Thursday, June 28, 2007

Drunken Drafting: Volume 2

After months of workouts and what seems like weeks of speculation (both trade and draft related), the most exciting day of the NBA year is finally here. Normally, I’d be too nervous to put together any sort of column this close to the draft. However, the Orlando Magic are without a first round draft pick this year, which leaves me plenty of time ponder the endless possibilities of this draft without swallowing my own tongue at the thought of names like Fran Vasquez, Jeryl Sasser and JJ Red…Whoa! Sorry about that. It seems the memories of drafts past are still a little too fresh for me.

Anyway, its been a strangely enjoyable lead up to the draft this year. Instead of pining for the likes of Brandon Roy and Channing Frye (can I get a mulligan on that one?), like each of the last two years, while knowing full well that the Magic wouldn’t make a drastic (read: ballsy) move to acquire players who fit their team’s needs this June, I’ve been able to sit back, relax and read up on the pre-draft process with a (fairly) impartial and decidedly unemotional take on all things draft related. Its been strangely therapeutic. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still rather that the Magic have a first round pick this year. Its just that I don’t have the sense of impending doom hanging over my head like so many cartoon storm clouds. The only thing about this draft that even causes me to have any type of homeriffic interest is the overwhelming Florida Gator representation in this year’s draft. However, even that is lessened by the probability that all three of the “big three” Gators will go within the first ten picks tonight. I’m much more interested in seeing where Taurean Green ends up and whether or not Chris Richard gets drafted than in the exact positions or specific teams who select the Noah, Brewer, Horford triumvirate.

I’m not going to do a mock draft or even give many opinions on the projected first round picks as it’s a little busy here today. ( I will predict that Jason Smith is playing in Europe in less than 4 years, for what its worth). I’ll get to that some time this weekend once the draft day maneuvering is over, as much of a draftee’s early success can be attributed to the team which selects them. What I am going to do is list a few of the players whom I’d like to see the Magic select in Round 2. There will be some solid players still available in Round 2 for the organization that does their homework (read: Not Orlando) so lets get right to my second round sleepers.

Nick Fazekas: I wouldn’t go within two miles of this guy in the first, or even early second, but he represents some value in the mid-second with his shooting and passing ability. He’s a defensive liability for sure, but Dwight Howard should be able to cover up for that a little.

Ramon Sessions: I wish this guy had tested positive for meth at the pre-draft camp in Orlando because I don’t think there’s a chance that he lasts until the Magic’s pick at 44. (Why did they give up their highest 2nd rounder to the Heat again? Couldn’t they have traded #54 for Stan Van Skunky?). However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t think he’d be great for the Magic. He’s a big (6’3) point who plays unselfishly and provides solid defense. He’s a couple years away from starting (needs to tighten up his jumper) but the Magic are a couple years away from contending.

Marcus Williams: I’m not completely in love with this guys game as he seems a little lax on D and somewhat petulant at times but he can really score. He’s the epitome of a natural scorer. He's a good, not great shooter who finds a way to get the ball in the bucket from all angles. With Hedo Turkoglu possibly heading out of town (please God), Williams would be a nice addition off the bench at the 2/3 and provide the Magic with many of the attributes that are lacking in Trevor Ariza’s game at the moment.

Ali Traore: I’ve seen a couple mocks that have the Magic taking him at 44, which would be great. He’s big (6’9), strong and very proficient offensively in the post. He even (reportedly) has a solid stroke out to 15 feet. In my (extremely optimistic) mind’s eye I’ve imagined him as a European Chris Gatling. You know the type: Good scorer with an array of post moves and solid athleticism. Not quite good enough to start on a contender but a terror as a second unit scorer. Am I going overboard here? Yeah, probably. Oh yeah, one more thing that reminds me of Gatling: Traore is apparently not a very enthusiastic rebounder. That’s okay, Dwight will get all the rebounds. All the rebounds.

Renaldas Seibutis: Admittedly, I know very little about this kid. Here’s what I know: He’s Lithuanian, athletic, has good size (6’5) and is a little more aggressive going to the hoop than the average Euro guard. He’s also got a ton of offensive skill and just needs to fill out a bit (185 lbs.) and gain a little more experience against high level competition. This is exactly the kind of guy that smart organizations draft in the mid second round (after they’ve fallen a bit) and stash in Europe for a few years while they continue to develop. Which, of course, is exactly why the Magic have probably never even heard of this kid.

Some others I like in Round 2 (that I think might actually be around when the Magic are selecting): Reyshawn Terry, Joao Gomes, Alando Tucker, DJ Strawberry, Demetris Nichols & Jared Jordan.

I’ll be back tonight with some thoughts in the comments section. Feel free to stop by and laugh at me. There’s a good chance I’ll be drunk (day off tomorrow!) and belligerent so it should be fun.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It's hard out here for a pimp.

While this may be true in some locales, its most certainly much harder for any lady friend of a pimp. Especially one who wishes to disassociate herself with said pimp. As evidence, I present the following tale of former "rap star" Foxy Brown:

Rapper Foxy Brown has denied reports that she was assaulted by four women in a Brooklyn housing project early Saturday morning (June 23). According to police, Brown was involved in an argument with her unidentified boyfriend around 5:30 am in the Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York. Brown was allegedly attempting to dump the man, after she found out he was a pimp with a criminal record. The man called four prostitutes, who allegedly attacked Brown, ripped out her hairweave, stole her hearing aide, her purse and $500 dollars.

Wow, just wow. Was it really neccessary to steal her hearing aide? On the other hand, this man's pimp hand must be pretty strong if he can get four prositutes to show up and "take care of his light work" in such a expeditious manner. I can't get four prostitutes anywhere at the same time without a tranquilizer gun. I'd like to feel bad for Foxy here, really I would, but she kind of had it coming when she stole her name from Pam Grier.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Drunken Drafting: Volume 1

With the NBA Draft fast approaching and speculation abound on the ebays about who’ll be selected by whom after picks 1 & 2, I figured I’d contribute to the completely unfounded speculation by giving my thoughts on a few of the potential draftees/scenarios that we may or may not see come to fruition in just over a weeks time. I’m going to continue to give my thoughts in this space on the most intriguing draft in years as we inch closer to draft day, so stay tuned…

- You really have to respect Atlanta Hawks GM Billy Knight. If only because its quite clear he doesn’t give a flying fuck what anyone thinks about his ability to evaluate talent and/or assemble a team of composed parts that actually fit together. However, what’s really become clear of late is that I have been grossly underestimating the man all this time. You see, I actually thought he was going to finally bend to the unrelenting criticism this year by selecting the somewhat overrated Mike Conley, Jr. with the #3 pick (I’ll get to him in a minute). Nope. Word out of Atlanta is that Knight is now enamored with Florida PF Al Horford and plans to select him at #3. On face value, this isn’t a bad choice until you remember that Knight “promised” Shelden Williams (a nearly identical but less talented version of Horford) at #5 last year despite Williams being seen as a late lottery pick at best. What’s more, two of Knight’s other recent draftees, Marvin Williams & Josh Smith, also play extensive minutes at PF. So, to sum it up, Knight is planning on using the #3 pick in the draft to select a player who’ll be competing for minutes with 3 of his last 4 first round selections. What? I have a feeling that if you were able to enter Billy Knight’s head it would end up looking and feeling an awful lot like that new Stephen King movie with John Cusack.

- I mentioned Mike Conley, Jr. earlier and I’d like to talk a little more about him. As you may know, tired player comparisons drive me crazy. So, I nearly ripped my own hair out (wait, I don’t have any hair) when I read this yesterday, “The Grizzlies think Conley is the next Tony Parker.” Why exactly is he the next Tony Parker? Because he’s short, fast and has no jumpshot to speak of? Ah, I see. And that is meant as a compliment? You’ll have to excuse me for a second while I wonder if that is the kind of “compliment” I’d want paid to somebody I’m investing a top 5 NBA Draft pick on. Don’t get me wrong, Parker is a very nice player but he also carries a career average of 5.4 assists per game. That’s not exactly hall of fame material for a point guard. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that any PG who goes in the drafts top 5 should immediately be near the top of the NBA in assists or scoring. Parker does neither of these and will never do either of these. If you’re drafting Mike Conley, Jr. because he’s “the next Tony Parker” then I’d advise you to trade down or see if you can’t find a little more value with the 4th pick in the Draft. (Note: Conley and Parker and far different. Conley’s a better passer and defender as well as more physically developed already. Parker a much better natural scorer but he’s really more of a two in a point’s body). I’m not saying that Conley won’t be a heck of a NBA player and probably an All-Star. Rather, what I’m saying is that Conley isn’t really anything like Parker (save for a very nice floater and the aforementioned lack of jumpshot) and that he’s going to end up being selected much too high in this year’s draft. Think about it, is he really that much better a prospect than Rajon Rondo was last year (Rondo went #21)?

- Chad Ford reported that Brandan Wright had an “amazing” workout in Milwaukee recently. While I’m not accusing anyone of lying here I am left to wonder how “amazing” a workout can be when a player isn’t working out against anybody and their range only extends to 10-12 feet. I’m sure Wright is an unbelievable physical specimen, but how impressive can somebody really be when all they’re doing is dunking, shooting jumphooks and grabbing rebounds over a 6’1 assistant coach?

- Ford also reports that New Orleans is interested in USC G Nick Young. This seems, to me, like a match made in heaven. New Orleans will finally get an athletic shooting guard who can actually shoot (Sorry Desmond) to run with Chris Paul and Nick Young will get a ton of open looks by virtue of playing around proven scorers like David West and Peja Stojakovic (if healthy) as well as the best young passer in basketball in Paul. Furthermore, this move would give the Hornets the most formidable starting lineup they’ve had since the franchise left Charlotte. Assuming that Peja is healthy, the starters would look like this:

PG: Paul
SG: Young
SF: Stojakovic
PF: West
C: Chandler

If New Orleans were still in the East (somebody still needs to explain that to me) that’s a top 5 team right there.

- Want to know who I think is a guaranteed bust in this year’s draft. No? Oh well, it’s my blog. Thaddeus Young. Young is a marvelously athletic player with no defining skill other than his aforementioned athleticism. His handle is extremely shaky (Dare him to go right) and his jumpshot is slow and inconsistent. Despite his size (6’9) he lacks any real post game and due to his shaky handle can’t really create for himself off the dribble. Sure, he’ll get out on the break and finish with aplomb but good luck getting anything out of him in the halfcourt. If you ask me, he’s a less athletic version of Josh Smith. While his jumpshot may be better than Smith’s, its still erratic and he doesn’t have nearly the motor or defensive ability of Smith. I’m going to go ahead and mark him down for 50+ DNP CD’s this year.

-Finally, I’m not sure if you’ve heard but Tim Tebow recently had a son. Here’s a video clip of him. The genes are strong in the Tebow family.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Want to win a Championship? Get yourself a Gator.

It's a busy day at the office today. Well, not really. Actually, I have a tattoo appointment later this afternoon. Either way, I don't have a lot of time to piece together a post this morning but I didn't want to let the day pass without throwing some congratulations towards the one San Antonio Spur who doesn't inspire me to commit homicide, Matt Bonner, on his victory over the Cleveland in the NBA Finals. Some may wonder what exaclty the big redhead contributed to the Spurs championship run. Well, wonder no more as I present you with photographic evidence of his New Hampshire bred awesomeness.

(Take special note of the influence that Canada had on young Mr. Bonner)

Congrats to Matt and the rest of the Spurs (burn in hell assholes) on their hard fought win. Now, If you'll excuse me I'm off to go attempt to freeze myself (Cartman style) in hopes of avoiding the next 2.5 months of non-stop baseball and quickening the arrival of the sweet, dulcet tones of college football. Wish me luck.

Finally, one last question to ponder whilst enjoying your favorite adult beverage this weekend:

Why are all motorcycle cops fat? Seriously, have you ever seen one who's not 30-40 lbs overweight? Other than on C.H.I.P.S., I mean.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

To hate like this...

Its been quite some time since I’ve posted anything. There are a number of reasons that I could give as to why it’s been so long but none are really sufficient and even less are worth the time they’d take to type. So, I’m not going to bother you with excuses. Instead, I’ll just say that I didn’t enter rehab (yet) and have not been evicted from my house. In fact, I’ve moved of my own free will, and some slight cajoling from my girlfriend, (That’s right. I’m officially “living in sin” as my grandmother used to put it. Then again, she had a pig valve inserted into her heart and continued to smoke two packs a day so she might not have been as wise as I was once led to believe). During this time, I’ve also managed to grow yet another fantastacular beard (two months and counting), survived a four day visit from my former minor league co-workers (barely, just barely) and continued my 5 year streak of avoiding arrest. All in all its been a bang up six weeks and I couldn’t have asked for much more.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I did ask for more. Specifically, I asked to have the San Antonio Spurs eliminated from the playoffs and, subsequently, from my life until late October. Alas, David Stern interceded and sent the Phoenix Suns packing instead which left us with one of the more life draining Western Conference Finals in recent memory. If it hadn’t been for LeBron’s performances last week I may have had to resume the construction of that meth lab in the woods in order to fill my time as the thought of watching the Spurs square off against the Pistons might have been to much for me to handle without the assistance of lethal controlled substances. I’m not saying that I don’t think the Spurs are the best team in basketball because they most certainly are. I’m saying that no team since the late 90s Knicks fills me with as much contempt and rage as the San Antonio Spurs. Think I’m kidding? I wish. I’ve literally been driven to yelling at my TV on numerous occasions this summer for no reason other than my unadulterated hatred of all things Spurs. In order to help you understand how one (fairly) impartial fan can be driven to such lengths, I’ve decided to break down my hatred of the Spurs player by player and I even included a few coaches and front office personnel for good measure.

Brent Barry: Easily my least favorite of the brothers Barry. He’s one of the league’s laziest defenders whose offensive game consists of standing around and shooting set shots despite being blessed with far more size and athleticism than either Drew or Jon cluld have ever hoped for. Oh yeah, he also wore his warmup jacket during the slam dunk contest. Why not just wear a cardigan sweater next time?

Bruce Bowen: Dirtier than a Tijuana hooker. He’s intentionally tried to hurt players like Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Ray Allen, Jamal Crawford and Vince Carter (can’t blame him there) among many others. What makes it worse is that he’s rarely, if ever, punished for his misdeeds and reporters all seem to give him a free pass because he’s a “nice guy” off the court. You know who else was a nice guy off the court? Kermit Washington. That doesn’t change what he did. Is Bowen going to have to break somebody’s face before the NBA actually punishes this goon? Do you want to know how big a douchebag Bowen is? His own family disowned him.

Jackie Butler: Fat, useless Bama. He also committed to the University of Tennessee out of high school (see: Fat Bama) which makes him evil by default.

Tim Duncan: Booooring. If Zydrunas Ilgauskas hadn’t already claimed the nickname I’d recommend we all call him Big Z because that’s exactly what he makes me want to do, take a nap. He’s also a huge fucking dork. Seriously, the guy plays D&D and other assorted nerd based games and video games for fun. No wonder nobody ever does stories on this guy. I mean, have you ever seen any stories about the freaks that play Magic: The Gathering at your local Denny’s at 3 am in your newspaper? Didn’t think so. (link: slam)

Francisco Elson: His name is Francisco and he’s Dutch. I rest my case.

Melvin Ely: He’s the proverbial talented yet extraordinarily lazy big man who does absolutely nothing with his god given talents. He’s also looks completely ridiculous with his unbelievably long hair and goatee whilst wearing suits on the sideline. On top of all this, he attended Fresno State during the Jerry Tarkanian era so there’s a 99% chance he’s a criminal. Still not convinced? His mother’s name is Melvina.

Michael Finley: Have you ever seen a close up of this guys face? Jesus. He looks like he tried to make out with a panini press. Also, jumped ship to his former team’s chief rival in order to try and win a championship. I’m sorry, you can tell me how “classy” a guy he is all you want (I’m looking at you David Aldridge) but after a move like that, well, I refuse to believe it.

Manu Ginobilli: Ass...hole. Is there one thing about him that doesn’t scream this? I nearly punched my TV when he faked the bump (during a dead ball) from Derek Fisher in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals until I realized I wouldn’t actually be hitting him. One of the league’s most notorious floppers who, somehow, has managed to continually bamboozle the refs into thinking he can be knocked over by a stiff breeze. It’s maddening to watch him get away with the same bush league tactics over and over again. Basketball may not be soccer but it damn well may become it if Manu’s allowed to keep playing another 10 years. Also, he’s Argentinian and those people are pure evil. I’m not kidding. All the other South American countries hate them because they don’t consider themselves South American. No, they fancy themselves as displaced Europeans. Oh yeah, Argentina also allowed Nazis political asylum after WWII. Like I said: Ass...hole.

Robert Horry: Singlehandedly destroyed the Suns-Spurs series. Spent a career riding on the coattails of stars and winning championships despite being one of the more physically gifted players of his generation. Once said that though many pegged him the as the “next Pippen”, he had no desire to fill that role because “it takes too much energy to defend and handle the ball that much”. That’s exactly the kind of effort and attitude I’d expect from somebody who spends most of the year sitting on the bench eating cheez doodles. While many will say Horry’s had a great career, I respectfully disagree with this sentiment. He was the 11th pick in the draft coming out of college. Personally, I expect a little more than some timely (off the bench) clutch shooting from someone drafted in such a lofty position if I’m going to go so far as to anoint their career as “great”.

Fabricio Oberto: He’s Argentinian (see: Ginobilli, Manu). He wears one of those stupid soccer headbands on his early 90’s grunge haircut and his favorite band is the Foo Fighters. Additionally, he doesn’t even have the good sense to secure an endorsement deal with the beef jerky company which bears his name.

Tony Parker: Umm, he’s French. He also manages to get away with more egregious traveling violations than any player in the league. He’s a vapid waste of space as evidenced by his listing of Face: Off as his favorite movie. His first rap song (and accompanying video) was the worst entry into the genre since Brian Austin Green. Also, every time that I watch him I’m reminded that the Magic passed on him in order to draft Jerryl Sasser. (Banging head against desk).

Beno Udrih: His name is Beno and he isnt named after Beano Cook. Need I say more?

Jacque Vaughan: Quite possibly the worst jumpshooter in NBA history. I know junior high kids who have more accurate jumpshots than him. He’s been perennially overrated since college due to his nice guy demeanor and fan friendly attitude (read: He doesn’t scare middle aged white people). Finally, watching him play (and repeatedly launch that horrible jumpshot) for the Magic easily took 5-10 years off of my life.

James White: It’s tough to hate somebody who can do this. However, that’s precisely why I hate him. He’s easily one of the 10 most physically gifted players in the entire NBA, yet he can’t even manage to make a teams active roster (Note: Its not just the Spurs, he couldn’t do it in Indiana either).

Gregg Poppovich: A pockmarked, elitist prick. Every time I watch him smugly reply to reporters in a press conference it makes me want to fly to San Antonio and break one of his $1000 wine bottles over his head. Universally lauded as a great coach despite the fact that he never saw fit to take over as head coach of the Spurs until after San Antonio won the rights to Tim Duncan in the lottery. Of course, once this happened he fired Bob Hill and named himself coach of a team that suddenly featured two of the league’s top 5 big men and (eventually) Top 50 players of all time. If Phil Jackson’s accomplishments are lessened by the fact that he was blessed with a ton of talent on his championship teams than Gregg Poppovich’s are too. Except, Jackson didn’t have to stab one of his employees in the back to do it (after forcing that employee to tank in order to increase the franchise’s odds of receiving said pick).

RC Buford: It’s tough to say something bad about a guy who recently adopted a kid from Cameroon. Until you realize that the kid in question was a 6’8” stud basketball player who will be attending the University of Texas next year on a basketball scholarship. Wow, what a coincidence. Buford goes on a trip to the country in Africa thats routinely producing Division 1 basketball players and comes back with an adopted son who is among the brightest prospects in the entire country. Man, that RC is one altruistic son of a bitch, aint he?

In conclusion, My thoughts on the San Antonio Spurs can be summed up thusly:

Fuck you. Fuck you. You’re cool (Matt Bonner). Fuck you. I’m outta here.