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.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Kawhi Leonard's Middle School ID Has Me In Tears

First thing that came to my mind? Commitment. Kawhi's been rockin' the braids since his balls dropped. I dare you to name another NBA player with corn rows that still plays today... and is even remotely relevant. That style was hot back when Iverson and Ben Wallace played but at least they had fancy designs and what not. Kawhi's braids are just so early 2000's and he simply doesn't seem to care.

It works for him though. Kid is making a run at finals MVP. Meanwhile in my middle school ID I had a full blown mustache.

PS- LeBron's actually been sporting the receding hairline look since he was like 3 so props to him on his commitment to the hair game as well.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

World Cup Preview!

Look, I know I normally fool around and post some light stuff with about 2 paragraphs but this is serious. This is the World Cup. This is the greatest sporting event ever. Super Bowl? Nope. World Series? Stop. Literally anything else? Spare me. I'll let you bingers in on a secret... Blob has a post about how soccer sucks and he's had it lined allll the way up since last year. Wah Wah Wah, soccer is boring, it sucks, nobody cares... well bite me. I don't need Blob's take or any other Americans. It's the most popular sport in the goddamn world for a reason... so lets break it down:

Group A:
No brainer... it's Brazil. You're on your own soil. Neymar is a beast and at the end of the day they have the most pressure of any team to ever play a world cup match. They are Brazil... in Brazil... that's all you need to know. Watch for Neymar and Hulk's huge ass.

Group B:
Uh Spain? But it doesn't matter. The 2 finalists from 2010 are in the same group which is kind of absurd. I love the Dutch. But this really is a 2 horse race. It doesn't matter who finshes first or second because they are both nasty. But bullet to cranium... gimme Spain. Actually, here's the thing, people don't realize Spain is still unreal. Haven't really lost much of their flawless team from South Africa.

Group C:
Japan. EVERYONE sleeps on Japan every single year and I don't understand why. This is a competitive group but Keisuke Honda has one of the best free kicks ever. Literally ever. You can't foul these guys anywhere near the 18 otherwise it could be some real trouble. Also, I think Ivory Coast is gonna be dog shit. Everyone knows Didier and the Toure brothers but they are junk.

Group D:
Italy. Balotelli. That's all you need to know. Most lethal forward in the game. He's an idiot but he also has a foot made of gold. I don't want you guys hitching your wagons to Uruguay. Everyone is hoppin on Suarez's nuts but let ol tio let you in on another secret... He won't perform. He will get shut down. No Suarez, no Forlan... no offense. Noche Noche. I'll take Forza.

Group E:
Toughest one to predict because they all suck. I'm gonna take Honduras. Cinderella team and the Concaf gets NEGATIVE love. To this day I will never respect France. The past 2 world cups have been disgraceful. Zidane in 2006 and their pant pooping in 2010.

Group F:
Argentina. About time, man. They always get jobbed. Messi, it's your time to be a hero. The other 3 teams are hideous. Wrap it up.

Group G:
Germany. Group of death. Most people won't like this take but the Americans are cooked. I said this since the draw. It's not fair to place us in Portugal and Germany but that's the way the milk distills. I just can't wait for USA v. Germany. Mainly because I want to see how Jurgy performs against the mother land. I feel like he will be out for blood. It has it all, really. But I'll take the Krauts. They are so damn mechanical and disciplined. They have some of my favorite players: Muller, Bastian, Gotze. They will win that group relatively easily. That said, Portugal is still nasty because of that animal C Ron.

Group H:
Belgium. I have MONSTER hopes for this team. I'm talking like semi final hopes. Everyone knows about Eden Hazard but Vincent Kompany gets no love. Guy has held it down for the Premier winners because he is an amazing defender. Give me a million Kompany's and you will go far.

That's it and that's all. Go USA!

PS- Blob's the type of cat that loves the show Louie when in reality that show sucks but he will tell you that you don't understand comedy.

PPS- Love you, Blob.

Friday, June 6, 2014


Ungrateful assholes. Everyone involved. The whistle blowers, the fans who care and now the players. They are all a joke.

1) Whistle blowers are clearly just snobby stuck up jokes who want their moment of fame. They don't like basketball and are sick of these classroom slackers. I get that. I wouldn't write a paper for a player either without some compensation coming back my way. But agree to it, make your deal, whatever you need to do and then shut it.

2) The fans who care have to be fans of Ivy League schools or the Stanford/Notre Dame/BC's of the world who took the high road with this student/athlete standard. Big time sports fans as a general rule must know these players, of any sport, are not all meant to attend elite University's. They just happened to have a differentiating factor that exists outside of the classroom that provides them admittance. Sports are entertainment, they are not this moral high road. Once upon a time entertainers were looked down upon as a lower class. I am not telling anyone who they should look up to but people need to take things at face value. If you love college basketball it is certainly not based on McCants writing ability.

3) Rashard McCants was a good college basketball player. He was not good enough to continue entertaining and is grasping back at the limelight. I do not know who McCants thinks he is to blame the school who offered him a community, a place to play ball and the opportunity to learn. The University understood school was not his first priority and provided an out which he took. He is simply taking advantage of a situation and then screwing over the school that helped him.

I know McCants helped the University, in winning a National Championship, and plenty of other schools would have taken him. It is not like UNC was the only one who reached out but that is where he ended up and that is who helped him.

This I ripped right off the ESPN article
"If there are Carolina fans that don't like what's I'm saying and don't like what's happening right now, they need to look in the mirror, see that it's a bigger picture," he said. "... I'm putting my life on the line for the younger generation right now, and I know that nobody else wants to step up and speak out because everybody's afraid, fear, submission, especially the black athletes ... . "College was a great experience, but looking back at it, now it's almost a tragedy because I spent a lot of my time in a class I didn't do anything in."


The only people allowed to be upset are athletes who took on a full class load while competing at such a high level. They can be upset but hopefully first and foremost they did it to improve their life after school and can laugh at McCants for taking the road easily traveled.

Another aside, according to McCan'ts Wikipedia he had a relationship with Khloe on the Kar'dash. They split due to his infidelity...And his sister's name is Rashanda. Yes Rashard and Rashanda.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The NFL. Too Big To Fail?

Let me preempt this article by saying that I LOVE the NFL – everything about it. It’s the most popular sport in America by a landslide and for good reason. That will not change any time soon.

Still, the question remains, will there ever come a point when fans grow a little tired of just how much the league is constantly in our faces? It may not be in our lifetimes, but it’s tough not to consider the possibility.

People have been discussing this issue for some time now, but in light of the recent “news” that the Super Bowl 50 logo will not feature Roman Numerals it really struck a chord with me. Seriously, this is what we’re doing now? Making a big deal about the freaking logo? Who gives a shit if it has Roman Numerals in it or not? Why is this even being discussed? We haven’t even crossed into the summer season yet and teams are just starting OTAs. Never mind the fact that Super Bowl 50 isn’t until 2016.

The NFL regular season starts at the beginning of September and culminates at the beginning of February with the Super Bowl, one of the best days of the year (that’s not an opinion, that’s a fact). All in all, there are about five months of meaningful, gut-wrenching, thrill-inducing football in the calendar year. I’ll throw in August because it’s always cool to see how things work out for teams in training camp and preseason. So let’s top it at six months. Half the year. Most people (myself included) would say it’s not enough. Between living and dying with fantasy football teams and caring way too much about your favorite team, it’s all just so damn good.

BUT in today’s day-in-age there is no such thing as an “offseason.” Anything and everything that goes on with the league is scrutinized and deliberated all year long.

The NFL is a cash cow in every sense of the phrase.

The problem is that the fat cats who run the league are acutely aware of this – and are exhausting all options to milk every penny out of the enterprise.

It seems like there are more and more in-game commercials. The ads are incessant all year round. There is a 24-hour channel dedicated to it, and people probably know more about some dude the Buccaneers drafted in the 6th round of the draft than they know about important things like the federal interest rate or Barry Obama’s foreign policies. Such is life in general in the 21st century, but I digress.

League execs want to extend the regular season to 18 games, add coverage to optional workouts, and move a team (or multiple) to London. (Seriously? London?!) People obsess over the free agency period to see which big player their team might land – even if it means staying up all night refreshing their Twitter timeline. Raise your hand if this person is you (I slowly raise mine). As a reminder, this happens in MARCH. Hell, this year’s draft was pushed back and drawn out over an entire weekend just to build as much hype as possible. The analysis was borderline nauseating. I’m also fairly sure McShay and Kiper have already drawn up mock drafts 1.0 and 1.01 for the 2015 draft.

There are games on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Why? Because they know, even when it’s some meaningless Bengals-Dolphins game with Dalton and Tannehill trading awful interceptions, people will be parked on their couches, beer in hand, watching with the highest of interest.

There have been lockouts, strikes, Super Bowl blackouts, concussion lawsuits, sex boat scandals, drunk driving charges/manslaughters, gun charges, and one guy has literally been charged for multiple murders IN COLD BLOOD (who did he play for again?). All these things could have damaged the league’s reputation and forced fans to stop watching.

They didn’t and we haven’t.

The NFL raked in close to $10 BILLION last year, with a B. Forbes says this number could balloon to $25 billion in the not-so-distant future. Let that sink in for a second….

Personally, I hope the success continues and I know I’ll be a fan of the league as long as I’m walking the Earth, but some small part of me in places I don’t like to talk about wishes they would stop throwing every little incident/detail/proposal/transaction in my face. People tend to jump at things that are scarce. The less that is available to them, the more they are going to want it. The NFL needs to ensure it doesn’t expose itself so much that people start to want less of it.

Baseball used to be the most popular sport in this country. Boxing used to be prime entertainment. People used to be considered the wealthiest in the world if they owned a radio or could afford a smart phone. Everything has a tipping point and change is inevitable. I just hope the NFL fat cats realize this and don’t push their luck because eventually there will be a decline. Can you have too much of a good thing? Absolutely.

To conclude, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the Patriots’ potential this year since the team signed Darrelle Revis back in March and I am writing an article about the NFL at the beginning of June. I’d say the league is doing just fine.

Is it September yet?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sign The Man? Eric Bledsoe

As we approach NBA free agency, I'm going to be taking a look at upcoming restricted and unrestricted free agents and addressing their value. Last week we dealt with the Celtics Avery Bradley. This week I take a look at upcoming Suns restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe.

His History

The 18th pick in the 2010 NBA draft, Eric Bledsoe has been hard to figure out ever since he entered Big Blue Nation in 2009. While there, Bledsoe played as a 2 guard next to John Wall, which many think disguised his true skill set. This skill set was further hidden from us after the Clippers traded for Chris Paul in 201, which basically gave Bledsoe no shot at seeing any reasonable burn.  In 2012, Bledsoe showed some promise and potential and got his name floated in a few trades, including the infamous Doc Rivers-to-the-Clippers thing. That season he averaged 8.5 ppg and had a PER of 17.5. He was an above-average guard and he was trending upwards. Eventually, he gets traded to the Suns, a team who likes to turn that game speed setting to high, and Bledsoe came out of his shell like a 10th grade guy who just read a Tale of Two Titties for the first time. He only played 43 games last year, but he showed he could do a little bit of everything. He averaged 17.7 ppg/5.5apg/4.7rbg. His PER was 19.6, and virtually every other metric was solid, if not above average. His game/skill set appeals to both the advanced statistic nerds and the basketball purists. He's the Natalie Portman of basketball players.

We know he is super athletic. We know he is very explosive. But we don't know if he has what it takes to be a Max player, capable of telling his teammates to "jump on his back"a la Cedric Maxwell in the 1984 Finals. The Suns have $30 million in cap space this upcoming season,
which I'm sure has Bledsoe's agent waking up with a boner more often than not. But on the contrary, this cap space is also likely causing Suns GM Ryan McDonough to stare himself in a mirror or two and ask himself this question:

Is Eric Bledsoe a max player?

That depends on a lot of things, most importantly, who Mr. Bledsoe would be surrounded by in the Desert. After all, max players are lot like women, man, it's all how you hold 'em.

His Value

If Bledsoe were to sign a max deal, then he's looking at about $60mil over 4 years. The way max contracts work for players with six or fewer years of experience is to award them a maximum of 25% of the that years salary cap. Thus, 25% of a salary cap of $58.6 mil leaves Bledsoe with a max yearly salary of $14.65 mil. This puts him as a little bit cheaper version of Russell Westbrook, which is actually a pretty decent comparison when you think about.

Obviously, the Suns will wait and see if another team first offers Bledsoe a max contract. This same type of shit happened last year with Phoenix when they tried to poach Eric Gordon away from New Orleans with a maximum salary offer sheet, but New Orleans matched it. Right now, reports are saying Phoenix will match any max offer for Bledsoe. This is probably the wisest move. It's technically a max contract, but there's not much max to it. Like being a Varsity captain, but doing it on the track team.

If I'm His Agent

Give me max money, and bake me a bundtcake. Bargaining-wise, it shouldn't be that difficult to get someone to pay for Bledsoe's services. There are a few troubling aspects, such as surgery to repair torn cartilage in his knee and the fact that we don't know if Bledsoe has what it takes to be an alpha male. But that shouldn't hold any GM's bak. The max money isn't too steep, and the Suns have the juice to keep him out West where he can go to RnR with Subbi in the off-season.

If I'm The Suns

Frankly, I'm worried if I do sign Bledsoe and he does end up going to RnR with Subbi in the off-season. I've been to RnR with Subbi. That's the mans league. Bring your lunch pail to that one, because you're gonna get worked.

More legitimate concerns I would have would be the fact that Bledsoe and Goran "The Dragon" Dragic are pretty similar players who play pretty similar positions. Both are capable of playing the 1 and 2. Both are young and have tremendous upside. But, do I really want put $20mil/year into one combo-guard position (The Dragon gets 7.5 mil a year which is basically a bigger steal than a Danny Ocean movie) or would I prefer to diversify my assets like any half-way decent financial advisor would suggest? With all this cap space, maybe I'm better off going after a different type of player like a defensive instigator/douchebag in Lance Stephenson or a do-it-all big man like Greg Monroe.

The point is just because Eric Bledsoe is on your team, you have the final say in signing him, and he's actually pretty fucking good…it does not mean that you have to do it. The League is littered with max contracts that were signed because it seemed logical at the time and there wasn't an alternative. But that is just the wrong way to look at things. There shouldn't even be discussions of "alternatives." You have your plan and you accomplish that. No detours.  Yes, you may be forced to rely on bargains at times. But, if your plan is build around two combo guards to the tune of 20 million a year then sign Eric Bledsoe. If it's not, then don't sign the man. No matter how reasonable it may seem.

Billy Freaking Beane

So sick of this guy. It's been over 10 years since Moneyball was the big thing, and here is old Billy still kicking every other GM's ass all over the place, most notably GM's named Epstein and Cherington. I still continue to cringe daily when I open up the Athletics box score from the night before, and see that they won thanks to healthy contributions at the plate from Brandon Moss and Jed Lowrie (which happens basically every night). Occasionally Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp join in the fun as well. In case you are not a Sox fan, or just straight up 'ignant', yes, these guys all played for the Red Sox, were all extremely undervalued players, and then ended up on the Athletics, either directly or indirectly, mostly in terrible trades.

                                                             Oh what could have been!

Don't even try to tell me we couldn't use those players now. The Sox just gave Stephen Drew's glove 10 million dollars, and in the process completely hindered the development of our 21 year old SS of the future by moving him to 3rd. Any idea of how this mess would shake down if we still had Lowrie? He would be a dude and move to 3rd base, while continuing to demolish left handed pitching, because that's just the kind of guy he is. Meanwhile, Moss and his 15 big flies would be at 1st base currently with Napoli out, but oh no, what do we do when Napoli comes back? Oh yeah, Moss plays outfield too. Later Hacksaw Gomes, the pine is waiting. Reddick could provide us with much needed outfield depth (later Carp! - he really deserves his own article he is so pathetic) and don't even try to tell me Coco wouldn't be the perfect mentor to our young JBJ. It just makes too much sense. Plus this lineup would suck:

3B Lowrie
SS Bogaerts
2B Pedroia
DH Ortiz
1B Napoli
LF Moss
RF Victorino
C  Pierzynski
CF Bradley Jr.

Meanwhile, the Athletics continue to win baseball games and finish 1st in the AL West with these former Red Sox. God damn it. What infuriates me is how does Beane continue to find value in players that nobody else seems to notice? Everyone should know what he does; I read Moneyball so I know. In essence: fat, old or ugly guys can still hit the ball and get on base. If I were Beane I'd just keep taking talented Red Sox guys that they for some reason don't care about (See: Nava, Daniel), then find one diamond in the rough like Donaldson, keep the rotation stocked with young arms, and boom! 1st place AL West. It's too easy for him. Plus he gets to play the "We are poor and can't afford anyone good" sympathy card, which makes him look even better. What a dog.

Keep on killing it Billy. We're all playing checkers and your just over there saying Checkmate.

PS: The more I think about it, the more I'm sure. Daniel Nava will become an Athletic. It's inevitable.

American Athletic Conference: A Testament to Greatness

Greetings Bingers! It has been a while since you last heard from me. I'm not even sure if you want to hear from me again (yeah, I'm the cynical bastard who hated on the beloved sport of hockey.) But too damn bad. I'm back in the saddle baby. Got myself a new career in the hiatus, because unless the Binge starts challenging Barstool in terms of readership (we got a little ways to go), clearly we all badly need our day jobs.

Color me inspired J-Bone. That A-10 article just brought me back to the glory and excitement that is the spectacle of college basketball. However, I will shift the focus to a real conference that can actually win National Championships, not just put a bunch of mediocre teams in the tournament.

The powerhouse that is the American Athletic Conference has only been in operation for one year. One single season. They took all the fledgling teams that couldn't find a home anywhere else. Basically, they are America during the 19th and 20th centuries, taking in all the poor people from other countries. And we saw how that worked out... yeah, most powerful nation in the world. That can only mean the American will soon be the most powerful conference in the world. So come on in, Eastern Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa, the water is damn fine. In only one year, the conference provided a home for not only your National Champion UConn Huskies, but also top consistently-ranked programs such as Louisville, Memphis and Cincinnati, as well as serious up-and-coming schools like Southern Methodist and Houston. And there's only one reason why UConn made it out of that hell hole alive: Shabazz "He Still Hungry" Napier. Hit the buffet line young man, you've earned it.

UConn's historic run as a 7 seed put them against perennial contenders like Villanova, Michigan State, Florida, and Kentucky. Please, son. We were better tested back in December by Houston, in January by SMU, battled to double OT with Memphis, took 2 to the shorts from Louisville, and then went out and dominated the rest of the nation when it mattered. Seriously, when has any other start-up conference had a stable of fillies as strong as the monsters currently in the AAC. Never, that's when. Pair that up with the most patriotic name humanly possible for a conference, and you got yourself a contender. Look out Pac 12, ACC, and B1G. The AAC is about to take over.

(yeah, that's #4 in 15 years bitches)

But you say, oh wait Moyn, how could situation this possibly get any better?? I'll tell you why. The XL Center in Hartford, CT, home of the Huskies, will be hosting the 2015 AAC Championship. Dear God. Is it November yet?

                                 Long live the AAC! Long live America!

PS: When Connecticut bails out on the AAC in a few years for a better conference, consider this article null and void.

PPS: There will be a follow up preview article about the upcoming season outlooks for each team. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Love Hate Relationship UPDATED!

     If we get Melo I take everything I said earlier back! SHIP THE FARM FOR MELO AND KEVIN LOVE! Oh sweet baby jesus this would be swell! Rondo/Melo/Love is something I could wrap my brain around and accept. BUY BUY BUY!

An A10 Basketball Preview: 1.0

     With the A10 grabbing 6 bids to the big dance last year I think its time they got their own legitimate article. As a Major conference in the NCAA, the people need to know who's who in this league before they lose all their money in ill-advised bets. With that said, I'll give you the predicted top 5 teams going into the 2014-2015 season:

#5) Dayton Flyers

Key Losses: Devin Oliver (12.1 ppg)

Key Recruits: Darrell Davis

     After an impressive run in the tournament, the Flyers can feel good going into this season, even without a solid recruiting class. They are returning their top scorer Jordan Sibert for his senior year, as well as Dyshawn Pierre who was a freak as a sophomore. Not to mention they still have Archie Miller who is believed to be one of the best coaches in college ball and comes from a family of good coaches (see Sean Miller). This team will have an uphill road though having to travel for games against George Washington, VCU, and UMass next season.

In-Conference Prediction: 11-7

#4) George Washington Colonials

Key Losses: Maurice Creek (14.3 ppg), Isaiah Armwood (12.7 ppg)

Key Recruits: Matt Cimino


     The scary part about the Colonials is that their top 3 players this year will only be Juniors. SF Patricio Garino (12.1 ppg), SG Kethan Savage (12.7 ppg), and PF Kevin Larsen (11.4 ppg) make up an outstanding triple threat. This team went 24-9 last year with those three as sophomores! With that many scoring options, the Colonials will at the very least stay close in every game, and it will come down to how well Garino and that nose mole of his can finish. I wouldn't be surprised at all if GW is in and out of the top 25 polls throughout the season. The only reason they are not higher is their tough 2-game conference opponents in Richmond, VCU, and George Mason.

In-Conference Prediction: 11-7 (better out of conference record)

#3) The University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Key Losses: Chaz Williams (15.6 ppg), Raphy Putney (8.8 ppg), Sampson Carter (10.4 ppg)

Key Additions: (potentially) Naadir Tharpe and Rashaan Armstead-Holloway


     This squad took a big hit when they lost their senior leader in Chaz Williams. He's the only 4'8 ft player I've ever seen squeeze his way into a tight hole and get his shot off with ease. Kid played his best when his team looked to be face down, ass up, and led UMass to their first tournament bid since 1998. With that said, this ranking is really leaning on the Minutemen getting Tharpe. Coach Kellogg needs another dynamic playmaker who can run the floor with Gordon, Lalanne, and Esho. It will also be interesting to see how Clyde Santee develops, as he's in line for a big increase in minutes going into his sophomore year. As far as depth goes, this team has one of the deepest benches in the A10 with Berger, Santee, and Trey Davis (again, assuming Tharpe is on the squad). 

In-Conference Prediction: 12-6

#2) University of Rhode Island Rams

Key Losses: Xavier Munford (16.9 ppg)

Key Additions: Jared Terrell, Jarvis Garrett, and Jordan Hare (coming back from leave)


     For the 2nd straight year, Coach Hurley has been able to bring in an outstanding recruiting class. Last year he was able to acquire the A10 reigning freshman of the year, E.C. Matthews, as well as freak athlete and A10 All-Freshman teammate Hassan Martin. For those who stopped watching after the season went downhill last year, E.C. averaged 19.2 ppg in his last 11 games, he was 1 of 3 freshman nationally to average 14 ppg, 4 rpg, and 2 assists. He also LEAD THE NATION with the most 20 point games in 2014 as a freshman. Rhody has their senior bully Gilvydas Biruta (former Big East All-Freshman team) coming back to clean up boards and Jordan Hare coming back for his sophomore year after a 1 year sabbatical to help his kid. Jared Terrell is going to give this team a huge boost, as he has been touted the highest recruit URI has ever had. A lot of teams may write the Rams off early, but with the additions of Terrell and Hare combined with improvements from their young core of E.C. and Hassan, this team is well on its way to the tournament.

In Conference Prediction: 13-5

#1) Virginia Commonwealth University

Key Losses: Juvonte Reddic (11.9 ppg), Rob Brandenberg (9.6 ppg)

Key Recruits: Terry Larrier, Mike Gilmore, Justin Tillman


     Lets all agree to call a spade a spade here and admit this team is going to be a problem. They return the hands-down favorite for A10 player of the year in Traveon Graham for his senior year, while grabbing three ESPN Top100 recruits in this years class. This team can run 10 players deep and not lose an ounce of talent on the floor. They can match up with anyone and run them out of the gym by keeping fresh legs on the court. How VCU continues to recruit with such disregard for the rest of the league is beyond me and should probably be looked into by the NCAA. I fully expect this team to steam roll through the A10 this year for an easy tournament bid and a top 15 ranking nation-wide. 

In-Conference Prediction: 15-3

A Love Hate Relationship

     Unless you live under a rock, you've probably heard Kevin Love was in Boston this past weekend to scope out how butch Southie chicks are. Obviously this validated the storyline that the Celtics were hot after this guys buns. It seems like everyone from the bean wants him now that he's visited the city and taken some selfies with locals. I plan on dedicating this article to explain why Kevin Love is the wrong answer for this Celtics team.

What it would take: (Based on Bill Simmons prediction)

Jared Sullinger

Draft Picks:
2014: 1st (Celts), 1st (Nets)
2015: 1st (Celts), 1st (Clippers)

     From everything thats been reported so far, it looks like the Celts will need to give up 4 1st round picks and Jared Sullinger for the pasty big man. Now just to compare this offer quickly, we only had to give up 2 1st rounders and a budding star in Big Al for a perennial All-Star and former League MVP. 'Ya but Skard, Love is only 25 years old, KG was 30!' Want to know why KG at 30 should still be more valuable than Love at 25? Dude plays defense. Garnett QUADRUPLED the amount of blocks and doubled the number of steals when he was 30 compared to Love at 25. Meanwhile, Sully has very comparable numbers to what Kevin Love did his 2nd year in the league, leading that oaf Roy Hibbert to proclaim him the Love of the East.

The Missing Piece:

     Now I am not going to act like Danny thinks the Rondo/Love combo will win a championship alone. So that leads us to try and predict what comes next. Say we make this trade happen and we re-sign Avery Bradley, here's what we've got:

PG: Rondo
SG: Bradley
SF: Green
PF: Love
C: ...Olynyk?

I have heard 3 names floating around as potential players to join this tandem.

First is Omer Asik, strictly based on Simmons article. Now if you go from 6 to midnight after hearing Rondo/Love/Asik are your Big Three to compete with Lebron/Wade/Bosh, then its probably been longer than 6 hours and you should head to the ER immediately. That trio will definitely bring winning basketball back to Boston, but it makes us no better than the Clippers in this league. Just the thought of Asik being the third piece makes my stomach turn so I'm going to move on.

Second is Greg Monroe. Let me start by saying I like Monroe, he gets boards, he can score, and he has some raw low post moves. Unfortunately, he is looking for a max contract after this year and will probably get it from someone due to the fact that there are about 5 more productive centers in the world than there are unicorns. It's ok to have your cap locked up when you have 3 future Hall of Famers in Pierce, Allen, and KG....but I'm not sure how I feel about no cap space with a pass-first PG, a developing Center, and a better Raef Lafrentz.

Finally, the baby faced assassin himself, Gordon Hayward. no....Noo.....NOOOOO! This guy is the most overrated player in the league and nobody even talks about him! 'Skard you idiot, have you seen that his PPG have risen every year in the league??' Ya I did see that you jackass, and I also noticed his minutes have gone up each year, as well as his shot attempts because the Jazz are a pathetic excuse for a basketball team. And if you happen to scroll over to the important stats, his FG% has been decreasing faster than the temperature in The Day After Tomorrow. I don't care that Stevens coached him at Butler, college ball is a whole different animal where 'team first' approaches can be successful. Not here big fella, in the Association you need at least 3 thoroughbreds in order to win the trophy, and Hayward is just a pack mule.

The Answer: 

     Stay true to the rebuild Danny! This is the deepest draft since potentially 2003, take a Marcus Smart, or a Julius Randle, or an Aaron Gordon, and lets build this young core brick by brick. Look to trade Rondo and get some value or cap space. There are about 5-8 really good point guard prospects coming out of this draft, and I don't see any 'pass first' PGs in the Finals this year. The Nets are going to be terrible again next year and I don't mind if we crap the bed for a second year either. That being said, my best case scenario is that the Celts package both picks, Rondo, and Aztec Geno for the Cavs #1 overall, then we draft Jab Parker or Andy Wiggins and build from there. Love isn't going to attract any big name free agents to sign here and neither is Rondo, this would just make us a better version of the Hawks, and I wouldn't wish being a Hawks fan on my worst enemy. Hopefully Danny can see that Kevin Love doesn't help us here, Love hurts.

PS: If we keep the pick and draft Dario Saric then I'm going to jump off a bridge.