Quick Hits 4/27/09

NBA Playoffs Mini-Hits

1.  I will go on record as saying this has been the most entertaining and competitive opening rounds of NBA playoffs I can remember (minus Cavs vs. Pistons and Nuggets vs. Hornets).Loul Deng

2.  The current Chicago Bulls roster is a who’s who of Final Fours recent past.

  • Loul Deng - Duke 2004
  • Kirk Hinrich – Kansas 2003
  • Ben Gordon – UConn – 2004
  • Tyrus Thomas – LSU – 2006
  • Joakim Noah – Florida – 2006 and 2007
  • Derrick Rose – Memphis – 2008

3.  The Derrick Rose/Rajon Rondo triple-double “anything you can do, I can do better” showdown, is the single best match-up in the playoffs.

4.  The Cavs looked bored at times playing the Pistons, if it weren’t for the fact that the LeBrons were so much fun, I would have been bored.  It seemed like there were more Cavs fans at the games in Detroit than Pistons fans.

5.  Example of balance – in Game 4 of  the Sixers vs. the Magic, every stater scored in double figures.  Hedu Turkaglu finally showed up and hit a game winner when the Magic needed.  Philly’s Andre Miller is underrated and has been his whole career.  Andre Iquodala is showing the nonbelievers that he is a legit All-Star type player not just an athlete.

6.  The Hawks are talented, just not basketball savvy enough to take this series from DWade and the south beach bunch.

7.  If Kobe plays like he did in Game 4, the run to the Championship series will be short.  Carlos boozer has one of the nice jump shots, I would have never thought so at Duke.

8.  Yao looks tough and Von Wafer is the talk of the town in Houston.  PS – Portland.  FRONT YAO IN THE POST!

9.  Say good-bye to one of the greatest Dynastys we have seen.  Duncan is at the end of maybe the greatest career since Jordan and the Spurs will have to find another way to win, just not this year.

Side Note – The Pistons, as we knew them, are done.  The lose to Cleavland is the final bell and this team is be exploded all over the league.  No one is safe.

Draft Declarers Round 6 or 7 – just like the NFL draftGerald Henderson

Everyone not names Vasquez, go to the NBA.  The only one that is questionable is Smith.  We know what he can do, but I want to see him develop a better shot.  Personally, I would like Henderson to come back and lead a stacked Duke squad, and he still has the option without an agent.  Only Curry has signed with an agent, but I would expect the first three on the list to join him quickly.

ESPN”s Andy Katz voices his opinons on the underclassmen.

NDSU’s Woodside Workouts

Ben Woodside will be wearing NBA gear of at least four different teams, if only for a couple hours.  Woodside has work outs scheduled with the Timberwolves, Trial Blazers, Grizzles and Rockets and should expect more in the near future.

Many experts feel Woodside will not be drafted, but is almost guaranteed a free agent contact with an NBA team.

DraftExpress.com had this to say about Woodside durning the Portsmouth Tourney.

Random Hits

  • I would like to know how many people, who are not getting paid, actually watch the entire NFL draft.
  • I am not sure who started the trend, but I like seeing the players at home waiting to be selected.  Surround by people who have supported them not matter what jersey they wore.  Instead of with a bunch of people who are only cheering you because you wear their team’s jersey.
  • Boston swept the Yankees – suddenly, A-Rod is needed.

Quick Hits 4/21/09

After a couple of days away with family and other busy times, I think we need to catch-up on the happenings.

Draft Declarers Round 5

This is maybe the most hot and cold group we have seen to date.  Only Mills should really consider the jump, but I think he could do himself more good to stay and wins some more games.  Mitchell had a great year, but needs refining, and Daye needs to stay and evolve into a player.  Sloan, Reynolds and Brown will be solid players in the league and might be heading into the draft because it is considered a weak draft.

Harangody should come back and make up for this poor year at Notre Dame.  Even though I don’t think he will be high than a late first round pick – and that might be generous.

PS – Ricky Rubio has declared.  But he is under contract with his current club.  There is a reported 7.8 Million buyout price tag for a NBA team to pay just to sign him.

Rubio is behind only Blake Griffin on Chad Ford’s Top 100 list.

NBA Awards

Congrats to Cavs Head Coach Mike Brown and Orlando Magic Center, Dwight Howard.  Brown officially winning the Coach of the Year Award after one of the more impressive seasons in the last couple years and Howard pulled in the Defensive Player of the Year – to be annouced today.  Brown had over 200 more points than the next coach and over forty more votes.

Pitno Going to Florida

Not that one.  His son.  26 year old Richard, is leaving the comfort of his Dad’s place to hanging out with Billy Donovan.  That’s it.  Nothing more.  But it does make me wonder, why.  Same job, different team.

DTP 2008-09 NBA Awards

The regular season has come to a close.  It has been a great season in many respects.  We have seen rookies play major parts on good teams and on bad teams.  We have seen players develop from starters to stars, stars to MVPs.  Teams that should have been better and teams that made us glance at the standings sheet one last time.

Now the time has come when the big boys are no longer playing for fun, it is playoff time.  And to further inflate the ego’s of those making way too much money, we give them awards.

Like everyone that has any opinion on basketball, Matthew and I have our own and we made our choices.  We agreed on some, but not on all.  Either way, enjoy.

Rookie of The Year82989522CC019_Orlando_Magic

  • Matthew’s PickDerrick Rose – This has proved to be a very good, very deep class.  And Rose has stayed on top of it the entire season, ultimately leading his team into the playoffs.  Averaging 17 points, 4 boards, and 7 assists is a pretty nice line for a rookie…..or anybody.
  • Daniel’s PickDerrick Rose – The Bulls played like a bad high school team earlier this year, because they did not know how to use the talent the had.  The coach final made some changes and the Bulls are here.  Rose is the cornerstone for this franchise.

Most Improved Player

  • Matthew’s Pick:  Brandon Roy – Scoring three more points a game and has turned into the undeniable leader of a good, young squad.
  • Daniel’s PickDanny Granger – 7.5, 13.9, 19.6, and 25.8.  This is the season scoring average since his rookie year in 2005.  He has also become a better free-throw shooter since his first season, improving from 78% to 88% this season.  Like Rose, Granger is the cornerstone for his team.   PS – All Star.

Most Disappointing Team

  • Matthew’s Pick:  Phoenix Suns – Even without Amare, they’re like an all-star team from 5-10 years ago.
  • Daniel’s Pick:  Detroit Pistons – This team is rebuilding.  But you still have Rip, Rasheed and Prince.  The trade for Allen Iverson was not good for this season, but it will be good for the future.  Even so, this team was sad. 

Most Surprsing Team

  • Matthew’s Pick:  Denver Nuggets – Who would’ve guessed they would be the No. 2 seed in the West?  Not me! 
  • Daniel’s Pick: Charlotte Bobcats – They made a huge push late in the season and were close to making the playoffs. They beat the Lakers twice and have a solid group of players.  Just don’t pick-up AI. 

Sixth Man of the Year

  • Matthew’s Pick:  Lamar Odom - Sure he started a few games.  But his ability to be a solid option in the starting five when called upon,  stregthens his case.  
  • Daniel’s PickJason Terry – He is pretty much a stater.  Terry plays 33 mins a game, scores 20 points per game and is the man for Dallas in the clutch.

 

Coach of the Year:NBA/

  • Matthew’s Pick:  Stan Van Gundy –  Anytime you linger around 60-wins, you should be instantly part of the discussion, and he made things work pretty well without Jameer Nelson.
  • Daniel’s PickMike Brown-  66 wins and 16 loses.  His team scores 100 points per game and only give 91 (which is best in the league).  Yes, he has LeBron.  But this team is about defense.  And they allow their opponents to only shoot 33% from distance and 43 from the field (best in the league).  And he has LeBron.

MVP

  • Matthew’s Pick: LeBron James- He leads his squad in points (28), rebounds (8), assists (7), blocks (1.5) and steals (1.7).  That is ridiculous.
  • Daniel’s PickLeBron James – See above with one addition.  His squad =  best in the league.

Quick Hits 4/16/09

KG Not Ready To Play

Kevin Garnett maybe be done for the season.  The knee injury is not improving and he did not look strong according to Celtic’s Head Coach Doc Rivers. 

This would be a huge blow to the defending Champions repeat campaign.  Many experts did not expect them to beat the Cavs with KG, let alone without him. The Celtics might not get past the second round and could struggle with the Bulls in the first round. 

The Celtics will miss KG more on the defensive end than on offense.  The still have fire power in Paul Peirce, Ray Allen and the rest.  But no collection of players can replace the defensive awareness and intensity that KG has every game. 

Here is your chance Leon Powe.

Draft Declarers

  • Shawn Taggart, forward from Memphis – this is hopefully more about the coaching change.
  • Damion James, forward from Texas – this team is going to be loaded next season, maybe worried about PT.
  • Patrick Patterson, forward from Kentucky – see Taggart.

No one has hired an agent, which is the right move, but I would expect to see the James and Taggart back for the 2009-10 season.  Texas could make a deep run with the team they have next season.  Memphis, not so much.  Kentucky is in for a bumpy season and EPSN.com projects Patterson has a mid-to-late first round pick. 

Side-Note- Yahoo.com’s Jason King wrote a peice on the underclassmen and their choices.

Brilliant Strike

I do watch a good amount of soccer, and this is one of the best goals I have seen in a long time by Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United.

PS – Arensal destroyed Villareal 3-0.  Welcome back Mr. Walcott.

Timberwolves Starting Line-Up

In the last game of a tough season for the Timberwolves, Kevin McHale started Mike Miller, Kevin Ollie, Mark Madsen, Brian Cardinal, and Jason Collins.  In an interview, McHale said this was his way of saying thank-you for being good leaders on the team.  I think it was a way to lose to a crappy team. 

BETTER DRAFT PICK! 

I am not sure I care right now.  I have stop paying any attention since Randy Foye went down awhile back. 82996013EG003_MINNESOTA_TIM

Here is what I think they need to look at in the 2009-10 season.

  • A shooting guard over 6’4″.
  • A shot blocker – Al Jefferson average 1.7 a game, the next is Kevin Love with .65.
  • A pass first point guard – Three guys on the team average more than four assists a game, but no one averages over five.
  • A New GM – This is a reoccurring theme from years past!
  • Another All-Star type player.

This team has peices of a winning team, but needs another player that can take games over when Jefferson is double-teamed and consisteny at the coaching position.  McHale is a decent coach, I think players repond to him. 

But McHale can not go back to the front office.  Because when we get the No. 1 pick, he will find a way to mess it up.  PICK BLAKE GRIFFIN.  I don’t care about Kevin Love, Ryan Gomes, and the bunch.  You will put butts in the seats and get an atheltic player this team hasn’t since the thug days Isaiah “JR” Rider and the original Eastbay-Funk-Dunk (that might be the only time Rider is mention in a post, on purpose). 

Quick Hits 4/15/09

Paulus to Put on a HelmetGreg Paulus

Former Duke starting point guard, Greg Paulus, has been visting with the Green Bay Packers and the University of Michigan about playing football.  Yes football. 

Paulus was a highly recruited player out of Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, New York.  The former Gaterade football player of the year had scholarship offers from Notre Dame and Miami but choose to play got Coach K at Duke. 

Paulus lost his starting job this season to sophomore Nolen Smith, but continued to be ready when called upon.  Paulus acted like an assistant coach as his minutes continued to get cut, he averaged on six minutes in the teams final seven games.

Here is the write-up at ESPN.com.

Draft Declarers

Only one.   Junior center out of UConn, Hasheem Thabeet.  Hire an agent my friend.  Get out of Storrs, CT before it gets ugly and make a ton of money. 

It is being reported that Thabeet has not yet hired an agent, giving himself until June 15th to withdraw his name from the draft.

Rock, Chalk, Stay a Jayhawk1355517_image

Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich are coming back to Kansas for another season.  The best inside-outside tandem in the Big 12, will lead an experienced and talented team that is predicted by experts to be the No. 1 team next season.     

With the possibility of signing McDonald’s All-American’s Xavier Henry and Lance Stephenson, Bill Self will have four top-100 recruits and an exciting team that will have little competition in grabbing the Big 12 crown and make a deep run in March.

Top Recruiting Classes

 With all the coaching changes and releasing of players from the letters of intent, ESPN.com has updated their rankings for the top recruiting classes of 2009.

NBA Playoffs

Once the seedings are set for the East and West conference, Matthew and I will do a little break down of the match-ups.

Plus, we will announce our choices for the NBA Award winners: MVP, Sixth Man, etc.

Isiah Thomas Gets Another Job

Isiah Thomas’ resume must not be that bad, or the AD at Florida International was a huge “Bad Boys” fan.

I would like to revisit this story in about 26 months.  I don’t have a lot of faith, but you never know.

My Blossoming Love Affair With Golf

Last summer, I found golf, for the second time.  I had attempted to play the game at a much younger age when I had no idea about how to swing a golf club.  One day, I decided that if I was getting better distance on the throwing of my clubs then the swinging of my clubs, it was time to stop.  Before I hurt someone.

But I picked it up again last summer.  I golfed with the same handful of guys and found that it didn’t matter if you had a bad day golfing.  Because, regardless of how poor I played, I was still outside and playing golf.  So, life can not be all that bad.  Not bad at all.

I am not the richest person, so my golf game is also fueled by the almighty dollar, and my ability to stretch it.  My ability to find discount rounds at odd times and still get a cart, or but “previously owned” equipment, made me feel a little bit better.

Trying to find used golf equipment is key to this potentially very expensive game.  Because you don’t take out the new Lexus when you are preparing for your drivers permit.  You practice on your dad’s 1968 Ford pick-up that is an automatic with gears that shift like making change in the Catholic church and is missing at least one side-mirror and the rear-view mirror.

Here is my golf fact sheet:

  1. I paid $100 for quality Ben Hogan Clubs from a friend.  This is what started it all.
  2. The spikes I use were given to me.
  3. I do not have a membership to a course, have no plans to purchase in the near future.
  4. I have no clue where I rate in the world of handicaps, because I do not know mine.
  5. I bought my bag for less than $60 and I took the green/black option because my wife prefers green and my chances of not sleeping on the couch were much better than if I would have gone with black.
  6. I would love to play more than once a week and more than just 6 months out of the year, but time and location make it difficult.  It is April and we still have snow on the ground.
  7. I use ezlinks.com to find discount prices.  Maybe the single greatest site for my golf life.
  8. I am getting better at reading the pitch and knowing where the ball needs to be in my stance, but I struggle knowing which club to swing.
  9. I am a very inconsistent driver, I am confident and solid with my irons, and a slightly below average putter.
  10. I have a subscription to Golf Digest.  I read the articles if I have nothing else to read before bed, but I always turn to the “how to improve your wing” or “swing basics” looking for trade secrets. Not sure it is helping.
  11. I will watch some golf on TV – it is very pretty in HD, but have never been to a live event that featured pros.  I am sure it would be a better experience.
  12. I feel great about getting par, and I am not sure if I had more than 3-4 birdies last summer.
  13. I plan on re-gripping my clubs to help with the tendentious in my arms and wrists.
  14. I watched a good chunk of the Masters.  It was pretty crazy.

That is the state of my golf game, nothing too crazy.

Today, I received an e-mail from the park district.  There is a chance that a couple courses could open April 20th.  Here is to dry weather and sunshine.

Quick Hits 4/10/09

Draft Declarers – Round 3

  1. Jeff Teague, guard from Wake Forrest
  2. DeMar DeRozan, guard from USC
  3. Taj Gibson, forward from USC
  4. Daniel Hackett, guard rom USC
  5. Jrue Holiday, guard from UCLA
  6. Jordan Hill, forward from Arizona
  7. Nic Wise, guard from Arizona
  8. James Harden, guard from ASU
  9. Jonny Flynn, guard from Syracuse
  10. Paul Harris, guard from Syracuse
  11. Eric Devendorf, guard from Syracuse

Rumor has it that DeRozan, Hachett, Holiday, Harris and Devendorf have all hired agents.  The Syracuse boys are making a mistake is that pans out.  Neither Harris or Devendorf guaranteed to be drafted and the Orange have a great chance at making a run to the Final Four next season if they return with Flynn.

There is a ton of talent in this group, but other than the the players from the PAC-1o (minus Wise), everyone should come back for another year.  I understand the desire to leave the craziness of Arizona, and USC is the OJ Mayo/Reggie Bush “Amatuer” Sports Prep School, so it is natural that the three best players want to jump – they may have a couple years ago.

I have also read that PITT forward and Big East Co-Player of the DeJuan Blair has hired an agent.  That is a mistake.  There is little chance of him being a first round pick, but I am sure he is being sold on the idea that the media is calling this a “weak draft” and he better strike while he is hot.

Good Luck.

Duke Fans Meet John Wall

This could be your point guard future.

If Wall signs, Duke would have 3 out of the top 17 draft picks in 2009 classes.

ESPN 2009 Top Recuiring Classes

ESPN was had a list of the top-25 classes coming in next year. It looks to not have adjusted for the coaching moves and recruits de-committing.

A couple highlights.

1. UNC

2.  Texas

3.  Florida

6.  Duke

7.  Indiana

10. Minnesota

Why Duke’s Gerald Henderson Should Not Go Pro

I’m proud to say I’m a fan of Duke basketball.  It started when Christian Laettner hit the last shot in the best game in college basketball history.  I like seeing Duke succeed, and I like seeing Duke players do well in the NBA (which is not always the case).  So, with both of those motivations in mind, Gerald Henderson should stay at Duke for his senior year.  As usual, a list will help us figure out why.henderson1

1.  His NBA Stock

Henderson has NBA athleticism.  The man can hop like few people I’ve seen at his height.  This year it was fun to see some of his skills develop, specifically his jump shot.  Also, he developed an ability to take games over this year, largely in part to not needing to depend on his penetration.  Staying another year will allow him to improve those parts of his game and raise his stock as a draft pick.

2.  Duke Would be Awesome

The Blue Devils will be in good shape next year with scoreres Kyle Singler, Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith, Lance Thomas, Elliott Williams, and two big incoming freshmen in Ryan Kelly (who is 6’10” and won the McDonalds 3-Point Contest) and Mason Plumlee.  If Henderson stays, Duke could run away from the rest of the ACC.  They are only losing Greg Paulus and David McClure, which is okay by me.  The only thing that could keep them from winning the ACC is if Wake’s big 3 decide to come back. 

3.  National Championship

If Henderson decides to listen to my advice and come back to Duke, they could win a national championship.  It has been a few years since Duke has been to the Final Four, and I hope Henderson took notice of what happened at UNC this year.  A bunch of upper-classmen came back to win and, indeed, they did. 

If you’re reading this Mr. Henderson, I advise you to come back to Duke for one last hoorah.     

DTP Bracket Challenge: The Champ is Here

Congrats to Tom, who is the only smart person in the group and picked UNC.  Tom picked 13 out the Sweet Sixteen, 6 out of the Elite Eight, 2 of the Final Four and UNC and Louisville in the Championship.  It was not close.

But Tom went with what he knew and Vincent is kicking himself – He is a big UNC guy.  My wife finished 2nd even though she picked Duke to win the title.  Katie had 12 out of 16, 6 out of 8, 2 out of 4, but no one in the final.  Strong showing either way.

Thanks for playing and we will see you all next March.

Rank Team Name Score Correct Best Score Best Correct Champion
1 Tom 85 45 85 45 North Carolina (129)
2 Katie 75 45 75 45 Duke (151)
3 Vincent 74 43 74 43 Pittsburgh (159)
4 Steve 74 44 74 44 Connecticut (141)
5 Eric 69 44 69 44 Pittsburgh (135)
6 Daniel 68 46 68 46 Louisville (153)
7 Matt 67 41 67 41 Louisville (163)
8 Anna 56 35 56 35 Louisville (162)