Wednesday, December 01, 2010

We have Moved!!!

Hello everyone!! We have now moved from here to Same writers, same content, more control for us. Please follow us over there as we will no longer post on blogger. Thanks for reading!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

NCAA Top 50 dunks of all time-CRAZY vid!!

I've watched this video now at least 10 times. I see something new each time. Phenomenal mix put together by Mixst311 and dawg5. They also have a download link for it in High Quality, here. My favorites are Hakim Warrick on Ivey, Jerome Lane, and dunk #23 on the list.

Friday, August 13, 2010

2011 NBA MVP Predictions (that you hopefully don't find silly)

Forgive me for the long title, but I read ESPN's MVP forecast today (see link below) and it made me feel like basketball writers nowadays are writing with the same perspective as fans.

Basically, Kevin Durant is being handed the MVP just because LeBron is on the Heat. The assumption is that LeBron's decline in statistics and voter perception will be enough to plummet him two spots down from his reign as MVP.

As much as I love hearing "MVP Kevin Durant"...let's be serious. This isn't so simple. Here are my thoughts on the topic, and hopefully they won't be identical to whatever the ESPN SportsNation poll says, because that's what the writers must be using to start their polls...and they're always wrong!



Cool. Got that out, now let's begin!


#5: Derrick Rose

Why he could lose: 49-or-less wins, minimal jump in stats
Why he could win: He's ready to take the "Durant" leap, his team is capable of winning 50+ games

Derrick Rose is my dark horse candidate for this season. He's got speed and quickness, which he's noted for, as well as an improving midrange game, which is taking some notice. What isn't regarded is that he may be the most driven point guard in the league. He went 120-12 in high school, achieving a state championship (where he hit the game winner) and a #1 national ranking his senior year (Sports Illustrated). Went to college, made the national championship game, lost but performed well on the big stage. Now two seasons into his NBA career, Rose is only 21 years old, yet after seeing a 4-point jump in his scoring average from his rookie year, there could be an even bigger jump as he heads into his third year.

He's on a better team. He's driven to become a better player. People wanted Wade or LeBron to go to Chicago to have Rose as a sidekick, but the reality is, this kid may just be good enough to HAVE a sidekick rather than be one. We've only scratched the surface. Did we think Kevin Durant was going to be in MVP discussions in his 3rd year? Nope. But the same thing drives them both, and after their Olympic experience together this summer, it will be interesting to see how they both respond.

(UN)educated guess/Most likely outcome: 53 wins, 26.1 points, 8.2 assists

#4: Kevin Durant

Why he could lose: Team isn't dominant, numbers similar to this year's, fatigue from Olympic run
Why he could win: Win increase, potential to average 32-plus for the first time since Kobe/TMac

No doubt about it, Kevin Durant is talented. 30.1 points as a 21-year-old is flat-out impressive. Of course, he averaged 26 as an 18-year-old in college, so it's not entirely surprising.

Can he win the MVP? Yes,'s challenging. For starters, he can't do anything he did this year--he has to do more. More than 50 wins, more than 30 points. That's how the voters usually are. If your current season really didn't do much more than your last season (unless you're the reigning MVP), you won't be waltzing into this award.

Durant will see a different level of defense this year. Last season he became an all star, but this entire season he will be gameplanned for and treated like one.

(UN)educated guess/Most likely outcome: 55 wins, 29.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4 assists

#3: Dwight Howard

Why he could lose: Number of shots/number of moves are both waaay too no one really cares to vote for him, ol' goofy self
Why he could win: Numbers + Defense + Hakeem(!!!)

NO all star last season took less shots per game than Dwight Howard last season (10.2).

Of course... NO all star had less than offensive 1 move last season other than Dwight Howard (yes, he's even behind Gerald "Crash" Wallace).

And that's the sum of it. If Dwight actually learned one move in his summer excursion with The Dream, heaven forbid two, and gets 5 more shots per game, he's the MVP. With averages of 18 & 13, he's a few more possessions away from 26-28 points and 15 rebounds, to go along with his improving shot blocking numbers and all-around imposing defensive presence.

But he is fighting 6 straight years of offensive...suck. Voters tend to hold that against him. So we'll see.

(UN)educated guess/Most likely outcome: 59 wins, 24 points, 14 rebounds, 3.41 blocks

#2: Kobe Bryant

Why he could lose: Injuries, regular season slippage due to age
Why he could win: His name is Kobe Bryant

Don't drool when this makes your mouth drop open, but I'm about to compare Kobe to Jordan.

Just once. Don't think it'll be a habit.

Jordan won 72 games in Chicago in 1996. Jordan didn't win 72 in 1997. MVP that season? Karl Malone.

Considering we've seen Kobe play some transcendant basketball for him in the past two years, I don't see the 2010-11 regular season being his greatest masterpiece. He's getting older, and the energy he has to have just to survive another playoff run may require additional rest (fewer minutes, fewer games) in the regular season. The Lakers won 65 games in 2009, and slipped 8 games to 57 in 2010. Were they a worse team? No, Kobe Bryant played 9 less games. It really is that simple.

Of course, he's still Kobe Bryant, so if the Lakers win 55+ games as expected, and he averages 27 points or so as we've seen him do the past few seasons, he could still walk away with the trophy. Former MVPs and current champs are the only guys who can do what they've done before and get the title. People argue that LeBron's statistical decline opens the door for Durant, but I would argue that if anything, it leaves the door open for Kobe to get his second MVP trophy.

(UN)educated guess/Most likely outcome: 54 wins, 26.8 points, 5 reb, 7 assists

#1: LeBron James
Why he could lose: If his assists/rebounds are less than 8, if the team wins less than 55 games
Why he could win: Win potential + Steve Nash Corrolary

Please indulge me as I get my Sports Guy on and introduce a Corrolary.
Here are my four leading ideas that pushed LeBron up to #1 for me:

- While the media dumps on guys when they screw up, their overcoverage of the screwups also inadvertently gives them the exposure they need to get more votes

- Chris Bosh can only get what is given to him. He's not the star of this show.

- Wade is the oldest, and requires the most rest and care.

- This is DEFinitely not the most talented team in the league; their success hinges more on LeBron even more than his last two Cavaliers teams.

- Steve Nash won the MVP with numbers that were NOT dominant.

The last, I think, is the most important point. IF the Heat outperform every team in the league this season, voters will be looking to ask "CAN we give this award to LeBron?" History and past votes have some sway in these discussions, and the fact that a two-time MVP averaged 15.5 points one season and 18.8 the next means that the voters have prior evidence that he doesn't have to average 29 points or more to get it back.

Also with Nash, most MVPs are players that have been on a single team for their entire careers (See: Olajuwon, Jordan {you BET I'm ignoring Raptors/Wizards years, lol}, Malone, Duncan, etc.). One of the biggest arguments for Nash's MVP candidacy the first time around was the win swing, from 29 wins in Phoenix without him to 62 wins in his first year. Of course, the Heat are expected to be much better with LeBron, as the Cavs are slated to be much, much, much worse. That swing will also play in his favor.

Who knows how this new Heat team goes. What I do know, as a Mavericks fan, is that many great playoff teams don't give a flying CRAP about the regular season, so just being motivated is enough to dominate. It's how they got to 67 wins...and went home in the first round. I think considering his recent tweet about taking down names, LeBron is motivated. He wants this thing to work more than anything, and the biggest "Eff you" along the way to winning a championship would be to take home the MVP trophy in Wade County.

Once the reporters, who got off his lap to wag their fingers at him, return to their seats...I think that's what's going to happen.

(UN)educated guess/Most likely outcome: 64 wins, 23.8 points, 9.1 assists, 7.6 rebounds

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Words to live by-"If" by Rudyard Kipling

A favorite poem of mine:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!

–Rudyard Kipling

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Page 3 appears on Theo's Radio Network

Check out the podcast!! Discussion includes the NBA and Lebron's Decision.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Roundtable discussion: Lebron's Decision 2010

Miami. Who would have thought? The "king" (sorry, Kings win rings) finally taps out of the pressures of leading a team to a ring to join an ensemble cast of stars in bringing rings to South Beach. I questioned 3 people who I am sure would have opinions on this whole matter, so let's see what they said:

1) First thoughts when you heard Lebron's decision?

Clifton Jessup III, Page 3 Blog :

Shock and awe.

I couldn’t believe he did it. He strung his hometown along for two whole months, and ended by divorcing them on national TV. I swore he’d re-sign as a Cav as soon as I heard about “The Decision” (sidebar, to name it “The Decision” and give it a name that joins “The Drive,” “The Shot,” and “The Fumble” in Cleveland sports history was another mercilessly cruel touch to the evening). To see him go the other way was something I couldn’t even believe after I heard him say the words.

Terrell McCoy, P.O.L.R exPRESS blog:

My first thoughts when he uttered the words "South Beach" out of his mouth was "this is UNREAL". I sat there and a sense of numbness overcame my body. Not because I was sad or anything, but I just couldn't believe that a player of his magnitude left. I know Shaq left Orlando for LA, but this is different. 'Bron is a native son of Ohio, the spokesperson for the state. Hell, the Welcome to Akron sign has to have "Home of Lebron James" (in bold letters) right under it. So initially it was shocking to me that he left his HOME, because honestly, it may never be safe for him to walk the streets and live there ever again.

Ebony Hammond, Ebonyisms blog:

I was shocked! I was really surprised that he was actually leaving Cleveland. He was the home town boy. I figured he would want to stick it out and build his own legacy in OH.

Steven L. Page 3

First thought? "He sold out." Then it was disappointment. I wanted to see him win in Cleveland, struggle to climb the mountain and give the city it's first Championship in FIFTY years. That was a story WORTHY of being the greatest player ever. He took the road of less resistance instead of forging his own legacy. Next thought? I have to renew League Pass next season!!

2)Is Miami the best fit for LeBron? Why or why not?

CJ3: Miami is 1a to Chicago’s 1b. Both were perfect fits, with minor detractions. Chicago is set up to possibly become the best defensive team in the league, between Noah, Rose and coach Tom Thibodeaux. They might have some issues with offense as they have the past few seasons, plus Carlos Boozer is there—and would LeBron really be smart to trust that bastard again? I say no.

As for Miami, he gets to play with Wade, which on potential is the most lethal wing combo since Jordan & Pippen in their primes. No team can legitimately hold them both down every night. On top of that, he’s paired with a big man who shoots close to 80% from the free throw line. The pick-and-roll options between Wade/LeBron and Bosh are terrifying.

Of course, Miami’s obvious issue will be finding championship-caliber talent that is willing to sacrifice minutes, income and notoriety to play behind the new ‘Big 3.’ Mike Miller was a great pickup, and if they can grab a discount big man they’ll be in a great position to jockey with other free agents as to their superior position to win the title over the Lakers. And they need that position, because with Kobe & Phil, the Lakers have a lot of pull this offseason to load up with the veteran ring-seeking talent Miami has to have to defeat them.

T.M: Without a doubt. This is a team of superstars like we've never seen before in our lifetime. I've managed to pull it off on 2k, but I never imagined it would happen in real life! And we've seen big names come together but they were WELL past their primes. James, Wade and Bosh are just now entering into their prime (which is scary). This team has the talent, management, and could be adding pieces that could set them up for a serious dynasty. Some people may have a case that Chicago was the right team for James, but this is an opportunity that no one can pass up. Also, the rumor that Chris Paul was apart of "The Beijing Pact" (see Bill Simmons article) and will join them next year makes this team unstoppable. At the end of the day, he made a great choice.

E.H: Only time will tell! This will be the greatest thing that ever happened to a team (in the modern age of basketball) or the biggest flop in all of basketball history. Will these two giant planets plus a moon be able to define their own solar system and create an orbit? Or will they just ultimately participate in massive planetary collision?? I do not know! I hope that they can work it out in Miami to create a super power in the East that will shut down Kobe & friends in the West. Can LeBron break through in Wade County? Will DWade be able to share the spotlight? Will they work together for the love of the Ring? Again, only time will tell.

S.L: I still think Chicago would have allowed him to contend for a ring this year. I love the roster they have and with a PG like Rose and a hard body bruiser and rebounder up front in Boozer and Noah, this team was going to make things ugly for the rest of the League. I wonder exactly how much Michael Jordan's shadow and legacy played into LeBron shying away from signing with Chicago. Miami is the glamorous pick with the 2 other stars, but who else is on their roster? Chicago with their roster RIGHT NOW would get him to the Eastern Conference Finals this season.

3)Prediction for this year's Heat W/L record, as well as what round of the playoffs they make it to?

CJ3: It’s tough to predict right now. They’ve only got 7 players. If this were NBA Live, you wouldn’t even get to call this a team yet! When they’ve got a roster of 12, it’ll be clear what kind of season they will have. Plus, with Wade being the eldest, they do need to make it a priority to find a reasonable talent at shooting guard so that he won’t have to play his aggressive style of basketball over 40 minutes for 82 games. He won’t survive that way. And neither will the Heat.

My uneducated guesses? Their range in a top-heavy East is 48 wins minimum, 66 maximum I’d say. And not making the second round doesn’t seem likely, but I can’t say they’re a lock for the conference finals either.

T.M: Honestly, I have to see the pieces that Pat Riley puts in place. I'm hearing names like Mike Miller, Tracy McGrady, Allen Iverson and Jason Kapono (to name a few). But I say they go 70-12 and make it to the NBA Finals.

E.H: Unless they can gel over the next couple of months to and define rolls that will come natural to the team. I think this first year will be difficult for this new team. However, if they are very determined and it seems as if they are willing to do whatever it takes to make this work, and they have Pat Riley who is a cut throat coach (refer to NY Knicks from the 90s). Im sure David Stern is wetting his pants thinking about a Laker vs Heat Finals going 7 games. It may very well happen.

S.L: These kind of questions are tough, but I say 60 games this year. Also, I have to pick this team to at least get to the second round, possibly the conference Finals. From there, I think they are overachieving this season if they go to the NBA Finals. Again, it really all depends on what magic Riley can work out as far as additions to this team. They need to call PJ Brown right now. Alonzo is still in shape!

4)Does LeBron's legacy take a hit with him leaving his home team to get rings with another? Teaming up with other great players instead of leading a team himself?

CJ3:LeBron’s legacy will be remembered as beginning on July 9, 2010. In my opinion, nothing he has done in the past seven years will weigh positively for him if he fails now, or negatively if he succeeds.

He’s likely seen his last MVP trophy, scoring title, and maybe even compromised his automatic 1st-team All-NBA selection. Those numbers (especially in The Book of Basketball) are used to separate the greats from the greatest historically, and he’s given up that part of his legacy for good. His greatest accomplishments now will come in a totally different capacity, if at all: he is much more likely to average the triple double we’ve been anticipating for seven years; he will most definitely need to be a 1st-team all-defense player if the Heat will win any championships (guarding all-star wings for an entire season); and most importantly, every single year of his career from this moment forward, not winning a championship marks an epic failure on his part.

What was forgivable in years 1-7—LOSING—is unacceptable in years 8 and up. He can no longer blame Mo Williams and the rest of his non All-Star cast, whether the bench and role players suck or not. He left Cleveland in the ugliest way possible, and abandoned more than $25 million dollars, to go to Miami and collect rings while having fun with his best NBA buddies. Well TRUST that there will be no more sideline dancing. Miami is not privileged to have LeBron—they already had Wade, and they already have a ring. He’s now an uber-hyped, overqualified Ron Artest. Wade has the championship pedigree and swagger, and it’s up to LeBron to not screw it up.

The potential greatest player of our generation is now confined to the remote possibility of being outperformed by an psychiatric patient from Queensbridge (which I mean in the kindest possible way?). If he gets rings, he gets what he came for, and history will reward him and his legacy. But he will never be in the discussion as one of the greatest 2, 3, or 5 players in the NBA. His cap is now probably at 10.

And you know what? The way he’s wired, I think he’s ok with that.

T.M:I don't believe it takes a hit by him leaving his home. He simply made a business decision that benefits him. But his legacy definitely takes a hit because he's teaming up with other great players. The fact that he will win a title with another Hall of Famer will hurt, but please believe he will do so by averaging a triple-double.

E.H: Lets face facts. He already missed the boat on being greater than MJ. MJ never lost when the championship was on the line. He has already had many opportunities to carry Cleveland on his back all the way to the championship promise land, and he has failed over and over. He choked plain and simple. He has been in the league 7 years with no championship so right now he is just proved to be really good in the regular season.THIS is his legacy right now. If he accomplishes what he has set out to championships...lots of them, then there is nothing people can say other than that he is a champion. People will continue to hate him, and they will question whether he could have done it alone, and they will continue to compare him to MJ. At the end of the day he still has to perform and be GREAT, depending on what happens between now and retirement will ultimately determine his legacy.

S.L: YES, YES, YES. Mike wouldn't do this. Ditto to Magic, Bird, or even Kobe (though he threatened). As unselfish and Christian as Lebron's choice is to defer from being the Alpha dog, he now becomes a very big, important, SECONDARY piece to the title hopes of the Miami Heat. And that is something I never in a million years would have thought he would do. He has been touted, and has even done so himself that he is a planet unto himself and a franchise player. He also said in 2006 that he wasn't one to chase Rings. So much for that. He is now, as much as people will try to argue it, Dwyane Wade's sidekick. A terrifying and possibly highest talented sidekick in sports history, but a sidekick at that. This is exactly what would have happened if Prime Bo Jackson got traded to the 1995 Detroit Lions and was the secondary back to Barry Sanders. Freak of nature, incredibly gifted, not the first option in the play book. I still wonder if LeBron has it in him to buckle down and demand to defend the other team's best player, rebound and facilitate the offense, and be Scottie Pippen. A couple posts back I lamented the fact that the Scottie Pippen prototype has not been seen since Scottie retired. Lamar Odom is close but can't be in that realm defensively. How ironic that the type of player and help LeBron and Cavs fans pleaded for to come to Cleveland and be LeBron's sidekick is the type of player and help LeBron will himself have to become to get Wade and the Heat more rings! Did he Bamboozle us? Did he not have the Jordan mentality all along? Was he always a gifted second fiddle thrust into the spotlight and a team, city, and region placed on his shoulders? We will soon find out. Sadly, those statements will be vindicated if he plays the Scottie Pippen role and wins more rings.

Letter from Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert...

The above picture ran in the Cleveland Newspaper the Plain Dealer today. Cold. What the small print pointing at his hand says: 7 years in Cleveland. No rings.

Late Thursday night, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert issued the following statement on LeBron James' departure from the franchise.

Dear Cleveland, all of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers supporters wherever you may be tonight;

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several-day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight: "I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA Championship before the self-titled former 'king' wins one."

You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our "motivation" to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that's simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our homegrown "chosen one" sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And "who" we would want them to grow up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called "curse" on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former "King" will be taking the "curse" with him down south. And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, Cleveland. Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day...

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue...

Dan Gilbert

Majority Owner

Cleveland Cavaliers

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Finally!! Bring on the NBA Finals!!!

It's time. The final 2 teams are set and ready to play until the other side drops. In one corner. the amazingly rejuvenated and Lazarus like Beasts of the East, the Boston Celtics, featuring a consensus top 5 PG in the NBA, and the only man (Pierce) in the past 10 seasons to knock off the top 2 players in the NBA in succession in position to position matchups (Conference and NBA Finals, 2008). Are they completely healthy? No, but still in pretty good shape. Are they older and slower? Yes, but still able to be explosive in spurts. Is this the toughest Series this group will have? Undoubtedly yes. Not only are the playing a revenge dwelling Lakers squad who have only gotten better personnel wise, the Lakers also have home court advantage, something that was key the last time these two teams met. If the Boston Celtics win this series, it will seal the 3 HOFers legacies on it's roster (Rondo may be a 4th HOF when it's all said and done!) and will also seal partially a legacy for Kobe Bryant as the Laker who couldn't beat their most hated rival when it counted. In the other corner, the LA Lakers. Hungry. Angry. Highly motivated to make up for their beat down in 2008. On the Laker side of things, they have no real reason on paper not to win this series. They are in better health (except for Bynum) Kobe is playing some of the best playoff basketball of his career, and Phil has the roster FOCUSED. Add that in with home court advantage and it is no wonder Vegas has LA not only winning the game tonight, but taking the entire series in 6-7 games. For me, the series is just too close to call. I don't honestly know who is going to win! These are my favorite types of Playoff series any way, so that is a treat. I only hope for a long, fought out series where both teams leave it on the floor. 7 games between these two juggernauts would be a dream come true. At this point, nothing left to do but sit back, relax, and see how things play out. Game on.

Finals Schedule
  • Game 1 Thursday, June 3 Boston at LAL 9 p.m. ABC/R/TSN
  • Game 2 Sunday, June 6 Boston at LAL 8 p.m. ABC/R/TSN
  • Game 3 Tuesday, June 8 LAL at Boston 9 p.m. ABC/R/TSN
  • Game 4 Thursday, June 10 LAL at Boston 9 p.m. ABC/R/TSN
  • Game 5 * Sunday, June 13 LAL at Boston 8 p.m. ABC/R/TSN
  • Game 6 * Tuesday, June 15 Boston at LAL 9 p.m. ABC/R/TSN
  • Game 7 * Thursday, June 17 Boston at LAL 9 p.m. ABC/R/TSN

I'll be on twitter throughout the Finals follow me @slai23

Friday, May 14, 2010

A story of two Phenoms

"Good luck, LeBron. Go ahead, put in your 39-8-8 again so that everyone else can be you go home way too early for yet another year in your career." -Clifton Jessup III

"Clifton, I tried." -Lebron James after 27 pts, 19 reb, 10 ast, 3 stl, 1 blk, and 9 TO

The picture above is interesting. Certainly because of the circumstances surrounding the embrace, but mainly because of who is doing it. Both High School phenoms, one of them now a grizzled veteran clearly on the downside of his career, the other entering the peak of his. Both entered the league as precocious 18 year olds, one with much hype and expectations, the other widely expected in some circles to be a bust.Drafted to cellar dwelling teams who were more then happy to start them early in their career and give them as much PT as necessary. The difference? The grizzled veteran, while he didn't have the explosive start to his career like the younger gun, found out that he will only go as far as his team will let him take them and that above all, he needed help. That help arrived in leaving his beloved draft team and hooking up with with 2 other veterans who had accomplished pretty much everything they wanted to on an individual level except lasting playoff success and a championship ring. 82 games and a thrilling 2008 playoffs later, ubuntu was released to the masses, and the grizzled veteran got his ring. Anything is Possible.

The younger gun, however, at this point must sit and realize that after 7 seasons with multiple teammates, things haven't worked as expected. The individual accolades have come, two League MVPs, All Star Games,and puppets, but the thing which is keeping him from truly being a King is that Ring. At this point, no one is sure that he will stay with his home state team and continue to fight to break a 60 year streak of championships of any kind unless you count Drew Carey's Emmys. (Actually scratch that, he's never won one. Let's make that "Unless you count Drew Carey's People's Choice Award.") In a city where the sport's fans openly say "God Hates us" and the city is known as the "Mistake by the lake", Lebron James has been a savior. For him to leave, for them to have to take down the giant billboard down town and play games at the Q without him, would devastate the city. It may very well kill professional basketball in that region and force a move (all the Seattle fans are standing up screaming). Lebron has done nothing to help the media scrutiny about where he would end up. As a matter of fact, he has encouraged it, being coy in interviews and wearing other city's sports teams on his head. It's no wonder that the fans in Boston last night, among the savviest and smartest basketball fans in America, would start a chant like this. I hope that everyone is clear on a couple of things.

Number one, Mike Brown is and should be fired. He might be the poorest offensive coach in the League. NO questions. Even if Lebron returns, a ring will not come on Brown's watch. Not that Brown, anyway (Larry pick up!!).

Secondly, this roster needs a revamp. I have always wondered why on earth the team chose to settle for Jamison over Stoudemire. With Amare, this team may very well be preparing for Orlando on Sunday. Also, lets be clear that Lebron does not yet have a capable and confident second in command who can consistently play well along side him. Being a Bulls fan from the 90s, Scottie Pippen will forever be that prototype, and sadly, not too many of him exist anymore in the league. The closest one is Lamar Odom and he has already found his way to his Michael.

So what happens now? Lebron James is at a crossroads of his career. Stay in Cleveland, and risk becoming Karl Malone (without John Stockton), the face of a franchise which never gets the job done, or leave for a bigger market and deal with even greater expectations (if that is even possible). The thing that is the elephant in the room is that at this point, he is no closer to a ring then when he started. Michael Jordan won his first ring at age 28 in year 7 of his career. Lebron is in year 7 now, and is 25. Those 3 years of cushion may prove incredibly valuable. At this point however, Jordan had a STABLE, DEPENDABLE supporting cast, with a fellow All Star who didn't disappear in big games in Scottie Pippen (save the migraine talk, please) and cold blooded spot up shooters. Lebron has none of that. What he does have, is a center way past his prime who slows down the offense and needs the ball, a smaller combo guard who is a streaky shooter and can't be counted on, and an aging forward whose biggest weapon is a prayerful finger roll flip (much like Clifton's!) from crazy angles and a jumper which may not show. THIS WILL NOT WORK. The teams at the top of the league have rosters where 1-8 are talented and know their roles. Cleveland is a team 1-3; 1 and 2 may not necessarily show up. Lebron has finally reached the point where it may prove too difficult to meet or exceed expectations. That is amazing for me, as he has been so far ahead of the curve since the beginning. But expectations, like Father Time, don't stop once you start beating them, they only get greater. No one is discussing what impact this injury will have on Lebron either. I think it is way more serious than he is letting on. After 7 years in the league (lots of mileage, ask Kobe), rehab will not be the same as at age 21. The way Lebron plays (like Wade) doesn't help his health prognosis in the league as he gets older either. I don't see how Lebron doesn't leave, yet I don't see how he's not rebuilding with any decision he makes. I wish him the best, and for my father's sake (and health) hope for this:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Same OLD Cavs

This article spawned in my mind after reading the Bleacher Report article at the following link:

LeBron James is the greatest athletic spectacle in the world today. Unfortunately for him, that has placed his game in the crosshairs of overanalysis and debate since he was drafted in 2003.

For much of his career, he has exceeded expectations--averaging 20-5-5 as a rookie, winning 50+ games in his third season, reaching the NBA Finals as a 22-year-old.

Now, at 25 years old, LeBron can no longer exceed expectations. The literal world is expected of him. He spent the first five years of his career carrying misfits and experimental additions as far as he possibly could. Now he leads a veteran bunch that, while the best teammates he's had, offers him absolutely no future, to even see where his place in history will be by 30.

In my opinion, other than this guy, and LeBron's own desire to become a global icon superseding his ambitions in NBA achievements, the major culprit in LeBron's failure to win a championship--last year, this year, and any year in the future--has been Cleveland's perpetual "WIN NOW" mentality.

No one seemed to notice, but every two years or so in LeBron's seven-year career, his team goes through a complete makeover. The only teammates he's seen survive more than one of such makeovers are Big Z and Anderson Varejao. Everyone else on the team has been there for four years or less (and it would be two years or less if we weren't accomodating Boobie Gibson, the 12th man!). Everyone.

Do you know what that means? After 3 seasons in Seattle/OKC, Kevin Durant has as many teammates that have three years of chemistry with him (Jeff Green, Nick Collison) as LeBron does. And what's worse? All the talent on LeBron's team is 27 and older, while Durant's starting 5 featured two 21-year-olds, a 23-year-old, a 25-year-old, and at times a 20-year-old center.

The Thunder plan to patiently build a champion, in a mold I have never seen so intentionally attempted--of the '90s-era Bulls. Rather than trading picks away and surrounding Durant with an older team that could win 50 games that year, they surrounded him with hard-working, high character, talent. Right now, in only year 3 of the experiment that has gone so well, the Thunder are legitimately 1 or 2 pieces from contending for a championship...for the next decade. Meanwhile, LeBron was able to accumulate the best record in the league the past two seasons, but with a team that lacks talent, chemistry, and any sort of future.

So now, as we are potentially a nightfall from witnessing a series-closing loss in Boston, I can't help but wonder a few things about the Cavs decision-making. Of course, Year 1 of the Shaquille O'Neal era (can we call it an era if we know it's only gonna last a season?) seems to continue this same disastrous train of thought for LeBron's career.

What if the Thunder plan had been used over the past 7 years of LeBron's career? What if in 2004 they'd drafted Al Jefferson or Josh/JR Smith instead of Luke Jackson, the shooter you MAYBE draft 29th when you're a playoff team, but not 10th when you aren't?

What if Sasha Pavlovic wasn't worth their 2005 first round pick in 2004? What if they'd kept that 13th pick? What if LeBron had been running with Danny Granger for the last 6 years?

What if Jiri Welsch wasn't worth their 2007 first round pick in 2005? What if they'd just waited and gotten the player chosen with that pick, Rudy Fernandez? Or two picks later, Aaron Brooks?

What if they hadn't cut Kelenna Azubuike in 2005? They traded FOR Sasha Pavlovic, and CUT Azubuike.

What if the time spent experimenting on backcourts with Lucious Harris, Eric Snow, Sasha Pavlovic, Jeff McInnis, Devin Brown, and Mateen Cleaves was used to develop some young guards, maybe with size or speed, to play with LeBron? Heck, what if they'd given Shannon Brown a friggin chance after they drafted him in 2006?!

Let's not even start on the frontcourt that included Zendon Hamilton, Lorenzen Wright, Jake Tsakalidis, Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, Jahidi White, Jerome Moiso, and the incomparably old Scott Williams!

Of course hindsight is 20/20. Of course it is. But the fact're playing with house money. You've got the most gifted athlete, possibly in the world today. He's playing for his home crowd. He doesn't have any logical reasons to abandon your team. He's 18, 19, 20 years old. What's the problem with being at least a bit patient?

Why not find some top-notch scouts, look for talented young players, see what works with LeBron, and go with it? THE STANDS WILL STILL BE FULL. As we saw with Oklahoma City this season, a team that works hard and has young legs is enough to remain competitive every night. Maybe their mistake was in judging all young players based on Ricky Davis and Darius Miles, and choosing to abandon athleticism and talent for the more predictable maturity and experience.

As for LeBron's killer instinct, I think there has been a great degree of overreaction. LeBron plays hard every night he suits up, which at this point is more than 90 times in the past 7 months. He's done this for the last seven years, so unfortunately, I think he knows better than we do when his team has it, and when they don't. I think he's a guy who sees that his team doesn't have it. He knows what it takes, he's hit the brick wall of the Spurs and Celtics before, so he knows what a champion looks like. Last year he averaged 39-8-8 and was eliminated from the East Finals. This year he's injured, plus his old team got a year older. I don't know that he believes in this team.

Does that translate into him leaving next season? Quite frankly, I don't think there are any clues to be read into at this point. Either he will leave or he won't. What I do think, though, is...he'd be crazy not to at least take a look at New Jersey and Chicago. We know about Noah and Rose for the Bulls, but with the Nets, they've got a billionaire owner (remember: "Global Icon?"), a major market, a new stadium, a top-3 pick in the draft (John Wall?), a stud center, a boatload of young talent, a solid amount of cap space, and possibly Devin Harris as trade bait.

His alternative is to let his career remain in the hands of Coach Mike Brown and his panicked rotations and Danny Ferry, who hasn't met a washed-up veteran he wouldn't sign. And Cleveland...we've already seen how hard that is to sell, it's a lot more this... than this.

Good luck, LeBron. Go ahead, put in your 39-8-8 again so that everyone else can be you go home way too early for yet another year in your career.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What happened to Lebron James?

"One of the biggest playoff wins in KNICKS history."

--'s John Hollinger


First, let me apologize for not posting as much as I wanted to during the Playoffs.
Now that that is out of the way, WHAT IS GOING ON WITH LEBRON JAMES?!

I watched Game 5 last night and that is by far the poorest performance I have seen him put in as a pro. And my assessment has nothing to do with his stat line. He just wasn't trying. He wasn't tuned in or focused on helping his team in the game. His shot wasn't falling, and instead of focusing on the other facets of his game (rebounding. defense, passing) which in my opinion makes him MORE dangerous then when he is scoring, what does he do? Check out of the game! His play affected his team as well. No one could get it going, and the Boston Celtics, long thought to be old and washed up, wrecked them. In Cleveland. This is unfathomable.

At this point in time, I can't see Cleveland making the East finals, much less the NBA Finals. They just don't have the personnel. They have coasted through the regular season, and now, for a 3rd straight year, are being exposed to have a lot of bark and no bite. Besides Lebron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers have NO ONE who demands respect from any team. Now compare that statement with the Lakers roster. Even if you are a Laker's hater, they have personnel who are a threat whenever, or where ever they play. Pau Gasol is one of the top big men in the league. Lamar Odom can at any moment grab a rebound, block a shot, initiate the offense, defend the other team's best player, or hit a jumper. Ron Artest can defend and at the very least rough up the other team's best player (Kevin Durant, anyone?) as well as occasionally hit an open jumper.The Mo Williams experiment is dead. He does not have the tools or the skills to be a confident dependable #2 option for this team. Ditto for the rest of the roster, including Shaq. In my opinion, Lebron needs a Joe Johnson or Lamar Odom. Get them and things get better in a hurry. Someone who can defend the other teams best player, initiate offense on their own, and be enough of a threat to demand attention (essentially, replicate Scottie Pippen's role and performance). This also has proven to me that in the end, Boston, LA, and Orlando have better TEAMS (by far!) than Cleveland. It is actually a tribute to how great Lebron is that he has been able to mask their shortcomings. But make no mistake. This Cavs teams is downright fraudulent when it comes to being a contender. They can't defend consistently or rebound. Even if they pull off a comeback miracle in this series, DO NOT expect them to make it to the Finals or to win against the Lakers (yes, I'm picking them already). I can't give Lebron a bail out as far as his injury goes because he never even asserted himself and attempted shots. At no point did he play like the alpha dog for the Cavs, and that is what shocked me the most. It's almost as if they don't think they can win. This game may very well stand as an example as how much more he has to go to be considered the best or even one of the best to ever play the game.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

U.S. limits urged for salt in processed food -

U.S. limits urged for salt in processed food -

U.S. limits urged for salt in processed food

No decision has been made to regulate salt, despite  recommendations from a top scientific organization.
No decision has been made to regulate salt, despite recommendations from a top scientific organization.
  • Standards would cover how much food manufacturers and restaurants could add
  • Manufacturers and companies should voluntarily begin reducing levels, group says
  • Adults' recommended daily intake is 2,300 milligrams: about 1 teaspoon

Washington (CNN) -- Salt, a staple in most food, could soon be regulated if the Institute of Medicine has its way.

In a new report, the institute, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to set national standards for salt added to processed foods and prepared meals in an effort to reduce Americans' consumption of sodium.

Salt consumption, long associated with increased risk of hypertension, heart disease and stroke, would be cut back gradually through a series of incremental reductions intended to help keep flavors consistent.

The new standards would set how much salt food manufacturers and restaurants could add to their products. The Institute of Medicine says that a ban on salt is not necessary but that regulation is, because decades of public education campaigns have failed to reduce Americans' intake.

Just thought this was interesting...

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Championship game wrap up, and postgame comments which rubbed me the wrong way.

Duke won. Great. Fantastic game that almost had a better ending then the hype with a half court shot hitting bank and off the front of the iron. Heartbreaking for the Bulldogs, who are no longer a secret anymore in College Basketball. I certainly hope Coach Stevens stays there and they get more resources and attention. They are a great program and one that deserved every bit to be in the championship game. Duke was not able to use their size to a rebounding advantage which was surprising. Butler's guards were absolute bullies on the floor with their physicality and speed.
Let me get to my real beef with last night. After the game, Digger Phelps got on his soapbox along with Bob Knight and made some disparaging comments about players who come to college for one year and enter the Lottery to get drafted into the NBA. He specifically mentioned Tyreke Evans, Derrick Rose, and even current college players like John Wall and Demarcus Cousins and sarcastically asked "What happened to them here? Why didn't they win?" This is outrageous. Phelps said that coaches should start recruiting "quality kids" who won't bolt after one year and go make money in the league. And by quality, please understand who Phelps is referring to. There were no one and dones on Duke or Butler. Both teams were mostly made up of Juniors and Seniors. Then Bob Knight jumped in and said that if the former head of the NCAA was still in power the one and done rule would be much stricter and kids couldn't leave after freshman year, and it would stop "the one-and-done garbage schools have to contend with." I resent that they would single out players (who are overwhelmingly black) and call them out even by name. As if the college basketball level is the end all. Forget that the vast majority of these kids are making life decisions and its either stay and take classes and make your school and the NCAA millions (while you get nothing) or go and get your parents and siblings out of a possibly dangerous environment and a better quality of life. Heaven forbid these players make the best decision for them and their family over the million dollar paid coaches and school! Hypocrisy and sickening to me. This is the same logic used to criticize Colt McCoy for not going back into the National Championship BCS bowl game against Bama. That he somehow should have risked more injury and a pro career for Longhorn glory. Thankfully his father saw the big picture and told him not to go back in. 12 freshmen or less will enter the nba out of roughly 300 schools w/12-15 players so maybe 1/300 players are true 1 & dones. Not that big a percentage. But to hear Digger and the basketball establishment say it, it's despicable and flies in the face of the purity of college sports. The purity? Don't make me laugh. When coaches are paid millions and get to choose what shoes and uniforms the team wears (only to get paid more) while boosters drop big money into programs and schools get huge checks for just making the tournament. Alabama A&M 3 years ago got into the play-in game (65 vs 64) and lost, and the school still got ~$500,000! There are clearly some bruised egos and angry feelings from the college basketball establishment when a kid plays for one year and goes pro, or even in the past when they could skip college and go straight to the NBA. The reason you come to College is to learn and prepare to get a job and make a living in life. To become educated in your field. Why on earth wouldn't you enter your field as soon as possible if you are deemed good enough to do it? Classes will always be there. As much as "purist" say you get paid to play by a free ride in education, how much is that for 4 years? $120,000 for tuition and room and board? Make the pro money and get educated during the summer. If you are a kid who is a locked in lottery pick, and you can help your family, or they need help, and you are deciding what you should do, remember this guy and how he helped his mother and family, or this guy and how he extended his sister's life.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Disappointment and a bright outlook on the future. Texas A&M basketball season ends.

Well, it's over. On a heartbreaking LAYUP, Texas A&M gets knocked out in OT against a crippled (on paper at least) Purdue team. I can't tell you how upset I am as an Aggie that we would lose on a LAYUP with time winding down. It seems to go against everything this team and coach stands for as far as defensive principles. Nonetheless, we find ourselves staring at a long flight home to College Station with a former QB driving middle with 4.3 seconds left to thank. I feel bad for Aggie Senior Bryan Davis (17 points, 15 rebounds) who was an absolute MAN in the middle; the Boilermakers had no answer for him from 10 feet in. He led the team today in points, rebounds, blocks, and steals! He got every shot he wanted, and on most plays got fouled whether they called it or not. Our guard play was also pretty good outside of a couple costly turnovers in the second half. Dash's wrist kept him from being offensively potent as the D knew he wasn't trying to take jumpers. I wonder why we weren't smarter with our timeouts (a bit of hindsight is 20/20, I know) though considering it would have been extremely helpful to stop the clock after the layup. Kudos also to Senior Donald Sloan for playing hard and changing his game to be a playmaker when he realized his shot wasn't falling in the tournament. I was REALLY looking forward to see A&M play Duke in Houston. It would have been a Maroon out at Reliant Stadium! Here is your game breakdown statistically, from, followed by a season recap schedule for the Aggies:

Today's game against the Purdue Boilermakers.

Points 61 63
Field Goals 23-65 (35.4%) 26-63 (41.3%)
Free Throws 10-17 (58.8%) 5-6 (83.3%)
3-pointers 5-17 (29.4%) 6-17 (35.3%)
Rebounds (Off)40 (12) 30 (3)
Assists 14 11
Steals 8 12
Blocks 3 6
Turnovers 14 12
Personal Fouls 13 18

David Loubeau, F305-100-02-2270001312
Khris Middleton, F231-61-30-015200323
Bryan Davis, F318-170-01-17153322317
Dash Harris, G330-00-02-402410322
Donald Sloan, G394-172-51-2014103111
B.J. Holmes, G272-90-53-312130017
Ray Turner, F151-10-01-502001003
Naji Hibbert, G132-22-20-003000106
Nathan Walkup, F140-30-20-013000110
JaJuan Johnson, C325-150-01-2031230311
Chris Kramer, G316-101-24-4071302317
Keaton Grant, G332-71-40-016121115
Lewis Jackson, G271-50-10-014410312
E'Twaun Moore, G387-171-50-0061303315
Kelsey Barlow, G160-10-00-001101220
D.J. Byrd, G194-52-20-0120001110
Ryne Smith, G131-21-20-001200023
John Hart, G30-10-10-000000000
Patrick Bade, F130-00-00-000011020

2010 Schedule/Results
11/13ANGW 88-69
11/16@ SMUW 80-68
11/20SAMW 68-49
11/26vs. CLEMW 69-60
11/27vs. WVUL 73-66
11/29vs. MINNW 66-65
12/02PVW 84-59
12/04AKRW 74-62
12/07UNTW 75-65
12/12vs. UNML 84-81
12/19CITW 71-50
12/22@ WASHL 73-64
1/02NWSTW 89-63
1/05UNDW 82-41
1/09NEBW 64-53
1/12@ KSUL 88-65
1/16@ TEXL 72-67 OT
1/19OKLAW 65-62
1/23COLOW 67-63
1/27@ OKSTL 76-69
1/30TTUW 85-70
2/03@ MIZZW 77-74
2/06BAYW 78-71
2/13@ TTUW 67-65
2/15KUL 59-54
2/20@ ISUW 60-56
2/24@ BAYL 70-66
2/27TEXW 74-58
3/03OKSTW 76-61
3/06@ OKLAW 69-54
3/11vs. NEBW 70-64
3/12vs. KUL 79-66
3/19vs. USUW 69-53
3/21vs. PURL 63-61 OT