Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The 5 Best Second Day Picks. Plus, Random Draft Thoughts

With the 2008 NFL Draft in the books, I would be remiss if I didn't offer up some thoughts from one of my favorite sporting events of the year.

1. People saying that the Kansas City Chiefs are the big winners is like saying the 1927 Yankees were OK at baseball. But of course they were going to be, they had the 5th pick and they got 17 from the Vikings, plus a pair of 3rd rounders. In order for them to mess up this draft they would have had to be absolutely dumb.

2. Kudos to the Baltimore Ravens. As soon as Matt Ryan came off the board the Ravens identified that they wanted Joe Flacco, and then correctly determined they could trade down and still get their guy. Give huge credit to Ozzie Newsome for getting two extra mid rounders and still grabbing who I think will end up being the best QB out of this draft.

3. On the flip side the Carolina Panthers gave up everything but the farm in order to move up to draft Jeff Otah. Otah had better be a perennial pro bowler, because not only did Carolina give up a lot this year, they gave up next year's first rounder. The future is now in Charlotte, or it had better be.

Alright, on to the top 5 second day picks / undrafted free agents: (In no particular order)

1. Owen Schmitt, FB, 163 overall to Seattle
Maybe the fiercest competitor in all of college football this past season, Schmitt could perhaps be best known for this. But in addition to that Schmitt is a tremendous blocker who will clear the path for whomever Seattle has getting the majority of the carries this season, presumably Julius Jones. Schmitt also will be able to catch the ball out of the backfield.

2. John David Booty, QB, 137 overall to Minnesota
Vikings fans everywhere cheered when the Booty pick was announced. It's been said that Booty will be watching the 2008 season, but in my opinion if Tarvaris Jackson is struggling, Booty needs to be in there by week 5 at the latest. The Vikings have the best running back in football, the number one run defense, and a should-be improved pass defense. All they are missing is competent quarterback play. Booty is perhaps the most accurate passer of this draft class, and since the Vikings run a west coast offense, his lack of arm strength isn't a huge concern.

3. Marcus Henry, WR, 171 overall to NY Jets
Henry amassed over 1,000 receiving yards in his senior season at Kansas. Some of that is due to the pass happy offense the Jayhawks employ, but a lot of it has to do with Henry's talent. At just a shade under 6'4", Henry should be a force on jump balls, and though he is listed as a 4.5 40 yard dash, Henry repeatedly ran away from corners and safeties this year. I see Henry eventually becoming a very good third receiver, and possibly a starter in the NFL.

4. Mike Dragosavich, P, Undrafted to New England
Yes, a punter. Field position is important, and this allows the Patriots to get good punting for the league minimum. The Pats are the best team in football at saving money wherever they can, and this is no different. Had he qualified, Dragosavich would have led D-1AA the past three seasons in punting. He has a booming leg.

5. Caleb Campbell,S, 218 overall to Detroit
A great story who was profiled on Sunday, Campbell only runs a 4.57, a little slow for a safety. However, he is tough and hard nosed, and should be able to contribute on special teams right away, and in time could be an outside linebacker who is adept at stopping the run. The former Army Black Knight now can focus on playing football, rather than risking his life overseas. A huge standing ovation goes out from me both to Campbell and to the Detroit Lions.

Coming this weekend will be a post on a perhaps controversial topic (although not on the whole Bob Costas HBO thingy, you can check every other website in existence for that), but first, what are your NFL Draft thoughts?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I love Inside the NBA

From last night's postgame... Kenny Smith trying to copy Kobe and jump over a moving car. This is hilarious.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions

With what should be a great playoff season just about upon us, it's time to prognosticate, undoubtedly ending in horrible shame at my ignorance. But that's ok.

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (8) Atlanta Hawks
It's going to be strange to see the Hawks back in the playoffs, although I don't foresee their stay being too lengthy. The Hawks have talent and athleticism, but they're no match for the Celtics. The Celtics should be able to smother the Hawks defensively, leading to a quick, decisive victory.

(2) Detroit Pistons vs. (7) Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers are a great story and I'll be rooting for them, but it's difficult seeing them match up with the Pistons in a 7-game series. The Pistons are a bit too strong defensively and efficient offensively. The Sixers have played about as well as anyone over the past couple of months, but Detroit in the playoffs is a completely different animal.

(3) Orlando Magic vs. (6) Toronto Raptors
I like the Raptors in an upset pick. I'm not sure the Magic and their players are really familiar being in this position, as a favorite in the playoffs. It will be interesting to see how they handle it. The Raptors don't really have anyone to match up with Dwight Howard, but then the Magic don't have a good matchup for Chris Bosh. This should be a highly entertaining series.

(4) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (5) Washington Wizards
These clubs will meet up for the 3rd straight season, but this year should be a lot better than last. Now that the Wizards are healthy, they're a very dangerous club capable of putting up lots of points on the board. Meanwhile, the Cavs have the best player in the world. In round 1, I think LeBron wills his team to victory... as long as the game is close at the end, LeBron will win it for the Cavs.

What are your thoughts on round 1 of the East?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Early Season MLB Surprises and Disappointments

With the MLB season being 1/16 over, of course it's time to grossly exaggerate what has happened so far.


Livan Hernandez, RHP, Twins- I and humans everywhere scoffed at the Twins throwing multi million dollars at Livan Hernandez, but so far at least it has worked out. Livan is 3-0, but more importantly he has a 2.57 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. If the Twins play Adam Everett and Matt Tolbert in the middle infield spots it should boost their defense and help out Livan and more importantly the rest of that young staff.

Brian Bannister, RHP, Royals- I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised, but I didn't totally believe Bannister's 2007. He had a good year, but only 77 strikeouts. What's surprising is that Bannister doesn't quite put up the stats that should endear him to the sabermetric community, and more so, he understands why. The fact that Bannister is familiar with things like DIPS should only make him be a better pitcher and improve even more.

San Francisco Giants- Yes I realize they're 6-10 only. Yes I realize it's April 16, but if the Giants put up this good of a record over a whole season I'll be very impressed. Honestly, they are horrible. Take a look around their roster once. Bengie Molina hits cleanup? Brian Bocock plays short? Brian Bocock put up a robust .220/.293/.328 in the California League, probably the best offensive league in minor league baseball, which equates out to a -25.9 VORP. And outside of Angel Villalona, who is only 17, there isn't any help coming from any younger kids either, unless Dan Ortmeier tickles your fancy. The only thing keeping them going is the duo of Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum. And with the way he's pitching and the way the offense is going, Matt Cain is my odds on favorite to lead the NL in ERA and losses, if you can bet on such a thing.


Russ Martin, C, Dodgers- Really I could include the entire Dodgers team here. I picked out Martin mainly because I traded for him in fantasy baseball, but to tell the truth I'm not worried. My main complaint with the Dodgers is that Joe Torre is treating managing a major league baseball team like it's building a space shuttle (or to borrow a phrase from my favorite person on earth "it's not rocket surgery") rather than what it is: put your best 8 (or 9) guys out there and let them go to it. Instead the Dodgers have used the same lineup just twice, and inexplicably have played Juan Pierre, who shouldn't ever be on the field except to pinch run, instead of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier for some games. Really Joe Torre, put him in the 2 hole and let him go to work. The end.

New York Yankees- I said this was the year the Yankees would miss the playoffs. Hopefully I'll be right. Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes have tons of talent, but it takes time to adjust to a major league season, but the Yankees don't have free wins against the Rays and Jays anymore to get back on track. The American League is just too good for a team to have to wait to get things going. Also, why in the world don't the Yanks have Mussina in the pen and Joba in the rotation? Truth be told, I hate the Yankees, and I'm not a huge fan of Joba doing stuff like this, but it's tough to root against a guy when this is going on. Also, the Yankees are relying probably a bit too much on older players such as Damon, Giambi, Posada and Matsui. Obviously they are good players, but how long can they play at their highest level?

On one more note, my preseason World Series pick, the Arizona Diamondbacks (yes I wish I had that on record) are playing very well. Chris Young is coming into his own (although probably should be hitting cleanup) and Justin Upton is one of the better young players in the game. It should be interesting to follow them all season.

Who are your surprises and disappointments?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Since this has been the best MVP race in recent memory, and we should actually get a deserving winner (no offense Steve Nash), it's time to weigh in. Basically everyone's top 4 is the same in some order: Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul. I'm not going to deviate from that formula, so I will just give my top 4. In reverse order.

4. Kobe Bryant - A lot of the talk lately seems to take it for granted that either Kobe or Chris Paul will be MVP, but in my book Kobe is 4th. Yes, he's been real good on a great team. He's a great player, but that doesn't mean that others haven't been a little greater. He is still a great scorer (even with the hurt finger), scoring over 28 PPG while shooting a respectable 46%. He's a solid rebounder and passer, but LeBron (comparing him since they play similar positions) is better in both areas. He's very good defensively, but not the consistently great like Kevin Garnett, and his defensive numbers don't match Chris Paul. Add it all up, and a great season for Kobe Bryant, but still only enough to merit 4th place.

3. Kevin Garnett - He has played less minutes this year so the numbers are down a bit, but it's impossible to deny his impact on the Celtics. He's the best defensive player in the game, and he has backed it up with wild efficiency on the offensive end. His shooting is up at 54%, highest in his career. He is the ultimate team player, sacrificing his numbers and shots for the greater good of the team. He is still a great rebounder and an excellent passer for his size. How the Celtics do in the postseason will determine whether this season was a success, but there is no denying that KG has been great in his first year for Boston.

2. Chris Paul - I put him just a tiny smidgen below LeBron, but he's certainly a great MVP choice. John Hollinger actually had him as his MVP and Most Improved Player, and that's a pretty good thought. In the blink of an eye Chris Paul has surpassed Steve Nash as the best PG in the NBA, and has become one of the best players. He's become a better shooter, upping his % to above 48% on the season. He's averaging over 21 PPG, and also finding time to dole out 11.6 APG and steal 2.7 balls per game. All while leading the most surprise team in the NBA to one of the top seeds in the West. What a player.

1. LeBron James - Today I was watching Sportscenter top plays with some friends, and LeBron James was #2 with some ridiculous coast-to-coast move followed by a thunderous dunk in traffic. Someone else said something about how that wasn't even that good. But then we realized, LeBron is just so good, so talented, so athletic, that he makes it all look easy. I mean, look at his numbers... 30 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 7.2 APG, plus a more consistent defensive effort this season. No, his team's record is not as good as the other candidates, but that's so much his fault as it is that his teammates are simply not as good. But LeBron has been fantastic, and he gets my MVP vote. Once again, he's simply the best, most talented player in the NBA.

Who does your vote go too?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Snapple Antioxidant Water

Earlier this week the kind folks from Snapple were generous enough to send me a sample of some of their Antioxidant water. Here is a short description from a press release:

Antioxidant Water product line offers a smart solution that improves energy, helps restore the body and supports a healthy immune system for consumers who are actively taking steps to incorporate healthier behaviors into their everyday routine. For those looking to add a healthier boost to their traditional bottled water, the zero calorie Snapple LYTeWater line is enhanced with electrolytes and minerals.

Also, as you would expect from Snapple, it's tasty stuff.

If you get a chance to get some of the Snapple Antioxidant Water, you should! It gets my official recommendation (which is not an easy thing to get).

Anyway, here is a commerical for the product.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Rock, Chalk, Championship

I'm speaking, of course, of the play on words that Jim Nantz has after the final buzzer sounds. Not a bad effort. He didn't really seem to have a lot to work with, as the Kansas Jayhawks is not something that lends itself very easily to a play on words.

If Memphis had won, he probably would have had it easier because of Derrick Rose. Some things he could have used for Memphis:

- "Memphis is smelling like roses."
- "Kissed by a rose."

All in all, bravo Jim Nance, bravo. You're the one thing we can count on every year.

On a sidenote, does Mario Chalmers have ice water in his veins or what? Wow.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Final Four Picks

I'm getting these up really late, but it's before gametime, so it's legal. I just wanted to be on record with my picks.

First, I'll obviously take UCLA over Memphis. I like the Bruins to slow the game down, and effectively run it when there is something open. Memphis is not great offensively in the half-court game, and I think the Bruins can make it one. The two keys to this one are whether Joey Dorsey can slow down Kevin Love, and whether Josh Shipp can finally get his shooting stroke back, because they are going to need him against a very good Memphis defense.
UCLA 73, Memphis 70

In the next matchup, I think the Tar Heels are just playing a little bit too well right now. Their offense is firing on all cylinders, and Kansas is coming off of a game in which they struggled a bit against Davidson. I don't see the Jayhawks bigs stopping Tyler Hansbrough down low, who should have another big day. The Jayhawks balance will allow them to run with the Tar Heels, but I think UNC is just a little more efficient offensively.
North Carolina 81, Kansas 77