Detroit Tigers: Offseason Moves

I’m an avid Tigers’ fan, so I thought I’d talk about the moves I’d like them to make in the offseason, so that we not only make it back to the ALCS in 2012, but hopefully make it to the World Series & win the World Series.

Team Needs:

-Left handed starting pitcher

-Right handed relief pitcher

-Back up catcher

-A starting SS (but a starting 3B works if no quality starting SS is available)

-A starting 2B

-A leadoff hitter

-A power bench bat

Players who could fill our team needs:

-C.J. Wilson: He might command ace like money, while being a #3 at best in a rotation. If we could snag him at a discounted rate and slap him smack dab in the middle of our rotation, I think we become the team to beat, heading into next year.

-Mark Buehrle: I honestly think he’ll stay in Chicago or maybe go to the Marlins, but I think he might be out of our price range.

-David Aardsma: Aardsma’s coming off surgery and has something to prove. He might come cheap, but has closer type stuff. I think he’d gel well with the personalities in our pen.

-Heath Bell: One of my favorite relievers, but his cost might be too much and I think he’ll be a Padre for life.

-Frank Francisco: If he demands a closer’s salary, then Dombrowski would balk at his offer, but if his range is reasonable, then it’d be worth looking into.

-LaTroy Hawkins: I think he’s the best RP we can get for his price range. Consistent, experienced and cheap.

-Kelly Shoppach: My first choice for backup catcher, depending on his asking price.

-Ryan Doumit: If we don’t sign Shoppach, I think we go after Doumit. He’s effective and would fill the void of commanding control of our pitchers and the tempo of the game, every 5th day.

-Aramis Ramirez: A consistent 3B both offensively and defensively. I think he’s the biggest bat we sign this offseason.

-David Wright: Mets are listening to offers for Wright. If their expectations for return are reasonable, then we have to make a move. When he’s at his best, he’s debatably the best offensive 3B.

-Martin Prado: Braves are shopping him and he’d be a perfect glue guy for Detroit’s clubhouse.

-Aaron Hill: If we can’t find a way to pry Prado from Atlanta, since their asking price might be too high, Hill is my favorite of the free agents.

-Kelly Johnson: The safe, cheap, effective option in the 2B free agent market. He doesn’t give you flash, but he’s consistent & gives us a leadoff hitter.

-Brandon Phillips: My favorite 2B, he just got a contract extension, but rumors have the Reds still shopping him. If that’s the case then we need to jump on that.

-Jose Reyes: Dombrowski pretty much shot down the idea of signing him, but I still think it’s a possibility.

-Michael Cuddyer: He’s a player I’ve always liked & he’s a hot commodity among a lot of teams right now. He’s a utility player that can be plugged in a lot of places. He can play 1st or the outfield or DH or pinch hit. He would give us another bat, that would make our offense more potent, while taking away a starter from one of our division rivals.

-Realistic Offseason Signings:

-C.J. Wilson

-LaTroy Hawkins

-Aramis Ramirez

-Martin Prado

-Kelly Shoppach

*If we don’t go out & sign a left-handed SP, I think Dave Dombrowski is content filling the 5th hole in our rotation with Jacob Turner. However, getting deep into the playoffs without a lefty can become a bump in the road. C.J. Wilson is the more realistic option of the two big FAs, but he comes with a hefty price tag & we might distribute those funds towards filling our other needs. Hawkins has been a reliever that I’ve always really liked. He gives us the lockdown 7th inning pitcher to set up for Benoit & Valverde, which is the one thing missing in our bullpen. Shoppach might draw a starting job somewhere else, but if we can convince him to come to a contender for less money & a spot start every 5th day, then he could definitely become an asset. Braves have been shopping Prado & he’s that glue guy that every great team has. He can play a plethora of positions & would be a great leadoff man. Aramis Ramirez would be our biggest splash this offseason if we can obtain him. He’d give us offense from the hot corner, which we so desperately need.  This comes without saying, but we need to, & I think we will, re-sign Delmon Young. He gives us that extra pop in our lineup in either the 2 or 5 hole, that we really need again.

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NFL: Mid-Season

AFC East:

Will the Patriots ever lose? Many people asked this question pre-season, yet we’re 9 week sinto the NFL season & they sit at a complacent 5-3. A lot of teams would kill to be 5-3, but in Foxboro they expect more. Brady & company heads to the Meadowlands on Sunday, where their season might hang in the balance. A win gives them 1st place in the division, but a loss puts their season in purgatory.

-Bills who? Not since the 90’s, have the Bills been relevant in professional football. Their defense, led by the beastly George Wilson, wants to deter people from those negative connotations, while the offensive trio of Ryan Fitzpatrick/Fred Jackson/Stevie Johnson have helped rack up points. One thing’s for certain, don’t count them out.

-How many Super Bowls will Rex predict the Jets will win, before they win one? Jets sit a top the AFC East in a three way tie for 1st, yet the Jets haven’t played their best football yet. They’re a run first offense that’s tried to do too much with the passing game. Their defense has been great like everyone has expected it to be, but they have to grind their workhorse Shonn Greene if they want to open up Holmes for the deep play  & be a serious title contender.

-Can dolphins drown? It sure seems that way. Before yesterday, they were one of two winless teams that looked in line to solve all their problems by drafting Andrew Luck #1 overall in the April draft. However, after a road victory in the hostile Arrowhead Stadium, maybe their season will turn around. I think Daniel Thomas can be their next workhorse if they ever decide to give him enough carries and if he can stay healthy. Brandon Marshall is still one of the most talented receivers in the NFL & it seems like he is becoming a leader in that clubhouse as well. If they could find a way to get Andrew Luck then it would sure fix a lot of their problems.

AFC North:

-Are the Ravens the favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl? The Ravens defense has been lights out like it always is, led by the four-headed defensive monster: Ray Lewis/Ed Reed/Terrell Suggs/Haloti Ngata , but the Ravens biggest problem is their inconsistencies and stagnant demeanor. I cannot believe the same team that beat the Steelers twice, also lost to the Jaguars & Titans and were down huge to the Cardinals before turning it on and squeaking out a close one. Joe Flacco has shown that he can keep his composure in tough situations though, which will go far in determining the Ravens’ fate not only this year, but in the future as well.

-Addition by subtraction? At the beginning of the 2010 season, I thought the Bengals had all the pieces in place to win the Super Bowl. After a horrendous season, the Bengals re-grouped & rebuilt via the draft. Terrell Owens & Chad Ochocinco left to free agency and Carson Palmer gets traded. Andy Dalton & A.J. Green get taken in the draft and the chemistry between this tandem is already immense. I knew that Dalton & Green would make them better, but definitely didn’t expect them to be this good & especially not this fast.

-Over the hill? Steelers defense has been one of the best in the league over the past decade and rightfully so, but it seems like they’ve lost their edge. Not only do they not cut off some big plays, but their age is apparent in all of their injuries to their linebacking corps.

-Bright or Plight?  I’ve praised the way that Browns’ management has built this defense & a lot of the time for good reason. Halfway through the season, D’Qwell Jackson is the defensive player of the year by far. T.J. Ward & Joe Haden have also helped keep them in close games. The problem is, you can’t win a game if you can’t score. Coming out of college, a lot of people expected Colt McCoy to be a good NFL QB, but he hasn’t elevated himself to that level yet, but it’s not entirely his fault. He doesn’t have many weapons. Josh Cribbs is a special teams specialist, but a depleted running game with the down year Hillis is having & the injury to Hardesty, makes things even more difficult. Evan Moore & Ben Watson are two good tightends that can help McCoy get down the field from time to time, but they don’t have any legit WRs. Greg Little has the talent to be the WR1 there though, if given the opportunity.

AFC South:

-Is this the year the Texans live up to their hype?  Texans seem to be in control of their own destiny. Foster is healthy & is picking up where he left off last season. The Texans have won their last three games even without their best player, Andre Johnson. Owen Daniels is an emerging TE. While Schaub’s skillset seems to be deteriorating & Mario Williams is lost for the season, but they’ve been able to pull off some huge blow out wins. They’re in line to finally make the playoffs.

-Remember the Titans? The Titans were off to a fast start, before their #1 receiver, Kenny Britt, was lost for the year. now they seem stuck in mediocrity with their playoff odds dwindling more & more every week. Stuck at 4-4, their season can go one of two ways. All I know, is that they have to beat the Texans in their re-match to stand a shot at getting back into the AFC South race.

-Luck is better than skill? Jags squeaked out a week 1 win against the competitive Titans, but then hadn’t won again until their defense showed up and stunned the Baltimore Ravens. Jaguars are one of the teams that would benefit the most by getting Andrew Luck, but with two wins that seems un-realistic at this point, unless they work out a trade.

-Is Peyton Manning the MVP of the past decade? The Colts have been a mess since Peyton hasn’t played. Starting at 0-9, their season is bleak to say the least. The silver lining in this all is that being the only winless team, they have the best shot at obtaining Andrew Luck.

AFC West:
-Role reversal? The Chargers are notorious for their slow starts & second half of the season brilliance & dominance. This season, however, they sit at 4-4 in a tie for 1st place. Will they continue to have 2nd half success or will they falter down the stretch this year, with the abundance of interceptions that Rivers has been throwing.

-Do it for Al Davis? Al Davis personifies Raiders’ football. With his heartbreaking death earlier this year, it seems like the time that Raiders football is back on the map in a big way. Trading a pretty penny for former pro-bowler Carson Palmer & bringing in a true receiver in T.J. Houshmanzadah gives them the talent to get it done. With Run DMC being hurt, Michael Bush will have to shine bright to keep the Raiders in the race, until he can regain the work load.

-Will the injury bug hurt them? With Jamaal Charles & Eric Berry being done for the season, many unsung heroes have had to step up for them to even still be in this race. The emergence of Jonathan Baldwin, Jackie Battle, & Brandon Flowers have kept the Chiefs afloat. Only time will tell, if it will be enough to earn them their 2nd straight division title.

-TEBOWned? Since the beginning of the season, many Broncos fans have been chanting Tebow, waiting for him to get his chance. He finally did & he came back down 15 with under 3 minutes to go against the Dolphins & squeaked out an overtime victory. The next week he got blown out, but then down 24-14 against the Raiders, he turned it on & led the Broncos to 38 points. The scary thing is, no one knows which Tebow will show up week in & week out.

NFC East:

-Is it in his blood? Eli is often criticized and never gets the respect, that at times, he deserves. He has as many Super Bowl wins as his brother, yet Peyton is considered by some the greatest QB of all time, where as Eli is never talked about in a positive light. Depleted with injuries & in the shadow of the dream team, Eli & company find themselves at 6-2 and in prime position to make the playoffs for the first time since they beat the 18-0 Patriots in the Super Bowl.

-May I have a diet choke? Romo is notorious for being able to blow games in a matter of minutes. Although, Romo is the only QB to be able to chalk up the Niners defense and beat them, he’s also found ways to blow very winnable games. (See their huge 4th qtr lead vs. the Jets in week 1)

-The dream team or the all hype team? Many people, including me, predicted the Eagles to win the Super Bowl this year. It seemed like all of the stars were aligning. After a mediocre start, the Eagles are finally locked in & playing their best football. Only question is, are all their problems behind them? Eagles have the talent to beat any team, any week, but they can’t overlook even their “easy” opponents or they could be sitting on their couches in January.

-Sexy Rexy merely an illusion? Rex Grossman, of Bears’ Super Bowl fame, won the starting job out of pre-season & got the ‘skins off to a scorching 3-1 start, before faltering and giving way to John Beck. The Redskins now sit at an un-appealing 3-5 & appear to be who most of us thought they’d be. Running back by committee, #1 receiver is hurt, & mediocre defense (besides their above par secondary). I’d expect a Super Bowl winning coach, to be able to do more, even in his situation.

NFC North:

-Will they ever lose? The Packers sit at 8-0 & are halfway to perfection. Aaron Rodgers & company are destined to go down as one of the best offenses of all time. They rank almost dead last in pass defense however & if their offense loses any steam, then they could trip up a couple times down the stretch.

-Are the Lions for real? Lions have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL & one of the brightest young QB/receiver duos as well. If Jahvid Best could ever turn into an elite runner, then the Lions could be contending for a Super Bowl sooner than later.

-Can Forte keep them in it? Matt Forte accounts for 43% of the Bears’ total offense through the first half of the season. It’s astounding that they haven’t paid him yet, because he surely deserves it. However, if the Bears don’t find better ways to get their young tightends, knox, & williams better involved in their offense, then any good defense could build a barricade around Forte & make their offense non-existent.

-Is McNabb’s career over? The slow start by the Vikings, put them in a position to start Christian Ponder. The rookie’s been very impressive in his two starts & it makes me wonder if McNabb’s career is over. All I know is with Jared Allen, AP, & Ponder, the Vikings future is looking bright.

NFC South:

-Are the Saints the most complete team in the NFC? Drew Brees has a plethora of receivers he can hurl it to, the most under-rated tightend in the NFL in Jimmy Graham, & a three-headed running attack. Their defense however can be a problem at times, because they have a very hard time defending against great passing games.

-Are Matt Ryan’s numbers inflated because of his athletic receivers? Whether it be Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White or Julio Jones, it seems lke Matt Ryan is constantly being bailed out by dives and extensions by his receiving corps. Ryan’s accuracy will have to be more pinpoint if the Falcons want to go far into the playoffs this year.

-Is the Bucs young & sluggish style causing them from contending? At times, the Buccaneers seem to be playing great football. However, sometimes they let their attitudes and short tempers get the best of them. Blount got in trouble at Oregon for punching a kid for taunting & just recently the Bucs got a 15 yard penalty for Blount punching a Saints’ player. Talib got a 15 yd penalty for the same thing later in the game. Foolish short tempered mistakes cost teams close games. If they want to be an elite team in the NFL< then they have to cut down on giving away free yardage.

-Is Cam the next Michael Vick? It’s only his rookie year, but Cam Newton is already becoming a dual threat QB in the vein of Michael Vick. Whether he’s hurling down field to Steve Smith or using his legs to get a first down, one thing is certain, his time is now. It’s only his first year in the league, but people in Carolina have something to get excited about.

NFC West:

-Can Alex Smith win a Super Bowl? Other than the Packers, no team has been as good in the first half of the season as the 49ers. Patrick Willis fronts this toughnosed defense and  keeps them in every game. The niners also have some of the best special teams in the NFL. However, outside Frank Gore, they really don’t have an explosive offensive threat. A diluted receiving corps doesn’t help, but multiple tightend sets, usually helps Smith break free in the pocket and find an open man downfeld, which has helped the Niners get off to their fast start. Eventually teams will catch on, if they don’t become a multi-dimensional offensive teams.

-From beast mode to autopilot? Marshawn Lynch exploded for a huge run knocking off tackles left and right in Seattle’s route of the defending Super Bowl champs last January, since then he’s been almost non-existent. Pete Carroll has to find ways to use Lynch/Forsett more to take the pressure off of Tarvaris Jackson. Jackson isn’t a great QB and even when trailing in games, they should use Lynch more to edge downfield. It gives them their best chance to win games.

-Is Kolb a good QB? In the offseason, many people talked about how getting Kolb made the Cardinals immensely better, but I wasn’t sold. He only had a handful of starts in his NFL career, but yet he was getting praised for mediocre numbers. Cardinals only have two wins and for good reason, because they aren’t a very good team.

-Is Sam Bradford a future elite quarterback? Last year, Bradford had a great year, being honored with offensive rookie of the year honors.  However, this year, being plagued by injuries to himself and his receiving corps, he’s had a miserable year to say the least. People with high hopes still believe he can turn into Peyton Manning someday, but will his injury woes from college continue to creep up to his pro career or will he be able to stay relatively healthy and turn the Rams franchise around.

College Basketball: Pre-Season

The time of the year has finally come. It’s finally college hoops season. With the lockout still hindering the start of the  NBA season, the college game will finally get the exposure that it deserves & needs. In celebration of the beginning of the basketball season, I’ve decided to find my inner Joe Lunardi and predict the 68 teams that will go dancing in March. However, un-like Lunardi, I will not even attempt to rank them & put them into regions like he boldly chooses to do.

Automatic Bids:

-America East: Boston University

-Atlantic 10: Xavier

-ACC: North Carolina

-Atlantic Sun: Belmont

-Big 12: Baylor

-Big East: Connecticut

-Big Sky: Weber State

-Big South: Coastal Carolina

-Big Ten: Wisconsin

-Big West: Long Beach State

-Colonial: Old Dominion

-Conference USA: Memphis

-Great West: North Dakota

-Horizon: Cleveland State

-Ivy: Harvard

-MAAC: Iona

-Mid American: Akron

-MEAC: Hampton

-Missouri Valley: Creighton

-Mountain West: New Mexico

-Northeast: Robert Morris

-Ohio Valley: Morehead State

-Pac-12: California

-Patriot: Lehigh

-SEC: Kentucky

-Southern: Wofford

-Southland: Sam Houston State

-SWAC: Alabama State

-Summit: Oakland

-Sun Belt: Western Kentucky

-West Coast: Gonzaga

-WAC: Utah State

At Large Bids:

-Ohio State

-Minnesota

-Michigan

-Michigan State

-Purdue

-Syracuse

-Marquette

-Louisville

-Pittsburgh

-Cincinnati

-Villanova

-Notre Dame

-St. John’s

-West Virginia

-Duke

-Florida State

-Kansas

-Texas

-Texas A&M

-Missouri

-Florida

-Vanderbilt

-Alabama

-Mississippi State

-Arizona

-UCLA

-Washington

-UNLV

-BYU

-San Diego State

-Butler

-VCU

-George Mason

-Saint Mary’s

-Temple

-Missouri State

Final Four:

-Kentucky

-Baylor

-Marquette

-Xavier

Championship:

-Kentucky over Baylor

*Terrence Jones came back because he truly believes that, even with the departures of Brandon Knight & DeAndre Liggins, that this Kentucky team has all the pieces to make a title run. After missing the tournament last year, Baylor has re-grouped & is ready to take over where their 2009-2010 season ended. Highly touted prospect Perry Jones III gives them one of the best post presences in the league. Quincy Acy & Anthony Jones gives them two pure scorers & I see a deep tourney run in their near future.

NFL Predictions

AFC East:
Patriots (12-4)
Jets (11-5)
Bills (6-10)
Dolphins (5-11)

AFC North:
Steelers (12-4)
Ravens (11-5)
Browns (9-7)
Bengals (2-14)

AFC South:
Texans (10-6)
Colts (9-7)
Jaguars (7-9)
Titans (6-10)

AFC West:
Chargers (10-6)
Broncos (9-7)
Chiefs (6-10)
Raiders (5-11)

NFC East:
Eagles (11-5)
Cowboys (9-7)
Giants (6-10)
Redskins (1-15)

NFC North:
Packers (10-6)
Lions (9-7)
Bears (8-8)
Vikings (7-9)

NFC South:
Falcons (11-5)
Buccaneers (10-6)
Saints (9-7)
Panthers (5-11)

NFC West:
Rams (10-6)
49ers (8-8)
Cardinals(7-9)
Seahawks (4-12)

AFC Playoff Teams:
Patriots
Steelers
Texans
Chargers
Ravens
Jets

NFC Playoff Teams:
Eagles
Packers
Falcons
Rams
Buccaneers
Lions

AFC Championship:
Ravens Vs. Jets

NFC Championship:
Buccaneers Vs. Eagles

Super Bowl:
Jets Vs. Eagles

Super Bowl Winner:
Eagles

NBA Draft: Winners, Losers, & Confusers

Draft Winners:

-Bucks: Tobias Harris(19 via Bobcats), Beno Udrih(trade via Kings), Stephen Jackson(trade via Bobcats), Shaun Livingston(trade via Bobcats), Jon Leuer(40)

*Bucks got rid of two terrible contracts (Corey Maggette & John Salmons). They brought in a guy that averages 20.0 ppg, even though he has attitude problems & a criminal record. They’re also able to swing Udrih, giving them one of the best backup Pgs in the NBA. They trade down in the draft to snatch up Tobias Harris, who at only 18 years old, can be molded into whatever type of player that fits the Bucks need. I’m not big on the Jon Leuer pick, but like a lot of people have already stated, it seems like a public relations stunt. Draft a kid from the area, to get fans in the seat. Sounds about right.

-Nuggets:Andre Miller(trade via Trailblazers), Jordan Hamilton(26 via Trailblazers via Mavericks), & a future 2nd round pick(trade via Trailblazers), Chukwudiebere Maduabum(56 via Lakers), Kenneth Faried(22)

*I don’t think that the Nuggets got enough respect for their draft. After trading Carmelo Anthony last year, they somehow got better. However, now it’s George Karl’s job to teach this melting pot of young, raw players how to fit together. For the last 7 years, the Nuggets identity was Anthony, so now Karl has to set their new personality for the future. They traded unhappy backup PG Raymond Felton to the Trailblazers & acquired weathered veteran Andre Miller. Miller’s the perfect option to come in & play 15 to 20 minutes a game, while helping Ty Lawson tweak & improve his game. Nuggets also were able to snatch up the best rebounder in this draft at #22 in Kenneth Faried. One of my favorite college players of the past couple years. Anytime you draw comparisons to both Dennis Rodman & Tim Duncan, then you know that you’re doing something right. Nuggets somehow swung SF/SG Jordan Hamilton in that trade, as well. Another player that will fit perfectly in Karl’s system. You can never have enough talent & Hamilton is definitely one of the ten or so most talented players in this draft.

-Wizards:Jan Vesely(6), Chris Singleton(18), Shelvin Mack(34)

*Wizards are on everybody’s winner’s list & it’s easy to see why. Jan Vesely is the wingman that John Wall needed. I think Vesely has the most promise of any of the foreign prospects in this draft. He’s been compared favorable to Dirk Nowitzki. Excuse me, NBA Champion, Dirk Nowitzki. Question is: Who’s a better dunker? Jan Vesely or JaVale McGee? Hmm. The steal of the draft comes in the form of Florida State’s Chris Singleton at #18. Singleton is by far the best defensive player in this draft. Hard worker, he grinds out every possession, & is an all out baller. If I had to make a list of players that could translate their college game to the pros seamlessly, then Singleton would be a top of that list. Brilliant pick. Not to mention, Wizards got Shelvin Mack with their 2nd round pick. A SG reminiscent of Shannon Brown & touted as many as a late 1st round pick. Anyone that’s watched the past two NCAA National Championship games, knows how well Mack can take over a game, when he’s hot.

-Jazz:Enes Kanter(3), Alec Burks(12)

*Jazz make this list, although they only had two transactions. Sometimes a simple draft, is the best draft. I’ve always been one to draft the best player, unless a player falls to you that fits your needs perfectly. Jazz were able to snatch up the self-proclaimed “best player in the draft”, at #3 in the form of Turkey’s own, Enes Kanter. Five years from now, we could look back & wonder why he didn’t go #1. At #12, Jazz were able to get Alec Burks, who was touted by many as the best SG in this draft. I personally think it’s a coinflip between him & Klay Thompson, but only time will tell before we see for sure. The only downfall of Jazz’s draft, was that they didn’t get a PG. Jazz has been looking for a replacement for Devin Harris for awhile & in a draft that was stacked with quality PGs, I was shocked to find out that they didn’t make a move for one.

Notable Winner Snubs:

-Warriors: Drafted two great players that will help them & traded for a center with a lot of potential.

-Kings: They got their PG of the future, traded for some veteran experience, & got two great 2nd round sleepers that will both make NBA rosters at some point.

-Cavaliers: Got two players with a lot of potential & talent, which is to be expected when you’re giving two top four picks. They also acquired two future 2nd round picks. However, I think Justin Harper could be a star in this league, so them giving him up, may come back to bite them.

-Hawks: While they only had one pick in this draft, they were able to acquire one of my favorite centers from college. I think Keith Benson can be an elite center in this league, if he can bulk up, refine his skill set & tighten up defensively.

-Pistons: They got Brandon Knight at #8. I think Knight has the best NBA career of any PG in this draft, so that was a steal for them. They also got Kyle Singler, who if he fits his role, draws comparisons to Andres Nocioni, who is always a good fit for teams like the Pistons.

-Bobcats: Kemba Walker was my favorite player in college last season. Something about him has always conveyed greatness. He’s meant to be a winner & achieve great things. While, the Biyombo pick may come back to haunt the Bobcats, I think drafting Walker was a goldmine pick.

Draft Losers:

-Knicks: Iman Shumpert(17), Josh Harrellson(45 via Hornets)

*It wouldn’t be an NBA Draft day without the moans & groans of the New York faithful. It doesn’t take an inept basketball connoisseur, to tell you that the Knicks messed up. Over the past couple weeks, Iman Shumpert has been sliding up draft boards. He was very impressive during most of his workouts & teams saw a lot of promise in him. However, Knicks should’ve taken a safer pick in this situation. I understand that they wanted a PG & Shumpert may have been the best PG available when they got to pick at #17, but I’m not sure how well it will pan out long term. The Knicks passed on the likes of Kenneth Faried, Jordan Hamilton, Chris Singleton, & Marson Brooks, just so that they could get a PG. When they interviewed Spike Lee, you could tell how aggravated he was by the way that he collected his sighs & emphasized the “we need defense” card. He obviously wanted Walsh to take either Newark’s own Faried or defensive specialist Singleton, who went one pick later to Washington. Knicks only had one pick & didn’t make any groundbreaking trade. However, they had the Hornets select Kentucky’s Josh Harrellson at #45 & they acquired him for cash considerations. I had Harrellson as undrafted on my draft board, as did many people. He first started getting noticed, during Kentucky’s run to the Final Four. He has a big heart & was fun to watch play, but I’m not exactly sure how his game will adapt to the pros, if he even makes a roster. Disappointing draft for Knicks fans everywhere.

-Suns: Markieff Morris(13)

*Suns have a lot of needs & taking the worse Morris brother, wasn’t the answer. I’m beginning to think that their front office is drafting these players as a joke. Taylor Griffin, Robin Lopez, & now Markieff Morris. Their brothers become stars elsewhere & the Suns are stuck with them. Suns had so many great players they could’ve taken here, but opted for one of the few busts for this lottery pick. Suns are in a rebuild mode. If I was them I would’ve drafted: Marshon Brooks, Marcus Morris, Kawhi Leonard, Chris Singleton, Kenneth Faried or Jordan Hamilton. Definitely not Markieff Morris. The pick definitely surprised everyone, including me, mainly because it was a bad pick.

Notable Loser Snubs:

-The Fans: For the past few weeks, the rumor mill had been spinning, but when draft day hit, it was all pretty anti-climactic. A lot of draft pick trading happened, because there’s a lot of parody with the talent pool in this draft class, but no big names were traded. Andre Miller, Raymond Felton, & Stephen Jackson were the biggest names on the move, yesterday. Definitely not superstar level talent, dawning new colors.

Draft Confusers:

-Timberwolves:Derrick Williams(2), Brad Miller(trade via Rockets), a future 1st round pick(trade via Rockets), Malcolm Lee(43 via Bulls), a future 2nd round pick(trade via Heat), & cash considerations(trade via Heat), 2013 2nd rounder(trade via Nets) & cash considerations(trade via Nets), Tanguy Ngombo(57 via Mavericks)

*It’s no surprise, that Timberwolves’ GM David Kahn is always able to shock & astound us all on draft days. I mean, to be as bad as the Timberwolves have been in recent history, Kahn’s had to have taken a lot of terrible moves. I could barely figure out what moves the Timberwolves had made, before they made another one. Timberwolves opted to keep the #2 overall pick & select Arizona’s Derrick Williams. In my opinion, Williams becomes the best pro from this draft class. Smart move. However, Timberwolves already have too much log jam at the 3 & 4. So how will they find enough playing time for every small forward & power forward in their rotation? More trades will hopefully be on the way. Malcolm Lee is a very good 2nd round pick. Ben Howland is always able to churn out quality, NBA ready guards, at UCLA. Timberwolves also acquired Brad Miller from the Rockets, who in my opinion should be their starting center from day 1, unless they move Love to the 5, Beasley to the 4 & start Williams at the 3, ala their positions in college. In acquiring Miller, Kahn was able to un-jam the PG situation & finally made room for Rubio.

Notable Confuser Snubs:

-Spurs: I knew a Spurs’ PG would be on the move on draft day, but I assumed it’d be Tony Parker. George Hill should definitely be an upgrade over Darren Collison, who struggled to come into his own in his first year as a Pacer. However for the Spurs, they got in my opinion, the best all around SF in this draft, in Kawhi Leonard. He led San Diego State from obscurity to the big stage, last season. Also, the Spurs acquired Davis Bertans, who is considered by many, the best all around shooter in this draft class. Although, Bertans is a project & won’t come over to the NBA right away. Spurs shocked everyone win they drafted Cory Joseph with their 1st round pick. Maybe they know something we don’t know. I thought Joseph would be a late 2nd rounder to maybe undrafted. He’s undersized, doesn’t have great court vision, isn’t a leader, & not a great shooter. Spurs scouts must have seen something when he worked out for them, because I didn’t see it during all the Texas’ games that I watched this year. Definitely an overall confusing draft day for the Spurs. If the Cory Joseph pick pans out for them, then a few years from now we’ll probably consider them draft day winners, since they turned 1 pick & one player into three potential goldmines.

NBA Draft: Recap

Atlantic:
-Celtics:JaJuan Johnson(27 via Nets), a future 2nd round pick(trade via Nets), E’twaun Moore(55)
-Knicks:Iman Shumpert(17), Josh Harrellson(45 via Hornets)
-Sixers:Nikola Vucevic(16), Lavoy Allen(50)
-Nets:Marshon Brooks(25 via Celtics), Bojan Bogdanovic(31 via Timberwolves via Heat), Jordan Williams(36)
-Raptors:Jonas Valanciunas(5)

Central:
-Bulls:Nikola Mirotic(23 via Timberwolves via Rockets), Jimmy Butler(30)
-Pacers:George Hill(trade via Spurs)
-Bucks:Tobias Harris(19 via Bobcats), Beno Udrih(trade via Kings), Stephen Jackson(trade via Bobcats), Shaun Livingston(trade via Bobcats), Jon Leuer(40)
-Pistons:Brandon Knight(8), Kyle Singler(33), Vernon Macklin(52)
-Cavaliers:Kyrie Irving(1), Tristan Thompson(4), two future 2nd round picks(trade via Magic), Milan Macvan(54)

Southeast:
-Heat:Norris Cole(28 via Timberwolves via Bulls)
-Magic:Justin Harper(32 via Cavaliers), DeAndre Liggins(53)
-Hawks:Keith Benson(48)
-Bobcats:Bismack Biyombo(7 via Kings), Kemba Walker(9), Corey Maggette(trade via Bucks), cash considerations(trade via Warriors)
-Wizards:Jan Vesely(6), Chris Singleton(18), Shelvin Mack(34)

Northwest:
-Thunder:Reggie Jackson(24)
-Nuggets:Andre Miller(trade via Trailblazers), Jordan Hamilton(26 via Trailblazers via Mavericks), & a future 2nd round pick(trade via Trailblazers), Chukwudiebere Maduabum(56 via Lakers), Kenneth Faried(22)
-Trailblazers:Raymond Felton(trade via Nuggets), Nolan Smith(21), Jon Diebler(51)
-Jazz:Enes Kanter(3), Alec Burks(12)
-Timberwolves:Derrick Williams(2), Brad Miller(trade via Rockets), a future 1st round pick(trade via Rockets), Malcolm Lee(43 via Bulls), a future 2nd round pick(trade via Heat), & cash considerations(trade via Heat), 2013 2nd rounder(trade via Nets) & cash considerations(trade via Nets), Tanguy Ngombo(57 via Mavericks)

Pacific:
-Lakers:Cash considerations(trade via Nuggets), Darius Morris(41), Andrew Goudeluck(46), Ater Majok(58)
-Suns:Markieff Morris(13)
-Warriors:Klay Thompson(11), Jeremy Tyler(39 via Bobcats), Charles Jenkins(44)
-Clippers:Trey Thompkins(37), Travis Leslie(47)
-Kings:Jimmer Fredette(10 via Bucks), John Salmons(trade via Bucks), Tyler Honeycutt(35), Isaiah Thomas(60)

Southwest:
-Spurs:Kawhi Leonard(15 via Pacers), Davis Bertans(42 via Pacers), & Erazem Lorbek(trade via Pacers), Cory Joseph(29), Adam Hanga(59)
-Mavericks:Rudy Fernandez(trade via Trailblazers), Petteri Kobonen(trade via Nuggets)
-Hornets:Cash considerations(trade via Knicks), cash considerations(trade via Timberwolves)
-Grizzlies:Josh Selby(49)
-Rockets:Marcus Morris(14), Donatas Motiejunas(20 via Timberwolves) & Johnny Flynn(trade with Timberwolves), Chandler Parsons(38)

NBA Draft 2011: Predictions

I’ve been reading a lot of articles & rumors regarding this upcoming NBA draft. If you couple that with the knowledge I have from being an avid basketball fan & the fact that I’ve broken down each roster, to see what each team’s needs entail. I’ve made my predictions, based on all of that information that I’ve gathered. Obviously, my predictions can only be made based on who currently has the pick.

1st Round:

1.Kyrie Irving PG/Duke -Cavaliers

2.Derrick Williams SF/Arizona -Timberwolves

3.Enes Kanter C/Turkey -Jazz

4.Jonas Valanciunas C/Lithuania -Cavaliers

5.Brandon Knight PG/Kentucky -Raptors

6.Jan Vesely SF/Czech Republic -Wizards

7.Kemba Walker PG/Connecticut -Kings

8.Kawhi Leonard SF/San Diego State -Pistons

9.Marcus Morris SF/Kansas -Bobcats

10.Klay Thompson SG/Washington State -Bucks

11.Chris Singleton SF/Florida State -Warriors

12.Jimmer Fredette PG/BYU -Jazz

13.Alec Burks SG/Colorado -Suns

14.Bismack Biyombo C/Congo -Rockets

15.Marshon Brooks SG/Providence -Pacers

16.Tristan Thompson PF/Texas -Sixers

17.Nikola Vucevic C/USC -Knicks

18.Markieff Morris PF/Kansas -Wizards

19.Jordan Hamilton SF/Texas -Bobcats

20.Iman Shumpert PG/Georgia Tech -Timberwolves

21.Kenneth Faried PF/Morehead State -Trailblazers

22.Tobias Harris SF/Tennessee -Nuggets

23.Donatas Motiejunas PF/Lithuania -Rockets

24.Nikola Mirotic PF/Montenegro -Thunder

25.Trey Thompkins PF/Georgia -Celtics

26.Justin Harper PF/Richmond -Mavericks

27.Tyler Honeycutt SF/UCLA -Nets

28. Charles Jenkins PG/Hofstra -Bulls

29.Davis Bertans SF/Latvia -Spurs

30.Shelvin Mack SG/Butler -Bulls

2nd Round:

31.Reggie Jackson PG/Boston College -Heat

32.Darius Morris PG/Michigan -Cavaliers

33.Keith Benson C/Oakland -Pistons

34.Kyle Singler SF/Duke -Wizards

35.Norris Cole PG/Cleveland State -Kings

36.JaJuan Johnson PF/Purdue -Nets

37.Malcolm Lee PG/UCLA -Clippers

38.Travis Leslie SG/Georgia -Rockets

39.Nolan Smith PG/Duke -Bobcats

40.Jon Leuer PF/Wisconsin -Bucks

41.Chandler Parsons SF/Florida -Lakers

42.Jordan Williams PF/Maryland -Pacers

43.Josh Selby SG/Kansas -Bulls

44.Jeremy Tyler C/USA -Warriors

45.Andrew Goudeluck PG/College Of Charleston -Hornets

46.DeAndre Liggins SG/Kentucky -Lakers

47.Jimmy Butler SF/Marquette -Clippers

48.Cory Joseph PG/Texas -Hawks

49.Malcolm Thomas PF/San Diego State -Grizzlies

50.Rick Jackson PF/Syracuse -Sixers

51.Michael Dunigan PF/Oregon -Trailblazers

52.LaceDarius Dunn SG/Baylor -Pistons

53.E’Twaun Moore PG/Purdue -Magic

54.Chris Wright SF/Dayton -Cavaliers

55.Willie Reed PF/St. Louis -Celtics

56.David Lighty PG/Ohio State -Lakers

57.Cam Long SG/George Mason -Mavericks

58.Julyan Stone PG/UTEP -Lakers

59.Greg Smith C/Fresno State -Spurs

60.Isaiah Thomas PG/Washington -Kings