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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Weekly Rant: Gay-Rod, the NBA Draft, and other nonsense

Quack Quack Quack.....
Raise your hand if you are shocked that the poster boy for metrosexual athletes (also known in New England as Gay-Rod) has been undergoing therapy for the past decade? If your hand is up, then stop reading now, if your hand remains down then I respect you enough to allow you to keep reading. Obviously this man is in therapy. The combination of always being the best player on teams that are nowhere near the playoffs (the Yanks are currently 28-29 and yes he was on that Seattle team but by no means its best player) and always having to justify a monster 1/4 billion dollar contract would make anyone insane. But its a chore I, along with most of working class America, would relish. While therapy may be "therapeutic" for Gay-Rod, are we supposed to feel sorry for him or give him a little wiggle room? Not likely. Matter of fact, I think its the last thing any Yankee fan wants to hear right about now. I mean for the love of all things Yankee, the man is married and has children, its not like he has to play this tough/sensitive role in the media to get chicks. This is a team that's past superstars have been boozehounds and playboys, not crybabies that slap at the ball as if to say "oh stop it, get away get away!" Listen Alex, either hit the ball out of the park when it counts, or keep rackin' up MVP numbers on cellar dwelling teams. Whichever you choose, nobody wants to hear about your one on one loser sessions in which you discuss how miserable life can be when you are wiping your ass with $50's and gargling Cristal while your wife yells at one of your various servants to clean one of your various mansions. Next time maybe you should ask your therapist why you only perform well when there is no pressure? Or perhaps you already know the answer to that.

NBA Draft Sound-off
There are few people that admire the skill set of Utah big man Andrew Bogut more than I. Its every coaches dream to have a a 7 footer with soft hands, great vision in the high post, as well as the tenacity to flush home dunks, block shots, and battle for tough rebounds. The fact however is that most big men are vastly overrated in the drafting process, and many end up being busts. For example, here are the names of the past 10 big menthat were chosen first in their respective drafts over the past decade: Dwight Howard (04), Chris Kaman (03), Yao Ming (02), Kwame Brown (01), Chris Mihm (00), Alek Redojevic (99), Michael Olowokandi (98), Tim Duncan (97), Marcus Camby (96) and Joe Smith (95). All of these guys were the first big men taken in their respective drafts, and the only superstars of the bunch are Ming and Duncan. All of these players were taken before pick 14 in the draft, and in a sport where (up until recently) lottery picks come in and contribute right away, the center position has been difficult to gauge as far as NBA potential, resulting in a lot of "busts". By contrast, the backcourt position has a much better transition rate from the college and high school game to the pro level. All of this could mean nothing, but its something to keep an eye on come draft day, and the Milwaukee Bucks, along with many other NBA teams, have to make a decision between drafting a big man that seems to have tons of potential, versus a guard or forward that has already proven his worth, whether it be in high school, college, or overseas. With that being said, here is a look at my first mock draft for 2005:

1. Milwaukee Bucks - Marvin Williams, G/F UNC
2. Atlanta Hawks - Andrew Bogut, C Utah
3. Portland Trailblazers - Gerald Green, G Texas HS
4. New Orleans Hornets - Chris Paul, G Wake Forest
5. Charlotte Bobcats - Raymond Felton, G UNC
6. Utah Jazz - Fran Vasquez, C/F Spain
7. Toronto Raptors - Danny Granger, F New Mexico
8. New York Knicks - Deron Williams, G Illinois
9. Golden State Warriors - Antoine Wright, F Texas A&M
10. LA Lakers - Channing Frye, C Arizona
11. Orlando Magic - Martell Webster, G Washington HS
12. LA Clippers - Hakim Warrick, F Syracuse
13. Charlotte Bobcats - Rashad McCants, G UNC
14. Minnesota Timberwolves - Martynas Andriuskevicius, C/F Lithuania
15. New Jersey Nets - Charlie Villanueva, F UCONN
16. Toronto Raptors - Joey Graham, F Oklahoma St.
17. Indiana Pacers - Sean May, F UNC
18. Boston Celtics - Randolph Morris, C Kentucky
19. Memphis Grizzlies - Sean Banks, F Memphis
20. Denver Nuggets - Ike Diogu, F Arizona St.
21. Phoenix Suns - Andrew Bynum
22. Denver Nuggets - Rudy Fernandez
23. Sacramento Kings - Chris Taft, F Pittsburgh
24. Houston Rockets - Marko Tomas, G Croatia
25. Seattle Sonics - Andray Blatche, C Conneticut HS
26. Detroit Pistons - Julius Hodge, F NC St.
27. Utah Jazz - Roko Ukic, G Croatia
28. San Antonio Spurs - Tiago Splitter, F Brazil
29. Miami Heat - Johan Petro, C France
30. New York Knicks - Jarret Jack, G Georgia Tech

*I will have another mock draft right before the weekend of the actual draft as well so trades and player improvement can be factored in.

- On that note, one interesting trade that is already being waived about is the Celtics sending Paul Pierce to the Blazers for their #3 pick and Nick Van Exel. The trade is esentially a swap of Pierce for the pick, and once the Celtics waive Nick, they will have $10 million in salary cap space to sign free agents either this summer or next. I hope Danny Ainge goes for this, because the while the Celts have a lot of faith in letting Delonte West run the point, wouldn't Boston fans rather see Chris Paul guiding the green? Just a little something to think about.

- Another New England sports story is the fact that 3 time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour was absent from Patriots mini-camp yesterday. The common belief is that Seymour is holding out for more money, since his contract only pays him a total of about $5 million over the last 2 years of the deal. Tom Brady has been the only Patriot to have success at renegotiating a deal with more than one year remaining, and that was because he took a salary structure that saved the team cap space in various seasons, giving them wigle room to sign free agents when necessary. Hopefully Seymour and Pats management can come to a similar agreement. But not telling the team you are going to miss mini-camp makes me think Seymour may very well find himself in the same shoes as former Patriots and Pro Bowlers Ty Law and Lawyher Milloy.

- Finally we will end with an NBA Finals prediction. While the most popular pick has been the Spurs in 6 (which was also my preseason and pre-postseason pick), I am going to have to say its going to be the Spurs in 5. San Antonio brings too much offense to the table and can match the defensive intensity of the Pistons. Also, the Spurs are virtually unbeatable at home, dropping only 4 games all year. And lets hear it for Greg Popovic, who with all this talk about Larry Brown being a genius, is about to cruise to his 3rd NBA title in 7 years.

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