Forget Tristan Thompson.
5.       Kings – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky
Good players go to Sacramento to die. I can only hope that MKG can help turn the franchise around.
       Trail Blazers – Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
       Warriors – Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky
       Raptors – Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
       Pistons – John Henson, PF, UNC
Hornets – Tyler Zeller, C, UNC
I love this pick, especially with the departure of Okafor. It would give NOLA a starting rotation of Jack/Gordon/Lewis/Davis/Zeller with a lot of young legs on the bench.
   Trail Blazers – Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State
   Bucks – Perry Jones, PF, Baylor
   Suns – Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn
   Rockets – Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
Sixers – Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
It seems inevitable.
   Rockets – Royce White, SG, Iowa State
   Mavericks - Austin Rivers , SG, Duke
Timberwolves – Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
I pray to the basketball gods that Ross falls to Minny and that Kahn snatches him up. He seems like he could be the solution to the gaping hole in the T’wolves’ starting lineup.
   Magic – Kendall Marshall, PG, UNC
All I’m saying is look out for when Dwight Howard gets to play with an NBA-starting-caliber point guard. Not sure if Marshall is the guy. Deron Williams, on the other hand, would definitely be the guy.
   Nuggets – Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky
Celtics – Draymond Green, PF, Michigan State
This would be a really smart pick.
   Celtics – Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
This pick would not be that smart.
   Hawks – Moe Harkless, SF, St. John’s
Cavaliers – Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt
Irving/Free Agent 2-Guard/Barnes/Thompson/Varejao/? Don’t sleep on that squad. Ezeli doesn’t really play into that. But every team needs role players.
   Grizzlies – Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State
Pacers – Kyle O’Quinn, C, Norfolk State
White, talented, hardworking. Right up Indiana’s alley.
   Heat – Jae Crowder, F, Marquette
The classic energy/rebounding/shooting/hustle guy. And maybe he could donate some hair to LeBron.
   Thunder – Evan Fournier, SG, France
Not that this is a slap in James Harden’s stupid beard or anything, but Harden needs something to push him to rebound from the brutal/gruesome/feminine showing he put up in the Finals.
   Bulls – Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky
Could be a contributor instantly because, you know, Chicago has a huge need for backcourt bodies.
   Warriors – Jeff Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt

Mock First Round: Team Trova

Did you hear the news? The geniuses at the Bullets Blog have created a contest that lets you win a free t-shirt, and bragging rights, for knowing more about the NBA draft than your peers.

Anyway, I just submitted my first round picks, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to write a blog explaining some of them in more detail.

Here are my picks, 1-30:

1. New Orleans - Anthony Davis, Kentucky
*2. Charlotte - Thomas Robinson, Kansas
3. Washington - Harrison Barnes, North Carolina
*4. Cleveland - Bradley Beal, Florida 
5. Sacramento - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kentucky 
*6. Portland - Andre Drummond, Connecticut
7. Golden State - John Henson, UNC
8. Toronto - Perry Jones 3, Baylor
9. Detroit - Tyler Zeller, North Carolina
10. New Orleans - Kendall Marshall, North Carolina
11. Portland - Austin Rivers, Duke
12. Milwaukee - Meyers Leonard, Illinois
*13. Phoenix - Jared Sullinger, Ohio State 
14. Houston - Damian Lillard, Weber State
*15. Philadelphia - Dion Waiters, 'Cuse 
*16. Houston - Terrence Jones, Kentucky
*17. Dallas - Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut 
18. Minnesota - John Jenkins, Vanderbilt
19. Orlando - Arnett Moultrie, Mississippi State
20. Denver - Terrence Ross, Washington
21. Boston - Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt
22. Boston - Moe Harkless, St. John's
*23. Atlanta - Royce White, Iowa State 
24. Cleveland - Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure
*25. Memphis - Jae Crowder, Marquette 
26. Indiana - Marquis Teague, Kentucky
27. Miami - Evan Fournier, France
*28. Oklahoma City - Draymond Green, Michigan State
29. Chicago - Will Barton, Memphis
30. Golden State - J'Covan Brown, Texas

I placed a star next to the players I wanted to talk about:

2.) Thomas Robinson, Power Forward from Kansas, to the Bobcats --- this is the smartest pick with number 2 in my opinion. Robinson has an NBA ready game, and dominated in the Big 12 last year (over 17 points and about 12 boards per game). He can produce immediately, and is the safest pick for a historically bad team to make.
4.) Bradley Beal, Shooting Guard from Florida, to the Cavs --- he is the best shooter in this year's draft class, hands down. He has superior athleticism to boot. If he can be teamed with the Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving, watch out for this team in 2 years. They will have the best back court in the NBA.
6.) Andre Drummond, Center from UConn, to Portland --- this is a tough pick. Portland needs athleticism and strength up front after officially dumping Greg Oden. LaMarcus Aldridge is a stud, and putting a gifted center next to him could spell disaster for all opposing NBA front courts. It can backfire though. Remember the last big man, who was a project, to come out of UConn in the first round? It was Hasheem Thabeet. Oof.
13.) Jared Sullinger, Center, from OSU, to Phoenix --- Phoenix will be in rebuilding mode next season, with the likelihood of Steve Nash departing. Drafting an NBA ready center is the perfect way to rebuild a franchise. I believe Sully will be one of the best 7 players from this draft class.
15.) Dion Waiters, Shooting Guard, from 'Cuse, to Philly --- Jason is crapping his pants as he reads this. Waiters is the classic high risk/high reward player. Incredible athleticism, beautiful jumper, solid defensively. BUT, after watching him play about 30 times last year at Syracuse, I can honestly say I think he's a bust waiting to happen. For whatever reason, he takes plays, minutes, and games off. Cheers, Philly.
16.) Terrence Jones, Power Forward from Kentucky, to Houston --- quick, if I asked you who's body type Terrence Jones best matches with in the NBA, who would you say? The answer is LeBron James. Jones is 6'9'' and 252, LeBron is 6'8'' and 250. The biggest difference? Jones is an exceptional three-point shooter. Watch out for Mr. Jones, ladies and gentlemen. 
17.) Jeremy Lamb, Shooting Guard from UConn, to Dallas --- I am very high on Jeremy Lamb. He will fall to the middle of the first round, where he will be taken as a STEAL of a pick. He has an awesome jump shot, is supremely athletic and can take over games. I think he is a top 5 prospect in this draft class, but apparently I'm the only one.
23.) Royce White, Power Forward from Iowa State, to Atlanta --- Royce White is a 6'8", 270 pound machine. He was consistently double teamed all of last season and still managed 14 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists per game. Atlanta would love to put him alongside Al Horford in the post, and free Josh Smith to be his athletic and monstrous self on the perimeter.
25.) Jae Crowder, Power Forward from Marquette, to Memphis --- Crowder reminds me a lot of Kenneth Faried, a.k.a the Manimal, due to his high energy and freakish athleticism. He has a better jump shot than Faried though, and because of this, will become one of most productive bench players in the league next season, spelling Rudy Gay when he needs to, or going into the post to give quality rest to Z-Bo or Marc Gasol.
28.) Draymond Green, Power Forward from Michigan State, to OKC --- Draymond Green is a winner, plain and simple. Tom Izzo is probably my favorite coach in any sport, at any level, and when you have a player as versatile as Green coached by someone as detail-oriented as Izzo, the result can be incredible. His game is similar to LeBron, albeit less productive in every area.

Absorb, digest and use this information at your own risk. I play for keeps in T-shirt contests!

NBA Offseason Checklist - Part 1

In the days leading up to the draft, I'm going to give every NBA team a checklist of things to do to get better. Because every team can get better - even the champs. In fact, let's start with the champs and work our way down from there.

Miami Heat
The Heat are in a position that they can just sit on their heels and basically bring back their entire championship roster (minus Juwan Howard, Eddy Curry, and Terrel Harris - combined 2.1 points per game) without even having to re-sign anybody.

They could possibly trade some of their shooters/useless big men for other shooters/useless big men. If they do, the goal should be youth so they can sustain this run of winning. I could see a young team on the verge (maybe a Utah or a Minnesota) trading some young legs for a veteran like Shane Battier. No idea if Miami would say yes or if Battier would like it.

As far as the draft goes, the obvious hole they need to plug is the mess of Anthony/Turiaf/Curry/Pittman at center. But if you listen to the Bullets Blog Podcast (link here) you know that Chris and I think the Heat are better when they don't even play a center. The downside of playing LeBron/Bosh/three guards is the lack of rebounding. Which is why I think the Heat should pick...

  • Jae Crowder, F, Marquette
Crowder is young, active, and can rebound like nobody else. He can also shoot to spread the floor and can run (although admittedly not on James' level). And it appears that he will for sure be around when Miami is on the clock at #27. 

Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder, like the Heat, are going to retain most of their team without having to make any moves (minus Derek Fisher, Nazr Mohammed, and Royal Ivey). Unlike the Heat, the Thunder cannot get better just by adding in new pieces. They don't really need shooters, because Durant/Westbrook/Harden took 63% of their shots this season. It's hard to say that they need rebounders, because their starting five all averaged more than five rebounds per game over the course of the season. 

They really just need to grow together and have a serious "We Need To Figure Out Who We Are" moment like LeBron and Wade did. Stupid people will say that Durant needs to be taking 5-8 more shots than Westbrook. That's not how they operate. Westbrook's aggressive play (aka taking a lot of shots) opens the floor for the smoothest shooter on the planet. 

But I guess I have to make a draft prediction, so here it is:
  • Draymond Green, F, Michigan State
He would bring a new dimension to the Thunder on offense. Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka are decent in the post but Draymond put Michigan State on his back in the paint this season. He averaged 16 and 10 (and in the Big Ten, which is like averaging 40-20 in a normal basketball league).  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

NBA Draft Free Tee Shirt Contest

UPDATE: We changed the cutoff from all 30 first round picks to 20/30. But we still don't think anybody can do it. Prove us wrong!

Hey basketball fans, great and easy opportunity for you to win a brand new tee shirt (that is possibly sexually suggestive) and show off your skill as an NBA talent judge. All you have to do is correctly pick 20 out of the 30 first round picks next Thursday's NBA Draft and you'll be entered (if there's more than one winning entry) for a chance to win your very own Bullets Blog Tee. They look like this (without the rectangular border around the logo):

The winner will be announced on our Twitter page. If you don't already follow us, please do @bulletsblog. In fact, we'll give you a break and consider your entry a winner if you get 19 out of 30 correct but only if you follow us on Twitter. 

Trust me when I say that you will always be the center of attention when you wear this (possibly sexual) shirt out. All you have to do to enter is copy the following form, paste it into an email, fill it out with your picks (just the first and last name will work), and send it to Boom. Free tee shirt.

1. New Orleans -
2. Charlotte -
3. Washington -
4. Cleveland -
5. Sacramento -
6. Portland -
7. Golden State -
8. Toronto -
9. Detroit -
10. New Orleans -
11. Portland -
12. Milwaukee -
13. Phoenix -
14. Houston -
15. Philadelphia -
16. Houston -
17. Dallas -
18. Minnesota -
19. Orlando -
20. Denver -
21. Boston -
22. Boston -
23. Atlanta -
24. Cleveland -
25. Memphis -
26. Indiana -
27. Miami -
28. Oklahoma City -
29. Chicago -
30. Golden State -


  • If teams trade draft picks (will will likely happen), the number of the pick is what matters.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fantasy Euro 2012 Update

We are halfway (ish) through the first Bullets Blog soccer fantasy game ever. Personally, I'm in love. But that could just be because I'm crushing everyone with no regard for human life. Here's where everyone stands:

  1. Team Jay (103 points, 8 players remaining)
  2. Team Brendan (70 points, 10 players remaining)
  3. Team Alex (67 points, 8 players remaining)
  4. Team Toph (57 points, 8 players remaining)
Poor Chris. 

The silver lining for him, of course, is that he got the first pick in the one-round-supplemental-player draft. Which played out like this:
  1. Team Chris - Fernando Torres (F, Spain)
  2. Team Alex - Wayne Rooney (F, England)
  3. Team Brendan - Mats Hummels (D, Germany)
  4. Team Jay - Cesc Fabregas (M, Spain)
Torres and Rooney were the obvious first two picks. Hummels was a pretty easy choice. I took Fabregas because dickhead Toph took Torres. 

The 14 Best Fantasy Scorers
1. 23 points - Iker Casillas, G, Spain (Brendan) - 2 shutouts, 1 one-goalers, 10 saves
2. 21 points - Joe Hart, G, England (Alex) - 1 shutout, 1 one-goaler, 13 saves
3. 17 points - Maarten Stekelenburg, G, Netherlands (Jay) - 1 one-goaler, 14 saves
4. 15 points - Mario Gomez, F, Germany (Jay) - 3 goals, 1 assist (first pick in the draft)
5. 14 points - David Silva, M, Spain (Jay) - 1 goal, 3 assists
6. (tie) 13 points - Sergio Ramos, D, Spain (Brendan) and Gerard Pique D, Spain (Alex) - 2 shutouts, 1 one-goaler apiece
6. (tie) 13 points - Hugo Lloris, G, France (Toph) - 1 shutout, 1 one-goaler, 5 saves
9. (tie) 11 points - Andrea Pirlo, M, Italy (Brendan) - 1 goal, 2 assists 
9. (tie) 11 points - Philipp Lahm, D, Germany (Jay) and Giorgio Chiellini, D, Italy (Jay) - 1 shutout, 2 one-goalers each
12. (tie) 9 points - Andrei Arshavin, F, Russia (Jay) - 3 assists
12. (tie) 9 points - Ignashevich, D, Russia (Toph) and Anyukov, D, Russia (Toph) - 3 one-goalers

So yeah, needless to say Toph is in last place. 

The Only Players to Not Score Any Fantasy Points In Group Play
Team Jay
  • Niko Kranjcar, M, Croatia (eliminated)(played for like 3 minutes total)
Team Brendan
  • Roman Sharonov, D, Russia (eliminated)(did not play in any of Russia's games)
  • Florent Malouda, M, France
  • Dirk Kuyt, M, Netherlands (eliminated)
  • Jermain Defoe, F, England (has yet to play, I think)
Team Alex
  • Luca Modric, M, Croatia (eliminated)(Alex's first pick and the second overall)
  • Thomas Muller, F, Germany
Team Toph
  • Xavi Hernandez, M, Spain
  • Miroslav Klose, F, Germany
  • Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, M, Netherlands (eliminated)(highest goal total in qualifiers)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Best-Paid Benchwarmers in Sports

As a follow-up to the other day's article (I assume, at least), Forbes posted their list of the most overpaid bench players in sports. It's a great list if you want to get really angry at the entire business of professional sports. You'll see what I mean. 

1. Gilbert Arenas, Memphis Grizzlies - $19.3 million - 4.2 points, 1.1 assists, 1.1 rebounds
No big deal here. Just Gilbert Arenas making more than Dirk, Carmelo, DH12, CP3, LeBron, Wade, Bosh, and Durant. You could have paid Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, AND Nikola Pekovic this past season for that much. 

2. Travis Hafner, Cleveland Indians - $13 million - .242 BA, 6 Home Runs, 23 RBI
I don't want to harp of Hafner too much because baseball players get into slumps (especially power guys like Hafner). But I'm sure everyone in Cleveland feels the same way about him that Philly fans feel about Ryan Howard. 

3. Mehmet Okur, New Jersey Nets - $10.9 million - 7.6 points, 4.8 rebounds
In general, NBA centers are overpaid. The top guys get about what they deserve, but average guys get paid like elite guys because there's so few guys that are even average. It's a shame that a team like New Jersey gets sucked into bad contracts (Okur, Gerald Wallace's $9.5 million, Travis Outlaw's gross overpayment) because they're destined for mediocrity for the next 3 years at least. 

4. Jason Smith, St. Louis Rams - $10 million - Played in 29 of 48 possible games
I hate football. Two reasons why: a 308-pound man can make $10 million a year to push other 300-pound men around; that man doesn't even have to do his job to get paid. I'm assuming his contract was signed before the new CBA that prevents egregious contracts. But how could anyone ever think that giving a 22-year old kid a $50 million dollar contract (with like half of it guaranteed) was a good idea? I hate football. 

5. Aubrey Huff, San Francisco Giants - $10 million - .155 BA, 1 Home Run, 5 RBI, Injured
Hey I mean sometimes when you win a championship you have to give your twelfth-best player a $10 million per year contract, right?

6. Chone Figgins, Seattle Mariners - $9.5 million - .185 BA, 2 Home Runs, 9 RBI
I liked Chone Figgins when he was a bargain second baseman in Los Angeles. He's just not good enough to be the third-highest player on a team behind Ichiro and King Felix. 

7. Boris Diaw, San Antonio Spurs - $9 million - 6.4 points, 4.9 rebounds
8. Carl Landry, New Orleans Hornets - $9 million - 12.5 points, 5.2 rebounds
Two poor signings of power forwards. Diaw feels like a better deal because the Spurs did so well, but neither guy is worth $9 mil. Maybe half that? Maybe?

9. Sidney Rice, Seattle Seahawks - $9 million - 32 receptions, 484 yards, 2 touchdowns
You know, I always thought Sidney was better than two catches per game. I know he was hurt, and maybe the fact that he didn't have a real quarterback also hurt. 

10. Lamar Odom, Dallas Mavericks - $8.9 million - 6.6 points, 4.2 rebounds
I think this is the worst contract of all because Lamar brings the Kardashians with him. I can't imagine paying money to someone who chose to marry Khloe "Kardashian". Especially when that money is almost $9 million and that someone was the fourth- or fifth-best player on a championship team two years ago. 

I really need to be in charge of an NBA team. That's my takeaway. 

Somebody That I Used To Know (Tiesto Remix)

So I was driving to class today (only because SUNY Albany has air conditioning for days) and I decided to plug my phone into my car and listen to the FratMusic App. Side note: here's a shameless plug for the $1.99 FratMusic app. You should buy it if the following conditions apply to you:

  • You own an iPhone (if not.. go buy one)
  • You enjoy any kind of music that could be played at a party, but especially EDM/house/dance music
  • You like to discover new songs to add to your party/driving/study playlists (some kids study with techno.. to each his own, I guess)
  • You have $1.99 available to you
It's a really convenient app. 

But anyways, I was listening to the Top 10 playlist and I stumbled upon Tiesto's Remix of Somebody That I Used To Know (originally by Gotye and Kimbra). 

I mean to be honest I have no idea how they haven't all worked together before, right? Here's the song. And just know that I absolutely love it. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

The World's Highest-Paid Athletes

Today Forbes posted a list of the highest-paid athletes over the past year (combining salary, winnings, and endorsements). Link here. You may be surprised. Let's break it down by sport (I only did the top 26 and I left out football and baseball because I'm lazy and I hate football):

1. Floyd Mayweather - $85 million in winnings, $0 in endorsements
2. Manny Pacquiao - $56 million in winnings, $6 million in endorsements
24. Wladimir Klitschko - $24 million in winnings, $4 million in endorsements
Well, there's surprise number one for me. I had no idea boxers made this much money. Floyd only fought twice! I'm also surprised that Money doesn't have a single endorsement. Like, nobody could find a product that they wanted the best boxer of our time to endorse? Even the big stupid Russian supplemented his winnings with some ad money. Nike? PowerBar? J. Crew?

3. Tiger Woods - $4.4 million in winnings, $55 million in endorsements
7. Phil Mickelson - $4.8 million in winnings, $43 million in endorsements
I thought Tiger's sponsors all dropped him when the whole Thanksgiving scandal thing happened? I mean $55 million isn't a bad payday for having once been the most intimidating  golfer ever. Why does Nike still pay him so much money? Throw 10% of that money at Pat Cantlay and give the rest to Mayweather. Tiger is now just an above-average golfer. He's no more intimidating that Luke Donald or Lee Westwood. But he's still more intimidating than Ian Poulter.

4. LeBron James - $13 million in salary, $40 million in endorsements
6. Kobe Bryant - $20.3 million in salary, $32 million in endorsements
I don't care what anybody has to say about LeBron or Kobe. There is no way that Kobe is worth 156% as much as LeBron per year. If you want to get into the legacy/what he's done for the Lakers/he's their whole team, that's fine. Kobe is worth more. But LeBron James brings more value to the basketball court than Kobe Bryant. It's science.

5. Roger Federer - $7.7 million in winnings, $45 million in endorsements
16. Rafael Nadal - $8.2 million in winnings, $25 million in endorsements
26. Maria Sharapova - $5.9 million in winnings, $22 million in endorsements
I think whoever is in charge of sponsoring tennis players has it all backwards. The smokeshow blonde should get the largest chunk of the pie. Then the devastatingly handsome Spaniard. Then the almost-washed-up Switzerlander (Switz? Swit?). Side note: Maria Sharapova made $6 million this year by playing women's tennis? Sign me up! I'll be the Juwanna Man of tennis. Except I can't play tennis.

8. David Beckham - $9 million in salary, $37 million in endorsements
9. Cristiano Ronaldo - $20.5 million in salary, $22 million in endorsements
11. Lionel Messi - $20 million in salary, $19 million in endorsements
Let's be honest. Beckham's salary is basically an endorsement from the LA Galaxy/the MLS. No way anybody that plays soccer in America deserves $9 million to play soccer. In America. Also, it's fitting that Ronaldo makes slightly more than Messi. Not accurate, but fitting; Ronaldo gets all the publicity and Messi just puts his head down and goes to work. But let's be honest. Cristiano should be making three times the endorsement money. At least.

Fantasy US Open Recap


That's about all I can say about the US Open in terms of my fantasy team. And everyone's fantasy team. I guess Team Toph gets a pass, but when 5 out of the 6 teams combined to have 15 players +9 or worse... Not good.

Because so many players that got drafted missed the cut, we had to create four tiers of scoring. Let's start from the bottom:

The Bottom Tier - All Players Missed Cut
Just kidding. That'd be impossibly bad.

The Fourth Tier - 3 Players Missed Cut
6. Team Jay (+39)

  • Luke Donald (+11)(MC)
  • Hunter Mahan (+10)
  • Louis Oosthuizen (+9)(MC)
  • Martin Laird (+9)(MC)
The Third Tier - 2 Players Missed Cut
5. Team Alex (+42)
  • Lee Westwood (+5)
  • Bubba Watson (+9)(MC)
  • Jason Day (+15)
  • Peter Hanson (+13)(MC)
The Second Tier - 1 Player Missed Cut
4. Team Trevor (+42)
  • Rory McIlroy (+10)(MC)
  • Rickie Fowler (+11)
  • Charl Schwartzel (+10)
  • Ian Poulter (+11)
3. Team Trova (+29)
  • Tiger Woods (+7)
  • Padraig Harrington (+3)
  • Francesco Molinari (+9)
  • Geoff Ogilvy (+10)(MC)
The Top Tier - All Players Made Cut
2. Team Dave (+38)
  • Phil Mickelson (+16)
  • KJ Choi (+6)
  • Adam Scott (+6)
  • Sergio Garcia (+10)
1. Team Toph
  • Justin Rose (+7)
  • Martin Kaymer (+6)
  • Graeme McDowell (+2)
  • Matt Kuchar (+8)
And now for some fun bullets of fact:
  • Nobody in the whole tournament finished below par overall. 
  • The lowest round (of drafted players) was Lee Westwood's Saturday 67. 
  • The highest round (odp) was Luke Donald's Thursday 79. 
  • The lowest team score for a single day was Chris' Saturday 279 (-1). 
  • The highest? Jay's opening day 305 (+25).
  • US Open champion Webb Simpson was not drafted. But he will be next time. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

An Untitled Post About LeBron James

Game 1 of the Finals is in the books. The Thunder smacked the Heat in the second half and towards the end it looked like the Heat won't ever be able to beat OKC. Cue the LeBron haters on Twitter:

"The loud mouthed clown fails to deliver"
"LeBron take notes"
"Kevin Durant is definitely better than LeBron"
"Good job, good effort"

All of you, shut up.

LeBron had 30-9-4 with 4 steals. That's pretty much standard for him. Even the supporting cast did well (Chalmers with 12-6 and Battier with 16 is pretty much as good as they're gonna do). This loss falls squarely on Wade. But for whatever reason, LeBron shoulders the blame. Should he have shot better than 11-24? I mean, maybe. I guess he has to, if Dwyane Wade is going to continue to be a steaming pile of average on the court.

I want to take a step back from Game 1. Colin Cowherd had a great piece on The Herd this morning where he talked about comparing LeBron to Jordan (he's not the first to do so). Michael Jordan didn't win a title until he was on the same team as Scottie Pippin, Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, BJ Armstrong, and John Paxson. The only other sure-fire Hall of Famer was Pippen (I think people only know Horace because of the glasses), but they were a team with a lot of rebounders, a lot of role players, and they all bought into winning.

Then you add Toni Kukoc, Ron Harper, Steve Kerr, and Dennis Rodman into the picture and it really seems like it would have been a struggle for the team to not win the title. I don't want to take anything away from MJ (not that I could if I wanted to) because his attitude paved the way for the whole team - much like Tim Duncan has done in San Antonio.

I just want to make it known that I think LeBron James needs better people around him, on the court and off, and he could head and shoulders above everyone else in the NBA. Let's track his mistakes:

  • Being from Ohio (not entirely his fault)
  • Saying he wanted better players around him in Cleveland but never actually naming any role players that he would have liked to add
  • The logistics of The Decision (the start of the "LeBron is a Dickhead" movement)
  • The choice he made in The Decision (New York, bro. Come on, Are you stupid?)
  • Teaming up with a player who plays literally the exact same style of game as him
  • "Not 5, not 6, not 7"
  • Shoulder bumping Spoelstra (sets a bad example for the rest of his team)
  • Choking in the Finals last year
  • That press conference where he told all the poor people that weren't as rich or talented as him to fuck off
  • Proposing to his ugly-ass girlfriend (by far the worst-looking of the Big Three WAGs)
But this season (aside from the proposal) he's been pretty much right where he needs to be. He sort of learned how to use his size down low. He stopped shooting from long range so much. He put the team on his back at times. But it's still a shit team. And it's a team that won't ever let him be as good as Jordan. Physically, LeBron is better than MJ. Mentally, Jordan is probably a top-3 person (in any walk of life) ever. LeBron can never match him. 

But in terms of championships (which everyone in the NBA loves to use as a measuring stick), LeBron could surpass Jordan. He won't, because he's stuck in Miami for three more years. Two more years? Whatever, it's that many years that he won't be able to be as dominant as he potentially could. Because emotionally, he's a bitch. And that rubs off on his teammates.

His coach looks like a 25 year old. LeBron looks like a 40 year old. Dwyane Wade is actually 30 years old. They don't respect him because they're two of the ten best players in the NBA (or so I'm told, because watching Wade makes me strongly question that). They play on a team full of dickheads because the leaders of the team act like dickheads. Chris Bosh probably isn't a dickhead but he's like that kid in college orientation that gets in with the scumbag kids and starts acting like a scumbag. I guess you'd call that peer pressure? 

When I sat down to write this post, I had a goal. It was to defend LeBron in the short term and simultaneously bash him in the long term and for what he's done in the past. I honestly have no idea if I've accomplished that. But being saddled to an over-the-hill Dwyane Wade, an injured (maybe?) Chris Bosh, and a bunch of nobodies is 100% not the best place for LeBron to challenge Jordan as the best basketball player of all time. 

But you know, Wade could come out in Game 2 and drop 50 points and dunk right in Kevin Durant's grill and stare into the camera and tell me to fuck myself. 

But seriously. How do you turn down the Knicks when you're in that situation? 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dave's NBA Finals Preview (the one that matters)

So it's that time of year again....and no, I'm not talking about the time where I actually follow through and contribute to this blog again. I'm talking about the NBA Finals. The long basketball season has come down to just this one series and ladies and's going to be a good one.

The drama consumed season filled with the lockout, a shortened season, injured superstars and more has come to a boiling point. The two teams that everyone thought would be in the Finals actually did make it for once. The Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder are about to face off in a Finals match up that has the potential to be one of the best Finals series in a very long time.

The story lines behind this match up are intriguing. You've got the Heat, who are trying to avenge a Finals loss from a year ago to get not five, not six, not seven....but one championship. And then the Thunder. The young, athletic team from the midwest who we, as NBA fans, have watched grow into a powerhouse right before our eyes. David Stern has to be thrilled with the result because the ratings for the series should be as high as ever. did one of their "NBA Roundtable 5 on 5" articles yesterday so let's answer of their questions...

The most important player in the Finals is _________.

The answer to this question is (as every analyst answered identically) LeBron James. The Chosen One himself, who would've guessed.....literally every person in America. This is LeBron's time. He's coming off of another MVP season and unlike a year ago, he seems to have finally remembered how to play the game of basketball like he knows how to. Perfect example- Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. LeBron had 45 points and 15 rebounds....oh and by the way, he had 30 of those points in the FIRST HALF. The game was literally over at halftime, all thanks to LeBron. If LeBron is able to summon his talents like he has throughout the playoffs and avoid being intimidated by the spotlight (as he has this year), he could finally redeem himself and become an NBA champion.

The most important match up in this series is ___________.

Dwyane Wade vs Thabo Sefolosha/James Harden. Throughout these playoffs, Wade has been very inconsistent- something we're not used to seeing from him. The former Finals MVP will be crucial to the Heat's success during this series. If he plays the way we all know he can, the Heat could have a much easier time with the Thunder than many people expect. But, the offense/defense combination of James Harden/Thabo Sefolosha could pose problems for Wade. Sefolosha has really been a crucial X-factor for OKC throughout the playoffs (in particular in the San Antonio series). He's a lock down defender who provides the team with a HUGE boost when he's able to contribute offensively. James Harden is a true offensive threat and one of the best young players in the league. He's also been extremely clutch for the Thunder throughout these playoffs.

The most important X-factor in the Finals is ____________.

The Heat's bench. It's been well documented that the Miami bench has underperformed this season. They struggle mightily offensively and relying heavily on them could pose problems for the Heat. Without help from their role players, the Miami Heat could find themselves in another losing situation in the Finals.

The first sign you'll be looking for in the Finals will be ___________.

If Miami comes out aggressively from the start of the game. There have been a few games in the playoffs where the Heat have lacked aggressiveness and fallen behind early. Although there were times they were able to recover from the slow start, they won't have such an easy time doing that against the Thunder and their raucous arena. It is important for LeBron and Wade to come out firing on all cylinders and setting the tone for their team. If the Heat lack aggressiveness, the Thunder could potentially blow them out Game 1.

The winner of the Larry O'Brien trophy will be ___________.

OKC in 7. I could easily be wrong about this pick because Miami is obviously a great team. But for some reason I feel good about this Thunder team. They have everything going for them right now. Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka and the bench have been great. The Thunder even have the fan advantage (the OKC fans are much rowdier than those in Miami). It'll be another disappointing year for LeBron and the first chapter in the dominant career of Kevin Durant.

Jay's NBA Finals Preview

If you guys can remember back to November, I said this (edited for space):

"2 Good Teams

Miami Heat
I don't care - not even a little bit - about the collapse in the playoffs/finals. If anything, that will help the Heat this season.. bear with me. Now, we have definitive evidence that this team belongs to Dwyane Wade. Lebron James is the best basketball player on the planet, yes, but this is Wade's team when they need a leader. There goes their biggest problem from last season. Prepare for domination, as long as Lebron has been reading everyone's tweets over the summer and accepts his role. 
With the size down low they can match up with any team in the NBA and overpower them. It's all on Lebron (sort of, because what I mean by this is that it's actually all on DWade). 

Oklahoma City Thunder
If I'm right, then the Heat will meet the Thunder in the NBA Finals. The Thunder's core is in a prime spot to overthrow Kobe, Dirk, Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, and the rest of the Western Division. Despite a pretty lackluster draft, the Thunder still have a phenomenal starting 5: Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha/James Harden, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, and Kendrick Perkins. Top to bottom, they can guard any team in the NBA (except Dirk) and outscore any team (except the re-invigorated Heat). 

NBA Finals Prediction: Heat over Thunder, 5 Games"

And really, I only got like one thing wrong:

  • LeBron was far and away the best player on the Heat. Dwyane Wade was maybe even the third most valuable player. Oops.
  • The Heat's (lack of) size was one of their major flaws. Oops. 
  • The Thunder swept Dirk's Mavericks. Oops.
But, I did get that LeBron was going to be the most influential player on the Heat's success and that OKC couldn't guard Dirk all that well (25-31-17-34 points per game, 41.8 JPoint) and that these teams would meet each other in the Finals. Ergo I think you can lock down Miami winning in five. 

Maybe don't quite lock that down. Because I think that enough people want the Thunder to win (OKC could wear white jerseys and Miami could wear black jerseys every single game and nobody would care. Create kind of a hero-villain atmosphere, how do you feel about that David Stern?) and they really feed off support. Couple that with the fact that it seems that LeBron can't handle being unloved and the crowds/America could actually be a pretty huge factor.

Normally I'd break down the backcourt comparisons (advantage Thunder), small forward comparisons (advantage Heat), and frontcout comparisons (advantage Miami), team chemistry comparisons (advantage Thunder). But I just did that in one sentence so let's just throw it all out the window because I have absolutely no clue how the next week or two are going to play out. 

Part of me hopes that Oklahoma City wins so LeBron doesn't get a ring and the glimmer of hope in Cleveland fans' eyes stays alive that they can win a title before LeBron. Kevin Durant goes about everything perfectly - his game, his podium game, his fashion game - and Westbrook is (for me) the most intriguing player in the NBA (more on that in another post, maybe). Plus they have Derek Fisher, which has to count for at least one late-game-three-pointer-dagger. 

But part of me wants LeBron to shine on the game's biggest stage, win the first of many rings, and silence the haters. He's so gifted physically. He's so un-gifted emotionally and personality-ly. He needs to hire someone (I'm available) as a PR rep. Because I'm absolutely sure that he doesn't currently have one. It's not possible. We're getting off track. This is going to be a telling series for LeBron. If he can shoulder the load (but still have Bosh and Wade) then he'll probably win and go down a path of championship-winning. If he can't win with this team, he will probably never win one. And then the whole Cleveland thing may just come true. Dan Gilbert will be a prophet. And LeBron's hair will continue to retreat. 

But fuck it, I'm sticking with my Heat in 5 games prediction that I made in November (that's seven months ago). 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Phillies' Injury List

I'm stuck in International Economics class right now. It's brutal. It gets me really frustrated with where my life is right now. I don't want to be here. But it gives me time to reflect on other things that frustrate me. Most of all, the Philadelphia Phillies.

As it stands now (June 7th at around 1 o'clock) the Phillies are in last place in the NL East. Six games behind the Nationals. Two games behind the Braves and Marlins. Two and a half games behind the goddamn Mets. Two games below .500! The Phillies!

It's a joke. 

The Phillies are missing their starting first baseman, starting second baseman, and the best pitcher in the entire league. Not to make excuses for the poor play, but here's the list of all the Phillies that have missed time due to injury this season:

Roy Halladay, SP
Cliff Lee, SP
Vance Worley, SP
Michael Stutes, RP
Jose Contreras, RP
David Herndon, RP
Justin De Fratus, RP
Ryan Madson , RP
(What's that? Madson no longer plays for the Phillies? What? The Reds? Oh. Okay)

Ryan Howard, 1B
Chase Utley, 2B
Jimmy Rollins, SS (okay, it was a paternity leave)
Placido Polanco, 3B
Freddy Galvis, 2B/SS
Jim Thome, 1B
Laynce Nix, 1B/3B/OF
Dom Brown, OF
Shane Victorino, OF
Michael Martinez, Utility

Do I even need to say "not to make excuses"? I mean Jesus Christ that's two of the three best starting pitchers, the fourth best starter, half the bullpen, the entire right side of the infield and their replacements. 

Granted, not all of these injuries have been long stints on the DL but the Phils' two biggest problems this season have been scoring runs and holding leads. No Utley, Howard, Herndon, Stutes, or Contreras directly leads to that. They have lost 11 games by one run. You know what helps prevent one-run losses? Guys that can hit home runs and guys that can pitch a whole inning without giving up any runs. 

The Phils are on a skid now, having lost their last five games to a combination of the Marlins and Dodgers. But I think we/they just need to bide our/their time and stay around 5-8 games out. Because when Halladay/Utley/Howard/The Bullpen come back with the NL Pennant in their sights, look out. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Post-2012 Heat

Alright boys and girls, let's talk LeBron.

In the aftermath of another epic collapse down the stretch by the Heat last night, I got to thinking about why the Heat can't seem to mesh properly. The team is absolutely loaded with talent, devoid of a serious power struggle between the best players (there really isn't much of a struggle here, mainly due to James' submissive personality), and plays its best basketball on the defensive side of the hoop, which leads to their explosive fast break capabilities. So why don't they mesh?

Fantasy Euro 2012 Preview

Well, it took almost an entire week to draft the four Fantasy Euro teams. But they're in:

Team Jay (@jaylike)
G Maarten Stekelenburg, Netherlands
D Philipp Lahm, Germany
D Giorgio Chiellini, Italy
D John Terry, England
M David Silva, Spain
M Steven Gerrard, England
M Samir Nasri, France
M Niko Kranjcar, Croatia
F Mario Gomez, Germany
F Robin van Persie, Netherlands
F Andrei Arshavin, Russia

Team Alex/Daggy (@tsoupac)
G Joe Hart, England
D Gerard Pique, Spain
D Gregory van der Wiel, Netherlands
D Patrice Evra, France
M Luca Modric, Croatia
M Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany
M Andres Iniesta, Spain
M Arjen Robben, Netherlands
F Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden
F Thomas Muller, Germany
F Roman Pavlyuchenko, Russia

Team Toph (@TheTrueMalone)
G Hugo Lloris, France
D Michal Kadlec, Czech Republic
D Sergei Ignashevich, Russia
D Aleksandr Anyukov, Russia
M Mesut Ozil, Germany
M Wesley Sneijder, Netherlands
M Xavi, Spain
M Nani, Portugal
F Miroslav Klose, Germany
F Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Netherlands
F Karim Benzema,, France

Team Brendan (@woodermelon)
G Iker Casillas, Spain
D Sergio Ramos, Spain
D Ashley Cole, England
D Roman Sharonov, Russia
M Franck Ribery, France
M Florent Malouda, France
M Dirk Kuyt, Netherlands
M Andrea Pirlo, Italy
F Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
F Lukas Podolski, Germany
F Jermain Defoe, England

And remember that each team will get to drop one player for another when the tournament switches from Group Play to Elimination Play, and that those drops will go in order of least fantasy points first.