Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Seattle Mariners 2007-2008 offseason plan

The Mariners put up a solid above .500 season last year, but let's be honest, there was no real chance of them doing well in the playoffs even if they got there. They're pitching was too weak and while everyone in their lineup could hit (everyone including the bench had a .285 or above average except Sexson and Lopez), they couldn't get on base or hit for power. Batista and Washburn are above average pitchers, but they're not #2 pitchers, they're both 3-4 pitchers. The fact that we had the weakest 4-5 pitchers in the league also didn't help. A quick solution would've been Curt Schilling, who would've given us a "veteran presence" a 1A to go with out 1 in Felix, and he could have made a good mentor to Felix by showing him when to challenge and when not to, and how to prepare for each game and season (and not be a mental midget). Schilling isn't available, so here is my plan to fix the Mariners.

First off, SafeCo is good for Left handed power hitters. It's also not a great park for hitters in general, so what do we need? Left handed hitters who get on base. Two above average such guys are available in the form of Geoff Jenkins a good left fielder from the Seattle area, and Fukudome, a lefty from Japan. We could put those guys in left and right, and this would give us more lefty batters as well as good defense in the outfield. I don't see them being superstars, but they'll be 0 to +10 runs better on defense than average, which is a lot better than the -20 from Raul and the -10 from Guillen. Raul proved that when he's not injured he is still a solid lefty hitter. So he play 1b or DH, and I'm assuming he can give us at least -5 runs at 1b, which is much better than Sexson or Broussard can do. With this team, and with Betancourt hopefully showing us that his mental blanks can be limited, we have average or above players at every defensive position. This is important especially since our pitching core isn't that great.

With this, our lineup goes like this:
CF: Ichiro
RF: Fukudome
3B: Beltre
LF: Genkins
1B: Ibanez
C: Johjima
DH: Broussard/Vidro
SS: Betancourt
2B: Lopez
Bench: Burke, Bloomquist, 4 OFer like Reed or veteran, Morse/Chen/Green?
With this lineup, we have no superstud save for Ichiro, but we do not have a single guy in the lineup who can't hit. Save for Lopez, I don't see any of these guys hitting below .280.

On to pitching. We have a number one pitcher in Felix, but we only have 2 solid veterans after that and then a bunch of prospects who could break through. Since our OF is now cluttered with guys who give us OBP and should only cost $8 million per year each, this frees us up to trade our prospects. I like Adam Jones a lot, but our biggest weakness is either a big time bat, or a big time pitcher. For this, I say we trade an assortment of Jones, Balentien, Clement, Morrow, Butler, or Tillman for Johan Santana. I'd be willing to trade Jones, Balentien and Clement just for Santana. This is conditional on us signing Santana to a long term deal for about $200 million over 8 years (fair value considering Zambrano is $19 million per year, then Santana, the leagues best pitcher should get $25 million). To do this, we trade away Sexson for whatever, and just try to clear off as much of his last year as possible. Felix might like us trading away his best friend in Balentien, but he wouldn't mind having a fellow Venezuelan stud pitcher showing him the ropes. If Santana could not be dealt for, I wouldn't mind Willis, Bedard, or Oswalt, but obviously for a much lesser price such as Adam Jones a further away prospect and a young setup man. After this, we should also sign Kuroda for starting pitching depth. With this, our pitchers consist of 2 stud pitchers, and 3 #3 or #4 pitchers in Kuroda, Washburn, and Batista, with Batista possible switching to the bullpen in the playoffs.
1. Johan Santana / Oswalt / Willis / Bedard
1A. Felix Hernandez
3. Washburn
3. Kuroda
3. Batista
LRP/ Spot Starter: RRS
LRP/Spot Starter: Baek
MRP: Kameron Mickolio / Austin Bibbens-Dirks
MRP: Sean Green
SU: Sherrill
SU: Mark Lowe
Closer: JJ Putz

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Seahawks' season unofficially over.

The Seahawks' season is pretty much over. Mack Strong is injured and has retired. Deion Branch is out for a month. We just lost to Pittsburgh 21-0. And the Colts and Pats look unbeatable (except for when they play each other, in which case, one of them has to be beatable).
Does this come as a surprise? If I held the same aspirations now as I did at the beginning of the season, then yes, but since I don't, then no, it doesn't. While our defense has looked amazing at times, we still can't stop the run, which I think is an integral part of defense, since if you can stop the run, you force the opponent to throw more often then they want to. Besides the hope that our defense has given Hawks fans, the offense has looked very inconsistent. Hasselbeck has looked like a sub elite qb, just under Carson Palmer, Brady, and Manning, and at other times he's looked like a rookie QB who gets scared out of the pocket too easily. Is some of it to blame on the line for being young and the WRs for being inconsistent? Probably, but Hasselbeck 2 years ago was the top qb in the NFC, and he sure isn't playing like it now. Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes is Deion Branch, whom many praise as a WR designed for the west coast offense. This may be true, but he's still not worth a 1st round pick, especially when two WRs better than him, Darrell Jackson and Randy Moss, went for 4th round picks. Other flaws are Hackett's supposed breakout year taking a falter due to injury, and Burleson's failure to step up and be a consistent wideout. So far he is the same as Koren Robinson, talented in both the receiving and returning game, but has shown too many mental lapses.
Lastly, a lot of people have been down on Shaun Alexander, for both his inability to hit holes fast enough, his lacksadasical effort as a pass blocker, and his medicore receiving ability, but I think this is partly the organization's fault. We knew that he was a question mark, yet we didn't take a chance on a free agent or a draft pick. We could've traded our 1st round pick for Michael Turner instead of Branch, and that would've been a better move. Perhaps next year we'll draft a rb who is a fairly good runner, but more importantly, a good pass blocker and receiver, since this is what will best complement Alexander's weaknesses.
Is this news dissapointing? Yes, but barring an injury to Tom Brady or Peyton Manning/Bob Sanders, the Colts or the Patriots will be the Superbowl champs irregardless of who the NFC champion is.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

NFL advertising, and how little sense it makes

It's week 5 in the NFL, and so far I've seen a lot of new commercials with NFL players in it. This is a good thing, because most people talk about how some NFL players have less star power because it's harder to be recognized with a helmet on. Leading the new commercial charge is of course, Peyton Manning, who, after Tom Brady, is probably the 2nd most popular player in the NFL. The two next most popular players? Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart. I can't tell how how much this blows my mind. I know they were both in the NFL's "now" poll, but neither player has done anything yet. Which pisses me off all the more about ESPN's NOW, because there is no way that Vince Young, Reggie Bush, and Matt Leinart, are more popular, marketable, and at the peak of their athletic performance, then Kevin Garnett, Yao Ming, Chad Johnson, or David Wright are. We still don't know if Reggie Bush can be anything more than a show pony who does tricks. We still don't know if Leinart is any good. Boldin and Fitzgerald have made Warner (when he's not fumbling) and Josh McCown into 4,000 yard QB's (if they had played the whole season), and yet Leinart can't seem to get more than 250 passing yards in a game. Leinart popularity is almost exclusively a product of a strong USC system, being a white QB, and his "rugged good looks".
Another unimportant thing to mention. LaDanian Tomlinson, while worthy of being in commercials, does not watch tv on a Vizio. A guy who makes $10+ million per year does not watch tv on a tv that markets itself as cheap and affordable. That would be like him driving a Kia.

Friday, September 28, 2007

What to Expect from the Sonics

As it stands now, the 2007-2008 season is dwarfed by a cloud of uncertainty as to whether it is the last season that the SuperSonics play in Seattle. It's almost impossible not to think about, even if the conversation is intended to be solely about basketball, but I'll try anyway.

So Allen and Lewis are gone and have been replaced by the younger Durant and Green. We've also now got a reliable backup guard in West, and a massive (but expiring in 2009) contract in Szczerbiak. Swift is not injured anymore, and Collison has reportedly made leaps and bounds. Also...we have Kurt Thomas (yay).

Down the road, I like how this team is looking and could potentially look, but because of the arena situation (and knowing this could be the last season in Seattle), it's really hard not to just look at the immediate future. Unfortunately, I don't think the 2007-2008 Sonics will make the playoffs. I'm not saying they definitely won't, as it is almost impossible to predict how this team will play together, but I think it's unlikely.

We still have problems at PG that need to be solved. We need someone who can fluidly run the offense (Watson can't) and play a shred of defense (Ridnour can't), and until we fix that, we will lose a lot of games.

If Swift and Collison do end up being as solid as they seem like they could be this year, that could make all the difference in the world, but I don't yet trust Swift at all.

Overall, I think the win count could be anywhere from 25 to 50, but if I had to guess, I think the Sonics will probably have a record that's maybe slightly better than last year's 31-51. Still, I've never had more difficulty predicting how the Sonics would do in any season.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Mariners Season in the books, Huskies and Seahawks just starting

Well, the Mariners had a nice run, and stayed competitive into September, more than anyone expected, however, their season is pretty much over. I guess that's what happens when you're manager is crap, and you lose 13 of 14. Anyways, it was fun while it lasted, but part of me is happy because then we can fire McLaren, and then we can't give Bavasi too much credit.

The Washington Huskies football team is finally back. After having a one win season, the Huskies hired Tyrone Willingham, a man many consider a good recruiter, but not a great coach. Well, if you have one win, you'll take the good recruiting coach any day, especially when you were a top 25 team for the better part of 3 decades. In Willingham's first season, he doubled our win total to a whopping 2. Last year, his Huskie's picked up 5 wins, a misleading stat because the Huskies were 4-1 and then lost to USC in a close game, before their starting QB was injured and the team subsequently spiralled downward, made worse by a crushing defeat by winless Stanford. However, the Huskies almost beat UCLA, and beat Washington State to finish the season at a respectable 5-7. This season, we have arguably the toughest schedule in all of college football (ranked no. 1 by ESPN) with a non-conference schedule of @ Syracuse, a decent team with potential, but the 3,000 mile trek doesn't make the game any easier, a game against Boise State, a team that beat Oklahoma in a BCS bowl game last year on their way to an undefeated season, Ohio State, no description needed, and ending the season with Hawaii, an offensive juggernaut ranked in the top 25, with a potential Heisman winning QB in Colt Brennan. This in addition to playing every team in the Pac-10, in which no game is a gimme with the exception of Stanford (whom we lost to last year).

As we all know, the season, and most likely the future success of the Huskies rest solely on redshirt freshman Jake Locker's shoulders, and so far he has not disappointed. He has been the savior of U-Dub football since his junior year of Washington, and if the Mariners had drafted him (as they did with Matt Tuiasosopo when he was considering being a QB at Washington) or had he taken a scholarship offer elsewhere, that surely would have been a big blow to coach Willingham's plans. Luckily for us, Locker, a humble yet amazingly bright and athletic kid has shown that he has the makeup to be a great college quarterback. Blessed with 4.5 40 yard speed, he also has good vision and the potential for great accuracy. Our offensive line is also doing well, as they are all returning from last year, and our RB Louis Rankin is finally health enough, as shown by his 143 yards running against 'Cuse, and his td pass against Boise State. Huskies fever is finally back, and thank God, it's been too long. You never realize how cool it is to have a great football team until it falls from the top 25 to the laughing stock of the Pac 10.

The Seahawks start tomorrow against Tampa Bay, a team I think too many "experts" are taking too lightly. I love that Bill Simmons of ESPN predicts us as the number 2 team in the NFL to his beloved Patriots, but I'd have to say that we are 3 after NE and SD, though pointing to SD's coach is a good reason to knock them down come playoff time. What's different about this year? Well, we no longer have Ken Hamlin and Michale Boulware manning the safety positions. I compare these two to Jose Lopez and Betancourt, because safeties are like middle infielders in that they are an essential part of the defense, but underrated as a whole. Instead we now have Deon Grant, a good coverage safety, and Brian Russell, a smart player. Babineaux is still available off the bench, which is good news. Also new is Patrick Kerney, who pretty much fills in for Wistrom, except he's a supreme pass rusher and decent run defender, and Wistrom is the opposite. The offense should be the same, as we are stacked at the WR, and Branch has more of a rapport with Hasselbeck now, and we'll see how Pollard does with Hasselbeck as well, a key part of this season in my opinion, as I happen to think that Jerramy Steven finally stepping it up and serving as an effective security blanket for 'Beck was a big part the Seahawks making it to the SuperBowl. More to come after the game.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Barry Bonds: new Home Run Career Record Holder

Surprisingly, the nation seems to be indifferent as to Bonds breaking the record. This should be the response, as if say, LaDanian broke the career rushing record, I have to say that my reaction would be one of indifference. I don't like him, but I don't hate him, and he doesn't play for my team, so I acknowledge that what he is a great accomplishment, but I'm neither happier or sadder because of it. I feel the same way toward Barry Bonds. I don't like him, but I don't dislike him, and I think it's impressive that he broke the record.
Is this record tainted in any way? Maybe a little, but I don't really think so that much. First off, although Barry Bonds probably did take steroids, it is not proven. Sure the chance that he did is probably 99.9% or more, but their is always the chance that he decided to lift a lot and take a lot of legal supplements to get bigger. Even if he did take steroids, why is it that steroids are illegal and other supplements are not? What is considered natural? A few years ago, Andro, the stuff that McGwire took, was considered legal, but then was banned years later, same with Creatine. Also to take into consideration, is that it's not like he took steroids and got bigger from nothing, steroids increases endurance and lessens muscle fatigue during workouts, so Barry worked out for about 6 hours a day while on his supplements. If you want to criticize him, you have to at least acknowledge and admire his work ethic and determination. A few years ago, Jim Thome was praised for not lifting and not taking steroids, and that his physique was all country boy, just naturally big. I don't know why he gets praised for being lazy. Sure, he didn't take steroids, great, but not lifting is just dumb in this day and age. It's proven to give you more power, and a power hitter should lift. Which brings about another point of "the natural athlete". What is natural? If you want an all natural athlete, than where does the natural part end, and the unnatural part begin? Should we ban athletes from lifting, and only allow the to do situps, pushups, and pullups? The line is hard to tell on what's natural and what's not. After all, some athletes have a VO2 Max so high or increase muscle mass so easily that their levels could be called unnatural. So if someone who's on the low end of athletic ability and take something to make them above average but not illegally it's seen as a kid wanting to be great, but if someone who's already great takes these things, it's seen as rule-breaking, and a shame to the game. Should we not allow contacts or inhalers either?
Another problem with the steroids argument is that there are many forms of "cheating" that don't get noticed or aren't considered cheating. An article was recently written about Bonds' elbow armor ( So while this article may exaggerate how may hr's his elbow pad added to Bonds' career, but its just another example of how cheating is a blurred line, and how some advantages are for some reason allowed, and others are labeled cheating.
Also of note is that Baseball has had a problem with cheating for a while. Recently ESPN had a poll on cheating, and people felt that cheating was at an all-time high, and it was noted that because the monetary rewards were so high, that the incentives were so high, that someone had to cheat. This is a good point, but I don't think that cheating is at an all time high. Now there is more security, more drug tests, and more importantly, more technology. Before, people could cheat by doctoring balls, doctoring bats, changing the field, stealing signs, changing hoop heights, having bad floors, paying off refs, etc. So to say cheating is at an all time high is just an uneducated thing to say that the media would love for you to believe because it gives them a story.
Lastly I would like to blame Bud Selig and MLB for the "steroids era". The no testing policy was what caused steroids to be prevalent in the league, and the reason MLB didn't fight for testing was that it was helpful to both sides of the argument. A lot of players didn't want it because they either wanted to use illegal supplements, and MLB didn't mind because it brought increased revenue and a bigger fan base. So this situation essentially brought up a prisoners dilemma. If a player uses, and all other players don't, they benefit big time because they put up better numbers (see Giambi or possibly Matthews Jr.). If they don't use and no one uses, the situation is the same, and if they use and everyone uses no one benefits really because everyone's game has been (theoretically) risen the same amount, but everyone faces the risk that is presented from steroid use (though this risk has never been clearly defined or proven). So if a player looks around and sees that no one is using steroids, and that if he uses steroids he can double his salary, what is he going to do? He's going to use steroids because there is no testing, the only thing holding him back is his fear of steroids, his laziness to lift, his own negative opinions on using steroids, and his fear of public shame holding him back. For most players, they were scared enough of steroids long term effects, felt like they were cheating, or were scared if they got caught, and never used. But many players didn't care, and and the incentive to "cheat" was too great in terms of pay checks. Look at Sammy Sosa. He has over 600 career home runs. It can be argued that steroids turned him from a 35 hr player to a 60 hr player, and the difference is the difference between 10 million dollars and 20 million dollars per year. For Bonds, the decision to "cheat" clearly wasn't for money, and it's clear that he doesn't care if other people don't like him. His turning point was the whole Mark McGwire Sammy Sosa debacle, and the reason he was upset was that he was one of the greatest players to ever play the game, yet he didn't get recognized for it. This in and of itself is actually quite respectable because most people can relate to not getting enough credit for their performance.
So, before you condemn Barry Bonds, remember that with or without steroids, he is probably the greatest player of all time. He has 7 gold gloves, and while they were all in LF, more than 5 gold gloves mean that you are a great fielder, even if gold gloves are not a great defensive metric(see Derek Jeter or Raphael Palmeiro). He has over 500 career stolen bases, and was a great baserunner as well. He has the most home runs ever, and if he wasn't so good at hitting home runs from 1999 on, then he would probably have ended up with well over 500, if not 600. Lastly, he's underrated because while his average wasn't all that great some seasons, his on base percentage percentage was always good; he never had an obp under .400 after the age of 25 while playing more than 102 games. For this he has two things that Ruth didn't have, defense and baserunning, though Ruth did pitch like Cy Young. So love him or hate him, at least respect his game and his hard work, because he's one of the greatest players ever, and whatever faults he has, are not his faults alone.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Adam Jones finally called up

Adam Jones was finally called up, finally appeasing Mariners fans. USSMariner has already showed that Adam Jones in the field will already make HoRam into Johan Santana (granted this improvement will be spread out over all the pitchers, so stats will just be a bit better for everyone), but last night he hit 2 singles, and scored 2 runs. This is more impressive than it sounds, because in his 2nd AB, he had a 10 pitch or so at bat, which is good because it means he's not that easy to strike out, and he tired Lester out. In his 3rd AB, he beat out a bad throw, showing his athleticism and smarts.
It remains to be seen how much Jones will be played, but if he continues to play this well, veterans won't get upset, because they want to win. As it is, the Mariners can smell the fear from the Angels, and they should be fearful, the M's should make it an exciting race for the rest of the season.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Garnett to the Celtics

Well, it has been reported that the Minnesota Timberwolves have finally traded KG to the Celtics for a boatload of players, many of which I think are very promising players. Al Jefferson was a stud in the second half of last year, Gerald Green will always be at least a promising player due to athleticism, Sebastian Telfair, whom I do not like at all, Ryan Gomes, decent role player, Theo Ratliff, an expiring contract, and two first round picks.

As good as getting Garnett is, trades must factor in the contracts of players. In this case, Garnett costs a BOATLOAD of money. I look at players like that and think, if he were a free agent, would I sign him for that much money? I hesitated when I answered that because I wasn't sure if I would. If I'm the Celtics and I have to give up half of my team, I'm not sure I want to do this, even if the guy I'm getting is "one of the 25 best player's ever" (according to Bill Simmons).

Now to critique ESPN's Bill Simmons' and John Hollinger's articles on the trade. Simmons LOVES the trade. He thinks this trade will mean championships. The Celtics will have THREE players. I think these players COULD work well though because Garnett is the kind of superstar who doesn't really need to score and who doesn't take over at the end of games. That's where Pierce and Ray Allen come in. However, the rest of the team is a little lacking. I'm not saying I don't think the players are good, but I give the Celtics a 2-3 year window here to win and the role players need more time than that. Rajon Rondo (2nd year), Tony Allen (injury), Perkins, Glen Davis (rookie), Leon Powe (2nd year), and Gabe Pruitt (rookie). Most of those guys need time and Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett aren't getting any younger.

In Hollinger's article, he predicts that the Celtics will win 46 games. He uses his stupid projected PER ratings and some other numbers that no one quite understands. I'm all for numbers, but Hollinger is an idiot (and not in just this article). If the Celtics only win 46 games in the EAST, then either someone is injured, or their released everyone else for money reasons and put in random people off the street.

I think trading for KG will make Boston immediately better and will easily make them a playoff team, but it will be sacrificing long-term for short-term, a short-term which will not result in a championship.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rashard Lewis 6 year deal and sign-and-trade

So we got a sign and trade out of Rashard, which netted us a 2nd round pick and a trade exemption believed to be around $9 million. It was either the trade exemption, or a bunch of junk with expiring contracts, instead we opted for the trade exemption. The sign and trade was easy for us to do, sure Orlando, you can have him for a 6th year and pay him 6 million more per yer, if you give us a 2nd round pick. I was hoping we could squeeze a JJ Redick or a 1st round pick out of them, but oh well. Anyways, so we have cap room this year, whether we spend it on anything remains to be seen. I doubt it, which is good, because there's nothing to spend money on this year. Unfortunately, if we don't spend, we will have a bad season, with low expenses, which seems like a prime candidate for a team moving out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ichiro signs extension, Adam Jones called up

According to ESPN, USSMariner, and ProspectInsider, Ichiro signed a deal believed to be for 5 years and around $100 million. This is a great deal, since he is a top 3 player this year along with Magglio and A-Rod (He's the best defensive player at the 2nd most important position). This is good because if Ichiro left, I dont' know that I'd root for the Mariners whole-heartedly over the next few years, and I'm glad we finally kept a superstar while he is still in his prime.

Another big move is Adam Jones finally getting called up. Vidro has a good batting average, but his slugging is so bad, that he is no longer a serviceable DH. Unfortunately we are going to put him in right, Guillen in left, and DH Raul. Jones would be a perfect LF in Safeco, and Guillen is a good RF, slow, but at least he has a cannon. As USSMariner has said, putting Jones in LF instead of Ibanez makes saves us 15 runs (conservative estimate) defensively, which is the equivalent of trading Batista for Santana. So despite the fact that the Mariners exceeded our wildest expectations, expect us to get even better in the second half.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Sonics hire PJ Carlesimo

So, in a series of bad moves, the Sonics hire PJ Carlesimo. I understand Presti's young, so all he's ever known is the Spurs, but the Sonics are not going to be the Spurs. We lack the Tim Duncan to pull it off. If we had Oden, sure, we'd have a force inside with solid inside moves, and a quiet but quirky demeanor to pull it off. Instead we have a Kobe-like assassin. Carlesimo is a great assistant coach, he's not a #1 man. This may be the case with Casey too, but at least Casey knows the players. He's also hasn't coach enough, so you don't know if he's a bad coach. Carlesimo is a proven bad coach. Not only does Carlesimo not know how to handle his players (see Sprewell, Isaiah Rider, etc.) but he's never been a good coach, never taking his team very far. His best team was the 97 blazers that won 49 games, that won 59 games 3 years later after he left and was consistently winning 50 games before he came. It also says something that after his best year with Portland, he left to take a GS team that won 19 games with him that year that won 30 games the year before. The guy hasn't coach since 1999 for a reason.

Also of note is that Durant and Green both signed with the Sonics. The Summer League team is the highlight of the last week so far. We get Zabian Dowdell as an undrafted free agent, whom many including myself wanted in the 2nd round, Julius Hodge, a good defensive payer who can whoot, Gelabale, Sene, Green, Petro, Durant, and a bunch of roster fillers. Most games shoud be televised, so it'll be fun to watch Green and Durant build chemistry.

Lastly, the Rashard deal might be a sign and trade if Rashard wants to get an extra year to his deal. This would be good but Orlando doesn't really have anyone we'd want. But if we do lose Rashard, instead of 4 million in cap room, we get a trade exception for about 10 million.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Rashard Lewis to sign with the Magic

ESPN reports that on July 11th Rashard Lewis will sign a max deal with Orlando.

To this I say screw you Sam Presti. Because you traded away Ray Allen, you pissed off Lewis and we got nothing out of him. It's not like Baseball where we get a compensatory pick. For him it was either sign and trade with the Sonics, or sign with the Magic, and he liked what he saw in Orlando. The good thing we get out of this? Cap space. We can either make a run at Chauncey Billups or Gerald Wallace (don't really need another SF), or we can sign someone moderately priced, and go ater some of the mega free agents next year (Antwaan Jamison, Gilbert Arenas, and possibly KG, Tim Duncan, Iverson, Jermaine O'Neal, Elton Brand, Shawn Marion, Ron Artest).
I didn't buy Sam Presti's lies about three do everything SF's playing at the same time, and I don't think Rashard did either. I was hoping after the draft that Presti could spin something positive out of the Ray Allen trade, but so far, it's looking even worse.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Hargrove resigns despite M's Success

Hargrove had a press conference today before the game announcing he would resign as manager after the game. The M's went on to win in the bottom of the 9th for their 8th in a row to get them to 12 over.
I was never a big fan of Hargrove, but now that were winning, I'm fine with him. His bullpen management has been a total turnaround from last year, and he's using Broussard correctly finally. He still misuses young people, such as not using O'Flaherty in tighter situations, and using Morrow in tight situations, and I wonder what he'd do if we called up Adam Jones. However he is doing a good enough job otherwise. He even put Vidro into the bottom third of the lineup for a while.
Anyways, something tells me something bigger is going on. Several have speculated that he was "let go" to resign Ichiro, and others have speculated that his wife or family member has some sort of illness. Whatever the case is, I hope this doesn't disturb the team chemistry, and I wish the team well.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Grading the 2007 NBA Draft, Trades included

I'm going to go in Alphabetical Order by team.

Atlanta Hawks - A
Hawks made the right move by getting Horford over Conley Jr. I like Conley better for their team, but at the 11th pick Acie Law and Crittenton were available, while Spencer Hawes and Joakim Noah were not, so they made they right move by getting the big man first.

Boston Celtics - B+
They get Ray Allen while getting rid of Delonte West, Szczerbiak and his overinflated contract, and the #5 pick. I think they're fed up with Delonte, and Szczerbiak and his conract is just dead weight. I think they got rid of a bunch of parts because they were too afraid to pick YJL, Hawes, or Noah. Then they got Glen Davis and Gabe Pruitt to fill in their PG needs and backup forward needs. I think they had to do what they did or else Pierce and his fat body would whine and moan and bitch. A Ray Ray, Pierce, Al Jefferson lineup should do well in the East, except for the lack of Defense.

Charlotte Bobcats - B-
They drafted Julian Wright with the 8th pick, and then traded him for Jason Richardson. They didn't really need Wright as much as they would a Hawes or Noah, but a SG was in need. Now they can have Felton, Richardson, Wallace, May, Okafor. Of course they could have traded for someone better than Richardson, GS wanted to get rid of him, he was injured last season, and he'll cost a lot. GS also had a ton of prospects they could've tried for.

Chicago Bulls - B+
They got Noah, when they should've gotten Hawes. Hawes fills their NEED, while Noah fills their profile, with a high energy, versatility player. In the 2nd round they got Aaron Gray and JamesOn Curry, who has a world of talent. Not a bad 2nd round pick, considering you probably won't get much there, you might as go for a high risk high reward pick. Gray will be a solid backup center in the Todd Macculloch mold.

Dallas Mavericks - A-
They had 3 second round picks and made the most of it by drafting Fazekas, Renaldas Seibutis, and Milovan Rakovic. Fazekas could be a bust, but if not, he'll be a decent rebounding tall man who can also shoot from the outside. Seibutis is someone the Sonics were looking at at 35, so he could be solid, and Rakovic I don't know much about, but might as well go for upside with the 2nd last pick.

Detroit Pistons - B+
Great draft. Stuckey and Afflalo are great combo guards who can play both ways. Stuckey will be able to light it up more, and Afflalo will be more of a shutdown guy. Then they got Sammy Meija, who is ok, but not great at anything. I don't know why they got him, because he's 24, and they just got 2 shooting guards. The only reason they didn't get an A, is because I think they might want to get another SF. They are set at the big positions however with C-Webb, Rasheed, McDyess, Dale Davis, and Amir Johnson.

Golden State Warriors - A
I like Golden State's picks. They got Brandan Wright for Jason Richardson, which is good because they have a ton of swing men. Then they got Marco Bellini who'll be great in a few years but needs some time. In the 2nd round they got Jermareo Davidson and Stephane Lasme. This is great Becasue Jermareo is 6'11" and is talented, and will be a good backup at worst, and Lasme is a shot blocking machine.

Houston Rockets - F
Aarong Brooks for the 26th pick? He's a bit undersized, a bit selfish, and won't be as good of a shooter. He's more of a pick-me up off the bench type of guy. Plus they already have two PGs, and needed a PF when Fazekas, Glen Davis, and Josh McRoberts were available. In the 2nd they got Brad Newley, a slashing guard from Australia, whom no one was talking about.

Indiana Pacers - F
Stanko Barac? I don't know what to say.

LA Clippers - A
They had a great draft here. It sucks for them that Julian Wright and Thaddeus Young were taken right before Thornton, but they get the less risky, less upside Al Thornton with the 14th pick. Then they get solid backup PG Jared Jordan, who had great stats in college, and while he won't be a great starting PG, he wll be solid for when Cassell and Livingston invetiably getting injured.

LA Lakers - A
They didn't panic when the ugys they wanted weren't there, instead, they took the best guy available in Javaris Crittenton, who is young, and can pass real well. Sun Yue is a good pick because he's a Boris Diaw-type player, he's a big guy who's an OK shooter, and a great passer. With the final pick they got Marc Gasol, who's just a big brute down low, but could be a decent backup center.

Miami Heat - D
I guess Miami felt like they didn't need anything this draft, so they got Daequan Cook, who won't be NBA-ready for 2 years. So a close-to-championship team with Shaq gettig older did nothing to get better immediately.

Milwaukee Bucks - C
I like the Yi pick, if they trade him, but otherwise why draft a guy who'll refuse to play there. The Chinese will hate Milwaukee for this, and they shouldn't have put basketball ahead of politics. I think Yi was the best player available, but he's worth less to Milwaukee than he is to another team. Ramon Sessions in the 2nd round is a great pick. He can be a great backup PG, or could maybe even be a decent starting PG.

Minnesota Timberwolves - C
I like Brewer, but they should have got someone who could help KG out more. If they trade KG, they should get someone with more upside. Their 2nd pick was horrible. Chris Richard was a solid backup, but he only got 6 pts 3 reb. Drafted after him was Derrick Byars, Adam Haluska, ReyShawn Terry etc.

Memphis Grizzlies - A
The next two best players were either Horford or Conley Jr. and since Atlanta took Horford, Memphis took Horford. Similar to the Sonics position, they did what they had to.

New Jersey Nets - A
They need a big man, and they chose the risky big man in Sean Williams. But that's really the only move they could've done, except get Jason Smith, who played in a JV conference. He's athletic and can block real well, NJ hopes he's more Marcus Camby more than Theo Ratliff.

New Orleans Hornets - A
I love Julian Wright, he's a study offensively, and he's a stud defensively. He may not be a #1 player, but he has a ton of upside, and is young. They did a good job by picking him over Thornton. In the second round, they got do-everything Adam Haluska, a solid 2 guard who is versatile, and a hard worker.

New York Knicks - F
I didn't like the Renaldo Balkman pick last year, and even though he did better than expected, I still don't like him. Same goes for Wison Chandler. Even if he's a good player, it's like drafting Prince Fielder in the 2nd round this year in a fantasy baseball draft, he's "worth" going there, but if you could get him in the 8th round, why not do it?

Orlando Magic - A
Reyshawn Terry. Great player, 6-8 230 lbs, and he can really play. He's versatile, adn is a great fit for their team.

Philadelphia 76ers - A+
In the first round, they got Thaddeus Young and Jason Smith. Young had the most upside of the 3 SFs in his draft area, and that's who Philly pick. Smith was the best center available, and they traded up to get him. In the 2nd round they got a big man with upside, 21 year old Fesenko. Then they got a steal with Derrick Byars, who could've gone at the end of the 2nd round.

Portland Trailblazers - A+
In the 1st round, they got Oden, Rudy Fernandez, and Kopponen. I'm high on all three. Oden doens't need to be written about, Fernandez will be a good 2 guard, and he might stay in Europe for a few years, which is fine for Portland, and Kopponen might do the same, since he's a 19 year old Finnish PG who lit up draft camps. In the 2nd round they got McRoberts, who has a ton of Potential with his height, passing, and blocking, Taurean Green a solid backup PG, and Nichols, a 6-8 SF who can shoot lights out, and has decent athleticism.

Phoenix Suns - B+
They could've had Rudy Fernandez but traded him away. Instead they got Alando Tucker and DJ Strawberry, two swingmen who play a bit bigger, and can play good defense. I thought they'd go with a big, but I guess when Stoudemire isn't in, they won't have any big guys in their lineup (unless you count Kurt Thomas as a "big").

Sacramento Kings - A-
They got Hawes, who was probalby the best player available. They could've gotten Thaddeus Young or Julian Wright, but it's hard to tell where the team is headed with Ron Artest.

San Antonio Spurs - A
I usually hate SA's drafts. Besides Duncan and Parker, their last few draft picks haven't been so hot. But Tiago Splitter, Marcus Williams, and Printezis (who?)? Good picks. Splitter won't be around for a while, perfect for them. Williams is versatile, and gives them someone in case Brent Barry or Michael Finley get old or leave.

Seattle SuperSonics - B
Durant is an obvious pick. Green is an ok pick with #5, but I don't know if he has much upside. He hasn't improved all that much since his freshman year, though his stats are a bit misleading because GTown plays such a slow game. Hopefully he can be Pippen to Durant's Jordan, but that's a big too much I think. I don't know what Presti is thinking wanting 3 SF's, playing, (7 if you count Szczerbiak, Damien Wilkins, Gellybelly, and Landry). I like Landry, but I think he's overkill, we don't need another SF, we could've had Gabe Pruitt, Josh McRoberts, Glen Davis, Fazekas, Derrick Byars, Marcus Williams, etc. We really need a SG too since we don't have one.

Utah Jazz - A+
They needed a SG who can shoot, and Morris Almond is that. Perfect pick this late. Then they got Herbert Hill, whom I don't know, but if Hollinger has him rated 16th according to his new rating systems, it looks like a good risk pick that could pan out. Who knows, maybe he can be Ryan Gomes?

Washington Wizards - A-
Nick Young is a great pick. They don't really need a scorer, but they need a SG or a C, and Nick Young was the best available. Dominic McGuirre is a great pick this late, a poor man's Kirilneko this late? Pretty good.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What if the Blazers took Durant?

The longer this draft goes on, the more I love Durant. Even so, I would love to have Oden still. Imagine if the Blazers took Durant, several "What if" scenarios arise.
What if the Celtics' Ainge was willing to give up his #5 pick for Robert Swift, a player he's loved and coveted for a while.
What if the Hawks were willing to trade their #11 pick for Ridnour (a veteran PG is something they've coveted for a while. Since they don't have their 1st round pick no matter what next year because Phoenix gets it, they want to be good next year right away).
What if Conley Jr. fell to #5 and we drafted him. What if Hawes fell to #11 (or YiJianLian) and we drafted him as well?

We could be looking at THIS team.
Conley and Watson
Ray Allen and Gellybelly
Durantula and Wilkins
Hawes (or YJL) and Collison
Oden and Wilcox and Sene

As improbable as all this is, I haven't even talked about trading Rashard Lewis.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

2007 NBA Mock Draft 1st Round+ 5

Draft is just a week away, and the Sonics have the 2nd overall pick, and the 1st and 5th pick in the 2nd round, so it's key to see who's available and who should go where. Here is my mock draft of what SHOULD happen given realism, I've also said what will probably happen if the picks are different.

Round 1

1. Portland C Greg Oden Ohio State
This pick is pretty obvious, I think they want to take Durant, but they'll take Oden just to be safe. That being said, I'd be glad to trade them the number 2 pick and something like Wilcox for Oden.

2. Seattle F Kevin Durant Texas
This pick is even more obvious, whoever Portland takes, the Sonics will take the other. Can't go wrong with either pick and I think that barring injury, both players will be top 25 of all time. Also, it just goes to show what the press can dig up when it has to, Oden might be "too injury prone" and Durant isn't athletic enough, though he is taller than 6'10" and has the biggest wingspan in the draft.

3. Atlanta PG Mike Conley Ohio State
What this team needs is a center and a point guard. Unfortunately, Hibbert pulled out, Hawes apparently doesn't deserve going this high, and neither does Mike Conley. So they go with the safest pick, Horford, who measured out as 6'10" and is the strongest guy in the draft. He got a lot of blocks, so he looks to be a good pick, but his upside is not as high as say, Brandan Wright (whom they should never draft because he's too much like Marvin Williams, weakish PF who showed potential as a freshman and UNC). They should pick Conley though, because I think he'll be Andre Miller at worst, and if he gets down his shooting, he could be as good as Chris Paul.

4. Memphis PF Al Horford Florida
Good worker, Jerry West kind of guy. They will take Conley if Horford is gone, but they only real strengths of the Grizz SF Gay, PF/C Gasol, and SG/SF Mike Miller. So it's either PF or PG. I think they go the safe route (though I'm not so sure Horford can't be the next Elton Brand) and pick up Horford.

5. Boston PF/C Joakim Noah Florida
I know, I'm not a fan, but he is a big tall dude who can do a lot of things well. A team with Delonte West, Pierce, Green, Jefferson, and Noah, is pretty formidable. The Celtics already have scoring, what they need is another presence inside, and a guy who can pass well for a big guy, and that's Noah perfectly. That being said they would've picked YiJianLian, but that would be career suicide for Ainge if he was wrong. I think they go the safe route and pick Brewer because they don't believe in Green for some reason. Brewer is a good pick though it leaves them a big man short (Perkins is garbage on offense, Gomes is an undersized rebounding machine in the form of a nice guy Fortson).

6. Milwaukee SF Corey Brewer Florida
They're "set" at SG, PF, and C with Redd, Villaneuva, and Bogut, and PG is too high for them to take, so it's between Jeff Green and Corey Brewer. Can't go wrong with either, but I think they go with Brewer Both are great two way players, Brewer is great and ball handling and has stepped up his outside shot, and Green has been the leader on Georgetown and can play inside and outside, either way, Milwaukee gets a great role player, not a star, but a guy that'll put up 16, 6,3 while playing top 15 (for a wing) defense.

7. Minnesota SF Jeff Green Georgetown
They'd do better with a great scoring wing, but Jeff Green is the best player available. Ideally, Foye is a SG and Davis is a SF, Foye can be the PG and Davis can be the SG. Another upside of Jeff Green is that along with Acie Law IV and of course the first two picks, he's possibly the most NBA ready and can put up Brandon Roy numbers right away. Brandan Wright could also be a good pick, but he's not as NBA-Ready.

8. Charlotte PF Brandan Wright UNC
If a good UNC guy is this late, they can't pas him up. Their 3 bigs, Sean May, Emeka Okafor, and Primoz Brezec, are oft-injured, so Wright would be a good pick here. If Gerald Wallace leaves, then Julian Wright, Thaddeus Young, Nick Young, or Al Thorton would be good picks as well.

9. Chicago C Spencer Hawes Washington
What does Chicago need? Inside scoring, who's the best at this in the entire draft? Spencer Hawes. Hawes can also pass well as shown by his 7 assists in his first college game, and he is a good shot blocker as well. He's a much safer pick than YiJianLian. Hawes has great inside moves, as shown in his Stanford game, he can make a 20 footer, but has an array of spin moves, and hook shots.

10. Sacramento PF YiJianLian China
After several years of playoff success, they've had trouble in the last few years. The Artest fiasco has been bad, they fired long time coach Rick Adelman, and they've been rumored to want to move out of Sacramento, so possible big-time international star is just what the doctor ordered. I think YJL will be good, but it may take a few years until he's an All-Star.

11. Atlanta PF/C Sean Williams Boston College
Since they already took their PG in Conley, all they need now is a center and the only ones left are Sean Williams and Jason Smith. Sean Williams was kicked off BC because of marijuana, but a lot of guys in the NBA smoke MJ, so I don't know if this'll be much of a negative against him. He had 5 blocks a game for BC and he's extremely athletic. Who would you take, a goofy white kid from Colorado State, or a athletic shot blocker from BC with upside? If they do take Horford with the 3rd pick, look for Acie Law IV or Javaris Crittendon. I think Javaris would be a big mistake, he has more upside, but I dont' think he's that good. Too much is made of the fact that he has upside, he's from Atlanta, and he's a tall PG. Acie Law has shown he can shoot and pass extremely well. He's at a perfect height too, 6-3, and could be a poor man's Nash.

12. Philadelphia SG Nick Young USC
The best thing the Sixers have is a pass first PG, and an athletic wing player. So with 4 athletic wing players available and not much else, they take the one who can score the best. Julian Wright, Thaddeus Young, and Al Thornton are all fine, but they're all projected at this point. Thorton is more polished, but Young can score in a variety of ways. Any of the four would be a fine pick however.

13. New Orleans SF Thaddeus Young Georgia Tech
I've heard of this guy for the last 5 years, so he must be good. He has more upside than the other two wings. NO would rather take Young in hopes that Peja come back, but that's doubtful. Young never really hit his stride in colelge, yet still put up decent numbers. He could be a future superstar, and I wouldn't be surprised if he went a lot higher.

14. LA Clippers PG Acie Law IV Texas A&M
I don't know what's wrong with him except he's a senior. He' 6-3, can shoot lights out, takes over the end of games, Cassell breaks down, and Livingston is breaking down. I don't know how you can be 6-7 170 and get injured, he puts no stress on his body, but he does. They could end up taking Thornton or Wright, making Magette even more expendable.

15. Detroit SG Rodney Stucky Eastern Washington
I like Stuckey, and I don't know why he's not ranked as high as Nick Young, and I don't know why Young isn't rated as high as Brewer. Apparently Detroit made Stuckey a promise. Stuckey is a great guard, he lit up Washington this year, and it was clear that he was a man amongst boys. He is a pretty good shooter, good slasher, and has a well built body. He is a bulldog on defense as well, and his only flaw is that he' 6-4, not 6-6, and he's not an amazing Kobe-like dunker, other than that, I think he's great.

16. Washington C Jason Smith Colorado State
The Wiz need a SG or a C, and because there are no SG except Morris Almond, they take Jason Smith. He's been remarkably consistent the last 2 years, at around 16, 9, 1.8. Of course the competition he faced was inferior and being in a mid major while being 7 feet shouldn't be that hard. The only real quality team he faced was Kansas state, and he did alright with 15 and 5, but it's hard to tell from one game.

17. New Jersey SF Julian Wright Kansas
Its hard to have him slip anymore than this. With VC possibly gone, Julian Wright is a great pick this late. He was clearly the best player on Kansas last year, and he has great athleticism. Even if VC stays, in the east, Julian Wright might be able to play PF a la Antwaan Jamison.

18. Golden State SF Al Thornton Florida State
Here's a team that doesn't really need anything. They have a great starting lineup of Davis, Richardson, Jackson, Harrington, Biedrins, with a great bench of Ellis, Barnes, Pietrius, Foyle, O'Bryant. So they can either go with most upside, or best available, and Thornton is a great trade piece, but he also allows the to trade Richardson if need be.

19. LA Lakers PG Javaris Crittenton Georgia Tech
The Kobe thing is still up in the air, but the Lakers have SG, SF, PF, and C locked down, they need a great point guard, but in the triangle system one that can shoot and defend is probably preferable than one who can pass and dribble extremely well. Crittenton is bar the best available, and he's a big PG in the Ron Harper mold. He's talented enough that he might just pique Kobe interest if LA gets a decent FA as well.

20. Miami PG Gabe Pruitt Georgia Tech
They don't need much, a PG and a SF, and Pruitt is the best PG available. I'm glad both him and Nick Young are ranked in the top 20, because people were saying they'd be early second round at first. Pruitt isn't a pure PG, which is fine with D-Wade on the team.

21. Philadelphia PF Josh McRoberts Duke
I don't know why he's dropped so low, ESPN seems to think Philly can take him with their 30th pick but I'm not too sure. Sure he got dominated by Hansbrough, who'll supposedly be a marginal NBA player, but he still had decent stats. He's still agile for a big man, and is a good shot blocker as well. He won't be a star, but he can be a number 3 player on a championship team possibly. Plus with three picks, Philly can be a bit risky and draft for upside.

22. Charlotte SG Morris Almond Rice
Assuming they get a big man in Brandan Wright, they really only need a SG, unless Gerald Wallace doesn't resign, in which case they might spend their money on Rashard Lewis though. It's between Almond and Bellini and since Charlotte doesn't seem too fond of foreign players, I'll take Almond. I think after their streak of only drafting players from college basketball powerhouses will end, and rightfully so, with Morrison.

23. New York SF Wilson Chandler Depaul
I don't know who this is, but Chad Ford says someone in the first round promised him something, so it's probably the Knicks. If it was a foreign player it might be the Spurs, but since its a relatively obscure one, its the Knicks. Chandler is aparently athletic and versatile, like most of the Knicks players, however they'll still be bad no matter what.

24. Phoenix SG Marco Bellini Italy
Phoenix is ecstatic to get this guy here. He's pretty much a Manu Ginobli. I can see him going a lot higher. They could also go with Rudy Fernandez, whom I can't tell the difference from anyways. Either way they get a versatile SG who can handle the ball well and shoot the ball as well. Sounds like their types of players.

25. Utah SF Derrick Byars Vanderbilt
Jazz apparently want a wing who can shoot, and play some defense. This could be Rudy Fernandez, or it could be Jared Dudley. I hope Dudley doesn't get this high, because I hope the Sonics could get him, but if Byars fell to us it wouldn't be so bad. Alondo Tucker would also fit Utah's search.

26. Houston PF Glen Davis LSU
Apparently Houston will probably take Glen Davis or Nick Fazekas (assuming McRoberts isn't available. I actually think Davis could be good. He tested out to be 6'9" with only 11% body fat. The one thing that worries me is that he was dominated when he played Washington, because Brockman, despite being 40 pounds less, was outmuscling him. He is quick for a big dude though, and he is a pretty tenacious rebounder. If Houston has to pick a PF, this isn't a bad pick.

27. Detroit SF Jared Dudley Boston College
Dudley seems thuggish enough for Boston College. He plays good defense and has a good outside shot. He's also strong enough to bang with the big boys outside. Detroit tends to make odd first picks like the Knicks, so it might work out. I think Dudley will be a great player, and I wish he'd fall to the Sonics.

28. San Antonio PG Petteri Koponen Finland
What can I say, he's only 19, and he's torn it up in the past year in international play, and in workouts against American prospects. I like this kid a lot, and wouldn't mind if the Sonics traded their 2 2nd round picks to get him. Hopefully they get Zabian Dowdell.

29. Phoenix PF Tiago Splitter Brazil
They already got their swing man in Bellini, so they go after a international big. It's between Splitter and Fesenko from Ukraine, so I say they go after the more NBA ready one in Splitter. Splitter has been a "potential lottery pick" for the last 4 or so years, so I'm a littler weary of him. Mobile 7 footers don't fall from trees though, so he could be a good bench player for the Suns.

30. Philadelphia C Kyle Visser Vanderbilt
He didn't get above 17 minute a game until his senior season, but got 17 and 7 with 1.4 blocks in a pretty tough ACC (some would say elite but that's really only reserved for the Pac 10). Anyways, Philly addressed their needs with McRoberts and Young, so they could go with a C here or just fill best available need. I see them getting a center.

Round 2

1. Sonics SG Marcus Williams Arizona
Sonics get Seattle Native from Roosevelt High. Williams definitely has the talent, but it remains to be seen if he has the focus or the drive. He looked talented enough to be a multi-all-star in the NBA but we'll see. He's got height at 6-7, above average athleticism, shooting, and dribbling, and the Sonics do need a backup swingman because Damien Wilkins is overrated. I wouldn't mind Rudy Fernandez here or Arron Afflalo. I know Afflalo wold be a great bench player, and he'd play great defense while being able to shoot a spot up J. He also showed he can be a leader, and take over at the ends of games when he has to.

2. Boston SF Demetrius Nichols Syracuse
Boston doesn't have anyone that can shoot besides Wally, so this would be a nice pick. Not much to say about him except he shoots a lot and he shoots real well, though it only seems that he's been a lights out shooter his senior year.

3. San Antonio SG Arron Afflalo UCLA
Afflalo seems like their kind of guy. Since I keep comparing him to Bruce Bowen, and Bowen is getting older, it'd only make sense for them to get him. They could got with an international big and stash him overseas though.

4. Mavericks SG Rudy Fernandez Spain
Too much talent, and they need a better SG since Terry is not a real one, and is being used as trade bait right now.

5. Seattle PG Ramon Sessions Nevada
This is assuming we trade one of our PG. We would need a backup PG and Sessions is good, he isn't too athletic, but he isn't turnover prone, a fairly good shooter, and isn't a ball hog. I would love Zabian Dowdell as well, as he is 6-3 with a 6-10 wingspan. Also, like Sessions he has performed well in the Orlando pre-draft Camp. Jared Jordan is also interesting, he put up monster stats at Marist (17 pts 6 rebs 8.7 assists). He's not athletic at all, and isn't a great shooter, but he seems to have a level head, and is doing well in NBA pre-draft camp as well. Aaron Brooks, Taurean Green, and Mustafa Shakur might also get looks.
If we don't need a backup PG, defensive SF's like Alondo Tucker, Reyshawn Terry, Carl Landry, Marc Gasol, Kyrylo Fesenko (hey, we can't go a draft without getting a 19/20 year old foreign center) might be options to consider.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Reasons for the Spurs winning

Years from now, people will look back and wonder why the Spurs were so good. The answer is simple, apparently, to win a championshi nowadays, you need 1. A truly great player (just one, not two anymore) 2. two way players (being great a defense doesn't mean anything if you can't do anything on offense, and vice versa), and 3. unselfish payers that are really good at one or 2 things. The Spurs definetley have this, and Greg Poppovich has the perfect plan to make this team work.
Tim Duncan is a truly great player, no argument there. He is the safety net for his perimeter defenders, and if need be, he can guard the likes of Kobe or LeBron one on one. He's also smart enough to not draw stupid fouls and get in foul trouble. He's also got an array of moves on offense, he's unselfish, can make a jump shot, hook shot, and an array of close shots.
Two way players are things the Spurs also have. Ginobli, Horry, Elson, Oberto, are all above average defenders with Duncan and Bowen being elite defenders. Are any of these players useless on offeense, at first glance, perhaps, but not really. Elson has a 15 footer than he showed several times in the Finals, Oberto is a beast inside, getting tons of offensive boards, and Bowen as a 3 point shot which is very useful for a shut down defender because both of these qualities are key but scarce for playoff teams, and he has both at the same time.
Finally, players that are extremely good at what they do. Tony Parker and Ginobli are the best finishing players in the leagues. Many players can get to the basket with the ease they do, but none can finish at such a high percentage, except for maybe Steve Nash. Bowen and Duncan are both top 5 players in defense, one on the interior, one one the perimeter. Barry, Bowen, and Ginobli are also some of the best three point shooters, and Elson and Oberto are both big guys who undertand they they're not too good, so they work on their inside hustle, 15 foot J's, and helpside defense.
Of course another reason they won was that there were only 3 real teams that could've challenged them, and they only had to beat one. The Suns could've challenged them, but defense always beats run and gun in the playoffs (at least nowadays it does). It also helped that Stern was a big dick and suspended Amare. The Mavs could've beat the Spurs, but the one team they would've had struggles with, Don Nelson's Warriors, had to oust them out of the first round. And lastly, the Pistons could've had a chance, because despite losing Ben Wallace, they still had a three headed monster of Dale Davis, Antonio McDyess, and Chris Webber to replace him, and with this, they're essentially the same team, except they have Flip Saunders as coach. Are the Spurs a dynasty? Sure why not? They didn't win after their first title because the Lakers were just better. The Lakers won three in a row, though the Spurs almost stopped them, but there's no shame in that because the Lakers are also a dynasty, and Robinson was getting old and the Spurs young guys couldn't help out yet. After that, the Pistons and the Heat broke up their other chances for repeats, and the reasons for this are the Lakers reloaded, and the Mavs just got a bit lucky. Sure they're not the Lakers and Celtics of the 80's, but all you need is one superstar nowadays, and a bunch of really good role players.

Mariners back to 4 games over

As soon as I write that the Mariners are contenders, they drop 5 straight to NL teams. Reasons for this? No one besides Ichiro is hitting, and our starting pitching all sucked. Felix still hasn't had a great start since he hit the DL, Washburn has "regressed" to his normal stats, except he's even worse. Our defense is horrible with Beltre out and Ibanez and Guillen sucking.
What we should do, as everyone in the M's Blogosphere is screaming for, is promote Adam Jones, Baseball America's number 1 hot prospect right now, and rightfully so. He's been hitting .400 with .450 obp and and .800 slugging in the last 2 weeks and he only seems to get better. Hed be a major upgrade over Ibanez or Guillen in the field, and we could just sit Vidro down, except against lefties we could sit Ibanez.
This losing streak hopefully isn't all bad, when we were winning, there was no way management would "fix what's not broken" and promote Adam Jones, but now that we have a 5 game losing streak, hopefully this is the sign they needed to promote Adam Jones, and possibly Ryan Feierabend (maybe Campillo too?), because Weaver is done as a starting pitcher.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mariners 9 games above .500

Mariners have won 5 in a row and 9 of their last 10. They are currently 3 games back for the division lead, and 1 game back of the wild card lead. In their current 5 game streak, all games have been on the road, 2 went into extra innings, and 4 were 1 run wins with last night's being a 2 run win in the 13th inning.
Why're we doing so well? Probably because we are so solid 1-9. Lopez is hitting .295 with 7 hrs, Betancourt is hitting .302 and just had a 20 game hitting streak. Our three "big hitters", Sexson, Beltre, and Guillen, are hitting .268 or below, so that's the weak link, especially Sexson and his sub .200 average. We also have the best bench in the league, Burke is hitting .421, Broussard is hitting .265 with 3 hrs, Bloomquist has upped is average to .267 with several clutch hits, and much needed baserunning at the end of games, while Ellison proves to be useless except for giving us range at the corner outfield positions late in games.
Of course we wouldn't have out 5 game win streak if it weren't for our amazing bullpen. O'Flaherty looks like a keeper, being good in the setup role or when he has to pitch 3 innings. Morrow and Sherrill are as lights out as setup men get, and obviously Putz has been amazing, having 19 saves in a row.
Of course the Mariners have been lucky in this past couple of weeks, but they do look like a team that can make the playoffs, if not go deep in the playoffs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sonic Sign GM, Durant below average in workouts
Sonics hired 30 year old Sam Presti of the Spurs, who apparently was the best GM on the market. 30 seems kind of young, but I don't know, the Spurs are a good organization, and maybe he'll turn out to be Paul DePodesta. The Coaching Job is still up for grabs, and the candidates are Dwane Casey, Rick Carlisle, or PJ Carlesimo. The first two are ok, but Carlesimo seems to be just a good assistant coach. Anyways, Presti said he had defense in mind, so we'll have to see the changes he can make.
Durant ranked 78th, the worst score of anyone who complete all the workouts. He measured out out be 6-10 1/4, 215 pounds, with a 7-4 3/4 wingspan and a standing reach of 9-2. This is all good stuff, as a 6-10 guy with his ability to shoot makes him Garnett mixed with Rashard Lewis.
Bad news is that he has a no step vertical of 26 inches, a normal vertical of 33 inches, and he benched 185 pounds 0 times, which is less than either I or my brother (both under 140 pounds) can do. Even worse is that his lane agility was 12.33 seconds, a full second behind Rodney Stuckey and .42 seconds behind un-agile center Hawes. His 3/4 court sprint was the 2nd slowest among the top 25 prospects (except YiJianLian, who did not participate) at a time of 3.45.
Good news is that Durant has been so busy with endorsements, he hasn't done many of the drills that other guys have done. Most of these experts who train athletes for these combines get an extra 5 reps on the bench press or 5 inches on the vertical leap, so I'm not worried. I knew Durant wasn't a jaw dropping athlete before anyways.

Lastly, and interesting trade proposal my brother suggested, Rashard Lewis in a sign and trade, Chris Wilcox, Earl Watson, one of our three centers, and the next 2 first round picks (2008 and 2009) in exchange for Garnett. This would make our starting rotation: Ridnour, Ray Allen, Durant, Garnett, Petro/Swift with a bench of Wilkins, Gelebale, Collison, and Sene.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Grizzlies Get Iavaroni

Well, the Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Phoenix Suns Assistant Marc Iavaroni as their next head coach. Damn! I was really hoping the Sonics would land him, but I guess not. The question I have is this: who the hell are the Supes trying to get? Why haven't I even heard rumors about who the team wants to fill either the head coach or GM position? Has Lenny Wilkins fallen asleep at the wheel?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Rashard Lewis opts out, heads for Free Agency
This was bound to happen anyways, and it doesn't mean he leaves the Sonics. I'd prefer Chauncey Billups, but of course as soon as I mentioned it, he blew ass the last two games. Also, it seems like it'd be hard to get him to leave Detroit. Anyways, we'll have to determine if Durant and Lewis can play together, or if Portland for some reason drafts Durant, then resigning Lewis would be a good idea.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sonics get number 2 pick!

Sonics get the number two pick, Blazers get the number one pick. I can't explain how ecstatic I am, the NW is now a basketball hot bed, with two future hall of famers going there. I'm kind of mad we didn't get the first pick, but I think both players are championship caliber players. The Sonics are now saved, and are probably going to stay in Seattle. Oden would really have helped us out on defense, but either way, we get a good enough player that Rashard Lewis might resign, and we immediately become contenders.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Stop Pitching Weaver

This is going to be a short entry, as it's really only a quick vent of frustration, but for fuck's sake, STOP PITCHING WEAVER! He's terrible! He's a guaranteed loss every time he's on the mound. I understand we paid an obscene amount of money for him, but at some point, we have got to cut our losses and just drop him. In six starts, he has compiled a stunning 14.32 era, and in not one of those starts has he managed to have more innings pitched than runs earned. NOT ONE! Drop him and drop him NOW!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Clemens signs with Yanks

This isn't on ESPN or anything, but during the M's Yanks game today, it said so during the 7th inning. Personally, I don't care, I think Clemens is overrated, and by playoff time, his fat tired old body is so useless that he won't help his team much anyways. He's never been much of a playoff factor anyways. Good move for the Yanks though, because with a strong AL Central, they're not guaranteed a playoff spot.
Update: So Roger is going to be paid $4.5 million per month for what would've been $28 million over a full year. I bet they got this number just so he's the highest paid player, which is dumb because he's not the best player, and he'll cost the Yanks $7 million or more in luxury tax. I also hate this because I hate Roger's mercenary attitude and the whole give me attention thing, I'm sick of it. Retire already you fat lard.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Mariners back over .500

Despite losing 6 games in a row last week, and being swept in two series, and despite Jeff Weaver being the worst pitcher alive, the M's are now above .500 with a record of 11-10.
It's pretty clear that anyone from AAA, whether is Jorge Campillo, Jake Woods, Ryan Feierabend, or even Brandon Morrow or Sean Green, we'd do better than having Weaver start. He has no stuff, his attitude sucks, and he sucks the life out of the team by giving up so many runs so early. He's also killing the bullpen by not making it out of the 3rd inning ever.
Bad news though, we don't play a sub .500 team (except for the Yanks) until the 22nd, so this stretch of games could very well determine our season and the fate of Ichiro perhaps.
Unexpected surprises so far? Vidro is leading the team in BA with a .315, Jose Lopez has the highest OPS with .780 (Johjima's .933 doesn't have enough at-bats to qualify), Beltre leads the team with 2 stolen bases, Raul Ibanez has the least hrs for a regular on the team with 1, Jamie Burks has a line of .375/.474/.625, and our starting pitching is actually starting to look decent.
For Youngsters, Brandon Morrow has had some great relief appearances, just blowing by his 99 mph fastball to get guys to strike out when he needs to. Matt Tuiasosopo, whom everyone stupidly called a bust last year, is tearing up AA with lines of .371/.478/.506. He's starting to hit doubles too, so I can only expect the HRs to come. Wlad Balentien is equally impressive with .371/.436/.640 with 6 HRs. Wlad is still just 22, and Tui is just turning 21, so needless to say both these guys could be studs, and if not great trade bait.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

NBA Playoffs

Well, so far, there have been THREE Sweeps in the East, and the West has been equally interesting (read Houston vs Utah, and Dallas vs Golden State).

Eastern Conference:

Detroit vs. Orlando:
Did anyone think Orlando was going to win one? They have Dwight Howard, who isn't quite there yet. Jameer Nelson should never be a second player on a good team, and an aging Grant Hill.

Cleveland vs. Washington:
NO ONE should Praise Lebron for sweeping the Wizards. Besides Antawn Jamison, they have NOTHING. NOTHING!

Chicago vs. Miami:
WOW. THis series could not have turned out better. Miami got swept and they deserved it. You can't just walk through the regular season and hope to turn on a switch. Also, Hinrich played great defense on Wade despite Wade getting special treatment for the refs. OVerall this was a 2 person team with 2 guys who aren't even that good (Wade's shoulder and inability to shoot, and Shaq's oldness) against an up and coming complete team. Deng was awesome, Gordon provides some timely scoring (thought I think he shoots to much) and Wallace even played very well.

New Jersey vs. Toronto:
Lots of people picked New Jersey, despite Toronto playing well in the second half. Still Toronto is too young, and Kidd, Carter, and Jefferson should be too much, and it looks like they might be.

Western Conference:

Dallas vs. Golden State:
Well, the Warriors have wont 8 of the last 9 and this is a good story of Don Nelson vs. the team he built, 8 seed vs 1. Sure its a great underdog story, but if I were the league, I'd MAKE Dallas win because they seem to have decent character guys, where Golden State has Baron Davis, who isn't too high on my list, and Stephen Jackson, who isn't high on anyone's list. Still, Dirk is getting a lot of criticism, as he should for his "if we don't win this game (game 5), we probably won't win the series) comment." HOWEVER, Avery Johnson should not blame Dirk, since he is being THOROUGHLY outcoached. Looking back on this, Avery Johnson should NOT have EVER been considered for Coach of the Year, and Dirk should NOT be MVP.
More on this matchup is the talent levels of each team. Golden State is not that much worse. How good is Dallas anyways? There second best player is Josh Howard, and he's not even that good. So it wouldn't surprise me one bit if they lost. Not now, not before the series.

San Antonio vs. Denver:
Denver sucks. Carmelo is fat. Iverson is a loser. Spurs are winners despite me not liking them. That's all I have to say.

Phoenix vs. L.A. Lakers:
The Lakers cannot win this if Kobe has to do it all, it has to be a team effort because while Kobe can outscore bad teams, he can't outscore good teams, and he CERTAINLY cannot outscore Phoenix. That said, Kobe's team isn't good enough. Bynum is too young (not that I think he'll be good later), Kwame will never play up to his talent, and Odom can only do too much.

Houston vs. Utah:
Good matchup of a good well-rounded team (Utah) against Houston, essentially a 2 man team with some good parts (Battier, and ... some other dudes). I hope Houston wins, but it could go either way.

Monday, April 30, 2007

NFL Draft: Seahawks

NFL Draft is over, and the Seahawks had a so so draft. Ruskell did his patented draft high character, good work ethic undersized/undervalued guys thing, that's a good idea to have for a few picks, but not all the picks.
His first pick was the 55th pick overall in the late 2nd round, and he picked Josh Wilson, a CB from Maryland. I was hoping for a TE or a G, but the two best TEs were taken, and no guards were here that we couldn't get about the same value in the 3rd round. Wilson is blazing fast and really strong for a guy his size. He'll be a great return man, and an awesome nickelback. I'm happy about this because Arizona and St. Louis always have a good aerial assault, so a nickelback is important, especially if it gets Kelly Herndon off the field, and especially if we get as many injuries as last year.
Our third round pick was Brandon Mebane, a high character, undersized DT, who fits well in a rotating scheme. I, along with others, wanted us to take Michael Bush, the 250 pound back from Louisville, but apparently Ruskell felt that there would be better backs in later drafts, and that Alexander would be adequate next year. This is exactly what we do, so it's easy to see why Ruskell took him, though I think there were decent tackles available later. The best part about him is that he's great against the run, and that's what we need, especially if Tubbs is injured. So far, so good, not much complaints.
Our first 4th round pick was Baraka Atkins, perhaps our best pick of the draft, from a value standpoint. He oozes 2nd round talent because he's big, heavy, and fast, and will be a great DE later. He's a steal, and I'm glad we got him, though I really wanted a TE or a G at this point because I felt these were the only areas of need so far.
With our second pick in the 4th round, we got Mansfield Wrotto, a DT for three years, then a OT for his senior year, who is projected to be an OG. This guy looks like he'll be raw, with upside to improve, but the problem is, is that we had to trade Darrell Jackson to get him. And we traded him to the 49ers, a team that is in our division and beat us twice last year. DJack for a 4th rounder, Randy Moss for a 4th rounder, but Branch for a 1st rounder? Something doesn't make sense here. That is just poor planning on the part of the Seahawks managment, because DJack > Branch, and 1st round pick >>>>> 4th round pick. Holmgren was mad we got so little in return, and rightfully so, Hasselbeck was probably mad as well because that was his favorite receiver. Just a very stupid move by the organization. I was pretty much yelling at the tv for the Seahawks to take Kevin Boss, a TE from Western Oregon at this point, and the didn't.
With our round 5 selection we could have taken Ben Patrick a TE from Delaware, or Michael Allan, a TE from Whitmore. Both would have been great picks because we need a TE. Patrick was projected to go to Seattle in the 3rd round on most mocks, though I'd seen him go in the 2nd on a few. Allan is a project who is a late bloomer and could be real good in a few years, which is fine with me because Pollard will be good for a few more years. Instead, we took Will Herring, a saftey for three years, who played linebacker his senior year. He's friends with Ben Obamanu, and he's currently the FCA leader at Auburn, which is the position Obamanu held last year. It's great to get character guys, but you can't win based solely on character, you need talent as well.
On to the 6th round, where the Hawks were fortunate enough to take Ben Patrick or Michael Allan yet again. Instead we took to WRs, a position we are extremely deep in. First we took Courtney Taylor, a WR from Auburn, then Jordan Kent, a WR from Oregon. Taylor is the all-time leading reception leader at Auburn, and he had a poor senior year because of ankle problems. He's a solid pick, except for the fact that we don't really need him, unless we foresee dumping Burleson or Branch in the near future. I actually love the Kent pick because he went to Oregon to play basketball and track, so you' know he's a great athlete. He picked up football his Junior year, and was a bit raw, but showed that he could play. He's also the son of Ernie Kent, Oregon's basketball coach, so you know athletics play a big part in his life.
For the last round, Patrick was taken early in the 7th, and Michael Allan was taken by the chiefs, just one pick before. I don't think Ruskell would've taken him anyways. We instead got Steve Vallos, an OT from Wake Forest. He was All-ACC last year, and he All-American on some lists. He could be a great guard from what I hear, and I like this pick because line depth is something we need, and drafting two OGs gives us a better chance of one panning out.
For Undrafted guys, we picked up 11 guys, most notably Joe Newton from Oregon State, CJ Wallace from UW, and Tim Mixon from Cal, Kenny James from UW, and Tafisi from Cal. I love getting Newton, because for TEs, I wanted to get one of the top two, if not then I wanted Boss, but if not them, Allan, Patrick, and Newton were all fine with me, and we got Newton for nothing. He's 6'7", is a solid blocker, and can catch bad passes in traffic. His problems are staying healthy and being a tad slow at 4.9 for his 40 yard dash. CJ Wallace played safety for UW, and was amazing. He seemed to have a hand on almost every play. Kenny James played RB for UW, and our RBs last year were a mess, so I don't see him doing too well, but seeing as how we don't really have a 3rd string running back who's any good, he could fit in well. From Cal we got Mixon and Tafisi. Mixon is awesome, he's a tough ass safety who's only 5'9" but is adequatley fast at 5'9" though he lacks size at only 184. At worst he'll be dynamite as a special teams guy, at best he'll be a good cover safety. He's like a poor man's Polamalu because he reads coverages so well, and tackles real well. Tafisi is a DE who is described as "the motor that drives Cal's defense". One downside is that he'll be 26 next month, but he is the type of player who's hunger and work ethic will inspire others on the team to work harder. Can't go wrong with a player like this either for UDFA's.
Overall, I like Ruskell's draft, I just wish he placed some emphasis on conforming his picks and basing his picks on talent, because he can't find every diamond in the rough.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Vegas, Baby!

Well, according to, SuperSonics (and Storm) owner Clay Bennett is taking a "really hard look right now" at Las Vegas as a possible destination for the franchise(s).

For some reason, it never really occurred to me that they would move the Sonics anywhere but Oklahoma City, and for this reason, I was mildly optimistic, because there isn't an owner in the league who doesn't realistically believe that a market as big as Seattle doesn't have more earning potential than one as cowtownish as the OKC. However, like the hangover I currently have, the possibility of Vegas makes me uneasy.

First of all, I think Vegas still has a few hurdles to hurdle over in a hurdling motion before it can have an NBA team. Still, because of the successful Sin City All-Star Game this last February, some of those hurdles have been hurdled with near-hurdle inducing quickness.

Another question to ponder for Bennett, the Maloofs, and other who think a basketball team in Vegas is a good idea: do you really think a basketball team in Vegas is a good idea? Who would really go to Vegas to watch a basketball game? That's like going to Seattle just to get good barbeque, and though "Home of Good Barbeque" on Yesler is bombin', you may be better off going to a different city to get your barbeque on. Now I'm hungry. What were we talking about?

Anyway, assuming the Sacto Kings don't move there first, it looks like Vegas has become a possible destination for the Supes. Stay tuned.