Thursday, June 28, 2007

Official Sportsology Draft Coverage

One of these days, your resident sportsology blogger will be posting his opinions regularly. Can't say when that will be though. I can say that I was kinda right about that Cavs/Spurs series. It's always good to be right, especially when you're frequently wrong.

Anyway, the NBA Draft is tonight. Everybody and their momma has a mock draft of their own. Since sportsology prides itself on not being everybody else, we're not going to do that. Instead we're going to tell teams what they should do.

1. Portland - Draft Kevin Durant. I can't do a better job of breaking down Durant v. Oden than Simmons, the king of online sports journalism. However, I'm willing to attack the notion that a "big man" is the key to winning an NBA championship.

Since Jordan came back, the NBA Finals MVP’s have been split between big men and guards. The two big men that have combined for six awards are Tim Duncan and Shaq, two of the best big men ever. Of the remaining awards, Jordan has 3 and D. Wade, Chauncey Billups, and Tony Parker have 1 each.

Jordan and Wade were the number one reason why their team’s won championships in the year’s they won them. Remember, Shaq was a non-factor in the 2006 Finals, putting up 13.7 ppg, 10.2 rpg, and less than a block per game.

The 2004 Pistons had inside presences in Rasheed and Ben Wallace, but neither were really dominant in the post offensively.

The point is drafting Greg Oden isn’t an automatic ticket to the finals. Today’s game is geared more to faster paced teams, and there aren’t many true centers left period. Oden is perfect for yesterday’s game, Durant is today’s game.

A 6’10 forward with guard skills that can destroy you on the perimeter and in the post is the ideal player to pick, not a 7’0 center that is worthless offensively outside of the paint. Portland cracked under the pressure of the media, which is too bad.

But since they are drafting Oden, they might as well trade Zach Randolph to the Nets for Richard Jefferson. Oden, Lamarcus Aldridge, Richard Jefferson, Brandon Roy, and Jarrett Jack would be a young, solid lineup.

2. Seattle - Seattle will luck out with one of the best players of the next 20 years. They will draft Kevin Durant and he will put up lots of points. What they should do is re-sign Rashard Lewis, and play an uptempo style of basketball.

Chris Wilcox, Lewis, Durant, Ray Allen, and Luke Ridenour would be one of the most exciting lineups, besides Phoenix and Golden State. In the second round, they should draft a shooting guard, like Aaron Afflalo, who would flourish there and provide the depth they are lacking at shooting guard.

3 & 11 . Atlanta - The Hawks could land Amare Stoudamire for their two draft picks in this year’s draft. That would be a no-brainer move. Amare, with Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, Josh Childress, and Joe Johnson should be an entertaining and competitive mix of players.

If that deal falls through, which it might because they are too cheap and have ownership issues, they should draft Cory Brewer at 3 and Acie Law at 11.

Most mock drafts have them taking Al Horford at 3, but Brewer would be a better fit. They already have Josh Smith, Shelden Williams, Zaza Pachulia, Soloman Jones, and Esteban Batista between the 4 and 5. At the 3 they have Josh Childress and Marvin Williams. Brewer would fit in perfectly there.

Acie Law is one of the more clutch guards to come out in a long time. He’s not necessarily a true point guard, but he can put points on the board and do a decent job of distributing the rock.

Sans Stoudemire, I’d go with Law, Johnson, M. Williams, J. Smith, and Pachulia as the starting five, and they’d have a boat load of depth with guys like S. Williams and Brewer coming off the bench. With this team, they could potentially package their young players for a veteran at the trade deadline.

With Stoudemire, you’d go with Amare, instead of Pachulia, and either Speedy Claxton or Josh Childress taking Law’s spot in the starting five.

4. Memphis - Since Atlanta is going to take Al Horford, they should then take Cory Brewer. Currently, alot of people have them taking Mike Conley Jr. This would be a bad move because they already have a young point guard, Kyle Lowry, in addition to two old one's in Damon Stoudamire and Chucky Atkins. Brewer would help their lack of depth at the 2/3.

5. Boston - Boston should've figured out how to use this pick to get KG. Now that he's probably going to Phoenix, they should trade this pick and a young player or Theo Ratlif's expiring contract for Jermaine O'Neal. However, they should not include Al Jefferson in any trades.

6. Milwaukee - I'd like to see them take Mike Conley here. He's not yet as good as Acie Law, but his skills would fit in better with what the Bucks have. Additionally, he could possibly develop into the third best player in the draft behind the Durant and Oden.

7. Minnesota - Since they are going to trade KG for nothing, they might as well take Yi Jianlian here. He's tall, chinese, and will probably be more like Wang Zhu-Zhu than Yao Ming.

8. Charlotte - It seems like they could land Amare Stoudamire with this pick. That would be the best thing that could possibly happen to this franchise. Amare would average 30 points in the east and he'd add some legitimacy to the squad. Send this pick to the T'Wolves, along with Okafor and possibly Brevin Knight, take Amare and Marcus Banks. At that point, they'd have to open up their wallets and re-sign Gerald Wallace and make a playoff run.

If the Wolves get this pick, they should draft somebody who could score, like Jeff Green.

9. Chicago - Draft Joakim Noah. They should also be willing to roll the dice and make a play for Kobe. The draft rights to Noah, plus Ben Gordon, Hinrich and a future 1st round pick for Kobe should do the trick. Too bad nobody's gutsy anymore.

10. Sacremento - Trade Mike Bibby. They could possibly get the Clippers pick at 14, they could definately get a future 1st round pick from the Cavaliers or Heat, in addition to their 1st round picks this year. With this pick, they should draft the best player available. If people do what they should, then that would leave them with either Brandan or Julian Wright.

12. Philadelphia - They should draft Al Thornton. He's an athletic power forward that would look good with Andre Miller and company.

13. New Orleans - They should take Nick Young from USC. He's a baller and would start immediately for them at shooting guard. If they stay healthy by the way, they should make the playoffs.

14. LA Clippers - They should draft Javaris Crittenton. They need young backcourt players desperately.

15. Detroit - They seem to like Rodney Stuckey, I suppose they should draft him. It is, however, time for them to blow this team up. Rasheed Wallace is done there, and Billups doesn't look like the same player. They should explore sign and trade options for Billups (the Lakers maybe?) and try to just get rid of Sheed (maybe to his hometown Sixers for the 30th pick).

16. Washington - Draft Spencer Hawes. He might flop, or he might provide them with some good size and skills at the center position.

17. New Jersey - Trade R. Jefferson for Zach Randolph. Re-sign Vince. Draft Daequan Cook from Ohio State. He's a pure shooter and they could definately use that. Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Antoine Wright, Zach Randolph, and Nenad Kristic, with Cook and Marcus Williams coming off the bench would be a scary team in the East.

18. Golden St. - There isn't a player they could take here that really fits, if everyone does what I say of course. I'd suggest drafting a foreigner or maybe Jason Smith. He's a big man from Colorado State that has a jump shot.

19. LA Lakers - They need to do something bold. They don't want to trade Kobe, I can't blame them for that. It now appears that they won't get KG or JO. Well how about this: A sign and trade with the Pistons where the Lakers would trade Lamar Odom, Kwame Brown, and Andrew Bynum for Rasheed Wallace, Chauncey Billups and a 1st round pick. Billups, Kobe, Luke Walton (a must resign) Rasheed Wallace and Brian Cook would be a nice lineup that could score and defend with the West's best.

20. Miami - They also need to do something at least semi-drastic. They are old as hell. Maybe they could get Mike Bibby for this pick. If they keep the pick, they should essentially replace Eddie Jones/James Posey with Derrick Byars from Vanderbilt. They should also try to persue someone like Chauncey Billups in free agency.

21. Philadelphia - If he's here, take Thaddeous Young. If not, its back to the good old "best player available." They have a nice team right now as is, and will be surprisingly competitive next year.

22. Charlotte - This pick should go to Minny as part of the Amare/KG deal. They must make that happen at all costs.

23. New York - Apparently they're trying to trade for Zach Randolph. If they still have this pick, they should also take the best player available. They have so many players, they will struggle to improve until they can get rid of some of those contracts.

24 & 29. Phoenix - has them taking Brazilian PF Tiago Splitter and Boston College SF Jared Dudley with these picks. Both players would work wonderful with this team. However, I'd rather them trade Shawn Marion than Amare Stoudamire. Maybe sending these two picks to Charlotte along with Marion could get the job done. Or possibly Marion and the Hawks pick from next year.

25. Utah - If Alando Tucker is available, they should draft him.

26. Houston - Like wise for Houston and Aaron Afflalo.

27. Detroit - Maybe this pick could go to LA in the Billups deal. They should also try to pick up a point guard in that trade, maybe Sasha Vujacic. Sasha, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Odom, and Kwame would be competitive in the east. In fact, they should try to keep this pick and draft a guard to increase depth.

28. San Antonio - The Spurs are straight. Best player available, they'll be back in contention next year, barring an injury.

30. Philadelphia - Best player available. suggests Sean Williams, though he does exactly the same thing that Sam Dalembert does.

However, until these GM's get balls, none of this will probably happen. If people listened to guys like me, or Simmons, or others who are suggesting these wacky moves, the NBA would be more exciting. There hasn't been any major roster developments in the past few seasons, besides Shaq going to the Heat, which might turn out to be a bust anyway, at least for the money they're paying him versus his production.

The Draft starts in like 20 minutes, so hopefully let the games begin.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

NBA Finals Preview - Sportsology Style.

Well since I last joined you, LeBron saved the finals by carrying the LeBronaliers to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. Now they match with the San Antonio Spurs, who are aiming to win their 4th title in 9 years.

In previous years, the Spurs have been the boring team in the Finals. They were the good guys without flair, who played the game, kept their mouths shut, and won with good fundamentals and talent.

This year, they have a different vibe. Tim Duncan has become known as somewhat of a whiner now. Manu Ginobili is one of the most hated players in the league because he flops up and down the court, in addition to making a dirty play or two here or there. Bruce Bowen and Robert Horry, both on the decline of their careers, have gone into all out goon mode. And Tony Parker is dating one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood, a good reason for all of us to hate him.

This, coupled with everybody wanting LeBron to become Jordan Jr., has created the potential for a good guys versus bad guys finals. Unfortunately for the good guys, they are extremely over matched.

Point Guard – Larry Hughes (CLE) vs. Tony Parker (SAS)

Tony Parker is one of the most prolific scoring point guards in the league. Larry Hughes has been a mega-million dollar disappointment for the Cavs during his past few seasons as a Cavalier. The oft injured guard has not been the Robin for LeBron’s Batman, despite showing some flashes of potential greatness, similar to Lamar Odom with the Lakers.

However, Larry Hughes is still a good defender and should be able to slow Tony Parker down, at least somewhat. Where Tony Parker will kill the Cavs is when they go to the bench. Eric Snow is 57 years old and has no chance of sticking with Parker. Daniel Gibson is a good rookie, but is far better on the offensive end. Hughes will not be able to play the type of minutes necessary to make this match up a wash.

Advantage Spurs

Shooting Guard – Sasha Pavlovic (CLE) vs. Michael Finley (SAS)

Interesting fact: Michael Finley only made $300,000 less money than Tim Duncan this past season. Finley, who was the 19th highest paid athlete this past season, has Mark Cuban to thank for that. The Mavs used the “Allan Houston rule" to release Finley, even though he has a lot left in the tank.

Now he will be able to exploit Sasha Pavlovic, the promising but young Cavaliers shooting guard. Maybe getting abused by Finley and Ginobili will help Pavlovic develop a consistent third wheel to go with LBJ and Larry Hughes.

Advantage Spurs

Small Forward – LeBron James (CLE) vs. Bruce Bowen (SAS)

LeBron James is not the best player in the NBA. I’d still give that to Kobe. Steve Nash is infinitely more valuable to his team than LeBron is to the Cavaliers. That said, he’s the reason why Cleveland is here. He put together two good games to even up the Detroit series at 2-2, had an epic game 5, and another good game in the final game.

However, enough is enough with the LeBron hype. It’s going to take a non-referee aided finals victory to get me on his bandwagon. Bruce Bowen is no different than anybody else that defends LeBron, except he’s probably a dirtier player. The difference is always with what type of game LeBron decides to play, and how good the opposing coach is. Popovich is the best in the game, so he’ll have a good scheme set up. It’s up to LeBron to make ‘Pop’ use some of the tricks he has up his sleeve.

Advantage Cavs

Power Forward – Drew Gooden (CLE) vs. Tim Duncan (SAS)

Tim Duncan might end up as the greatest power forward of all time. Drew Gooden will have a tough time stopping him from getting his 4th NBA Finals MVP Award. Gooden is definitely a serviceable player, and he will at times make Duncan work. I expect him to eventually become overwhelmed and Duncan will probably have at least one 30/15/5 game.

Advantage Spurs

Center – Zydrunas Ilgauskus (CLE) vs. Francisco Elson (SAS)

This is really a match up between Big Z and the Elson/Fabricio Oberto combination. The Spurs combo plays good defense, rebounds, harasses, and makes dunks and layups. Don’t expect them to do much else.

Big Z is very skilled, but very old. He’s slow as crap and he often hinders the Cavs offense. They could be a much more prolific offense if they were able to play a faster tempo. Z is good to run the offense through when LeBron is out of the game, because he’s the only other player on the team that can make the defense have to make some decisions.

Advantage Cavs


The Spurs have a serviceable backup at every position. They also have Manu Ginobili coming off the bench; he’s probably one of the 20 or 25 best players in the NBA. He gives the Spurs energy while pissing pretty much everybody else off who doesn’t have a rooting interest in them. Love him or hate him, you have to respect his game, in particular his ability to make crazy shots.

The Cavs have a decent bench. Varejao, another flopper, gives them energy. Donyell Marshall, Daniel Gibson, and Damon Jones provide shooting. That’s about all you’re going to get worth mentioning from that group. O yeah, Eric Snow is really old.

Advantage Spurs


We have one of the league’s worst coaches versus a coach that has to start getting consideration as one of the all-time greats. Mike Brown, the Cavaliers coach, is here only because LeBron brought him here. He’s kinda like the Raptors coach Sam Mitchell (reigning NBA Coach of the Year); a bad coach that gets props because his team somehow wins despite of his poor coaching. This year’s coach of the year award should’ve either went to Avery Johnson or Greg Popovich, regular season, and overall definitely to ‘Pop.’ He’s going to work Mike Brown

Advantage Spurs

Prediction – Spurs d. Cavaliers 4-1

The Cavs will probably be overwhelmed by the scenery in Game 1 and lose big. (Sidebar: On Sportscenter a few nights ago, they showed a video clip of Cavaliers players with their video cameras on the “I’m just happy to be here tip.” This is almost routine for the Spurs.)

Game 2 will be close, but the Spurs will pull it out on the home court advantage, open 3’s tip.
Game 3 will be the “LeBron” game. After Game 3, pundits will say the Cavs will get back in it, LeBron is the next Jordan, best player in the league, etc.

Game 4 will be the Ginobili/Parker/Horry/Bowen villain game. It might go something like Game 5 of the Phoenix series. Phoenix was very close to doing the unthinkable, beating the Spurs without Amare Stoudamire and Boris Diaw. However, the Spurs came back in the fourth quarter and Bruce Bowen hit the go ahead three in the corner that probably made every Suns fan scream the F word.

Game 5 will be Duncan’s “I’m the best player of this generation” game. Like Simmons pointed out today, he closed out the Nets series with a ridiculous 21/20/10/8 game in the 2003 Finals. I’ll pencil him in for 33/19/7/6 for this year’s series finale.

Friday, June 1, 2007


LeBron James is beginning to live up to the hype. His performance last night was insane. The last 25 points of the game, some dunks, some layups, some threes, basically he did it all. He took over the game when it matters most and has the Cavs in position to go to their first Finals.

More importantly, he is the only player that can save the playoffs. LeBron can be rather boring to watch when he plays with a lack of enthusiasm. However, when he plays like he did last night, he's one of the most exciting players in the league.

Since Jordan retired, the NBA has missed that one wing player that could take over a game and throw up 20+ in a row like LeBron did last night (Shaq was unstoppable during the Lakers 3-Peat, but at the end of the day, somebody still has to get him the ball). Kobe has done this frequently during the regular season, but he's yet to really put together that type of performance in the playoffs. Wade has some Jordanesque performances in last year's playoffs, but he was banged up this year after a long summer.

LeBron has been compared to Jordan constantly since before he even graduated from high school. It would only be right if 23 became the new 23. We've all been waiting for this to happen, and the light seems to finally be going off for him.

For the NBA, this is great news. Before Game 5, I figured the Pistons would win at home and put the Cavs away in 6 or 7, then lose to the Spurs in a very boring Finals. A repeat of the 2005 finals would have been disastrous for the league.

Instead, we'll probably get a chance to watch "The Next Jordan" try to become "The Next Jordan." Hopefully we'll get treated to some stuff like this dunk. However, a Spurs/Cavs series could easily resemble the first three games of this Cavs/Pistons series. Its up to LeBron to ensure that doesn't happen.