Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The BSD National League All-Star Roster

As this blog's resident National League columnist, I hereby present to you the unofficial Official Back Seat Drivers National League All-Star Roster!

I have selected 32 players to fill the 32 roster slots. Following ASG rules, there is at least one player representative from each NL team. The selections have been made without regard to current injuries or fan balloting; i.e. this is my set of picks for the entire roster, as if I got to choose the entire 32-man team.

Let's get to it:

Starter: Yadier Molina, St. Louis. In a weak year for NL catchers, the best of the Molinas is hitting .277, leads his colleagues in fielding percentage, and has thrown out an amazing 45% of runners trying to steal.
Reserve: Brian McCann, Atlanta. Missed some time due to injury, but he's still hitting .309 with 8 HR, and he's the only worthy backup.
Just Missed: None.

First Baseman:
Starter: Albert Pujols, St. Louis. .330-28 HR-74 RBI going into tonight, with 9 SB to boot. Simply, and obviously, the most dominant hitter in the game today.
Reserves: Prince Fielder, Milwaukee; Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego; Todd Helton, Colorado. Fielder's putting up monster power again, and this time with a .300 average. Gonzalez has tapered off in the last month but nevertheless has emerged as a true force; Helton is my last man on the roster, with his .313 average and 53 RBI, helping the surging Rox.
Just Missed: Joey Votto, Cincinnati.

Second Baseman:
Starter: Chase Utley, Philadelphia. Leads all NL 2B in HR and RBI, and hitting .302.
Reserve: Freddy Sanchez, Pittsburgh. He's hitting over .300, and we need a Pirate. Not many good 2B to choose from.
Just Missed: Orlando Hudson, Los Angeles; Brandon Phillips, Cincinnati.

Third Baseman:
Starter: David Wright, NY Mets. Yes, the power is down, but he's hitting .340 and has 20 steals. He's far and away the best at his position in the NL
Reserve: Mark Reynolds, Arizona; Ryan Zimmerman, Washington. Reynolds has put together a nice .275-21 HR-13 SB season. Zimmerman is best known for that 30-game hitting streak, is hitting .301 - and yes, we need a National.
Just Missed: Casey Blake, Los Angeles; Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco.

Starter: Hanley Ramirez, Florida. .339 average, 12 HR, 11 SB, and widely regarded as the best SS in the league. Easy choice.
Reserve: Miguel Tejada, Houston. The power is gone, but Miggy has put together a solid .325 average and 830 OPS. It's also a weak position...and yes, we need an Astro.
Just Missed: None.

Starters: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee; Carlos Beltran, NY Mets; Raul Ibanez, Philadelphia. Braun is having another sick season, at .321-16-53 RBI-55 runs. Beltran is hitting .336 and has a terrific 952 OPS. Ibanez leads all NL outfielders with 22 dingers and 59 RBI, and is hitting .312 to boot.
Reserve: Matt Kemp, Los Angeles; Brad Hawpe, Colorado; Juan Pierre, Los Angeles. Kemp could easily start this game, with a .309-10 HR-19 SB season. Hawpe is hitting .327 and is 4th among NL outfielders with 55 RBI. Pierre is totally not sexy - but he only got regular PT when Manny got suspended, and he's responded with a huge .329 average and 21 swipes.
Just Missed: Justin Upton, Arizona.

Starting Pitchers:
Starter: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco. Leads the NL in Ks, third in ERA, and currently the most dominant starter around.
Reserves: Chad Billingsley, Los Angeles; Josh Johnson, Florida; Javier Vazquez, Atlanta; Ted Lilly, Cubs; Johan Santana, NY Mets; Dan Haren, Arizona; Matt Cain, San Francisco; and Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee. Most of these are pretty obvious, except Lilly - who's here because we need a Cub.
Just Missed: None, although a good case could be made for the Reds' Johnny Cueto.

Relief Pitchers: Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles; Francisco Cordero, Cincinnati; Heath Bell, San Diego; Francisco Rodriguez, NY Mets. There are many closers having terrific seasons in the NL, but I can't see more than 4 being selected, and these guys are a cut above.
Just Missed: Trevor Hoffman, Milwaukee; Huston Street, Colorado.

Greatest Sports Pump Up Songs

Its a slow Tuesday so I figure an informal poll of what people think are the best sports pump up songs. Not to say the Hey Song is but this video is easily one of the strangest thing I've ever seen. What is he wearing...tinfoil?

Monday, June 29, 2009


I'm curious to hear the other back seat drivers' opinion on the USA/Brazil Confederations cup championship. Here's mine. While I am never happy with losing (even though its all i know as a cleveland native), I am happy with the USA's overall performance. As Gutsy put it, "we were playing with the house's money."
The USA played out of their minds, and way above their potential against Spain and in the first half of the Brazil game. Watching the first half, was probably the most exciting half of US soccer i've seen since the 2002 world cup. But then, reality set it. It showed me that unless we are hitting on all cylinders, we can't compete with a Brazil, Italy, or Mexico, etc.
When we are just playing okay, or good, we won't beat those teams. We have to play at 100% of our potential just to be in the same realm as those guys. I think it just comes down to the fact that we are less talented, but have a slight potential to be as good of a team as them.
It was obvious in the second half of that game, that the balloon had burst, and the US team was back to the same spot as when they lost to Brazil a week earlier.
What are your thoughts?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

College Football Preseason: Already?

In the never ending sports info world ....yes. The Preseason College Magazine have been unleashed en masse as has been summarized here . Phil Steele is supposed to be the gold standard but there's obviously a level of probability in all preseason predictions (if that's not an understatement I don't know what is). Ignoring the national picture (which I'm doing until July) the Big 10 is predicted to shape up with Ohio State and Penn State are expected to vie for the crown, Illinois and Michigan State nipping at their heals. Michigan and Illinois are expected to be among the most improved. Here's a quick few points on each of the schools that I randomly deem worthy of mention

Illinois (last year's record 5-7)
Strengths: Illinois' strength lies in its offense. In particular WR Arrelius Benn is the best playmaker in the Big 10 and will be even better with the addition of highly hyped Florida transfer/poor man's Percy Harvin Jarred Fayson

Questions: Illinois actually had a betteryardage differential last year when they went 5-7 than 2 years ago when they made the Rose Bowl. The difference was turnovers. In particular the Fighting Illinois were 0-6 when they had a negative turnover margin - and that leads us to QB Juice Williams. Will he ever mature?

Iowa (last year record 9-4)
Strengths: Iowa returns eight starters to a defense that was best in the Big 10 (I was shocked too).
Questions: First off Iowa has to replace Shonne Green - who had over a 100 yards rushing in every game of the season. The missing starters on defense were the interior D-Lineman. Quality over quantity?

Michigan State (9-4)
Strengths - Returning defense and an improvement a WR

Questions - They need to replace 93% of their offense without stars Javon Ringer and QB Hoyer.

Michigan (3-9)
Strengths - Reversion to Mean is the technical term for Michigan's strength. There's no way the offense can be as bad or the team lose as many close games. Plus their's DickRod's record of improving in year 2

Questions - Tate Forcier - Pure Freshman QB. Close games and bad offenses improvements are predicated on Forcier not making turnovers and doing better. Or I suppose the question is how much better than last year. I would also note that the defense lost some playmakers

Ohio State (11-2)
Strengths - The strength of OSU this year will be on the inside. The D-Line will be the best its been since 2002 and the interior of the O-Line will be much improved as well.

Questions - Lots of New Faces. From the secondary to the tackles to the linebackers to the WRs to the RBs - Does OSU possess the depth to replace the losses? And of course there's that Pryor fellow and how his passing progresses.....

Penn State (11-2)
Strengths - Most proven backfield in the Big 10 with QB Clarke and RB Roysters face the easiest Big 10 schedule outside of Wisconsin/Northwestern.

Questions - They replace their top 4 WRs (still no leader) and their O/D lines are anything but solidified even after Spring Ball

Wisconsin (7-6)
Strengths - John Clay (RB) I think will lead the Big 10 in rushing. No more sharing the load with Tubs PJ Hill

Questions - Umm what happened to the Badger D and their homefield advantage at Camp Randall? I don't have the first explanation. I will say another season like last year and their coach will be fired. And that's a question...how does the team respond?

Friday, June 26, 2009

RIP Michael Jackson

Lots can be said about Michael Jackson and I have no doubt this blog is probably not the right forum for it. As such I will just say Thriller remains the greatest music video of all time

Thursday, June 25, 2009

NBA Draft Day 2009: Prelude to Armageddon Free Agency 2010

In the prelude to free agency 2010, which I'm now calling "Armageddon Free Agency 2010", there are teams that are trying to win NOW (i.e. Cavs, Magic, Lakers, Spurs, etc.) and there are teams preparing for Armageddon Free Agency trying to win in summer 2010 (i.e. Nets, Knicks), and there are teams that are just trying to survive financially and selling off everything at low, low prices (i.e. Bucks, Suns, etc.)

With this summary, we have had a number of moves from the teams trying to win now taking players from the teams waiting for LATER. I'll try to give my winners and losers on draft day and on the trades...


Winners - Nets - The Nets are my absolute #1 winners right now. They not only dumped out Vince Carter's long-term contract, but they got back Courtney Lee. I know Courtney Lee may be known more for his blown layup in game 2 of the NBA Finals, but he is only a rookie, and he averaged who after the all-star break averaged 10.3ppg on almost 40% shooting from 3-point land and who received all the tough defensive matchups in the playoffs (including LeBron and Kobe). He's not a superstar, but for a rookie SG to do all this is quite impressive. The Nets are now in the BEST position for 2010, with only Devin Harris (approx. $10 mill), a team option on Brook Lopez ($2.5), a team option on C. Lee ($1.3) and $6.6 for two random players for a grand total of only $20 mill, meaning they will have about $40 million to spend. I think if I'm a free agent in 2010, and I want to win, I'd much rather go to New Jersey where they have a great young PG, a great young Center, and a very solid SG. In addition, they got the best supposed "lock down defender" in the draft in SG Terrence Williams. Nice pick.

Winners - Knicks - they got Darko in exchange for Quentin Richardson! Darko lives!!!!

Losers - Magic - I think the Vince Carter acquisition screws them up long-term, and is a signal that Turkoglu will not be re-signed. Obviously, if the Magic are somehow able to sign Turkoglu then adding Vince Carter looks a lot better. I just don't think that's the case. The defensive drop-off from Lee to Carter is immense. Turkoglu is the #1 sought-after free agent and his destination will alter the fortunes of at least the Magic.

Undetermined - Did Amare get traded to the Golden State in exchange for Biedrins and S. Curry? I guess we'll find out. It's hard to evaluate the trade when you consider that Amare is still a free agent in 2010.

The actual draft
Note: It's hard to pick many winners, when picks 8-23 were all of the same caliber player.

Winners - Tyler Hansbrough - During his college career, he's gone from sure-fire lottery pick, to 2nd round pick, to supposed NBA failure, to lottery pick. Congrats to Tyler!

Winner - Denver - Acquiring Ty Lawson for future 1st round pick. He can learn from Chauncey. I think that's a great plan.

Winner - San Antonio - Taking a 2nd round (non-guaranteed) gamble on Dejuan Blair? Supposedly his knees are a train wreck, but his numbers are awesome. The Spurs always seem to be doing something smart. This is a low-risk, HIGH-reward pick being made by the Spurs. Seems like another great move by the Spurs.

Unclear - Grizzlies - I don't understand why they went after Thabeet. They already have Marc Gasol at center who posted 11.9ppg, 7.4 rebs. I guess you can never have too few 7 footers? I guess they didn't want to deal with Rubio's buyout?

Unclear - T-wolves - Selected 2 players who will be overseas next year (Calathes, Norel) and 3 players who will be on the T-Wolves: Rubio still doesn't know if he will be in the NBA or not. Make that 2 players! Jonny Flynn could be the PG, or Telfair could start at first. Wayne Ellington is an undersized SG though was fantastic at the college level. Obviously, having Rubio (eventually) is the key.

Losers - Ok City - chose James Harden with the #3 pick, probably to avoid contract negotiations with Rubio. I'm not big on Harden. Plus, this SI article rips him apart as a good candidate for being overvalued, as he is a "subpar contested shooter" and has a lack of "shot efficiency in one-on-one situations." Then, just to make sure the Ok City Thundercats had the worst draft, they went out and traded for Center BJ Mullens, from Ohio State. I've never seen a dumber player, who didn't seem to learn anything during the college season, who also has a poor work ethic. Good luck with that project.

2nd round picks I like
Milwaukee - SG Jodie Meeks - Can really shoot, which is a nice skill to have.
San Antonio - G Jack McClinton - An absolute scoring machine. Saw him play a couple of times on the Miami Hurricanes and thought he was pretty impressive, though he is very small.

Shaq and His Circus Come to Cleveland

As soon as the Cavs' season came to an end at the hands of Dwight Howard and giant muscles it was simply a matter of time before a big man was traded to Cleveland. Turns out the big man is the Big Royal or Big Clev or whatever new nickname Shaq will come up with. There's tons of analysis out there (I think the best breakdown is here by Brian Windhorst but I'm obviously biased here There's lots of question marks here in terms of Shaq meshing with Lebron, Shaq meshing with the offense, Shaq having the foot speed for defense, etc, etc, etc. However the question I think needs to be asked is one of opportunity cost.

Its hard to argue the Cavs didn't need to improve in the low post on offense and most importantly finding someone that could go guard Howard one on one. With Shaq the Cavs are relatively better and all it cost was a retiring player (Wallace), an awful player (Pavlovic) and the 46th pick in an horrendous draft. That's nothing. Would Tyson Chandler have been better than Shaq? Offensively and contract wise (Chandler would've kept the Cavs away from the 2010 free agent market - no (not to mention Chandler's last trade was nixed over injury). So who would have been better at slowing down Howard that could be had? Names people. Names. The bottom line is there's not. Or at least no one that could be had by the Cavs.

In the end Danny Ferry is rolling the dice that Shaq is motivated enough for one last contract, one last shot at Kobe, one last something to keep his circus in check. Not say the trade gives the Cavs the NBA Championship or even in the front runner position but it probably improves the better than other alternatives and that's all one can ask for.


If you had told me team USA would get the Confed Cup Finals by beating Spain after it had been blown out by Brazil I wouldve laughed at you. Spain. The team that hadn't been beaten in 35 games. It had won every game the last two years. I hadn't lost to a non-European team in almost 10 years. The number 1 team in the world. And yet the Americans did it through great defense, outstanding goal keeping and a few lucky breaks. WOW. Good work team USA!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NBA Draft Rumors

As we approach the NBA Draft the number of rumors seems to be hitting a feverish pitch. Shaq to Cavs, Vince Carter to the Cavs, Larry Hughes back to the Wizards, a young genetically engineered George Miken and case of Pabs to Minnesota for the #5 pick and now Richard Jefferson to San Antonio. Rumors, especially in the age of the internet, seem fairly ubiquitous as the best way for a website to pick up traffic is to publish unsubstantiated rumors. Followed by it seems every team in the league is doing due diligence on the possibility of a trade. Top that off with rumors of financial pressures and the result is simply a flood of innedondos, what ifs and potentials. In the end I'm sure there will be a few salary dumps but I'll be surprised if there's a wave of big time moves and trades. So what are other's guesses as to the actual trade mill for Draft Day?

One interesting potential storyline to follow is the potential shift in drafting for potential . The NBA has long valued upside over certainty when it comes to the draft. Seniors that have achieved much are usually pushed to the 2nd round as unknown potential upcomers can snatched up first. However if the teams are bad straights, Ian Thomsen notes, this put pressure on production now. In other words when a Demar Derozan might someday be super awesome amazing, the need for a rotation player today means Tyler Hansborough - with his far more limited upside- might get selected first. Nonetheless something to consider as teams jostle for the right not to pick 10-30.....

Update #1 : Well looking like one trade rumor is true....RJ to the Spurs. Discuss the implications of that.....

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bernie Bernie

Another sad day in Cleveland, as one of the Cleveland Browns all-time icons falls.
Bernie Kosar is bankrupt. The article says his liabilities are between 10 and 50 million! That's astounding.
Maybe he'll challenge Quinn and Anderson for the starting QB job in order to get back on top of things.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mighty's Sunday Thoughts

Well its a random Sunday so here's some random bits of news (not as random as clamato and budweiser...nothing is)

NBA Draft
The general word on the street is this draft might be one of the worst in years. Blake Griffin was supposed to be the guaranteed super-star till it became apparent the Clippers were infecting him with their ineptitude. The draft is point guard heavy from international sensations (Rick Rubio) to big on stats small on size (Ty Lawson) to the media darling (Stephen Curry). All have various hang ups and glitches. The one thing I think the NBA Draft could show is how how much of dire financial straights teams are in. If there are massive clearance sales, either via trades or selling draft picks (draft picks can be purchased for up to $3 million), then it could give hints at the free agent market (starting the following week) and trade market in 09-10.

College Football
One of the more debated pieces going around the blogosphere these days is a WSJ that notes offensive-line experience can predict college football success. Not perfectly (as theres always other factors and stochasticity) but enough that its raised a few eyebows. Four teams jump to mind. Notre Dame offensive line experience (and their cupcake schedule) would predict big things for Weis. Conversely Penn State, the favorite to the win the Big 10, is looking shaky. The most interesting test might come September 5th as Alabama and Virginia Tech go head to head in Atlanta. V-Tech is one of the most experienced lines (100 starts) and Alabama one of the least (50) with it being early enough in the year that experience should very much matter. A V-Tech win over an SEC team (let alone Alabama) could shape the mythical BCS Championship hunt.

Pro Football
Honestly outside of being born into the mafia or have a yakuza tattoo is there a better predictor for being arrested than being an NFL wide receiver? Those that aren't being arrested are invariably doing something that most 5 year old could tell you is a bad idea. In today's bad idea category Chad OchoCrappo is said to be living with Carson Palmer . Now I'm all for Palmer suffering, given his USC ties, but think of Palmer's kids! Would you want Uncle Chad teaching your kids anything? I shudder to think at the damage he could have on the youth of America.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Compare and Contrast


Former Indian and Yankee Mel Hall got 45 years in prison yesterday for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in Tarrant County, ending what one prosecutor described as "a reign of terror over girls."
I doubt this is any response to the Stallworth sentencing, but you know.
I remember watching Mel Hall play for the indians in the mid-80s. Too Bad.
I think his first mistake was going to Texas.

North Korea Qualifies for the 2010 World Cup

Buried amongst all of yesterday's news (the US Open, the missile capabilities of North Korea, Sammy Sosa, etc) was one story that is simply amazing:

North Korea secured its place at the 2010 World Cup!

The reason this excites me is that I find it fascinating for at least the following storylines:

1) What will Vegas's over-under be on the number of defections by North Koreans?
2) Will North Korea actually get drawn into the same group as the US?
3) Will Kim Jong-Il suit up and score a hat trick?
4) Will North Korea playing at the World Cup push them closer to peace, or will they react violently if the refs treat them poorly?

It's going to be very interesting, that is for sure!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


While not completely sports related, I feel that the Donte Stallworth sentence is a topic that should be discussed. As you know, he got 30 days in jail with 8 years probation. Also, I think its fair to say that Roger Goddell will come down hard on him and probably suspend him for between 8 and 10 games (in my opinion). Also, as a lawyer who has done criminal defense work his whole career, 8 years of probation is not a joke. Even in the federal system, the most a person will get is 5 years.
That being said, this judgment is garbage and makes me sad to be a lawyer and disheartened to be a sports fan. Apparently, Stallworth struck a settlement with the victim's family and the Prosecution felt this was enough of a gesture to only give him 30 days for killing someone.
Essentially, the family put a price tag on their lost love one and the Prosecution agreed. To disect this, if Stallworth had gone to trial or not struck this specific deal and was sentenced to (for the sake of argument) 5 years in prison, the famiyl still would have sued him civilly. But, in jail and paying for lawyers, Stallworth (like vick) would have declared bankruptcy and the family would not have gotten much money. So, they let Stallworth walk so they could get paid. Very sad turn of events.
As a criminal defense lawyer, this appauls me greatly. I'm not going to get into the list of things my clients have done, but only a couple have involved killing someone and those guys are in jail for a LONG time. However, I have clients who I feel have done things that are a lot less awful than Stallworth. That is not to condone their actions, but I'm just saying what Stallworth did was worse, he took a life. Think about the messege this sends when he gets 30 days simply because he could pay off the victim's family. This is very upsetting.
Furthermore, if I take off my lawyer hat and put my sports-fan hat, I am also outraged. First of all, my Cleveland Browns now have another issue to deal with. But even bigger than that is the aura that now exists in professional sports. For the last few years, people like David Stern and Roger Godell have worked hard at trying to clean up the sport and deal with problem players to send a messege. I believe Goddell's attitude comes as a stark contrast to Bud Selig and the lax attitude in baseball. But, like him or not, Goddell has worked hard to try to get players to clean up their acts. In my opinion, Goddell has made a positive impact on football, and maybe even on sports as a whole so far, and his legacy will continue to grow as time goes on.
Now while Goddell will come down hard on Stallworth, this 30 day sentence makes Goddell's job harder. So, I am disheartened that this judgment will take the wind out of Goddell's sails and the progress that has been achieved in the NFL.
Well, that's my rant, time for me to try to get people out of jail. Take care,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Perceptions Are Reality

Well its lull time in the sports world. Its not quit offseason for the NBA (which will start up in earnest next week with the draft. we will have some sort of coverage about that next week), NFL is weeks away from Favre coming out of retirement (never underestimate the predictability of utter stupidity. nevermind the circus show that is Favre that makes TO look tame but why would anyone rely on Favre to win down the stretch of season. look at his 2nd half of the season #s the past 5 years) and even baseball enthuasists realize the real baseball action doesn't kick in for real until America's birthday so what does that leave us with? Not much.

That said here's an interesting piece making the internet rounds about non-conference strength of schedule. As I think we all agree upon here in BSD land, the Big 10's national reputation has taken it on the chin and we'd all like for it to improve. I realize this might be an assumption but let's go with it for a moment. The difficulty in the Big 10 overcoming this current perception is two-fold 1) the current pre-season ranking (which reflects the perception the Big 10 is weak) and 2) the lack of quality non-conference games. There's the USC game for OSU but outside of that it's Purdue at Oregon, Arizona at Iowa, Cal at Minnesota. Not much (and no I don't consider Notre Dame much - feel free to discuss why a Notre Dame win improves the Big 10 perception) As such it leaves very little wiggle room for the Big 10 to move up in the top 25 rankings without these non-conference wins (otherwise its Big East mediocores beating mediocores perception). Now whether its true or not perception in the land of polls is reality. Which means for the Big 10 to really move up in the rankings (any Big 10 team) OSU really will need to hold its own versus USC as no one else has big names on the radar this year......

Head Scratching

I'm trying not to make light out of what is a very serious situation in Iran but wouldn't Lakers paraphernalia be more apropos for riots?
A supporter of defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi gestures during a rally (Getty)

Monday, June 15, 2009

NBA Offseason 2009: In Preparation for 2010

Here's my guide to the unpredictable 2009 NBA offseason. The reason I'm writing this after the Finals is that the draft is next week and free agency begins in two weeks. We will quickly see who has no intentions of competing this season and vice versa...

Notable Players From Teams That Are Near the Luxury Tax (high likelihood of being shopped and traded)
The following teams will be looking to move their high-priced players to get under the Luxury Tax. The luxury tax level in 2008-2009 was $71 million, but it may be dropping a few million this upcoming season. These teams are selected based off of my opinion of their team's chances for success and what little we know of the owner's penchant for spending extra. These teams are also good candidates for selling or trading their draft picks next week:

1) Charlotte - payroll of $56 million with only 11 under contract, this is an estimated number, as Felton and May need new contracts:
C Nazr Mohammed - $13 million, two years remaining; he hardly plays and has been completely ineffective the last few seasons. But he is 7 feet tall.
C DeSagna Diop - $26 million, 4 years remaining ($6 mill this year); he still is a leader in rebounds per 48 minutes. This is completely overpriced for a defender, but there are so few 7-footers around, that if money was no object, and I was in charge of the Cavaliers, I would seriously consider swapping Sasha for Diop, who could give 20 minutes on Dwight Howard (which is better than any of the minutes anyone on the Cavs can currently give).

2) Chicago - payroll of $62 million, with only 9 under contract:
PF Brad Miller - $12.2 million, one year remaining; he is old, but could be available
PG Kirk Hinrich - $27 million, 3 years remaining; has never really been the same the last few years; it's like he's 34 when he's only 28.

3) Golden State - payroll of $59 million, with only 10 under contract:
PG/SG Jamal Crawford - $19 million, 2 years remaining - I think this guy just breeds losing.
SF Corey Maggette - $40 million, 4 years remaining ($9 mill this year) - He's very athletic but he's also very moody.
SF/SG Stephen Jackson - $34 million, 4 years remaining (only $7.6 mill this year) - His shooting has been suspect of late, but he can still probably guard most other swingmen.
PF Ronny Turiaf - $12 million, 3 years remaining

4) Clippers- payroll of $56 mill, with only 10 under contract:
PF Zach Randolph - $33 million, 2 years remaining - He doesn't play defense and I pray the Cavs don't get him.
PG Baron Davis - $52 million, 4 years remaining ($12 this year) - The Clippers were all excited for getting Baron last year... and I'm sure they would jump at the chance to unload him this year.
C Chris Kaman - $33 million, 3 years remaining - Interesting case, where he is one year removed from a career season of 15.7 ppg, 2.8 blocks, 12.7 rebs. However, he's been injured a lot lately, so he's a big risk now.
C Marcus Camby - Required to list him. 1 year remaining at $7.6 million.

5) Milwaukee- Payroll of $60 mill, for only 9 players - Ramon Sessions and Charlie Villaneuva are free agents. Last year, they gave up Mo Williams. This year? Take your pick...
SG Michael Redd - $17 this year, $18 mill player option next year
SF Richard Jefferson - $29 mill, 2 years remaining
[plus PG Sessions and PF Villaneuva are free agents, so weird sign-and-trades could be involved]

6) New Orleans - They tried to move Tyson Chandler ($11 this year, $13 player option next year) at the trade deadline, but he failed his physical. I assume they will try again.
They also will probably try to move James Posey if I had to guess ($18, 3 years remaining)

7) Phoenix - Yes, Shaq at $20 mill is available. Jason Richardson ($27 mill, 2 years) and Barbosa ($21 mill, 3 years) are also probably available, not that anyone would want them.

8) Sacramento - It's public knowledge that the Maloofs are in financial straits, meaning that...
SG Kevin Martin - ($43 mill, 4 years; only $10 this year) - certainly available. Unclear if he's actually good or just posting big numbers on a bad team.

Notable Players that are Free Agents (I've ranked them by my own biases)
1) Orlando - SF Hedo Turkoglu - #1 free agent. Will command a lot of money.
2) Lakers - PF/SF Lamar Odom - good luck figuring out if he'll be consistent. No one, not even him, could tell you why.
3) Boston - PF - Glen Davis - should draw a lot of interest, but in my little understanding of the NBA, the Celtics can match any offer and go way over the cap because he has only played 2 seasons.
4) Houston - SF Ron Artest - If the Cavs are truly willing to do anything...
5) Lakers - SF/SG Trevor Ariza - I too couldn't believe this... he's only 24! He's a career 30% 3-point shooter who shot 32% this season... and then a sizzling 47% in the playoffs. That means he will probably make at least $6 million a year from someone.
6) NY - PG Nate Robinson - restricted FA, but is exciting to watch.
7) Philly - PG Andre Miller - but he's 32, and the draft has a thousand PGs this year. He probably won't be able to get too much as a result.
8) NY - F David Lee - most people probably have him higher, but I think he's just been posting monster numbers on a bad team.
9) Orlando - C Marcin Gortat - this could be a bargain for someone , given his size, and he played awesome against Dalembert in game 6 of the 1st round when Howard was suspended, as he helped the team to victory with 11 points, 15 rebs, and 4 steals.
10) Denver -PF - Chris Andersen - Supreme shot blocker and rebounder; not much of an offensive player though
11) Miami- PF Jamario Moon - Another solid defender, but will not be able to provide much offense.
12) PF - Leon Powe - Tore an ACL in May during the playoffs. Perhaps a January return? Problem is, Powe has a history of knee problems, so it is unclear what kind of money he will be getting or what he will be like when he returns this time.
13) Atlanta - PF/C - Zaza Pachulia - He is a pest but he does have size.

For those Cavalier fans... here are some scenarios as of now, assuming the Cavs go for broke:
The transactions all involve trading Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavolic, or even Zydrunas...

1) Money is no object; Character is no object -
Trade Sasha for DeSagana Diop ; work out a deal to have PF Charlie Villaneuva sign-and-traded for Ben Wallace; use $7 million in exemptions (mid-level and bi-annual) to sign either Ron Artest or Trevor Ariza.
2) Smaller names, but potential -
Use up to $7 million in exemptions to sign two of (C Gortat, PF Anderson, PF Moon); trade Ben Wallace for Richard Jefferson; trade Sasha for James Posey (from the Hornets)
3) Shaq-tastic -
Trade Sasha and Ben Wallace for Shaq; use up to $7 mill in exemptions for Trevor Ariza.
4) Trading Z (who is also an $11.5 mill expiring contract), Wallace, and Sasha! -
Trade Z for SG Kevin Martin (or for SF Gerald Wallace if the Bobcats don't start out well); Trade Ben Wallace for SF Richard Jefferson; Use up to $7 million in exemptions to sign two of (C Gortat, PF Anderson, PF Moon); trade Sasha for James Posey (from the Hornets).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Any opinions


This story speculates that Cavs front office might want to get rid of Mike Brown and "upgrade" to a coach that can win. They are speculating that the Cavs could go after Pat Riley.
They also slam Brown's coaching style in the Magic series.

What are your thoughts? Any possiblity this will actually happen or is this just the sad (or sangry) rumors and ramblings of the Cleveland media?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Soccer: Confederations Cup Preview

I really do not have the expertise to give a full preview of the 2009 Confederations Cup, but I wanted to at least write a short preview.

Just to briefly explain, the Confederations Cup is now held once every 4 years based off of who is the current champion from each of the confederations. The Confederations are (with current champions listed in parentheses):
1) Africa (Egypt),
2) South America (Brazil),
3) Europe (Spain),
4) Asia (Iraq),
5) Oceania (i.e. New Zealand),
6) North and Central America (United States).

The 7th team is the host country for the Confederations Cup (this year it's South Africa), and the 8th team is the defending World Cup Champion (Italy), though in other years, if the World Cup Champion has already qualified, then its the runner-up or even the 3rd place team that receives the berth in the Confederations Cup.

This year's groups are completely lop-sided: there is an "easy" group of: South Africa, Iraq, New Zealand, and Spain. The other group is immensely difficult and has: USA, Italy, Brazil, Egypt.

While it does not appear that past winners of the Confederation Cup necessarily succeed in the World Cup, this tournament should demonstrate whether this latest USA team has the talent to compete on the same level as Italy and Brazil. One columnist on Yahoo! has stated that the US soccer coach is under some pressure, and has basically been playing it safe (as opposed to playing to win?) by playing an unorthodox 4-2-2-2 formation. If you want another pessimistic view of the US soccer team, just check out ESPN's columnist which basically details how the US is still playing older players, many of whom were not only on the 2006 team, but also on the 2002 World Cup team. Please note that in soccer, I am of the opinion that it's better when you have fresh talent and fresh legs out there for the most part unless you have a superstar who can still contribute (i.e. David Beckham, or in the US's case Claudio Reyna). In both 1994 and 2002, the US's two recent successes, they relied heavily on younger, sometimes even unknown players. Granted, one could say that those teams have young talent... and perhaps that's something that's missing from the current team (or at least the coach hasn't played enough of these players). Nonetheless, it should be interesting to see how team USA performs at the Confederations Cup against other solid teams.

The Confederations Cup starts June 14th with semifinals on June 24th and the finals on June 28th.

In other soccer news, I always find European qualifying for the World Cup extremely interesting - only because it's designed to be difficult and leave out many quality teams because there are only 13 bids. There are 9 "final" groups, where each 1st place team gets an automatic bid to the World Cup. The 8 best "2nd place" teams fight it out in an insane home-and-away aggregate winner-take-all format, taking place November 14th and November 18th. The 2nd place playoffs are conducted by lottery. Yowsers! This year's European final groupings, has an insane Denmark, Portugal, Sweden group (group 1). Both Portugal and Sweden are well behind the leader Denmark at this point. Group 5 also looks to be rather interesting with Spain well ahead, a surprising Bosnia in 2nd place, with Turkey AND Belgium in 3rd and 4th place.

In other news, North Korea and Saudi Arabia will be playing each other in a winner take all game this coming Sunday. The game is at Saudi Arabia. I think it will be a very interesting World Cup if North Korea is there. I wonder if there is a fear by the North Koreans of their players defecting to other countries, as happens to Cuba when they enter international competition???

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Reality bites

I know that the Magic-Lakers series starts tonight. However, there is a little part of my brain that keeps trying to tell me that somehow the Cavs are going to end up in the Magic's place. Can't explain, just hopeful and wistful i guess. Reality sucks, see....

Mighty's Odd Crystal Ball and Other Random Predictions

Well it's an odd time to whip out ye old crystal ball but what the hey....why not. I'm short on ideas, material, and cheetos (the source of inspiration for all bloggers)

1. UF Gators will Return to the Mythical BCS Championship

In a truly WTF moment the fates have seemingly conspired to give the most loaded Champion since USC, the easiest road. Seriously, check out their schedule . Their only semi-tough game is a road trip to Death Valley (LSU). Non-Conference games against Troy? Charleston Southern (not even regular Charleston....Charleston Fucking Southern)? And remember Florida can absorb one loss somewhere along the way and still make it to the SEC Championship game which I believe has officially been designated the Mythical BCS semi-final game. I refuse to use the Crystal Ball to see if the slurping of Tebow reaches such a feverish pitch that it threatens the Space-Time continuum but go ahead and try.....short of Tebow being attacked by Ninja Man-Bats does anyone see UF losing more than 1 game?

2. UT will Not Make the BCS Championship Game

Yes there's hype, pomp, and circumstance behind Colt Mccoy and UT. They'll be home against semi-rival Texas Tech and the Big 12 typically is a two person conference anyways. However call the Crystal Ball crazy or what have you...but how often do the two expected teams at the start of the year end up playing at the end year? Not very often. So if Florida is shoe in...then Texas has to falter. Maybe USC will finally avoid losing to the Stanford Tough Grannies or Ok State and Dez Bryant (possible Heisman candidate they offer before giving it to the best QB in the BCS Championship game) will trip up UT in Stillwater (which is a real place according to Googlemaps) but they're going down.

3. Dwight Howard will Dominate the Finals

I should note at this point Dwight Howard has pushed himself into the category of Mighty's Most Hated NBA Player. He's an idiot, he cheats, and above all he's dirty. Its like watching Karl Malone's Swinging Elbow Show all over again. Personally I hope he has to retire due to case of hemorraghic fever of the anus. Which means he will excel. He'll dominate. He'll foul out Andrew Bynum. He'll bite off Paul Gasol's ear. He'll dunk on Phil Jackson (I'm not sure how but he will). I'll be forced to watch stupid Vitamin Water Commercials with him wrestling a Giant Gila Monster. There will be no end to my suffering. So it'll be me and Rupert trying to cope.

4. Bobby Bowden Will Retire

Its been a long time coming but with the NCAA about to finalize the voiding of several seasons of FSU/Bowden wins, Bowden will be unable to catch JoePa's all time wins record. He might wait out the year to prove that he hasn't been stealing the souls of Mayan Warriors for the sole purpose of staving off death so he could catch JoePa. But once the NCAA makes it final, the sun will finally set on the crazy old man from FSU.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Dwight Howard: Idiot

God, you have no idea how much I can’t stand bullshit like this. Look, I understand that players have to say what we (the adoring public) want to hear. I understand that athletes’ contract negotiations play out in public and that there’s a public relations strategy that goes along with that. But after 30+ years of free agency we’re all at the point where we’re smart enough to know better and we’re experienced enough to be able to cut through the bullshit. We don’t need to be spoken to like we’re idiotic children.

Dwight Howard will not make any decisions about his future based on what Orland Magic fans want. He won’t decide to stay or go based on any “love” he feels in “the community.” He will base his decision on the financial parameters of the contract he is offered and that’s that. That’s true of every athlete, incidentally.

I’m not one that begrudges an athlete his financial reward. Hell, I’m not even the type that gets offended if an athlete transparently makes a money grab. It’s a business and these guys have every right to earn a living. I know I’d go after every dollar I could get so I don’t have a problem with them doing the same thing.

Be honest, Dwight. Tell the people that you want to stay in Orlando as long as the franchise shows you the appropriate level of commitment.

Incidentally, why is Howard even talking about the future when he has three years left on his current contract without the benefit of an opt-out clause? If saying “it’s not about the money” is your PR strategy, why would you be talking about your impending free agency this far in advance? You only talk about money and contracts this far in advance if you want more money. The people of Orlando weren’t thinking about Howard’s free agency at all…until this very moment. That’s as bad a PR strategy as I’ve ever seen.

5th Annual NBA Finals Preview

Editor's Note: Obviously, I'm upset about the Cavs losing. However, I have to be professional about this which is why I'm still writing a NBA Finals preview, despite the fact that for the second year in a row, I dislike both teams involved.

Just as a recap, in 2005, my NBA Finals Preview used Star Wars quotes. In 2006, I used Indiana Jones quotes. In 2007, I used Back to the Future quotes. In 2008, I used Aliens vs. Predators quotes from both AVP1 and AVP2 (because I hated both teams and because there were hardly enough quotes from any AVP movie worthy of a blog entry.). Without further adieu, it is time to analyze the classic NBA finals matchup that is before us.

For the record, out of ESPN's "experts" - 11 out of 12 have the Lakers winning. However, I have to say that I am positive that the Magic will win, for whatever that is worth. This playoffs reminds me in some ways of the 2004 season, when everyone expected the Lakers to destroy the Pistons. In honor of the year 2004, I will be providing analysis with quotes from: Dodgeball - A True Underdog Story, provided to us by imdb.com !

1. White Goodman: Go ahead, make your jokes, Mr. Jokey... Joke-maker. But let me hit you with some knowledge. Quit now. Save yourself the embarrassment of losing with these losers in Las Vegas, La Fleur.
Peter La Fleur: Alliteration aside, I'll take my chances in the tournament.
White Goodman: Yeah, you will take your chances.
Peter La Fleur: I know. I just said that.
White Goodman: I know you just said that.

I think if Kobe Bryant was going to call Dwight Howard before the NBA Finals, this is how it would go, with Kobe making White Goodman's lines. The Lakers act like and fully believe they are the team to beat. To be honest, I'm not sure why. Let's look back at their matchups during the season:

Orlando actually swept the season series from the Lakers. They played in December in Orlando. Jameer Nelson played in this game and scored 27 points but somehow, Derek Fisher also scored 27. Most interesting was that Bynum collected 5 fouls, played only 11 minutes, and the rebounding was even between the two teams. This game took place before Courtney Lee was in the rotation, and Keith Bogans played a substantial amount of time, probably resulting in Kobe getting 41 points.

In January in LA, Courtney Lee played 25 minutes and Kobe was only 10 of 26 from the field, and this was when Pietrus was out. Orlando destroyed the Lakers on the glass, getting 54 rebounds to the Lakers' 40. Nelson played out of his mind and again was the leading Magic scorer with 28 points including 15 in the 4th.

Of course, there are some major changes in the lineups for Orlando - Alston is playing instead of Nelson (a downgrade) and Lee and Pietrus are combining to put up amazing numbers at SG while playing tremendous defense (an upgrade). The Lakers are missing Radmonovic from the 2nd game but now have Shannon Brown. If anything, this will make the Lakers worse since Radmonovic was tall enough to guard Turkoglu whereas Shannon Brown certainly is not tall enough for that task.

2. "Nobody makes me bleed my own blood - nobody!"

This is what Bynum, Odom, and Gasol are going to be saying after Howard starts working them over. Howard is a dirty player who does moving picks, "accidentally" swings his arms around up high, and walks around with his elbows up high. In the end though, all dirtiness aside, no one on the Lakers can guard Howard. Gasol's too weak, Bynum will foul out, and I don't see how Odom can handle this challenge. Thus, the Lakers will either get destroyed on the inside by Howard, or will be forced to rotate all around after double teams are initiated (as the Cavs did to a relatively poor degree). I don't believe this stategy will work, as it seems like an easier path to victory is having a big man that can keep Howard out of the paint (i.e. Kendrick Perkins). The Lakers don't have that.

3. It's time to separate the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys, the awkwardly feminine from the possibly Canadian.

As alluded to earlier as an "upgrade", I think Courtney Lee is an amazing defender and a sophisticated, gritty scorer. Pietrus has shown to be a good 3-point shooter and is also a great defender, even if he gets in foul trouble. Lee & Pietrus will enable the Magic to take care of Kobe at a relatively decent level (i.e. hold him below his average). The game then could come down to Lewis guarding Pau Gasol. Gasol did not take many shots in either game during the season, so again, I think the edge goes to the Magic. I believe Odom vs. Turkoglu (or Ariza vs. Turkoglu?) will be rather even. This means that the Magic will have the upper hand at a number of positions. While Rafer Alston is a downgrade from Nelson, I believe the upgrade will make up for Nelson's loss, as it has throughout the postseason. The Magic could have an advantage at 3 or maybe even 4 positions (forward, SF, center, and point guard).

4. Yeah, that's me, taking the bull by the horns. It's how I handle business. It's a metaphor.

Dwight Howard has esentially done this in the Cavs series. He started nailing hook shots and free throws - which is what he failed to do against Boston and throughout most of his career. Howard's dominance will result in the continuation of the Magic's run through the playoffs, which after beating the Lakers will mean that they will end up completing the amazing task of beating the other 3 contenders this postseason (Boston, Cleveland, and the Lakers).

5. "Necessary? Is it necessary for me to drink my own urine?"

The Lakers will have to rotate around very fast if they double on Howard. They will have to do whatever is necessary to limit Howard's effectiveness. I just don't believe it will happen. The Magic should be able to relatively limit Kobe, dominate the boards, dominate at center, and have enough of an advantage with Lewis and Turkoglu to win this.

6. "Here at Globo Gym we're better than you, and we know it. "

Phil Jackson and Kobe saying this repeatedly after losing one game, two games, or three games, won't do anything to change the outcome.

7. Last I heard, my gym makes money. Yours doesn't. My gym's worth over $4 million. Your gym isn't worth four. I have shareholders. You haven't even got cup holders.

It's time for some cosmic payback. Shaq left the Orlando Magic in the '90s after an NBA Finals loss to sign with the Lakers. The Lakers went on to win three championships with Shaq and all Orlando had was what was left of Penny Hardaway's knee. Well, be prepared Lakers, because your gym may be worth more than the Orlando Magic's, but the Magic fans have revenge on their mind!

8. "Prepare to be humiliated on cable television! "

This is what Orlando will be saying to the Lakers after they win one game and realize that their championship is inevitable.
Prediction: Orlando in 6

Monday, June 01, 2009

Del Harris Retiring

Here at the BSD we just wanted to wish happy retirement to Del Harris . Harris over the course of 50 years, coached three different NBA teams, 1 collegiate team, an ABA team, a team in the Puerto Rican league, and Chinese National Basketball Team. He also served as an assistant for the Bulls, US National Team, Team Canada, and a slew of others. Also at one point he saved the Queen of England and sang the national anthem. He will be missed.