Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Thursday Debate: Jose Reyes or Hanley Ramirez?

There's a little segment on here called Thursday Debate... today we look at which SS you would rather have on your team, Jose Reyes or Hanley Ramirez?

Based on media hype, this race isn't even close... Jose Reyes is the guy that gets the most publicity and is more well known (if you don't believe me, check out the All-Star voting totals, where so far Reyes is first among NL SS and Ramirez is not in the top 5). But both are under 25 and doing fantastic things for their teams.

But who is better?

First, a look at last year's numbers. Both were fantastic and have some awards to prove it, as Reyes was an All-Star and Ramirez was the NL Rookie of the Year. Jose Reyes batted an even .300 with a .354 OBP, but also showed solid power and a .487 SLG, as he had a very good 66 XBH (30 2B, 17 3B, 19 HR). This was good for an OPS+ of 118. He also stole 64 bases with an excellent 79% success rate. He had 6.27 RC/27.

Ramirez was no slouch either. All he did was bat .292 with a nearly identical (to Reyes) .353 OBP and .480 SLG, as he had 74 XBH in 2006 (46 2B, 11 3B, 17 HR). This was good for a 116 OPS+. He wasn't quite as good of a base stealer as Reyes, but he did steal 51 bases with a 77% success rate. He had 6.00 RC/27.

So looking at the numbers, at least offensively, they were nearly identical in value, though Reyes was maybe slightly better with the extra stolen bases.

In 2007, however, Ramirez has been better so far in my opinion. Both have been awesome, but here are their numbers:

Jose Reyes - 311 BA/395 OBP/474 SLG/869 OPS/136 OPS+/28 SB (84% success), 7.02 RC/27
Hanley Ramirez - 317 BA/392 OBP/510 SLG/902 OPS/144 OPS+/15 SB (78% success), 7.16 RC/27

From the looks of things, Ramirez is hitting for more power than Reyes, and Reyes is again stealing more bases. If you look at RC or OPS+, Ramirez has the slight edge, while Reyes holds a slight edge in VORP.

Age is nearly a wash, as Reyes is only about 6 months older than Ramirez.

If given a choice, I think I might have to take Hanley Ramirez. Reyes creates a little more havoc on the basepaths, but I think Ramirez might have a little more power. He has shown it this year, and he had a little more power in the Minors than Reyes did. At the very least, the two are really, really awesome and really close in value. Reyes may get the most publicity, but Ramirez is one of the best young talents in the MLB.

Who would you choose? Please cast a vote and then your reasons in the comments.

Who would you rather have on your team?
Jose Reyes
Hanley Ramirez

Cavs even the series

Some quick thoughts from Game 4:

- This is like deja vu for the Pistons. Last year, after game 2 of the 2nd round, their offense was kind of stagnant for the rest of the playoffs. This year, they dominated the first 2 games against Chicago, and then it was a struggle the rest of the series. Against Cleveland, they have really struggled all series, barely hanging onto the 2 games at home. Last year this all caught up with them in the conference finals, as Miami went on to win the series. This year, I kinda think the same thing will happen... I like Cleveland in 7.

- I am starting the think the Cavs are actually a better team without Larry Hughes (he only played 16 minutes because of injury). They're not as strong defensively without Hughes, but I think their offense is a little better.

- Where is the Chauncey Billups that was always the clutch performer at the end of games? To be blunt, he sucked at the end of this one. First the bad pass and foul, then the awful pull-up 3 on the fast break. Those were two killer plays.

- LeBron making a couple of clutch free throws! Yay!

- I'm not an NBA head coach, but I think Detroit should have at least tried to guard Drew Gooden in the corner. He killed them from there in the last few minutes of the 4th.

- More and more I think that whoever wins this series is going to get lambasted in the Finals... the only hope is if Cleveland wins and LeBron single-handedly makes things interesting. We'll see.

What are your thoughts on the game that was?

Monday, May 28, 2007


With the weather getting nicer, admittedly I'm spending less and less time watching sports and more time, you know, outside doing stuff and enjoying the Memorial Day weekend. So I'll just post my thoughts on some different topics of sports conversation over the weekend.

- First, the Western Conference has been a lot better all year long, and the first 2 rounds of the playoffs were worlds more exciting in the West than the East, but I have found a little more interest in Pistons/Cavs than Jazz/Spurs. Utah and San Antonio is probably a little better played, but the other series has a guy named LeBron James. For all of the slacking LeBron has done this year, he has still turned it on for the playoffs and he's still the most exciting player to watch in the NBA.

- Just to clarify, the fact that LeBron can do things like this is a big reason why he's so great to watch.

- This doesn't even really need to be said, but if you're bored, just go to Fire Joe Morgan and read. Definitely one of the most consistently entertaining sites on the interwebs.

- As more and more evidence piles up against Mike Vick and his knowledge of the dogfighting ring, I hope Roger Goodell is proactive (like he was with Pac-Man Jones) and suspends Vick, even if the law hasn't filed charges yet or the case is still pending. I think he will, and I think that will be the right move.

- I took Roger Clemens in my fantasy baseball drafts at the start of the year with the expectations that he'd be back, so from that standpoint it was good to see that after two OK starts, he was very solid in his AAA start, tossing 6 scoreless innings. But don't get me wrong, the Yankees still suck a lot.

- For the record, of all of the Thursday Debates I've done, I still think the question about who is the 2nd best PG in the NBA is still the most intriguing one. I've still going with Chris Paul, but it's tough to argue with Pacifist Viking who likes Jason Kidd as the best PG in the NBA.

- Spurs lead the series 3-1... assuming their ticket is punched (and I don't see any way the Jazz will win 3 straight), here's hoping the Cavs join them in the Finals.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Mock Draft 1.0

With the Lottery complete, it's time for my first version of a Mock Draft, at least for the Lottery picks. This will certainly change many times before the draft, but the early bird does get the worm.

1. Portland Trailblazers - Greg Oden, Ohio St.
Oden is the pick here. They do have some frontcourt depth, but Oden is just too good to pass up. He'll immediately be great defensively, and is offensive game is coming along very well. They may have to trade Zach Randolph, but Blazers fans should be very happy with Oden in the middle for a long, long time.

2. Seattle Supersonics - Kevin Durant, Texas
Durant was again the obvious pick here, especially since it looks like Rashard Lewis will opt out of his contract as expected. Durant is easily the 2nd best and most talented player in this draft, and might even save the franchise in Seattle.

3. Atlanta Hawks - Mike Conley, Ohio St
After passing up a bevy of point guards over the past couple of years, the Hawks need to take Conley here even if it's a little high for him. Conley's the best PG prospect in the Draft, and with his quickness offensively and defensively, combined with his excellent passing and decision making skills, Conley looks like a pretty safe bet to be very good in the NBA.

4. Memphis Grizzlies - Brandan Wright, North Carolina
I think the Grizz will go for the best player available, and that is probably Brandan Wright. He is supremely athletic for his size, and will help out the frontcourt. He probably won't contend for Rookie of the Year, but as long as he gets time to grow (and remains motivated) he has the talent to be the 3rd best player from this class.

5. Boston Celtics - Al Horford, Florida
With Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge's jobs possibly on the line this year, I think they'll look at Horford, who will be able to help them out more immediately than someone like Yi Jianlin. Horford is perhaps the most polished big man in the draft and will immediately contribute in the NBA.

6. Milwaukee Bucks - Yi Jianlin, China
TSF wrote about Jianlin a few days ago, and he really is an interesting prospect. He's extremely skilled, but he's really skinny and a little raw, which will probably leave him a couple of years away from being a major contributor. If you'll recall, the Bucks were the team to take Dirk Nowitzki and then trade him for Tractor Traylor... I don't think they'll make the same mistake again.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves - Corey Brewer, Florida
Kevin Garnett isn't getting any younger, and so the Wolves need someone to help soon. Brewer is very versatile and can do just that. He is the best wing defender in the draft, and he's also a good outside shooter that can take it to the hoop soon. He'd be a nice fit alongside KG.

8. Charlotte Bobcats - Julian Wright, Kansas
The Bobcats have lots of young talent, and Wright would fit right in with that. The thing that is so good about him is that he is extremely versatile... he's very skilled handling and passing the ball, so he can play sort of a point forward. He's also a solid rebounder and defender, and might even be able to play a little bit at the 4. That versatility is nice for a team with so many young guys trying to fit together.

9. Chicago Bulls - Spencer Hawes, Washington
The Bulls need a big man that can score, and with Roy Hibbert withdrawing his name from the draft, Hawes is the guy that most fits the bill here. Hawes doesn't have the athletic skill of some others, but he's really talented, sort of in a Brad Miller way. He might not be a star in the NBA, but he can be a solid contributor, which is all the Bulls need.

10. Sacramento Kings - Jeff Green, Georgetown
Another one of those guys that just does a little bit of everything. He is a decent shooter, but he's also a solid rebounder and interior defender. And for good measure, he's one of the best passers in this draft.

11. Atlanta Hawks - Joakim Noah, Florida
This is a bit of a drop for a guy that would have been a top 3 pick last year, but this draft is just a lot deeper. People like to point out Noah's flaws (such as that he can't really create any offense for himself), but he does a lot of things well. He brings lots of energy, he's a very solid rebounder, shot blocker, and help defender. If he falls this far, it'd be a good pick for Atlanta at 11.

12. Philadelphia 76ers - Al Thornton, Florida St.
The 76ers are more in need of a pure PF, but Thornton is the best player available at this point. He's a very athletic guy that might be able to play a little 4 (in the Shawn Marion mold), but he'll continue with the athleticism in place with guys like Andre Iguodala and Rodney Carney.

13. New Orleans Hornets - Thaddeus Young, Georgia Tech
With Desmond Mason departing, Young is the kind of athletic swingman that can replace him and play alongside Peja. He had some problems with inconsistency, but he is very talented on the wing. Playing alongside Chris Paul, he should become a very good player (though it'll take a little while) in New Orleans.

14. Los Angeles Clippers - Acie Law, Texas A&M
Law reminds me a lot of Sam Cassell, and I think he'll have the chance to play with him in LA. With the future of Shaun Livingston a little uncertain, the Clips could use a PG and Law is the 2nd best one in this draft. He's solid defensively, handles the ball well, and is not afraid to take the big shot.

What do you think?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thursday Debate: DH or no DH?

This is another part in the continuing segment on Complete Sports called Thursday Debate. Today let's look at whether or not you like the DH.

The MLB question... do you like the DH or not? Purists will likely say the DH is bad, while non-purists like the boost that the DH brings.

Another thing that I have found is that whether or not you like the DH depends a lot on what your favorite team is and what style of baseball you grew up watching. If you are a fan of a team in the AL and have mostly watched American League games, I think you are more likely to enjoy the DH. If you are a fan of an NL team and mostly have watched National League games, I think you might prefer the pitchers batting.

Certainly it's easy to appreciate both styles of play. In the NL, there is a bit more strategy involved, with things like double switches, whether to pinch hit for the pitcher or not, etc. In the AL, there is an increase in offense and more of a threat 1-9 in the order.

I think I generally follow the guideline I set forth earlier. I am a fan of the Minnesota Twins, and have basically grown up watching American League baseball. As such, I like the DH. For me, I'd rather see a DH bat rather than a pitcher try to flail away at the plate.

I can certainly see how you would prefer it the other way, but for my money I'll take the DH.

But what about you? Do you like the DH? I'd be really interested to see your vote and see your reasons in the comments.

Which do you like better?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tim Linceum: Darkhorse Cy Young Candidate?

This is a little early (with only 4 career starts), but premature hype is what we're all about here at Complete Sports.

Anyway, consider this me officially being the first to hype Tim Lincecum as a possible Cy Young candidate. Obviously, with any young pitcher there are injury risks, but as long as he stays healthy I think he has the talent to win the Cy Young as a rookie, like Liriano might have been able to do last year.

Linceum struggled in his first start on national TV against the Phillies, lasting only 4.1 IP and allowing 5 ER. Since then, he has been lights out. Here are his 2 starts since:

5/11 - 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 K, 1 BB
5/17 - 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 10 K, 1 BB
5/22 - 8 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 K, 1 BB

Not bad.

Through 4 starts he's 2-0 with a 3.08 ERA. He also has 25 K/8 BB in 26.1 IP, and has allowed only 3 HR in those 26.1 IP. He's striking out batters are a very good rate, not walking many guys (only 3 BB in his last 22. IP over 3 starts).

In short, I think he has the ability to be one of the top pitchers in the League this year as long he can stay healthy. His minor league track record is fantastic, and he has been brilliant in the Majors since his first start. Twice he has gone head to head with Roy Oswalt, and the results have been great.

When Lincecum is one of the top contenders for the Cy Young this year, well, you heard it here first.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fantasy Baseball Sleepers

About a quarter of the way into the season, it's time to take a look at some fantasy baseball sleepers.

Ryan Doumit (C/1B/RF) - He's not very known because he plays for the Pirates, but he is a solid fantasy player right now. So far this year he is hitting for a very high average while maintaining a good eye at the plate and hitting for power. In 76 ABs he has 10 doubles and 3 HR, good for a .618 SLG. Add in that he is playable at catcher (at least in Yahoo! leagues) and that's a nice guy to have.

Dan Johnson (1B) - He was very solid 2 years ago, but after a mediocre season last year he was written off by a lot of people. However, he is now playing everyday and making the most of things. He has supplied superb power to go along with a great average so far and solid RBI numbers. He's not going to keep the average this high all season, but he should be a solid power threat as long as he remains in the lineup.

Reggie Willits (OF) - Getting his shot in Anaheim with Garret Anderson out, he is making the most of things. He's not going to provide power, but he has hit for a good average and has tons of speed. So far he's got a .352 AVG with 10 SB in 34 games, which is really good for a relatively low profile player.

Tim Linecum (SP) - He'll probably be gone in most competitive leagues, but if by chance he's not then pick him up immediately. After keeping his ERA under .30 in AAA, he struggled in his first start in the Majors. His next 2 starts, however, have been sterling, especially his recent one, where he allowed only 1 unearned run in 7 innings to go along with 10 K. He should be a good source of K's along with a very good ERA and WHIP.

Pat Neshek (RP) - Neshek is a guy that doesn't give you wins or saves (being that he's a middle reliever), but he'll help in other areas. He's pitched 20 great innings so far and can help you. His ERA is 1.35, his WHIP is under 1, and he strikes out nearly 11 batters per 9 innings. He did the same thing last year after he got called up, so he can be a definite help to your team.

Who else is a good value right now?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Conference Finals Predictions

The conference finals are here! It's safe to say that my predictions haven't exactly been wildly successful thus far, but, well, persistence is key.

Cavs vs. Pistons
This was a surprisingly close series last year, with the Cavs nearly beating Detroit in 6 before succumbing to the Pistons in 7 games. This year, I think both teams are a little better. LeBron James could stand to try a little harder all the time, but he's still the most gifted player athletically in the League. For Detroit, everything is flowing better. They are getting more ball movement, more everything offensively, and that is making them a better team. If LeBron becomes Superman like he can be during this series, the Cavs have a good shot at winning it. However, I think the Pistons learned something from letting the Bulls back into the last series. PISTONS IN 6.

Jazz vs. Spurs
Everyone seems to be giving this series to the Spurs, but the Jazz are pretty darn good too. They won Game 7 in Houston, then took care of Golden State in a surprisingly quick fashion. They've got great balance, solid defense, great rebounding, and Deron Williams is huge at the PG spot. I think the Jazz are the second best team left in the playoffs. Unfortunately, they're going up against the best team left. The Spurs were kinda my thought to win it all before the playoffs began, and I've seen absolutely nothing to change my mind. They score in a multitude of ways, and they are the best defensive team in the NBA. Utah will have enough to make it a very good series, but the Spurs are a little too good, I think. SPURS IN 6.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thursday Debate: Should Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw have been suspended?

I've got a new thing on here called the Thursday Debate... since it's Thursday, we have another one. Funny how that works.

This has really been talked and talked about, but I thought it might be interesting to pointedly ask the question and add the poll at the end... should these two guys have been suspended for Game 5?

In my opinion, I think the suspensions were warranted. Both players clearly violated the rule, and they should be suspended for it. They both obviously knew about the rule... and for those that claim that it's just a natural reaction and they couldn't stop themselves, well, I would argue that everyone else on both benches was able to.

Let me also mention that I don't like the rule... I think and I hope it will be revised some in the offseason. But that's not the point. The rule is in place, and you can't amend that rule just because the guys are important to the Suns and it's a great series that was greatly affected by the suspensions.

Also, I didn't really see the Tim Duncan thing as being comparable at all. People are saying that if Amare and Diaw are suspended, why wasn't Duncan? Well, Duncan took 2 steps towards a teammate on the ground during a non-altercation... I didn't see that as at all similar to the Suns players running 20+ feet towards an altercation.

In my opinion, the rule is flawed, and the fact that the suspensions wound up having an effect sucks... but, I agree with the decision to suspend them. Fact is, the rule is in place, they violated the rule, and bending the rules just because it's a great series is a dangerous precedent. So basically, I think this was the lesser of two evils.

But I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments and in the poll.

Should Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw have been suspended?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I Love TNT

I know this has basically been said ad nauseum, but it bears repeating... the NBA on TNT is awesome. It really it far, far superior to the NBA coverage on ESPN, or any sports coverage anywhere. Everything about the presentation is fantastic. The announcers themselves, the music, the postgame crew, even Craig Sager!

On Monday, they had Shaq in studio. I have to admit, I love the Big Aristotle. I know some don't like him that much, but I've always found him to be hilarious. Tonight, from what I watched of the studio guys (mostly postgame) he didn't add a ton, but it was still funny.

But that wasn't the only good thing. The nightcap (aside from being a great game) had Marv Albert and Steve Kerr announcing, simply the best announcing duo in the NBA. They are great. Working the sidelines was Craig Sager, who had some good stuff tonight. Here are a just a few quotes heard from just the end of the Spurs/Suns and the postgame show.

Craig Sager: "Robert Horry has made a lot of big shots over the course of his career, and some might call this a cheap shot."
Steve Nash: "Oh, good one."

(let me also mention I find Nash to be one of the most entertaining guys in the Association)

Craig Sager: "You looked like you got right up from the ground ready to fight."
Steve Nash: "Yeah I've been working on my guns."

Charles Barkley: "I can't believe he's making these passes left-handed and behind his back."
Ernie Johnson: "Yeah he's only been doing that the last 5 or 6 years."

Just everything about the NBA coverage on TNT is outstanding. The game coverage is far superior to ESPN's, and the pre/postgame crew just unspeakably good. They're constantly hilarious, but they can also be serious and talk about the games. It's a great mix.

To end I'll remember a moment from like last week, when (for some reason or another which they probably mentioned by I think I missed), Kenny Smith was not there for one of the shows. Of course, Charles doesn't miss this opportunity, and starts saying stuff like, "I am so glad you guys fired Kenny."

I am so glad for the NBA on TNT.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Weekend Basketball Action

My thoughts on each of the ongoing series':

Nets/Cavs - This series has some interesting and talented players, but I found that I haven't really gotten into it much. I think it's just the fact that it's in the Eastern Conference makes it less interesting. Regardless, the Cavs have taken a 2-1 series lead on the back of LeBron James, making Game 4 a must-win for New Jersey at home. If they fall behind 3-1 I'm not sure they'll be tough enough to come back. Of course, Jason Kidd is averaging a triple double so far this postseason, which is nice. My only thoughts are that I'm not sure either of these clubs will have the firepower to get by Detroit in the next round.

Pistons/Bulls - And yeah, Chicago may have won Game 4 by 15, but they've got no chance. I saw what I needed to in the 2nd half of Game 3... Detroit is just simply better right now. The score in a variety of ways (as opposed to just jumpshots for the Bulls), and I think they're a little better defensively right now.

Warriors/Jazz - The Jazz have taken a 3-1 lead right now, but I'm not quite ready to stick a fork in the Warriors quite yet. Assuming Jason Richardson isn't suspended for his flagrant foul, Golden State is more than capable of taking Game 5 in Utah. They had two great shots to win there in the first 2 games, and I don't think they'll be lacking any confidence just because they're down 3-1. The Jazz have been extremely impressive and obviously they're the overwhelming favorites right now, but this 3-1 series feels a lot different that the Chicago/Detroit series.

Spurs/Suns - The Spurs rallied to win Game 3, and that seemed to me like a pretty big blow for Phoenix. Phoenix just simply has no answer for Tim Duncan, who has been the most impressive player so far this postseason. Kurt Thomas is trying, but he's just not going to be able to slow him down. Duncan is averaging 32 and 15 so far against Phoenix, to go along with his phenomenal post defense. I love watching Phoenix play, but I just don't see them beating San Antonio 3 out of 4 times.

Your thoughts?

Friday, May 11, 2007

Random Thoughts

First off... school's out for the summer! FINALLY.

Anyway, other random sports thoughts on the day:

- Well it's one thing to be wrong, another to be dead wrong, and that's what I was about the Bulls/Pistons series. It's one thing to lose 2 games on the road, it's another to blow a 19 point lead at home in a virtual must-win. The future is obviously still bright in Chicago, but they don't have to wear shades quite yet.

- This rap might be the best thing ever.

- It appears that Dirk will be named the NBA MVP on Tuesday... obviously, I agree with Dirk as MVP. The MVP is a regular season award, and Dirk was simply the best player during the year. I don't buy the argument that the MVP has to come from a winning team, it was just a coincidence that the best player played on the best team. It usually doesn't work out that way.

- Utah @ Golden State Friday night... the series is 2-0, but (obviously) it has been absolutely fabulous.

- The evidence that Vick is lying about this dog fighting business keeps mounting. Good. If he really was involved (and all evidence seems to point in that direction), hopefully they can get some type of solid case against him.. and even if they can't hopefully Roger Goodell will step in with an iron fist.

(photo from Deadspin, because I just laughed out loud when I first saw that)

- As far as possible 17 games in the NFL regular season talk, I agree with Shot to Nothing... I like things as they are.

- Tiki Barbaro... this is freakin' hilarious. (found via The Big Picture)

Anything stick out to you on this sports Friday?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday Debate: Who is the 2nd best PG in the NBA?

I've got a new segment on here called Thursday Debate... this is the 3rd installment.

This is an interesting debate... who is the 2nd best PG in the NBA? Obviously this is assuming that we can all agree that Steve Nash is the best PG. I may not be high on Nash as MVP, but there's not much doubt in my mind that he is the premier PG in the NBA for different reasons.

So who is #2? The way I see it there are 7 candidates:

Tony Parker: Parker isn't a great scorer, but he has become a highly efficient offensive player. He doesn't take a lot of outside shots (only 38 attempts on the year), preferring to do most of his damage inside the lane. This has been a real effective thing for him, as he has shot over 50% each of the last 2 seasons.

Deron Williams: These playoffs have sort of been his coming out party, but he's been doing this type of stuff all season long. He finished 2nd in the NBA in assists with 9.3 per game, and also averaged over 16 PPG. He's also a pretty decent rebounder for a PG and a very good defender, and is developing a more consistent jumpshot. He has the quickness, vision, and all-around game to one day very soon be the best PG in the NBA.

Baron Davis: The playoffs has definitely been Davis' re-coming out party, as everyone sort of forgot about him for a couple of years. Honestly he's a threat to get injured at any time, but we've all seen what type of talent he has. He's quick off the dribble, has a very quick jumpshot, and like these other guys is a good passer. The other part of his game that's so good is his defense. He has shown that when he's healthy he is one of the best defenders at the PG position in the NBA.

Jason Kidd: He's getting older but he is still extremely effective. He's not a great shooter, but he's got a decent 3-point shot and he's pretty quick off the dribble. But more importantly is everything else that he does. He's probably the second best passer in the NBA, he's a great rebounder (over 8 per game this year!), and he's one of the best defensive PGs in the NBA.

Chauncey Billups: He wasn't quite as good this year as he was last year, but obviously he's still real good. The great thing about Chauncey is that even though he plays 36 minutes per game at PG, he only turns the ball over twice per game. That's fantastic, especially combined with the 7+ assists per game. Throw in the superb 3-point shooting and clutch performances, and he's a good candidate.

Gilbert Arenas: He's the best scorer on this list, but doesn't quite do as much as some of these other guys. He turns the ball over a relatively high amount of times compared to his assists, and he's not a great defender. But he's a solid shooter... and most importantly he gets to the line a lot. He averaged nearly 10 FT attempts per game which is one of the big reasons he's such an effective scorer.

Chris Paul: He's a guy that will probably always be compared some to Deron Williams because of the draft position, and he has not disappointed in his 2 years. He's extremely quick which allows him to get to the basket effectively. He was hurt some this year, but he was ridiculously good when he played. He averaged over 17 points per game to go along with 8.9 APG. He's also a pretty good rebounder with over 4 per game. His 3-point shot improved from 28% to 35% this year... if he can continue that he'll virtually be unstoppable.

This is extraordinarily tough choice that I have a hard time making. I would probably take Chris Paul right now, just because of his great all-around game... the shooting is coming along, quickness with the ball, great vision, and quick hands defensively. In only his second year, he has quickly moved up the charts.

But there is obviously room for disagreement here with lots of great choices. Who's your choice?

Who is the 2nd best PG in the NBA?
Tony Parker
Deron Williams
Baron Davis
Jason Kidd
Chauncey Billups
Gilbert Arenas
Chris Paul

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Jazz win Game 1

While I was studying (not the best method, but it works) I was fortunately able to catch game 1 between the Jazz and the Warriors, and it was pretty awesome. Quick thoughts.

- The Tony Parker/Steve Nash PG matchup is great in the other series, but this one is equally fascinating. Deron Williams had the upper hand tonight with 31 points and 8 assists, but Baron Davis was pretty darn good as well.

- Al Harrington, welcome to the playoffs. 21 points in Game 1... or 6 less than he had all series against Dallas.

- Also a Dee Brown sighting... good to see he's still doing what he does best, dribbling really fast so it looks like he's out of control, but going up for the tough layup in traffic on the fast break. He's made an art form out of that.

- Shades of the Andrei Kirilenko of old... 13 points, 7 rebounds, 7 blocks, 4 assists.

- I was really surprised that Utah matched the tempo of Golden State as much as they did. Of course, when you have Deron Williams, who's always in control, you can afford to do that and get away with it.

- That final play to put Utah ahead for good epitimizes the big advantage Utah has in this series... GS has nobody to match up with Carlos Boozer. 17 points, 20 rebounds, and he wasn't even that good offensively.

- The Western Conference playoffs are living up to the hype... Spurs/Suns game 1 was fantastic, and this one was equally exciting.

Back to studying for me... what did you think of Game 1?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Finals Suck

5 finals this week (including an 8 AMer in Money and Banking on Monday) means no time to write for me tonight... too much studying to do!

So wish me luck, though hopefully I won't need it!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

NBA 2nd Round Predictions

After a first round featuring one great series (game 6 notwithstanding, GS/Dallas was fantastic), one very good series (Houston/Utah), and 1 decent series (Toronto/NJ), and 5 boring ones, we're finally on to the second round. Here's my picks:

(1) Detroit Pistons vs. (5) Chicago Bulls
In the interest of full disclosure, game 1 has been played in this series at the time I write this. Detroit thoroughly dominated to take the 1-0 lead. This won't be how the entire series goes, as I think it should be pretty competitive. The Bulls couldn't score to save their life in game 1, but they shouldn't be so bad from here on out. Game 1 has me worried, but I'll stick with my original thoughts of Bulls in 7.

(2) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (6) New Jersey Nets
I'm not sure what to think. The Cavs have LeBron, but they weren't that impressive all year long and they were not at all impressive in round 1 (even though they swept). The Nets played pretty well in round 1, but I still have some reservations about this one. Nothing really would surprise me here... I'll just take the safe pick and go Cavs in 6.

(8) Golden State Warriors vs. (5) Utah Jazz
I actually think the Rockets would have been a lot better matchup for the Warriors. The Jazz are a little more athletic than Houston and therefore matchup better with Golden State. Still, as long as Davis' hamstring doesn't hamper him too much I still like Golden State in this series... the style is working on all cylinders right now for Nellie, and that home crowd is something else. Warriors in 6.

(2) Phoenix Suns vs. (3) San Antonio Spurs
I just think this will be an utterly fantastic series. Two great teams with completely contrasting styles of play. Either team is very talented, very well-coached, and they have to be the two favorites left to win the title. I kind of like the Spurs a little better, because I think they'll be able to slow the game down, and use their defense to get it to the pace they want. I think Tony Parker will be able to attack Steve Nash off the dribble, which will tire Nash down on the other end. I think the Spurs will have just enough... Spurs in 7.

What are your picks?

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Thorough Beating

That's really the best way to describe what happened on Thursday. The Warriors thoroughly beat and dominated Dallas in a shocking fashion. It's obviously not a big surprise that they pulled it out, but the manner in which they just broke Dallas down in the 2nd half was just not something I expected. Some thoughts:

- Obviously Dallas hung tight in the first half, but the Warriors were awesome in the 3rd. Tight defense and they were absolutely on fire. Of course, those things are almost a given when you go on an 18-0 run to effectively prematurely end the season of a 67 win team.

- The 3rd quarter was all about Golden State, but Dallas just gave up in the 4th. With the score 92-71 and 9 minutes left, I thought maybe there was a glimmer of hope for the Mavs. Then on one possession Richardson missed a shot, got his own rebound, gave it to Baron Davis who missed a 3, GS got the board again, and eventually Stephen Jackson was isolated on Maurice Ager and got the 3-point play. I think that was sort of the white flag for Dallas.

- Nothing really needs to be said about Baron Davis' game. Wow.

- With regards to Dirk, 2/13 sucks, but it happens. What I was more disappointed by was the total lack of aggression by him in the 2nd half. He was 1 for 4 from the field or something along those lines. 4 shots? In the elimination game? Are you kidding me Dirk? Golden State was playing great defense, but Dirk didn't even try to go to the hole.

- Don Nelson, bravo. Great coached series for him.

At this point, I like the Warriors to get to the conference finals, just because I think they'll have a good matchup with whoever they play. As long as the Davis injury isn't too serious, they're a threat to go all the way.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thursday Debate: Should Bert Blyleven be in the Hall of Fame?

I'm starting up a new segment here on Complete Sports called the Thursday Debate. This is the second installment, and deals with the question of whether or not Bert should be in the HOF.

Just for giggles, I'm going to give you the stats of 2 pitchers... one is in the Hall of Fame and generally regarded by sportswriters as one of the best pitchers of all time. The other is not in the Hall of Fame.

Player A: 324-292 overall record (.524 winning %), 3.19 ERA (3.57 was the League ERA over the same time period), 112 ERA+, 1.25 WHIP, 5714 K in 5386 IP, 2.04 K/BB ratio, 3.07 postseason ERA

Player B: 287-250 overall record (.534 winning %), 3.31 ERA (3.90 was the League ERA over the same time period), 118 ERA+, 1.20 WHIP, 3701 K in 4970 IP, 2.80 K/BB ratio, 2.47 postseason ERA

As you probably guessed, Player B was Bert Blyleven, who is still not in the HOF. Player A is Nolan Ryan, certainly an excellent pitcher, but also one of the most overrated pitchers of all-time.

If you look closely, I'm not sure Ryan is a better pitcher than Blyleven. When Ryan was on, he was great (strikeout record, 9 no-hitters), but he also has thrown more BB than anyone else ever. Ryan has the lower raw ERA, but he did it in a time where ERAs were generally lower, which results in a better ERA+ (ERA in relation to the League with 100 as the average) for Blyleven.

In the end, Nolan Ryan was the better strikeout pitcher and gave up less HRs than Blyleven, while Blyleven had much better control while still maintaining good strikeout dominance (higher K/BB ratio than Ryan. Both were very dominant when they were on their game... Ryan had 61 career shutouts, Blyleven had 60.

But there should be no need for this discussion. Both guys belong in the Hall. So how is Bert Blyleven, one of the top 20 or 30 pitchers EVER not in the Hall of Fame yet? Your guess is as good as mine. Bottom line, Bert Belongs.

Do you agree? Vote in the poll and/or post your argument in the comments. It seems almost universal among fans that Bert should be in, but apparently the voters don't agree.

Should Bert Blyleven be in the Hall of Fame?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

That was awesome

That was the most entertaining game of the postseason so far. Up and down, momentum changes, great coaching moves, the 67 win team playing for its life at home.

For all of the talk about Dirk not having the killer instinct (including lots of talk in the comments of my NBA MVP post!), Dirk was fantastic at the end of this game. Down 112-103, he hit 2 straight bombs, and then closed it all out with free throws at the end. Dallas went on a 15-0 run to end the game, and Dirk had 12 of those 15 points. He also had a key block, and got away with a blatant foul when he hit Richardson on the wrist shooting a 3. So that was nice.

But the fact that the Warriors were even in this game was a bit of a miracle. The Mavs had a 20 point lead in the first half and were looking great. Then all of a sudden the Warriors just picked up their defensive intensity and started hitting shots. A lot of shots. 16/35 from downtown.

The Mavs had 6 guys in double figures and even got a nice boost from Austin Croshere, who contributed 9 points. That was huge for them off the bench.

Game 6 is Thursday night. That really should be a fantastic game... Dallas will again be playing for their lives, and we all know about how good the Golden State crowd has been. The Warriors know that this is their best chance to win the series, and they'll be fired up. That could be an epic battle. I'll say this much... if it's going to top the excitement level from Game 5, it should be pretty special.