Derrick Rose – who’s fault?

June 2, 2009

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If you want to be a dancer, go be a dancer.

If you want to throw a curveball, go ride a bus in the Minor League Circuit for a few years.

If you want to save the world because you have the cure for a disease, go do it.

If you want to play basketball, gotta wait.

I have posted many, many thoughts about the age requirement the NBA has imposed to require its’ young players to have had at least 1 year out of High School.  No more Kobe Bryant on one end, no more Kwame Brown on the other.  However, now Univerisities (traditional exploiters) are faced with the fact they have to “re-amateurize” athletes who have been on a professional track since they were 14 years old.

The University of Memphis and, indirectly, The University of Kentucky, are affected that Derrick Rose’s high school smudged his transcript and someone other then Rose took his SAT’s.  In all likelihood, Memphis will have to vacate its’ 38-2 record, Final Four, and National Runner-Up from DRose’s 1 season at Memphis.  As if it never happened.

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 First of all, Rose is an exemplary human being.  He is a symbol of hard work, dedication, and being a team player.  His teammates rave about his leadership and how humble he is.  He does a lot of good in the Southside of Chicago Community, at age 20 Rose has given back to the community more then your average 45-year old suburban father who has his degree from the local University.  

So who’s fault is this?  To give back to his community, to set the example of hard work to athletes, Rose had to wait.  Rose had to watch as Coach Cal profited, the boosters profited, and the University profited from him.  Now, Rose will be tarnished as someone who, “ruined a program”, a “greedy kid”.  Allegations that will haunt his pre-NBA life.

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It’s just a shame.  There should be no age-limit.  I agree with most proponents of the age requirement, that some if not many athletes will fail in the NBA right out of High School.  But does 1 year at College really make that much of a difference?  It certainly does not, it is setting up young men to fail.


Assassin

May 30, 2009

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One of my best basketball buddies says to me this morning, “Kobe looked good last night.”  My response was simply, “He knew what time it was.”

The best closer in the game stepped it up to finish the Western Conference Finals against a game Denver Nuggets team.  A night after LeBron willed the Cavaliers to stay alive, Kobe put Carmelo Anthony and Denver to rest.  Kobe has that Jordan-esque quality of hammering the nail when the job needs to be done.   Like blood in the water, Kobe will hit the jumper, silence the crowd with a ferocious dunk, even block a shot or two.

No, Kobe is not Michael Jordan for various reasons.  2 of the most glaring are that Mike would routinely guard the best offensive player on the other team and Kobe has lost 2 NBA Finals (1 with Shaq), not Jumpman23 at all.

But currently, the NBA is fantastic and Kobe is definitely carrying the flag.  I think he will win his 4th tittle, but more importantly, his 1st title as “the guy”


USA Olympic Basketball

May 19, 2009

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The 2008 “Redeem Team” was a refocus to the fundamentals and talents of the normal US Basketball player.  Coach K was brought in and taught defense and teamwork.  Team CEO Jerry Colangelo brought a sense of importance and value to being part of the team.  The players are now regarded as the cream of the crop and the next generation of superstars in the world of basketball.  Now as we are down to the Final 4 of the NBA playoffs, all 4 teams are led by an Olympian.  Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers, Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic.  All 4 players were vital parts of the Gold Medal Team.

Now the US Olympic Team has begun the process of its next batch of National Team players.  I believe that out of the 2008 Gold Medal Team, Kobe and Jason Kidd are probably 2 guarenteed players that won’t return.  The nucleus of LeBron, Melo, and DWade should stick around to win another gold medal.  

One player that I believe should be invited to the camp is Rajon Rondo.  The exciting Celtics’ Point Guard is the perfect choice as a replacement for Jason Kidd  and is comparable to what Chris Paul or Deron Williams bring to the table.  Rondo knows how to lead a team of superstars, spread the ball, and fill in where he can.  Arguably the best defensive point guard, Rondo will lock down Patty Mills of Austrailia and Ricky Rubio of Spain.  This year, Rondo added his ability to finish around the rim to make him a complete team player.  Not a complete offensive basketball player yet, but with all that scoring on the Olympic Team, he won’t need to.

LeBron James signs his Olympic Jersey #6 more then his NBA jersey and has been quoted as saying that the Olympic Medal is his most important accomplishment.  Once again the refocus of the USA on the Olympic Basketball Tournament will make the World’s other powers better, so the USA team can not rest.  Rondo will help keep the momentum.


NBA 2nd Round

May 4, 2009

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It has been a minute since I posted.  My folks were in town and I was just on a trip to San Francisco, killin’ it with the crew.  What a time of year it is!  Both the Second Rounds of the NHL and NBA playoffs are set and the NHL’s second round is in full swing, with every series 2 games deep. 

The first round of the NBA was highlighted by the Chicago-Boston series, as it should have been!  A million overtimes, big shots by the UCONN guys and intensity for the ages.  I thought the Celtics would win, but it was vital for the C’s to get out in front, because I didn’t believe the Bulls could come back against Boston, they had to keep it close.  Cleveland looks great, Orlando looks good, and Atlanta won its first series in 10 years.  LA rolled, Dallas shocked my second favorite team, the Spurs, Denver looks great, and Houston got out of the 1st Round, finally. 

As for the Second Round, I see another sweep for LeBron James and the Cavaliers, they are so deep and so committed to defense, I don’t know how the streaky Hawks will keep it close.  Maybe they will steal one game.  Orlando and Boston may have the best match-up, Kendrick Perkins must stay out of foul trouble against Dwight Howard, I see Orlando winning in 7 games.

The West, I can see a Los Angeles – Denver Conference Final match-up.  Both teams are far superior to their Texas Counterparts.  Kobe vs. Ron Artest is a good match-up, but I don’t think that the Rockets can score enough points.  Denver has too much energy, scoring, and finally defense for Dirk and the Mavericks.

Can’t Wait!


NBA Players in The Big Dance

March 30, 2009

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The Final Four is the celebration of great teams.  The 4 teams who are playing the best right now are going to Detroit with the opportunity to cut down the nets and become National Champions.  A small minority in the crowd on Saturday and Monday night are there to see how individual stars will translate to the next level, the NBA.  Here’s my perspective, laid out in 5 categories of the players from the Sweet 16 going for NBA glory.

Get your Weight Up, not your Hate Up! – Players who have great potential, must gain weight and get stronger.

Robbie Hummel – Purdue

Austin Daye – Gonzaga

Kyle Singler – Duke

Chase Budinger – Arizona

Danny Green – North Carolina

Shoe Dollares!  Get that Money! – Leave now, get paid for you and your Family.

Blake Griffin – Oklahoma

Hasheem Thabeet – Connecticut

A.J. Price – Connecticut

Ty Lawson – North Carolina

Kalin Lucas – Michigan St.

Earl Clark – Louisville

Terrance Williams – Louisville

Solid NBA Career – Maybe a 2nd Teamer, Role Player, Career of playing bball

Tyler Hansbrough – North Carolina

Goran Suton – Michigan St.

Scotty Reynolds – Villanova

Sam Young – Pitt

DaJuan Blair – Pitt

Athletes – Players with upside, maybe could benefit from another year of school.

Stanley Robinson – Connecticut

Deon Thompson – North Carolina

Sean Taggert – Memphis

Jordan Hill – Arizona

Stay in School! – Don’t go unless you would like to toil in the D-League or Greece

Sherron Collins – Kansas

Jhonny Flynn -Syracuse

Ed Davis – North Carolina

Willie Warren – Oklahoma


The New Land of Point Guards?

March 23, 2009

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For years the Mecca of basketball, more specifically, Point Guards have come out of New York City.  Let’s go through the list; Bob Cousy, Tiny Archibald, Lenny Wilkens, Earl the Pearl, Kenny Anderson, Kenny Smith, Mark Jackson, Bessie Telfair….the list goes on and on.  For a while it seemed like the best Point Guard out of high school, out of college had that NYC swagga.  

I used to notice that Kenny Anderson woud get a basket, steal, dime when you most needed it.  Same with Mark Jackson and even Stephon Marbury.  Kind of like getting that last basket in pick-up, because winners keep the court.

While NYC will always be the Mecca of the Basketball World, a new land of Point Guards has risen from the Mid-West.  That land is Chicago.  Chi-town is more known for its’ sausages, Wrigley Field, and a bald-headed superstar.  Led by Isiah Thomas, Chicago has churned out lots of talented point guards.  Thomas, Mo Cheeks, Doc Rivers, Quinn Buckner, and Tim Hardaway are the founding fathers of the Windy City’s floor generals.

The new prototype 1 from Chicago is the thick, strong, powerful guard who is absolutely fearless.  Where does this mentality come from?  I think it comes from Michael Jordan.  While not a Point Guard, Jordan’s body type mirrors those of Chi-Towns PG’s.  And can you honestly say that any basketball player in Illinois, never mind the country, didn’t model themselves after Jordan?

Let’s look at the current Chi-Town PG’s. Dwayne Wade, definately a PG in college and a PG/facilitator in the Pros.  We all know his resume.  The #1 Pick in the 2008 NBA Draft was Derrick Rose, definite Rookie of the Year and the next great PG in the NBA. In the current Sweet 16 portion of the NCAA Tournament, Jeremy Pargo of Gonzaga and Sherron Collins of Kansas are both Chicago raised.

While I don’t know if we can say that New York City has been un-seated as land of the Point Guards, the Windy City puts up a great argument.


Shaquille O’Neal – The Greatest Sports Entertainer Ever

February 16, 2009

Unbelievable