Here is part of my “preview” for the NBA – only four game into the season. I decided to highlight about half of the teams after I wanted to do all the teams, but then I remembered I have a life outside of this blog. I know, crazy right?
What I have put together are my “Points of Interest” – I know, great name – of teams, players, situations, that may be a little under that radar – or not – but are worth giving more attention and will give another layer of intrigue to the NBA.
Dallas Gets All Maverik-y with Marion
The Mavericks have been lacking the old-school Charles Oakley type power forward. While, Mark Cuban may not have gotten the toughness, they did get Shawn Marion who is a life time 17.8 ppg and 9.9 rpg player. Marion’s scoring average has gone down since a career high of 21.8 ppg in ’05-’06 in Phoenix, but I would expect Marion to get plenty of east basket from Jason Kidd like Marion did from Steve Nash.
Here is there stating line-up: PG – Kidd, SG – Josh Howard, SF – Shawn Marion, PF – Dirk Nowitzki, and C – Erick Damiper. And then off the bench you the have Sixth Man of the Year, Jason Terry. Not too shabby.
The Heat In Miami
Going into the fourth season removed from winning the Championship, the Heat are not as bad as I remember , having won 43 games last season. But the heat did not add much to the roster, minus the often traded Quentin Richardson, and lost Jamario Moon and traded away Mark Blount.
Dwayne Wade must be tired, seriously! Not only has he played an average of 37.9 minutes a game and over 38 minutes in four out of the six seasons, he averaged 30.2 last season which was 31% of the points per game. Wade turns 28 and you have to wonder how much longer his body can perform and continue to endure the beating he gets every game.
Mr. Michael Beasley’s 13.9 ppg and 5.5 rebounds must creep closer to a 15 ppg and 10 rpg average for him to be consider a legit No. 2 option. And with his recent trip to rehab will only add to already intense lens that will be on his every move.
Daequan Cook is the wild-card for the Heat. While his scoring average did not increase much – 8.8 to 9.1 ppg - his shooting improved from behind the three-point line – 33% to 39%. Along with Cook, the Heat brought Carlos Arroyo over from Orlando and those two will be key in providing scoring and steady guard play off the bench.
Houston, We Have A Problem
The Rockets lost Ron Artest to the Lakers and Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady to injury. This is a major hit to Houston and it’s attempt to make the playoffs for a fourth straight season. Those three players totaled 52.4 ppg and 19.5 rpg, and were the three best players in a Rocket uniform.
This season could be a season similar to the Spurs of 1997, when David Robinson was out for the season with back issues. The Spurs had a 20-62 record and the ended-up with the No. 1 pick, which turned out to be Tim Duncan.
I am not sure there is a Duncan type players in next years draft, but with the Rockets lacking quality veteran leadership, this team will end up with a lottery pick. This could add some quality next season when Yao will be healthy.
Aaron Brooks, Trevor Ariza and the crew will get plenty of playing time as this team must look past the McGrady era and plan on a rough road this season.
The elephant in the room is Shaq. Shaq has won titles as Batman and as Robin, and was committed to his role as Robin to Dwayne Wades Batman. But is seems that everywhere else (i.e. LA and Phoenix) Shaq still considered himself the headliner.
Well in Cleveland, there all ready is a headliner. Without question – the Cavs were called “the LeBrons” for crying out loud. So Shaq buying into his role and his new team should lead to at least one appearance in the Finals. Cleveland was close without him before running into the Orlando Magic.
Three Other Points of Interest
- Delonte West – Apparently wants to play the Antonio Banderas role in Desperado. Hopefully, that was a onetime deal.
- Jemario Moon – Can get easy baskets and guard players that only LeBron could guard before.
- Can Mo Williams have another All-Star caliber season?
San Antonio Spurs – Just One More Time
Tim Duncan (19.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg, and 1.7 blocks – 33 years old) + Tony Parker in his prime + Manu Ginoblli (playing time >44 games at 32 years old) + Richard Jefferson (17.7 career scoring average and playoff experience) + better than advertised bench (George Hill, Roger Mason, Matt Booner, Theo Ratliff, Keith Bogans and DeJuan Blair) = at the very least, a trip to the Western Conference Finals.
There are two major questions facing the Chicago Bulls.
- Is Derrick Rose able to continue to improve from his performance last season.
- Can Luol Deng get back to his ’06-’08 form?
Let’s start with Deng. After playing 78 and 82 games in the ’05-’07 season, the following two seasons had been cut short to 63 and 49 games. Deng had a career year in ’06-’07, scoring 18.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg and 2.5 apg and for the Bulls to take the next step, Deng will need to stay healthy (he is the only true SF on the roster).
Now to Mr. Rose. Rose had a good rookie season and an even better playoff with his epic battle with Bostons Rajon Rondo. Rose is an amazing athletic, but has room to grow as a basketball player. In his rookie season, Rose shot 79% from the foul line. His biggest weakness is his shooting – he shot 22% from deep – that’s sad. But like I said, he has room to grow.
Minnesota Brand New Roster
Name the three Timberwolves who have been on the Minnesota roster the longest. I will give you five seconds to think about it. 5…4…3…(quick)…2…1…0.
Corey Brewer, Ryan Gomes and Al Jefferson.
Since new GM David Kahn was hired on May 23rd, Kahn has destroyed the roster. Here is a list of transactions from CBSSports.com.
- 9/22 Chucky Atkins PG Waived
- 9/17 Sasha Pavlovic G/F Signed as Free Agent
- 9/11 Ramon Sessions G Signed as Free Agent, Four-year contract
- 9/9 Antonio Daniels PG Traded, Part of three-player deal
- 8/13 Mark Blount F/C Traded, for Quentin Richardson
- 8/10 Ryan Hollins F/C Signed as Free Agent
- 7/27 Chucky Atkins PG Traded, Part of three-player deal
- 7/27 Damien Wilkins G/F Traded, Part of three-player deal
- 7/20 Quentin Richardson G/F Traded, Part of four player deal
- 7/10 Wayne Ellington G Signed as Draft Pick
- 7/10 Jonny Flynn G Signed as Draft Pick
- 6/24 Darius Songaila F/C Traded, Part of 6 player deal
- 6/24 Etan Thomas F/C Traded, Part of 6 player deal
- 6/24 Oleksiy Pecherov C Traded, Part of 6 player deal
The Timberwolves have no one on their potential starting line-up that has played in the league longer than 5 years. If Rammon Sessions starts over Johnny Flynn, you would have Brewer and Session with two years in the league, Kevin Love with one year, Ryan Gomes with four years, and Jefferson with five years. The player with the most NBA experience – Antonio Daniels with 12 years in the league.
This season may be long and ugly at times, but it is necessary for this team to grow. They will be a lottery team in next years draft, but if they can keep this core of young talent and add a few more pieces through the draft and free agency, this team should be fighting for the playoffs in 3-4 years.
Take Me To Your Leader
The Warrior’s draft Steph Curry to add even more fire offensive power to a team that is not lacking points, but is lacking leadership. When the best player on the team demands a trade, that is not a good start to the season.
Golden State seems like a train wreck waiting to happen. Wait, that is every moment when Stephen Jackson is on your team.
Every single moment.
Don Nelson can reload with players after player who can fill the box score but I am not sure they have any player who can provide more leadership then the rookie star Curry. That is a sad state of affairs.
Look up and down the roster and try to find a relevant player – other than Speedy Claxton – who has any leadership skills or experience that would make other players look to them for guidance.
Do you want to know why the Clippers let Elton Brand go?
After a career high in scoring of 24.7 ppg in 2005-’06, Brands scoring dropped to 20.5 ppg in the following season, to 17.6 ppg in ’07-’08, then to a career low last season with 13.8 ppg and his second lowest in rebounding with 8.8 rpg.
The Clippers were “rewarded” with the Mr. Griffin, but the 76ers are still looking for a return in their investment and get more value in the $14M of Brand contract this season.
The silver lining in this whole ordeal is that the 76ers made the playoffs last season without Brand. Even with the loss of PG Andre Miller, Philly has talent and a full roster, so managing Brand’s minutes should be easier.
Don’t forget that Thaddeus Young – he is in line for a break out season. His scoring jumped from 8.8 ppg to 15.4 ppg and his rebounds per game jumped from 4.2 to 5.1. I am just saying.
Did you that Duke has a campus in Indiana? With three former Blue Devils on the roster, the Pacers have more than the league quota with Mike Dunleavy, Josh McRoberts and Dahntay Jones. The also may have the most white players 6’9″ and taller on a single roster in the NBA over with five.
Here we go; Jeff Foster, Tyler Hansbrough, Troy Murphy, Dunleavy and McRoberts. Travis Diener is only 6’1″.
Oh bye the way, that Danny Granger guy is pretty good. One must wonder how high the ceiling is for Granger. Since his rookie year, 2005-’06, he has improved his scoring every year. From 7.5 ppg his first season, to 25.8ppg last season. But he has also become a better shooter from distance and the foul line. Granger shot 23% his rookie to 40% from beyond the arc and 77% from the foul line to 88% in the same time.
The biggest question mark is Mike Dunleavy. He played in only 18 games last season, missing the time due to a serious knee injury. And reports have him out because of the same knee at least the next month.
Side note: Before playing in only 18 games – which was a career low - Dunleavy had averaged 80 games a season.
Congrats Laker’s, you won the NBA Championship. Not only are you going to resign Lamar Odom (aka Mr Khloe Kardashian), but you also get Ron Artest – and all the crazy that comes with this rapper player.
I have no idea why the Lakers brass let Trevor Ariza leave – besides money. As the player that made crucial plays during the Lakers playoff run, Ariza was the perfect counter part to Kobe. A defensive hound that makes big plays and can hit the open shot, but did not demand the ball or force bad shots – both are traits that come with Artest.
All that said, you still have Kobe and Pau and one of the deeper benches in the league. And of course there is the “Zen Master” in Phil Jackson. But major concern for the 2009-10 Lakers is that is does not turn into the 2003-04 Lakers with Kobe, Shaq, Karl Malone and Gary Payton, who lost in the Finals to a better “team” in the Pistons. But a line-up of Derek Fischer, Kobe, Artest, Odom/Andrew Bynum and Gasol; is the best starting five in the league.
Next Trick, Please
After a playoff run that exceed all expectations, the Orlando Magic thought they had a good thing going. Well, they did. But they did not know it was going to Toronto. After Hedu Turkoglu signed in Canada, the Magic needed to add offense, and since Hedu didn’t really play defense, there was nothing to worry about when trading for Vince Carter.
Even though signing Carter was important, the added value that came with the signings of Brandon Bass and Matt Barnes will give the Magic even more toughness. Bass will start at PF and will pull down his share of rebounds, while Barnes will come off the bench with Mikael Pietrus to add grit and even more match-up problems.
Having Jameer Nelson back to be the spark plug for the Magic offense. His skill and scoring ability was missed in the playoffs. Plus, a pick and roll combo of Nelson and Dwight Howard is more feared than the 2009 playoff model (i.e. Rafer Alston). Add Carter and Rashard Lewis – my secret favorite player in the NBA – and the Magic is going to be exciting and do have enough talent to make another run deep in the playoffs.
The New Boston Celtics 3.0
If the Celtics in the championship, everyone will point to the fact the Kevin Garnett is healthy. But there are more reasons than “The Big Ticket”. While the Celtics took a hit losing Leon Powe to the Cavs, Boston added much-needed depth.
- SG: Marguis Daniels
- PF: Rasheed Wallace
- C: Sheldon Williams
Also off the bench you have Eddie House at point, but Daniels can, and will, handle the ball when needed. Tony Allen and Glen Davis are young players, but have played in big games. And Bill Walker adds athleticism and a spark that no one else on this team can.
While Wallace is the biggest name that the team picked-up, there were other players who may prove to be more important to the teams overall success.
Is Toronto Turning Into Phoenix Lite?
Well, look at the line-up.
- PG: Jose Caldoron
- SG: Marco Belinelli
- SF: Hedu Trukoglu
- PF: Chris Bosh
- C: Andrew Bargnani
Not only is the line-up very offensive minded, it is very European – which would lead to a more offensive game. But this team will be able to give you multiple looks that will keep opponents are their heels. You have Turkoglu and Bosh who can score from the post, but every single player can run and shoot a solid jumper. Bargnani had the best percentage from 3-point range with 40.9% – he attempted 209 last season.
The Raptors also have some talent off the bench in DeMar DeRozan, Jarrett Jack and a few players who can give the team a lift: Sonny Weems, Quincy Douby, and Amir Johnson.
This team is young, but should fun to watch and could give some of the big boys with match-up issues.
How quickly we have forgotten the “Jail Blazers” and now this team is the favorite young team that everyone expects to break through and make a run deep in the playoffs and shock a contender. Baby steps.
This team is stacked with talent, but I am not sure of what kind of playing time is going to be available for some players. Example: Point Guard – Steve Blake is the starter, Andre Miller is the back-up and Jerrod Bayless is the star in waiting at third string. Just take a look at the project depth chart from ESPN.com.
|Point Guard||Steve Blake||Andre Miller||Jerryd Bayless|
|Shooting Guard||Brandon Roy||Rudy Fernandez|
|Small Forward||Nicolas Batum||Travis Outlaw||Martell Webster|
|Power Forward||LaMarcus Aldridge||Juwan Howard||Dante Cunningham||Jeff Pendergraph|
|Center||Greg Oden||Joel Przybilla|
I guess that is a great problem to have. Finding time for so many good players – and Juwan Howard. I want to see Greg Oden turn into a force, but this team is lead by Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, and has some many players that some of the pieces are interchangeable, especially at center and small forward.
Side-Note: Brandon Roy is the 7th highest paid player on the roster behind: Oden, Przybilla, Aldrige, Blake, Miller, and Martell “I am the third string small forward” Webster. That will not last past this season!
Atlanta = Joe Johnson
Let me first state that this team has talent. But without Joe Johnson, the Hawks would not sniff a playoff berth.
While Johnson does not get the marquee billing that certain superstars get, his production is defiantly worthy of being mentioned in the class of LeBron, Kobe, D-Wade, etc.
His scoring averaged dipped, mostly due to other Hawks stepping-up, but his stat for last seasons: 21.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 5.8 apg, 1.1 steals a game. Johnson also shot 44% from the floor, 33% from distance and 83% from the foul line. He also played 39.5 minutes a game. Johnson is skilled, tough, and can perform in the clutch. He has also proved durable as player – playing an average of 78 games a season.
For the Hawks to improve and go further in the playoffs, Josh Smith must show that he is reliable option. Smith’s scoring has decreased over the last three season, but his shooting has gone up – from 44% to 49%. But Smith’s free-throw percentage gone down faster that the Titanic. After floating in the 69% to 72% range in his first four-year, last season it sank to 59% – and I am rounding up. Smith is a crazy athlete who adds another dimension to the Hawks, but he can not yet be trusted at end of games.
It seems like only yesterday that I was watching the Lakers win the NBA championship in Orlando. Actually, it may have been yesterday, ESPN Classics probably showed it again.
There have been a ton of off-season moves, but we will get to that in part 2. For now, take a look at some of the young players to watch.
Rookies – 10 Spot
- Blake Griffin - As the No. 1 pick, expectations with him and the Clippers are going to be on different levels. But there should be plenty of chance for improvement for both. PS – He may be out for six weeks. Clippers curse!
- Brandon Jennings – After an up and down year in Italy, many are hoping that a return to the States will mean the return of his game. I thought Jennings might be a good chance of pace off the bench, but word is that he will be starting.
- Earl Clark - Is anyone more Jekyll and Hyde than the former Louisville star? He is on the end of the bench, but Clark is a building block for the post-Steve-Nash era.
- Eric Maynor - Jerry Sloan found the perfect point guard in Maynor and he should grow with some tough-Sloan-love. He will be the perfect back-up for Deron Williams.
- James Johnson – Like Clark, Johnson had lottery-like talent. And like Clark, he had the ability to disappear on occasion. Johnson will also be low on the depth chart, could add the element of running the offense through him when he is on the court.
- Derrick Brown - The Bobcats are piecing together a nice team and Brown could pan out to be the steal of the draft at the 4oth pick.
- Chase Budinger - One of my favorite college players has landed on a team with Trevor Ariza and Shane Battier. But Budinger is skilled and athletic enough to add offense off the bench.
- Danny Green - There were a few picks that made sense for the Cavs. But the perfect pick was Green. A 6’7″ defensive hound, who will not need to be handled with kids gloves and will bust his butt regardless of the amount of playing time he gets.
- Toney Douglas - Poor man’s Ben Gordon plus defense, Douglas derserves to get meaningful playing time. But on a roster with Chris Duhon, Nate Robinson, Wilson Chandler, Larry Hughes and Cuttino Mobley, there are not going to be enough balls to around.
- Jonny Flynn - Flynn was the only reason I watched the Orangemen last season and he will be the man running the show in Minnesota this season. But he will also play with one of the best big men in Al Jefferson.
Joe Alexander – This guy was the epitome of explosive at West Virginia. Athletically and emotionally, Alexander was able take games over in a flash. But his rookie was not much more than spark (4.7 ppg and 1.9 rpg in a total of 12.1 minutes a game). Alexander struggled to find playing time, but the Bucks higher-ups must have seen something in Alexander they liked by letting Charlie Villanueva sign in Detroit. Looking for more than just a spark this season with some more playing time.
O.J. Mayo - I was not a fan of Mayo until I watched a bunch of games of USC and I was excited when Minnesota drafted him with the No. 4 pick two drafts ago. But then I woke up the next morning and Mayo was in Memphis. A quick look at his stats you will see 18.5 ppg, 3.8 ppg, and more assists than turnover (barely). But what is really impressive is 44% shooting from the field, 38% from distance and 88% from the foul line. After finishing runner-up in the ROY voting, Mayo is posed to do more in Memphis. The only question, is the Answer – Allen Iverson. And how Iverson’s need to have the play in his hand will effective Mayo. Because Mayo has the same need.
D.J. Augustin – When the Bobcats drafted Augustin, I think everyone was surprised. You had a strong starting point guard in Raymond Felton, but maybe Charlotte was looking for another option off the bench. In 26.1 minutes a game, Augustin added 11.8 ppg and 3.5 apg. All while shooting 43% from the field, 44% from three-point range and 89% from the charity stripe. Side-note: In twelve starts last season, Augustin averaged 17.8 points and 5.6 assists. Expect to see more minutes for this tiny, yet talented guard.
Eric Gordon – In his one season at Indiana, he was involved Kelvin Sampson scandal. So going to the Clippers was probably not as shocking as it would have been for other players. Many people under-rated him as a player coming out of college. But the LA choose home and he did not disappoint, and the Clippers needed him to take on a large load of he offensive. 16.1 ppg, 46% from the field, 39% from the floor and 85% from the foul line. I would expect him to turn into more of a spot-up shooter who will live off the double teams of Blake Griffin.
Danilo Gallinari - To say that the Knicks faithful were shocked by the pick Gallinari, would be an understatement. While limited to on 28 games by a back injury, there were hints of ability in his limited time on the court. He can score from the perimeter, shooting 45% from the field and 44% from distance. Gallinari is not a great athlete and can be a below-par defender, but has the ideal head coach in Mike D’Antoni’s run and gun offense.
Mario Chalmers - When the Heat trade for Chalmers, it probably was not in the plan to have him start all 82 games. But this quick, defensive guard could prove to be exactly what the Heat need. A pass first point guard (4.9 apg), who can put constant pressure on the ball (2.0 steal per game), shoot a good percentage from the field (42%), and score when need (10 ppg). Going into his second season, Chalmers should continue to put impressive numbers in regards to his assists and steals. But needs to improve from distance, as he only shot 37% from distance.
Kosta Koufos - After a less than impressive freshmen season at Ohio State, Koufas declared for the draft. Being drafted by the Jazz was an ideal situation as he was not needed to start from day one, and had time to learn under some talented players. But Koufas is talented and has a good offensive game for a player his size (7’0″) and his age (20 years old). Look for more playing time, and in that, a more appealing stat line.
Hey DTP viewers, or people who landed here by accident.
I am working on a couple of large pieces previewing the NBA and College Basketball. So, I am sorry that I have been a slightly delinquent poster, but I will return!
Quick Bits For You:
1. I am pulling for the Phillies.
2. The Vikings looked amazing in the first half against the Raven and then the defense was awful.
3. The US Soccer team draw against Costa Rica, but should have won by 3 goals, at least!
4. The NBA Preseason is going along, and the Timberwolves made another trade.
6. FIFA 2010 was released and I have not played it.
7. I won two out three fantasy football games.
11. ESPN’s Steve Phillips has got some issues. Amazingly, not on the front page of ESPN.com. Crazy!
12. Mike Sando’s MVP Watch has Brett Favre ranked third and Adrian Peterson tenth.
OK, that is all I have for now. See you soon.
US striker Charlie Davies is in serious condition after being involved in a one car accident that killed another person.
Here is a clip from the AP article from Yahoo Sports:
The tibia and femur in Davies’ right leg were broken. He also sustained facial fractures and a fracture in his left elbow in the accident, which took place at about 3:15 a.m. in the suburbs of the nation’s capital.
Davies will be hospitalized for at least a week and additional operations will be required to stabilize his broken elbow and possibly the facial fractures.
“Injuries of this nature usually require a recovery period of six to 12 months and extensive rehabilitation,” said Dr. Dan Kalbac, a U.S. team doctor who collaborated with the doctors at the hospital. “Due to Charlie’s fitness level, his prognosis for recovery and his ability to resume high-level competition is substantially improved.”
Here is the link from yahoo.com for the entire article by AP Sports Writer Joesph White.
Twins Need A Nap
After the greatest game in recent Twins memory finished on Tuesday night, the AL Central Champions jumped on a plane and did not get to NYC until 4 am. And the Twins paid for it in their performance.
The Yankees have always been the kryptonite to the Twins Superman, but I do not see how the decision of when to play the first game of the playoffs can fall into the hands of the opponent.
MLB knew that the AL Central would come down to he Twins and the Detroit Tigers, and should have stepped in the moment they knew the 163rd game was needed.
Twins = The most exciting race that was left in MLB and an incredible 12 inning game in the last game of he regular season.
MLB = Thanks so much, but the Yankees want you to play in less than 18 hours. So, you better get ready.
I understand NY using the advantage given to them, but I think that it is ridiculous that MLB allowed them to make the decision.
All in all, I do not expect the Twins to win the series, it’s the Yankees and the Twins are 0-9 when playing New York this season.
The US team plays Honduras on Saturday in the second to last World Cup Qualifier. With a win, the US books their trip to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. Will play Cost Rica at RFK in Washington, D.C. on October 14th.
Below are the Scenarios and then Group Standing from USSoccer.com going into the last two games.
The U.S. has to equal or exceed the number of points that Costa Rica earns hosting Trinidad & Tobago, which can be accomplished the following ways:
- A U.S. win (with any Costa Rica result)
- A Costa Rica loss (with any U.S. result)
- A U.S. tie with a Costa Rica tie or loss
|Trinidad & Tobago||8||1||5||2||8||16||-8||5|
Previous Results Againist Honduras and Costa Rica from June 2009.
|Jun. 3||Costa Rica vs. United States||3-1||Estadio Ricardo Saprissa; San Jose, Costa Rica|
|Jun. 6||El Salvador vs. Mexico||2-1||Estadio Cuzcatlan; San Salvador, El Salvador|
|Jun. 6||Trinidad & Tobago vs. Costa Rica||2-3||Dwight Yorke Stadium; Bacolet, Tobago|
|Jun. 6||United States vs. Honduras||2-1||Soldier Field; Chicago, Ill.|
|Jun. 10||Honduras vs. El Salvador||1-0||Estadio Olimpico; San Pedro Sula, Honduras|
|Jun. 10||Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago||1-0||Estadio Azteca; Mexico City, Mexico|
PS – Midfielder Clint Dempsey is out injured – The guy in the picture is US Striker Charlie Davies.
Article From Yahoo.com on Landon Donovan
An article/interview from Yahoo Sports by Martin Rogers touches on obviously, his divorce to actress Bianca Kajlich and his new focus on his professional options in Europe.
Other Random Bits
- The Minnesota Vikings are 4-0 heading into a game in St. Louis against and team at is struggling – to say the least. This game could get very ugly for the Rams.
- I predicted the score of the Vikings-Packers MNF game at 31-21 in a MN win. Not too bad the game finished 30-23.
- There was a fight in an NBA preseason game between Miami Heat center Jamaal Magloire and Detroit’s Jonas Jerebko. The both will suspended for regular season games, when they probably won’t play. Oh well – I guess it is news – some how.
- Jeff Jordan, Michael Jordan’s oldest son, is looking to return to the Illinois’ basketball team. Retirement does not do that family well.
- Hey, the NHL regular season started – did anybody know?
- Joe Mauer should be the AL MVP. And if first basemen Justin Morneau would have been healthy, they would have been the No.1 and 2 candidates. When was the last time that happened? Really?
I have a whole lot of college basketball preview and picks to get out there, and I will do that soon.
But first, North Dakota States basketball team will be highlighted on the four hour broadcast on ESPNU and ESPN2.
“Other schools being featured are Connecticut, Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina and Washington. ESPNU anchor Lowell Galindo will host the show with Jim Barbar providing on-site commentary at NDSU.” taken from the Fargo Forum article.
Should be a good time to start the season.
Here is a sampling of the lastest articles on soccer in the US featuring the National Team, MLS and players playing abroad.
Beckham has chance to end career on a high from the AP.
Luring more athletes to play soccer the answer? by Jeff Carlisle, ESPNsoccernet
Dempsey to miss qualifier with sprained shoulder from the AP.
MLS Chief say Beckham may return after Milan loan by Rob Harris, AP Sports Writer
Goal.com MLS Rankings: Galactic Playoff Return Leads To L.A.’s Climb by Kyle McCarthy
Did anyone know that the Minnesota Vikings are playing the Green Bay Packers tonight?!?
I have heard/read that the expected ratings are supposed to be on par with Super Bowls. Crazy!
It will be a close, tough, game, but I expected the Vikings to win 31-21 with Brett Favre throwing two touchdowns.
While most of you are probably asking; ”Is an award for a fuel efficient car?” It is not.
“…the 2009 Honda Player of the Year Award that honors the best performer on the U.S. national team.” and the finalist are: LA Galaxy (MLS) midfielder – Landon Donovan, Everton (English Premier League) goalie – Tim Howard, and Hull City (EPL) striker - Jozy Altidore.
Here is the press release from ESPN.com, which I quoted earlier.
This is a great topic as US Soccer has become the “IT” team as they upset Spain and made it the finals to play Brazil in the Confederation Cup this summer, and writer Bill Simmons has become a fan of the game, which gets them even more ESPN.com front page coverage.
The three finalists have proven extremely valuable to the US National Team. Howard and Donovan have been regulars on the first team for years, but Altidore has just recently taken hold of a starting spot. But if you take these players off the team, the US would not have a chance of getting to South Africa in 2010.
Everyone knows Donovan. He has been the “next great hope” for nearly ten years , he currently is the captain of LA Galaxy, has always been good on the national team. But this summer has seen take his game to a new level. He has taken over for a when the team needed him and knows when and how to use his teammates. His creativity and pace have pushed him to new confidence and has turned in some quality goals.
Howard has firmly taken his place on top the list of talented-bald-headed-American goal keepers. Howard has kept the US team in many games. When he is on top of his game, he seems to be one step ahead, getting to lose balls with authority and commanding the defense like a general. He has been one of the best keepers in England on a team that is lacking a solid back line.
Altidore is unlike the other two. He is here because he performed well this summer, but he is younger, only 19-year-old, and does not have the body of work like Howard and Donovan. That said, Altidore is the future of American soccer and we have seen his progress against some of the best teams in the world. Even from the early part of the summer, he have seen his first touch get better, and his ability to hold of defenders with his strength is impressive. At this rate, we will see on this list of finalist for many years to come.
This is not the award for the best American player, its for the player who has performed the best for the US National Team. It is tough a decision between Howard and Donovan. You could really argue the case for either guy and it would make sense.
If the choice were up to me, I would pick…wait for it…Landon Donovan.
Without Donovan, the US would look lost. The don’t have another player as creative as Donovan and he can change the game quickly and is not afraid to involve his teammates.
USA Roster – Honduras/Costa Rica from USSoccer.com
|Altidore, Jozy||F||5-11||175||11/06/89||Boca Raton, Fla.||Hull City (England)||19/8|
|Bocanegra, Carlos||D||6-0||170||05/25/79||Alta Loma, Calif.||Stade Rennais (France)||72/11|
|Bornstein, Jonathan||D||5-9||145||11/07/84||Los Alamitos, Calif.||Chivas USA||22/1|
|Bradley, Michael||M||6-2||175||07/31/87||Manhattan Beach, Calif.||Borussia Moenchengladbach (Germany)||36/6|
|Casey, Conor||F||6-1||170||07/25/81||Gilpin, Colo.||Colorado Rapids||14/0|
|Cherundolo, Steve||D||5-6||145||02/19/79||San Diego, Calif.||Hannover 96 (Germany)||54/2|
|Ching, Brian||F||5-11||195||05/24/78||Haleiwa, Hawaii||Houston Dynamo||43/10|
|Clark, Ricardo||M||5-10||150||05/10/83||Jonesboro, Ga.||Houston Dynamo||25/2|
|Conrad, Jimmy||D||6-2||185||02/12/77||Temple City, Calif.||Kansas City Wizards||26/1|
|Cooper, Kenny||F||6-3||210||10/21/84||Dallas, Texas||1860 Munich (Germany)||9/4|
|Davies, Charlie||F||5-10||160||06/25/86||Manchester, N.H.||Sochaux (France)||16/4|
|Dempsey, Clint||F||6-1||170||03/09/83||Nacogdoches, Texas||Fulham FC (England)||59/17|
|Donovan, Landon||M||5-8||150||03/04/82||Redlands, Calif.||Los Angeles Galaxy||118/41|
|Feilhaber, Benny||M||5-9||150||01/19/85||Irvine, Calif.||AGF Aarhus (Denmark)||26/2|
|Goodson, Clarence||D||6-4||170||05/17/82||Alexandria, Va.||IK Start (Norway)||6/1|
|Guzan, Brad||GK||6-4||210||09/09/84||Homer Glen, Ill.||Aston Villa (England)||13/0|
|Holden, Stuart||M||5-10||160||08/01/85||Houston, Texas||Houston Dynamo||8/2|
|Howard, Tim||GK||6-3||210||03/06/79||North Brunswick, N.J.||Everton FC (England)||46/0|
|Onyewu, Oguchi||D||6-4||210||05/13/82||Olney, Md.||AC Milan (Italy)||49/5|
|Rogers, Robbie||M||5-10||165||05/12/87||Huntington Beach, Calif.||Columbus Crew||6/1|
|Spector, Jonathan||D||6-0||180||03/01/86||Arlington Heights, Ill.||West Ham United (England)||20/0|
|Torres, Jose Francisco||M||5-7||135||10/29/87||Longview, Texas||Pachuca (Mexico)||6/0|
Info from USSoccer.com.
Destination 2010: America’s quest to play in World Cup 2010 all hinged on one week in Septemberby Luke Cyphers for ESPN the Magazine
Donovan ‘proud’ of Beckham’s MLS progress by Martin Rogers from Yahoo Sports.
Donovan should headline MLS’ Best XI lineupby Kristian Dyer for ESPNsoccernet.
Random David Beckham Thought
As I have stated before, I am almost done with Grant Wahl’s books, The Beckham Experiment. And after reading and watching some clips, I need to ask a question to all soccer fans out there.
Why has nothing been said about the fact since leaving ManU, he has always signed with clubs that have Adidas as thier kit/jersey provider?
Everyone knows that Beckham has been an Adidas guy for years, but I find this very interesting, for lack of a better word. Maybe this is more commonplace than I thought. But since he left ManU – jerseys made my Nike – he has been with Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and AC Milan – all have their jerseys provided by Adidas.