Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Mariners: Are They Really as Bad as They Seem on Paper?

As the beginning of the MLB season quickly approaches, there is a question that emerges from most informed Mariners fans: will they be as bad as they seem on paper? Let's be honest, ALL of our off-season moves were the laughing stock of the baseball community. Dealing Soriano, our only promising reliever not named Putz, was a terrible move. Getting Jose Guillen, who is as impatient and wild at the plate as he is in the clubhouse, was a disasterous move. 5 mil a year for 36-year-old Miguel Batista? 8+ mil a year for Jeff Weaver? His ERA was almost 6 last year! Vidro? VIDRO?!?

I tried at one point to justify our moves as short-term solutions that will help us this year, which may convince Ichiro to resign. But anyone with half a brain can see that our off-season moves have not helped us for this year or any year.

Sports Illustrated had us as finishing fourth in the A.L. West in their MLB season preview. The "experts" at ESPN were a little kinder, though on average, they predicted 76.7 wins for the Mariners.

Are the Mariners destined to finish last in the division again? Possibly, and it's nearly impossible to argue against. Luckily, our division is mediocre (the Angels aren't as good as everyone predicts) so there always is some hope. It's possible that we'd only need 85-87 wins to claim the division, and if everything goes right and then some (i.e. we never have to play Oakland because of a scheduling error), we might have a the slimmest chance of making a run at it. And if we get into the playoffs, anything is possible.

Honestly, what do I think will happen? Not sure. Probably a win count in the 70s, a fired Hargrove (finally) and a departed Ichiro (unless we resign him for a billion dollars).

Fantasy Baseball advice, and Baseball Predictions

So I've done 4 Fantasy Baseball Drafts already, and don't plan on doing any more, so I think I can give out some advice and predictions.
For the rules, I usually play in leagues that are not 5X5, because I think OBP, Slugging, and Fielding % are important. For pitching, I think Holds are important because it represents a real team, and I also have K ratios like K/9 or K/BB. I also play with LF, CF, RF because I wouldn't think Manny would want to play in Center. The problem with this is that Ichiro could play LF if he wanted to, but why would you want to play him there? It's like playing Reyes at 1b because you have two SS's and no 1b.
If you're not getting a Mauer, Martinez, or McCann, you might as well hold off til the end. I don't really weight catchers much after this because they just don't contribute that much.
Sleepers: Paulino on Pittsburgh, Coste on Philadelphia, and Ianetta on Colorado. All three have chance to get .300 with 10 hrs which is great late in the draft. For a non-prospect sleeper, Johnny Estrada is not a bad pickup, and for a guy who's going later than he should, Piazza might be a good pickup as well.
First Baseman:
Obviously this has the best guys at the top, but it is also the deepest, so if you don't get a Pujols, DLee, Howard, Tex, Morneau, or Berkman, I'd rather just wait later for guys who are going later like Adrian Gonzalez, Conor Jackson, or Lyle Overbay. For a guy to not draft, but keep an eye on, I'd look for Ryan Shealy or Casey Kotchman.
Second Baseman:
After Chase Utley, I wouldn't really take a guy early unless Cano falls. I'm a big fan of Kendrick, and usually take him in the 6th round or so. I'm pretty sure he'll hit .310 10 hr 20 sb, since he is athletic, and hit 370 in the Minors. After that, I'd just wait because you can always get guys like Jose Lope, Ian Kinsler, Jose Vidro, Luis Castillo, or Jorge Cantu late.
Third Baseman:
Possibly just as deep as 1b, but not as deep at the top, as the cream consists of A-Rod, DWright, and Miguel Cabrera. I love this position because I saw Melvin Mora and Joe Crede taken in the 16th round. And I didn't even take a 3b yet, I took Chad Tracy in the 17th round. The sleepers I love are Alex Gordon, and Mark Teahen, both Royals. I think they'll both have numbers around 290 25 hr and 20 sb with 90 rbis each. Not on draft radar's, but someone to think about is Kevin Kouzmanoff, who had a great spring training, and could be great all season.
Deeper up top than it used to be with Reyes up in first, and then a slew of good ones in Jeter, Tejada, Rollins, and Hanley Ramirez. I'm pretty big on Hanley, because his stats are almost identical to Reyes' last year and he's taken some 40 picks later. I'm also really big on Carlos Guillen, who went 20 20 last year and had the highest OPS of all SS, though for some reason, Fantasy "Experts" rank him the 11th best SS after Bill Hall and Felipe Lopez. I'm also a big believer in Stephen Drew and Troy Tulowitzki.
Ortiz is a 1b is Yahoo! but a DH in ESPN. Nevertheless, I think he's being draft too low, because he has just as good of numbers as Howard, because he's doing it for more years, and if he didn't miss games last year, he would exactly as good. Hafner, I think is also a definite 2nd round pick. His had 42 hr last year and he didn't play a full season as usual. If he could get a full season, he'd be Ortiz, but he hasn't done it yet, so I drop him to the middle of the 2nd round.
Left Fielder:
Soriano and Crawford are the cream of the crop. Soriano is a bit overrated, and not as good in non 5x5 leagues, and Crawford is basically Reyes in LF, so he's not as good, but fairly good. LF as whole is not as deep as people think. After those two you have Manny, who is being underrated for a guy who hit .320 and 35 last year, and then Carlos Lee, Jason Bay, and Matt Holliday, all great guys to have because they have good numbers and double digit on SBs. Markakis will have a great year I think, and Bonds is probably being rated low. Sure he won't play more than 130 games, but he will probably get 280 400 550 oand 28 or so hr at worst.
Center Fielder:
Beltran is a bit overrated I think, though he might get more SBs, his average has never been great. Markakis is eligible for all OF positions so he might be a good option here too. I'm real big on Willy Taveras, because he'll hit in front of good hitters, hit in Coors, and have a lot of SBs I think. Chris B. Young would be a good late pickup too, since he'll probably go 270 15 25, and same for Shane Victorino.
Right Fielder:
I think Dye is going being underrated a bit here, he won't repeat last year, but he won't implode all of a sudden because of old age. Sheffield is also underrated, I expect him to be out to prove something and hitting in the middle of a potent Detroit lineup will do him good. Brad Hawpe is also a great late pickup, because I think he'll do even better than last year, and no one seemed to notice how good his last year was. Carlos Quentin was on people's radar but after his horrid ST, I'd say don't draft him, he's a wait and see player. I'm pretty high on Jose Guillen, he's got something to prove, and he's tearing it up in Spring Training (along with Raul Ibanez and Beltre). Reed Johnson wouldn't be bad for a backup OF too, he has a good average, and plays all the OF positions. For super Sleepers, I'd say pick Chris Snelling, a M's Fan favorite. He's doing real well in ST.
Starting Pitchers:
After Santana I'd rank it Oswalt and Carpenter tied, then Peavy and Halladay, then Felix, Matsuzaka, and Bonderman. Unless you get an elite pitcher, I like to take pitchers later. Some sleepers are Chuck James, Bartolo Colon, Eric Bedard, Kei Igawa, Rich Harden (who's having an amazing spring and looks healthy, same as Ben Sheets but 100 picks later), Ian Snell, and Tim Hudson (Not back to Cy Young form, but definetley back on track, a good buy low candidate). For super sleeper prospects, Phil Huges, Homer Bailey, and Mike Pelfrey are good bets, as are Tim Lincecum, Andrew Miller, and Adam Miller.
The best closers are amazing, helping in tons of categories including, K's, WHIP, ERA, and IP. Nathan is the best, though he doesn't get the most saves, followed closely by K-Rod, Street, BJ Ryan, Wagner, and then Rivera. Others just below this are Papelbon, Putz, Hoffman, and Cordero. This year, there doesn't seem to be many undecided closer who'll be lights out, so I'd put a premium on elite closers this year. Get a sure thing instead of a guy who'll just get you saves for half a season who drags down your ERA and WHIP.
Relief Pitchers:
Atlanta did a good job getting setup pitching, and Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano would be a good bet to close once the Braves realize Wickman sucks. Gagne is sure to get injured (I think he already is), so definitely pick up Otsuka who was lights out last year and in the WBC. For the Dodgers, I'd get both Broxton and Saito, both of whom were lights out. For setup men, I'd get perrenial all-stars Rincon, Shields, or Linebrink, and then a Pat Neshek-type. The Twins have a ton of great relief pitching, as to the Angels and A's, so get their guys, and just get teams that have a lot of leads.

AL MVP: 1. Vlad Guerrero 2. Ortiz 3. A-Rod
I think if Weaver and Colon get back, the Angel's will be good, especially if they get the production from their prospects like I expect. Vlad will win this with his great numbers. Ortiz will put up a typically good year, but will fall just short becuase there's always going to be a guy who's just as good, and actually plays defense. A-Rod will be rejuvinated this year, but it's hard giving it to a guy who has 12 all-stars on his team.
NL MVP: 1. Albert Pujols 2. Ryan Howard 3. David Wright
Pujols is so consistent, and I think his team will win the division easily this year. Howard will put up great numbers again, but if he barely won with 58 hr, he's not going to win with 50 hr, even if he does get 180 walks. Wright will finally put together a full year and either put up a 335 average of 40 hrs.
AL Cy Young: 1. Johan Santana 2. Rich Harden 3. Daisuke Matsuzaka 4. Jeremy Bonderman
I'm not putting John Lackey, because I hate him and he's ugly. Santana won the triple crown last year so... picking him is a no brainer. He also should have 3 in a row right now. Harden is looking amazing in spring training and I think he's one of the best pitchers if he's healthy. Matsuzaka will mistify hitters with his new pitches and will have a lot of wins. Bonderman is also a nice pick to make. Not sure how many wins Felix will have because of our offense.
NL Cy Young: 1. Roy Oswalt 2. Cris Carpenter 3. John Smoltz 4. Carlos Zambrano
Oswalt has been one of the top pitchers for a while now, and though his K's have been declining, I think his new changeup will keep his hitters honest. Carpenter is also developing a changeup, but I think Oswalt will just have a better season if ever so slightly. Smoltz is looking in top form, and looks to lead the Braves to a wild card spot which would get him heavy consideration. Zambrano is in a contract year, but I've never been a huge fan.
AL Rookie of the year: 1. Alex Gordon 2. Daisuke Matsuzaka 3. Delmon Young
For the second year in a row, the rookies will be amazing, no Angel Berroa crap. Gordon will hit 290 25 20 and save the Royals from being the most pathetic team. Matsuzaka will do better but will lose some votes because of his questionable rookie status. Delmon Young will do well, but by not being the best player on his team, he will look like less of a star. His low BB rate is also a problem.
NL Rookie of the year: 1. Kevin Kouzmanoff 2. Troy Tulowitzki 3. Chris B. Young
Kouzmanoff is hitting Adrian Gonzalez-like in ST, and looks to hit 280 with 25 hrs, great for his park. Tulowitzki will hit 300 with 15 15. Young will be 20 20, but I have a hard time seeing him hit higher than 275. I'm not sure if Stephen Drew is a rookie, if he is, then he'll be pretty high up, as I think he'll hit 300 with 10 hr and 20 sb.
Al Teams in the playoffs: NL Teams in playoffs:
1. Yankees 1. Mets
2. Tigers 2. Cardinals
3. Angels 3. Dodgers
WC. Red Sox (I can see Twins) WC. Phillies (I can see Padres or Braves)
Angels over Yanks, Red Sox over Tigers
Mets over Dodgers, Cardinals over Phillies
Angels over Red Sox, Mets over Cardinals
Angels over Mets

I'd say Angels over Yanks because I like their front line starters more. I think Lackey, Colon, Weaver, Santana will be a great lineup. I use the same thing for the Red Sox. They have Matsuzaka and Schilling, which trump Bonderman and Verlander, if ever so slightly. And I see the lineup in the Red Sox being more consistent with their OBP.
Mets over Dodgers becasue I feel the Mets are the best team in the NL, and Cardinals over Phillies, because Phillies have good pitching depth now, but no front line pitchers.
I like the Angels over the Red Sox because I like their bullpen a lot better. Shields, Speier, and K-Rod is just as good as Lowe, Soriano, Putz was last year. I also think Kotchman will have a good year. I picked Mets oves over Cards because I don't think the Cardinals have enough bats to make it to the World Series. Pujols and Rolen are great, but with no one else really, defense nad pitching will only get them so far.
Angels over Mets because the Angels have better pitching on all accounts. Pelfrey will be good by now, but I like the Angels all-around team. The only fault for the Angels is if Colon never puts it together, and Weaver has a sophomore slump, but Colon threw 94 mph recently, and with Escobar in the bullpen for the playoffs, this team is even better.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Most Heartbreaking franchises on ESPN

So ESPN did an article on this, and all three Seattle Sports teams are on it, as well as the Vancouver Canucks. (
The Sonics are 9th, Canucks are 10th, Seahawks are 14th, and the Mariners are 19th. (For some reason, this list stops at 46.
For the Sonics, the only soul-sucking moment we had was losing to Dikembe in the playoffs. I don't know, how about Kemp forcing his way out, then getting a Vin Baker who looked like something for one year and the totally sucking for the rest of his life? Or how about a guy nick-named Mr. Sonic leaving the organization for our "Rival" team.
For the Seahawks, they of course mentioned the Superbowl which I'm glad, and they kid that it's 14 blown calls, which I'm also glad for, because it was about that many calls, not just 3 as stupid people like to point out.
For the Mariners its of course the many years of futility and then our stars leaving, then the 116 game season where we couldn't even make it to the World Series.
For the Canucks, oddly enough, just the fact that they sucked a lot got them the 10 spot.
Anyways, its a good idea, and I'm glad that Seattle got its recognition, though Philly did get the 3,4, and 32 spots.
Comparison, 9+14+19 = 42, 3+4+32 = 39, so Philadelphia wins in this comparison. Oh well.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Taking the Playoffs from Garnett

On the heels of Allen's exit and a clobbering at home from the Spurs, it's nice to see that the SuperSonics are still fighting (sort of). Three hours ago, they managed to outscore the Minnesota TimberWolves 35-12 in the fourth quarter and pull away with a 114-106 victory. The Supes are well out of the playoff picture, so frankly, all this win really means for them is fewer lottery balls, but as a true fan, I prefer that they honestly try to win every game rather than tank it and get a slightly better chance at Oden or Durant or whoever else.

The best part of the victory isn't just the proof that Lewis (35 points) is actually capable of taking over a game in the fourth (21 points in the quarter), but that the moronically run TimberWolves organization just had the final nail hammered into their playoff-hope coffin at 30-40.

I always thought Dwayne Casey was the brains of the Sonics coaching staff under McMillan, and it hurt to see him leave for Minny more than it did to see Nate go to Portland. Casey is an excellent coach who was burdened with a terrible team that is essentially just one superstar (sans leadership skills) forced to carry the Washington Generals. Unfortunately for Casey, he was no immediate miracle worker, and so he was prematurely fired.

Speaking of firing coaches, as soon as Bob Hill is canned at the end of the season, we should look into getting Casey if we can, and if not, Ted Miller from the P-I recommends we take a look at Phoenix Suns assistant coach Marc Iavaroni. I couldn't agree more. We are a run and gun team, and as long as we have Ray, Rashard and Luke playing the kind of matador defense they do, we'll need to stay that way. Why not get a guy from a system that knows how to play in that style with success?

Anyway, congrats on a good win for the Sonics, and hopefully it won't be necessary to come from 25 down to a team like the TimberWolves next season.

2007 NFL Mock Draft 1st half of 1st Round

1. Oakland – JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
I think this is a mistake, because I’m not a huge believer in him, but Al Davis apparently loves him, and they’re QB situation is horrible (though they could sign Trent Green or David Carr).
2. Detroit – Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
They could trade down and get Quinn later maybe, but I feel like the QB situation with Kitna starting isn’t very good. Quinn has the pedigree, and he is apparently a combine freak with 25 reps on the bench press. Also a plus is that he has been in an “NFL-Type” offense for the last 2 years, and would be ready to start sooner.
3. Cleveland – Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
They could go with Joe Thomas or Calvin Johnson, but I think their biggest need is a RB, because Reuben Droughns isn’t very good with a 3.4 YPC last year. They are fairly set at receiver with Edwards, Jurevicious, and Winslow Jr. I would like Peterson, but I think he has a lot of carries already on him, and he seems to get injured quite often, otherwise, he’s going to be good if he’s healthy for at least 5 seasons.
4. Tampa Bay – Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
The number one overall rated player gets picked finally. I’m not sure that Tampa needs him with Galloway, Clayton, and Hilliard, but Galloway is getting old, and Clayton doesn’t seem to be the picture of health. He’s obviously a physical freak with a sub 4.4 40 yard time and the size of a TE at 6-5 225. He’s kind of like Randy Moss mixed with Terrell Owens, except he apparently has a great personality, quiet and humble. So what’s wrong with this kid? He didn’t dominate in college. He disappeared for a few games, which makes me think he’s not a great route runner, and he wasn’t as consistent as he should have been. If you’re that big and fast in college, you should be dominating CBs in college either by beating them deep, or just turning around in front of them and boxing them out for a jump ball. I think he’s going to be pretty good, but I don’t think he’s going to be great like most do.
5. Arizona – Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
I think the top 5 picks are pretty much set in stone unless a trade happens. As it is, Arizona is thrilled with this, because their biggest need is O-line. With Joe Thomas anchoring the line, the rest of the offense can really get moving. Field Gulls tends to think he might be a bust because he doesn’t have a good 40 time or 10 yard speed burst, and he can only bench 225 lbs. 28 times. I agree with this because his technique is probably great, but the athleticism in college is very different from what he’ll experience in the NFL. I think he’ll be solid, but you need above average athleticism and amazing technique or amazing athleticism and above average technique to be a great LT in the NFL, and Thomas, while better than a Gallery, is just average in athleticism.
6. Washington - Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
I wasn’t too high on this guy until the combine, where he proved to be a speedy DE running in the 4.5’s. He can play in either 3-4 or 4-3 sets, and the Redskins apparently were dead last in sacks last year, so a guy who averaged 11 sacks the last two years will certainly help them.
7. Minnesota – LaRon Landry, S, LSU
I have to say, I love this guy. He’s 6’2” 202 lbs and runs a sub 4.5 40. As a freshman he had 80 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, 3 sacks, 2 INTs, 4 passes deflected, and a blocked kick. His stats have stayed consistent over the years, but he has showed that he can play all the secondary positions. Basically he’s a great cover safety who can also play the line well. Minnesota doesn’t really need secondary help, but I can see him displacing Dwight Smith as a starter, or if not then playing both S positions and the nickel back position, while playing amazing special teams. That being said, the Vikings have no real need on defense except the safety position and LOLB, with Ben Leber. On offense they need a WR, so I could definitely see a trade down for Bob Meachem or Ted Ginn Jr.
8. Atlanta – Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas
Atlanta needs to replace the void that Kerney’s departure makes, and Anderson is the perfect fit. Atlanta’s secondary wasn’t great last year, but it might have been due to lack of pressure. Their aren’t many good LB’s in this draft, so Anderson fills the need at this spot.
9. Miami – Alan Branch, DT, Michigan
This guy was a top 5 picks a few weeks ago, and I’m not sure why he dropped, because he is such an athletic specimen for a tackle and could conceivably play the end position for a 3-4 team like San Diego. Apparently they also like Adam Carricker, Levi Brown, or Ted Ginn Jr. so this is hard to predict because they have so many needs.
10. Houston – Levi Brown, OT, Penn State
Houston needs to solidify their line still, despite a great draft last year. This will allow Chris Spencer to move over to either LG or RG, his more natural position for an offensive line that is young, but solid throughout. This might be a bit of a reach, but I’ve seen him higher, and he is the only other O-Line that is guaranteed to go in the first round. They could go with Leon Hall, who was a sure-fire top 10 pick but then dropped as far as 25th pick when there were rumors that he was slow. Well, he ran a sub 4.4, but still hasn’t regained his hype as a shut down corner.
11. San Francisco – Ted Ginn Jr, WR, Ohio State
I don’t really like this pick, but I think they would be happy with Ginn, Meachem, or Dwayne Jarrett, so don’t be surprised if they trade down. That being said, they do have a lot of needs, so they could pick ILB Patrick Willis, or CB Leon Hall. I’m not a huge fan of Ginn personally, because I like consistent threats, not just vertical threats that make 4 catches a game. He’s also injured right now, so he hasn’t been able to work out, but there’s no doubt that he’s a physical freak.
12. Buffalo – Marshawn Lynch, RB, California
Before, this would have been Leon Hall or Amobi Okoye, but now that they have traded away McGahee, they need a RB. They also need a LB because they just traded Takeo Spikes away today, but there aren’t many great OLB in this draft, and now that they have a DT, they don’t need Okoye. I’m a big fan of Marshawn Lynch, he’s a physical specimen, and he had good numbers in college. I think this is a good pick to use on a RB, because you can have him for his prime 5 years while not paying him too much.
13. St. Louis – Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
There seems to be a consensus on mock drafts that the Rams will choose a DT, and with Branch gone, Okoye is the obvious choice. He’s just 19, which could be a problem for the NFL right now, but he held his own as a 16 year old true freshman in college, so we’ll just have to wait and see. That being said, if he is really just 19, then his body could mature even more, and it’ll be amazing to see how good he can be. At the age of 19, most kids are just starting to play college football, so its obvious just how impressive this kid is. He also has a great work ethic apparently, so you won’t have to worry about him slacking off.
14. Carolina - Greg Olsen, TE, Miami
Not a great blocking TE, but he’s an amazing catching TE as proved by the skills challenge on ESPN. Not only this, but he was by far the best TE at the combine, with a blazing (for a TE if you’re not Vernon Davis) 4.51 40. That being said, he is just all projectibles and not actual numbers. I know college TE don’t have great numbers, but he only got 444 yards and 1 TD last year. He is 6’5” so that’s good for a QB like Delhomme, who has tunnel vision on his #1 WR, but he needs to gain a few pounds from the 255 he is currently at.
15. Pittsburgh – Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
They could go with Jarvis Moss, Patrick Willis, or Lawrence Timmons, because they need LB help now that Joey Porter is gone. They don’t have a strong CB core right now, and Ike Taylor bombed last year, so Leon Hall would be a perfect fit. I don’t think he’s a Champ Bailey or Chris McCalister, but he is comparable to a Marcus Trufant or Terence Newman.
Green Bay – Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
This is my favorite WR in the draft, in that he has great hands, and great athleticism. 1300 yards, 11 TDs, and under 4.4 40 yard dash. This may be a bit of a reach, but I think Green Bay wants to make Favre look good, and while WR don’t usually do well until year 3, it’ll be hard to pass up this guy, though I think they’d rather have Ted Ginn Jr. because Driver is a bit slow, and an extreme vertical threat is what they’d be looking for.

Monday, March 26, 2007

March Madness: From the Sweet Sixteen to the Final Four

OK, so 3 of my four teams are still in, my bad pick being Kansas. I'm not sure why I picked Georgetown over UNC for the reason of decent talent combined with great team over great talent and youth, but not UCLA over Kansas. I guess I overestimated Kansas' talent, and UCLA's losses at the end of the season really affected my decisions. Andoverjon has three in also, his one back pick being Texas, and has 2 out of 4, his bad picks being Pitt and Texas.
Anyways, on to the Sweet Sixteen. Kansas got a scare from Southern Illinois, but they played lazy basketball all game while SI was pretty much geared up and executing flawlessly. In the end, 5 to 8 possible NBA talents triumphed over one or two fringe NBA talents. A&M lost to Memphis, a game that probably 90% of the people had A&M winning despite being a lower seed. Douglas-Roberts was supposed to be injured, but he played a great game by getting 15 points on efficient scoring. Acie Law IV played subpar, shooting 6-17 and missing a crucial layup. In the end, Memphis just had too many athletes for A&M to overcome. After that, Ohio State was down to Tennessee 39 to 19 and 47 to 27 at one point, but clawed their way back. Despite Tennesse shooting 15-31 on 3's they still lost, though to be fair, OSU did get 2x the amount of free throws attempted. And lastly for Thursday night's games, UCLA pretty much dominated Pitt. They only won by 9, but it never looked that close. Aaron Gray further proved that he is not an NBA talent.
Friday nights games were just as exciting. Florida almost lost to Butler and their 3 point shooting, but Florida had 3 point shooting of its own, with both sides making about half their attempts. Florida showed why people were skeptical about them earlier this season by playing half-hearted ball, but in their end, their front line was too much for the short Butler players to overcome. The USC-UNC was exciting for a while. USC was up by 15 with 15 to go, but UNC quickly erased that deficit and USC just could not score. Taj Gibson almost had a double double at half time, but some questionable foul calls gave him 4 early on, and he had to sit out most of the second half, leaving USC with virtually no big men. Marcus Ginyard's rebounding really helped them, and I found myself thinking that it would be UNC-Florida because of the talent both teams have. Besides Hansbrough and the three top 10 recruits for freshman in Lawson, Wright, and Ellington for this year, UNC has Marcus Ginyard, the Mr. Basketball of Virginia, Danny Green, a McDonald's All-American and MVP of the ABCD basketball camp ( a prestigious camp where most of the best high school players go to. Tracy McGrady was MVP of this camp a while ago), Bobby Frasor, a McDonald's All-American and on All-ACC freshman team last year, ReyShawn Terry, a 6-8 230 pound pre-season All-American candidate, and Deon Thompson a 6-8 240 pound block machine freshman. That's a whole lot of depth and athleticism.
Next Georgetown got a scare from Vanderbilt, and won on despite Jeff Green traveling to hit the game winner. Usually when they call travels I wonder why, but this one was very obvious, so it's weird that the didn't call it. After this game, I could see why Georgetown was such a good team, they have great players in a mold that fits the teams needs well. John Wallace is a great handler and good shooter, DaJuan Summers is a great freshman with size (6-8 240) and skills, Jessie Sapp is a reliable alternate ball handler, and Patrick Ewing Jr. is a dynamite athlete off the bench. Finally, Orgeon disposed of UNLV pretty easily. They only won by 4, but were up by 16 or so with not much to play. TaJuan Porter was shooting lights out, but the real story is that they really have 5 shooting guards, and a shooting forward on that team, though with Malik Hairston's build and rebounding and blocking ability, he can play a decent PF in college.
On to the Elite 8. OSU creamed Memphis, and Oden made Dorsey eat his words. If you don't know what I'm talking about, 6-9 260 pound bruiser, Joey Dorsey said before the game that he was Goliath compared to Oden. Dorsey ended up scoring 0 points and grabbing 3 rebounds, so I guess Oden won that battle. Jeremy Hunt scored 25 points off the bench, but Memphis as a whole just didn't look like they wanted to win that badly. Maybe they shouldn't have thought so highly of themselves, and had more of an attitude like SI or Butler, because those teams played their hearts out. Next, UCLA throttled Kansas in a very sloppy game. Afflalo was hitting everything, and Collison made a couple of unbelievable shots. Shipp and Collison would try to run and gun and get turnovers, but once they slowed it down, UCLA found that Kansas couldn't stop them. Mbah a Moute was big down the stretch, and only Brandon Rush for Kansas seemed to want to get his team to the Final Four.
The Oregon and Florida game played out with Florida winning, but not in quite the way everyone thought it would. I thought Horford and Noah would have their way, being that Oregon only has one guy over 6'6" who plays regularly. Oregon used a strong 2-3 however, and it opened up the three for Green and Humphrey who combined for 11 for 21 for threes. When you shoot that well and have the size and talent advantage, you're bound to win. Shooting 43 free throws when you're opponent shoots 16 doesn't hurt either. For Oregon, Aaron Brooks played lights out, and showed that he could shoot well, and that his driving was equally amazing. He probably moved himself to the late first round if not then definitely early second round. Malik Hairston also showed that he could use his weight effectively, even if wasn't that tall, so he might be a late first rounder as well.
Lastly, one of the most exciting games of the tournament so far, Georgetown versus UNC. The media made a big deal of this because of the historic Jordan game 25 years ago, the fact that Roy Williams was an assistant coach for UNC then, that Ewing Jr. is on the team now, and that John Thompson's son is the coach now for Georgetown. I guess that's cool and all, but the amazing players in this game was enough for me. Carolina started out well, and Hansbrough was amazing from the line. Making at least his first 12 free throws. At one point, the free throw discrepancy was 34 for Carolina and 9 for Georgetown, a little cheap I think. It ended up evening out in the end because Carolina had to foul in overtime. For Georgetown, John Wallace's 3 pointer to tie the game up was great, and Georgetown played great team ball, while for UNC, only Hansbrough and Deon Thompson really played great. I think both Wright and Lawson hurt their NBA stocks in my mind, though I never could see why they were projected to be the 4th and 14th NBA picks at this point.
So, two 1 seeds and two 2 seeds. People say its not exciting because of the lack of upsets, but I think it's better because there are more nationally recognizable players and programs, and just a higher level of play for basketball.
Draft Stocks
Brandon Rush's stock went up in my mind. I think he's a lottery pick now because he can be the team leader in terms of scoring, and he already is a lock down defender. Julian Wright disappeared a bit, despite showing his athleticism off, but it doesn't really matter because everyone on Kansas is supposed to be staying except for Rush, who is still undecided.
I think Hansbrough would be a great pick right now. Maybe not lottery, but he reminds me of Troy Murphy in that he's not too athletic, but is a beast down low, and has great basketball instincts. Brandan Wright I think should see his stock drop a bit too, because he is all raw potential right now, much like Marvin Williams was a few years ago. I think Horford and Noah have firmly surpassed him. Lawson also played poorly against Georgetown, and though he still might go out, I think Conley has firmly established himself as the premier PG.
Oden has established himself in my mind as the number one pick, though I think he'll go back to learn more in the classroom and on the basketball court. Conley could be a lottery pick if he goes, but unless he wins a championship, I think he stays, as he should, because once he can shoot a three pointer, the comparisons to Chris Paul will be dead on. Daequan Cook has shown that he needs at least another year of college, but Ron Lewis has shown that he could definitely be a great bench player in the NBA if not a starter. He plays solid defense, can shoot, and is averaging 21 points per game against good competition this tournament. His clutch shot against Xavier didn't hurt either.
For UCLA, Collison has shown that he has the talent, but if Afflalo has another game he might as well leave now. He will probably never be a great NBA player, but he plays amazing defense and can shoot fairly well. If he does real well in the shooting drill, he could be around the 20th pick.
For Florida, as I said before, I think it's clearly Noah and Horford 3 and 4, with Brewer being around 14, but Green has shown that he can play at the NBA level with his 3 point shooting, though he only averages 3 assists a game, he might want to show that he can be the main man at Florida next year. Humphrey has shown that he can be Jason Kapono or Kyle Korver-like, and that's worth a shot at in the NBA.
For Georgetown, but Hibbert and Green have shown that they can be lottery players. Green has moved up to the upper-eschelon in my mind next to the Wright's, while Hibbert is firmly in the lottery. He looks a lot more polished on both ends then I thought he would be, and his passing is great. The only problem is that he wears a t-shirt to hide his body because if you could see it, you would think that the guy needs to start lifting because he could get knocked around a bit in the NBA, and he needs to be more athletic in general. John Wallace showed that he could be in the NBA, and the freshman forward DaJuan Summers showed that he could be a 1st rounder, though I think he should stay and be "the man" for a year or two at Georgetown to show scouts what he has.
Lastly, for Memphis, Chris Douglas-Roberts can be a first rounder, but I'd stay another year and work on my shot. Joey Dorsey was hoping that he could project to a Zach Randolph, but his performance against OSU was horrible, and he will have to work on his game a bit more.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Kobe Goes 65 then 50 then 60 (also MVP awards and other Rants)

Well, Kobe posted 60 points last night against the Grizzlies after games of 50 and 65. The Lakers are also on a 3 game winning streak after losing 7 in a row. Kobe has also done this scoring pretty efficiently:
65 pt game: 23-39 FG, 8-12 3pt, 11-12 FT
50 pt game: 17-35 FG, 4-9 3pt, 12-14 FT
60 pt game: 20-37 FG, 3-7 3pt, 17-18 FT

These past few games have just confirmed that KOBE BRYANT IS the BEST SCORER IN THE GAME. Not Dwayne Wade (he's all spin and 18-20 ft jumpers), Not Lebron (he's all about driving to the basket (while taking 3 steps a lot of the time) and clanking jump shots and 3 pointers), not Carmelo (he's a fat piece of crap and I can't believe I would even include him in the argument except for the fact that he WAS leading the league in scoring until Kobe's recent tear), not Allen Iverson (lots of people can score that many points given that many shots), and NOT Gilbert Arenas (Agent Zero does a lot more talking than Kobe when he really is just a poor man's version of Kobe).

When it comes to scoring, Kobe can do it all: he can drive and finish in the half court, he can definitely finish on the fast break, he can pull up from anywhere, he can drive left or right and fade away and pull of insane shots that I don't think can go in (T-Mac is good at that too, but he's Kobe-lite and injured), and he can shoot the 3 as evidenced by the game where he set the single game record for 3-pointers made at 12 against the Sonics on Jan 7, 2003.

What's interesting about this is everybody knows how sick of a player Kobe Bryant is. And yet he has NEVER won an MVP. The MVP trophy is a travesty! Shaq has only won it ONCE. How has the Most Dominant Player Ever (MDE) only won the trophy once. One year he was beat out my ALLEN IVERSON (whom I hate and will never win a championship team unless he's really old and sits on the bench the whole time of a really good team). LOOK at the year Allen Iverson won the MVP -
He won by a LANDSLIDE and Shaq only got 3rd? The reason for this is because Shaq won the MVP the year before and there is a silly rule in sports that you have to be better then 2nd time around. The Lakers did manage to CREAM the 76ers in the Finals that year (Philly won the first game, then the Lakers won the next 4). Allen Iverson took 41, 29, 30, 30, 32 shot for a total of 162 in 5 games or an average of 34 shots per game! He managed to score 178 points or 37.6 pts per game but 37.6 ppg for 34 shots is not too impressive. Guys like Allen Iverson should Never win MVP.

Also, Tim Duncan won the MVP twice, which at the time I thought was good, but looking at him now, either he is in one of the biggest declines I have ever seen or he is the most overrated players ever. But I'll write about that later.

As it is, I'm changing my MVP vote from Dirk to Kobe simply because if i had to start a franchise (regardless of age, although Kobe's not that old) I would pick Kobe Bryant first, and because he's having a fantastic season with some amazing games that Dirk and Nash have not had.

One final rant. I HATE Skip Bayless most of the time. He says Dirk can't finish because of the Phoenix Game and because of the NBA Finals last year. Did he not watch last year's playoffs when they were Down by THREE to the SAN ANTONIO SPURS with one possession left, and Dirk drove the lane, got hacked and managed to put the ball in the hole and make the free throw. That is as clutch as you get. Did he not see the games against Phoenix when he followed up his 11pt stinker in game 4 to put up 50 pts and 12 reb to put the Mavs up 3-2. Fact is, Dirk was doing fine in the Finals until the Heat got wise and decided to guard him and make his teammates do all the work. Also, looking at the defense played against Dirk and the defense played against Dwayne Wade (Defense reads referee whistle blowing) and I guess the NBA loves slasher guard types because Dwayne Wade could just drive to the basket and automatically get the foul calls, while Dirk (when he didn't have the ball) would get his ass pushed around by Udonis Haslem and didn't get a damn call. LOOK at the box scores, 3 out of the 4 games that the Heat won, Dwayne Wade got 18, 25, and 21 FT attempts. THAT IS ABSURD. That should NEVER happen in a playoff game. I know the NBA is trying to increase scoring but apparently that just means if someone drives to the basket and there is contact on a Star player, then a foul is called. Last year's playoffs were some of the best games I have EVER seen and it almost made me go back to watching the NBA on a regular basis, but the Finals ruined it for me.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Papelbon back to the bullpen

ESPN reports that Papelbon will be a closer again( This seems like a good decision because A) he's had some struggles with his command a starter B) They're closing options are looking pretty bad C) Their starting rotation is pretty crowded with Schilling, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, Lester, and Clement.
Papelbon will probably be a 4.00 ERA starter, which is pretty good, but if their replacement for that is a 4.5 ERA starter, than it's not that much better, while if he's close to his last year form of .92 ERA closer, than that will be much better than a 5.00 ERA Pineiro closer. The only problem is that he is talented enough to be a starter, and I think that closing isn't necessarily helpful for starting because it forces you to focus on your best pitches and not your worst. Doing long relief stints like Johan Santana did would be better for his career, but better for this season would be to put in him the closer role again.

Random stuff, NBA Draft, Draft rumors, NFL trades, M's

Lots of stuff going on in the past 24 hours.
Matt Schaub Deal and Implications:
The biggest of which is Matt Schaub being traded from the Falcons to the Houston Texans. The Texans then signed him to a 6 year $48 million dollar contract. $20 million is in the first three years, so it's backloaded, and $7 million is guaranteed so he would be an easy cut. Even so, that's a huge contract for a guy who has only 84 completions in his first three years in the NFL. What's even worse is the Texans had to swap their first round pick, which was their 8th pick for the Falcon's 10th pick, their 2nd round pick, and their 2nd round pick next year. So they lose ground in the first round and give up 2 2nd round picks to give an enormously overpaid contract to a guy who's done nothing. Personally, I don't see whats wrong with Carr, he has had a horrible line and it took him 3 years to stopped getting sacked at record rates, he has no tight end, and no running back, yet he still has a QB rating of 82, which is pretty good considering he had more INT than TD because of an overall poor offense.
The Falcons meanwhile are rumored to be wanting to trade up to get Calvin Johnson, a "hometown hero". Another big mistake, as Michael Vick cannot pass to anybody anyways. I think Calvin Johnson's overated, more on that later, but I don't think Vick needs another WR. He had 3 first round WR and Alge Crumpler last year and did nothing with them.
Another rumor is that the Raiders will trade for Carr, then draft Calvin Johnson, the guy they really wanted, which I think would be a solid idea. Buy Carr while Houston needs to get rid of him, and get the guy they really want, because I'm not sold on JaMarcus Russell anyways. I'd get rid of Randy Moss and Jerry Porter first because they would probably try to "mentor" Calvin by making him smoke weed or hold out in negotiations.
Ben Broussard Rumor:
ESPN has a rumor that the M's were looking at Armando Benitez long and hard. The rumor is that we'd trade Broussard for him. I like this idea because Broussard isn't going to get any playing time. He's a pretty good lefty, but it doesn't do any good because he won't play with Vidro blocking the way. Broussard is hitting something like .350 this spring training, so his stock is decently high. Problem for the Giants is, is that I've seen him play 1b, and he could be the worst fielder I've ever seen. He doesn't know how to field, throw or catch. Not a real problem for the Mariners, but a big problem for an NL team like the Giants. Armando Benitez on the other hand is dong well in spring training, and he is a "proven veteran" and has closed before. I don't think O'Flaherty or Huber are ready yet, so getting Armando would give them more time to hone their skills in Tacoma. Also, I do think that Morrow could do well not, but Benitez would put less stress on bringing Morrow up. No sense in bringing him up early so we can use him when he's not that great because his major league clock would be ticking early and he'd be a free agent earlier than we'd want. I'ms pretty sure that Reitsma will suck, so Benitez also gives us more bullpen depth for when Hargrove also realizes this in late August. Benitez would also be good trade bait to a team like the Red Sox in July because they'd need a closer by then after realizing that Pineiro is not the answer, though I always thought that if Minnesota were smarter, they'd give their bull pen arms some save opportunities and then trade them away once they proved they had a "closer's mentality", sort of like the A's did with Keith Foulke, Jason Isringhausen, and Billy Koch (ha, I almost forgot about this guy).
M's TV Contract:
M's are about to sign a TV contract with FSN for 10 years around $300 million dollars ( USSM suggests that because the M's are one of the more profitable franchises, we should have a Mariner's network to hide profit for profit-sharing ( I agree with this, because doing this seems like the next big thing. A decade ago it was building big stadiums that had luxury boxes, and designs built to make money, now it could be having your own networks. If FSN is paying Houston $600 million for 15 years of NBA and MLB, than $300 million sounds reasonable to me, so I don't agree that the M's could get more. I always hate when fans think they know everything. Sure management gets stuff wrong when evaluating player talent, but I"m pretty sure the guys at Fox and the Mariners know what the TV contract is worth, and what good business relationships are worth. I'm going to trust that the deal is the best thing for both sides.
Seahawks and Briggs:
Drew Rosenhaus apparently mentioned Seattle as a possible destination for Lance Briggs according to s Seattle PI article ( Though the article bashes the idea, I think if we have the money, go ahead and do it. LeRoy Hill is more of a "playmaker" in the sense that he gets sacks and ints, but he isn't a solid steady presence for tackling short routes and runs around the tackles (though he does have the skills do do this). With Peterson already filling that role, a guy like Briggs would help. he only had 2 sacks and 1 int, but is regarded by some as a top 5 defensive player behind Champ Bailey, Jason Taylor, Brian Urlacher, and Shawne Merriman. I already think we have the best linebacking trio in the league, but this could put us in contention for best ever. Our line problem is a different story, and if Tubbs is out for longer due to injury, drafting or signing a big DT (350 pound big, none of those undersized Darby-like DT) would really solidify our run defense.
Josh McRoberts:
Josh McRoberts is going to the NBA. If everyone who is border-line to declare declares, then he'll be a late lottery pick I think. I certainly wouldn't pick him though. If Hansbrough, who most agree will be nothing more than a Corliss Williamson type dominates him every time they match up, how will he do against guys like Bosh, Jermaine O'Neal, and even Troy Murphy? I personally think Hansbrough could be a poor man's Malone (lifts a lot, great work ethic, never-ending motor, good feel for the game), but I'll talke about that during my March Madness post. I've seen his flashes of brilliance, and I have to say that he could be very good. He is a very good dunker, I believe he got 2nd in the HS dunk contest, he is a great passer when he wants to be, he has an outside shot, and he can be a block machine, but he makes too many mental mistakes, doesn't have that killer instinct, and doesn't seem to take over. His freshman year, it made sense that he didn't do much because of JJ and Shelden, but this year he played almost the same role when every sign pointed toward him being "the Man" on the team. I don't know if another year at Duke would help, because I think the longer he stays in college, the more exposure his flaws will receive, but I do think he will be a bust. I'd say his ceiling is Bogut, median is Keith Van Horn right now, and cellar is Mark Madsen mixed with Fred Hoiberg. (Side note: Is it racist that I compared him to all white guys? No, thats what all the guys at ESPN and SI do anyways).
McCann's Deal:
Brian McCann signed a 6 year deal. Upon hearing 6 years, I figured it would be a Jose Reyes, David Wright, Chase Utley-type deal for about $50 or 60 million. Below market value, but since he didn't have much, if any, leverage for the next couple of years, the deal would be enough to make him happy. Well, the Braves got a steal because they signed him for just $26.8 million dollars. McCann hit .333 with 24 hrs in 130 games and his first full major league season and is only 23 years old right now. Anyways, good deal for the Braves, and McCann, being a Georgia native is probably just to be playing for his home team and getting a $4.4 million per year for the next 6 years.
Tubby Smith and Steve Alford Leave for "Lesser Schools":
Tubby Smith left Kentucky for Minnesota, and Steve Alford left Iowa for New Mexico. Kentucky is a traditional powerhouse up there with UNC, Duke, UConn, and Kansas, so it's weird that he's leaving. Tubby Smith has gone to the tournament 10 times in his 10 years at Kentucky, while going to the Elite 8 4 times. The fans do expect to much from him, and every time his team underachieves, fans call for his head, but Minnesota is a bottom feeder for major conference teams. He should have tried for a team like Michigan, where the pressure is also high, but has a better tradition, but I guess an annual salary of $1.8 million dollars with less pressure to succeed at such a high level is pretty enticing.
Alford left Iowa, a school he had built up to national prominence, for New Mexico, a school that was good with Danny Granger a few years ago in a "mid-major" conference. Alford won 2 Big Ten tournaments, and took Iowa to the Big Dance 3 times, so a coach of his reputation should have gone for better. Of course the salary isn't public knowledge yet, so that might have been a big factor.

Monday, March 19, 2007

NBA Draft rumors on ESPN

ESPN says that Brook Lopez will stay at Stanford. This is good and bad news. Good because he needs another year and would just sit on the bench like Swift or Sene anyways. Bad because the Pac-10 will be that much harder. Hopefully Arron Afllalo, Darren Collison, Marcus Williams, and Nick Young will leave early.
Durant is said to be 50-50 and my advice would be to just go to the NBA. He has nothing to prove in college (I don't believe that winning a championship proves anything, you need great teammates, luck for opponents in the tourney, and the tournament as a whole doesn't churn out the best team anyways). Sure he has stuff to work on, but not much. He could probably work on ball handling a bit, and put on a few pounds of muscle, but he might as well get paid to do it. The trade off is basically friendly atmosphere with schoolwork and class or tons of money. I think $10 million per year is worth more than another year of "the college experience". Can't wait to see which players declare and which don't, because this could affect Hawes' decision.
Another surprise is Kosta Perovic, who has been putting up big numbers apparently, and even though he's been on Chad Ford's draft list the past 3 or 4 years, he wasn't drafted last draft. Any 7 footer from Europe can get people to sign him, but this guy's only 22, so he should have several teams banging on his door.

Funny Article on Taj Gibson
There's an article on Taj Gibson and I thought it was funny because it says that he's a 21 year old freshman. That's kind of weird considering I'm a 21 year old Senior, but whatever.
Anyways, it thought that this quote was funny:
"He's very mature for a freshman," USC senior Lodrick Stewart said. "He has very long arms and can put the ball on the floor. He learned to understand that rebounding was going to be the key for him."
Of course he's mature, he's as old as a senior.
I also though that this quote was funny:
"I really didn't think it would take that long," Gibson said. "But there was a process I had to go through and it took a while. It seemed like forever, but I finally got the OK."
Yep, taking until you're 20 to go to college does seem like a long time.
I'm not trying to rip on Taj Gibson, because he seems like a nice kid, but the article seems dumb for praising him for no real reason.

Monday Morning Review Mar 19th

NCAA Tournament:
Ok, so the Huskies aren't in the tournament, but it's still one of the greatest sports events in the world, up there with the Superbowl and the World Cup (Sorry Olympics, you're not that interesting. In fact I'd probably put the Masters and Wimbledon before you).
My personal Final Four picks were: Florida, Kansas, G-Town, and Ohio State. I know, 3 number 1's, and a number 2, but I think that the 1 seeds, with UNC included, have too much NBA talent to not pick them. I only picked G-Town because they're on a roll, are playing great team ball, and they're bracket is so hard with UNC, Texas, and USC, I figured UNC would struggled against USC/Texas while Georgetown would breeze past WSU/Vanderbilt.
All the number one seeds made it to the Sweet Sixteen, as they should. Ohio State needed a miracle three to get into overtime, but Conley took over in overtime and pulled OSU up big even with Oden out. UNC looked like it had a tough time against Michigan State, but eventually they're 4 or 5 NBA caliber players led by Psycho T pulled it together in the end to take over the game. Kansas had some trouble with Kentucky, but I think Kentucky's a real good team, especially for a 8 seed. Kansas, like UNC, just has too much talent to lose this early. Florida also had a scare against Purdue, but Horford and Brewer just took over in the end.
They're haven't been too many upsets so far, but UNLV beat Wisconsin, Virginia Commonwealth beat Duke, and Winthrop beat Notre Dame, though most people probably predicted the ND upset. I'm not surprised that Duke got upset because VC had a great record, even though they played nobody, so it's hard to tell how good they are, and I'm not surprised that Wisconsin lost because without Brian Butch, the Badgers have no inside presence, and the scoring is left to just Taylor (who looks like Chris Rock to me) and Tucker.
For the Pac-10, Stanford got crushed by Louisville, but Louisville is an underachieving team, while Stanford is an overachieving team that barely made the tournament so while most people poitn that out as the Pac-10 being undeserving of 6 bids, I say it's one game, and the odds were severely stacked against Stanford. Louisville also played right next door while Stanford had to travel 3,000 miles. Oregon, UCLA, and USC breezed through the first round, even though USC had to played Texas, a favorite among the lower seeds making it to the Final Four. WSU fell victim to tough scheduling and lack of offense. They had to play ORU, probably by far the toughest 14 seed, and then they had to play Vandy, a team that was on fire earlier in the season. Lastly, Arizona lost to Purdue despite having possibly the best starting lineup in college basketball. I don't know if it's Lute Olsen, or if it's Mustafa Shakur's poor play down the stretch, but Arizona quietly went about as one of the biggest dissapointments of the season.
Bloomquist is on fire still, hitting around .450. Lots of people are calling for Morrow to start sometime this season. Felix looked up and down yesterday, he struck out 6 in 6 innings of work, and had 8 GB to 1 FB, but sucked it up for an inning, thought it was partially due to bad defense apparently.
People I'm worried about from what has happened in Spring Training are: Jeff Weaver, Richie Sexson, Jeremy Reed, Chris Reitsma, and Kenji Johjima. Weaver's stuff is looking flat apparently, Richie can't hit crap right now (he better not hit .200 for 2 months like last year), Reed is playing horrible when we need him to play well for trade bait, Reitsma is awful and Hargrove will probably use him a lot because he is a veteran, and Johjima is not throwing anyone out apparently.
People I'm excited about are: Ichiro!, Adrian Beltre, Jose Vidro, Felix, HoRam, and George Sherrill. Ichiro! is looking great, and this might be his last year, AB has been having some good at-bats and is looking like he could hit 35 hrs, Vidro isn't looking like such a bust, though Snelling hit the snot out of the ball doesn't help, Felix should be dominating this year, HoRam is looking solid, especially since I've heard rumors that Soriano can't hit 90 on the radar right now, and Sherrill is now veteran enough that barring injury, he should have a great year and tons of innings.
Coming up: Football Mock Draft and scouting report, though it won't be amazing because the Seahawks don't have a first round pick.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Looking to the Off-Season

Following a string of close losses that could have brought them back into the playoff picture had they gone the other way, the SuperSonics are looking like a team ready to pack it in for the year. It's unfortunate that this injury-riddled season didn't end up being more fruitful, as it may be the last that Rashard Lewis has in a Sonics uniform. The Sonics are 25-40 as of me writing this, and assuming they don't go on a 14-3 or so run to end the season and claim the 8th seed in the Western Conference, I think this is an ample time to begin discussing possible off-season maneuvers and draft picks they could make to improve their chances for the 2007-2008 season.

When the draft rolls around, the Sonics will likely have somewhere between the 5th and 10th pick. Granted, we do not know which underclassmen will declare for certain yet, but guesses can be made. So who should the Sonics draft with their first round pick?

If the pick is as high as #5, Joakim Noah may still be available, and would be a great draft pick, as he seems close to NBA-ready, can block shots and can rebound.

Yi Jianlian is another option at #5, but we need another undeveloped foreign center like a hole in the head.

If the pick is closer to #9 or #10, the Sonics should take a look at Georgetown's Jeff Green, who plays excellent wing defense for someone his size (6'8", 225), and with Luke, Ray and Rashard, any defense improvement is welcome. He could immediately supplant Gelabale or even Wilkins, as he is not as much of a liability on the offensive end.

In the second round, the Sonics could take advantage of the stock-drop of Nevada's Nick Fazekas, who could possibly be the reincarnation of Vladimir Radmanovic, but with some semblance of a defensive game. He'd need to bulk up a little, but should he drop to the second round, the Sonics would be stupid to pass on him.

As for when camp starts, the Sonics should make sure to invite Aaron Brooks, who will likely go undrafted because of his size. Still, if Ridnour or Watson moves because he wants to start on another team, Brooks could possibly be molded into a decent backup point guard.

Well, that's it for now, but I'll be posting more in the future.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thursday Morning Review March 15th

I've been on Spring Break with no internet, so this post is delayed.
Huskies performed admirably in the Pac 10 tournament.
We struggled a bit against ASU in the beginning, then dominated them in the end. As
Usual, it was the Brockman and Hawes show with 16 10 and 13 and 9 performances. Dentmon performed reasonably well, and Appleby sucked, but at least made his free throws in the end. Our rebounding was the difference, and the game was important because we won a non-home game.
The next game, we played WSU for the third time in an "apple cup". Brockman played real well with 13 and 8, but Hawes was horrible, getting early fouls and only getting 6 and 5. Dentmon played loose and reckless, though he did show spurts of goodness by having the ability to drive adn get a foul call. The biggest surprise of all was Artem Wallace, who played awesome when Hawes was sitting. This bodes well for next year if Hawes leaves, though it will leave us short anyways because he is only 6'8" and Brockman is only 6'7".
The Huskies then inexplicably get screwed over and don't even get an NIT bid. This is inexcusable I think, and I don't think we should go to the Pre-NIT tournament next year. I'm pretty pissed off for this season, but excited for the next season with older more mature players and a new class of freshman.
Since the 4th of this month, we won against Charlotte and New York, but then lost 4 in a row to Phillie, Boston, Toronto, and Detroit. I previously advocated losing the rest of the games, but I don't know if this is the best strategy anymore. Reasons being, if we don't have Rashard back, I don't know if anyone short of Oden or Durant will be enough to save the franchise.
Also, I don't know how good the next draft will be because the players that that make up the top 15 are looking more likely to stay in college. Oden has said that he will probably stay, Durant's father said that he is not guaranteed to go to the NBA, Julian Wright said that he promised his parents a degree, and is currently on pace to graduate in 3 years, Hawes is not guaranteed to go (Or at least I hope he doesn't leave), Noah might stay another year (He did it last year), the same goes for Horford and Corey Brewer, Brook Lopez still has much to learn and might want to stay with his brother for another year, DJ Augustin might stay if Durant stays, and the list goes on.
Back to the Sonics, Petro has been looking great as of late, so we might not need a new center, or we can possibly use him to trade up.
Seahawks have had a good off season so far. We signed two safeties, Deon Grant to 6 years $30 million, and Brian Russell. This is good because Hamlin is gone, and Grant is a coverage safety that we needed. We cut Wistrom, who is a shell of his former self and just an extra player because of Kerney, but I liked his run defense, his leadership, and his motor, and I think we should have kept him because our 4some of DE would have been formidable I think. We then signed Marcus Pollard, a solid veteran TE the day Jerramy Stevens got a DUI and marijuana possession. We also resigned Blocking TE Will Heller and OL Floyd Womack. We only really need TE, CB, and OL, and all those we just need depth in. I don't know much about the draft so far, but I think we should draft Michael Allan at TE, because he is a Washington product with good attitude, and he is a hard worker who seems like he is just starting to realize his potential.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Bill Simmons blog today

Bill Simmons just mentioned the Huskies and Hawes in his article today: http://
Here is what he had to say
"The bigger issue: Every time I watch the Bruins, I say to myself, "They're one big guy short." The Huskies were a bad matchup because of seven-foot center Spencer Hawes (13 points, 15 boards) and 260-pound forward Jon Brockman (20 points, 13 boards). UCLA could have handled one of them, but it couldn't handle both at the same time. Now, it's possible for the Bruins to sneak through the entire tournament without facing an opponent that features two talented low-post players ... but I doubt it. Let's say they land in the same bracket with UNC and have to play the Tar Heels to make the Final Four. Is there any way they're stopping Hansbrough AND Brandan Wright? No way. I don't see any way they'd beat the Tar Heels unless their guards shot the lights out.
7. One more note on the Huskies: They're your typical Pac-10 team (good at home, awful on the road, one good player short ... although Arizona is the complete opposite and somehow just as flawed). I don't see Washington doing anything in the tournament (if it even makes it). But Hawes has been growing on me all season.
When Chad Ford tossed him into his top 10 earlier in the season, naturally, I was dubious because we've been burned so many times by white centers: Eric Montross, Chris Mihm, Shawn Bradley, Evan Eschmeyer, Alec Kessler, Greg Ostertag, Todd Fuller, Mike Doleac, Scot Pollard (it's an endless list). ... Best-case scenario, you might end up with someone like Chris Kaman or Joel Przybilla (both of whom were top-10 picks). Still, Hawes has a variety of post-up moves; he can score with either hand; he's a surprisingly good athlete and an excellent passer; he plays with genuine fire; he's a good shot blocker; and he runs the floor well for a big guy. He brings more to the table than any non-black, non-Euro center prospect since Raef LaFrentz in 1998. There's just a lot to like with the Hawes package -- he's like a talented Chris Mihm.
At the same time, Chad just moved Hawes to No. 4 on his top 100, arguably his biggest reach on since he was advocating Pavel Podkolzine for the top five three years ago. Again, I like Hawes as a prospect ... but over Jo Noah and Julian Wright? That's insane. I can't wait to exchange angry e-mails all week with Chad about this. Look, we haven't seen a white, U.S.-born center make the All-Star team since Brad Miller. Before that, it was Mark Eaton in 1989 ... and he was 7-foot-6. Before that, you'd have to go back to Kevin McHale and Bill Laimbeer. Now we're sticking a white center into the top five of the most loaded draft of the decade? I'm going out on a limb and calling this a horrific mistake. "

Ok, so Hawes is amazing. What are the chances that UCLA will run into a team with two great low post players? Besides Washington, who has two lost players as good as Brockman and Hawes? UNC with Wright and Hansbrough, Stanford with Lopez, Lopez, and Finger, and that's it. Kansas has Wright and Kaun, but they're not quite on the same level. Brockman and Hawes are the cream of the crop, and saying that UCLa can't handle big men is unfair. If Brockman were 6'10", Hawes would go in the top 7 and Brockman would go in the top 20.

I like how Hawes is so good that it has Simmons questioning if white centers can ever be good again. Simmons also brings up a good point in that Wright will probably stay one more year to graduate. Also never mentioned is the fact that both Budinger and Lute Olsen have said that Budinger will almost definetley stay another year.
This mock conversation between Oden and Durant if they were in the Princess Bride is hilarious too.
""Greg Oden: You are wonderful."
Kevin Durant: Thank you; I've worked hard to become so."
Greg Oden: I admit it, you are better than I am."
Kevin Durant: Then why are you smiling?"
Greg Oden: Because I know something you don't know."
Kevin Durant: And what is that?"
Greg Oden: I ... am not left-handed.
(Tears the wrist guard off his right hand and immediately takes over the game.)"

At the end of the article, Simmons predicted that Santa Clara, would upset Gonzaga, and he was wrong thank god. If Heytvelt were still playing, I think Gonzaga would be a top 10 team on talent. They have a top 10 pg in the nation in Raivio, a top 20 big man in Heytvelt (top 10 if you count big men as 6'10" or above), and an amazing sf in Micah Downs, not to mention tons of hard working role players like Pendergraft, Pargo, and Sean Mallon.