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Monday, February 14, 2011

NBA & NCAA Basketball Truths From R. Scates

Here are a few truths I learned from the hoop world this weekend…

-I have underestimated one Rajon Rondo. I am not a fan of his ability to shoot mid-range jumpers and free throws, but I have come to appreciate his toughness and how he brings value when he is on the floor. I thought it was impressive taking on the challenge of guarding Lebron James, who is 7 inches taller and outweighs Rondo by 70lbs. Until Lebron went into the post, Rondo was doing a peskily (if that’s a word) effective job keeping Employee #6 out of his offensive comfort zone. Like him or hate him, Rajon Rondo does the little things that pick the Celtics up and provides positive energy.

-KG talks a good psycho babble and even asserts his psycho on the smaller ones in the league, but when he gets stepped to, his hands go in the air and he backs off. After Rondo ran into a hard, yet legal screen, Garnett leaned his shoulder into Mike Miller who was chasing Ray Allen around a screen. Dwyane Wade then came to the defense of his teammate and Garnett backed right on down. Buck up player…

-Dwyane Wade is a more versatile player than Lebron James

-The Los Angeles Lakers played a tired game against the Orlando Magic, bring in Carmelo !?!?! - (sorry couldn’t resist)

-I wish both, but either the Golden State Warriors or Los Angeles Clippers will make the playoffs. Also, Monta is an All-Star.

-On the college side basketball of things the OSU loss to Wisconsin took a lot of pressure off those kids. I think OSU will get back dominating and secure a #1 tourney seed.

-Nolan Smith has stepped up big time for the Duke Blue Devils and should finish top 3 in the National Player of the year voting.

-It’s good to see UNC ranked and back on track. It looks like the departure of Larry Drew II was good for both parties.

-Texas Longhorns are playing the type of stifling defense that could carry them deep into the tourney.

@rodscates is the Twitter for good debates and other sports truths

Albert Haynesworth Accused Of Sexual Assault

This guy just can't seem to avoid negative publicity. According to this story by the Washington Post, Haynesworth is being accused of sexually assaulting a waitress at the W Hotel in Washington over the weekend. Here is a little of the report:

Sources say a waitress claims that Albert Haynesworth sexually abused her over the weekend at the W Hotel in Washington.

Police are investigating the complaint made by the waitress.

The U.S. Attorney's Office is expected to review the evidence in the case to see what, if any, charges may be brought against Haynesworth.

According to a police report obtained by NBC Washington, the waitress stated that her hands were full carrying glasses as she was clearing the table at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

She said that "Subject 1" tried to pay his bill by giving her his credit card, but he asked if it was OK to stick the card in her blouse near her breast area. She nodded her head yes and, according to the report, she said he then placed the card into her blouse gently, sliding the card further into her left side of the blouse and then started to caress her breast.

There's nothing kosher about this situation. Whether Haynesworth is officially charged or not the Redskins should seriously considering cutting him loose. It's becoming clear that the Haynesworth era in Washington has run it's course and it's time to pull the plug. Hopefully they do and Haynesworth will have better luck with a different organization.


Five NBA Players Most Likely To Be Traded By Deadline

With the NBA trade deadline just ten days away (Feb. 24th) there will be rumors and possible scenarios flying around in abundance over the next week and for good reason. There are a lot of good players that can change a good team into a legitimate contender. Here's a lot at five players who I feel have the highest chances of being dealt before the deadline and why:

1. Tayshaun Prince, Detroit Pistons
The Tayshaun Prince trade talk has be relatively quiet but best believe he's a hot commodity. He can guard multiple positions, knock down shots and handle the basketball smoothly. The most attractive thing is his expiring contract and there is little chance he will resign with Detroit. The Pistons aren't contenders this season and have youth on the wing (Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers) so look for Prince to most likely be in a different uni soon.

2. Anthony Parker, Cleveland Cavs
The Cavs are the worst team in the NBA, so Parker shouldn't be too hard to acquire for a potential playoff team (the Bulls have shown the most interest). He's a big shooting guard that can spread the floor and hit 3's consistently. I think the only reason he is still in Cleveland to this point is because he's coming off a back injury and teams are waiting to see how he responds. Parker appears healthy now and should be on the move in the next week, freeing more playing time for Manny Harris to take over the 2-guard spot.

3. Anthony Randolph, New York Knicks
The question isn't if Randolph will be traded, it's when and to where. He is clearly out of the Knicks plans. Randolph does have a ton of potential and played well for Golden State last season before getting injured (11.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg in only 23 minutes) and can produce if given the right opportunity. Randolph is also only 21 years old. The biggest issue besides injury may be his contract which carries a $7 mil price tag on the books over the next 2 seasons.

4. O.J. Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies
Mayo is returning from his 10-game suspension this week and it will be interesting to see how the Grizzlies incorporate him into their game plan as the team went 8-2 in his absence. He'll most likely go back to his reserve role but with limited minutes. Mayo is still a quality starting shooting guard and only 23 so there will be many teams calling about taking him off of the Grizzlies hands. He's on the books for 2 more seasons as a reasonable salary so a team such as Dallas or Minnesota may be willing to take a flier on the talented 2-guard.

5. Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
It would be a cardinal sin to talk NBA trade scenarios and not mention 'Melo, even more so since he has been playing lights out lately. As he has remained in Denver to this point and still has yet to sign that 3-year $65 mil extension that has been pending since last summer. Even though he says he would consider signing the extension, Melo also said if he was not dealt by the deadline. Reading between the lines it seems like a rush tactic to persuade a potential suitor to pull the trigger (looks over at the Knicks front office).

There can and will definitely be other deals in the works over the next ten days, but these are the five players who I can see being moved sooner than later. We will keep you on the up & up on any movement as the deadline approaches.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Video: Shannon Brown Incredible Alley Oop

Los Angeles Lakers reserve guard Shannon Brown is by far one of the most athletic players in the NBA today (rumor has it he has a 44-inch vertical). Brown's leaping ability was on full display on this play againt the Knicks in Madison Square Garden:

That was ridculous. It even looked as if Brown was still going up when he caught the pass. Although Shannon Brown as a bit of a dud in last year's dunk contest we'll give him the benefit of the doubt as his in-game dunks >> the dunk contest almost any year.


LTSBlog Debate: Is Carmelo Anthony Or Andrew Bynum Better For The Lakers?

Amidst all the Carmelo Anthony drama ans trade rumors lately, the was a bizarre trade scenario reported by ESPN's Chris Broussard (figures) claiming that the Los Angeles Lakers were in talks with the Denver Nuggets regarding a Anthony for Andrew Bynum swap. Although the rumors were shot down by the Lakers players and management the rumors set the internet blogs and chat rooms going bonkers. So for the sake of debate LTSBlog's ALR & @lostherod had a debate regarding the pros and cons of a Anthony for Bynum swap. I (ALR) was against the deal while @lostherod was in favor. Enjoy.

@lostherod: After hearing all the speculation about the Lakers trading Andrew Bynum for Carmelo Anthony, what do you actually think about it?

ALR: I would pass on trading Bynum for Carmelo. Couldn't risk giving up a top 10 center just for a wing scorer. Your thoughts?

@lostherod: I would make the trade happen. I don't think Bynum has lived up to his potential billing because of his problems staying on the court, i.e injuries and foul trouble.

ALR: I can see that, but in the same regard Bynum is only 23 and is still getting better. The Lakers best asset is their size up front and trading Bynum away with no front court depth would be a huge blow to their chances at a 3-peat.

@lostherod: True... Statistically, there are 2 categories where Bynum has Carmelo beat, Blocks and Fouls. Carmelo is averaging the same amount of rebounds, more assists, and clearly more points. I think you can sacrafice that presence for 15-20pts above what Bynum is currently averaging, and you can preserve Kobe Bryant for when it truly matters, like say a Game 7 in Boston or Miami.

ALR: That is assuming that you get to the finals without Bynum. Carmelo definitely is an upgrade offensively. But trading him away with no big man in return means more minutes for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. Who else would they bring in to defend the basket, Derrick Caracter? He's undersized and nowhere near ready.

@lostherod: On defense, there would have to be a scheme, just like there was when Bynum was hurt during the playoffs I believe his first year. That's where the offensive perspective comes into play because defense would most definitely suffer. I don't see the Spurs or Mavericks have an answer for the threat of 2 elite scorers and whatever Pau and Lamar can contribute on the side. It would also take pressure of the Laker Bench, which has seemed to lose a step

ALR: When Bynum was hurt a couple seasons ago the Lakers had more depth up front with Kwame Brown (I know, I know). DJ Mbenga and Ronny Turiaf. This year, not so much. I don't think offense is the issue. Defense and having someone to protect the basket against the penetrating guards in the west is Bynum's best asset to the team.

@lostherod: That's actually where I have a problem with Bynum. He looks extra slow on defense, and he's not really protecting the basket like he should be. Granted, going through that many knee/leg issues would slow anyone down, but he is doing intangible things that are not characteristics of a person anchoring a defense. If the action isn't happening in front of him, he can't recover laterally. He looks like he is jogging during transition defense, or is that full speed? When guards do penetrate, he stands still, and if he jumps he gets whistled...

ALR: Good point but the playoffs are also a month away, giving Bynum time to get healthy. He played solid defense [Feb. 10th] against the Celtics and I think he will be in better shape come April. And Carmelo has never been an "interested" defender in any right.

@lostherod: I do agree with both of those and again, I see the potential. In his game [Feb. 10], Carmelo put up 42pts and Afflalo hit a game winner [against Dallas]. In a different jersey I can see that same situation happening, with a Kobe Bryant that has coasted throughout the game taking over when it matters most. It's all in the intangibles...

ALR: I like what Carmelo brings to the table but I just can't agree with trade potential for what is already a strength to the Lakers. They've won back to back rings with size and I think Carmelo would help them long term but hinder them this season.
Thoughts, comments or opinions to add to our debate? Leave a comment expressing your point of view. We're always game for a good debate.

LTSBlog's 2011 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (11-15)

Contuing on our 2011 NFL Mock Draft of the first round from a couple days ago (you can see picks 1-10 here), here is our mock draft with picks 11-20. Please note these picks are not factoring in any possible trades:

11. Houston Texans 6-10 (team needs: CB, WR, DE, DT) - Marcell Dareus, DT Alabama
The Texans most glaring need is at cornerback where they were repeatedly shredded last season and they are praying that one of the top 3 DBs falls to them here. But in this scenario are 3 are off the board, leaving Houston to address it's next biggest need which is their defensive line. Dareus has excellent size and speed and can play on the end if needed and he's an excellent pass rusher to compliment Mario Williams.

12. Minnesota Vikings 6-10 (team needs: QB, DE, WR) - J.J. Watt, DE Wiscounsin
As the Brett Favre experience has finally come to an end (we think) the Vikings top need is a quarterback to keep defenses honest instead of stacking the line of scrimmage to stop Adrian Peterson, but none of the QBs left are worth this high of a pick. Best option would be to get a pass rusher to compliment Jared Allen and Watt fits the bill perfectly.

13. Detroit Lions 6-10 (team needs: S, OL, WR) - Nate Solder, OT Colorado
Biggest need for the Lions is in the secondary but no one on the board is a top-15 pick in my opinion. They have a solid nucleus offensively with Matthew Stafford, Jahvid Best and Calvin Johnson so picking Solder to fill in at LT and protect Stafford would definitely serve Detroit well. Solder has legit size and excellent athleticism for the position. Good safe, value pick for a much improved Lions squad.

14. St. Louis Rams 7-9 (teams needs: WR, CB, LB) - Julio Jones, WR Alabama
The Rams hit the jackpot with Sam Bradford last season and the rookie was able to have a nice season with limited weapons in the passing game. St. Louis would be well served to take Jones at this spot and give Bradford a legit #1 receiving option. Jones is a beast of a wide receiver with excellent size and above average speed. Jones and 2nd year receiver Denario Alexander could form a great WR combo for years to come.

15. Miami Dolphins 7-9 (team needs: WR, RB, QB, DE) - Adrian Clayborn, DE Iowa
The best option here would be to draft a QB for the future since Chad Henne has been up & down so far in his young career. Some would opt for Cam Newton here but I think Henne should get one more season to prove himself. Clayborn is a very good defensive end that is good at rushing the passer and also solid in run defense.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars 8-8 (team needs: QB, CB, WR, DE) - Cam Newton, QB Auburn
David Garrard is aging and inconsistent so Jacksonville would be wise to draft Newton and allow him a season to develop. They could use another pass rusher with Aaron Kampman getting up there in age but I don't think any of the remaining DEs are a better fit than Newton, and he would be a great pick for PR purposes and keep fans excited about the future. That's if the Jaguars remain in Jacksonville.

17. New England Patriots 14-2 (teams needs: WR, CB, DE, DT) - Aldon Smith, DE/LB Missouri
New England is coming off of a league-best 14-2 season but they could stand to get younger along their defensive line. The Patriots are masters at getting max value out of their draft picks and Aldon Smith can play some linebacker and defensive end in their scheme. He is also a good character player, which is valued by New England's staff.

18. San Diego Chargers 9-7 (team needs: WR, DE, S) - Rahim Moore, S UCLA
The Chargers were more of a complete team than their 9-7 record indicates. As with most teams in the NFL you can never have enough pass rushers, but I feel that Moore will be a lot better pro than most are giving him credit for. He's slightly undersized for safety but has the frame to add more strength. Call this my sleeper pick for the first round.

19. New York Giants 10-6 (team needs: RB, OL, DT) - Tyron Smith, OT USC
The Giants need to invest in keeping Eli Manning upright and Tyron Smith has the tools to develop into an upper class left tackle. He can learn the ropes in his first season while David Diehl holds down the spot. The Giants can go in a number of directions here and Smith presents good value.

20. Tampa Bay Bucaneers 10-6 (team needs: DE, S, LT) - Cameron Jordan, DE California
Tampa Bay needs better pass rushing as they only generated 26 sacks last season. Cameron Jordan has a ton of talent but also comes with some character red flags, but Bucs coach Raheem Morris may be able to get through to him just as he did with LeGarrette Blount. This high risk, high reward pick could pay great dividends for a Bucs team that will be in contention for many years to come.

Check Back Monday for picks 21-32.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Paul Silas on Michael Jordan: "If He Got In Shape, He Would Probably Average 20"

Charlotte Bobcats part owner Michael Jordan is and will arguably remain the greatest player in NBA history (just accept it.) but per  these comments from Bobcats head coach Paul Silas, His Airness still has a little NBA-caliber game in him. Here are some of the quotes:

"If he got in shape he could probably average about 15 to 20 points a game, no question, because he still has the shot," Silas said Friday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "If he got in shape, he would probably average 20 because he can get the shot off, he can make them, and he has just an uncanny knowledge of the game.

"He really understands how to play and that's why he is important to my guys and what they should be doing out there and what they should be looking for. It's just phenomenal what he can still do at that age."

Here was my reaction upon reading said quotes:

So... do they drug test head coaches these days? Sure, the thought of seeing Michael Jordan lace up some of those retro Jordans and get out on the court against LeBron, Kobe, etc is fun to visualize and simulate on NBA2K11, but let's be serious here for a second. Michael Jordan will be 48 years old on Feb. 17th. and probably a good 40-50 pounds out of "game shape". There is no way in hell he can play 20+ minutes in today's NBA and average anywhere close to 20ppg. I'm sure he can still shoot and still has that great basketball IQ and savvy, but Jordan would be a liability on defense and with his limited athletic ability opponents can simply crowd him to take away the jumper.

Could he maybe play about 10 minutes a game and get close to double digits? Yes. But 20 point a night?? Nah, playa. He's human. Or at least as far as we know he is.


Video: NFL Draft Prospect Cam Newton Works Out For Media

Cam Newton stands to make himself a lot of money. The Heisman Trophy winner and BCS champion is definitely marketable (Cecil Newton knows all about that). Newton held a workout in San Diego for the media on Feb. 11th and CBS Sports' Bryan Fischer caught some video of the event for us all to evaluate/critic. Take a look:

I'll say this; Cam looks very solid in the workout. But the same can be said for almost all prospects in this type of setting. These workouts are tailored to make the kid look good. Here's the thing; Cam Newton's talent has never been question. He has excellent size for an NFL quarterback at 6'6, 250 so he definitely looks the part. He's also fast and extremely mobile and can makes plays out of the pocket that most QB's can't. Newton also possesses a legit NFL arm. Another desirable quality of Newton is that he has shown he's a winner by leading Auburn to a few victories late last season. So there is definitely a lot to like from Newton as a prospect.

A big question regarding Newton is how he would adjust to NFL defensive schemes as he primarily ran a spread offense at Auburn, utilizing short passes and zone reads that allowed Cam to exploit running lanes. NFL defenses are a lot more complex. Can he read coverages quickly enough to accurately get the ball to his receivers at the next level? Will Cam hang in the pocket long enough to allow his receivers to get open before deciding to take off and run? These are things I would need reassurance on before I spend a first round draft pick on Cam.

There are also some character red flags. Newton was in trouble with the law back in his Florida days, most steaming from a stolen laptop that somehow ended up in his possession. Then after a stint at juco, there was the highly publicized recruiting fiasco, where Cam's father Cecil was allegedly soliciting cash payments for his son's commitment. Maybe Cecil was getting a head start and brushing up his agent skills. Who knows. In his defense Cam handled the media attention admirably and appears to be a good kid so the red flags here might not be as big of a concern as they initially appear.

With all of that said, I believe Cam Newton will be a very good NFL quarterback. I would compare him to Randall Cunningham or a pre-injury Daunte Culpepper. As long as he can stay focused on his playing career and avoid distractions (his father, endorsements, the limelight) he can be a good pick for a team in the latter half of the first round.