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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Boston Celtics shooting guard Ray Allen is one of the purest shooters in NBA history. Against the Lakers on Feb. 10th, 2011 Allen nailed his second three-pointer of the first quarter, giving his 2,561 three's for his career, breaking Reggie Miller's previous mark as Miller was calling the game for TNT:
Congratulations go out to the future Hall Of Famer, who began his career as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks after being selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves 5th overall and immediately traded for Stephon Marbury. He joined the Celtics as a free agent in 2007 after spending the previous four seasons with the Sonics. He's also known for his role as Jesus Shuttlesworth in Spike Lee's "He Got Game".
Fitting movie title for a player of Allen's caliber and professionalism. Hats off to him.
Per various sources and this report by Salt Lake City's Daily News, Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan is set to resign in a press conference later today. This news is indeed shocking as Sloan just signed a one-year extension to coach the Jazz and is the longest tenured head coach in the NBA. The report also says top assistant Phil Johnson will resign as well. Tyon Corbin will coach the team for the remainder of the season. Here's some of the report:
KSL has learned that Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan and assistant coach Phil Johnson will resign at a press conference later Thursday.
More details will be posted as they become available.
The news comes after the Jazz lost to Chicago in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, where former Jazz players Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer helped the Bulls escape Utah with a 91-86 win.
After the game, Sloan didn't come out of his office for a postgame interview until about a half-hour after his team lost for the 10th time in 14 games.
The Hall of Famer, who usually talks to reporters about 10 minutes after the final buzzer, had been in a discussion with general manager Kevin O'Connor.
The Jazz have not been the same this season after losing Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer to the Bulls in the off season. The possibility of a trade could also be in in discussions, but all signs are pointing to Sloan's resignation. I thought the Jazz were overachieving this season but given their history of success there is always a lot of pressure for them to be among the best teams in the Western Conference. It's been clear that star PG Deron Williams has been unhappy and the Jazz need to do something to keep him on board as he will be a free agent in 2012.
According to this report from Yahoo Sports, Sloan and Williams clashed during halftime of Wednesday night's loss to the Bulls:
Sloan’s relationship with Williams had grown progressively worse over the course of the season, league sources said, and the coach had tired of dealing with the team’s best player. The frustration escalated on Wednesday night when Sloan and Williams clashed in the locker room at halftime.
“He decided right there in halftime that he was done,” a league source told Yahoo! Sports. “He felt like ownership was listening more to Williams than they were to him anymore. He was done.”
Jerry Sloan has a career coaching record of 1190–780 going into the 2009-2010 season and has coached the Jazz for 22 straight seasons.
Another day, more trade rumors... With the NBA trade deadline about 2 weeks away (Feb. 24th) you can expect to hear a ton of names thrown around in all types of crazy trade rumors, some more valid than others. Today we have an interesting one involving the Golden State Warriors being interested in acquiring Nene from the Nuggets, according to this report from the Mercury News. Here's some info regarding the rumor:
According to multiple sources, the Warriors have inquired about Nene, a 6-foot-11, 250-pound center from Brazil. But the Nuggets would have to agree to trade him, and Nene would have to agree to a contract extension because he is a pending free agent.
"We have to look at what we have," Warriors coach Keith Smart said. "We can't wish and hope for something we don't have."
Nene, who is averaging 15.3 points per game on an NBA-best 64.4 percent shooting, would seem to quench the Warriors' thirst for inside scoring.
There are a few observations I can derive from this trade rumor. 1.) The Nuggets will be involved in more trade scenarios than any team in recent memory. The team is aging and hasn't gotten much better over the years and you have the Carmelo Anthony situation brewing. 2.) With some of their better players approaching free agency the Nuggets need to find out what kind of return they can get for those players instead of running the rick of losing them with nothing to show for it.
This particular trade scenario would definitely benefit the Warriors who could use a reliable scorer who can finish effectively in the paint (evident by his league-leading 64% field goal percentage). Andris Biedrins can't cut it and David Lee is more of a pick & roll/pop type of big forward. The Warrior have some youth in their front court with Ekpe Udoh and Brandan Wright but they need time to develop. So it's a matter of what Golden State would need to give up for Nene, and I don't think he's worth brokering your future for. The Warriors already have a decent young core group on the perimeter with Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, Dorell Wright and Reggie Williams. I think their biggest area of need is an experienced head coach instead of a trade.
Recovered from your Super Bowl hangover yet? Even though the football season is over and millions of fans have to find new ways to occupy their Sunday afternoons (no tears, people) we still have some key NFL happenings going on for the next couple of months. We have the NFL scouting combine from Feb. 23rd - Mar. 1st, colleges holding their annual "pro days" and prospects having individual workouts for teams, all leading up to the NFL Draft April 28-30th in New York.
While all of this is going on, we at LTSBlog will attempt to keep you well versed in the whole draft process (because that's what we're here for, right?) So with that said and with the draft order already set we bring you the first edition of our NFL 1st Round Mock Draft, which will be updated every Monday morning leading up to draft week, then daily as things begin to take form.
1. Carolina Panthers 2-14 (need: QB, WR, DT, CB) - Nick Fairley, DT Auburn
The Panthers are going to have a busy draft period ahead of them. They could use help everywhere. I was one of the few who thought they should pass on Andrew Luck before he decided to go back to school. I also say give Jimmy Clausen a full year to see what they have in him. They could trade down for more picks, but if they keep #1 they should go for the best player on the board. Fairely is disruptive, deceptively quick and relentless when pursuing the QB. He's not as athletic as Ndamukong Suh, but not many DTs are.
2. Denver Broncos 4-12 (needs: DE, CB, WR) - Patrick Peterson, CB LSU
Broncos and new head coach John Fox could use some depth on their defensive line as the loss of Elvis Dumervil was a huge hit to their defense. This year's draft is deep with defensive ends, so there is no need to panic and jump to draft one too high as they also need to get younger on the outside in a pass heavy league. Peterson has the size, speed and instincts to make an immediate impact.
3. Buffalo Bills 4-12 (needs: QB, LT, DT, OLB) - Blaine Gabbert, QB Missouri
Buffalo needs more help than their 4-12 record indicates, if that makes any sense. They were dead last in the NFL against the run. And although Ryan Fitzpatrick did a solid job at QB they would benefit from having a franchise quarterback in the fold. I think 3rd overall is a little too high to take any of the defensive ends on the board so Gabbert would be the pick in this scenario. He's got NFL size, a strong arm and is a very good athlete for his size.
4. Cincinnatti Bengals 4-12 (needs: WR, DE, DT, QB) - A.J. Green, WR Georgia
Since it looks like Carson Palmer will be back with the Bengals next season (which may not be a good thing) the best option may be to get him targets in the passing game, especially with Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens on their way out the door. Green appears to be a sure thing as a number one receiver and can come in and start from day 1. Another option would be Bowers on the end but I give the edge to Green here.
5. Arizona Cardinals 5-11 (needs: QB, DT, WR, CB) - Da'Quan Bowers, DE Clemson
Arizona's biggest need is quarterback but they somehow found a way to win 5 games with no one worth mentioning under center. The Cardinals have to hoping and praying Blaine Gabbert falls to them here and I think top 5 is too high to pick any of the remaining QB's on the board. So in this scenario you have to go for the best player available and target a veteran QB during the off season. Bowers is still a great pick any way you slice it.
6. Cleveland Browns 5-11 (needs: WR, DE, S, CB) - Prince Amukamara, CB Nebraska
Cleveland hit the jackpot in last year's draft with Joe Haden and Colt McCoy. They would be well served to select Amukamara to pair with Haden and form a great pair of cornerbacks for the future. Sheldon Brown is aging and Amukamara can learn the ropes while Brown still holds down the starting spot.
7. San Francisco 49ers 6-10 (needs: QB, DE, RB) - Robert Quinn, DE North Carolina
In 2010 the 49ers were a coaching change and a quarterback away from winning the division. They have a lot of solid pieces already in place to succeed. A back up running back for if (and when) Frank Gore goes down with injuries would be good but that can be found later in the draft, and they can probably get a solid QB in the off season as well. Quinn would be an upgrade at either end position and can play some outside linebacker if needed.
8. Tennessee Titans 6-10 (needs: QB, LB, DT) - Von Miller, LB Texas A&M
Jeff Fisher is gone, and Vince Young appears to be right behind him out the door so the Titans are a franchise in turmoil right now. Jake Locker or Ryan Mallett may be in play here due to the need to bring in a QB now but I don't think either are a good fit for the team in it's current state. Von Miller is a beast at outside linebacker and will be a very good pro for a very long time. Call this one a "safe" pick, if you will.
9. Dallas Cowboys 6-10 (needs: S, RB, DE) - Jimmy Smith, CB Colorado
The Cowboys have more talent that their 6-10 record would indicate. I think if Romo stayed healthy they would have been at least a 8-8 team. Dallas got shredded in the passing game and needs to infuse some youth into their secondary ASAP. Prince Amukamara would be ideal for them but Jimmy Smith's combination of size, speed and instincts are a nice consolation. He can even play some safety if needed. Dallas would love this kid.
10. Washington Redskins (needs: RB, DT, WR) - Mark Ingram, RB Alabama
Redskins most glaring need is on the defensive side of the ball, where they ranked in the bottom three in virtually every category. But at the same time the Redskins haven't had a healthy running back to handle some of the load offensively in quite some time. Ingram is a reliable pro-style back that knows how to get yards and is faster than he looks on film. He also didn't fumble much in college and bounced back well from knee surgery. Some have compared him to Emitt Smith and those comparisons are not far off.
Thoughts, opinions and comments are always welcomed. Check back tomorrow for mock draft picks 11-20.
My favorite to win would be Allen who has one of the smoothest and most textbook jump shots in the history of the game. He also took home the title back in 2001. And although the Cavs have been on the wrong side of the winning column more times than not this season you can't sleep on Gibson. The kid can flat out shoot the rock and it would be nice to see a Cavs player win at something.
The 3-point contest will be held on Saturday Feb. 19th at Staples Center. I think tickets are still available if you've got a spare $500+ to shell out for a seat.
How do you come up with something creative, original, and though-provoking for a sports website during Super Bowl season? The NFL season finale is upon us, and the one sport that can legitimately claim to be ruler over all things sport in America, has been impossibly dissected, scrutinized, examined, and any other word you would use to express those sentiments.
So what do you do if you're in our shoes, and are looking to provide our own proverbial log to accelerate the Super Bowl fire? Links, baby. Interesting, made-to-order, mother-lovin' links.
Los That Super Bowl Links (Super Bowl story lines)
- EA Sports has already decided the winner to Super Bowl XLV. That should free up your Sunday to do those chores your wife/mom has for you.
- When stat geeks put their powers to good use, stuff like this happens. The Pac-10 is well represented in Super Bowl history.
- PORN! So, remember the last time the Steelers made the Super Bowl, and folks in Arizona had their game interrupted with 37-seconds of porn? Well...
- Bill Romanowski picks the Packers to win. More importantly, now is a good time to appreciate that Romanowski is the only linebacker to start in five Super Bowls, winning four times. See what steroids can do for you?
It's been a while since we heard anything regarding Washington Redskins estranged DT Albert Haynesworth. He's back in the news today though, but for the wrong reasons. According to this report by The Washington Post's Tom Jackman Haynesworth has been charged with simple assault stemming from a road rage incident with another driver. Here's an excerpt from the story:
Haynesworth, 29, has not been arrested but is planning to turn himself in next week, Officer Shelley Broderick said.
The episode occurred Wednesday morning, and involved a 38-year-old man driving a 1994 Honda Civic and another driver, allegedly Haynesworth, both driving south on the Fairfax County Parkway, Broderick said. The driver of the Civic reportedly felt that a pickup truck following behind him was tailgating, and issued a "non-verbal hand gesture" to the pickup driver, Broderick said.
About 9:16 a.m., at the intersection with New Dominion Parkway, near the entrance to Reston Hospital Center, the two vehicles came to a stoplight. Broderick said the driver of the pickup truck emerged from his vehicle, had a brief exchange of words, and then struck the Civic driver.
I guess since wasn't able to hit many QB's last season another driver was the next best option. Simple assault isn't a major charge and is only a misdemeanor so Haynesworth probably won't get more than a fine and a slap on the wrist.
Fat Albert didn't have the best 2010, to put it lightly. He was involved with a battle of wills with head coach Mike Shanahan during the off season as Haynesworth reported to camp allegedly out of shape, causing him to loss playing time during the season. When on the field the $100 million dollar defensive tackle did not perform up to expectations, registering only 16 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Not quite what the Redskins paid for. To top it all off Haynesworth was suspended without pay for the final four games of the season due to "insubordination". It's safe to say that Albert wont be on Mike Shanahan's Christmas card list.
The Redskins should just cut their losses and let Haynesworth lose. Let him be another team's headache as clearly things are not working out well for him in DC.
Everyone has their opinions on which players are deserving to make the all-star roster (see here and here for my predictions) and every year a case can be made for some players getting the dreaded "snub". The 2010-2011 edition is no different. Earlier today the reserves for the East and West NBA All-Star teams were officially announced by the NBA on TNT. Here are the selections:
While almost all players selected were deserving in their own right there are a few glaring omissions that should be pointed out, more so on the West squad than the East. Take for instance Kevin Love, who is averaging over 21 points and close to 15 rebounds but plays for the lowly Timberwolves. You can also make a strong case for Monta Ellis or Eric Gordon who are both averaging over 24 points a game and among the leaders in scoring but don't get nearly the attention from mainstream media they deserve. The same can be said for LaMarcus Aldridge, putting up 21 and 10 a night for the 8th seeded Trailblazers. I can't think of anyone in the East who got a serious snub, except maybe adding Raymond Felton. I just can't come up with a strong enough case to give him a spot over anyone else on the East's roster.
The question is, who would you leave off? My first choice would be Tim Duncan, who clearly got the nod due to team success and his overall popularity and respect from the coaches around the Western Conference. Duncan is averaging career lows in virtually every offensive category and is now the third option on for his team. But the Spurs do have the NBA's best record. Substituting Duncan with Kevin Love would have made sense as Love should be awarded for the great first half he is enjoying. West vote in center Yao Ming will be out, so Love still has a shot at an all-star berth.
They say it's impossible to please everyone. That statement definitely holds true when it comes to all-star spots. Congrats go out to all who made it. You're most likely still going to tune in, if for nothing more than the opportunity to see Blake Griffin smash on Kevin Garnett in Staples.
With the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers set to meet Sunday in the Super Bowl, rapper Lil Wayne released a remixed version to the popular Pittsburgh street anthem, Wiz Khalifa's "Black andYellow". Check it out after the jump:
Lil Wayne - Green And Yellow
Shouts to thefader.com and weezythanx.com for the link. Catchy, but personally I was already growing tired of the original version. Should be a good game nonetheless. The Super Bowl will air on Fox Sunday Feb. 6th and coverage is an all day event so tune in like everyone else in the world. You don't want to be the only one without something to offer to the water cooler conversations come Monday morning.
“Don’t know, don’t care. People that criticize can kiss my a–. I don’t give a s—. I really don’t. I keep the train moving, we’re going to keep on moving, and in June, they’ll say nothing. But now, it’s good talk."
I have a lot of respect for Kobe's bluntness. Sometimes the best answer is the straight forward one as it dispels any chance of being misquoted or misunderstanding. These latest quotes show that Kobe and the Lakers are focused on the bigger picture which is winning a third straight championship. And coming from a player that has seen the NBA Finals 7 times in his career (winning 5), you have to think Kobe knows what it takes to get back there.
I'm sure there will be tons of people who will again take his comments and say Kobe is an arrogant ball hog who isn't "clutch", but in the NBA Finals who would you rather have on your team, a guy that's complete focus is on winning or someone who would rather say & do all the politically correct things to please the critics?
Kyle Korver is primarily a shooter and has never been known for his athletic ability. Blake Griffin on the other hand is, and Korver got reminded last night how athletically inferior he is to Griffin:
Either Korver doesn't have access to youtube or he was temporarily detached from reality. The Ashton Kutcher clone got smashed on. His team won the game though 106-88, snapping the Clippers 9-game home winning streak so he can feel a little better about that.
And tell me when's the last time you've seen Korver and Kutcher in the same place at the same time? Kyle Korver /Ashton Kutcher = Same Person.
This should come as a shock to no one, considering the recent rumblings that the Los Angeles Lakers would be actively looking to upgrade their roster and small forward is their most glaring need. According to this report by ESPN's Mark Stein, sources are saying that Ron Artest wants out of L.A. Here's some of the scoop from Stein:
The Lakers have been so uncharacteristically public about the potential benefits of an injection of new blood because they know, with a league-high $90.4 million payroll and such limited trade assets, that threatening this locker room with a shakeup move is a far simpler gamble to execute than shaking things up with an actual deal before the Feb. 24 trading deadline.
However ... I'm told that there's at least one prominent Laker who hopes he's the guy who gets shipped out in the next 20-odd days.
One source close to the situation insists that Ron Artest wants out.
Asked to react to that, Artest's agent David Bauman declined comment.
I'd never call myself an expert, but usually when an agent declines a comment in regards to his clients rumored demands something is up. Artest has admittedly been lost at times in the triangle offense and has even disinterested on defense, which is his calling card in the NBA. He's also admitted that he sees a shrink to help him with his psychological issues so this may just be crazy Ron on display. Here's a little more from the report:
I've nonetheless been assured this week that Artest -- though he hasn't outright demanded a trade and is likely to publicly deny it -- is serious about wanting to be dealt somewhere "he can have fun again" less than a year removed from the pivotal role he played in that ring-clinching Game 7 with Boston that the Lakers so nearly squandered.
An NBA player would rather go somewhere where he can "have fun" over playing for a legit title contender? Interesting. Maybe Ron Ron should schedule a few more sessions with that psychiatrist to help get his mind right.
Either way, the Lakers need to do something to shake things up. They have not played up to par against the other top teams in the league and at times they can look quite lethargic. And the Lakers aren't getting any younger with the majority of their core at 30+. Magic Johnson recently chipped in and said that maybe a change is needed to shake things up.
Hopefully something is done in Hollywood to wake this current edition of the Lakers up come playoff time. Every team in the league is gunning for them and it won't be that easy to just flip the switch and turn it on in April.
If you're saying to yourself "Who?", like MJ said you are not alone. Jamal Shuler played his college ball for VCU (he was a member of the team that bounced Duke from the tourney back in 2007) and is playing for the French League's Vichy squad. After his team gave up a layup, Shuler delivered this desperation heave:
That's one hell of a way to get your 15 minutes of fame. To his credit Shuler is playing pretty well in France and finished that game with 35 points and 7 boards. Maybe someone will send a scout or two overseas to see if the young man has anything to offer over here in the pros. Or he can stay over in France and get those international women and tax free bucks. It's money in the bank either way for Shuler either way. Just like that buzzer beater.
Continuing with a post yesterday where LTSBlog gave you our picks for players from the Western Conference most deserving to be All-Star reserves (see here), as promised here are the players who I think should be representing the Eastern Conference's squad out in sunny Los Angeles. We will stick to the same theme and criteria with my selections; statistics, team success, consistency and overall excitement level ((two guards, two forwards, one center and two more of any position):
East Reserves Rajon Rondo, Celtics - 10.4 ppg, 12.6 apg, 2.4 spg
I'm not a huge advocate of "reward the best team with all-stars" because the game is virtually an exhibition. But who better to run the break than the league leader in assists? Rondo may be barely putting up double digits in scoring, but in contrast he has the highest assists per game average since John Stockton in 91-92. That's over 18 years. That's impressive. Rondo also leads the NBA in steals. Go ahead and book that man a ticket to Los Angeles.
Ray Allen, Celtics - 17.2 ppg, 3.1 apg, .454 3pt
Ray Allen has been the model of consistency for the Celtics, who have the East's best record. He's averaged 17+ points every month so far while shooting lights out (50% from the floor, 45% from three and 85% FT). Despite being 35 years of age, Jesus Shuttlesworth definitely still has game (too easy).
Paul Pierce, Celtics - 19.2 ppg, 5 rpg, 3.2 apg
Yes, another player from the Celtics. Hate it or love it, you have to give credit when it's due and the Celtics are playing unbelievable basketball. Pierce leads his team in scoring and is the go-to player in crunch time, even with fellow future HOFers Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett on the floor. Pierce has earned a spot on the all-star team just as much as any of the starters.
Chris Bosh, Heat - 18.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.8 apg
As much heat as Chris Bosh has taken this season for his comments and his reputation of being a "soft" player, he has still put up solid numbers to compliment superstars D. Wade and #6. Also with the front court play in the East lacking he makes this team by default. Just a word of advice for all in Miami Heat; less talk, more production. We know you're good players.
Al Horford, Hawks - 16.2 ppg, 9.8 rpg, .570 fg
Horford doesn't recquire the spotlight. He quietly goes about his business day in and day out, and he also may be the most important piece to the Hawks success. Horford is 5th in the NBA in field goal percentage and despite being labeled as an "undersized" center he holds his own in the post.
Raymond Felton, Knicks - 17.2 ppg, 8.9 apg, 1.9 stls
Besides Derrick Rose and Rondo, no other PG in the East has played as well as Felton throughout the first half of the season. You can argue that Felton's grasp of D'Antoni's offense has been just as key to the Knicks success as teammate Amare Stoudemire. As a testament to how Felton has been, he is averaging career highs in virtually every offensive category and is also second in the East in steals behind Rondo. He deserves to be on the all-star squad.
Danny Granger, Pacers - 21 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.8 apg
Granger is having a bit of a down season by his standards, but he is still putting together a nice 2010-2011 campaign. Although his shooting numbers aren't where we are accustomed to seeing them, Granger is still fully capable of dropping 30 on any given night.
You may notice that the East's squad is lacking in height, but the selections are not made with the premise of match ups with the West. It's about selecting the players that are most deserving of representing their conference. But if I were a betting man my money is on the West in a landslide. Plus I live out in Los Angeles so yes, west coast all day.
Here's the scoop... the Miami Heat played the Team That Victory Forgot last night (the Cavs). Of course they won, with rappers Diddy and Rick Ross sitting courtside. Fox happened to be interviewing the two when Dwyane Wade delivered this slam:
Diddy's reaction was comical, but I still can't figure out the whole fixation with rockin' a "Grill". Maybe I'm just getting out. Or maybe that trend is. Who knows? But not to be lost in the shuffle, Wade finished with his third straight game over 30 points. Not bad.
Can we let the LeBron vs. the City of Cleveland die now? The Cavs are suffering enough in the win-loss column. Thanks.
A lot of people forget that DeAndre Jordan is only 22 years old and only spent one year at Texas A&M before bouncing to the pros. Or maybe because he plays for the Clippers they just don't care. Either way, D.J. had himself a smashing good time last night against the Milwaukee Bucks front line:
You have to admit, the 2010-2011 Clippers are a lot of fun to watch. They won the game last night 105-98, with Jordan filling up the stat sheet with 16 point, 7 boards and 5 blocks. Jordan has done a solid job filling in as a starter and is making injured Chris Kaman look more and more expendable every month.
Oh and that Griffin kid pitched in 32, but we'll let DeAndre get his shine for the moment.
The Pittsburgh Steelers just keep winning. Earlier today, the NFL announced that Steelers safety and fan favorite Troy Polamalu has won the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year award in a close vote over his Super Bowl opponent Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers. Polamalu edged Matthews by only two votes, receiving 17 out of a possible 50 (Matthews got 15 votes).
While the 2010 season was not his best statistically, Polamalu's impact on defense was huge for the Steelers. He made a number of big plays to spark victories while racking up 63 tackles and 7 interceptions. He also make a key tackle causing a fumble against the Ravens that helped the Steelers win their division. Polamalu also had the NFL's highest selling jersey this season, which is another testament to his popularity around the NFL.
An argument can be made that Matthews also deserved to win the award as he had a monster season in his own right (60 tackles and 13.5 sacks) but that is a debate for another day. For now we will give Troy Polamalu his shine until the two teams face off on Super Bowl Sunday.
Now that the starters for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game have been announced (see here) there will be debates aplenty regarding which players are deserving of a spot on the East/West bench. Some will base their arguments strictly on statistics. Some will site team success as a viable reason to be named an all-star, while others will use pure player popularity as their deciding factor (Yao Ming is a great example of this). I prefer to base my all-star reserve picks on a combination of factors: statistics, team success, consistency and overall excitement level. We can't forget that the all-star game IS generally an exhibition, unlike in the MLB where the winner dictates World Series home field advantage (which is plain idiotic). So here are my pick for the West squad's reserves (two guards, two forwards, one center and two more of any position):
West Reserves Russell Westbrook, Thunder - 22.6 ppg, 8.5 apg, 5 rpg
In just his third season Westbrook is establishing himself as one of the most exciting guards in the NBA. He's lightning quick, plays defense, hits the glass and dishes the rock. He's also extremely durable, having yet to miss a game in his NBA career. Westbrook is as much a reason for the Thunder's success as Kevin Durant.
Manu Ginobili, Spurs - 18.8 ppg, 4.9 apg, 3.8 rpg
Believe it or not, but Manu has been the best player on the top team of the first half. Ginobili leads the Spurs in scoring, has been equally effective both at home and on the road and has hit a number of big shots. Sounds like a strong application for an all-star candidate to me.
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks - 23 ppg, 7 rpg, 2.5 apg
Even though Dirk's rebounding numbers have slipped he has still played at a high level the entire first half. He has been slowed by injuries in January but Nowitzki is still one of the top shooting big men in NBA history. Need proof? 52% overall, 40% from the three point line and 87% from the charity stripe = All-Star.
Blake Griffin, Clippers - 22.6 ppg, 12.8 rpg, 3.5 apg
Yes, the Clippers still have a losing record. But if it weren't for Blake Griffin, would you even check their box scores or search youtube for anything involving the Clips? I didn't think so. Griffin leads all rookies in scoring and rebounding and is a triple double waiting to happen. And he'll put your favorite player on a poster. 'Nuff said.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Trailblazers - 21 ppg, 9 rpg, 1.2 bpg
Aldridge should get the nod here strictly on the fact that he has avoided the knee epidemic that has plagued the Blazers. With Portland's star Brandon Roy on the mend Aldridge has been HMIC (head man in charge), upping his scoring to 25 per in January and keeping Portland in the 8th seed. I have him down as the impromptu backup center.
Deron Williams, Jazz - 22 ppg, 9.4 apg, 3.7 rpg
Williams gets my vote as the NBA's top PG right now, but that will be debatable for many years to come. D. Will is also having his best season as a pro, scoring at a career high clip while still finding his teammates to the tune of 9+ assists a night. He also has an overachieving Utah squad in the middle of the playoff hunt, which is quite an accomplishment in itself (see here for details).
Eric Gordon, Clippers - 24.1 ppg, 4.5 apg, 3 rpg
Before going down with a wrist and finger injury Eric Gordon was putting together an excellent season. He's provided the upstart Clippers with a dependable scoring threat from the perimeter to compliment Blake Griffin's post presence. Gordon is probably out until after the break but his great season should be acknowledged nonetheless.
Kevin Love, Timberwolves - 21.6 ppg, 15.6 rpg, .445% 3pt (injury fill-in)
Have to give Kevin Love his shine for the "Numb#rs" he's put up in the first half, which includes a 30-30 game along with six other 20-20 performances. Love is a throwback rebounding machine. And he can and will knock down the jumper, as his 44% shooting clip from 3-point range confirms. With vote-in starter Yao Ming injured that should open a spot for Love as either Dirk, Blake or Aldridge can move into the starting lineup.
That's how my reserves for the West shape up. A case could be made for a few other players having great seasons (Kevin Martin, Rudy Gay and Monta Ellis come to mind) but there just isn't enough room on the roster to accommodate everyone. Any counter arguments? Leave a comment or find me on twitter (@A_RamseyLTSB). I'll have my picks for Eastern Conference reserves tomorrow.
Blake Griffin has already become a youtube legend. There are thousands of videos of his above the rim antics just from this season alone. We can go ahead and add this insane 50-foot alley oop to Griffin's dunk contest resume:
Two things really stand out about this play; 1.) how quickly Blake got down the floor. When a big man runs that hard you have to reward him; and 2.) randy Foye put the pass on the money. The accuracy of that pass and from that distance was amazing.
If Blake Griffin doesn't put on a show ruring All-Star weekend it may go down as one of the biggest upsets and dissapointments in recent memory.