Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tuesday Morning Review Feb 27th

Well, after losses to both Oregon schools, our season is pretty much over. I still think we should have a chance if we beat UCLA, USC, Arizona State, then Washington State, but I'm not sure. We have almost no chance of pulling that off anyways.
There's a simple explanation for why we lost to Oregon State. The refs or our style of play. Despite shooting the same percentage as them from the field, on 12 more shots, with a 39 to 17 rebound differential, we managed to shoot only 10 to their 42 free throws. Turnovers also did us in because we had 21 to their 10. Dentmon played like crap with 6 turnovers, and we lost a must win game against an easy opponent.
Against Oregon, I couldn't help myself from yelling at the TV because of some of the atrocious calls being made. I always thought the reason home teams win more often should be because of their fans, not their refs. Pretty much the same story as OSU, we shot 50% to their 54% but got 14 more despite having almost 2x as many turnovers. Unfortunately, they shot 40 to our 18 free throws.
I was hoping that if we sucked enough this season it would be because Hawes wasn't that great, but he's played well enough to get drafted in the top 5, so I think he might be gone.
Our draft class consists of two power forwards and a swingman, which is something we need. Besides Joel Smith, who was out all season with an injury, we have no swingmen that are in the 6-5 range on this team. We did have Harvey Perry, but he decided to transfer. Anyways, as far as worst case scenarios go, this is up there. I guess that's what happens when your team has 2 seniors who don't play much, and only 1 junior who plays.
2 wins and 2 losses. I'd rather us just tank the rest of the season, and now that Rashard is going to opt out of his contract for free-agency, I wish we had traded him and someone like Gelebale or Watson for a 1st round pick this year.
Our win against Memphis was Sonics' basketball at its purest. High scoring high octane offense. 34 points 7 rebounds for Rashard, 13 pts 15 rebs for Wilcox, 10 pts 14 rebs for Collison, 27/6/5 for Ray Ray, and 15 points 12 assists for Ridnour. Not much bench scoring, but 7 assists for Watson off the bench. When we play like that, I don't think anyone can stop our offense.
After that, we go ahead and lose to New Orleans, a horrible team. Rashard and Ray Allen played as well as they always do, with Earl Watson playing great off the bench. But you can't be outrebounded by 14 and have more than 2x the turnovers and expect to win, even if you do shoot 52% to their 37% (only 16 FT to 29 FT).
The next night at San Antonio, we got crushed, with Rashard leading the way for 10/6/3, which is never a good sign. How can an offense be so good, and then only score 45 points through 3 quarters? Probably because of Spurs defense, Spurs home court advantage, and Bruce Bowen cheap defense (4-20 night of shooting for Ray Ray).
We then beat our rivals, Portland on Monday. No starter on their team did anything, and they only shot 4 free throws as a team. Nice to beat your rivals, but I don't want them having a worse record then us, then picking Joakim Noah to leave us with overrated Julian Wright.
Again, baseball is starting up again, and all this Matsuzaka talk makes me wish we signed him. Oh well, we have a pretty good team, can't wait to see them in action.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Articles about Seattle Sports in ESPN

There's one article about football http://http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/insider/news/story?id=2766985&CMP=ILC-INHEAD, that says the needs of the NFC West teams. First off, it says that St. Louis needs an offensive tackle, and it acknowledges that Pace and Barron are two of the best in the league, but there is not much depth behind them. If all they need is an adequate backup, I don't really see this as a need.
For the Seahawks, our need is TE, FB, Center, SS, and OLB. Sure we need a tight end, but Stevens played great when healthy, and Hannam was a good blocking tight end. For FB we still have Mack Strong, and we drafted David Kirtman last year. For Center, it says that Robbie Tobeck's retirement brings up a need, but it doesn't mention our first round pick 2 years ago, Chris Spencer, who played great at Center last year. Strong Safety is a need because I'm still not sure what we're going to do with Boulware. He has the talent, I'm just not sure if he'll ever put it together. And lastly, and perhaps the funniest comment, it says that we need another Julian Peterson, "Although Julian Peterson is the most athletic player of this group, having another linebacker of equal talent will make this the most revered unit in the NFL." This is funny because That's like saying that the Panthers need another Julius Peppers because Mike Rucker isn't good enough. Leroy Hill is a pretty good player, and our backups DD Lewis and Kevin Bentley aren't bad either. After SS, our needs our CB and that's pretty much it.

For the Sonics article, http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/columns/story?columnist=ford_chad&id=2771327, Chad Ford suggestst this:
Ray Allen and Robert Swift to the Celtics
Rashard Lewis to the Bobcats
Sebastian Telfair to the Hawks
Adam Morrison, Gerald Green, Josh Childress, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff and a Bobcats protected first-round pick to the Sonics.
In essence, we lose Ray Allen, Robert Swift, and Rashard Lewis for Morrison, Green, Childress, Gomes, and Ratliff. Ford is right in that we're not going anywhere, and getting us prospects and cap space isn't a bad idea. Morrison would be loved in Seattle, except for the fact that he is HORRIBLE right now. I love Gerald Green, and consider him a young T-Mac. Childress is an underrated small forward who can do a bit of everything, and is good defensively, something that we need. Gomes is an underrated young, but short, power forward, who is sort of like a softer Danny Fortson with no attitude problem. I would like the idea if we received a first round pick, but giving up over 40% of our team for these guys seems a bit much. The good part though is that as much as I like Ray Ray and Rashard, they both are just good shooters who don't play with enough defensive intensity.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tuesday Morning Review Feb 20th

So the week wasn't that great for Huskies fans, but ok for Sonics and Mariners fans.
Spring training is about to start and there's nothing but hope for Mariners fans right now. Some people think Felix will have a sub 2.5 ERA, many people think that Johjima, Lopez, and Betancourt will improve their walks. Beltre is supposedly bigger, and will break the 30 hr barrier and possibly the 40 hr mark too. Guillen's elbow feels great. I can't wait for Mariners baseball.
We played one game, and it was against the Suns without Nash or Diaw. We creamed them, as we can with any team, because our firepower is pretty damn good. Collison had a great game with 22 and 15, Ray Allen had 31, Rashard had 20, and our team shot 54% on FG and 50% on 3pointers. The Suns shot just 39%, furthering Nash's case for MVP. After our midseason MVP predictions, it looks like its between Nash and Nowitzki, with Kobe still hanging in there. "Hibachi's" cockiness is getting to some people, and he's been slumping as of late also.
Now for the bad news. We lost both games, and they were both close (65-61 for both). If the rankings were good, they'd reflect that we just lost to two top 11 teams by only a little bit, but they don't.
Against Washington State, it was the Hawes and Brockman show with Dentmon shooting poorly, and Appleby not getting enough shots. Pondexter is still struggling, which is odd, because given his athleticism and height, you'd think he'd be good for at least defense and rebounds. Only Oliver got any minutes off the bench and he only played adequatley. We played like we always do, we outrebounded them 30 to 20, but they shot 51% to our 37.5%.
Against Pittsburgh, it was again the Brockman and Hawes show, with Appleby doing his part. Dentmon shot a good percentage, and the team as a whole played well. We stopped Aaron Gray to just 10 rebounds. We outrebounded them 39 to 28, and outshot them 43% to 36%, but we had 15 turnovers (5 for Brockman 4 for Dentmon) to their 6 and shot 8 free throws to their 25. I always point this out, but it seems like home teams always get more calls, and if this hadn't happened, we would have won.
Anyways, two heartbreaking losses, that would have put us in the tournament if a few shots had gone in. We can still make it I think, because we play Oregon, USC, and UCLA, plus we still have the Pac-10 tournament. It looks hard, but this team has the talent and size to make the tournament still.
All-Star Weekend
The Dunk Contest was pretty weak. Dwight Howard asked if he could put the rim at 12 feet, and it was rejected, which is dumb because it needs something to make it more exciting. Jason Kapono won the 3-point contest, which isn't surprising given his shooting thus far. What's weird is that he had to fight his way to get into the contest, when he's shooting at a 56% clip while making over 2 a game. Just because he doesn't have a star name doesn't mean that he should be excluded from this contest. In fact, it's more likely that a star person won't win in the contest. The game was boring, unless you like guys just dunking and cherry picking. The fact that it was in Las Vegas wasn't too appealing either, the half-time show was a joke. I don't think they should be like baseball and make the game meaningful, but Chauncey is sort of right when he says that people want to see how a team of superstars would do in a real game. The PTI guys' idea of international vs America isn't bad. A team of Nash, Nowitzki, Yao, Pau Gasol, Kirilenko, Okur, Ginobli, and Parker would be fun to watch. Especially against a team full of Lebron's and Carmelo's. Style over substance in my mind, I don't know if America would root against America, but I know that I would root for the International players.

Monday, February 12, 2007

College Basketball player of the year

In my mind, there are clearly 6 candidates for player of the year: Kevin Durant, Alando Tucker, Jared Dudley, Nick Fazekas, Acie Law IV, and Mario Boggan. I'm not saying that these guys will be the best pro basketball players, but I don't really see anyone but these guys getting it. Aaron Brooks was in this conversation a few weeks ago, but now that Oregon has cooled off, Oregon would have to play really well for him to get back in the converstion.
Currently Durant is the front runner. He's averaging 25.1 points 11.4 rebounds (both top 5 in college hoops), to go with 1.9 blocks, 1.6 steals, on 49% shooting, and 80% Ft and 38.5% 3pointers. His team is good enough to be around the top 25 mark, and he has had some explosive games. Some negatives I would like to point out are that he doesn't shoot as well as people like to believe, he is only a freshman and most writers favor older players, and lastly, his team is underachieving (Texas is not a one-man show like everyone says). I hate how people say that Texas has Durant and nobody else when he has AJ Abrams and DJ Augustine players who average 15 points, and 14 points and 7 assists.
Next up is Alando Tucker, the senior who has led his team to a great record and has quietly improved every year a la Brandon Roy. He is averaging 20.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2 assists, on 49% FG, 67% FT, and 29% 3pg. The numbers aren't stunning but his team has a 24-2 record. Things going for him are his teams' record and his senior status. Things against him are that he is a 5th year senior, his stats aren't that impressive, his teammates don't get nearly the credit they deserve, as Kammron Taylor and Brian Butch have been great all season.
Third in the discussion is Jared Dudley the 4 year senior from BC. I don't know why he came back for a fourth year, but he is posting some great numbers now that Craig Smith is gone. 20.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.3 steals, and .4 blocks on 59% FG 76% FT and 50% 3pg is pretty good. Except for blocks, he does everything above average. He has led his team to an 18-6 record with a 9-2 ACC record, and after his teammates were suspended, he has led his team in an even more dominant fashion. I would put my vote for this guy, but I have a feeling that Durant will get it because he is top 5 in both points and rebounds. I'd rather go for the ultra efficient Dudley, who shoots FGs and 3pointers at an extremely high clip.
Fourth, and my preseason favorite is Nick Fazekas. He is averaging 20.8 points 11.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 blocks on 58% FG, 86% FT, and 47% 3pg. If that statline doesn't make you say wow, nothing will. It's true he plays in a bad conference, but he played well against both Gonzaga and Oregon State. His team is 22-1 with its only loss to UNLV, and is ranked 11th, but I think the lack of quality big men Fazekas has seen will hurt him, though his shooting is through the roof.
Underrated throughout the beginning of the year, but someone I had on my 2nd team is Mario Boggan. He is averaging 21.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1 steal and .9 blocks on 57% shooting, 77% FT, and 23% 3pg. He has improved dramatically since last year, and has led Oklahoma State to a 20th ranking so far. He has to share the ball with NC product JamesOn Curry a lot, but even so, has plenty of points to his name. Just like Durant, Boggan has some crazy 35 15 games on his game log. Reasons to not vote for him are that he doesn't do anything better than Durant, and that Oklahoma State is slumping right now.
Lastly, one of my new favorite players, Acie Law IV. This 6-3 combo guard has a great all-around stat line with 16.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. He's also shooting at a very high rate of 51% FG, 79% FT, and 46% 3pg. He has led Texas A&M to a 21-3 record and a 7th spot in the rankings. His stat line against Texas was even more impressive because he had 21 points and 15 assists on 7 for 11 shooting. Votes against him are that he only averages 16.6 points, and when the other players are all averaging over 20, its pretty hard to get there unless you're single-handedly getting your team into the tournament, something he is not doing because they're team is pretty good all around.
Not a single Pac-10 player on this list, though Afflalo and Brooks could certainly be mentioned for 2nd team All-American at this point. All in all, it's supposedly a race between Durant and Tucker, but I'd say that Dudley and Fazekas have a pretty good shot too.

Monday Morning Review Feb 12th

Fairly good week for Seattle Sports. The Sonics split 4 games, and the Huskies won two must-win games.
On Monday, the Sonics lost at the Wizard's, and Collison finally had his first bad game. It wasn't really bad, just not eye popping like before, but that's ok because Wilcox picked up the slack with 24-10 to go with Ray Allen's 29-7-7-5 steals game. "Hibachi" didn't do much, scoring just 16 points on 4 of 14 shooting but Brendan Haywood had 20 11 on us and Caron Butler scored 38 points. The main point is that while we did shoot 53.6% to their 49.4%, they took 41 free throws to our 17.
The following Wednesday, the Sonics recovered with a win at Indiana. Ray Allen had 33 9 5, while everyone else played just good enough for us to win. Ridnour finally got to start, and the team as a whole shot 55.3%. Jermaine O'Neal was injured, but they started Troy Murphy in his place, and he did well scoring 22 points grabbing 8 rebounds, and getting 2 steals 2 blocks, and 5 threes in 7 tries. The Pacers as a whole shot 39.6%, so despite grabbing 18 more rebounds and taking 20 more shots, we still won.
Last Saturday, we lost to Sacramento. Ray Allen once again carried the team with 29 points 5 assists and 3 rebounds. Collison had another sub-par game. Rashard Lewis made his starting debut logging 37 minutes, but shot just 2 for 11. His overall stat line was 14, 7, 5, so not bad. Ridnour started again, and shot decently, but didn't distribute that well. What killed us was that we shot 11% lower and took 6 fewer shots, though we did manage to take 38 free throws.
The next day, we flipped it up with Sacramento and played them again, but this time at their home. Rashard Lewis rebounded with 23 10 on 7 of 19 shooting and 8 for 8 from the charity stripe. Wilcox went 8-9 from the field and Ray Allen scored 25. Collison was horrible this time, managing just 5 points 4 rebounds, but Petro came off the bench and had 12 points and 9 rebounds. As a team, we managed to get 41 free throws, which is great, especially for an away game. For the Kings, Ron Artest and Kevin Martin managed to play well, and Corliss Williamson, who I didn't even know was still in the league got 20 points 11 rebounds off the bench, but in the end our 41 extra free throws at a 90% clip compared to their 30 free throws at a 63% clip sealed the deal.
Huskies Basketball
We eeked out a win against underrated Cal to start of the week. Brockman was his usual amazing self with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Artem Wallace played decently as he got 22 minutes in the starter's role and managed 8 points and 2 rebounds. Hawes was great off the bench, and Appleby had a very efficient 34 minutes of play with 4-5 shooting, and Dentmon continued his solid play with 12 5 and 5. Pondexter was finally back in the starting rotation, but didn't play well. His height and defense might have made the difference though. For Cal, Ryan Anderson played great again with 17 and 7, and Theo Robertson had a good all around game before fouling out. Ubaka killed us off the bench, scoring 20 points. In the end, our 57% shooting to their 44.6%, our 24 free throws to their 7, and our 35 to 21 rebound differential is what saved us. Funny how the game was even that close when looking at those numbers, but they managed to get 14 more shots off than us despite us only having 6 more turnover than them.
Against a "slumping" Stanford, Romar finally inserted his original lineup. Hawes and Brockman each played 30 minutes and had 18 7, and 14 10 respectively. Dentmon only played 19 minutes, and didn't play well throughout the game. In the end, our rebound differential and our free throws won us the game. Both Lopez's were contained, with them combining for 13 points 7 rebounds and 6 blocked shots. Lawrence Hill didn't get any rebounds either, and had trouble shooting. Their guards, Mitch Johnson, Anthony Goods, and Fred Washington all played mediocre games, as we finally showed that we are capable of good defense. All in all, the Huskies won when they had to. Next week's schedule is tough, as we face WSU, and then Pittsburgh away. It doesn't get any easier, as we finish up the season with one easy game at Oregon State, and then face the three headed monster known as at Oregon, USC, then UCLA.
Huskies Football
Willingham had a pretty good recruiting class with 4 4 star recruits at the RB, WR, CB, and TE positions. We desperately need help at RB and WR, so this is great news. Most sports writers have us ranked us at around 27th in the nation, ahead of Oklahoma and Wisconsin.
Our non-conference schedule is at Syracuse (easiest game on the schedule), Boise State (always good but they are losing their QB Zabransky), Ohio State (obviously tough as always, but they lose a lot of people and didn't have a great recruiting class, only one 5 star recruit), then we finish off our season at Hawaii, a team that was ranked at the end of last season,. All in all, looks like a tough schedule, but if we do well, will give us a chance to get a bowl bid. The Jake Locker era begins.
College Basketball
Josh Heytvelt was suspended by Gonzaga, which is bad for them because he's 6'11" and averaging 16 8. They still aren't playing Micah Downs enough, but losing a guy like Heytvelt is really gonig to hurt.
Mariners Baseball
Mariners sites are starting to have predictions out, and the predictions so far are pretty conservative I think. I guess I just see everyone's upside and predict as a fan would. For Johjima, I have to think that after a year of playing in the US, his average and power would at least stay the same, and his walks would increase because he drew plenty of walks in Japan. For Sexson, a lot of people say he lost his bat speed and he's done, but after the last two months of last year, I say that the first 2 months of last season were what brought him down, and that him being able to dig himself out of that hole is a major accomplishment. For Lopez, people keep saying that Hargrove's bunting ways ruined him, but I think he just got tired for a full season. This season I'm thinking he'll just put a whole year together of 285 average ball with just under 20 hr's and sb's.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Monday Morning Review Feb 5th

There were a lot of good things and bad things about the Super Bowl. The best thing was that Manning finally won, so now sports reporters can stop saying that he is a choker. The Bears, however, looked horrible. Their defense wasn't that great (just as we though), and Rex Grossman looked like a highschool quarterback with his 2 horrible fumbles from snaps and his two lobbed and poorly thrown interceptions. Good thing, Vinatieri missed a field goal, furthering my point that he is overrated and not more clutch than an average guy. Clutch is kicking a 54+ field goal every year and winning games with big kicks like Josh Brown. What's so clutch about making 3 sub 30 yarders and missing a 36 yarder? Nothing. Bad thing, Hester returned the first kick for a TD, which made him look good, but he only made a slight shift to the right. The Colts special teams was just awful, and the Bears blocking set up Hester's play. Good thing, with a Super Bowl like that, the Seahawks, who played poorly most of the season, could have definetley won it all this year. Bad thing, they didn't win it.
Pretty bad week. We barely beat a team that was 0-9 in conference play and is now 0-11, then we get throttled by Arizona. I don't mind losing to good teams, but I don't want to get killed by them either.
We beat ASU 66-61, but sucked a lot in the 2nd half scoring only 22 points to their 40. Brockman, Dentmon, and Hawes are the only people who really played well. We outshot them 47% to 34%, outrebounded them 32 to 25, and only had 4 more turnovers than them, and we still only manage to beat them by 5?
Against Arizona, only Artem Wallace played well, making 6 of 6 fgs. As a team we shot 38% while they shot 57%. No single player killed us on Arizona, but lucky for them, they had a freshman named Jordan Hill come out of nowhere and post 16 points 8 rebounds and 5 blocks in place of the struggling Jawann McClellan. I knew we'd either win big or lose big in this game because Arizona was struggling, so they were either going to turn things around or continue sinking in their ship full of holes. Unfortunately they decided to put it together against us and this might cost us our tournament berth. Sad that just 3 weeks ago we were ranked 24th.
We went 0-3, so with Durant exploding his last to games, this is good news I guess.
The first game, we lost at the Mavs, who along with the Suns, are playing on another level. Ray Allen went off for 35 6 7, and Collison got 19 9, but not much else good happened. Austin Croshere played a lot because Josh Howard's wife had a baby, and he killed us. He;s always had talent, so I don't know why they play him so sparingly, but he scored 34 points in 24 minutes of 7 of 10 3's and 11 of 14 overall.
We then lost the next night at Houston as expected. McGrady torched us for 36 9 and 5. Ray Allen matched it with 36 6 and 5, and Collison chipped in with 25 and 17, but no one else reached double figures in points while the Rockets had 5 others reach double figures. To add further insult to the team, we only shot 8 free throws, which is pretty pathetic. You could probably just drive to the basket 10 times and flail around like Manu Ginobli and get 4 calls for 8 free throws.
Friday night, we lost to Chicago at home. Ray Allen had 29 points on 9-28 shooting and Collison had 20 12, but besides solid contributions from Ridnour and Wilkins no one else did anything. The Bulls simply had too many guys scoring against us, with Deng, Hinrich, Gordon, Nocioni, and Duhon scoring in double figures. It's easy to lose often when all three teams that played against us shot better than 50% and shoot about 2x as many free throws as you do.
Sonics looked bad, but this year's draft is the deepest and best at the top since LeBron, Darko, Carmelo, Bosh, and DWade, so I guess if we were to suck, this would be the year to do it. I still think we should trade Watson, Wilkins/Gelabale, Wilcox, Sene, and 1st round pick for Gasol or Kirilenko and crap, but oh well, I guess he might not be enough to send us over the top, even though a lineup of Ridnour, Allen, Lewis, Collison, and Pau with Wilkins and Petro coming off the bench sounds pretty good to me.
NBA All-Star Game:
So a big fuss was made about Carmelo not making the All-star team as of yet. So he's averaging 30 points a game, big deal. He missed 15 games for fighting! All he does is score, and he's not even that good/efficient at it. You know who else didn't make the all-star team? Elton Brand, Josh Howard, Zach Randolph, Baron Davis, Ray Allen, and Deron Williams. Most of them didn't even miss games, and all of them are playing pretty damn good. ESPN has a poll (http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/sportsnation/polling?event_id=2767) on this, and one of the questions is who least deserves to be on the team: Marion, Boozer, or Parker? It's obviously Parker because he's just not that good in the first place, and Boozer and Marion are both phenomenal players have great years. But my question is, why isn't Allen Iverson on this list? He's a horrible shooter, a selfish player, and he isn't needed on an All-Star team.
The biggest beef I have is the labeling of positions. The starting guards are Kobe and Tracy, both of whom could could play the 1,2,3 but happen to play the 2 and 3. The starting center deal is still in turmoil with guys like Duncan and Gasol not eligible to be voted in as a center. What they should do, and this is really obvious, is insert Nash for Yao in the starting lineup. Then the lineup would be Nash, Kobe, Tracy, KG, and TD, which would probably be the best lineup you could have except for Dirk.