Saturday, June 30, 2007

Stephen A. Smith Heckled at the NBA Draft

I thoroughly enjoyed this last year, and they're back again heckling Stephen A. at the draft...

"Some people say you are the best forward since Slava Medvedenko."

And of course, the 2006 version:

Friday, June 29, 2007

NBA Draft, Winners, Losers, and things that confused me

OK, I have lots and lots of thoughts about the NBA Draft, but I'll try to condense it somewhat and just write down some things I liked, didn't like, and was a little confused by.

Things I Liked:
- The Oden and Durant picks - OK, these were really obvious choices, but sometimes you have to congratulate guys for not screwing up. Both guys are going to be stars sooner rather than later and should change both franchises around.

- The Knicks getting Zach Randolph - The concerns are certainly there (as were expressed by Dick Vitale), but on paper this is a fantastic deal for the Knicks. If Randolph can stay out of trouble, there's not a whole lot of 4/5 combos than Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph, with David Lee off the bench. And really, they didn't have to give up that much.

- The Bobcats getting Jason Richardson - Stephen A. Smith didn't seem to like this deal, but I thought it was pretty solid for the Bobcats. Richardson is a lot of money, but the Bobcats were under the cap. But Richardson is a really solid player and I think he turns them into a playoff team... Felton-Richardson-Wallace-Okafor-Brezec is a pretty nice starting lineup, especially in the East.

- Corey Brewer to the Timberwolves - Nice pick for the Wolves here... I think Brewer was definitely the best player left on the board and should immediately have an impact in Minnesota. Whether that impact comes with Kevin Garnett in town is yet to be determined.

- The foreign player picks - I thought a lot of teams had some really good picks of these foreign guys, and all of them were in the West. Bellinelli is a GREAT fit for the Warriors, Splitter is a typically excellent San Antonio pick, and the Blazers getting Rudy Fernandez for basically a couple million dollars is really nice as well. All really nice picks, especially later in the first round.

Things I Didn't Like:
- The Blazers end of the Randolph deal - I think they had to trade Randolph (if only to get him away from Oden), but I don't really like what they got out of it. Steve Francis was a bit of a problem child in New York, and he wasn't all that effective when he played. Channing Frye is a nice young player, but not great as the second piece for a very good post player.

- The Sonics taking Jeff Green - Green is a fine player, but when the Sonics got the 5 pick from Boston (more on that later) I was hoping for a little more. Green basically plays the same position as Durant and Rashard Lewis (who they have to be looking to resign now). Why not go for a guy like Corey Brewer, who can immediately take Ray Allen's spot? I didn't really like that pick. But again, it might not turn out so bad because Green is really talented.

- Aaron Brooks to Houston - I'm just not sure about this pick for the Rockets, especially since they already have Mike James, Rafer Alston, and Luther Head. Brooks is a really good shooter, and he's quick off the dribble, but is he really going to have that big of an impact with those other PGs?

- Alando Tucker to Phoenix - Tucker was a great college player and he brings some things to the table, but how does he fit in with Phoenix? He's not a really good outside shooter, and that's rather important in Phoenix's system. Really a strange pick, especially with guys like Gabe Pruitt and Derrick Byars still on the board. When asked about it, D'Antoni said they were impressed because he has good character and is a winner... those things are great, but is that the best you want from a first round pick?

Things that Confused Me:
- The Celtics trading for Ray Allen - I think it was a fair trade, and rumors like this have been floating around for a while, but why? Allen probably makes them a playoff team, but he's getting older and he's not going to lead them to the Finals. Again, I don't really think is a really bad move for Boston, because they didn't give up much other than the 5th pick, but the direction of this team just kind of confuses me some. But Pierce, Allen, and Jefferson should at least be fun to watch.

- Thaddeus Young to the 76ers - OK, this isn't a huge thing, but Young over Julian Wright and Al Thornton? Really?

- The Warriors trading Jason Richardson - Like the Boston deal, I don't think this is really bad for Golden State, but it confused me. The Warriors were a playoff team last year and look like an up-and-coming team, and I think this sets them back some. They must really like Michael Pietrus a lot. The good news, though, is that Brandan Wright is definitely a perfect fit for their system. He should fit great in their up-and-down style. But again, it's going to take a couple years, and Baron Davis is pretty fragile.

Who are your winners and losers?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More NBA Draft Thoughts

After giving my NBA mock draft yesterday, I figured I could post a few more thoughts of mine heading into the draft, because, well, that's sort of what this blog is for.

If I had a draft board, I would probably have it ranked something like this:
1. Greg Oden
2. Kevin Durant
3. Al Horford
4. Yi Jianlin
5. Corey Brewer
6. Mike Conley
7. Brandan Wright
8. Jeff Green
9. Joakim Noah
10. Al Thornton
11. Spencer Hawes
12. Julian Wright
13. Rodney Stuckey
14. Nick Young
15. Thaddeus Young

My Overrated List:
1. Acie Law - He was a fantastic player in college, but I do have some doubts about his pro potential. He is not that athletic (especially for a PG), and he doesn't have great range on his shot. I think he can be a solid player, but I'm not sure if he'll ever be a really good starting PG.
2. Javaris Crittenton - I do like him as the 2nd best pure PG in the draft, but I'm not sure he's worthy of going in the Lottery. He had some problems with decision making, though that might just be attributed to being a freshman in the ACC.
3. Julian Wright - He's kind of a poor man's Jeff Green in my mind. I do like his game, but he's not that big (strength wise) to play on the post, and his jumpshot is questionable. He does a lot of things really well, but again I'm not sure if he's suited to be a good NBA starter.

My Underrated List:
1. Rodney Stuckey - He's from Eastern Washington which makes some people dismiss him a little because of the competition, but I really like his game. He's a bit of a tweener, but there have been lots of guys like that having success in the NBA lately. I think he'd be a great pick for Detroit at 15, which is I think where he's headed.
2. Jason Smith - Not too many guys know him well, but he's an athletic big man who rebounds well and has decent range on his jumpshot.
3. Marco Bellinelli - The Italian who is pretty much ready to play right away. He's got a good jumpshot and has shown improved athleticism.
4. Jared Dudley - In the class of Paul Millsap and former teammate Craig Smith as far as really solid players that will contribute, but slip because the lack of athleticism. Dudley is a bit of a tweener, but he was just so productive, I can't see him NOT being a solid role player in the NBA.

Your thoughts?

Monday, June 25, 2007

NBA Mock Draft

With the draft finally just a few days away, it's time for the final edition of my mock draft. I'll just give my picks for the lottery, because things become a lot more complicated beyond that and I don't want to embarrass myself with the lack of success. Also, for other mock draft databases that have been kind enough to link to my first mock draft, check out the DC Pro Sports Report or Walter's Football Site, which both have extensive links to mock drafts.

Anyway, enough talking, on to the mock draft.

1. Portland Trailblazers - Greg Oden, Ohio St.
Draft Kevin Durant (an excellent blog) may disagree, but I have to think Oden is the pick here. As I wrote when I blogged about this last week, I think Oden is the right pick, though Durant wouldn't be bad. As long as they take one of those two, there is no bad pick here. I firmly believe that.

2. Seattle Supersonics - Kevin Durant, Texas
If Oden is the grand prize, Durant is a pretty good consolation. Durant comes into the league with an offensive skillset that we have NEVER seen before from someone his age. The perimeter jumper, the postup game, driving to the hoop, with his height and wingspan... I'm not sure we've ever seen something like this.

3. Atlanta Hawks - Al Horford, Florida
Almost everywhere I've read seems to think that Horford is the pick here, and I agree. He's the 3rd most ready to play, and he has all the tools to be an above average power forward. They should be able to address the PG position with the 11th pick, so with this you just have to go BPA, and that is Horford.

4. Memphis Grizzlies - Mike Conley, Ohio St.
I think they'd love to get their hands on Horford, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen. This could be a little dicey because they took Kyle Lowry last year, but they don't really have any other youth at that position. Conley probably isn't ready to be a starter right away, but he should be able to play some minutes there and be a good starter soon.

5. Boston Celtics - Corey Brewer, Florida
This is where a lot of the intrigue starts, because Boston could take Brewer, Yi, Jeff Green, or very possibly trade the pick (as has been rumored a lot). I kind of think they'll trade the pick, but if they do hang onto it I think Brewer will be the choice. He's ready to contribute right away on the wing and is the best option if they want to reach the playoffs next year, which all of the trade rumors would suggest.

6. Milwaukee Brewers - Yi Jianlin, China
It's a long-term option, but he could have one of the highest ceilings of anyone in the draft. There are concerns that he might be soft, or not NBA ready, but he's still a 7-footer with great range and skills. Milwaukee might not be the best fit for him, but I think he's the pick if he's still on the board here.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves - Jeff Green, Georgetown
There is a lot of talk that the Wolves like Noah as well, but Green is the more well-rounded player, and is a bit of a poor man's Garnett (without the defensive ability of KG). He's unselfish with the ball, is a good passer, and has pretty good range on his jumper. He'd be a nice fit alongside Kevin Garnett.

8. Charlotte Bobcats - Joakim Noah, Florida
Noah seems to fit the prototype that the Bobcats have... successful college players from successful college programs. People seem to be bashing Noah more than anyone else in this draft, but I think he's going to be a really nice role player. He's very solid defensively, has a high basketball IQ, and plays with tons of energy. Everyone can use a guy like that.

9. Chicago Bulls - Spencer Hawes, Washington
The offensive-skilled big man the Bulls need. Hawes is comfortable around the basket, which is something that the other big men can't really say right now. He's not going to be able to step in right away and start, but they don't need that. He'd be a great fit for the Bulls and another young piece for a talented team.

10. Sacramento Kings - Brandan Wright, North Carolina
Wright seems to be slipping every day with poor workouts and concerns about his motor, but he could be a steal if he drops this far. The concerns are certainly legitimate, but he is extremely talented. He is an athletic freak for a guy his size, and is a really good finisher around the basket.

11. Atlanta Hawks - Javaris Crittenton, Georgia Tech
There is a lot of talk lately about how the Hawks might be favoring Law, but I still think Crittenton will be the choice. He's a local guy, and even though he is not nearly as ready as Law, he probably has more potential and a higher ceiling.

12. Philadelphia 76ers - Al Thornton, Florida St.
Philly really needs a PF, but a super-athletic wing like Thornton would fit in great with guys like Andre Miller, Andre Iguodala, and Rodney Carney. Julian Wright or Jeff Green are also very strong possibilities here (especially if Green happens to slip here), but I think Philly would be pleased to get an athletic scorer like Thornton.

13. New Orleans Hornets - Nick Young, USC
Young is moving up the boards (even heard someone say Charlotte might be thinking about him at 8), but I think he will be the pick here. He fits the Hornets needs... an athletic 2 that can shoot and score. He'd be a perfect fit alongside Chris Paul.

14. LA Clippers - Acie Law, Texas A&M
With Cassell getting older and Livingston's future still a little uncertain, I think they'll take Law if he's still on the board (IE if Atlanta doesn't take him at 11). Julian Wright is another choice here, but Law is NBA ready and will help in the backcourt.

What are your thoughts? Which picks would you change around?

Friday, June 22, 2007

MLB Power Rankings

Well, with the draft still a little ways away and not much else going in the Wide World, I figured now was a good time to unveil a little bit of power rankings. Here's my top 10 as of now:

1. Boston Red Sox - Best record in the MLB, best pythagorean record in the MLB. Also, a fun fact is that they are 18-4 in day games so far this year.

2. Detroit Tigers - There offense has been far and away the best in the Majors so far this year, and the pitching should be helped with the return of Kenny Rogers. Sheffield and Ordonez might be the best 3-4 combo in baseball right now.

3. Los Angeles Angels - Pick up Reggie Willits in all of your fantasy leagues if he's still available. He's batting .344, takes a lot of walks, and steals a lot of bases (18 so far). Probably one of the best fantasy moves I have made all season.

4. San Diego Padres - Ladies and gentlemen, the best team in the National League. They easily have allowed the fewest runs of any teams in the Majors, and their middle of the pack offense should get a little boost with the addition of Michael Barrett. Kevin Towers is one of the most underrated GMs in the MLB.

5. Cleveland Indians - Unfortunately for my fantasy team, Travis Hafner has really struggled in the month of June. Unfortunately for myself as a Twins fan, it hasn't really mattered, as the Indians have continued to play well.

6. Oakland Athletics - Like San Diego, Oakland has an excellent pitching staff but a pretty mediocre offense. Unlike San Diego, they have another excellent team in their division and lots of competition for the wild card.

7. Los Angeles Dodgers - They've been a little lucky so far in 1-run games, but they are playing very good baseball. The pitching staff has especially been good, as they've allowed the 4th fewest runs in the MLB. That should help offset the loss of Jason Schmidt.

8. New York Yankees - I know they are only playing about .500 baseball, but they've had a lot of bad luck. They are a miserable 4-11 in 1-run games, and that tends to even out. When it does I expect the Yankees to be right back in the race.

9. New York Mets - They have been struggling a bit of late but it's not quite time to panic. The Phillies are playing very well right now but I do think the Mets are the best team in that division and will be the leaders when the year is all over.

10. Arizona Diamondbacks - They have been getting a little lucky (17-8 in 1-run games), but they are playing very solid baseball right now. I have some concerns about them staying so far above .500, but as of now 42-31 is a nice place to be.

What are your thoughts? Would you change anything up here?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday Debate: Would you take Greg Oden or Kevin Durant?

I've got a little feature on here called the Thursday Debate... today, let's look at who you would rather have on your team, Greg Oden or Kevin Durant?

This is the question that has been on everyone's mind for quite a while, and an issue I even looked at more than 4 months ago. I compared Oden to Alonzo Mourning and Durant to Dirk Nowitzki, but neither of those accurately sums up these guys' games.

With Kevin Durant, you have one of the most versatile offensive weapons ever to come into the NBA. That's not even exaggerating. He has a great touch from the outside, and with his height can get the ball off against almost any defense. He also has a quick first step and can get to the basket and finish. If that's not enough, he's also got a developing postup game in case you try to guard him with someone smaller.

But he's got a lot more to his game than just his scoring ability. He's unselfish with the ball. He's got great instincts and solid athleticism, which allowed to be in the top 5 in rebounds per game as a freshman. He also has long arms, which can make him a defensive force as that part of his game matures. He is a complete player, and can do things offensively we haven't seen before in one player.

Oden is the opposite. His defensive game is farther along than his offensive game, and his offensive ceiling is probably a little lower. But defensively he shines. I think that once he gets drafted he will immediately become one of the top 5 defensive centers in the NBA. He is extremely athletic, quick, and has great shotblocking instincts. I really think he compares to a Bill Russell or Dikembe Mutombo as far as his defensive ability.

Offensively, he is definitely coming along, as we saw in the title game against Florida. It's very clear he wasn't at 100% all year long, and has been mentioned, I think this will help in the long run. He has become very adept with the left hand and showed he can finish with the right as well. He is raw on the post, but showed the quickness and athleticism that makes me think he can be an elite offensive center as well.

There is no doubt that these are both special players... barring injury, I can't see either of them disappointing or being busts. In my mind, Oden will be a 20-25 PPG scorer and one of the best defensive centers ever. I think Durant will be a 25-30 PPG scorer and eventually be a very good defensive player as well. If I had the choice, I still think I would take Greg Oden, because I think his defense just makes him a little more valuable.

But who would you take?

Who would you rather have on your team?
Greg Oden
Kevin Durant

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Who do these NBA Draft Prospects compare to?

With the Draft a week away, I'll bring out an idea for a post I did last year and had fun with, so I'll bring it out again. Who do some of these NBA Draft prospects compare to in the NBA?

Acie Law: My Comparison - Sam Cassell - In my mind, Law is a lot like Cassell. As he showed at Texas A&M, Law is not afraid to take any big shots (as he routinely knocked them down), similar to Cassell. Also, neither guy really relies on their athleticism. Law is still fairly athletic, but he relies more on his smarts at the PG spot. Both guys are also deadly midrange shooters.

Spencer Hawes: My Comparison - Brad Miller - Hawes reminds me of Miller because neither guy is going to be good based on their physical skills or their strength, but they are really good finesse type players. Hawes can score on the post, but he won't overpower you down there. He's decently quick and has a great touch around the rim. But he reminds me a lot of Miller because he can take his jumpshot out to 15-18 feet and is still a very good passer. Maybe you can't run an offense through him but he's going to be a very good complimentary player.

Al Horford: My Comparison - Chris Webber - Horford reminds me of Webber because he doesn't really have one thing that he does great, but he does everything really well. He can score some on the block, he can hit the midrange jumper, he's a good rebounder, solid defender, and really good passer out of the post. He's just a really good all-around player ready to contribute right away.

Joakim Noah: My Comparison - Anderson Varajeo - I think Noah's offensive game is a little more advanced, but he reminds me a lot of Varajeo. Both are hustle players, solid defensively and good rebounders. Like Varajeo, Noah isn't going to be a really good offensive player, but he can be a very good role player, because he's unselfish offensively, good on the offensive glass, and solid defensively.

Brandan Wright: My Comparison - Amare Stoudemire - Wright reminds me of Stoudemire because both guys are just really explosive around the rim. More often than not, they'll get the ball inside and they're so athletic and quick that they can get to the rim to finish before the defender can stop them. Wright is also a very good rebounder and help defender. To be able to reach Amare's level, Wright will need to continue to develop a midrange type game, which he doesn't really have yet. But then, Amare didn't have that either when he first came into the NBA.

Greg Oden: My Comparison - Alonzo Mourning - Oden kind of reminds me of Mourning in his prime, only with a lot more potential. Oden is immediately going to be one of the best defensive centers in the game with his quickness and shot blocking ability. He also showed just a bit of that offensive potential in the championship against Florida. He should be very quick there, and now he's able to finish with either hand. Oden will be dominant sooner rather than later.

Kevin Durant: My Comparison - Dirk Nowitzki - Nowitzki is the guy that most reminds of Durant, but the comparison has a lot of flaws. Like Dirk, Durant is great on the perimeter and excellent posting up. But the comparison breaks down because Durant is also very good at getting to the basket and finishing there, which Dirk is not as good at. Durant also has the tools to be a great defensive player with his quickness and wing span.

Mike Conley: My Comparison - Chris Paul - Conley isn't quite ready to make the splash that Paul did as a rookie, but I think he has a lot of the same tools. Neither guy has a great jumper, but more are extremely quick with the ball and adept at getting to the rim. Also, both guys are gifted passers with extraordinary vision. Furthermore, both guys have really quick hands defensively which allows to get a lot of steals.

Corey Brewer: My Comparison - Josh Howard - I think these guys are similar offensively, but Brewer is better defensively and has a higher ceiling as a defender than Howard. Brewer was the best perimeter defender in the nation last year and that should translate immediately in the NBA. Offensively, I think Brewer is like Howard because both guys have good (but not great jumpshots) but they can get to the rim and score in a lot of different ways. I think Brewer could eventually be a 15-20 PPG scorer while being a great defender.

Arron Afflalo: My Comparison - Raja Bell - As a UCLA guy, I have to take a look at Afflalo. I liken him to Bell because I think Afflalo will be a really good role player like Bell. The thing about Bell is that he can play defense well and hit jumpshots. That's about all he does and that's what Afflalo can do. I think Bell is a better outside shooter, but Afflalo is a little better off the dribble. In either case, I think Afflalo has a shot to eventually become a solid starter on a good team like Bell is.

Do you think these comparisons are good? Who would you compare these guys to?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Draft entry winners and losers

With Monday being the final day for college players to decide whether to stay in the draft or go back to school, I thought it'd be interesting to take a look at the winners and losers of the day:


Jeff Green - It would have been really cool to watch him at Georgetown for another year, but realistically I don't think he would have really improved his stock. As it is he's a definitely lottery choice, and probably a solid chance of going in the top 10. He has the overall skill set to come in and help immediately and he'll be off the board sometime in the first 12 picks. Seems like a good choice to stay in the draft.

Devon Hardin - A lot of the talk was that he was staying in the Draft, but he pulled out the last minute. He probably would have been a first rounder, but I still like this move for him. With a full year of playing (which he didn't have this year), he might even be able to move into the lottery next year in a much weaker draft. It delays the payday a little bit, but it should make it a little bigger.

Thaddeus Young - He probably won't go in the Lottery, but I still like the move for him. With Javaris Crittenton leaving for the draft, he might have had more trouble next year getting the ball, which could have hurt his stock. He'll be a solid pick in the 15-20 range.


JamesOn Curry - Oklahoma St. will still be a solid team, but they could have possibly been Big 12 title contenders with Curry, who will instead go to the draft. Curry will not be a first round pick, and might not even be a 2nd round pick. There is still hope for the Cowboys that Curry does not get drafted and doesn't sign an agent, leaving him open to returning, similar to what Randolph Morris did for Kentucky.

Tim Miles - The former coach at NDSU will face a stiffer rebuilding job at Colorado St. with the loss of talented big men Jason Smith, who is shooting up draft boards. The loss certainly wasn't unexpected, but it's still a big one.

Who do you think were the biggest winners and losers?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

If John Kruk wrote for this blog

This is something I'm trying that or may not become a regular feature on here... I'll see how it goes.

So you probably all saw that little fight in Chicago after Chris Young beaned Derrek Lee. A lot of people will say that's terrible that there is fighting, but I disagree. That's just great entertainment. Chris Young and Derrek Lee shouldn't get suspended for that, they should get a bonus. Ditto for Lou Piniella and his antics a couple weeks ago. That's just great entertainment.

Another huge piece of news that may have flown under your radar this weekend was that the Cardinals had to put David Eckstein on the DL. If you look up grit and determination in the dictionary, Eckstein's picture would be there (as long as the dictionary has been recently updated). Losing him is an even bigger loss for the Cardinals than Albert Pujols would be. Pujols may be more talented, but who would you rather face in the 9th inning in a tie game? I'd rather role the dice with Pujols than take on the Eckster.

I see the Yankees are still 8.5 games back even after their recent hot streak. Just goes to show that you can't buy championships. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have a gamer like Scott Brosius playing 3B than Alex Rodriguez.

I know Joe Borowski has an ERA north of 6 and a WHIP of 1.52, but he should be an All-Star, because he's still had the internal fortitude to pick up 20 saves so far this year. Seeing a guy like that is a lot more impressive to me than a guy like JJ Putz, who just sails through all of his innings in dominating fashion. The high ERA and WHIP shows me that Borowski is not afraid to pitch in tough spots, and that's what you need. There's nobody I'd rather have pitching the 9th than that guy.

Note: None of the following was actually said or written by the Krukster. But it sounds like something he'd say.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My National League All-Stars (so far)

Last week I gave my American League All-Stars, and now it's time for the National League, because I know everyone has been waiting for it.

Catcher: Russell Martin (LAD)
Martin is the easy choice here and should be a regular All-Star for many years. Only 24 years old, he is first in the NL in OBP and SLG, and even has 11 SB. With Brian McCann not hitting nearly as well as he was last year, Martin becomes the obvious choice here.

First Base: Prince Fielder (MIL)
Albert Pujols is hitting better and better and may eventually pass Fielder, but as of now Fielder is the choice. He's got a solid .379 OBP, and has an MLB best .639 SLG. He is also tied for the MLB lead with 23 HR. He's been the best NL 1B so far.

Second Base: Chase Utley
He started a little slow, but has once again clearly established himself as the best 2B in the NL and in the MLB. His OBP is again near .400 and he is slugging over the .550 mark, giving him an OPS far superior than the other 2B in the League. He is also first in the NL in Doubles and RBI.

Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez (FLA)
I devoted a whole post to comparing Hanley Ramirez vs. Jose Reyes, but in reality this race is a lot closer than just them. Edgar Renteria, JJ Hardy, and maybe even Jimmy Rollins also have cases here. Hardy and Rollins have displayed the most power, but they are not getting on base nearly as much as the other guys. Reyes is not hitting for as much power as the others, so that leaves me with Ramirez and Renteria. They are nearly even in the hitting categories, but I'll go with Hanley Ramirez and his edge in speed over Renteria.

Third Base: Miguel Cabrera (FLA)
As he gains more and more weight he might lost some defensive mobility, but he's one of the best hitters in the MLB and easily the best hitting 3B in the NL. Aramis Ramirez (now on the DL) and David Wright are both decent candidates, but Cabrera has an OPS over 100 points higher than either of them. That makes him the pick.

Outfield: Barry Bonds (SF)
He's become a really bad defensive outfielder, but as the offensive numbers show, he deserves a spot in the All-Star game. He's a little low on PAs which is a problem, but look at those rate stats. He's getting on base at a .491 clip, for crying out loud. His .576 SLG in 4th in the NL. He deserves a spot.

Outfield: Matt Holliday (COL)
I suppose the stigma of playing half of his games in Coors Field might hurt him (and perhaps rightfully so), but he's still a good hitter outside of there. Overall, he's hitting over .350, getting on base at a nearly .400 clip, and has a great SLG percentage. He's one of the most underrappreciated players in the MLB, in my opinion.

Outfield: Aaron Rowand (PHI)
This is a tough position to fill, because there are a lot of guys that are all pretty close in value. However, I think Rowand is the best combination of offense and defense. He's batting over .300, taking a lot of walks, slugging well, and playing solid defense in CF. I can't argue too much with guys like Carlos Lee, Alfonso Soriano, or even Ken Griffey Jr., but Rowand is my choice.

Starting Pitcher: Jake Peavy (SD)
Peavy has been absolutely dominating this year, with a 1.82 ERA in over 90 IP. But even beyond that the numbers are better than the other NL starters. He's striking out 9.86 batters per 9 innings, has 3.81 K:BB ratio, a NL leading 1.00 WHIP, and even a great 2.14 DIPS ERA. He has been the most dominant pitcher in the MLB this year.

Overall, it looks like a I agree with a lot of the picks of One More Dying Quail over at Stiles Points, so I must be doing something right.

Any disagreements?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Thursday Debate: Should the NBA Playoff Format be Changed?

We have a little thing on this blog I like to call Thursday Debate... I ask a question, give my opinion, and then see how everyone else feels about it. Today we have the most popular sports topic right now... should the NBA playoff format be changed?

As we suffer through the Cleveland/San Antonio series, which is taking place a couple of weeks after the peak of the postseason (the Phoenix/San Antonio series), I think it's very appropriate to ask the question: should the NBA playoff format be changed?

The common thought (and the thought of David Stern) (and to quote Bryan L.) is that changing things would be a long-term solution to a short-term problem. But is it really just a short-term problem?

The NBA has been dominated by the West for the past 10 years... the only 2 titles won by teams in the East since the 1998 Bulls were the Pistons in 2004 (over the self-destructing Lakers), and Dwyane Wade beating the Mavs last year. Other than that things have been dominated by the West.

And really, it seems to me that the balance of power won't be shifting for a while The East has LeBron and Wade, two of the brightest young stars in the NBA. They also have no power teams, an abnormal amount of bad GMs, and bad luck in the draft. The West has teams that look like they can reasonably compete for a title for the next few years (Phoenix, Dallas, San Antonio), and the two best players coming into the league will be headed out West.

Or another way to put, from Bill Simmons (love him or hate him), who said the point more succinctly than I just did:

1. Once the league's reckless (repeat: reckless) expansion pushed the number of teams past the mid-20s, it became too easy for one conference to be stacked with elite teams. David Stern has argued multiple times that this stuff evens out over time, but clearly, that's not true. We've had much better teams in the West for nearly a full decade; in eight of the past 10 seasons, the best two teams played before the Finals, and in four of those seasons, they played before the conference finals. Um ... that's not a major flaw in the system?

We saw this imbalance from 1980 to 1989, when there were always 3-4 great teams in the East (the Celtics, Sixers and Bucks dominated the first half, then the Celtics, Pistons, Bulls, Hawks and Cavs took turns in the second half) and the Lakers whupped up a different underdog in the Western finals almost every year. But here was the big difference: Because the league hadn't killed itself with expansion and there were so many salary cap loopholes, the Lakers were always really good. They went nine-deep with two franchise players (Magic and Kareem), an All-Star (Worthy), great role players and a rotating cast of accomplished veterans passing through for a ring. Because such a great/memorable/entertaining team was carrying the West in the '80s, nobody cared that the conferences were unbalanced. Now? We care. We don't have Magic's Lakers to salvage things.

2. Once upon a time, the NBA created conferences to cut down on everyone's travel -- not just to save expenses but to save the bodies of its players (all of whom were flying coach). Even now, it's a reasonable strategy for the regular season. But for the playoffs? Not nearly as reasonable. Everyone's flying around in charter jets, for God's sake! If we adopted the 2-3-2 format for every playoff series -- which should happen, anyway -- travel time and days would be cut back. So you can't play the "too much traveling" card. Not in 2007.

3. There's a rigid predictability to the playoffs every spring that we don't necessarily need. For instance, one of the reasons the Mavs-Warriors series was so much fun was because it came out of nowhere. Shouldn't we be searching for that "what a goofy matchup!" variable every spring? Why do we want to subject ourselves to a solid decade of Cavs-Bulls or Cavs-Heat series in the East? Isn't the unpredictability and randomness part of what makes March Madness so great?

On the other hand, some people like tradition. I myself was in that boat for a long time, but after a string of the NBA Finals not coming close to matching the excitement from earlier rounds, I think it's time for a change. Tradition is nice, having the two best teams meet in the NBA Finals is even better.

What are your thoughts? If you were in charge, would you change the playoff format? And I'd love to hear in the comments what'd you would change it too?

Should the NBA Change its Playoff Format?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Re-doing the 2006 NBA Draft

With the season just about over (one more game should do it), I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the 2007 Draft, and see if any of the Lottery teams would do it differently if they had the chance to. So here is my version of the 2006 NBA Draft, one year after the fact. I'll post my pick, with the guy the teams actually wound up with in parenthesis.

1. Toronto Raptors - Brandon Roy (Andrea Bargnani)
I don't think the Raptors are at all unhappy with their choice of Bargnani, who got better and better at the season wore on, but it certainly looks like Brandon Roy is the best player of the draft. He was very good as a rookie, scoring 17 points and doling out 4 assists per game, and he can even play a little of the 1 or 2.

2. Chicago Bulls - LaMarcus Aldridge (Tyrus Thomas)
One of the Bulls biggest problems is that they don't have any big man that can consistently score with their back to the basket. They had their chance to help out that situation, and instead they went with the uber-athlete Tyrus Thomas. Given the chance, I think they'd now take Aldridge, who showed lots of flashes of being a very solid post scorer in the NBA. And yes, with Roy, Alridge, and soon Oden (among others), the future appears to be very bright in Portland.

3. Charlotte Bobcats - Andrea Bargnani (Adam Morrison)
Predictably, Morrison was a disaster. He may have scored 11.8 points per game, but it was a wildly inefficient 11.8 PPG and he didn't add anything else. He only shot 37.6% from the field (and about 33& from the arc), and contributed about 3 rebounds and 2 assists per game in 30 minutes. And to add on, he's not a good defensive player. With the chance, the Bobcats would take Bargnani, who was much better this year and has a higher ceiling than Morrison.

4. Portland Trailblazers - Tyrus Thomas (LaMarcus Aldridge)
With Aldridge and Roy off the board, the Blazers take the most athletically gifted player on the board in Tyrus Thomas. It wasn't all smooth sailing for Thomas in year 1, but he showed flashes in the Detroit series of his potential. He can jump and run out of the gym, and should be a very solid NBA contributor as he becomes more polished.

5. Atlanta Hawks - Randy Foye (Shelden Williams)
The Hawks still need a PG, and while Foye isn't a natural PG he can play there. Coming into the draft he was one of the guys expected to have the biggest impacts and he did, scoring over 10 a game for Minnesota. He's also pretty solid defensively at the point, and fills a bigger need than Shelden Williams.

6. Minnesota Timberwolves - Rudy Gay (Randy Foye)
The Timberwolves need another scorer to compliment Garnett, and Gay certainly has the skills to eventually be that guy. Perhaps the most talented player in the draft, he had some very productive stretches for the Grizz. In February he averaged over 15 points and 5 rebounds per game, and in March followed that up with 14 points and 6 rebounds per contest, so he has the talent to be very good.

7. Boston Celtics - Rajon Rondo (Brandon Roy to Portland)
Telfair doesn't appear to be the long-term option for Boston at point, but Rondo showed lots of signs that he can be, which rockets him up this draft board. He's not a great shooter (he's pretty bad actually), but he can get into the lane offensively, and defensively he wreaks havoc all over the court. In April he got almost 37 minutes per game and was a force, to the tune of 13 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 5.5 APG, and 2.5 SPG. He can be a force at PG for a while.

8. Houston Rockets - Daniel Gibson (Rudy Gay)
Gibson fell into the 2nd round on draft day after an up-and-down sophomore year at Texas, and for most of the year that looked like about the right place for him. But he has become the Cavs second best player for much of the playoff run, single-handedly taking down the Pistons in the clinching game 6. He shot great all year (which is perfect in an offense with T-Mac and Yao), and has been pretty effective going to the hoop as well in the playoffs.

9. Golden State Warriors - Marcus Williams (Patrick O'Bryant)
O'Bryant was drafted as a project from the start, but it still had to be discouraging to see him play in only 16 games and be very ineffective in them. Baron Davis was fantastic in the playoff run, but he's still injury prone, and Marcus Williams would back him up nicely and be very comfortable in Nellie's fast paced system.

10. Seattle Supersonics - Adam Morrison (Saer Sene)
The pick of Sene was a bit of a head scratcher at the time and remains so now, as raw might be a generous way to describe. In his place they take the hometown hero Adam Morrison, who was very medicore in year 1 but should eventually turn into a reliable scoring option. Also, he'd fit right in with the Sonics theme of all offense, no defense.

11. Orlando Magic - Thabo Sefolosha (JJ Redick)
The Magic knew what they'd be getting when they got Redick, but it had to be pretty disappointing for him to continue having the back problems, limiting him to 42 games. He flashed some of that shooting touch but was a bit too much of a set shooter as a rookie. With Sefalosha they get a guy that is certainly more raw, but who I think has a higher ceiling with his overall game. He shot a solid 36% from beyond the arc and has the potential to be a lockdown defender on the perimeter.

12. New Orleans Hornets - Shelden Williams (Hilton Armstrong)
The Hornets went with the talented defensive player in Armstrong, but here they go with Shelden Williams. Armstrong may have more potential defensively, but Williams is a better scorer and rebounder.

13. Philadelphia 76ers - Rodney Carney (Rodney Carney)
Carney didn't blow anyone away in his first year in Philly, but he was solid. The second half of the year was sort of ravaged for him with injuries, but he showed he could put his athleticism to good use as he got more and more playing time. He'll never be a great offensive player but he was a pretty efficient one, shooting 46% from the field and about 35% from beyond the arc.

14. Utah Jazz - Paul Millsap (Ronnie Brewer)
Millsap was very solid for the Jazz as a rookie as a jack-of-all-trades big man off the bench, and I think they'd try to get that again. He's very efficient as a scorer and a tough defender and rebounder.

Your thoughts? What changes would you make?


I'm short on time at the moment, so rather than write something mediocre (as usual), I figured it was a good time for links.

- The fact that the first 2 games of the NBA Finals have been dreadfully boring is showing up in the ratings.

- This is a terrible story, especially me being a Vikings fan. It's terrible to happen to anybody, but it especially hits closer to home being that I grew up watching him play safety for the Vikings.

- Trent Green still thinks he has a few more years left in him. Hey, more power to him if he does. I'm not quite as optimistic.

- Shaq is going to star in his own reality show helping out obese middle schoolers. Honestly, making a joke here is too easy.

- Stiles Points continues with their Five Good Questions series.

- Congratulations to The Big Picture for finally making it onto The Blog Show (now I just need to do something worthy of making it!)

- All on the Field Sports Blog asks: What is a sport?

- Joakim Noah: The Gay Falconer... this is why Deadspin is the best.

That's what I got.

Monday, June 11, 2007

2001 NBA Finals, Game 1

Over the weekend on ESPN Classic they showed some good NBA Finals games. There was some interesting stuff, so I put a few of them on the DVR to watch because I thought it would be interesting to see all of these guys when they were younger. Other games I taped include the 1998 Bulls vs. Jazz Game 6 (MJ's last shot for Chicago), and a couple of Rockets games so I could watch some tape of Olajuwon in his prime.

But the first game I watched was Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals between the LA Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers, which the Sixers won 107-103 in OT. I figured I'd write about that game here because it was a lot more interesting than Game 2 of the 2007 NBA Finals, even if I did know what happened.

Also to note my biases, the 2001 Philadelphia 76ers might be my favorite team ever. I loved watching them play and that's a big reason I am a 76ers fan today. Some thoughts on the game:

- Here was the 76ers starting lineup: Allen Iverson, Aaron McKie, Jumaine Jones, Tyrone Hill, Dikembe Mutombo. Seriously, that was the starting lineup of an NBA Finals team (maybe why they lost 4-1). But that alone should give you an indication of just how great Allen Iverson was and is. Every night the defense had to know exactly who was getting the ball and who was getting the majority of the shots for Philly, and Iverson was still the MVP and led them to the Finals.

- By the way, Allen Iverson had 48 points in this game, including 7 in a row late in OT to clinch the game.

- Looking at the 76ers team, I got the feeling that this is the exact type of team that Kobe Bryant would like to play on today. Everyone was defensive minded and didn't care if they got shots... heck, Iverson shot 30+ times many times and everyone else just continued to play good defense and never force anything on offense.

- Watching Shaq play then, I don't think he gets enough credit for how athletic he is. People see him as the big, powerful guy on the post, and he is that, but in his prime he could get up and down the floor as well as any big man in the NBA. He was also a very solid passer and ballhandler.

- And for the record, Shaq had 44 points and 20 rebounds in this game against Dikembe Mutombo (more on him later). In that year's playoffs he averaged over 30 points and 15 rebounds per game. Wow.

- Interesting matchup of Raja Bell (who got his start in Philly) guarding Kobe Bryant whenever he was in the game. I forgot their history went back that far. And for the record, Bell did a very good job on Bryant even back then.

- About Dikembe Mutombo, there is no doubt that he was one of the most intimidating defenders at the rim ever. He was 35 years old at this time and past his prime, but one play stuck out to me. On one Lakers possession Horace Grant caught a pass and looked like he had an open layup. Instead, he paused, looked around for Mutombo (who was far under the hoop), but this pause was enough time for Mutombo to get over and block the shot. It was awesome.

- It was interesting watching Rick Fox play... he just seemed so very unathletic, but he was still a very effective player because he knew what his role was and he was always in the right position.

- Another reason I enjoyed this game... their was no flopping. That was refreshing.

- This has been said over and over, but the NBA on NBC was fantastic. Great music, great commentary (Marv Albert and Doug Collins), great camera work, great everything.

So the Lakers did go on to win the next 4 (and finish their 15-1 romp through the 2001 playoffs), but for one night at least Philly was king. What a game. If you're interested, the last minutes of it are on Youtube.

Do you remember this series at all?

Friday, June 08, 2007

My American League All-Stars (so far)

We're a little over a third of the way through the season, so I figured it was a good time to post my AL All-Stars if the game were today. I'll try to post the NL ones in a couple days, but for now, well, hopefully this is enough.

Catcher: Jorge Posada (NYY)
Victor Martinez has been good as well, but the mini-Renaissance from Posada puts him in front. Martinez has more HR and RBI than Posada, but Posada has a huge doubles edge which actually gives him the advantage in SLG, to go along with a 30 point edge in OBP. Joe Mauer would have been his recent injury knocks him out of it.

First Base: Kevin Youkilis (BOS)
This was a bit of shocker for me when I was doing research, but Youkilis has been outstanding (if only I could have bet on that at the sportsbook). I imagine there could be some disagreement because he doesn't have the HR and RBI numbers of some other guys (such as reigning MVP Justin Morneau), but Youkilis gets on base at an excellent .428 clip, and his .536 SLG is nothing to sneeze at. He is actually 6th in the AL in OPS.

Second Base: BJ Upton (TB)
He's not quite a defensive whiz at 2B, but his offensive effort has been quite sterling. His OBP is nearly .400, his SLG is in the mid 500s, and he's even stole 13 bases. Maybe he's not a Gold Glover defensively, but his offense more than makes up for it.

Third Base: Alex Rodriguez (NYY)
This one doesn't even really need any explanation. A-Rod has been far and away the best 3B in the AL so far.

Shortstop: Carlos Guillen (DET)
The talent in the AL at SS is not nearly as strong as the NL talent, but the cupboard is not totally bare. Really, any of Carlos Guillen, Jhonny Peralta, Derek Jeter, and Orlando Cabrera are viable choices here, but I go with Guillen. Jeter gets on base more, Peralta hits more HR, and Cabrera plays better defense, but Guillen combines them all the best.

Outfield: Magglio Ordonez (DET)
Magglio has been the best hitter in the MLB so far, so of course he gets the nod in one of the OF spots. His average is great, he's getting on base a ton, and he's hitting for lots of power (over 40 XBH). At age 33 Ordonez is having by far his best year and is the AL MVP at this point.

Outfield: Vladimir Guerrero (LAA)
Magglio has been the bestr, but Guerrero isn't too far behind. Guerrero has been very patient at the plate so far, and surprisingly is first in the AL in OBP right now. Of course, he's still hitting for power, just not as much as Ordonez.

Outfield: Torii Hunter (MIN)
Gary Sheffield's recent surge has him way up there, but Hunter gets the nod for his offense and defense. He's having a career year at the plate, and as his foot has healed from last year he has returned to his great form in CF. He doesn't get on base as well as Sheffield, but has hit for more power than him so far this year and has made up the rest of the difference in the field.

Designated Hitter: David Ortiz (BOS)
Regular readers of this blog might know I'm a big fan of Travis Hafner, but Ortiz has just been clearly better so far. His power is down a little bit from last year, but he is 2nd in the AL in OBP and is still slugging over .600. He has been excellent in picking up the slack for Manny Ramirez.

Starting Pitcher: Dan Haren (OAK)
Haren's the easy choice here, with his ERA currently sitting at 1.70. He has a very good 3.33 K/BB ratio, is striking out 7 hitters per 9 innings, and is just not giving up many hits. His DIPS ERA suggests that this won't quite last, but he's been really good so far, best in the AL.

Any disagreements?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Spurs win Game 1

As was pretty much expected, the Spurs won Game 1 fairly easily, dominating the 3rd quarter in route to an 86-75 win.

But while the Spurs win wasn't surprising, the complete nonfactor of LeBron James was a bit surprising. LeBron was only 4/16 from the field, scoring 14 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, and doling out 4 assists. While he probably won't struggle like this all series, I think this is going to be a major problem for the Cavs.

Game 5 notwithstanding, LeBron still isn't that great of a jump shooter. His offensive game is more predicated on getting to the rim, and he's just not able to do that too effectively against the Spurs, the best help defensive team in the NBA. Even if LeBron gets by the strong on-the-ball defense from Bowen or Ginobili, he'll still have Tim Duncan, Fransisco Oberto, Robert Horry, & Co. at the rim. That's hard.

One more note on the Cavs, and that's to say that Larry Hughes should not be starting, and at no time should be guarding Tony Parker. I'm not big on Hughes anyway, but with him being hobbled a bit Parker can drive by him at will, as he showed. The less Hughes plays, the more Gibson plays, the better. Gibson was outstanding in Game 1.

For the Spurs, it was the same story as usual. Aside from a stretch in the 2nd quarter they were efficient offensively and superb defensively. Tony Parker was the high point scorer and he did play a terrific game, but Tim Duncan was the MVP. The numbers were impressive... 24 points, 13 rebounds, 5 blocks, but as is the case with Duncan the whole game was great. He was great in help defense at the rim, he didn't force things, and is always in the right position. Just a brilliant game from him.

This is how I think the series will go... both teams are strong defensively so the scoring will be low, but the Spurs are just too good and efficient to be beat in a 7 game series. I still believe LeBron will be good enough to get them a win or two, but beyond that, there's too much Tim Duncan and too much Tony Parker.

Thursday Debate: Should the MLB All-Star Game "Count?"

There's a little segment on here called The Thursday Debate... today we look at whether or not the All-Star game should "count."

It's not that hard to see why Bud Selig and the MLB came up with the rule that the League that won the All-Star game would have home-field advantage in the World Series. After the tie game a few years back, the All-Star game ran the risk of becoming irrelevent, like so many other All-Star games do.

But the question here is, do you like the rule? Should the MLB All-Star game really mean anything?

Again, I understand why the rule is in place. It makes sure that the game remains relevant and makes sure that the players have something to play for. But still, I have some problems with the rule.

One, the fans vote in the starters. In and of itself, I have no problem with this. The All-Star game is something for the fans, and the fans should be able to vote into the game who they want. That is why, even though the best players are not always starting, I don't really have a problem with them voting in the starters.

But if the game is really going to count, shouldn't the best players be playing? If the game is going to decide who has home-field advantage in the World Series, does it make sense to not have the best players out there?

Secondly, why should the fact that Michael Young (team not in the playoffs) hitting a 2-run triple to win the game mean that the American League got homefield advantage? Why are players who might have no part in the World Series decide this?

So as you can tell, I like the All-Star game, and I like fans voting for the All-Star game, but I don't like the fact that it actually counts for something.

But what do you think? Should the MLB All-Star game count? Place your vote and leave your reasons in the comments.

Should the MLB All-Star Game count?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Who would you trade the #1 pick for?

Saw an interesting idea on FanIQ (via Blazer's Edge), so I thought I'd give my take on it... the question is, if you were the Portland Trailblazers, who would you trade the #1 pick for?

Critical Fanatic
had only 2 players that he'd trade the right to draft Oden for... LeBron James and Dwight Howard.

The first one, I'd agree with. I think LeBron James is a no-brainer. He's already the best player in the NBA at age 22, and he's the most physically gifted player in the history of the NBA. No matter the potential of Oden, LeBron James is a guy I would trade him for.

The other choice of Dwight Howard, I would disagree with. Obviously, Howard is an utterly fantastic player. But I do have some concerns about him turning into one of the top 3 players in the NBA. Steve Kerr wrote an article on Yahoo! earlier this season, basically wondering whether Dwight Howard would really develop into a good back-to-the-basket player. I have some of those same concerns. I mean, he still scored 17 PPG and shot 60% from the field, but is he ever going to be a dominant offensive force? I'm not sure.

There is only one other guy I would trade the pick for, and that is Dwyane Wade. He is 25, but I thought he was the best player in the NBA this year when he was healthy, and we saw what he could do when he led the Heat to the NBA title in 2006. He is a great scorer, but he still remains unselfish and plays hard every night. I think he and LeBron will be the two best players in the NBA next season.

Other possibilities were intriguing, but not enough. Tim Duncan is the best PF ever (in my book), but he's on the wrong side of 30 to be trading Greg Oden for. Ditto for Kevin Garnett, who has started to decline (albeit slightly). Kobe Bryant is getting older as well. Beyond that, there's really no one I would consider.

So who would make you give up the #1 pick?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Bold Prediction: the Chicago Cubs will win the NL Central

I'm all about bold and rash predictions on this site, which makes this perfect.

Yes, the Chicago Cubs are having their share of problems right now. The manager is imploding, they're 2-12 in 1-run games, they're 7 games under .500, and they're 6.5 games behind the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers.

But still, I think they'll win the NL Central. For a few reasons:

- The division sucks. Milwaukee is the only decent team in that division, and they have started to struggle now that they are playing teams outside the division. The Brewers have been playing very well, but their record is a little better than the run differential suggests it should be, and that's with great performances from JJ Hardy (who simply can't keep up this pace), and Francisco Cordero, who has been basically superhuman so far.

- The Cubs are playing a lot better than their record would indicate. Their record is only 24-31, but they have outscored their opponents by 20 runs, suggesting that they should be 30-25. They've had some bad luck, as being 2-12 in 1-run games is just not something that tends to stay consistent over the course of the season. As long starts to deviate back towards the mean the record will improve.

- Carlos Zambrano has been horrible. He's a little overrated, but he's a lot better than a 5.62 ERA, which is what he is at right now. The BB rate is normal, but the HR rate is a little high and the K rate is a little low. These are problems that he has to fix, but his track record suggests he can and that should keep the ERA dropping. Of course, maybe this is offset some by the fact that Jason Marquis is playing out of his mind, but we'll see.

So anyway, as of now, I'll take the Cubs to win the NL Central. They're not playing particularly well at 24-31, 6.5 games back, but I think they'll have enough to come back and overtake the Brew Crew.

Your thoughts? Am I way off base here?

NBA Finals Predictions

First off, let me say that I think San Antonio is much better than anyone from the East. By the same token, I would say Dallas, Phoenix, and Utah were all better than any team from the East. But that doesn't mean this thing won't be competitive.

The reason I think this will be competitive is the same reason I was glad the Cavs won the last series, and that should be pretty obvious... LeBron James. He is simply the best, most dominating player in this series. As he showed in Game 5 against Detroit, he can win games by himself, something I don't think Detroit had.

Unfortunately, the Spurs have the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th best players in this series, as well as a much better coach and a more versatile team. They're also better defensively and more efficient offensively. The Spurs have every single edge in this series except one... they don't have LeBron James.

So how many wins is LeBron James good for? Well, if Daniel Gibson plays like he did in Game 6, maybe 4. But I don't think that will happen. I think James will be fantastic throughout, and that should be good for a couple of wins. Beyond that, I really just think the Spurs are too good. Too good defensively, too efficient offensively, too well-coached, and too experienced led by Tim Duncan. All in all, I'll take the SPURS IN 6.

What are your thoughts?

Friday, June 01, 2007