Monthly Archives: April 2012

My Extremely Late-Ass 2012 NBA Playoff Preview: First Round

Yeah, I know I am late as hell with my NBA Playoff preview.  I’m traveling over the weekend in New York for my wife’s friend’s wedding shower, so excuuuuuse me for being a husband!

At any rate, here was how I saw things shaping out BEFORE the playoffs.  Since I’m late in the game, I wont share my synopsis (it’s useless by now anyway).  And before you all ask, yes I am sticking to my picks – Derrick Rose’s knee injury notwithstanding…

Eastern Conference

#1 Chicago Bulls vs. #8 Philadelphia 76ers
Prediction: Bulls in 5.

#2 Miami Heat vs. #7 New York Knicks
Prediction: Heat in 6.

#3 Indiana Pacers vs. #6 Orlando Magic
Prediction: Pacers in 4.

#4 Boston Celtics vs. #5 Atlanta Hawks
Prediction: Celtics in 6.

Western Conference

#1 San Antonio Spurs vs. #8 Utah Jazz
Prediction: Spurs in 4.

#2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. #7 Dallas Mavericks
Prediction: Thunder in 5.

#3 Los Angeles Lakers vs. #6 Denver Nuggets
Prediction: Lakers in 7.

#4 Memphis Grizzlies vs. #5 Los Angeles Clippers
Prediction: Grizzlies in 5.

2012 NFL Draft Busts?

Every year, draft pundits have postulated which teams made out like bandits and which those which left them head scratching.  And even though the NFL completed just the first round of its draft, the draft pundits – as well as fans like me – have an idea of which teams will keep spinning its wheels for a second consecutive year.

I have two teams who fit the latter criteria: Miami and Kansas City.

First of all, the Dolphins selected Texas A&M QB RyanTannehill with the eighth overall pick in the first round last night.  A couple of thoughts here: did any of the Dolphinspersonnel see the game tape on that kid?  Dude’s interception-to-touchdown ratio in college is just too damn high.  Did anyone see that game he had against the Texas Longhorns last season? 

Absolutely horrible.  

I know one thing, if you draft a kid with the eighth pick in the draft he’d better be an impact player – let alone a franchise QB.  I do not think Tannehill is that guy.

The Chiefs made perhaps the biggest head-scratcher with their selection of Dontari Poe.  If you watch this kid on film, his motor was far from consistent – during Conference USA play no less.  In fact, Poe was originally thought to go no higher than late in the first round.  

Then the NFL Combine happened.  Poe was a workout wonder, clocked an excellent time in the 40-yard dash and did rather well in the agility drills.  As I said time and again in the past that is why I think the Combine is more of a hindrance than a help.  NFL personnel men tend to rely more on how a kid does in shorts than his college production on film.

I know one thing: picks like those tend to get personnel men (and sometimes coaches) fired.  Both the Dolphins’ and Chiefs’ personnel groups should be planning to rent instead of buy sooner rather than later.

Michael Jordan Is the Worst Executive in Pro Sports

Move over Donald Sterling and Stephen Ross, there is an even worse owner of a pro sports franchise out there.  And he just happens to be one of the greatest pro basketball players of all time.

Let’s state the obvious here: Michael Jordan the executive is light years away from Michael Jordan the player.

Oh, and there’s more.  Jordan is the same dude who picked Kwame Brown as the overall top pick in 2001 and Adam Morrison with the second pick of the 2006 draft.  Just horrible!

How in the hell does a guy who, as a player, did everything he could to be the best can be so damn “turrible” as an executive?  Does Jordan not have any pride?

Now he’s leading the Bobcats’ tanking charge while losing their 21st straight game – 21 straight! – earlier tonight against the not as woeful, but bad,  Washington Wizards.  Hell given the margin of the loss (101-73), it’s obvious the Bobcats have long quit on this season.

Here’s hoping that Michael Jordan loses out on the Anthony Davis sweepstakes.  Hell, even if Jordan does get the top pick in the lottery, he’ll find a way to screw it up.

Pro Sports Strong-arming Cities into Stadium Deals Are Flat Out Wrong

The Minnesota Vikings stadium deal collapsed earlier in the week.  NFL Commissioner/Warden/Playa-Hata/QB-Lover Roger Goodell and onwer of my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers Art Rooney II flew to Minnesota to speak with its governor and legislature.  There was talk of Goodell throwing around the possibility of the Vikings moving to Los Angeles, where the NFL really REALLY wants to place a team.

A day or two later, the stadium bill was “renewed”.

In Sacramento, an effort to build a new arena in downtown Sacramento for the Kings fell through.  The mayor of Sacramento, former NBA player Kevin Johnson, flew to Las Vegas to meet with the Maloof family (who owns the Kings) in hopes of reviving talks so the team will not move.

We all have seen this movie play out before.

We have seen the NBA move the Hornets from Charlotte to New Orleans, mainly because the city of Charlotte refused to give in to the whims of the former bumbling, cheap-ass, and scandal-ridden owner George Shinn.  Recently the NBA moved the SuperSonics from Seattle to Oklahoma City.

We have seen the NHL move franchises such as the Minnesota North Stars, Hartford Whalers, and Quebec Nordiques to Dallas, Raleigh, NC and Denver respectively.  The same NHL moved the old Winnipeg Jets to Phoenix of all places!  (at least the NHL made things right moving the floundering Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg)

We have seen Major League Baseball move the Montreal Expos to Washington, DC.  And to those of us old enough to remember, MLB relocated both Washington Senators franchises to become the Minnesota Twins (in 1961) and Texas Rangers (in 1972).

Even the mighty NFL moved the old Cleveland Browns franchise to Baltimore, as well as the Houston Oilers to Tennessee, and Los Angeles Rams to St. Louis (St. Louis?!).

The point I am making is pro franchise are wrong for strong-arming communities over the years into financing new stadiums and sports arenas with the threat of relocation.

Look, I know that there has to be some community investment with a sports franchise.  The risk is often-times too great for owners of professional teams.  I just think that given what ails our society – poor under-funded schools, lack of jobs, high-ass taxes, sky-rocketing inflation – that communities are better off not committing over 60% of the tab on stadium deals.

And sure, people say new stadiums and arenas will create more jobs and pay for itself over time.

Just don’t tell that to the people of Cincinnati, where it has to endure Bengals owner Mike Brown – the same dude who helped force the mother of all sweetheart deals which helped build Paul Brown Stadium.  Oh, and by the way, all of the ticket proceeds – no matter the event – goes to Brown.

I hate seeing billionaires force communities into further debt in doing something that they should be doing themselves.  Hell as much as I loathe Jerry Jones, at least he footed the majority of the bill for that $1.something billion palace for his Cowboys.

I really, REALLY hate corporate welfare.  Professional sports leagues need to put an end to it.

Basketball Will not Be the Same without Pat Summitt

Pat Summitt has stepped down as women’s basketball head coach at the University of Tennessee.  Her long-time assistant Holly Warlick will take over as head coach.

Color me stunned.

Look, I know this day was coming sooner rather than later after Summitt revealed that she was diagnosed with early onset dementia.  I just cannot associate women’s college basketball without Summitt – let alone Tennessee women’s basketball.

Simply put, Summitt put women’s college basketball on the map.  She begat other women’s coaching legends such as UConn’s women’s coach Geno Auriemma, Baylor’s coach Kim Mulkey, and Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer.

In fact, could you picture Auriemma and Summitt not going at it?  Neither can I.  Those two helped make women’s college basketball cool to watch – even for the casual fan.

Oh, since I am a numbers guy, here is what Summitt leaves behind:

  • A 1,098-207 record
  • 16 regular season Southeastern Conference championships
  • 16 SEC tournament titles
  • 18 Final Fours
  • Eight national titles

Not only is Summitt the best women’s coach, she is one of the best coaches in basketball, period.

ESPN’s Schedule Special Is More Proof that NFL Is King

The NFL has struck again – and I am happy as a mother-bleep about it.

The NFL has released its 2012 schedule via ESPN tonight.  It has been on for over two hours and I am STILL watching as I am typing this.

And when the ratings for the special come out tomorrow, I guarantee you that it will be higher than any NBA game, baseball game, AND NHL playoff game in that same time slot.

This is one of the reasons why the NFL is king in the USA.  Anytime a league schedule release special draws viewers and hype, you know that league is the “shiz-niztz”.

And as crazy as tonight’s schedule release on ESPN is, just wait until the draft rolls around next week – in PRIMETIME no less.  Once again, this is the NFL’s world and the NBA, NHL, NASCAR, MLS, golf, and baseball are just living in it.

The NHL Playoffs Is the Best in Sports

It’s April, which means it’s time for the best tournament in all of sports: the NHL Playoffs.

Yeah, I said it.

First of all, football – namely the NFL – is far and away my favorite sport.  I also think – like most Americans – that the NFL is the greatest league on the planet (sorry European soccer fans).

Having said that, the NFL playoffs does not have the intensity the NHL playoffs do.  I mean, a best-of-seven series in EVERY ROUND where it is not uncommon for a top seed to lose a series?  And most of those series go the distance.  You cannot get any more intense than that.

Look, I am not trying to masquerade as a huge hockey buff.  Hell, I wouldn’t begin to preview any of the first-round series (though I will keep an eye on the Penguins-Flyers and Capitals-Bruins series). But I know an intense, slug-it-out tournament when I see one.

And I can honestly say that the Stanley Cup is arguably the only trophy that cannot be bought.  Last I checked, high-payroll teams such as the now local Washington Capitals have not fared well in the playoffs.  Hell, other high-payroll teams such as the Toronto Maple Leafs have not made the playoffs in more than three seasons!

Look, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is great with it’s “one and done” format – but it’s not as compelling to me as in recent years.  The NBA playoffs, while great in its own right, last too damn long because its first-round series is a month long.

I’d rank the NFL playoffs right up there with the NHL’s.  The only thing that puts the NHL over the top is its best-of-seven grueling, intense series where ANYTHING can happen.  Home-ice does not carry as much weight as home-field and home-court does in the NFL and NBA respectively.

NHL playoffs: it’s truly FAN-tastic.

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