Monday, June 8, 2009

The "Correct" 2009 Mock Draft (Round 1)

Jesse Cook’s 2009 Draft de Mock
With the NBA draft right around the corner, Mike Schmitz and I will be creating our own first round mock drafts, and then discussing the choices each person made... Woohoo!
Round 1:
1. Los Angeles Clippers: PF, Blake Griffin, 6’10, 248 lbs. A no brainer. The real test is finding a way to deal Marcus Camby, Zach Randolph, or Chris Kaman.. I am interested to see if the Cavaliers and the Clippers make a deal.

2. Memphis Grizzlies: PF, Jordan Hill, 6’10 232 lbs. A lot of people have Hasheem Thabeet in this spot. However, I see Jordan Hill evolving into a much better player, if he already isn’t, than Thabeet. Plus, Hill’s athleticism and back to the basket scoring ability would fit well with the likes of O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay. Taking Hasheem Thabeet would be a mistake.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder: C, Hasheem Thabeet, 7’2 267 lbs. This pick will be decided for them. There is no need for Ricky Rubio with Russell Westbrook developing into a poor-man’s Jason Kidd. Either Hill or Thabeet; Whoever falls.

4. Sacramento Kings: PG, Ricky Rubio, 6’3 180 lbs. The Kings are a team with a lot of problems. Rubio being the best player on the board at a position the Kings are weak at, it appears to be a no brainer.

5. Washington Wizards: SG/SF, James Harden, 6’5 222 lbs. I do believe that Amar’e Stoudamire (or however you spell his name) will be traded to the Wizards and the Suns will swoop on James Harden. Harden is a very versatile, and savvy player who definitely will fit well in Phoenix’s fast pace tempo. Harden is going to be a game-changer and might transform into the best player from this draft class.

6. Minnesota Timberwolves: SG, DeMar DeRozan, 6’7 211 lbs. A physical specimen and all-world talent, DeRozan would certainly relieve Al Jefferson from having to score every point. Randy Foye, you suck!

7. Golden State Warriors: PG, Brandon Jennings, 6’1 170 lbs. Although I don’t like Jennings in any way shape or form (except his beautiful court vision), I see a Warrior and maybe a criminal future.

8. New York Knicks: SG, Tyreke Evans, 6’5 221 lbs. Perfect for Mike Dantoni... Imagine if Evans is drafted and Amar’e signs in New York in ’10. Duhon/Robinson, Evans, Wilson Chandler, Amar’e, David Lee... A very solid, fast-paced rotation

9. Toronto Raptors: SG, Stephen Curry, 6’3 181 lbs. Toronto desperately needs a player who will take the big shot. Curry rounds out a very versatile, and complementing starting five: Jose Calderon, Stephen Curry, Shawn Marion, Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani.

10. Milwaukee Bucks: PF, DeJuan Balir, 6’6 277 lbs. The round-mound of rebounds returns in this Pittsburgh grad. Big men are scarce this year, and the Bucks can’t pass up on this future 15 ppg, 12 rpg. A great complement to Andrew Bogut.

11. New Jersey Nets: SG/SF Gerald Henderson, 6’5 215 lbs. A well-coached physical talent who can make a difference on both sides of the ball. Devin Harris, Gerald Henderson, and Brooke Lopez... Solid

12. Charlotte Bobcats: PF, Tyler Hansbrough, 6’9 234 lbs. Cry baby Tyler Psycho T is.... I actually can’t justify this pick. But he has to go somewhere, why not Charlotte?

13. Indiana Pacers: PG, Jonny Flynn, 6’0 196 lbs. Needing a point guard to start with Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy Jr., Flynn has more potential than any other PG in the draft. A true winner, with pure athleticism.

14. Phoenix Suns: SF, James Johnson, 6’8 257 lbs. A great scorer who has speed to go along with his overwhelming size, Johnson fits perfectly in the Suns high-octane offense. Also can shoot the three-ball. BUY!

15. Detroit Pistons: SF, Chase Budinger, 6’7 206 lbs. Very versatile, will bring energy that the 2008-2009 Pistons seemed to be lacking. He can also play the 1 through 3 on the floor, and lives for the big shot.

16. Chicago Bulls: C, BJ Mullens, 7’0 258 lbs. A smooth low-post force, Mullens fits perfectly into a Bulls offense that refused inside scoring. A future star in this game, I pray he falls to sixteen. BUY!

17. Philadelphia 76ers: SG/SF, Terrence Williams, 6’6 213 lbs. A terrific basketball build with great defensive prowess makes Williams a great partner for Andre “Iggy” Iguodala, Andre Miller, and The Cripple Elton Brand.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves: PG, Ty Lawson, 6’0 197 lbs. After filling the void at SG by picking DeRozan earlier, Minnesota may want to look at Ty Lawson if they don’t think Sebastian Telfair is the answer. Personally, I don’t think he is. With Lawson comes a leader and an automatic fast-break boost. Lawson, DeRozan, Mike Miller, Kevin Love, Al Jefferson... Could be looking at contention

19. Atlanta Hawks: PG, Eric Maynor, 6’3 164 lbs. With Mike Bibby slowly creeping up with age, the Hawks may not only want to start looking for their future leader, but also back-up this year. Possessing a great basketball IQ and a knack for winning games, Maynor looks like a safe bet to be a winner.

20. Utah Jazz: SG, Wayne Ellington, 6’5 202 lbs. The Utah Jazz desperately needs a knock-down game changing shooter. Kyle Korver just isn’t cutting it. He would be a great complement for the ever so powerful driver Deron Williams.

21. New Orleans Hornets, SF, Earl Clark, 6’10 226 lbs. A very versatile forward who needs to work on his jumper and can’t quite create on his own. However, the ever-talented Chris Paul would could run a mean pick-and-roll with this talent. Drafting Clark would move Peja to the 2 and Clark would move into the 3. Chris Paul, Peja, Earl Clark, David West, Tyson Chandler (He could be traded to Cavaliers.... Maybe?)

22. Dallas Mavericks, PG, Jeff Teague, 6’2 175 lbs. With the Jason Kidd era coming to a close, Dallas needs to be looking for a replacement that can lead the future of this organization (Josh Howard and Brandon Bass). Teague, a very quick and slightly under-sized PG, is going to be a penetrate, kick-out player. This plays right into the strengths of Dirk and Jason Terry...

23. Sacramento Kings, SF, DaJuan Summers, 6’8 243 lbs. After selecting Rubio in the first round, the Kings need to find themselves an explosive scoring talent. In the late first round, Summers is a great prospect who needs some molding. With Rubio, Francisco Garcia, and Summers, the Kings would have a good young core to build around.. .(Although Spencer Hawes is not the answer)

24. Portland Trailblazers, PF, Taj Gibson, 6’10 214. Portland is in a great spot because their starting line-up is already set for years to come. However, to contend with the big boys in the West, the ‘Blazers are going to need a strong force off the bench when and if Greg Oden gets in foul trouble, gets hurt, or really turns out to be 45 years old and retires tomorrow. Gibson is a consistent rebounder and scorer who will be a great role player.

25. Oklahoma City Thunder: SF, Omri Casspi, 6’9 211 lbs. A very gifted scorer and defender, Casspi is perfect for the future “high-octane” Oklahoma City attack. His versatility allows Durant to move to the 2 where he ca blossom into the best player ever! Either way, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Omri Casspi, Jeff Green, Hasheem Thabeet... solid

26. Chicago Bulls, SF, Derrick Brown, 6’8 225 lbs. Brown isn’t the most aggressive player to ever play the game, and doesn’t always look for his own shot (I like that)... A solid perimetere player with natural “lank” and leaping ability, Brown fits well with Vinny Del and the Bulls.

27. Memphis Grizzlies, SF, Tyler Smith, 6’6 212 lbs. With Memphis taking a big man as the 2nd pick in the draft, they will be looking for a PF or SF. Since there is very little to no talent at the PF at this point in the draft, Smith’s well-rounded and disciplined play fits in well with the Grizzlies as they can move Rudy Gay to SG and still have O.J. Mayo at PG.

28. Minnesota Timberwolves, PG/SG, Jrue Holiday, 6’4 199 lbs. With a great basketball IQ and above-average speed off of the dribble, Holiday becomes a great back-up sixth man option. Not as fast as say Leandro Barbosa, Holiday can come in with the 2nd teams and make stuff happen. A proven winner with decent talent.

29. Los Angeles Lakers, PG, Darren Collison, 6’1 166 lbs. Derrick Fisher is aging, and well, isn’t quite the player he once was. Collison, I believe, can come in and make an immediate impact with any team because of his excellent basketball IQ, unbelievable speed, and ability to the spread the floor. Plus, he’s from UCLA (Not sure if that is a legitimate argument)

30. Cleveland Cavs: SF, Damion Jones, 6’7 225 lbs. Can you imagine Lebron with an ultra-athletic, uber-talented player running the floor with him? Well, I can’t. I see the Cavaliers trading the pick in an effort to bring in a big man.

Thank God this is over. That effectively took up 23.3 percent of my weekend. Or maybe it was 25 percent. Either way, I recommend going to see The Hangover and/or UP! Long live Pixar...

Jesse Cook

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Goat's On You

The Goat's On You
Jesse Cook

We are now 49 games through the regular season and The Chicago Cubs find themselves at 25 – 24 (4.5 games behind Milwaukee).   As a born and raised Chubs fan, I find myself struggling from anxiety, throwing up daily, and attempting to host “Down with Soriano” rallies.   This is the team that went 97 and 64 last season, obliterating the NL Central.  This is the team that punished pitchers with an irreplaceable offense while still managing to keep runs off the board.  The strange thing... The team really didn’t change from last year to this year, and yet we find ourselves behind Cincinnati.  (Cincinnati!?  Dusty Baker is to Mike Dunleavy, as Mike Dunleavy is to Dusty Baker... Or something like that)

Without further a do...

Problems for the Cubs:

Alfonso Soriano:  I’ll be honest, I absolutely despise Soriano.  His 30 + solo home runs are getting old, especially when 12 come in a three week span.  His lack of speed and plate discipline makes me question GOD whoever preached to sign him.  And, he is the worst postseason player since Alex Rodriguez.  Why is he the focal point of our franchise?  Doomed isn’t the right word, but with Soriano on the team, it is close. 

Milton Bradley:  Take a guy with an absolutely terrible mental state.  Sign him after his career year.  And over-pay for him.... This sounds like a recipe for success.  I mean, could they not have shown any interest in Bobby Abreu?  I was all about Raul Ibanez coming to Wrigley far before he started his Holocaust on starting pitching.  But no, we take the mentally and physically fragile Milton Bradley, who has already blamed his early season troubles on a conspiracy between the umpires against him...  Sweet.  (oh ya, he’s batting .224)

Rich Harden:  Everyone knows the story.  Not going to go into too much detail.  He has filthy stuff, very little control this year, and oh ya, he gets injured once a week.  Dammit.


Aramis Ramirez:  AramRam, one of my favorite Chitown heros, has been limited severely this year by a dislocated shoulder.  Placed on the DL on May 9th, Aramis is still weeks away from a minor league rehab assignment, and may not be back until after the all-star break.  “I’m working to get the strength back and, hopefully, I won’t need surgery,” Ramirez said. “If at the end of the season, if it is still bothering me, then I’ll have to do something.”  We need Aramis back.  I did not realize how influential he is until this season, but without Aramis, our line-up lacks intimidation.  We go from Great Danes to Toy Poodles.  Hopefully he will make it back healthy enough for a late season march (Judging by our past history in the months of August and September, this does not look good.)

Geovany Soto:  What Happened?  Well the rookie of the year has fallen into the Sophomore Slump.  In 40 games, he has produced a .216 AVG with 1 homer...  This is the same guy who in 141 games last year hit 23 homers and batted .285.  Why?  Strangly enough, his strikeout/walk ratio has improved, drastically, from 2:1 to a 1.2:1.  This looks like a sign of maturity, improvement, and yet he is stranded near the Mendoza line.  This must change.  Soto hit .363 two years ago in Triple-A.  He is a much better hitter than his numbers suggest.  Look for a huge spike when Aramis and the summer winds come back. 

The Starting Pitching:  Arguably one of the best in the major when healthy, this rotation has come out of the box very shaky.  Anchored by Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden, Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster, and Sean Marshall/Randy Wells round out the staff.  Already noting the Harden injury, Big Z spent time on the disabled list and is currently serving his six-game suspension for his latest tantrum.  (Poor Gatorade Dispenser)  For the record, I think Big Z had a good argument here.  He still is a lunatic.  But he is our lunatic.  ANYWAYS, once everyone returns, this rotation can carry any offense. 


*I don’t believe in Curses.  But I don’t believe this is our year either.  We will not win a championship until we remove Soriano from the line-up.  Unfortunately, no one will want to take on his ever-so large contract.  We are stuck with him.  Now that is a curse.




Sunday, May 31, 2009

Power Mauer

Joe Mauer

The former first overall pick in the 2001 draft has never disappointed.  Already sporting a career .322 average and .404 OBP in 4+ seasons, he looked like a perennial batting title contender who lacked substantial power.  In 28 games so far in this 2009 season, Minnesota’s Masher has accumulated 11 homers, 32 RBIS, 27 runs, and a robust .414 average.  In a 162 game season, these numbers translate into 64 homers, 185 RBIS, and 157 runs.  In other words, the greatest season ever played.  Why the sudden jump from a guy who in four full seasons has never hit more than 13 homers and driven in 84 runs? 

Versus Right-handed Pitching

2006: 340 ABS 11 HR .356 AVG

2008: 353 ABS 2 HR .312 AVG

2009: 67 ABS 8 HR .493 AVG

Although Mauer’s average will likely drop from .493, the power numbers may be here to stay.  At 6-5 225lbs, “Hey” Joe is not Craig Counsell lacking size.  Although the almost HR/8.5 ABS is alarming and improbable, I see it settling near the HR/12 ABS against righties.  This still propels our southpaw twinkie into one of the game’s elite home run hitters along with Albert Pujols, Adam Dunn, and Carlos Quentin. 

The best part of Joe Muaer still remains his age.  At the just ripe number of 26, there is a good possibility of many 40+ homerun season.  Such a feet, plus his unbelievably high game IQ and Gold Glove catching ability, would prompt the labeling of Savior Best Catcher Ever. 

The almost inevitable (at this rate) MVP of the American League, should soon see his popularity bloom far beyond Baseball Fiends Followers.  Players like Joe Mauer are paving the path for the baseball revolution.  Baseball will regain the fans it lost after this steroid hooplah.  Baseball will return to its thrown as America’s National Pastime...

See Also: Albert Pujols, Evan Longoria, Justin Upton, Jay Bruce, Ian Kinsler, Matt Wieters, Adrián González, David Wright, Chase Utley, Nick Markakis, Ryan Braun, Joey Votto “The New Zach Greinke”, Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, Josh Hamilton...

Johan Santana, Zach Greinke “The First Zach Greinke”, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Chad Billingsley, David Price, Cole Hamels, Yovani Gallardo, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Jon Lester, Matt Garza, Josh Johnson...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Someone Save the NBA

Ever since the days of the infamous referee Tim Donaghy, I've questioned the NBA's referees. While the refs generally do quite an amazing job - lets be honest, refereeing a game isn't easy - I've watched many games get ultimately changed due to poor calls. Dwight Howard was recently suspended for a game after he intentionally threw an elbow into an opposing players face. This was the right call. However, during the game he wasn't hit with a flagrent foul. How he wasn't hit with a flagrent is beyond me.

Today I watched the Miami Heat take on the Atlanta Falcons; Dwyane Wade chases an opposing break away player and obviously tries to block his shot from behind as the opposing player tries to dunk the ball. This caused a decently hard foul, but it was clearly understood by the numerous replays that Dwyane had no intention of harming the player, and was going only for the ball.
Guess what?! Wade gets hit with a flagrent foul 1...

I was left dumbfounded.

Don't get me wrong, I love Dwight Howard, but he deserved a flagrant foul 2 in my opinion, ejecting him from that game and possibly leading to a suspension. The replays clearly showed him intentionally elbowing another player in the face. But no flagrant was awarded. Dwyane Wade makes an incredible rundown play, only goes for the ball, and gets hit with a flagrant. In what damn reality does this make sense?

The NBA referees unfortunately will be under a lot of questioning ever since Tim Donaghy tried to ruin the sport we all love so much. That's when I started becoming extremely critical. I only hope that the NBA looks at some referees officiating and takes action to deter the down slope of their league... Or else every season I will continue to put my hands to my head and wonder how blind some people really are.
/end rant

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Under the Radar - Adam Lind

Hello fans, readers, sports savants, enemies, and Schmitty.
This is the first of the daily "Under the Radar" where I discuss baseball players who are - yep you guessed it - under the radar....

Adam Lind (OF)
Toronto Blue Jays
Age: 25

His friendly, pudgy face lures in pitchers, but this chad tracy/shrek offspring is no baby in the batters box. Batting from the left side, his line-drive swing with natural strength leads him into "The Conor Jackson" category... He has 20-25+ potential, but 30 may be his ceiling.

Playing 88 games last year for the Blue Jays (in a limited role) Lind produced very respectable numbers. 326 ABs .282 BA 48 runs 9 homeruns 40 rbis 2 sbs... The almost 4:1 K:BB ratio is alarming, yet at age 25, it can be fixed. In the minors he showed better patience with a 2:1 ratio... I mean the ratio will level out with more experience...

Possibly a worse version of Todd Helton, Adam Lind will be a house-hold name before it is all said and done... He may need to get out of Toronto.

Possible nicknames: Porky, Pale-Ale
*Write in comments with your thoughts...

Jesse Cook

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hitting Rock 'Boldin'

In "Cards' Secondary Now Among NFL's Best" by Mike 'Schmitty' Schmitz, he points out a very valid opinion that the Cardinal's secondary arguably ranks among the best in the league. Many changes have been made to the Cardinal's coaching staff, as well as a few new free-agent pick ups that Schmitz highlights in his story. However, what about the Cardinal's high powered offense? A question that remains to be answered is where Anquan Boldin will end up. According to an interview on the Arizona Cardinal's official website, Boldin states, "We will see what [the organization] says, this is totally out of my hands." More on this issue can be seen from the Cardinal's website here. As of right now, he has 1 year still left on an existing contract, however budgeting appears to be an issue, and may very well lead to his trade. Last year, (08-09 season), Boldin's average yards per catch was 11.7, and in the post season (while dealing with injuries) averages 13.6 yards per catch. Losing a receiver that averages a first down per catch could be devestating.

According to their website, there isn't one day that Kurt Warner doesn't text Anquan Boldin about his status on the team. Kurt Warner knows that, with Boldin, this team could be a dominant force in the NFL for many seasons to come. As of right now, Boldin is enjoying the off season, and will wait for a further answer on his contract.

-Other changes to Cardinals Offense: Cardinals acquire free-agent Tight End Anthony Becht from the St. Louis Rams. The Cardinals now have many TE weapons.

One things for sure, with many huge trades and changes going on, the NFL will have a different look next season.

Few noticeably random changes (all of these are off the top of my head):

-Five new rules protecting Quarterbacks and players, most if violated are reprimanded with a 15 yard penalty.
-Lions have decided to change their Logo to give the organization a step in the right direction.
-Terrell Owens is now a Bill. Say that four times, and try to make sense of it.
-The Return of Tom Brady; this alone changes the entire NFL season.

Whatever happens, lets hope that the Cardinal's staff and management can figure something out quick to keep Boldin around for a few more years. Or our beloved team may just hit rock bottom.
Oh wait, we still have two receivers whom recorded over 1,000 yards receiving last season. Silly me.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ichiro Rallys Team

Ichiro Suzuki was always known as a prominent hitter, possibly one of the best hitters to ever come out of Japan. However, the Seattle Mariners haven't given him the opportunity to influence an important game lately. Boy oh boy did he get his chance at the World Baseball Classic to make history. The Championship was a hard fought battle, with Japan and Korea battling back and forth through many, especially the later, innings. Korea looked as if they were to claim victory when they tied the game at 3-3 with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th inning when Lee Bum-ho dinged a single off of Japan's closer Yu Darvish. They couldn't score another run. The game now pushed onto the 10th inning. Seiichi Uchikawa opens up for Japan with a single, sacrificed to second, then made it to third after a single by Akinori Iwamura. Now we enter the Suzuki! One reason I'm writing this is because I don't understand the decision to pitch to Suzuki, and I believe if given the chance again, Korea would have walked him. In this game, it wasn't hard to see that you were getting manhandled, as Japan hit a whopping 15 hits to Korea's 5. Suzuki, after battling a few pitches, hits a blooper between and above the short-stop and second baseman, winning the game 5-3 for Japan. This is now the second time in a row Japan has won the WBC.

If there's one lesson to learn here...
Don't pitch to a teams proven all-star hitter when the game is on the line!

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