Sunday, February 28, 2010

NFL Draft stuff..

I did some research this week on quarterbacks drafted in the 1st round since 1990. I wanted to see some numbers on how many of these guys turn out to be franchise QB's, and how many become "busts." I have heard people say it was 50-50 in the past, and that seems to be pretty accurate. Since 1990, 46 quarterbacks have been drafted in the 1st round. Including the 2009 class, 29 of those 46 have never won a playoff game. Five more have won only a single playoff game. Over those 20 years, 5 Super Bowls have been won by 1st round QB's (Roethlisberger (2), Manning's (2), and Trent Dilfer. There have been a few more that are far from "busts," but still have not won a Super Bowl (McNabb, McNair, Bledsoe). There seems to be more than a fair share of guys that just didn't pan out.

Which takes us to the 2010 draft. My guess is that two quarterbacks go in Round 1 (Clausen/Bradford), with guys like Tebow, McCoy, and LeFevour going in rounds 2-4. As much as I dislike the Clausen family, I would be much more comfortable taking him versus Bradford. I see why NFL scouts like Bradford, but the injury stuff bothers me. Clausen played in a Pro offense at Notre Dame and just seemed to "look the part" of an NFL QB during his college tenure.

I would not be upset with my team taking either if they needed a QB, I just don't think QB's should be taken in the top 10 unless the team is 99% sure that guy is going to be the man. It is too much money to tie up and better players sit the bench because owners want to play the guy they are paying 20 mill+ (see Oakland).

So, should the teams that need a QB (St Louis, Buffalo, etc) be better off trading a 2nd or 3rd round pick for a QB? Derek Anderson and Mike Vick are likely going to be available. If you are St Louis, would you rather have Anderson/Suh or Bradford/FA DT? Suh and McCoy are as close to locks as you can get, and DT's are very valuable to an NFL franchise (see recent contracts to Wilfork, Seymour, Haynesworth).

I have written here before that Washington is much better off taking Russell Okung in Round 1 rather than a QB. Give Campbell some protection, draft a RB in Round 2 (Best, Dwyer) and go from there. Unless, of course, they are certain that one of the 1st Round QB's is a lock. I trusted Tommy D in 2008 when Matt Ryan was drafted #3, but Washington fans will probably have a tougher time doing this (see Heath Shuler/Pat Ramsey).

As for the Falcons, I now think the play is to trade down unless Spiller is there. It seems the CB market is pretty even after Haden, and the DE spot is deep as well. Lets hope some guys like Dez Bryant, Taylor Mays, or some low-character guy like Carlos Dunlap drops to #19 and move back and pick up additional picks. Two years ago, Houston got #'s 26, 89, and 173 from Baltimore for #18. I'd take two seconds and a fourth for #19 and then pick up a CB and DE in the 2nd round.

Would you rather have a combo of Kareem Marshall/Kyle Wilson and then Jerry Hughes/Ricky Sapp in the 2nd or just someone like Everson Griffin, Donovan Warren, or Carlos Dunlap in Round 1?

Monday, February 15, 2010

College hoops poll

After Sunday's Big East upsets, the rankings that come out today should be very interesting. The top two should remain unchanged, but after that it is a mess.

1. Kansas
2. Kentucky
3. Villanova
4. Purdue
5. Syracuse
6. Kansas St
7. West Virginia
8. Ohio St
9. Michigan St
10. New Mexico
11. Georgetown
12. Duke
13. Texas
14. Gonzaga
15. Butler
16. Pittsburgh
17. Temple
18. Wisconsin
19. Virginia Tech
20. Wake Forest
21. Vanderbilt
22. Tennessee
23. Texas A&M
24. BYU
25. Baylor

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday morning musings...

Get your money in on Cleveland at 2 to 1 to win the NBA title before the Amare deal goes down. Once that deal is complete, it's game over.

Shannon Brown might put on a show tonight in the dunk contest. Brown is my pick but I am also scared it will be a Nate Robinson love-fest again.

As for the 3-point, DaeQuan Cook is the easy pick, but I am going to go with Stephen Curry.

Interesting to see the college hoops programs that are currently on the wrong side of the bubble for the NCAA tournament: UCLA, UNC, UConn, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Louisville.

If more players would do this in baseball, the sport would be in a much better place.

Speaking of baseball, I am intrigued by the Johnny Damon situation. It now appears that the White Sox and Tigers are the finalists, but something tells me that if the Braves could up their offer by a million or two they could get him. Having Damon in the 6 or 7 hole is an upgrade over Melky...

That Hawks-Heat game this week really showed how important the Hawks bench is to their success. One game without Crawford and ZaZa and they get blown out by Miami.

I will go on record as not endorsing the Julius Peppers to Atlanta talk. For what he wants money-wise, I don't think he is worth it. He disappears for stretches during the season and I would be worried he shuts it down after getting paid. That money needs to be spent in the secondary and offensive line. The Birds need a DE, but not one that will break the bank. It is nice to have an uncapped year, but the rules will eventually go back to how they were and you don't want to be strapped down with that kind of contract.

Also, lots of mock drafts are now putting Kareem Jackson's name next to the Falcons pick. I think he would be a solid pick up and could play immediately. That 1st rounder has to be OL, DL, or CB.

I like the Mavs trade because they need to start to separate themselves from the pack. Third and Eighth in the Western Conference are only separated by 3 games. Getting home court and avoiding the Lakers in the 1st round is a must or any team that wants a shot at reaching the WC finals.

Predictions for today...

- Maryland plays Duke tough as always in Cameron
- New Mexico proves for the 2nd time this week they beat good teams away from "The Pit"
- Georgia plays well at home again and beats USC
- Nobody outside the state of NC will care about the NCSU-UNC game
- Virginia Tech beats UVA for the 2nd time this year
- South Florida has a reality check against Marquette

Friday, February 12, 2010


What a 4th quarter for LeBron last night. He did it all down the stretch as the Cavs pulled away from the Magic for their 14th straight win. I guess some will still say that LeBron didn't hit a game winner, so Kobe is still the better "closer." I really wish that term would go away. It seems like only reason people use that term is after talking about how great LeBron is. LeBron is having an unbelievable season, but Kobe is a better "closer." Why? Because he hits more buzzer-beaters? Nights like last night where LeBron can't be stopped and the Cavs pull away is what makes LeBron better than Kobe in every way - and it isn't close anymore. It's like a early 90's baseball GM wanting Mitch Williams over Dennis Eckersley.

Let's take a look at the numbers now that LeBron is 25 and entering what should be his prime. After last night, LBJ is averaging 29.9 points (1st), 8.3 assists (6th), 1.6 steals (14th), and 7.1 rebounds (37th) per game. Seasons where a player averages 30/8/7 are very unusual. Michael Jordan had 1 in 1986-87, when he was also 25. Kobe has had great years, but has never topped 7 in either assists or rebounds.

It also seems like Cleveland is pulling away from the pack and establishing themselves as the top seed in the East this year. I think the East champion will be the #1 seed because all of the top 4 play so well at home. It will be very tough to win a 7 game series this year with the Cavs having home court.

Looking in the future, it is hard to guess where LeBron will end up and how many titles he will win. I do think that the number of titles will be more than 2. He has said in the past that he wanted to be a worldwide celebrity. Signing with McDonalds is probably just the 1st in a series of decisions that he thinks will lead him in that direction.

I think New York makes a lot of sense, but they will not be immediate contenders with their current roster. However, the draw of New York City and playing for D'Antoni may be enough. LeBron would get the chance every night to play in a wide-open style that will accentuate his athleticism. Plus, what point guard wouldn't go to NY in a heartbeat to play in that style with LBJ? Even with a huge pay-cut? A serviceable guy like Steve Blake, Marcus Williams, or Ray Felton would jump at a chance to play on a team with LBJ/Harrington/Lee in D'Antoni's system.

Another scary thought is Joe Johnson taking a 1 year veterans deal to go play with that crew for a season. He has already turned down 4/60 million from the Hawks and he is unlikely to receive a similar offer from anyone else. Does Joe envision a chance to play with a LeBron or Wade for a year or two since he is already filthy rich?

Is a team of Felton/Joe/LBJ/Harrington/Lee with a few veterans and draft picks off the bench good enough to win the title? I say yes, because that team would have the world's best player and closer in his prime. Jordan was 28 when he won his 1st of 6 titles. I say LeBron gets his 1st earlier than MJ did.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Some NBA thoughts...

On a night where the Hawks get snowed out...

If Melo can get healthy, this scoring title race could come down to the wire. Durant, Melo, and Lebron are all within .3 of each other and Kobe and Wade will likely have a say before the season is over.

Speaking of scoring titles, is Kobe's 2005-2006 season not talked about enough? We all remember how good he was that year (his last year as the NBA's best player), but his 35.4 ppg number is pretty staggering. He played in all but 2 games that year and averaged 4 more points per game than any other year in his career. In fact, since Wilt's run of scoring titles in the 60's, only Jordan's 37.1 in 86-87 has been as high as Kobe's 05-06.

Tyreke Evans is going to be an absolute superstar. He may bring the Kings franchise back all by himself. Evans is already 14th in the league in scoring and adding 5 assists per game. At 20 years old with his 6'6 frame, he will be a household name soon. Rookie of the year is a lock...

If you were starting a team today, would you take Chris Paul over Derrick Rose? Paul is obviously a better distributor and shooter right now, but he is 3 years older and has had several injuries. Rose is much more explosive and is still learning the game. I am not saying I would take Rose for sure, but it is definitely close.

I think it is amazing that Houston is playing so well. They were built the last few years around McGrady and Yao doing most of the scoring, and are still winning with both out. Aaron Brooks is likely the leagues Most Improved Player and is averaging 20 points and 5 assists per game. Their starting center, Chuck Hayes, is 6'6. Trevor Ariza, Shane Battier, and Luis Scola are good, but it is amazing that these guys and Carl Landry are the nucleus of a team that is on pace to win 45+ in the Western Conference.

Other candidates for most improved? Brook Lopez has gone from 13 points and 8 boards a game to 19 and 10. David Lee still is bringing down 11-12 rebounds a night but has increased scoring (19.9 from 16.1) and assists (3.5 from 2.1).

The Hawks have pretty much held pace since their good start, but I am growing concerned about the post-season. This team is expected to advance past round 1, and if they don't get out of round 2, they should at least be competitive in the series. I don't like the 1st round match-ups of Charlotte an Toronto. We should win both series, but those teams are more scary to me than Miami last year. Best case scenario is to win the division, get the #2 seed, and host Boston in round 2. How sweet would it be to take out the Celtics to advance to the 1st Conference Finals in franchise history?

How up-and-down has Joe Dumars career been? The Hamilton/Stackhouse trade was a home run, Rodney Stuckey is a stud drafted at #15, and the Billups signing led to an NBA title. But since then, the Darko pick was a complete debacle, Rodney White (??) at #8, an the Billups/Iverson trade were all complete disasters.

Who has made the most 3's in the league so far this season? None other than Danilo Gallinari of the Knicks with 124. But, will he win the 3 point competition next week? I'll take Stephen Curry...

As for all-star weekend, please don't let Nate Robinson win the Slam Dunk contest again. Even if he is unreal, this scenario seems played out. Hopefully Shannon Brown shows out, he can thrown down some nasty stuff.

I also think the league is setting up a scenario where the NBA finals could be the highest rated in a long time. If Kobe vs LeBron plays out and both play well in the series, the games late in the series will be must see TV for most of America. With still a few out there thinking Kobe still is the better player, this would be a nice time for the proverbial passing of the torch...

Hawks can take the lead in the division if they can make a run here the last few weeks of the month. Survive the West Coast trip coming up, and then 5 of 6 are at home. Lets shoot for 55 and that #2 seed...