Thursday, June 28, 2007

NBA Draft Running Commentary

30. Philadelphia 76ers: That Finnish PG- I like it.

29. Phoenix Suns: Alando Tucker, GF, Wisconsin- Solid player. He'll be able to give them a few minutes when they need them.

28. San Antonio Spurs: Tiago Splitter, FC, Brazil- I can't get any foreign guys. This is real frustrating.

27. Detroit Pistons: Arron Afflalo, SG, UCLA- This is a pretty good pick for their system. Afflalo can play some good defense.

26. Houston Rockets: Aaron Brooks, PG, Oregon- Bit early for him, I think.

Is Rashard Lewis still on Seattle or not?

25. Utah Jazz: Morris Almond, SG, Rice- My mock sucked, I get it.

24. Phoenix Suns: Rudy Fernandez, SG, Spain- He plays on Fran Vazquez' team, so you can count on him being good. Apparently traded to Portland.

23. New York Knicks: Wilson Chandler, GF, DePaul- Don't know much about him.

22. Charlotte Bobcats: Jared Dudley, SF, Boston College- Michael Jordan likes him, so he must be good.

21. Philadelphia 76ers: Daequan Cook, SG, Ohio State- Now Miami's property. Don't know what they're going to do with him.

20. Miami Heat: Jason Smith, PF, Colorado State- I wanted him. McRoberts is still on the board. This isn't good. This is not good. Now Sixers Property. Great move.

19. Los Angeles Lakers: Javaris Crittenton, PG, Georgia Tech- There goes that idea. Damn.

18. Golden State Warriors: Marco Belineli, SG, Italy- Damn, gave them the wrong foreign player. Either way, good pick.

What if the Sixers take Crittenton too? Think of the possibilities.

17. New Jersey Nets: Sean Williams, FC, Boston College- Dammit. He would've been nice for the Sixers. He's really talented as long as he's past his problems.

Is it time to stop calling Francis "Franchise?" He's going on to his fourth team.

16. Washington Wizards: Nick Young, GF, Southern California- Good pick. They needed a second scorer and someone to help out Gilbert (and next year, replace him as the primary scorer.)

15. Detroit Pistons: Rodney Stuckey, G, Eastern Washington- I'm stunned. Absolutely floored. This pick is so anti-Pistons, I can't believe it.

14. Los Angeles Clippers: Al Thornton, F, Florida State- Thornton is ready to contribute now and he'll really help out the Clippers looking to return to the playoffs.

13. New Orleans Hornets: Julian Wright, F, Kansas- He's falling down the board, so it makes sense to take the best guy.

12. Philadelphia 76ers: Thaddeus Young, SF, Georgia Tech- Hm. Whatever. I would've preferred Thornton or maybe even Wright, but Young has a lot of potential and he's going to be a good player.

11. Atlanta Hawks: Acie Law IV, PG, Texas A&M- They've needed a point guard for a few years now, and they finally address the need. Good draft for them so far.

10. Los Angeles Kings: Spencer Hawes, C, Washington- Glad he's not a Sixer. J. Wright or Thornton guaranteed to be a Sixer now, and I can breath easy.

9. Chicago Bulls: Joakim Noah, PF, Florida- A lot of people don't like him, but he's a tough defender who will give Chicago an outstanding 4/5 rotation.

8. Charlotte Bobcats: Brandan Wright, F, North Carolina- He’s probably the BPA at this point, and the local factor is cute.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves: Corey Brewer, SG, Florida- He’s a good defensive player, but his offensive game has to develop.

6. Milwaukee Bucks: Yi Jianlian, PF, China- He slipped a little further than most would’ve expected, and it’ll be interesting to see if Yi comes over to America now.

5. Boston Celtics (traded to Seattle?:) Jeff Green, F, Georgetown- The Celtics got Paul Pierce his veteran, let’s see if him and Ray Allen can combine to take Boston far.

Memphis Grizzles: Mike Conley, PG, Ohio State- I am not happy about Kyle Lowry being immediately replaced, but Conley’ll be good.

3. Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford, PF, Florida- Widely considered to be the third player on the board, Atlanta passed on Yi, who they were very interested in.

2. Seattle Supersonics: Kevin Durant, SF, Texas- Also a no brainer. Who else were they going to take?

1. Portland Trailblazers: Greg Oden, C, Ohio State- No brainer. They really improved their frontcourt and added a guy that’s going to sell a lot of jerseys.

76ers Draft Preview (60 minutes before the draft edition)

Here is my comprehensive Sixers draft preview. I’ll review all the players the team has worked out. You’ll get the vital information, a bit about their game and my personal thoughts on the player. They’re sorted by where I feel the Sixers will be able to draft him.

Before 12

Jeff Green SF 6’9 228 Junior Georgetown

The Sixers flew to D.C. just to work out Green, so they obviously think very highly of him. He’s a smart, all-around player that can definitely contribute right away. He’s the exact kind of player the Sixers need; he can put the ball on the floor and score points, and he’s strong enough defensively he can bump down inside when Mo Cheeks opts to go small. They’ll have to trade up to get him if they want him though, he’s one of the best players in the draft.

Yi Jianlian F 7’0 242 23 years old China

Like a lot of other of foreign players, he may need to fill out his frame a bit to find a true position. He has great athleticism and quickness that allow him to score points close to the basket. Yi also possesses a good mid-range jump shot, so he has some unique talents for a guy his size. If Yi falls past the 5th pick, the Sixers need to strongly consider going up and getting him. He has star potential, and I think he’s worth the risk.

Before 12 to 12

Spencer Hawes C 7’0 250 Freshman Washington

Hawes is a very raw player, and like Aaron Gray, who’s discussed later, he didn’t play as well as he could’ve. Hawes has an excuse, being that he still can’t legally consume alcohol and was only a freshman. He absolutely needs to bulk up to become a presence in the paint, but he still has great low post skills on both sides of the court. He has good all-around skills including recognizing double teams, a good jump shot and the ability to block shots. I wouldn’t be upset if the Sixers took him at 12, but I hope they don’t trade up for him.

Al Thornton F 6’8 220 Senior Florida State

Now here’s a guy the Sixers could use. He’s a polished scorer that like Iguodala, can step in and play right away. He’s a bit older than the team would like, but it just means he’s more experienced, right? He’s a great athlete who can create his own shot and find a lot of ways to score points. He’s big enough that he can bump down to PF when the team goes small. He should be available at the 12 if the Sixers don’t want to trade up for anyone else.

Julian Wright F 6’9 210 Sophomore Kansas

Wright’s another guy the Sixers need to take into serious consideration. His stock has fallen off a little bit as of late, so he should be available at 12. He struggled at the draft camp, but he’s still a great athlete with a very high ceiling. His offensive game needs a lot of work. It would be nice to see more scoring from him early in his pro career, but I don’t see that aspect of his game coming on for a couple years. He’s a very good defender and rebounder.


Javaris Crittenton PG 6’4 194 Freshman Georgia Tech

His size gives him an advantage on other PGs. Crittenton has the ability to be a “true” point guard; he sees the court well and he’s a gifted distributor. He also has tremendous athletic ability that will allow him to be a great scorer himself. If the Sixers were to trade Andre Miller to acquire a top pick (don’t ask me how this will happen, because it won’t,) Crittenton would be a good pick at 12 to replace him. Otherwise, it doesn’t make much sense to take him with their first pick.

Nick Young GF 6’7 205 Junior Southern California

Young is a very good swingman with a wide array of offensive moves. He can drive to the basket and draw fouls, which is something the Sixers could use. Young can also shoot the jumper, and he has the range to do it behind the line as well. At this point, he’s an average defender, but his athleticism will allow him to become better. He’s the kind of player the Sixers need, so if they have no other options, Young should be the guy.

12 to 21

Jason Smith FC 7’0 240 Junior Colorado State

It’s a reach to take him at 12 and he probably won’t make it to 21, so this one is tough. For his size, he’s a pretty good athlete. He can hit the midrange jumper, and Smith has a developing low post offensive game. Defensively, he’s not a bad shot blocker. He was a good player against pretty average competition in his career. Smith would fit in nicely with guys like Dalembert and Hunter in a low post rotation.

Acie Law IV PG 6’3 186 Senior Texas A&M

I shouldn’t put him in this range because he’ll almost certainly be selected higher. Law is a guy that’s loved by almost all college basketball fans, not just Aggies fans. He plays his best on the national stage and had big games against tough opponents. He’s a great scorer who can also distribute like traditional point guards. I would be ecstatic if the Sixers could get him this low, but I don’t see it happening.

Thaddeus Young SF 6’7 210 Freshman Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech had a bit of a down year in 05-06, but they bounced back to compete in the ACC on the backs of Young and fellow freshman Javaris Crittenton. Young is a great athlete who’s still very raw, and he’s entering the draft after playing only one year in college. Young has a pretty good jump shot. His nuclear potential may lure a team into drafting him high, but it may take a year or two for him to adjust to the NBA game.


Daequan Cook GF 6’5 210 Freshman Ohio State

Cook is another player in a long line of freshmen who declared for the draft. Like the others, he’s a great athlete, but what makes him so interesting is he came off the bench at Ohio State. It’s tough to get a read on him because of his limited minutes, so a team that drafts him won’t be expecting him to play much right away, he’s going to take a couple of years.

21 to 30

Morris Almond SG 6’6 214 Senior Rice

For a team in need of a shooter, Almond could be its guy. He has a great jump shot with great range, and he could become a very good three point shooter. He can also penetrate and draw fouls. Defensively, like a lot of other guys, he loses focus and doesn’t play as hard, and that’s an aspect of his game he’ll have to improve. For a guard, he’s also not a bad rebounder.

Derrick Byars GF 6’7 225 Senior Vanderbilt

Byars busted onto the national scene when he walked over the defending champs in a huge upset for Vanderbilt. He led his team to a tournament appearance. Byars is a big guy, so he’ll most likely fit in at SF in a rotation. He has a good all-around game, does everything well, and really doesn’t do anything outstanding or poorly. Byars is a good athlete with great range on his shot.

Josh McRoberts PF 6’10 240 Sophomore Duke

The unfortunate reality for a lot of Sixers fans is yes, the team is in fact interested in McRoberts. Forget the Billy King and Duke connection, they have to work out a lot of guys in the 21 to 38 range because you just don’t know what will happen on draft day. He doesn’t have a very developed offensive game, but he’s a good defender and rebounder, and he still has some room for growth. However, I’m sure that whoever drafts him will have some unhappy fans, regardless of his potential to get better.

Sean Williams FC 6’10 235 Junior Boston College

He was kicked out of college, but his basketball ability and potential remain the same. His troubles hurt his stock, but if a team’s willing to take a risk on him, it’s going to get a good player. Williams has great athleticism and defensively, he might be one of the best players in the draft. Williams has a pretty good low post offensive game, and it always has a lot of potential to get better.

30 to 38

Arron Afflalo SG 6’5 215 Junior UCLA

Afflalo was named Pac-10 player of the year, in part because he’s a hard worker on both ends of the court. He gained the reputation of being a shutdown defender, and he also made nice contributions offensively. He might not have the quickness to drive and penetrate, but he has a pretty good jump shot that will help out teams offensively. He might not fit into a fast offense.

Glen Davis PF 6’9 289 Junior Louisiana State

Davis probably made a poor choice when he came back for his junior year. After being named SEC Player of the Year as a sophomore and leading the Tigers to the Final Four, Davis went back for his junior season to improve his already top 10 stock, and the team failed miserably. He was better than LSU’s season indicates, but his stock plummeted nonetheless. He’s a pretty mobile guy for someone his size and Big Baby will be a steal for whoever gets him.

Jared Dudley SF 6’7 225 Senior Boston College

Whoever drafts Dudley will be getting what they see, no more, no less. He’s just a decent all-around player without much more room for growth. He has decent size and average athleticism, and his jump shot has good range. He is what he is. He’ll be able to play a few minutes right away and be a solid contributor off the bench.

Nick Fazekas PF 6’11 240 Senior Nevada

It’s tough to get a read on Fazekas because he was playing against weaker competition than most guys, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be good. He’s not a very good athlete, but he’ll contribute to teams as a strong defender and rebounder. At this point in the draft, like a lot of other guys, he’s not going to get much better than he already is. He can step outside and hit some shots, and that’s probably his best ability offensively.

Aaron Gray C 7’1 280 Senior Pittsburgh

Aaron Gray simply did not play up to his potential. He’s a huge guy and should be able to dominate the small college competition, but he just didn’t. He’s not very mobile, and he would really only fit in a half court offense. He absolutely needs to improve his quickness to become an NBA player. His size is a huge plus, but if the Sixers reach for him at 30, it’s not going to be a good pick.

Gabe Pruitt G 6’4 170 Junior Southern California

Pruitt projects more of a combo guard than a traditional PG. He’s always been more of a scorer than a distributor in his career, so he might not necessarily be what the Sixers need. His size and athletic ability give him a defensive advantage matched up against PGs, but to me, his skills just fit in more as a SG. His shot and athleticism are assets, but again, he’s a bit of a tweener and that could cause him to drop.

Alando Tucker GF 6’5 210 Senior Wisconsin

A candidate for Player of the Year all season long, Tucker led his Badgers to a good year in the Big 10. Wisconsin was in charge of the conference almost the whole season, but they slipped up against Ohio State down the stretch. Tucker doesn’t have a very high ceiling and is as good as he’s going to get, but he has a very good offensive game and will be able to contribute right away. His stock has been a roller coaster since the season ended, so it’ll be interesting to see where he’s drafted.


Aaron Brooks PG 6’0 160 Senior Oregon

One positive is he doesn’t throw the ball backwards. Brooks is very small, and that might be his biggest difficulty, and one thing that could make him slip on draft day. He plays a lot like a SG because he likes to drive or take jump shots, but because of his size, that just isn’t possible. He was a huge player for Oregon down the stretch who still has room to get a little better.

Carl Landry PF 6’9 245 Senior Purdue

He’s a tough, mobile, intelligent player who should be able to play a few minutes right away. His offensive skills are very good; he has a variety of low post moves and shots to score points. His defense could be a bit stronger, which is a bit surprising considering he played in one of the most defensive oriented conferences in the Big 10.

Dominic McGuire F 6’8 210 Junior Fresno State

After sitting out a year after a transfer, McGuire flourished as an athletic defender and rebounder. He’s not at all polished, but he’ll be able to contribute as a rebounder pretty quickly. At SF, however, he’s going to need to develop an offensive game. He doesn’t have that many skills right now, and that part of his game is going to have to develop for him to become a viable NBA player.

Kyle Visser C 6’11 250 Senior Wake Forest

He beefed up a bit for his senior season and that helped out his stock, but it came at the expense of his already only average mobility. He works hard to get rebounds and play solid defense, but his offensive game is only average. He’s strong enough to be a decent role player in the low post, but he’s only a second round pick.

Marcus Williams GF 6’7 207 Sophomore Arizona

Williams is still a bit raw, and he’s probably not going to be able to contribute right away. He likes to take jump shots, and even though he has a good one, he gets away from the rest of his offensive game, which is still very good. It’s a bit of a surprise that he’s even still in the draft, I think he could’ve used another year in college, and it’s not like his stock is even that good.

38 to Undrafted

Jermareo Davidson FC 6’11 230 Senior Alabama

After working out for the Sixers two years ago before pulling out of the draft, Davidson is back, and his stock still isn’t very good. For the position he plays, he’s a pretty lanky guy, but his size allows for good mobility. His athletic ability is an asset on both ends of the court, and he would really fit in with a team running a high tempo offense. The Sixers could either make a reach for him if they really want him at 38, but he’s likely to be taken at the end of the draft.

Herbert Hill PF 6’10 240 Senior Providence

Like Davidson, it’s a reach to get this guy at 38, but he’s going to be drafted. He has experience playing in the tough Big East, which bodes well for a team looking for someone to come off the bench right away. His offensive game is limited right now, but he has the ability to grow and become a better player. Hill’s defense isn’t bad, and he certainly isn’t a liability in the low post.

Brad Newley GF 6’7 201 22 years old Australia

He’s been eligible for the draft for a couple years now, but there’s a good chance he’s taken in this one. He attended the Orlando camp for a second straight year, and he impressed scouts with his hard work. He has a great offensive game with a great jump shot that he can knock down from anywhere on the floor. He’s a good athlete that can fit into an up-tempo style, but his defense needs to be worked on.

Sun Yue GF 6’9 205 22 years old China

He’s not a big guy like Yao or Yi, but he’s still a pretty good Chinese prospect. He has a great shot to go along with great quickness and ball handling ability. His offensive game is very good because he has multiple ways to score points. He could stand to work on his defensive ability and also get a little stronger. One thing in his favor is he’s already been in America playing Western style ball for a little bit, so his adjustment period might not be as bad.


Luksa Andric FC 6’10 230 22 years old Russia

I have no clue about this guy. I don’t see him on any draft boards, but apparently, the Sixers are interested in him because he got a workout with them. He’s mobile for a low post player, but he needs to bulk up a bit if he wants to bang bodies in the paint. He works hard, but he’s raw and very inexperienced, and he’s already 22 years old.

Christian Burns PF 6’9 240 Senior Philadelphia University

Burns was the Division 2 player of the year, averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds per game. He’s from Hamilton and obviously spent two years playing ball in the city, so that’s probably how he earned his workout. I don’t think he has any shot at all to be drafted, so this was really just a courtesy workout. He’ll probably be brought in for another tryout after the draft and he might have a shot to play in Sixers Training Camp.

Jason Cain F 6’10 225 Senior Virginia

Here’s another Philadelphia connection guy. He was born here, so I guess a full circle kind of thing needs to be completed. Anyone see any video on that Tyreke Evans kid? He looks pretty good. He would look nice in a Villanova uniform next year.

Kyrylo Fresenko FC 6’11 ??? 20 years old Ukraine

I seriously can’t find any information on him. I’m not even sure how the Sixers know about him. Billy King really did some digging for this one.

Coby Karl GF 6’5 204 Senior Boise State

Well, he is the son of an NBA coach. That’s a positive, I guess. He’s an average athlete with average skills. I can’t talk about this guy for three more lines, so I’ll talk about the Denver Nuggets. They really hurt themselves by giving away those draft picks. They really could’ve added some nice pieces, but the team they have now is the team they’ll have next year.

Marko Lekic PF 6’11 267 22 years old Serbia

Don’t know much about him. He’s a pretty big guy out of an area in the world that’s started producing a lot of basketball players. I don’t see him in any mocks so I’ll just assume he won’t be drafted. He was eligible to be taken the last two years, and he’s not in the NBA now, so he must not be that good.

Mike Nardi PG 6’0 175 Senior Villanova

I was never a fan of Nardi, and even in last year’s Elite 8 run, I always saw him as the fourth wheel behind Foye, Ray and Lowry. He’s small and just doesn’t have great basketball qualities. He’s an inconsistent scorer, and he’s not going to amount to much. It’s nice for him to get a workout because he’s a good leader and he did a decent job helping Villanova in a transition year, but he’s not going to be an NBA player.

Dustin Salisbery SG 6’5 205 Senior Temple

Salisbery finished up a nice career at Temple that ended with him ranked 27th on the Owls’ all-time scoring list. His senior year was a part of a transition project for first year head coach Fran Dunphy, but he’s a good coach and working with him can only help Dustin. Because he’s local, the Sixers feel almost obligated to work him out, and he has no shot at being drafted.

Curtis Sumpter SF 6’7 223 Senior Villanova

Sumpter is a great story, and he’s one of the Big Six’ (yeah, I went there) favorite players. He returned from two devastating knee injuries to have a solid senior season at Villanova, with the help of a medical redshirt. The team around him wasn’t as talented as before his injuries, but he still helped the Wildcats to a tournament appearance. I think he’ll be a pleasant surprise to whichever team signs him after the draft.

Marquis Webb GF 6’5 205 Senior Rutgers

After Quincy Douby left Rutgers early, Webb took over as the team’s go-to guy. He’s a pretty good scorer and a pretty good athlete. Webb was also considered to be one of the conference’s best defensive players. He would most likely fit in the team’s SG/SF rotation with Iguodala, Korver and Carney. Since he’s probably not going to be drafted, I don’t have a problem with the Sixers taking a flyer on him as a free agent.

Mark Zoller F 6’7 220 Senior Pennsylvania

Here’s another guy who got a courtesy workout from the hometown team. Zoller grew up in Montgomery County and went to a nice program in St Joe’s Prep. At Penn, he was one of two senior leaders that helped the Quakers continue their Ivy League dominance. He really doesn’t have a pro position or any outstanding qualities. Probably pretty smart though.

To review, I think the Sixers need to take care of three things:

1&2. Scorer that can drive and big man to rotate in the low post

3. PG for the future

If they only end up making two picks and can hold off on a PG until next year, that wouldn’t be a problem. The scenario I wouldn’t mind seeing is Al Thornton with the 12 and trade the 21 and 30 to move up a bit and take Jason Smith. It would knock out both needs with quality players, and you still have the 38 to play with.

I think looking through the players that were worked out, it’s pretty clear what the Sixers want to do. They’re probably going to hold onto the 38, and keep their options open in the lower end of the draft. I don’t see them trading up much past 12, but if they have to move up a couple spots, I can see them doing that.

Good picks need to be made tonight. Good pieces need to be put into place because in free agency next year, several superstars and good players will be deciding where to play. Showing a star that he could be the last remaining piece to a championship puzzle would be a huge selling point, and the draft will go a long way to doing that.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Way to play

After taking 2 of 3 from the Cardinals and actually losing a game in the division race, it’s only natural to feel a bit frustrated. Winning 2 of 3 every time should get a team into the playoffs, but it doesn’t help when your competition is having a cakewalk the same weekend.

After a good weekend series, the typical Philadelphia mindset will see the team facing the worst record in baseball and expect them to drop two games headed into the biggest series in two years. That’s understandable. With 125 seasons and 9,991 losses under their belt and only one championship to show for it, it’s natural to expect the Phillies to mess up what should be an easy series.

The Phillies went against conventional wisdom on Tuesday and took it to the Reds. Even with all the adversity of the injuries, struggling players and the potential problems of facing a stud prospect they’ve never seen before, they came out swinging; to the tune of 11 runs and 17 hits, to be exact.

Kyle Kendrick got off to a rough start in the first inning, when he loaded the bases with Cincy’s big bats coming up. He escaped major damage and only allowed one run. Kendrick doesn’t have good numbers on the year, but he’s done a good job filling in for Fraudy Garcia. He’s given the team 6 innings in all three starts, and having a guy that isn’t a mortal lock to wear down the bullpen is nice.

Kyle Kendrick settled down and threw a few more decent innings, giving up 4 earned in 6+. Meanwhile, the offense was bashing Homer Bailey and the Reds’ bullpen. Ryan Howard’s laser in the first inning gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead, and it was off to the races for the good guys from there. Victorino and Utley also hit home runs in the game, and they provided great support that a rookie like Kendrick needs.

After Michael Bourn’s good game on Sunday to help beat the Cardinals, he got another chance in the starting lineup, and he delivered a few more hits, and he also stole second base allowing Carlos Ruiz to steal home. Manuel debuted an interesting lineup, which featured Bourn batting second, bumping Victorino down to the 6 hole, where he would have the chance to use his pop to drive in some runs.

The lineup worked, and Manuel has to keep going with it against righties. The defense in the outfield is obviously great, and if they’re all hitting, no one can complain about the offensive production, obviously. Greg Dobbs also had a nice rebound game, and it looks like he might be back on track as well.

The Phillies showed everyone something tonight. They want to be in command. They’re standing in the face of adversity and in the face of the big bad Mets and saying “We’re ready for you.” Instead of playing down to a team, they buried them. That’s what winning teams do to the Reds.

The four game series against the Mets this weekend is huge. The players are undoubtedly looking forward to it, but there are still two more games against the Reds to handle. They can’t let them slip away; these games are critical. It’s important to go into the series with momentum and show the Mets there’s going to be a race this year.

Hopefully they don’t go and render all this useless tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

One to Thirty: SS

The break in between entries for this series was longer than I would've liked, but here we go.

  1. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees- People don’t like him, but he’s still a hell of a player.
  1. Carlos Guillen, Detroit Tigers- He’s almost underrated. Guillen can really hit the ball.
  1. Jose Reyes, New York Mets- Dynamic young player that creates a lot of problems for teams on the bases.
  1. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins- He’s a lot like Reyes, but he may end up developing more power. That’s scary.
  1. Miguel Tejada, Baltimore Orioles- His power has declined in the last few years, but he’s still a better hitter than most.
  1. Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia Phillies- Rollins can do it all, but his patience disappears at times.
  1. Edgar Renteria, Atlanta Braves- After a lousy season in Boston, Renteria has turned around his career with two good seasons in Atlanta.
  1. Michael Young, Texas Rangers- He’s a good contact year, but he’s having a bit of a down year.
  1. Jhonny Peralta, Cleveland Indians- After a huge sophomore slump, Peralta is bouncing back and proving to be an asset at SS.
  1. J.J. Hardy, Milwaukee Brewers- He had a breakout April and May, but he’s really struggled as of late.
  1. Orlando Cabrera, Anaheim Angels- Cabrera has swung an okay bat since joining the Angels, and he still plays good defense.
  1. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies- Tulowitzki being this high is a sign of the lack of good Shortstops in baseball.
  1. Khalil Greene, San Diego Padres- Meh.
  2. Rafael Furcal, Los Angeles Dodgers- Furcal can’t do much of anything since being signed to a monster deal by the Dodgers.
  1. Brendan Harris, Tampa Bay Devil Rays- Harris really came out of nowhere to become a solid seat warmer for when the rest of the kids come up.
  1. David Eckstein, St. Louis Cardinals- He’s a gritty, hard working guy with average offensive numbers that some people don’t expect.
  1. Alex Gonzalez, Cincinnati Reds- He’s a good defensive player, and he swung a hot bat earlier this year.
  1. Bobby Crosby, Oakland A’s- Middle tier Shortstops don’t win MVP, Peter Gammons.
  1. Yuniesky Betancourt, Seattle Mariners- Don’t know much about him.
  2. Juan Uribe, Chicago White Sox- I would say the offseason issues are hurting his game, but he was never that good anyway.
  1. Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks- Drew has a ton of potential, but he’s not playing the way he will in five years yet.
  1. Omar Vizquel, San Francisco Giants- For the love of god, retire.
  2. Cristian Guzman, Washington Nationals- Before an injury shortened his 07, he was having a good rebound from a horrid 2005.
  1. Royce Clayton, Toronto Blue Jays- Believe it or not, he’s not the only player named Royce.
  1. Julio Lugo, Boston Red Sox- Big free agent signing that has been a huge bust for Epstein.
  1. Adam Everett, Houston Astros- His defense doesn’t make up for his bad bat.
  2. Jack Wilson, Pittsburgh Pirates- How is this guy in baseball again? Not even the Pirates can do better than this?
  1. Jason Bartlett, Minnesota Twins- I’m mailing it home.
  2. Cesar Izturis, Chicago Cubs- Not a good player.
  3. Tony Pena, Kansas City Royals- Even worse.

Monday, June 25, 2007

NBA Mock Draft

Let me preface this by telling you I don’t know as much about the NBA as I do about the other big three sports, and my knowledge of the prospects is very limited as well. I did some homework and put together the first round, not counting trades, which obviously won’t happen.

  1. Portland Trailblazers- Greg Oden, C, Ohio State: Bruiser Flint says a team is a fraud if they don’t have low post presence on both sides of the court. With the #1 pick, Portland does not want to become a fraud.
  1. Seattle Supersonics- Kevin Durant, SF, Texas: Duh. What else am I supposed to say?
  1. Atlanta Hawks- Yi Jianlian, PF, China: He may not be a swingman, but he’ll be a good player- something Atlanta could use.
  1. Memphis Grizzlies- Joakim Noah, PF, Florida: They like his hustle, energy, toughness and lack of basketball ability enough to go off the board to get him.
  1. Boston Celtics- Al Horford, PF, Florida: He’s no Greg Oden, but Boston’s consolation prize is better than Memphis’.
  1. Milwaukee Bucks- Mike Conley, PG, Ohio State: Do they even have a Point Guard on their roster? Someone get back to me on this.
  1. Minnesota Timberwolves- Jeff Green, SF, Georgetown: Randy Foye projects to be a nice SG, so they could use another guy who can score off the dribble.
  1. Charlotte Bobcats- Brandan Wright, PF, North Carolina: They haven’t been successful going to the hometown well for lottery picks, so if they keep trying, they’ll nail one of them eventually.
  1. Chicago Bulls- Spencer Hawes, C, Washington: If you would’ve told me eight teams would have finished worse than the Knicks, I would’ve called you Isaiah Thomas. Legitimate big guys are hard to come by, and frankly, Chicago probably didn’t find one here either.
  1. Sacramento Kings- Corey Brewer, SG, Florida: While the rest of the teams are drafting for need and reaching a bit, the Kings get a steal and a guy that’s ready to score in the NBA now.
  1. Atlanta Hawks- Julian Wright, PF, Kansas: He’s been slipping down draft boards, but the Hawks might as well draft him.
  1. Philadelphia 76ers- Al Thornton, SF, Florida State: The Sixers need a second scorer to go with Andre Iguodala, and Thornton can be that guy.
  1. New Orleans Hornets- Nick Young, SG, Southern California: They finally settled back in New Orleans, and return with the same average players they left with.
  1. Los Angeles Clippers- Javaris Crittenton, PG, Georgia Tech: He still has both knees, so he’s at the very least, an upgrade over what they already have.
  1. Detroit Pistons- Thaddeus Young, SF, Georgia Tech: He plays decent defense, which is all you need to fit into the Pistons.
  1. Washington Wizards- Rodney Stuckey, G, Eastern Washington: With Gilbert Arenas on the way out, Stuckey’s nuclear potential for scoring can replace him in the very near future.
  1. New Jersey Nets- Rudy Fernandez, SG, Spain: It’s time to start the run on Euros that no one will remember in two years.
  1. Golden State Warriors- Tiago Splitter, PF, Brazil: He runs the floor well, so he’ll add a lot to Golden State’s run and miss offense.
  1. Los Angeles Lakers- Josh McRoberts, PF, Duke: They need a low post presence, so they’ll continue looking for that later in the draft and in free agency.
  1. Miami Heat- Acie Law IV, PG, Texas A&M: He’s a clutch player in his own right, but he’ll be taking a backseat to D-Wade at the foul line.
  1. Philadelphia 76ers- Jason Smith, PF, Colorado State: I actually think they’ll trade up to get Smith because he’ll be taken earlier, but I wanted the Sixers to get him anyway.
  1. Charlotte Bobcats- Daequan Cook, SG, Ohio State: He hardly played at Ohio State, so the Bobcats can make up for lost time when they weren’t able to draft Marvin Williams two years ago.
  1. New York Knicks- Morris Almond, SG, Rice: Remember when the Knicks lost two first round picks in that trade for that player I can’t remember?
  1. Phoenix Suns- Marco Belinelli, SG, Italy: Andrea Bargnani didn’t get many minutes for Toronto last year, so the Suns can make a nice value pick here by taking a guy from the same country and give him the same minutes.
  1. Utah Jazz- Sean Williams, FC, Boston College: The Jazz could go a number of ways here, so they’ll take the guy who didn’t even play half of last season.
  1. Houston Rockets- Derrick Byars, SF, Vanderbilt: The Rockets will continue to be a two man team until they stop trading high lottery picks for players like Shane Battier.
  1. Detroit Pistons- Gabe Pruitt, PG, Southern California: The Pistons accidentally ended up with two first round picks, so they’ll grab a PG to replace the departing Billups.
  1. San Antonio Spurs- Marc Gasol, FC, Spain: It wouldn’t be a draft without the Spurs taking a foreign player that will bust onto the scene in three years and make everyone wonder “Damn, how do the Spurs do it?”
  1. Phoenix Suns- Wilson Chandler, SF, DePaul: He has great athleticism, so the Suns will continue to have highly competitive conditioning sessions instead of working on their defense.
  1. Philadelphia 76ers- Petteri Koponen, PG, Finland: The Sixers aren’t going to be picking at 30, but in this mock without trades, I have to give them someone here.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Grow a pair

Not updating the blog for a month, or losing by 12 runs to the worst team in baseball?

Personally, I’ll take the blog. I want to update this more, obviously. As a baseball fan, that was humiliating. Even if I wasn’t a Phillies fan, I would feel bad for them.

I’m not even going to complain about Charlie Manuel. I’m beyond that. I don’t like him, but here’s a a fact: Charlie Manuel does not make you give up 17 runs. Yeah, no one can figure out his plan when it comes to managing the bullpen. The days he chooses to start or bench guys are baffling. It’s hard to understand what he’s saying. I don’t care.

The Phillies, specifically the bullpen, had their manliness stripped from them. Rod Barajas was ahead of the game, he got it taken care of a few weeks ago. 17 runs. Need I say more?

Yes, I do. That’s ridiculous. Jamie Moyer didn’t have his best stuff. It happens. When you pitch the way he does, you’re going to have days where you can’t feel out your curve and changeup and you’ll give up 6 runs in 4 innings, or however much he pitched. With this offense, it shouldn’t be a problem to overcome that, and it wasn’t. Howard’s HR made it a 6-5 game before it happened.

11 runs. 11 unanswered runs. It went from a one run game to a twelve run game. All from the bullpen. It’s inexcusable. This is a team that has guys hitting below .200 in the middle of the lineup. They can’t score runs, but somehow, the circus allowed them to plate 11 straight to finish an embarrassing game.

Fast forward a couple weeks.

Phillies vs. Indians. Jon Lieber is struggling once again, but they’re nursing a 4-2 lead. Jason Michaels leads off and he makes the first out. Half an hour later, the Indians still only have one out and 8 more runs are on the board. How is that possible?

I don’t know. I don’t get it. It’s mind boggling. I mean, come on. Reach back and make good pitches. If you’re on the mound and giving up hits to 9 straight batters, you really have to question yourself. At some point, you have to find it within yourself to make pitches. You’re getting paid a lot of money to do it. Do your job.

After an off day today, the Phillies have six gimmes against the Cardinals and Reds. Winning less than four is simply unacceptable. I expect five wins, and I know that’s being really optimistic. Staying within 2 games of the Mets heading into the huge four game series will be great. CBP will be rocking.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

One to Thirty: 2B

  1. Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies- He’s had the best bat among 2B again, but he’s also added great defense to his game.
  1. B.J. Upton, Tampa Bay Devil Rays- Two months of great play may not be deserving of the #2 slot, but he’s finally showing his five tools.
  1. Brian Roberts, Baltimore Orioles- Roberts first broke out a few years ago, and he’s remained a consistent all-around player.
  1. Placido Polanco, Detroit Tigers- He makes great contact and has a nice glove. You can always count on him for a good AB.
  1. Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati Reds- After struggling in Cleveland, a trade to Cincinnati jumpstarted his career.
  1. Kelly Johnson, Atlanta Braves- Johnson is a young guy who broke out in 2007 and continues to swing a hot bat.
  1. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox- Pedroia is another highly ranked inexperienced player, but he’s really helped Boston at the top of their lineup.
  1. Dan Uggla, Florida Marlins- A 2006 Rule V pick who stuck, Uggla has a pretty good bat, but not a very good glove.
  1. Robinson Cano, New York Yankees- Cano should be better than this, but he had a really slow start and is just now rebounding.
  1. Orlando Hudson, Arizona Diamondbacks- He’s apparently added offense to match his good glove.
  1. Rickie Weeks, Milwaukee Brewers- Weeks still has a lot of potential, but he’s not close to reaching it yet. Still a nice player.
  1. Jeff Kent, Los Angeles Dodgers- It finally looks like Kent may be falling off the map after a great career (on the field).
  1. Jose Lopez, Seattle Mariners- Underrated as a rookie, Lopez has built on last year and is even better.
  1. Aaron Hill, Toronto Blue Jays- This is the point where all the 2B become average. Hill does nothing great, but does most things well.
  1. Howie Kendrick, Anaheim Angels- Kendrick is a great contact guy, but the power isn’t what you would like to see yet.
  1. Mark Ellis, Oakland A’s- He’s supposed to break out at some point, but he’s still been about average.
  1. Mark DeRosa, Chicago Cubs- This utility journeyman finally broke out in Texas last year, but he’s still pretty average.
  1. Ray Durham, San Francisco Giants- Durham had a career renaissance last year, but he’s not hitting very well now.
  1. Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers- Kinsler has potential to get better, but right now, he has to avoid being this year’s Jonny Gomes.
  1. Tadahito Iguchi, Chicago White Sox- It took Iguchi a nice hitting streak to even reach the below average spectrum this season.
  1. Marcus Giles, San Diego Padres- Giles had a mildly interesting power shortage in a span of 3 years, when he lost 140 points on his SLG%.
  1. Luis Castillo, Minnesota Twins- Once Castillo loses his speed, things aren’t going to be pretty for him.
  1. Josh Barfield, Cleveland Indians- He had a solid rookie season with San Diego, but he’s really struggling this season.
  1. Jose Valentin, New York Mets- Valentin is another guy that suddenly became decent again with the Mets.
  1. Freddy Sanchez, Pittsburgh Pirates- Last year’s season is such an aberration it’s not even funny.
  1. Mark Grudzielanek, Kansas City Royals- I don’t know why the Royals signed this guy, they need to be rebuilding.
  1. Felipe Lopez, Washington Nationals- After a great season last year, Lopez isn’t even stealing bases well this year.
  1. Kaz Matsui, Colorado Rockies- I refuse to believe he’s turned the corner and is a serviceable player. He just can’t be.
  1. Craig Biggio, Houston Astros- Just get 3000 hits and retire please.
  2. Adam Kennedy, St. Louis Cardinals- He wasn’t very good when the Cardinals first had him, he wasn’t very good when the Angels got him, and he’s not very good now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Holmgren's Fast Start

Yesterday, Flyers’ GM Paul Holmgren got a head start in free agency, when he signed D Kimmo Timonen to a 6 year, 37.8 million dollar contract and winger Scott Hartnell to a 6 year, 25.2 million dollar contract.

Holmgren was able to do this by taking advantage of the Predators’ ownership situation. Fearing the difficulty of bringing back the two players, the Preds opted to send exclusive negotiating rights for them to the Flyers for their own first round pick, originally traded to the Flyers in the Peter Forsberg trade. Holmgren then inked them to the contracts.

Exclusive negotiating rights are pretty interesting. I can’t remember an instance in any other sport where something like this was done. Hell, it’s not even allowed in a lot of video games. A team throws up a white flag and says “Alright, we’re not getting this guy back. Can we salvage anything out of this?” There’s no compensation system in place for lost free agents in the NHL, so this is a wise road to go down for the Predators. Instead of Timonen and Hartnell walking and the Predators being left empty handed, they at least get a first round pick they can use to add some more depth to the organization.

In Timonen, the Flyers get a skilled veteran with great leadership. He’s a 1-2 defenseman, so he’s a huge boost to a defense corps sorely needing it. He was Nashville’s captain last year, and with a vacancy in the role for Philadelphia, he might get the C here as well. In 06-07, he set a career high in points with 55 and tied a career high in goals with 13. He should help bolster a weak powerplay at the point. He’s also a presence defensively, and his skills should mesh well with Derian Hatcher’s. As an added bonus, if he doesn’t get traded, the Flyers are hoping Joni Pitkanen can improve with Timonen’s Finnish influence.

Scott Hartnell’s ability will be a welcome change from some of the Flyers’ offensive possessions last year. He’s a gritty, hard working type with scoring ability. At times last year, more often than not, the Flyers lacked puck possession ability. There was no fore-check, and this lead to a lot of turnovers and a lot of opportunities wasted without shots. Hartnell will bring a physical presence to hopefully the second line that will allow the Flyers to sustain attacks and fire more shots. This will also be a plus on the PP, and he’ll help out on both ends of the ice.

The contracts look big and expensive, and the Flyers are hoping for a couple things. One, the market needs to keep getting bigger and the cap needs to keep getting raised so other players will become paid accordingly. Secondly, they’re hoping Timonen is still a competent player late in his contract. The deal is frontloaded, so if he ever has any problems, it won’t end up hurting the team as much.

Scott Hartnell’s getting paid more than what he should for what he’s done in his career, but he’s still young. He has a lot of room for improvement and by the end of his contract, he should be a better player. If he reaches his potential of being a 30 goal scorer, he’ll earn his money. If he continues to dabble around 20 or becomes a typical checking line player, it’s not going to look as good.

No matter the salaries, you can’t argue with what Holmgren did. He took proactive steps to improve the team. They have nowhere to go but up. With his quick start to the offseason, he’s free to pursue that #1 center the team needs, hopefully Scott Gomez. With the draft on Friday and the real start of free agency not far behind, the Flyers have a great shot at getting back to where all the fans want them to be.

One to Thirty and One to Fourteen: 1B and DH

First base come first, and then a supplemental DH list.

  1. Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals- He’s already one of the best hitters of our generation, let’s see how he stacks up all time.
  1. Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies- He may never hit 58 again, but he’s got one of the best power strokes in the game.
  1. Lance Berkman, Houston Astros- He’s a great hitter whose numbers could look even better for a better team.
  1. Mark Teixeira, Texas Rangers- Teixeira is one of the better switch hitters in the game, and he has a Gold Glove to his credit.
  1. Derrek Lee, Chicago Cubs- He had a great 05 before a wrist injury slowed him down in 2006. He’s bouncing back nicely.
  1. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers- Huge power hitter that’s in the mold of Ryan Howard.
  1. Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins- Last year’s MVP is finally putting up numbers after a slow start to his career.
  1. Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies- Helton is having a good rebound year after a couple mediocre seasons for his standards.
  1. Carlos Delgado, New York Mets- Delgado is suffering through a prolonged slump in 07, but he has a lot of power.
  1. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres- After being traded a couple times, this former #1 pick has a home in the middle of the Padre lineup.
  1. Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox- He’s showing pretty good pop and has been batting behind Manny lately.
  1. Casey Kotchman, Anaheim Angels- Another former top prospect who has taken longer than expected to develop.
  1. Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox- He struggled mightily early in the year, but he’s not hitting as bad lately.
  1. Carlos Pena, Tampa Bay Devil Rays- After being out of the majors for a brief time, Pena has come back better than ever, but has been awful against lefties.
  1. Nick Johnson, Washington Nationals- Hasn’t played in 2007.
  1. Nomar Garciaparra, Los Angeles Dodgers- The veteran has been wildly inconsistent, and hasn’t been what the Dodgers need out of the middle of the lineup guy.
  1. Ryan Garko, Cleveland Indians- Former catcher who was moved to first to get some at bats with Victor Martinez behind the plate.
  1. Sean Casey, Detroit Tigers- He has almost no pop in his bat left, but he can field and his for contact.
  1. Mike Jacobs, Florida Marlins- Young slugger who still needs at bats against lefties to get better.
  1. Lyle Overbay, Toronto Blue Jays- Usually pretty underrated, average player.
  1. Aubrey Huff, Baltimore Orioles- Huff is a notorious slow starter, but he’s at the point where he needs to pick it up a bit.
  1. Conor Jackson, Arizona Diamondbacks- Decent player now, and he’ll be a lot better in a few years.
  1. Adam LaRoche, Pittsburgh Pirates- Last year was probably an aberration. He’s not very good.
  1. Dan Johnson, Oakland A’s- He can take a walk, but he’s decidedly average in everything else.
  1. Ryan Klesko, San Francisco Giants- Another strict platoon guy that’s hard to judge. His career is winding down.
  1. Scott Hatteberg, Cincinnati Reds- He never hits lefties and is just mediocre all around.
  1. Doug Mientkiewicz, New York Yankees- He can’t hit, but his glove somehow makes him valuable to someone.
  1. Richie Sexson, Seattle Mariners- Dollar for dollar, Sexson is bar none the most overpaid player in baseball.
  1. Scott Thorman, Atlanta Braves- He needs to shorten his swing in half before he ever becomes anything in the majors.
  1. Ryan Shealy, Kansas City Royals- He’s looking like a strong candidate for the starting 1B job on the AAAA All-Star team.


  1. David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox- He’s a huge bat that the Sox can count on every single year.
  1. Travis Hafner, Cleveland Indians- Having a bit of a down year in his contract year, but he’s still a dangerous batter.
  1. Jim Thome, Chicago White Sox- Going back to the AL has rejuvenated this fan favorite’s career.
  1. Gary Sheffield, Detroit Tigers- After a horribly start, Sheffield is swinging the bat well for his new club.
  1. Frank Thomas, Toronto Blue Jays- He’s not producing the way the Blue Jays would like, but he’s still an intimidating force.
  1. Sammy Sosa, Texas Rangers- On the verge of a huge milestone, Sosa came back into baseball and is having a nice year for himself.
  1. Mike Piazza, Oakland A’s- He’s spent most of the year on the DL, so the effects of only having to hit haven’t been seen yet.
  1. Jason Giambi, New York Yankees- With or without steroids, he’s a decent hitter with a good eye.
  1. Kevin Millar, Baltimore Orioles- Being a good clubhouse guy is the extent of his usefulness.
  1. Jose Vidro, Seattle Mariners- He’s not a typical DH guy, but he needs to play somewhere.
  1. Mike Sweeney, Kansas City Royals- He’s a shell of his former self.
  2. Rocco Baldelli, Tampa Bay Devil Rays- I guess only hitting will help out his frequent injuries.
  1. Jeff Cirillo, Minnesota Twins- Wow.
  2. Shea Hillenbrand, Anaheim Angels- He can’t play.