Could this NFL season be any better? Honestly, what else could we ask for? We have witnessed the greatest offensive explosion in league history with transcendent play from three Hall of Fame quarterbacks while watching the rebirth of a storied franchise under the direction of what once was a “#1 Pick” bust and an up-and-coming coach (49ers) and one of the most exciting and divisive stories in the history of sports (Tim Tebow). My goodness. In addition to a full breakdown of past, present, and future NFL Playoff games, I also spend some time on the College National Championship game, Tim Tebow’s future, the current state of the NBA, and I certainly take a poke at the tackiness of Hank Haney’s upcoming book on Tiger Woods.
I promised an extensive NBA Eastern Conference breakdown, and here it is. The Raptors are going to be the worst team in the NBA and the Heat are going to be the best. I challenge you to name 3 players on the Toronto Raptors without looking up their roster…John Wells Stevens couldn’t even do it. He confesses to this and lends his sports prowess to the show. Please enjoy.
Many have wondered if the fans would come back after a lengthy and sometimes messy lockout. When the overnight ratings for the Christmas Day games came in earlier today, I think we got our answer…everyone just wants to watch some good basketball. The games averaged 6.2 million viewers, which is up from 6 million last year. According to the Associated Press, the Bulls-Lakers game was the third most watched regular season game in ABC history, and the Celtics-Knicks game on TNT that led off the coverage was up 48 percent over the same time slot last year (Bulls vs. Knicks on ESPN). The NBA has as much if not more talent than any other era in the history of the game. The story lines are compelling and the coverage of the games are second to none (except for when we have to listen to Jeff Van Gundy of course). With the packed season we’re going to have games available to us just about every night of the week….perfect timing now that we can’t watch MAC football games on Tuesday night anymore.
The buzz around the NBA community all off-season was that Kobe Bryant has been voraciously preparing for this season because everyone has been saying that he had lost a step. In his last press conference at the end of last season he told everyone how excited he was to start preparing so that he could prove he was still the best.
I’m not going to pretend like I don’t love stuff like this. Kobe is one of the ten best players of all-time and seeing a guy like that perform in ways that no one else can is unbelievably enjoyable to watch and talk about. You don’t have to like him. I’ve never been a big fan of Kobe and the way that he handles himself, but as a sports fan, I love the fact that he is willing to offer up his firstborn child to win a championship. That’s why we loved watching Jordan and Bird, and that’s why we love watching Tom Brady and Tiger Woods. It doesn’t matter if you like them or love them, we will be forever interested in seeing what they do in that big moment because we know that they just might do something that we’ve never seen before.
That’s why seeing the Lakers (and David Stern) completely screw up this off-season has been so depressing. Although I believe Kobe has actually lost a step, I still think he’s capable of being the alpha dog on a championship team, and I desperately want to see him try to take on Lebron and Wade in a seven game series. Here’s what we clearly know: With the current makeup of this Lakers roster, they are going to be worse than they were last year. There’s no way around it. They obviously were getting older and slower, and the Mavs absolutely exposed them for what they were last year in the playoffs. Well, the Lakers traded their third best player (Odom) to the team that rolled them in the playoffs and replaced him with….ummm….Josh McRoberts and Troy Murphy (yikes).
If Kobe was playing for the Toronto Raptors right now (Current Starting 5 – Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani – check out the bench if you want to continue laughing… http://espn.go.com/nba/team/depth/_/name/tor/toronto-raptors) he’d still figure out a way to get that team into the playoffs. Because of the state of the Lakers right now, maybe we’re in for another “screw this, I’m going to drop 50 every night” kind of a season from Kobe, which may be even more entertaining. Having said that, unless the Lakers figure out a way to get Dwight Howard on the roster (seriously, give up Gasol and Bynum…you’ll immediately be better and be a title contender in 2012-2013…think how good Lebron, Bosh, and Wade were with a team full of “dudes”…the same thing would happen in LA with Kobe and Howard) they are a middle of the pack playoff team in the West. OKC, Dallas, and the Clips are all going to be better, and the Trail Blazers, Spurs, and Nuggets are going to be competitive. On the bright side, maybe we get to see Kobe drop 81 again….
Chris Paul was traded to the Lakers, and then he wasn’t, and now he might be again. In an odd chain of events yesterday, Chris Paul, of the New Orleans Hornets, was traded to the LA Lakers in a three team deal. The deal was constituted as follows:
When the trade was announced, many of the other owners in the league were in an uproar because another big market team was acquiring a big-name player that forced himself out of a small market team. (please see Dan Gilbert’s email for reference – http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7335431/text-dan-gilbert-email-david-stern) David Stern obviously felt the pressure from the owners in the league (remember, the Hornets are owned by the league itself…which means each owner in the league actually owns a fractional portion of the team) to not let this trade go through because the Lakers were getting Paul, and were saving a ton of money in the process. In retrospect, the Hornets made off like bandits, possibly receiving a better trade than the Utah Jazz in their trade with the New Jersey Nets last season involving Deron Williams. Luis Scola – very solid big man in the league, Kevin Martin – averaged 25 per night last season for Houston, Lamar Odom – 6th man of the year last season for the Lakers, Goran Dragic – playoff tested point guard, and a first round pick…and the Lakers got a perennial all-star with bad knees in return. Is Chris Paul one of the absolute best players in the league? Yes. Is it a huge gamble for them to trade away Gasol and Odom leaving Andrew Bynum to fill the lane on his own hoping that Paul and Kobe can figure out a way to share the ball? Absolutely. Could the addition of Paul add a new dynamic to Kobe and Bynum’s game to push them back into the title picture? Absolutely, again. (Think about the Paul and Kobe chemistry thing…this very well could create a similar problem to the Lebron and D. Wade offensive issues of last year. You would have two guys that love to have the ball in their hands and run the offense through them. With them on the floor together, Kobe would have to become more of an off-the-ball player, which could become and absolute disaster.)
The backlash from the media and the rest of the league has been vicious and loud. Many feel like this is as ugly a situation as the Tim Donaghy “game-fixing” scandal of a few years ago. I wouldn’t go that far, but vetoing a trade without really clear grounds to do so and a possible conflict of interest stinks of conspiracy. Supposedly the three teams are back at it trying to come up with another possible scenario to push through a deal, or they may just take legal action against the league to accomplish the same task. In the end, this deal is probably going to go through in one way or the other. The big question is, how long is it going to take.
(for a longer article and great read on the topic: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7334835/the-sixth-day-nba-christmas)
I don’t know if I need to intro this at all. Please just watch and enjoy. This comes from a Taiwanese website – www.nma.tv – I think I’m speechless for the first time in my life.
We all woke up yesterday morning to the phenomenal news that the NBA Lockout was soon to be over. The owners and players have agreed to a new 10-year deal in principle. The deal still needs to be ratified by both sides, and some other secondary issues still need to be decided upon (i.e. drug testing, minimum age to enter draft, etc). Throughout the day I was following the fan response on Facebook and Twitter and was shocked to see the animosity that so many had for the NBA. “I don’t care if the Lockout is over. All the players are overpaid anyway. It’s going to take a long time for them to get me back watching games.” (Note: The idea that players are overpaid is absurd. The market sets their value based off of what you and I are willing to pay to watch their games either on TV or in the stadium. As long as we keep showing up and paying what we do…the players will continue to make the same amount. I believe the phrase is, “don’t hate the player, hate the game.”) Do you remember this kind of angst towards the NFL players when the Lockout was finally ended? I don’t, and I frankly don’t understand why people are so upset at the NBA for this. Sure, the Lockout lasted a few weeks longer, and the debate was a bit more contentious, but was it really that much different? I would have loved it if they would have wrapped it up sooner, but let’s be honest, none of us were going to start watching until Christmas anyway….
Goodness gracious the NFL is having a great year. I feel like I can’t take my eyes off of a game even when the Jags, Chiefs, or Seahawks are involved. Anthony Dinwoodey Morris brings his unmatched expertise to discuss the NFL playoff picture, pick our favorite teams for the Super Bowl, and to discuss the tragic current state of the National Basketball Association.
I think it might be because it’s a full-on train wreck happening right before our eyes. The two sides continue to go back and forth on topics that they seem miles apart on. Now, supposedly the NBPA has given Derek Fisher the go-ahead to accept the 50/50 basketball related income split, but only if they can have some new concessions with the mid-level exception and other “system” issues. I don’t know if the players aren’t paying attention or what, but rumor has it that as many as 13 owners are willing to cancel the full season today to make sure they get the best deal. I doubt that almost 50% of the players are willing to take a similar stance to get what they want out of this deal. Billionaires beat millionaires 100 times out of 100. I think the owners have put out the best possible deal for the players at this point. If I’m Derek Fisher, I’m pushing the NBPA to take this thing and run….immediately.
We knew D. Will was upset when he got shipped to one of the (currently) worst franchises in pro sports (I was in the building when I watched the Nets go to 3OT with the Thunder last season….it honestly felt like they were purposely trying to give the game away), but is the talk about playing in Turkey this next season for real? Is this a sneaky plan by the NBA Players Association to put more pressure on the owners? And how in the world did we get talking baseball on the show?! It happened people. I couldn’t resist talking about Derek Jeter and his chase for hit number 3,000 not to mention the joke that is C.C. Sabbathia not being selected to the AL All-Star team. Huge thank you to ESPN700’s Ryan Bailey for taking the time to jive some sports on the show. He’s not a jive turkey, but he did issue a personal invitation to the entire Swedish Women’s soccer team….you’re probably not going to want to miss it.
William Jefferson Clinton won our hearts, lost them, and then won them back again. How is it that some athletes, politicians, and movie stars are able to make enormous personal/legal blunders, but then still come back to us like nothing ever happened? As long as Jason Kidd is able to go for 17 pts. and 10 assists, we don’t care if he assaulted his wife. As long as Gilbert Arenas can still drain big time threes, we’ll pay him $20M/ year and we don’t care that he pulled a gun on his teammate because of a card game. Will Anthony Weiner ever be welcomed back, a la Clinton and Spitzer? Will Plaxico Burress be embraced in the same way that we’ve embraced Michael Vick? Only time will tell. Former Valparaiso superstar, Louie Maxwell Clark III, storms back on the show with deep insights from Eliot Spitzer’s re-emergence into the public eye to his deep personal love for Ryan Reynolds.
I hope Deshawn Stevenson isn’t a regular listener of the show. My own flesh and blood, Stuart B. Anderson, makes his second official appearance to talk about breathtakingly important topics: triathlons, Miguel Angel Jimenez’s ponytail, and our favorite athlete tattoos.
Have I seen Water for Elephants yet? No. Has today’s guest, Jake Welch, he says no….but someone that loves Pattinson as much as he does couldn’t have missed it opening night. A potpourri a topics on this week’s show: NBA Playoffs, Team USA, NFL Draft, a touch of baseball and soccer, and a few comments about our personal lives that may or may not amuse you.
Today marks an end of an era in Jazz and Nuggets basketball. Rhombusmag.com contributor, KSL Sports employee, and die-hard Nuggets fan, Jake Welch joins the show to talk about what if feels like to lose a future hall of famer. Stay faithful Jazz fans! We have great years ahead!