Posted on: October 24, 2008 10:59 am
 

2008-09 NBA Standings Predictions.

Tis the season. Of basketball, that is. It's upon us once again, and I am finally able to feel like a legitimate font of knowledge for at least one sport (I fake my way through football).

Last year was a great year for the league in general...Celtics/Lakers revisited....a dozen players that could co-exist to win gold in Beijing...Stephen Jackson and Ron Artest more than 100 miles away from each other the vast majority of the time. Even as a Timberwolves fan, I was able to take solace in the team's "only slightly-below-average" performance in the second half of the season (as opposed to "abyssmal," I guess..).

One of the other sub-texts to last year was the stellar-ness (word?) of the West versus the relative mediocrity of the East beyond the top three teams. I see that balancing out a bit this year, with Phoenix and Dallas taking slight steps back, and teams like Atlanta, Philadelphia, and maybe even Miami looking playoff-bound in 2009. Here's what's gonna happen in the Association in 2008-09:

PREDICTED RECORD (playoff seeding in parentheses)

Atlantic Division                                       Central Division                                       Southeast Division

Boston (1) 58-24                                      Cleveland (2) 54-28                                Orlando (3) 49-33

Philadelphia (4) 51-31                            Detroit (5) 48-34                                       Atlanta (7) 44-38

Toronto (6) 44-38                                     Chicago 37-45                                          Miami (8) 40-42

New Jersey 20-62                                    Indiana 35-47                                           Washington 39-43

New York 20-62                                        Milwaukee 22-60                                      Charlotte 34-48

Southwest Division                                  Northwest Division                                   Pacific Division

New Orleans (1) 57-25                           Utah (3) 52-30                                           Los Angeles Lakers (2) 56-26

Houston (4) 55-27                                   Portland (6) 50-32                                    Phoenix (7) 48-34

San Antonio (5) 51-31                             Denver 46-36                                            Golden State 40-42

Dallas (8) 44-38                                       Minnesota 33-49                                      Sacramento 31-51

Memphis 19-63                                        Sea.. Oklahoma City 26-56                     Los Angeles Clips 29-53

 

There's your standings. Second part will be up soon with awards, season factors, and playoffs. Feel free to rip....nnnnow.

Category: NBA
Posted on: October 2, 2008 11:05 pm
 

A thorough, yet easy-to-read, playoff breakdown.

There is one certainty in being an ardent supporter of Minnesota sports: you probably won't be holding the trophy at the end of the season. Such is true this year as well (at least in baseball), as the Twins couldn't muster a lousy run off of a pitcher who had a 7.91 ERA against them in 2008.

So here we are, with eight teams, none of which are from Minnesota. I fancy myself as somewhat of a sports bigamist. Yes, the Minnesota teams are all at the tops of my lists in their respective sports. But I also love the Eagles (the football team, not the terrible band), the Golden State Warriors, and the Buffalo Sabres, to name a few.

Baseball is really the only sport that I don't have a backup plan. Maybe it's because of the salary inequities between teams that I feel like a front-runner rooting for a big market, or maybe it's because I don't like any of the other teams' hats. Whatever it is, I need to find a team to root for this post-season, if for nothing else than to taste that bandwagon, semi-phony, sweet, sweet juice of victory. Here are three pros and three cons for each of the contenders. Maybe in the end, I'll have a new favorite team. But I doubt it.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

TAMPA BAY Rays (record vs. MIN: 3-3)

Pros:
(1) Joel "Mad Dog" Maddon's glasses...NERD!!
(2) A Rays playoff berth prevented a Yankees playoff berth.
(3) the probability that a Rays' pennant would mean them defeating both the White AND Red Sox.

Cons:
(1) Potential one-year wonder -- I mean, who wants to be the guy who thought A-Ha was going to be as big as the

Beatles??
(2) Terrible fans in a stadium that may double in the off-season as an airplane hangar.
(3) Proof positive that the Twins made a stupid move giving up Garza and Bartlett for a platoon infielder and a right-handed version of Joe Mauer's power.

BOSTON RED SOX (record vs. MIN: 4-3)

Pros:
(1) None.
(2) None.
(3) None. Seriously, you went all those years claiming poverty against the big evil entity that is the New York Yankees, and now you pretty much do the same thing on a year-to-year basis.

Cons (aside from the one I listed in the 'pros'):
(1) Annoying asshole fans. My rule of thumb is that if a 20-year-old girl who has no affiliation to any one team is wearing your hat, you're either a team with a pink hat, or you've become the default team for idiots to root for.
(2) Bill Simmons will dedicate his ensuing year's worth of columns on ESPN Page 2 to how it happened, and I really just want him to write about the NBA.
(3) "Good Will Hunting." I hate that fucking movie.

CHICAGO White Sox (record vs. MIN: 8-10, yet they get the home field in a tiebreaker...)

Pros:
(1) Their logo looks like it says "Sex", not "Sox".
(2) I still think AJ Pierzynski is a fantastic catcher, and don't fully understand why Twins fans hate him so much.
(3) A small part of me would be happy to see the second-best center fielder of my lifetime win a championship. By the way, I meant Ken Griffey, Jr., not Dewayne Wise.

Cons:
(1) Obvious division rivalry that I won't elaborate on because thinking about the White Sox is pretty equivalent to thinking about Sarah Palin in a position of governmental power. It just boils the blood.
(2) Flawed tie-breaking procedure one of the key factors in the White Sox being in the playoffs to begin with.
(3) Anti-Twins-style baseball at its finest. Or worst, I guess.

ANAHEIM Angels (record vs. MIN: 5-3)

Pros:
(1) I still have my Torii Hunter Twins shirt, and would like him to win* (* = please see Con #3).
(2) Someone apparently killed the Rally Monkey.
(3) My only athletic trophy is an 11-year-old city championship that I acquired while a member of the Angels, so the team has a good sixth-grade vibe for me.

Cons:
(1) Still mad over the 2002 ALCS, with the likes of Donnelly, Spezio, and Eckstein, to name a few.
(2) The spiteful, hating Catholic in me would like to see them punished for making such poor financial decisions (Hunter, Matthews, soon-to-be Texiera).
(3) Continues the disturbing trend of high-profile former Minnesota athletes to go elsewhere to get rich (I will have a seperate blog about this).

NATIONAL LEAGUE

PHILADELPHIA Phillies (didn't play MIN)

Pros:
(1) John Kruk. Enough said.
(2) I would gladly accept the Twins signing or trading for: Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, and Cole Hamels. I thoroughly enjoy watching all of those guys play the game.
(3) My uncle lives outside of Phily, and I've had a Phillies pennant on my bedroom wall since about 1988. So, I guess more out of second-hand homerism, I like them.

Cons:
(1) Their fans threw batteries at J.D. Drew one time. I can empathize, because he seems like a dick, but seriously...BATTERIES??
(2) Philadelphia sports teams seem to be about as good at closing the deal as Minnesota. I'm glad professional sports isn't high school, or both towns would be virgins. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
(3) I'm afraid that Sly Stallone will show up if they advance too far and do the whole "Rocky" bit, like he did when the Eagles opened the Linc a few years ago. Awkward.

CHICAGO Cubs (didn't play MIN)

Pros:
(1) Steve Bartman could be taken off of witness protection, and then go on tour with Bill Buckner.
(2) Most of those fans have witness some pretty appalling baseball over the years, and so it might be nice to throw them a bone.
(3) The FOX broadcast team could allow Will Ferrell to do his Harry Caray impression for a few innings. That would be GOLDEN.

Cons:
(1) Cubs fans have the definite potential to become as annoying, if not MORE annoying, than Red Sox fans. Unlikely, but possible. The "20-year-old girl" corollary (as mentioned above) is in play.
(2) At some point, I would like to go to a game at Wrigley Field. I feel as though a Cubs World Series would make that more financially difficult.
(3) Listening to dozens of Joe Buck-narrated pieces about how long it's been since the Cubs won a World Series.

MILWAUKEE Brewers (record vs. MIN: 2-4)

Pros:
(1) I have a lot of friends that are Brewers fans, and part of me would want them to be happy.
(2) Any team named after beer deserves SOME credit...even if it is a tasteless, watered-down beer.
(3) Miller Park is a gorgeous field, and I would love to call that my home park.

Cons:
(1) I have a lot of friends that are Brewers fans, and part of me would want them to be miserable.
(2) I tried to punch a guy at Miller Park back in 2005 after the Brewers beat the Twins on Prince Fielder's first career home run. I'm not sure that's a con, but I thought someone needed to know.
(3) Willingly rooting for a Wisconsin team just seems wrong to me.

LOS ANGELES Dodgers (didn't play MIN)

Pros:
(1) Joe Torre has to be considered one of the five or six best coaches ever, and he could certainly stick it up the Yankees' ass (metaphorically) by winning a World Series in L.A.
(2) Manny Ramierez, for all of his character flaws, is a fantastic hitter, and he could certainly stick it up the Red Sox' ass (metaphorically) by winning a World Series in L.A.
(3) The Dodgers are pretty much the only pro sports team that you can get southern California to give a shit about on a regular basis, so that's saying something.

Cons:
(1) Having to Watch the video of Kirk Gibson's gimpy ass hobble around the bases ten thousand times.
(2) Major market spite.
(3) They were sort of the best of the worst in the NL West.

So there's the breakdown. How's it gonna play out? Well, knowing what I know, here's how I think it'll shake out.

AL

Rays over White Sox in four.
Angels over Red Sox in five.

Angels over Rays in six.

NL

Phillies over Brewers in four.
Dodgers over Cubs in five.

Phillies over Dodgers in seven.

World Series

Phillies over Angels in six.

So there you are. Batteries and all, go Phillies. And give some of that good goo-joo over to the Eagles, too...because hey, we all KNOW the Vikes are toast.

Category: MLB
Posted on: May 20, 2008 11:25 pm
 

Ray of Hopelessness.

Here's a thought:

Ray Allen is only a viable NBA star when he is unquestionably the number one option. Hear me out. I am a Timberwolves fan and watched Latrell Sprewell for a few years, and some nights he would be absolutely lights out: 11 for 18, 34 points, and would absolutely be a dominant offensive player. The next night, he would be 2 for 9 with 6 points, and would just be virtually invisible. I think Ray is the same way: he needs to get two or three buckets down in the first 10 minutes, otherwise you can count him as a loss for the game. And it's not like he's playing any defense, so you may as well have Wally Szczerbiak back on the squad.

He's been able to get away with it for so long for three reasons: (1) Ray, up until this year, has always been the unquestioned number one option on some very mediocre teams, (2) this year, the C's put 67 in the win column, and winning cures a lot of ills (like KG not having a whole lot of clutch to him -- trust me, I watched him for 12 years), and (3) he's been such a good -- or at least quiet -- teammate and citizen that most people would not want to badmouth him. Think of the image the NBA has been trying to rid itself of for the last 15 years...Ray Allen embodies all of that good image. Why trash his rep.

I mean, think about it -- even the worst NBA team is going to average 90 points. Somebody's gotta score, right? You stay moderately healthy long enough on some crummy to mid-level team, and you're bound to put 20,000 points on the board. Dominique Wilkins. Bernard King. George Gervin. All great scorers who never saw much beyond playoffs, round two.

Just my thought. Feel free to respond.

Category: NBA
Posted on: May 14, 2008 11:36 am
 

The good and bad of Minnesota trades.

The most mind-numbing thing about being a wonk for a mid-level market and their sports franchises is the fact that, in a sense, the local teams become minor league teams for New York and Boston and all of those other big-city asshole front-runners (hmm...bitter much??).

Anyways, on the heels of the Jared Allen deal, KG's fairy-tale season in Boston ending with a pumpkin of a playoffs (perhaps), and Santana getting off to his typical slow start 1,200 miles away, I thought I'd look back on some of the the good and the bad/ugly that the Land of 10,000 Lakes has provided to the sporting world. And, no, I'm not counting things like Johan Santana from the Marlins for Jared Camp, because nobody had heard of either of them at the time. But, damn, Jared Camp. What. A. Career. Continuing...

THE GOOD:

1989 - Frank Viola and Jack Savage for Kevin Tapani, Rick Aguilera, David West, and Tim Drummond. Viola was coming off of a Cy Young season in 1988, as well as the improbably playoff heroics of '87. So, when the 1989 season was a loss by the trade deadline, and Viola was heading for free agency, Andy MacPhail dangled his best pitcher out to the big markets and got...prospects. Sound familiar? Well, it worked in the long run, as both Tapani and Aguilera were members of the improbable playoff heroics of 1991. Aggy, until recently, was the franchise leader in saves and Tap paved the way for people like Brad Radke to be consistently unspectacular in Twins pinstripes. And David West is having a nice run with the New Orleans Hornets now...oops, wrong one.

2003 - A.J. Pierzynski for Boof Bonser, Joe Nathan, and Fransisco Liriano. To be honest, if this was AJ for Nathan straight-up, it would have been a rape (and that might end up being the only relevant parts of the trade). As it currently stands, there is still hope for this trade to still go down as a mega-rape. Nathan is the Twins all-time saves leader, Boof looks like he could be a number two starter 80 percent of the time (and a class-A prospect the rest of the time), and Frankie might still have that super nasty stuff he had in 2006 if he doesn't eat his way out of the league. More importantly (especially for the Twins' front office), the trade opened the door for the Joe Mauer era to begin. Bring on the college girls who love sideburns.

2003 - Sam Cassell and Ervin (Don't Call Me Magic) Johnson for Anthony Peeler and Joe Smith. Yes, I am giving the Timberwolves credit for making a good move. Cassell made All-NBA second team in 03-04, and led the team to the Western Conference finals. And yes, we all knew it would blow up after the first year with Sammy, because that's what happens with all of the teams Cassell is on. But we got rid of A.P., who never saw a shot on the offensive side of halfcourt that he didn't like. And Joe Smith? Well, keep reading about Joe Smith.

2008 - Johan Santana and Jared Allen. I might be jumping the gun, but I like both of these deals. First, Santana. A dominant pitcher is great, but all that really does is guarantee you win every fifth game. Is that worth $20 million a year? Probably not. Especially if he's going all Kyle Lohse in the locker room. I like Gomez -- he's raw, but he's speedy, and he's kind of got that Rickey Henderson thing going on (and, GOD, I hope he starts referring to himself in the third person..).

As far as the Allen deal goes, he's getting top-DE pay...because he's a top DE. And he got traded for three picks...which is actually less than the Jaguars gave up to move up in the draft and pick a D-End that hasn't proven one single thing in the NFL. Yes, a suspension looms for another screw-up DUI, but maybe in that $31 million, there's some room to take a cab. They run 24 hours a day, you know. The Vikings are a dominant pass-rusher away from greatness on defense, in my (an many others') opinion. But it IS the Vikings. What could possibly go wrong? SEGWAY TO....

THE BAD/THE UGLY:

1989 - Herschel. Duh. We don't even need to cover it. If it weren't for Herschel being a Viking, we would have never heard Jimmy Johnson rhetorically yell, "HOW 'BOUT THEM COWBOYS!" Paul Tagliabue probably still sends Christmas cards to Mike Lynn for single-handedly resurrecting one of the NFL's storied franchises. And keeping the Vikings...well, being the Vikings. Because, you know, Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson, Isaac Holt...we didn't need those guys. Or the North Stars.

1996 - Ray Allen and Andrew Lang for Stephon Marbury. First off, I don't ever remember Lang being a Timberwolf. Wouldn't he, by default, be the best T-Wolves center ever, if for no other reason than he was modestly competent? The Wolves made this trade for two primary reasons: they needed a point guard and they wanted to keep The Kid happy. Two problems: Marbury was as point guard who didn't exactly like to pass the ball, and Garnett was a horrible judger of talent (Joe Smith, Troy Hudson, et al). So when they stopped being homies, it turned contentious, and Marbury got dealt. Twelve years later, the Wolves point guard situation is amiss, and Garnett and Allen are getting knocked out of the playoffs by LeBron. Maybe it wouldn't have worked out so well after all.

2000 - Joe Smith for Tony Parker, Carlos Boozer, and Anderson Varejao. More from McHale's Navy. Okay, this trade didn't actually happen, but that's who the Wolves could've had in the draft spots they lost because Glen Taylor was paying Joe Smith under the table. Because Joe Smith wanted too much money. And Kevin Garnett wanted Joe Smith. Yes, the same Joe Smith that wears knee pads and looks like a fossil for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cleveland Cavaliers that are going to take out the Boston Celtics in the playoffs. Featuring...Kevin Garnett.

2004 - Randy Moss for Napoleon Harris and Troy Williamson. *twitching* I called this a shitty deal when it happened. At least we got a sixth-round pick for Williamson. I think the Jaguars overpaid.

And, the cream of the crop...Tom Brunansky for Tom Herr. Fourteen games into the 1988 season, the Twins made a deal with the newly found hated World Series rival St. Louis Cardinals. Bruno was always one of my favorites because he had a great arm, adequate power out of the fifth spot in the order, and a killer mustache that just wouldn't quit, Magnum, P.I.-style.

Herr, on the other hand, was a baby and my least favorite player on the team that tried to win the World Series from my favorite team the October before. He was whiny, petulent, and I didn't like looking at him because he had the look of a child molester (ironically, without a mustache). In the end, neither team really won the trade. Bruno got traded to the Sox, never batted over .266 and spend the remainder of his days in Red Sock hell with Frankie V.

Herr played in 86 games and batted .263 with the Twins before they dealt him to Philadelphia, where he continued to be a pussyfart baby. It wasn't even that I thought the Twins got ripped in the trade, it was the first indication to me that sports was a business, and fan love for a player and his past achievements really didn't mean anything. And since then, I have been the jaded piece of shit standing before you today.

Much love to you, Tom Brunansky. Keep rocking that 'stache. 

Category: General
Posted on: April 10, 2008 1:20 pm
Edited on: April 10, 2008 3:31 pm
 

Way too much work for the Clippers' sake.

Okay, my last entry was a bit off. Mayo's going pro. If they would've had any kind of influential tourney run (basically, anything aside from a first-round loss to an eleven-seed), O.J. would still be a Trojan, I think. But it's a moot point, as they don't teach jump shooting in So Cal.

Mayo's stock did rise in the last month (from a projected seven to about four or five), and the NBA lottery order is less than six weeks away. It's really a shame, because I've been keeping myself busy with the mock draft generator offered by a competing sports website that starts with an "E" and ends with an "SPN.com", and I can't wait to find out how the Timberwolves are going to be corn-holed THIS year.

Ever since Ewing in 1985, there just seems to be a certain mystique to the NBA lottery..and by mystique, I mean David Stern conspiracy. And, yes, most of my opinion has to do with the Wolves not getting the first pick in 1992, when they had the worst record and Shaq was the grand prize. Instead, the Big Barishnikov goes to a sunny, marketable basketball locale and we end up with a guy who had more headbands than double-doubles.

But before I go too "woe is me" on the Timberwolves' draft luck, or lack thereof, let me play out a "could be worse" scenario: The Los Angeles Clippers. And, yes, I know it's easy to beat up the slow kid, but I'm going to do it anyway, because it makes me feel like a big man.

Maybe it's Sternconspiracy, maybe it's poor management, maybe it's just shitty luck, but the Clippers' lottery selections are amongst the terrible-est of all time...even terrible-er than me English. I choose to blame Stern. I find it absolutely and utterly inconcievable (name THAT movie) that, in a world with a law of averages, the Clippers' front office and karma could be THAT incompetent THAT long. Wouldn't the fan base be outraged?

You know...um...all eight of them?

Here are the Clippers lottery picks, since all the way back in 1985:

Benoit Benjamin, Creighton -- "Derrick Coleman" before Derrick Coleman was "Derrick Coleman." Pretty much ate himself out of the league. Didn't really seem to care, either. Benoit sort of walked...nay, waddled...around the court with an apathetic, post-concussion look on his face.

Reggie Williams, Georgetown -- Most famous for going to high school with Muggsy Bogues and Reggie Lewis at Baltimore Dunbar. The trivia answer to, "what other guy played in the NBA and went to high school with Reggie Lewis and Muggsy Bogues?"

Danny Manning, Kansas -- Came off of a great collegiate career as the first overall pick, and promptly blew out his ACL 26 games into his rookie year. Would have been a solid number sixth man for most squads...and was really the only semi-threat the Clips had for the four-plus years he was there. Won more post-season games this year as an assistant for the Jayhawks than he did in total for L.A.

Hersey Hawkins, Bradley -- He actually had a nice NBA career, scoring over 14,000 points and missing a mere seven games in his first 11 years. He, of course, never played for the Clippers, as he was traded post-draft for Charles Smith, who was most recognized for his Will Smith-esque flat top, and being the softest big man this side of Brad Daugherty (6'10" and never more than seven boards a game average).

Danny Ferry, Duke -- Would the phrase "Danny Ferry thought the Clippers were so bad, that he went and played in ITALY for a year before being traded an embarking on a seven-point-per-game NBA career" be considered the exact opposite of "successful franchise"?

Bo Kimble, Loyola Marymount -- Scored more points in his sophomore season of college than he did his entire NBA career. The most notable thing he did as a pro was brick a left-handed free throw in honor of Hank Gathers.

Lamond Murray, California -- is there anything more frustrating than a guy with a little bit of size (6'7") who absolutely REFUSES to play closer than, say, 17 feet from the rim? The answer is, "yes, a player who only shoots 43% from the field, and 36% on three-pointers". 

Antonio McDyess, Alabama -- Another nice NBA career, though injury-hampered, and yet another All-Star that never actually dressed for the Clippers. McDyess was traded to the Nuggets for Rodney Rogers' corpse and a draft pick that turned into Brent Barry. But, hey, at least LAC is the only NBA team with a white Slam Dunk Contest winner!

Lorenzen Wright, Memphis -- Big men with injury problems and poor work ethics probably should be avoided. Nothing like a 6'11" guy that can't average a block per game. In his defense, Wright's middle name is "Vern-Gagne". I'm not kidding; look it up.

Michael Olowokandi, Pacific -- The first REAL argument for "don't draft a tall guy with a lottery pick just because he's tall. Make sure he's played good basketball at a legitimate Division I program and won't get tasered by police at Twin Cities clubs after he's been widely acknowledged as the worst first pick in NBA history."

Lamar Odom, Rhode Island -- Probably the best player the Clippers have ever drafted, but he is a Danny Manning clone in that (as we're seeing now on the Lakers) Odom is MUCH better when he's not a primary option. He is also a Danny Manning clone in that he couldn't seem to ever stay healthy -- with the Clippers. He's much healthier now.

Keyon Dooling, Missouri -- I don't actually know anything about Keyon Dooling. I think he's on the Magic now. Does he play?...(looking up stats)...yeah, a tenth overall pick should probably be better than the eigth-best player on the fourth-best team in the second-best conference. And he's averaging twice as many points now than he did with L.A. -- and it's still not in double-figures.

Darius Miles, high school -- Just for the record, I might need to take Welbutrin just to make it through this analysis. Lessons the Clips SHOULD'VE learned: (1) you can't win in the NBA with 18-year-olds. The only teams that win with 18-year-olds are the good teams that sign the 18-year-olds when they turn 22. (2) Only Kevin Garnett is going to be Kevin Garnett. (3) When a player is excited to be drafted by Los Angeles because it will (and I'm paraphrasing) 'give him great exposure', and not on the basketball court, that's not a good sign.  Wasn't he in a movie? Hopefully, it was only a quarter as atrocious as his career.

Tyson Chandler, high school -- Again, Chandler is unspectacularly solid now that he's been in the Association for eight years, isn't playing outside of his abilities, and is on his third team (a la Odom). The obvious comparison is to Ben Wallace. Ben Wallace wasn't drafted; Chandler was the second pick...and Michael Jordan thought that Kwame Brown had more upside than he did. I think the summation is you never want to draft a guy at number two who doesn't try to "play outside his abilities".

Chris Wilcox, Maryland -- Never averaged more than eight points and five boards for LAC. Hasn't averaged LESS than 13.5 / 7.7 since showing up in Seattle. You ever get the feeling wearing Clipper red and blue sucks out your willingness to try?

Shaun Livingston, high school -- I guess an argument can't be made for his mediocrity, primarily because he's never stayed healthy enough to formulate an opinion. He's MISSED 37 more NBA games than he's made, and hasn't suited up since February of 2007. Being the next Magic Johnson doesn't do you any good when you're knees make you the next Bill Walton.

Yaroslav Korolev, somewhere in the USSR -- I was sort of kidding before when I said I didn't know who Keyon Dooling was...sort of...but I honestly didn't think Korolev had ever played and NBA game. As it turns out, he played in 34 of them, then went home. What do the Clippers have to show for this former 12th overall pick? A pretty damn good triple-double (39-16-10)...as cumulative CAREER statistics.

I won't go into ragging on Al Thornton, because he's having an alright rookie season. And, 75 games into his NBA career, he's done something a select few have done: had a double-digit turnover game. I suppose we can just blame it on the jersey.

So there's your (over)analysis of a (currently) 23-win team. If they've made a good decision in the past years, it was to trade WITH the Timberwolves a few years ago. Presuming the Wolves don't fall out of top-10 protection this year, Los Angeles has Minnesota's 2009 first-rounder to complete the ebola-for-anthrax trade known as Cassell-for-Jaric. Maybe the Clippers will pass (more) ineptitude to the Wolfies, just like that one Denzel movie, where evil could get passed from person-to-person just by touch).

Or maybe the Clippers will just continue to be the Clippers and draft someone as crappy and forgettable as that movie.

By the way, the current mock draft has the Clippers getting Anthony Randolph at six, a wiry-yet-unproven LSU product who reminds some people of Kevin Garnett...

And the circle of life continues...

Category: NBA
Posted on: April 3, 2008 5:23 pm
Edited on: April 3, 2008 6:50 pm
 

Crazy Chicago Bulls facts. And just plain crazy.

The Chicago Bulls have experienced the highs. The Chicago Bull have seen the lowest of lows. Check it out.

One side of the spectrum: The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls won more games with an 82-game schedule (72) than the Tampa Bay Rays have ever won in a single 162-game season (70).

 

The Other Side: The first three years of post-Jordan Bulls didn’t quite average as many wins (15 avg.) as the Patriots did from this year (16).

 

Scottie Pippen is one of a handful of players with multiple double-digit turnover games in his career, and the Bulls won both of the games.

 

Not only has Michael Jordan won six rings of his own, but he is directly responsible for Luc Longley, Bill Wennington, Will Perdue, and Stacey King having a combined 12 championship rings more than Allen Iverson, Kevin Garnett, Charles Barkley, and Karl Malone.

<o:p></o:p>

<o:p>MORE AMAZING THAN ANY OF THIS, ON A TOTALLY UNRELATED NOTE...</o:p>

<o:p></o:p>

More crazy than any of this is the fact that Chris Henry and PacMan Jones were on the same college football team, and West Virginia as a whole wasn’t arrested. Or the state didn't implode.

Posted on: March 10, 2008 1:47 pm
Edited on: March 10, 2008 1:51 pm
 

Five things that could keep O.J. in Southern Cal.

Five Reasons O.J. Mayo stays at USC for next season, from least to most important:

(1) They have a decent team this year, and nobody from the Trojans is leaving. Stanford will lose Lopez, UCLA will lose Darren Collison and maybe Kevin Love, leaving USC poised at a good shot at the PAC-10 crown. This theory is relying upon the possible stretch that he has actually bought into some semblance of a team concept.

(2) It's Southern California and he a mid-level celebrity. You think he wants sun and co-eds or the opportunity to lose 57 games with the Milwaukee Bucks next year? Best case scenario, he ends up on the Clippers, and then he's only playing in front of half as many people as he is right now.

(3) Watching a tape of Saturday's game, Mayo heard Clark Kellogg compare him to Stephon Marbury, and would like to up his comparison factor to at least "Walt Williams at Maryland in 1992."

(2) His lease with Nick Lachey runs through the 2009 school year.

(1) He hasn't lived up to the hype. On the cover of "Slam" in the pre-season and now being projected anywhere from 7th to 12th? It seems like a step backwards for a player perceived to be all about the glam. Think Sebastian Telfair being drafted 22nd. Staying in school for another year could mean a few extra million dollars, not to mention a bit more notoriety.

I think in the end, it depends on what kind of noise USC makes in the tourney. I'd like nothing more than to see OJ Mayo and Kevin Love stay another year, if for nothing else than seeing some polished college players above the level of role player (aka: Tyler Hanesborough).

That, and he's not even the most famous "O.J" in school history.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: OJ Mayo, PAC-10, USC
 
Posted on: March 8, 2008 12:37 pm
 

The Next Great One skating at the X? Prolly not.

It's State Hockey Tourney time here in the Great North, a time when everyone can look back upon their youth and think of what might have been. Inevitably in the course of broadcast, an announcer gets excited about the product out on the ice and makes silly comparisons.

For example, the Edina Hornets (who will be playing in the class AA finals tonight after a FANTASTIC 5-4 win over Benilde in OT yesterday) have a first line that scored 97 GOALS during the regular season, with one of the kids putting in 41 of those in (I think) 27 games. One of the radio guys compared him to Gretzky. Now, don't get me wrong, if you can average a goal and a half per game, you're probably gonna end up being enshrined somewhere. But, with an assist from Wikipedia, let's not forget what Wayne was able to accomplish:

* With the Nadrofsky Steelers at the age of TEN, Gretzky scored 378 goals in 85 games. For you math majors out there, that's four and a half goals PER GAME. The highest-scoring TEAM in the NHL this year is averaging a little over three. Oh yeah, he tallied 139 assists that year, to boot.

* Nobody in the NHL has had more than 125 points since 1999. Wayne did it 12 years in a row (and had 104 points the year before the streak and 121 the year after).

* Gretzky's only year without averaging at least one point per game was in 1998-99, his 21st and final NHL season...and even then, he managed 0.9.

* Sid and Alex are both leading the NHL at 1.35 P/G, and are rightfully viewed as prolific scorers. Gretzky DOUBLED that in 1985-86 (215 points in 80 games), and came close in two other seasons.

*When Wayne got traded to L.A. in 1988, included in the trade was $15 million, which seems like a lot of money even today. Adjusted for inflation, that $15 M. is $27 million today...and the Oilers still got absolutely savaged for the deal.

* The second-, third-, and fourth-leading scorers in NHL history (Messier, Howe, and Ron Francis) all played at least 23 years...and none of them are within 950 points of Gretzky. He broke Howe's points record, and then played nine more seasons.

To play Devil's Advocate, you could argue that Wayne was SO good, that he actually got Southern California excited about a sport they couldn't feasibly play, and therefore indirectly led to the blasted expansion into the Sun Belt. Because Phoenix and Tampa need hockey teams. But that's beside the point...

In conclusion, there's a reason that nobody has the "who's the greatest hockey player ever?" argument, and it's not just because nobody cares about the sport. Nobody will ever be as good as Wayne Gretzky. Ever.

They say never say never? Well, I'm saying never. Sorry, Sid, you're not the next Great One. But "The next Jari Kurri" is still available.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com