Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oh ESPN...

ESPN has recently announced that it would be covering LeBron James' new team, the Miami Heat, during training camp at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Training camp begins on Tuesday, and well, this is incredibly disappointing. I've done a pretty good job distancing myself from the grossly unbiased reporting provided by ESPN, but this still makes me sad. The cutesy sports network has yet to learn from one of network television's biggest debacles of recent memory, "The Decision". We all know how absolutely shortsighted and silly it was, but what do ESPN's own representatives think?

Here is a compelling article on just that by ESPN's ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer on "The Decision Dilemma" from July, 2010. It's a late link, but a great read.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Just Can't Contain It...

As the title reads, things are in full swing. Fall has arrived, and with that, comes the 2010-2011 NFL season, and with that comes fantasy football! So far my teams are a collective 2-0, and I am pleased with their composition. As for my blogging hiatus, I have been adjusting to the transition of living on my own again and my fall semester schedule. Now that I have all that down pat and the apartment is livable, I can come back better than ever. I feel like Brett Favre with this blogging thing but give me some credit, I'm way less of an ass about it.

As much as I love the NFL season, it's really just a precursor to the NBA season for me. This may be for several reasons, the most obvious being that the Broncos just do not have title hopes and Elvis Dumervil being out for the season. Don't take what I said out of context, I am by no means a fair weather fan because I have seen some unbelievable things happen to my teams, and I'm still here. It's not that I am not giving the NFL season dap because my team isn't contending (holy triple negative), it's because I am that much more excited for my Wizards season to begin.

Through the disappointment of my transpiring thought process, therein lies hope in the form of the number draft pick in June's 2010 NBA draft. @jimmywa11 has me so excited for this season and I can't really contain it. His 2010 Summer League performance was highly impressive, as he was the first player to lead the league in points per game and assists per game. This is significant because we have so little a sample to analyze Wall aside from Summer League, i.e. one season at Kentucky. I've read all sorts of opinions involving the uncertainty of Wall's assets, namely his play-making ability and tendency to turn the ball over. These are problems all rookies tend to have, but when you mix his dedication to basketball and winning I strongly believe these issues will be moot. All superlatives aside, John Wall is going to be a beast for years to come.

Next, let me tell you why there's more than one reason to be excited about this upcoming season. Javale McGee's hops. That's about sums it up. Dude can sky, and he seemed to have put together a couple of go-to moves in the off-season. He can finish any pass you lob his way because he has ridiculous length and size to supplant his awesome catch radius. I can absolutely see this guy averaging a double-double. He can finish nicely around the hoop with finesse even some gaurds lack, and thus should be able to get a ton of easy baskets.

Surprised I mentioned Javale second? Don't be. We've been down this road before people, I can't continue to hype up players that have led us astray year after year, so I'm trying to be realistic. Key word: trying. So here goes.

So where does Agent Zero fit in all of this? Agent Zero doesn't fit anywhere, because he no longer exists. Gil has changed his jersey number from 0 to 6 to 9, so should we expect some sort of renaissance from him? Not likely, but he's been handling his business a little differently this time around. What we can expect, however, is Gil to be more efficient and productive by focusing on what he does best: scoring. This will be made possible because he is no longer the face of our franchise...meaning he won't be dominating the ball, either. So we lower the expectations a tad and I think what we should see from Agent 9mm (too soon?) is an 80/20 scorers mentality to play-maker ratio. I totally made that up, but I'm using the facts I have in an attempt to be reasonable when assessing his role on the team. The facts: recently, we've heard that Gilbert Arenas was the first member of the Wiz to complete Flip Saunder's conditioning test (no, I do not mean Mike Shanahan's conditioning test). This is encouraging, of course, after all of the injuries and question marks surrounding Gil in recent years. He's a full two years healed from the knee injury that kept him out for so many games, and a half season removed from his run-in with the law. Thus, we can deduce that he's strong, healthy and a little bit more wise. But since he's been hiding from the media, those of us out of the loop can only speculate using the information we are provided by those in the loop.

There isn't too much left to talk about, but I have to mention the new additions to the squad, and the news that 7 Day Dray will be ready for training camp. If there is anyone that needs the extra time to get into game-shape and gel with teammates, its Blatche. Once again, encouraging, but suspect as always. Kirk Hinrich and the re-signing of Josh Howard is all but fun, but the acquisition that intrigues me most is Yi Jianlian. Yi demolished teams in the early rounds of the FIBA Worlds, averaging about 20 and 8. However, he disappeared when it counted most as teams began to focus on him more by frustrating him with double teams and he began to make moves that looked uncomfortable. Regardless, the skill set is there, but the confidence comes and goes with the days so I will not make any bold statements outside of him being a key contributor for the team this year.

I think my expectations for this season are absolutely realistic. I totally understand that the playoffs are a reach, but 2 of the 8 seeds up for grabs. The way I see it, it's Miami, Orlando, Chicago, Boston, Milwaukee, Atlanta (yes, in that order) and our competition for the final 2 seeds is with the Bobcats, Knicks and the 76ers. I am not too worried about the Knicks as much as I am about the 76ers, but that's a whole different story. So why shouldn't we be mentioned with those teams? We are somewhat deep and have key players whom have great upside. For some of them, that's a familiar tale (i.e. Blatche, McGee, Nick Young), but Wall's upside along with Hinrich's tutelage will mitigate that. We won't be raising any banners this year, especially being in arguably the most stacked division, but we'll be raising some eyebrows (in a good way this time).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Writing on the Wall

The blog name is finalized I suppose. I'm glad I could thieve this name from @MikePradaSBN when he tweeted it, and I'm hopeful no one else did. Ernie Grunfield also hilariously dubbed Yi Jianlian the Great Wall of Chinatown, so it seems we have the city walled off. Having Yi and Kirk Hinrich certainly should make things interesting next season, and should give John Wall the ability to penetrate with the floor spaced. I'm so goddamn excited for next season, regardless of it's outcome, because I get to watch him play. I'm hoping to get some sort of affordable ticket pacakge to do so live, but we shall see what the prices look like towards the start of the season. I wanted to do a post entirely devoted to Wall, but around the time of the draft I was too caught up in the excitement so I ignored my duties of filling minds with DC championship aspirations. I'm sorry, but I'm back now so lets make due.

It was an interesting day in hoops, as D. Wade and Bosh joined forces in Miami, while Boozer agreed to terms of a deal with Chicago. The numbers don't matter to me too much because they're all making ridiculous money, but I'm glad Boozer could get Rudy Gay cash and that Chi-town didn't up empty handed. With that said, LeBron James will not be going there - he will be staying in Cleveland. As if I didn't hate the guy enough, the thought of him going on national television (ESPN @ 9 pm EST - boycott!!!) and dissing his hometown team for a scrubby Knicks squad would just be icing on the cake. We all know he's a douchebag. He dragged us this far with his ego-mania by announcing and rescheduling his decision date at least two or three times, and really making it tough for any team to finalize their plans because most lower-tier free agents can't do jack until he decides. While I'm sure he's already decided, I don't really care where he goes. The Heat thing would be cool, especially watching them try to field a team with three superstars and 12 minimum level "veterans"; the Bulls could work, but I actually like that team so I'm hoping he doesn't; him going to the Knicks would be hilarious because people (New Yorkers) will think they matter again, because we all know the Knicks ever mattering the in the NBA = biggest NBA myth. Well shit, I just wrote a paragraph about LeBron James, does that mean I care where he goes? NO! I really just feel bad for players and teams that want to actually make some moves to improve their teams because LeBron's decision hinders all of that. This article really sums up my thoughts well, just a little more vulgar than I prefer.

Another big myth is that Mike Miller is a shooter. I remember seeing him hoist approximately 7 three pointers last season, which is why I'm confused that he is in such high demand. Please take him away and overpay him. The Knicks and Cavs are going pretty hard for him, using the knowledge that he and LeBron are pals as a way to lure LeBron or surround him with capable "shooters". How can LeBron be friends with anyone but himself? Maybe I just don't get it.

To no one's surprise, Ray Allen resigned with the Celtics for 2 years and $20, which is totally reasonable and awesome because he deserves every penny. Screw all haters who watched him play for the first time during the Finals and think he's done. Don't hold your breath for Ray Allen fail-fest round 2 because it is NOT coming. The Celtics will be back strong next year with Kwame Brown ownage (seriously), so be ready. The Clippers are going to be back strong too! Wait, they haven't been strong since, well, ever, but they now have .500 coach Vinny Del Negro so they will surely have the talent and ability to climb from the depths to mediocrity. Not bad for the Clips. They drafted fairly well, have Blake Griffin returning, an All-Star center in Kaman and my guy Baron Davis healthy, so no excuse for less than mediocrity from these guys this year. Other than these little tidbits, all I have left to say is that Evan Turner kind of sucks thus far (I've actually watched some Summer League and I know its fairly meaningless, so hush). My hopes are that my next post comes soon and have some interesting Summer League points since I've actually watched more than some of it. These are just my hopes though, I hope I don't get my hopes up.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Go Hard or Go Home

I bet ya'll didn't expect me to put some mushy personal reflection junk on my blog. Well surprise, because a lot has been going on and it may explain my blogging hiatus (see last blog post date). I've been working harder than I've been partying, and the permanence of that is slowly setting in.

This summer season has been pretty amazing and already has been better than those passed. Simply put, things are finally going my way and I'm taking advantage of it. Starting off with a week in Palm Springs, CA and then another week in Outer Banks, NC was perfect. I wish I stayed on top of the blog better so I could recap both trips, but truthfully most of it isn't made for the public...except Jonathan jumping off a second story balcony (I wish I had a video of that). I was in Palm Springs for my cousins wedding and it was absolutely beautiful. It was pretty hot, but the scenery with the mountainous backdrop was breathtaking, along with the palm trees and wonderful wedding reception made the heat a non-issue. Speaking of which, it's pretty hot in MD right now, around 103 degrees? And I think it's supposed to stay around there so it's time to hit up the pool on the regular.

Anyway, it was my first time visiting Outer Banks, and hostess Romina picked out a great spot for us. There was about 15 of us, and the house was about three miles from any roads, so we got to sandbuggy Jonathon's expedition. We grilled everyday, the waves were massive and wild horses were wandering about the area. Just a great experience with people I become better friends with each day. Can't wait till round 2. Some other adventures I had included getting kicked out of the Kentland's Tiki Bar, which was pretty absurd. Then last weekend, spent the evening in Adam's Morgan at District, where I had fun with Arya, Kadima and Vir, and even more fun on the metro. I get attacked out of nowhere by a destroyed Scott Stables, who then proceeded to cross metro cars through the emergency exits, where we met with Will Lee and Jason Furst. Great night with friends new and old.

After OBX though, it was back to reality and back to work. However, much of my time was dedicated to finding new opportunities, such as jobs, school, internships and volunteering opportunities. I struck gold in a couple of those categories, as I was accepted into UMBC for the fall to finish up my bachelor's, and I am currently awaiting a decision on a job opportunity that will allow me to act as a guru for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America's social marketing project. I really hope I can get this because not only is it a great resume builder, but I have a personal interest in both social marketing and the CCFA. I believe I have a lot to offer them, including personal experience and expertise. Fingers crossed.

Also upon my return, I had the pleasure of enjoying each NBA Finals game. There hadn't been a 7 game Finals series in a while, and this series was amazing. I found myself rooting for the Celtics, and yes it felt very dirty, but overall I had no personal stake in either team. Watching Nate Rob and Ron Ron do their things was the best part, but unfortunately Peirce was invisible for the most part and surprisingly, Kobe was less than amazing. Watching the Finals makes me that much more excited for the possibilities that come with a new season - aka John Wall. I'll absolutely have more on the draft and a summer league/ regular season preview in the coming days.

Right now I have a ton on my mind: planning for fall semester (classes, living situation, transfer stuff, etc), finishing this summer class, quitting my job, Caleb returning from China, Bobby having surgery, Zach and Daniel's birthdays this weekend and trying to make some money before moving out. This should be a great week once I get all my ducks in a row. Tonight I'm seeing Toy Story with someone special before she leaves the country, Caleb comes home from China tomorrow, and I get to hang with the OG crew this weekend to celebrate some is good.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Free Agency Wish List

Since the season has ended, I have read a good amount of articles and blog posts discussing the state of the Wizard's free-agency situation, as well as chronologically listing specific players that can be obtained to contend in the 2011-2012 season (which is clearly the most realistic scenario). I admire those bloggers who put that much time and thought into the prospective success of the Wizards, but I like to keep it simple. While I know every guy on a team can make an impact - especially on an oft-injured, possibly cursed Wizards squad - but I prefer to discuss our options in terms of possible star and role player acquisitions. My list begins with the players who are likely going to demand a max contract. This section includes Dwayne Wade and the possible sign-and-trade scenario for Chris Bosh. While watching the Heat play or using them in NBA Live 10, it's evident that they always have a chance to win because of Wade. The only other player that has that effect on a game is Kobe. He has that killer instinct and the ability to will his team to victory, much like Jordan in his day. Unfortunately, all of this D. Wade drooling is for naught because he's staying put, because the Heat will likely sign Bosh, Amar'e or Boozer. But fantasizing about a John Wall / Dwayne Wade backcourt is quite stimulating. So Bosh is the next best thing for the Wiz to set their sights on. I've long enjoyed the idea of trading Blatche, Mike Miller and Earl Boykins (LOL, if we can trade Stevenson we can trade anyone). Blatche showed us many things this season, but I think he can still be considered an asset because so often does Wizards management see failure where other teams see success (see Chris Webber, Ben Wallace, 'Sheed, Richard Hamilton...etc). On a tangent, we now have different management (from which those moves took place) who has proven their ability to identify failure almost immediately, and correct it just as quickly. Point being, it's time to identify Blatche as such and move him while he has value, as he could instantly replace Bosh in the starting lineup for the Raptors. My opinions on Blatche may dishearten some, mainly because he played pretty well for us the second half of the season. But somehow, someway he reverts back to his enigmatic self (remember the triple-double that almost was?). Really, I don't know how other teams see Blatche, and whether they weigh on his skills or attitude more, but this is my blog, damnit.

This is where this gets fun: the second tier of Free-Agents. Atop my list of second tier players is Rudy Gay. Now here is a guy that run with Wall without dominating the ball. Just imagine the alley-oops. Actually, not just the alley-oops, but mostly. Gay is also a Baltimore native, and is really a classy guy. He was hangin' with 'Zo in Haiti recently and really just seems like a guy anyone would want to play with. He has the talent, the IQ and wouldn't demand an absurd salary, which would give us the opportunity to sign another guy. We need a small forward, so fingers crossed.

This is an older, unfinished post, much as happened since then.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

ESPN has too much time on their hands, pt. II

Really just they have their filthy mits everywhere. Basically, a sales rep for Washington Wizards ticket sales gets bold on Friday and posts this status :

"I am a sales rep for the Washington Wizards. John Wall will be our choice as the [No. 1] overall pick in the June draft. If you want a great deal on tickets ... email me."

This guy is about to have another hundred or so friend requests and e-mails because of this stunt. Wizards get a few more ticket sales, too maybe. But I'm really left scratching my head because there isn't a single LeBron James headline. More people care about the Wiz than LeBron James now? John Wall > LeBron James?? I forgot what I was talking about.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Broncos 2010-2011 Season Outlook

I've never been one to speculate or attempt to predict what can happen during an NFL season before it starts, but since I'm blogging outrageous then I have to include a preseason tidbit about the Horsepack. One reason I am motivated to do so, is Elvis Dumervil. For those of you who don't have a clue, or don't even give a damn, he led the NFL in sacks last season with 17. He may also be one of the smallest individuals to accomplish such a feat, standing at 5'11". What impresses me about Elvis even more than his numbers, are his no-nonsense attitude and ethic. The other day I was scrolling through ESPN bottomline, reading that this guy and that guy won't be showing up at voluntary team workouts throughout the course of the summer (looking at you, Haynesworthless). I eventually got to Dumervil and observed he was the only one attending. A small step in the right direction for the Broncos would be to give this guy an extension and give him his money, as he has openly stated he wants to be a Denver Bronco. Here's a shot of Elvis posing with (on?) Eli Manning on Week 12 of his turf diet.

But unfortunately, we no longer have Mike Shanahan making our football decisions, as indicated by failed contract negotiations and the subsequent departure of the best wideout in the game. Some of you might of heard about this; you know, Brandon Marshall being traded to the Dolphins for two second rounds picks. The NFL, where superstars are traded for draft picks.

(Fast forward to :34)

I'm glad I got that out of my system. Ironically, or not really ironically at all, South Park takes place in Denver, the boys are Broncos fans, and it aired before the trade occurred. Crazy stuff right?! However, not ALL Broncos fans are Japanese. Most of us also love whales, and we wholeheartedly agree that the Japanese pictured above more closely resemble Patriots fans.

In all seriousness, though, it'll be tough having little to no passing offense for a season or so, but at least our defense will be solid. Marshall is also sidelined until training camp, so depending on how he recovers from surgery, the Bronco's front office can grade their foresight accordingly. Moreno will be a solid 2nd year running back and put up good numbers, and our awkward trifecta of quarterbacks is sure to produce. Just kidding. Kyle Orton is the current starter, while Brady Quinn and Tim Tebow are still taking snaps. Competition is healthy for a team though, if that's what you would like to call it. It'll be closer to Brady Quinn convincing the Bronco's staff that he's not as bad as JaMarcus Russell; an individual certainly not deserving of TWO capital letters in his name (it took me three times to spell it even after I Googled it).

It's not all bad for us though. We have a intriguing replacement for Marshall in first round selection Demaryius Thomas (to think I struggled on JaMarcus), plus we have an angry Brian Dawkins. Dawkins tell us that he and his teammates need to have a "dog mentality" coming out of the gate and this is exactly what we want to hear. After being on the squad for one season, he has already established himself as a vocal (duh), team leader. The dude is literally out of his gord, who's not going to listen to him? What? Oh, dogs, yeah, got it boss. Woof, growl, bark, bite!

ESPN released it's Offseason Power Rankings, and after a 8-8 finish last season, has us at 20 (Redskins are at 23) with essentially nothing to say about the team. Finally, I'm excited for Wesley Woodyard to do his thing and furthermore show that you don't need hype, or to get drafted, to earn respect. I'm also excited at the prospect that Vincent Jackson is going to be suspended, or possible traded (Seattle?). Hurray for NFC West other-team-turmoil!

That might be it for the football until the season begins because other than big signings and injuries, the offseason is pretty worthless to me as a indicator of upcoming season success.

Crime Does Pay: Finger Guns for Pong Balls

I've been meaning to start my blog for sometime now, and since exams are over with, it feels like a great time to start. I'm not sure what exactly the blog posts will entail, but hopefully they will be relevant and interesting. There will be basketball, of course; especially with the recent epic failings of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Wizards owning the top pick in June's NBA Draft. It almost makes us feel like champions. Irene Pollin was thrilled, to say the least.

Wiz management no doubt had a similar reaction upon hearing this news: RT @dcsportsblog "via @MrMichaelLee, the Wiz sold nearly 400 season-ticket packages in the first 12 hours after the draft lottery."

Is it possible that the wonderful days of buying $10 tickets on student night and moving down to 100 level are gone? Let's pray this isn't so, but also pray for DC team sports success. Goddamn we needed that. Anyway, I'd like to hear people's thoughts on who the Wizards should take with the top pick. Let's be honest though, 400 season ticket packages weren't sold because of the prospect of Evan Turner playing in DC. However, I do not know the full pool of draftees too well so input is encouraged.