Posted on: May 31, 2009 9:00 pm
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Brains over 'bron.

The Cavaliers won 66 games this year, there is no reason they shouldn't be able to perform in the playoffs if they were truly to win a ring this year. They stomped on the Pistons and the Hawks and everyone was saying they were the team to beat in the playoffs with their dominating performances. Even in Game 1 against the Magic , I found myself reeling when I saw the Magic down 16 at the half, I was like oh crap is it really going to happen again, are the Cavaliers about to rickroll another team in the playoffs, then it all changed. The whole team choked (this includes LeBron James as he does play for the Cavs right?), they slowly gave up the lead and this is where the leaders of the team failed, the Cavaliers were invincible to this point and then they begin to bleed. They bleed and bleed, but no one steps up to stop the bleeding. This is what happens when you create a monster that is bigger than itself, when it falls it knows not of how to recover. Their season went out the window when they were no longer humble in their victories, and I could smell the arrogance blowing out of the eastern winds of Ohio.

This team thought their ticket to the Promise Land had already been processed, and I laugh at their lack of preperation. Playing H-O-R-S-E all day while waiting for the Celtics against the Magic to end is not what makes champions, especially when I see so many flaws in Lebron's game that should be worked on during those extra days of rest. Why not be like Dwight Howard and improve your free throw shooting, it's definitely not at the level that it needs to be when you are the superstar. Maybe develop some better footwork when you are moving in a direction other than forward because he handles the ball as well as he handles sportsmanship. Maybe a post game, where with his height and sheer strength he could out-jump any player in the league with a fadeaway, and in the post he would be able to better draw the double team and get his teammates some better looks at the basket. Oh no, not Lebron James he is the King, he doesn't need to work on any aspect of his game because he is already the best, he is content with scoring 40-8-8 off of spot up shooting and driving it into the paint. Many of you may not have noticed, but the Magic dared Lebron to play with his back to the basket, yet he showed that he did not know how. Yes the Cavaliers as a team weren't talented enough to make it out of the Eastern Conference Finals, let alone win a ring, but if Lebron had a more developed basketball game rather than relying on his strength and athleticism, maybe he could have given his teammates some better looks at the basket.

People say that Dwight Howard has limited basketball ability, doesn't that sound like someone familiar to you? Any casual basketball player should be able to see the weaknesses in Lebron's game, I mean he puts up 28-8-8 in the regular season off of only a pull up three and dunks off of penetration or the fast break, imagine how good he could actually be if he had any other skills. That is why I can not call him the best basketball player in the league for the forseeable future, that statement is based off of his regular season averages and not his actual basketball ability. For the present, I shall continue to call him the best athlete in basketball, and nothing more.

I believe the Cavaliers could have gotten to the Finals with the squad that they had, why shouldn't I, they were the best team in the league this year remember? In the playoffs you are under the magnifying glass of the world, and only at that point, do the benefits of your skills really get displayed on the court. In Lebron's entire career, I have only seen him as a two-dimensional offensive player. Take it to the hole, or spot up and shoot. I'll tell you right now, I don't care what team is built around him, if he doesn't further develop his game or learn any new skills, he is set up for many more failures in the future. If he hasn't yet displayed a desire to get better as a basketball player, I hope this season is a wake up call for him. In fact, he should go watch the two games he played against the Lakers and Kobe Bryant this year, Kobe outsmarted and outplayed the self-proclaimed, King.

I believe the proper saying goes, Brains over 'bron.

Posted on: May 15, 2009 4:40 pm
 

My State of the Sharks Requests

As Sharks fans we have been handed another huge let down by a team that wasn't supposed to disappoint. Doug Wilson put a great team together, and again we came up short. It was obvious to many of us that continued our loyalty and hopes that the Sharks were on their way out of the first round. In the back of our minds we all had a slight image of our team falling, even though we won two of the games because they just never looked confident. They lacked a ton of fight, and I feel like if you put together players from a game of pick-up hockey you could witness more desire than the Sharks displayed and that's a true story. I personally skate mediocre at best, but if you put me in a playoff game, playing to survive, I can tell you at least you would see heart out of me, that I was trying with every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears. The Sharks, if they felt they put their all into it, it really did not appear that way. These playoffs are different that previous playoffs, but at the same time they are kind of the same, I feel that this series vs. the Ducks exposed some glaring weaknesses that need to be addressed, and Doug Wilson should get to work today.

Item 1. - Evgeni Nabokov has provided us with some thrilling saves between the pipes, and I'm not sure anyone would disagree that he is a man that displays great character, and sportsmanship. Unfortunately, I do not believe those characteristics from him are going to be enough to get us a Stanley Cup. He has not been able to face playoff pressure from opposing offenses, and has let in one too many easy goals during this series. He is 34 this year, and I believe his age began to show against rookie Jonas Hiller . It's hard for me to swallow the fact, but as many of you have already brought up, we just might need a new netminder. Ideally, I would like the Sharks to find a new goalie and keep Nabokov as the backup, but whatever happens this off-season, I do not believe the Sharks can count on Nabokov to be a 1st-string any longer.

Item 2. - Christian Ehrhoff is a liability to our team across the board in all aspects. Out of our "core" players that play on primary lines with above average minutes per game, Ehrhoff is the only player to have a negative +/-. It's no fluke that he puts up the numbers that he does, and his poor puck handling, and decision-making cost us dearly in these playoffs. Marc-Edouard Vlasic will be great for us, and if Rob Blake and Dan Boyle can work-out something to return to us for another season, then the voids that we need to fill on our defensive end will be kept to a minimum so long as we get rid of or demote Ehrhoff. Ehrhoff should have been bumped down the line much earlier in the season for his poor performance, and maybe that would have woken him up for the playoffs, but until he is reprimanded appropriately he will continue to lack desire and heart on the ice.

Item 3. - Leadership. It's something you can't teach, and something you can't display unless you actually have it. Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton are great players in every aspect, but in the losing series it became clear to me that both of these players need a leader to turn to in order to win. It was a heart-warming experience to see Thornton jaw at Ryan Getzlaf in game 5, and then throw fists in game 6, but that burning fire and tenaciousness came way too late in the series. The playoffs are where all teams kick it into fifth gear, and both of our guys lack the ability to do such a thing under their own will. It took a beating and a shut out by the Ducks before they decided to crank it up, and that's just not acceptable. Their inabilities to play with hunger and desire caused a trickle effect that took over the whole team. Milan Michalek was a ghost, Joe Pavelski couldn't win a face-off when the Sharks needed it most, and Devin Setoguchi made some poor decisions in the neutral zone. They need to find a leader that will take the team in their hands and command respect, discipline, focus, and heart from the team. Whichever way we find this leader, it's something that must be done, even if it's at the cost of the two faces of our franchise.

Item 4. - We have a great nucleus of youth that many teams would envy. Ryane Clowe was one of the few players that showed heart and grit in the playoffs, and when he broke our playoff scoring drought in the playoffs you could just tell from his movements on the ice that he wanted it. As mentioned earlier, Vlasic will be great for our defense for many years to come. Pavelski and Setoguchi didn't play well this post-season, but I give some of that credit to their mentors and foresee them further improving their skills come next year. Both of them played well in the regular season and displayed some good offensive production that the Sharks desperately need. Torrey Mitchell spent the year with an injury, but if the rest of the team played the way Mitchell did in his last two playoff games, I believe the Sharks would have won the series. Shoot, Mitchell was just happy to be back on the ice. He looked like he was valuing every bit of ice time he could get, and it translated into a commendable performance. He will be in our line next year as a regular, and I'm looking forward to seeing him have a good year in the 2009-2010 season. Michalek is the 5th piece of our young core and he has a lot of improving to do this off-season, he managed to score the first goal in game 6, and I'm hoping he can carry some confidence in the future as his tentative skating was obvious to everyone around the world.

Doug Wilson is a gifted GM as I do not blame him at all for the work he has done for the Sharks' organization. I believe he has proven to the Bay Area that he wants to win, and is willing to make the moves necessary to build a Stanley Cup team. Every year is a learning experience and I believe Wilson being a smart business man, will make the necessary changes in further improving our team as he has done so in previous seasons. This sun has set on this day, but as a die-hard Sharks fan I am already looking to the light on the horizon as I wait for September to roll around so that I may again chant the words "Let's go Sharks!!!!!"

Posted on: May 15, 2009 4:35 pm
 

My AFC West Prediction

San Diego Chargers , you should be very thrilled to find out that you have won the 2009 AFC West before pre-season has even started. How you ask? I'll tell you! Watching from the comforts of sunny Southern California, you'll get to see the Oakland Circus Raiders tank a draft by drafting for speed and also spend all of their money on a kicker, Sebastian Janakowski, and a cornerback, Nnamdi Asomugha which results in another pitiful 4-12 season. Darren McFadden and JaMarcus Russell will still be unable to figure out the Raiders offense under Tom Cable and, the Raiders have built a men's track team with Michael Mitchell, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Johnnie Lee Higgins .

The Chiefs have declared themselves in rebuilding mode with the exit of Tony Gonzalez , the only consistent offensive player to play for Kansas City in the last ten years. Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes need not apply for that title and I'm sure you would understand why. I can't tell you who is even going to throw to Dwayne Bowe this upcoming season, but I can tell you I expect his production to drop unless they find someone else to take the pressure off of Bowe. The Chiefs will probably end up with a 5-11 season, but be the closest team to give the Chargers a run for their money.

And now to the Denver Broncos , they have decided to take a page out of Al Davis' book, and destroy one of the storied franchises of the league. With the results of the draft, it looks like they have traded Jay Cutler away for nothing. Initially it had look like a good deal for both the Broncos and the Bears , but Coach McDaniels has it figured out that he will try to see how deep he can bury the Broncos before anyone in Denver realizes it. They went and got another running back, reminiscent of the Mike Shannan days, just herding a farm of running backs to fill the backfield, I guess the Broncos never got the memo that you can only deploy two running backs at any given time in the same play. The Broncos have owned as many running backs as Michael Jackson has had nose jobs, and that alone should be a scary thought. No one knows what the make of their team is supposed to look like, but if you want to get a synopsis of what's ahead again refer to the Oakland Raiders.

There you have it San Diego, you still have LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles who will probably run all over the AFC West. Shawne Merriman will be back to help your defense, and who knows you may be on your way to a 16-0 season by default. Thank you Oakland, Kansas City, and Denver for possibly taking over the NFC West's title of worst division in the league, the Cardinals , 49ers , Rams , and Seahawks are very greatful.

Dry, and sarcastic, on the rocks but not stirred. How else?
Category: NFL
Posted on: May 15, 2009 4:24 pm
 

The Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, Wade Conversation

LeBron James dominates the game with his size and strength, and puts up very gaudy numbers. He is a phenomenal athlete and defines the word athlete in every possible way. But what defines the greatest of all time? Here's what I think, you have to at least be considered in the conversation in all of these aspects in order to be put in the greatest of all time.

- Best one-on-one player
- Great on the ball defender
- Best teammate/Make your teammates better/Have a good team around you
- Most clutch
- Possess all the offensive skills necessary to score on anyone
- Win championships
- Receive superstar treatment from the referees

Kobe Bryant , Lebron James, and Dwayne Wade possess most, but not all of these traits. You can argue about it if you want, but Wade is not the best teammate for the Heat , nor does he have all the offensive skills. Lebron doesn't have all the offensive skills, or championships (yet), and would not even be considered to be the top five clutch players of all time. Kobe arguably isn't the best teammate ever, but he has gotten much better than in previous years with the Lakers so he is getting close. If you want to break it down further try putting Kobe, MJ, Lebron, and Wade in the low post. Tell me which one of them will score on the best defenders of all time regardless of position or height. I will speak on what I have seen, and that's Kobe and MJ posting up and scoring on ANY defender in the low post. So as for Wade and Lebron, I haven't seen those skills yet. In fact I wouldn't even put Lebron in the Top 20 of the best low-post players in the game, Kobe and Jordan have proven they can at least be in that conversation. I'm not even sure Lebron can play with his back to the basket consistently because what are the highlights that you see from Lebron, fastbreak dunks (no defenders), driving into the lane, and the occasional long range shot.

Lebron may be considered one of the greatest athletes to play in any sport, so as a sports fan you have to respect that possibility. But if you are just talking about basketball, Lebron is not even close to being the greatest. I mean picture the four players mentioned playing a game of one on one against each other and give me an honest opinion. Who has the most skills and likeliness to win the game, my list would go Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, Wade. In a one on one, you're not going to get all that room to drive into the lane, and you're not going to get a ref calling for a hand check, so you are going to be forced to get into the low post, forced to play with your back to the basket, forced to take the deep shot, forced to show the depth of your game.

All of them play excellent defense with slight variations, but offensively you can't even say Lebron or Wade has the skills that Jordan or Kobe have, you just can't. And if that is true then the first two are not in the conversation of the second two when it comes to being considered all-time. Now I have eliminated Lebron and Wade from the conversation which only leaves Kobe to be compared to Jordan. To end my portion of the debate, I want you guys to consider the NBA of old, and the NBA of new. You can say that the refs blow thw whistle when anyone breathes on Lebron, Kobe, Jordan, or Wade, but Jordan dominated the game in the hand check era, and also the pre-3 second in the key era with the Knicks and Pistons taking advantage of that. Consider how important those two rules were in changing the NBA forever, hand checking is what would keep Lebron from driving into the lane like he does, and that is the reason none of you have seen a player ever play like Leborn does because only in the new NBA could you ever be let into the lane without effort, ball handling skills, and finesse. The 3-in-the-key rule keeps the big men in the game from standing in the paint all day, and Jordan played in the era where if you took it in the paint, you were guaranteed to be met with a big man down low because there was no three second rule. Kobe and Lebron play in the modern NBA, and I don't care if the players of old were even physically or athletically capable of guarding Lebron or Kobe. If hand checking were allowed, I would like to see what Lebron would do then because I know Kobe has other ways of scoring where Lebron does not. But those two aforementioned rules are what seperates Jordan from Kobe, and thus Michael "Air" Jordan is the greatest player of all time.

Here's a video that shows the NBA of old, if you need to refresh your memory, or if you are too young to have seen. Then besides "witnessing" Lebron, try witnessing this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2JG1AFFTnk

Lets see the Cavaliers , Heat, or any team currently in the playoffs go up against the goons of old school NBA.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com