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
jdcook@email.arizona.edu

Monday, June 1, 2009

Daye-oooo...

June has finally come, let the twenty-five days of draft speculation begin.  The Phoenix Suns own the fourteenth overall pick, which hopes to be the key to a bounce back season.  

I'm sure we have all done our fair share of NBA Mock Draft "googling," seeing names like Earl Clark, Terrence Williams, DeJuan Blair, Jonny Flynn next to the Suns logo at fourteen. While all of these players certainly have bright futures in the league, the player with the most upside in this years draft class, outside of Rubio and Thabeet, is Gonzaga forward Austin Daye.

Imagine this...a 6'11 small forward with a 7'4 wingspan who can stroke the three, shoot off of the dribble, and defend--meet Austin Daye.

Daye, a twenty-year old from Irvine, CA, spent two years under Mark Few at Gonzaga.  
2007-08: 10.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 48% FG, 41% 3p, 18.5 min.
2008-09: 12.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.1 bpg, 48% FG, 43% 3p, 25.3 min.

Strengths:  Daye is a terrific shooter, regardless of size.  To go along with tremendous touch, Daye can rebound, block shots, and handle the ball.  His versatility allows him to play small forward, at 6'11, which is nearly unheard of in the NBA (unless your Hedo Turkoglu o Lamar Odom).  Daye is a menace on defense with his 7'4 wingspan.  

Weaknesses:  Daye's biggest weakness lies in his stature.  Although he is 6'11, he only weighs 200 lbs, soaking wet.  He NEEDS to fill out his frame if he wants to be successful in the physically demanding NBA.  He needs to improve his first step and attack the rim more often.  Daye also lacks the post game that most 6'11 players have. 

NBA Comparison: Anthony Randolph + Jump shot. 

Why for the Suns?

The guy is a scorer--10.7 ppg in only 18 min Freshman year-- and the Suns like to score=match made in heaven.  Daye can run the floor, spot up, defend and block shots, perfect for Gentry's system.  Grant Hill is on his last ankle, and Matt Barnes is too schizophrenic to deserve a roster spot, opening the door for Daye.  Daye would allow the Suns to go small, as he could easily shift to the power forward spot. Daye's versatility, shooting prowess, and shot blocking ability make him the perfect pick for the Suns at fourteen.

While Earl Clark and Terrence Williams are the popular pick at 14, my man is Austin Daye-ooooo.

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.


Salvation:

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...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Head Coach-Player Battles Continue

The 2009 NBA Playoffs have seen everything from player suspensions to owner-mother tongue lashings. Along with the overkill of flagrant fouls, suspensions, and technicals, in the 2009 playoffs we have seen the war of words between hot-head athletes and power-hungry coaches reach a new level. 

Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy and Laker head coach Phil Jackson have been the latest culprits, sparking battles off of the court that may very well lead to even more flagrants and tech's on the court. 

After Sunday's Cavs-Magic matchup, Stan Van Gundy expressed his displeasure with the flopping of Ben Wallace and Mo Williams.  SVG's anti-flop whining traces back to early in the regular season when he called out the Big Aristotle for taking his chance at an academy award. 

Ben Wallace responded to Stan Van's comments, "Either come out there and do something about it, or shut the (expletive) up."  

Stan Van has now been blasted by Shaq Fu, Dwight Howard, and Ben Wallace.  Stan, there is no need to use your yapper on the daily, just stand on the sidelines, scream in an extremely high-pitched voice even when your players are right next to you, and continue to look remarkably similar to Ron Jeremy.  I understand your team is up 2-1 on the Cleveland LeBrons, but theres no need to call out Big Ben for flopping, just be thankful you don't have to coach in the West against where flopping is rewarded with championships (see Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan).

Phil Jackson was also on the giving end of some criticism Monday night after the Lakers dropped game four to the Denver Nuggets.  Jackson said of Danthay Jones' intentional tripping of Kobe Bryant, "unacceptable defense," and "unsportsmanlike basketball."  

Announcers Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson were also upset with Jones' play expressing that he should have been ejected and suspended.

Whoa guys, lets tone it down a bit.  Ejected and suspended for tripping another player? I get that its Kobe and he gets every call he wants handed to him on a silver platter, but its a trip!  
 
Two years ago in the playoffs when Bruce Bowen blatantly kneed Steve Nash in the baby maker, there was no technical, no flagrant, and definitely no suspension.  

The referees are changing the NBA from a game of physicality and athleticism, to a game of "don't touch our superstars."  Once again, the business aspect of the NBA is interfering with the games that fans pay good money to watch, further proving why college basketball is that much better.

Coaches, try to resist constantly putting opposing players on blast for 'flopping' or 'tripping.' Referees, swallow your whistles.  And David Stern, pump the breaks on the suspensions and flagrant fouls, Kobe is a 6-foot-6 professional athlete, I'm sure he can take a hit or two. 

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hey Mark Cuban...Grow Up!

From high school loner, to billionaire-turned Mavs owner, Mark Cuban has proven year in and year out to be THE most obnoxious owner in the NBA.  Yes I said it, and I'm not afraid of a Cuban verbal attack a la Cuban vs. Ms. Martin. 

You read the yahoo sports headline correctly, an NBA owner, who are usually thought to be classy businessmen, verbally assaulted Kenyon Martin's mother stating: "Your son is a punk!"  When a Mavs fan called the Nuggets "thugs," Cuban decided it was appropriate to yell to Ms. K-mart "that includes your son." 

Really Mark? (yes I lack that much respect for you that I'll call you Mark, maybe even Marky Mark?).  You really felt the need to address the mothers of the league, the night before mother's day?

The confrontation did not stop there.  As Cuban was escorted off of the court, he continued to point his finger towards the face of Ms. Martin, screaming obscenities. 

Mark, did your parents not raise you right?  Did you not learn anything about class during your road to billionaire status?

You my friend are the "punk."  No matter how much money you have, and how "phat" you pimp out the Mavs locker room, you are still a scrub.  While Paul Allen (Blazers owner) and Jerry Buss (Lakers owner) are seen in classy shirt and tie attire, you are sitting in your usual corner spot, sporting sweats or jeans that are too tight, with your classic Mavs blue tee. 

Grow up bro, stop attacking the officials, pushing camera men, and most importantly, verbally attacking the mothers of NBA players. 

Look, I understand K-mart may not be the epitome of class (See lips tattoo on neck) and you are butt hurt due to your Mavs embarrassing second round performance, but that doesn't mean you can attack 'moms.' Chivalry Mark, class Mark, take note of those owners who DON'T make headline for inside trading and on-court temper tantrums. 

Lose the sweats, the attitude, and grow up Cuban, be a professional for once in your life.

From Baby to Baller

With his Boston Celtics team headed to a 3-1 series deficit, Glenn "Big Baby" Davis chose a good time to shed his nickname.  Big Baby spotted up for a mid-range jumper as Paul Pierce was doubled off of a Davis-Pierce pick and roll.  Pierce alertly fed the Baby, who knocked the j as time expired. 

Davis, a 2007 second -round draft pick out of LSU, wasn't quite sure how to handle his heroics stating, "This is really neat. This is my first time so bear with me."

After his game-winning heroics and playoff production, do not expect this to be the last time Baby receives praise for his play. 

Davis has transitioned from a bench warming "cry baby" into the x-factor for the Boston Celtics.  With half of the Celtics front line out with injury (KG and Leon Powe) Doc Rivers had no choice but to turn to the once underachieving big man.  

After posting a line of 7.0 ppg and 4.0 rpg in 21 minutes during the regular season, the Baby has shed his diapers and stepped up to the challenge in the playoffs.  Davis has upped his scoring average 9.4 ppg to 16.4 ppg in eleven playoff games thus far. 

With the Celtics missing their emotional leader in Garnett, and their 2009 NBA FInals repeat in jeopardy, no one has answered the bell more than former underachieving pine rider Big Baby Davis.

Picture Taken From:
http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/photo;_ylt=AqduzarjkDCnLkwtN76UGJY5nYcB?slug=29d1186c262c4748ab16dc6bfc8182d0-getty-86365074fm059_celtics_magic&prov=getty