Tuesday, July 1, 2014

USA Eliminated... This Isn't Good

When I say this isn't good I mean this isn't good for the future of American soccer. I can officially say that we are the epitome of a luke warm team. The past 2 World Cups we lost in the round of 16 and we did so in extra time. We have the capability of leaving the group stages but we can't get over that round of 16 hump. And I need to delve into this further. We are BARELY missing the quarterfinals, I mean BARELY. It's not like we win easy groups and then get housed the next round. We barely miss out. I feel like we're the only team in the world who is like this. Like the teams that lost in the round of 16 this year the USA could have easily beaten (Mexico, Greece, Switzerland, Nigeria, Algeria). With the exception of maybe Uruguay and Chile I honestly think we could have beaten any of those other teams.

This pains me to say but I truly think American soccer is in a bad place. I'm not trying to be a pessimist but I think we've seriously regressed from our stellar run in 2002. That year we made the quarters and almost beat Germany. Then in 2006 we got smushed and then the past 2 World Cups were kind of underwhelming.

I hate to bring this up but your simply not gonna win over the casual soccer fan with performances like these. I love soccer and will watch this team any day but it's getting tough to defend them when they don't at least make a serious, deep run in this tournament. If we have legitimately come such a long way then we absolutely CANNOT be content with winning only 1 singular game in this World Cup. I mean I absolutely LOVE when people say that we were in the Group of Death. Hello! Did any of you dummies see Group B! I understand Spain was heinous but prior to the tournament that group had the two teams that played for the World Cup 4 years ago!! That was a much tougher group than ours. You guys gotta know that just because Portugal has Ronaldo it doesn't mean they are any good. Or how about Costa Rica having to play against Uruguay and Italy? Uruguay was in the semis 4 years ago and Italy were clicking on all cylinders prior to Brazil.

I'm not trying to sound like Pres over at Barstool but I agree with him in one respect: you can't seriously be happy or proud or even content with the American's performance here in Brazil. Especially if you claim that "we've come a long way as a soccer nation."

Every four years we hear from idiots like Twellman and Lalas that soccer is growing in America and that it's getting huge. Uhh, I've been hearing that since 2002. But here's the thing: it actually was growing and it made sense. Prior to 2002 there really wasn't much American soccer history. People my age have grown up with legends such as Donovan, Dempsey, McBride, Reyna, Keller and Howard.

The truth of the matter is that soccer is stagnant in this country. It's not regressing. I don't think it's popularity will ever significantly decrease but I'm not expecting it to increase sharply. At least not anytime soon and it's a damn shame. 

Look, it may sound like I'm bashing my own sport but I'm just being a realist. Obviously I'll never go so far as to disliking the sport but it's growth is seriously concerning me.

PS- For all of those idiots out there who say "thank God it's over" or "finally, now all the bandwagoners can shut up." I want you to know that by saying that you were rooting against the United States. I'm not gonna make a patriotic joke or anything, just know that if you're happy that people in the USA will stop chirping about the World Cup then that means you literally did not want the United States of America to win in a competition. Food for thought, assholes.

PPS- Tim Howard is a top 3 goalie in the entire world. I've been saying it for 6 years now.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Denver Gets Afflalo In A Steal

The wizard Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Orlando has traded 28 year old swing man Arron Afflalo to the Nuggets for the 21 year old Frenchman, Evan Fournier, and the 56th pick in this years draft. Assuming the government doesn't get involved on any interstate violations of the Commerce Clause, it appears the Nuggets will be getting away with robbery.

Look, I get that this trade and the Mavs-Knicks trade are precursors to future moves, but I do not see the value in trading a valuable commodity in Afflalo, a guy who put up nearly 19 ppg last season with a  PER of 16. He is not overpaid, coming in right in at just under $8mil a year over the next two seasons. That is what you pay players of Afflalo's skill set. To give you some context, that is what guys like Trevor Ariza, Ersan Illyasova and John Salmons are paid. Afflalo is better than all of them.

Some are reporting this move is step one in the Nuggets plan to get an elite like Love. I'm going to hold off on explaining how that's possible, but tonight will give us some more answers. As for the Magic, I don't see any logic in trading an established veteran who can be a leader on a young team, for a bag of bargain french fries and a bench player. Again, they may have a separate angle to play in dumping Afflalo's salary and giving themselves some flexibility this Summer. Who knows.

What I do know is that if the status quo stays, the Magic will continue to suck and people will continue to not give a shit about them. They could have had the chance to go Exum-Oladipo-Afflalo or Smart-Oladipo-Afflao next year, but I guess they wanted some French, which history has shown us, will lead to likely defeat and/or further humiliation.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jay Crawford, What Happened?!

     So that sexy minx Sage Steele tweeted this out last night and my goodness, what the hell happened to Jay Crawford's face?! Guy you're supposed to be 48 years old, I've seen turds look healthier than you. You have two kids for christ sakes, how about you clean it up for your family one time. Hey Knoxville, if you ever need a stunt devil for Bad Grandpa 2, Jay could probably use the work. Pretty sure this is the creation of Bob Barker making whoopie with Snooki. Get it together man, you're supposed to be a face on the worldwide leader in sports. Maybe throw some SPF 80 on that mug and we can get you looking normal again. And while you're at it, how about you try and find your eyebrows. The makeup team at ESPN clearly hate when you walk in the door, it must be an absolute project. Those poor souls must go home from work everyday mentally exhausted from the time spent making this young Benny Button look human. God bless them, god bless them all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sign the Man? Luol Deng

Sign the Man is back and this week it's time to take a look at an unhappy guy in Cleveland….

Shit, that doesn't narrow it down much. Take two.

Sign the Man is back and this week it's time to take a look at long, defensive-minded small forward from South Sudan who is unhappy in Cleveland.

If you guessed Kueth Duany then you would be the kind of guy I'd love to talk shop with, but you would also be wrong. Kueth's back in Sudan fixing his country. No better man for that tall drink of a job.

The real answer is the 7th pick of the 2004 NBA draft, Mr. Luol Deng, and as one of the best unrestricted free agents on the market, the man is going to have some options.

His History

Over the course of his 10 year career, Luol Deng has been a fantastic role player capable of shouldering the teams load for stretches. His career basic-stat averages are this:

16 ppg/6.3rbg/2.5apg/1.5 stockspg

His metrics reflect the above written stat line showing a PER of 15.8 and a career total of 60.6 Win Shares. He is a 2x NBA All-Star. He was second team All-Defense in 2012. He even showed the decency to go out and win a damn Sportsmanship Award in 2007, which also happened to be his best statistical season having shot 51% from the field.

He plays with the efficiency you would expect from a guy who led a team like Duke to the Final Four. For nine seasons, he performed, entertained and impressed the Chicago Bulls organization and its fans in a professional way. He was the How I Met Your Mother of athletic wings.

But then….


I recall one time being in an airport and overhearing a male flight attendant say "Never stay at the Comfort Inn in Toledo" and since then my vision of Northern Ohio has plummeted to a low that rivals Herman Boone's tolerance of fumbling the football. There is no doubt that Deng experienced the permanent dark cloud south of Lake Erie and his performance reflected that. It's now known that he did not enjoy his time in Cleveland, and he has no plans to resign with them this offseason. Despite the pain of leaving Chicago, a place that was his home for nine years, Deng still put up his traditional 15+ PER and averaging around 14 ppg in Cleveland. All that is good and dandy, but while in Cleveland, he lost more than a drunk-father-of-four at the track. At 29, and at the back nine of a very successful career, there is no doubt that Deng will want to to find a team that can not only win, but also not be Cleveland.

His Value

Deng made just over $14 million last year, but it will likely take a miracle or a splash of agent-to-GM extortion for him to match that again for his post-30 contract. Last year, he turned down a 3 year $30 million extension from the Bulls. This suggests that if you want Luol Deng this off-season you need to make him an offer of something north of $10 mil/year, but south of $14 mil/year, unless of course you enjoy overpaying for things, in which case may I suggest a Floyd Mayweather fight?

Nevertheless, Deng has a comrade in Andre Iguodala to point to in negotiating contracts for free agent small forwards around 30. Statistics show that Iggy has been a slightly better player over his career when compared to Deng, but those numbers are inflated due to the fact that Iggy was the go-to player in Philly for much of his career. Iguodala signed a 4 year/$48mil deal with Golden State and earned himself a First Team All-Defense nod. Those numbers are well-within Deng's wheelhouse and is likely what he will be seeking.

What's Going To Happen?

If you recall last season, Igoudala actually took a slight pay cut to play in Golden State. He was apparently an hour away from signing with Dallas, he received a larger offer from Sacramento, but ultimately he really wanted to be a part of Steph Curry-led attack.

This summer, I don't think Dallas is going to let another opportunity to get a veteran wing man to pair with Dirk and Monta Ellis (assuming they both resign) pass. Contract details will largely depend on what happens with Dirk, but recent sources are saying Mark Cuban wants Luol Deng and is going to make a hard sell to get him in early July. Since I am in a predicting mood, I would guess that Deng will get a two year deal worth around to $25mil/year. He has a history with injuries, and if Dallas is going to sandwich him with a potential nucleus of Dirk, Monta and maybe Pau Gasol, then they need long term flexibility. Again it is very hard to say if that is even possible because all four of those players will want hefty money, but his fit and price tag seem about right.

And if he happens to get a slight more than Igoudala's average of $12mil/year, then I can only hope that he sends the surplus back to Kueth Duany and the boys back in South Sudan.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Erin Andrews: Queen of the Awkward Kiss

     Yikes EA! Forced doesn't even begin to describe how awkward this smooch is! Can we just take a minute out of our stressful lives and marvel at this catastrophe.
     First of all, kissing someone with shades on is a HUGE mistake. You know how easy it is to ruin a romantic moment with sunglasses on?? EA doesn't exactly have a cute button nose, and once you hit the shades into an awkward tilt with that honker the romanticism turns to uncomfortableness real quick. High Risk, Low Reward scenario we've got here, some real risky business.

     Secondly, why the hell are they so far apart?! This is the cup we're talking about, not a tree stump! I seriously can't tell if EA is helping or hurting the cause with that awkward hand positioning. And I'm not talking about the left hand either, I'm looking at that right shoulder grab. My God, you might as well keep it behind your back! And how about the poor single guy lurking in the background just smiling his dignity away. Dudes don't smile when their friends kiss their girlfriends, that's just a fact of life. Either he was paid off, or has seen EA's peephole video and has been smirking like that all day.

     Lastly, you got it, the scrunched up pucker. GROSSS!! This is a classic "Hey lets kiss with the Cup and look cute for all my friends" picture that just turned out like shit. Every girl does this so other girls can get jealous of their boyfriends and their great relationship or some crap. I see your games you hawk, but how about a re-take next time instead of instantly making 2 million followers want to give themselves the old Clockwork Orange treatment?!


P.S. If you didn't think this was entertaining, just go check out Jarret Stolls stats.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Smart Decision

     Now that Golden State has decided to offer 2 NBA All-Stars, a 1st round pick, and half of San Francisco for Kevin Love, I think it's time we start considering what the C's should do with the 6th overall pick. Assuming that Embiid (despite injury), Jabari, Wiggins, Exum, and Vonleh are gone in the top 5, that leaves the Celtics with a choice between Marcus Smart, Julius Randle, and Aaron Gordon. And lets be honest, maybe these guys aren't the hottest chicks at the bar, but each one of them could develop into wifey material. But we have a log jam at Forward so Randle would be a tough fit, especially with Sullinger developing, and Gordon is a freak athlete who can't shoot the pill yet. With all due respect for Randle and Gordon, I think Marcus Smart is the choice here, and let me tell you why:

Pro Smart: 

     First of all, the guys a monster, and we all saw that in not only his freshman year at OK ST, but his sophomore year as well. But I'm not just going to give you my personal opinions about how I think he is the best competitor in the draft with Dwayne Wade-esque potential, I'm going to hit you with some stone cold facts.

Marcus Smart Stats vs. Ranked Teams: (9 games)

23.0 ppg, 5.4 reb, 2.5 stl

     Averaging 5 more points per game than your season average against ranked opponents gets Skard all sorts of hot and bothered. Not to mention, for a guard, this guy eats boards like its nobodys business. And yes he was suspended this past year which would normally cause concern about his character and maturity, but if some red neck started chirping me at work, you bet your sweet cheeks I'd lose my mind as well. I think it should also be noted that Smart is from Flower Mound, Texas. FLOWER MOUND! Christ, can you get any cuter! You can't have character issues from Flower Mound, you just can't.

Pro Dumb:

     It can't be all rainbows and butterflies with the 6th pick, thats just not the way the world works. So here is the Celtics issue; they already have an all-star point guard. Rondo has recently become the C's captain and face of the franchise. Combine that with Danny Ainges patience rivaling a toddlers on christmas morning and we have a less than ideal scenario. Critics will say we don't need another point guard, even though we need just about every position on the floor right now.

     So the Celtic fan simpletons will come out in droves saying "build around Rondo" and "trade the pick for a starter". My god you're dumb. Take a look at the conference finals this year and tell me what you see. 3 of the 4 teams (Spurs, Thunder, Pacers) were homegrown teams who had patience and became perennial contenders. The other team sold their soul for LeBron. It's incredible how many fans just want to be like the Knicks and diminish their assets for an average team.

     No, the Celtics will not be contenders next year if they draft Marcus Smart and say Zach Lavine with the 17th pick. But Smart is going to be a STUD in the NBA and let's be realistic for a second, Rome wasn't built in a day. And I love the Celtics outlook if we have this lineup moving forward with 2 first rounders from now until there's peace in the Middle East:

PG: Marcus Smart
G:   Zach Lavine
SF:  Jeff Green
PF:  Jared Sullinger
C:    Next years top draft pick (Jahlil Okafor perhaps?)

P.S.     Since the Kings are looking to trade their 8th overall pick for an All-Star caliber player to pair with Boogie Cousins, maybe they would entertain this:

    *Celtics get 8th overall and draft Aaron Gordon. Bam. Dream scenario complete.

...with that said I'm pretty much willing to accept any scenario that involves us keeping the pick and drafting any one of these future savages.