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).