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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Draft, Sox and Paris Hilton!

Shaq Rides Wade To Ring Number 4
Sure I picked Dallas to win the NBA Finals in 6 games. And sure I previously wrote how I felt the refs robbed them of a game or two in the series. But you won't hear me saying that the Mavericks should have won the NBA title. Dwayne Wade carried the Heat and their cast of over-the-hill role players to their first championship this week in such impressive fashion that the MJ comparisons have been flying all week. I don't like calling people the "next" anyone, and certainly not after one good postseason. Is he the best player in the league? You certainly can make that argument. I would say he is in the top 5, but there are still plenty of guys out there that have a legit claim as the league's best. On the other end is Shaq, who collected his 4th ring despite handing in by far his worst Finals performance. Shaq feels like he needs more rings to have his legacy compete with the likes of Russell and Kareem as one of the best big men of all time. I'm sure he already realizes he is already considered in high regard, and after he has retired for a few years people will look back and mention Shaq as possibly the most physically dominating player in the history of the game. But if he feels the need to hang around a few more years and try to collect some more hardware, I wish him luck. But the fact is not only are his best years behind him, but its starting to look like even his "good" years have passed him by. As for the chances of a repeat, slim and none. The NBA is top heavy with good teams right now, and you can expect a team like Dallas, San Antonio, Phoenix or Detroit to make it tough for the Heat to pull off the double dip.

Draft Lottery Exactly That
I know I promised a mock draft at some point, but the fact of the matter is, this draft isn't even worth breaking down. This draft has zero intrigue whatsoever. There is no superstar like Yao Ming or LeBron James and nobody even the level below like maybe a Chris Paul or Emeka Okafor. What this draft has is a bunch of role players, none of which are truly worthy of the money in the lottery, but some that will get the undeserved payday anyway. What I will do is tell you right now who the best players from this draft will be next season and in seasons to come.
1)Randy Foye G Villanova - Believe it or not, I would have had Foye here if I did this thing weeks ago, even though now his bandwagon seems to be gaining a lot of momentum. Foye is a prototypical combo-guard with both the size and shooting ability to play 3 spots on the perimeter. He may lack the defensive toughness right now in his career, but you can't question his motivation or his overall talent. He can take guys off the dribble, post up smaller players, stroke the 3 and best of all he has a motor that never quits. Whichever team lands him is getting the best offensive player in the draft, no questions asked.

2)Brandon Roy G Washington - Roy mired in obscurity for a while on the west coast, but after a few good runs in the NCAA tourney many took notice. He has great size for someone that can light it up from the outside. And while he may not be a great rebounder, he probably rates at or near the top for defensive perimeter players in the draft. A lot of teams are trying to get bigger in the backcourt without losing any shooting or ball handling, and Roy is the perfect fit.

3)Marcus Williams G UCONN - In my opinion he is the only true PG ready to run an NBA squad right now. Heck he basically did that at UCONN, seeing as all the guys he played with are in or will be in the association. I know he may have issues with his weight, and some question his motivation and shot making skill, but Williams is the real deal. He is basically a slightly worse shooting version of Deron Williams last year, but with superior court vision and that basketball IQ that NBA general managers salivate over.

4)Shelden Williams F Duke - If this guy doesn't remind you of Elton Brand and Carlos Boozer, then you haven't' been watching close enough. The Landlord is probably the best defensive post player in the draft, and staying the full 4 in Durham helped polish his offensive game to the point of respectability. Sure he may only stand about 6'8" in socks, but that hasn't stopped the aforementioned Dukies from becoming beasts in the post, and I expect the same from WIlliams.

And the Zeke Shall Inherit the Mess
Problem: Your general manager has driven your payroll to more than 50% over the salary cap, frequently been bashed in the press, already driven another entire league out of business, and just fired a head coach that he himself selected fewer than 11 months ago.
Solution: Make him your head coach?
Now there isn't a bigger critic of Larry Brown out there than me, but Isiah Thomas is actually a worse option as the New York Knicks head coach by leaps and bounds. Not because he is a bad coach persay, but because he hasn't done anything to warrant this position. It was the rumor ever since he took over that Zeke was secretly pining to get back to the bench. First he was going to assemble the players he wanted, then he was going to run the current coach out of town and guide his band of misfits to the promised land. So now his master plan has come full circle, and Isiah gets to finally prove he's known what he was doing all along. My prediction is that Zeke and Starbury will be feuding before the All-Star break, the Knicks will be lucky to win 30 games, and Thomas will be lucky to have a job next year. As noted, I've been wrong before, but it's been a while since I was wrong about the Knicks. Good luck Isiah, God knows you're gonna need it.


One Team, One Goal
This headline wrote itself. After hearing for 4 years about how US soccer had finally arrived on the international stage (ranked #5 in the latest FIFA rankings), the US manages only one goal before exiting the 2006 World Cup. And, if the Italians hadn't booted one into their own net, the US wouldn't have even managed a point! In case anyone was still wondering why soccer isn't popular in this country it's because we SUCK at it! And as far as watching soccer goes, I'm sick of hearing how great it is in HD. I watched some of it in high def, and the only real difference I saw was that the damn grass was greener! Also, and I never thought I'd say this, but the sport needs commercials. I miss 50% of the goals because I watch for 30 minutes while a bunch of Eurotrash kicks it back and forth to each other, and the second I get up to get a drink, they decide to score. Maybe that's another reason people in this country will never get accustomed to watching soccer. Sure, you miss action in other sports by changing the channel or getting up for food, but at least you have time slots where action is guaranteed not to occur. As for the rest of the World Cup, I'm sure it will be entertaining for the millions around the world watching it, but as for me, its back to watching sports where I can pronounce the players names and they don't fall down and complain every 5 seconds. Good thing hockey and basketball season are over.

Red Sox Update
Last Week: 5-0
Overall: 44-28
Standings: 1st by 2.5 games

*Thank God for Jon Lester, that's all I have to say. I'm not going to pretend he solves all of the Sox rotation issues, but pretty damn close. Other than that, as long as Big Paprika continues to hit clutch homers, the Yanks and Blue Jays may be in for a long summer.

Diamonds are Forever
*Juan Gonzalez is back in baseball....with the Long Island Ducks! He's looking really smart for turning down that $140 million that the Detroit Tigers offered him. And I know you're probably waiting for me to make some sort of "Juan Gone" joke here, but I'm just not going to bring myself to that level.

*Apparently, despite spending the better part of the last 3 decades in the United States, Ozzie Guillen doesn't know the English meaning of the words "fag" or "sensitivity". And if you believe him, then you must also know where the weapons of mass destruction are in Iraq. I don't care if Ozzie hates Jay Mariotti, in fact I think some sparring like that is entertaining, but for him to claim ignorance after shooting his mouth off is foolish. Ozzie better be careful, or he might just talk himself right out of a job, or even worse, talk himself into the job coaching Juan Gone on the Long Island Ducks.

Random Hockey Stuff
*As if it wasn't bad enough that both Sergei Samsonov and Joe Thornton helped lead their respective teams on nice runs after they were dealt from the Bruins, now this. Joe Thornton was name the NHL MVP this week, winning narrowly over Jaromir Jagr. So why do I bother to mention this? Just to rub it in that the Boston Bruins suck and all the decisions they make are just awful. Speaking of, they just traded goalie Andrew Raycroft. Yeah, that's the guy that was rookie of the year a few years ago. I smell a Stanley Cup in his future!

*And just when you thought Paris Hilton had conquered most of the entertainment world, she's gone even further. The new rumor on the street has the heiress hooking up with Avalanche goaltender Jose Theodore. It's not news that she has broken up another relationship, or even that she has hopped into bed with yet another guy. Rather the news here is, Theodore more than likely became the first person Paris bumped uglies with that had tested positive for Propecia during the NHL drug screening process.

**Seeing as I am posting on Sunday this week, I don't have the results for my fantasy update. As of now I am slightly ahead, but who knows what the future holds! As for next week, it is my much anticipated rematch with Frosco. Unfortunately, I will be away from a computer for the next 5 days, so if he wins that's the reason I'm going with.

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