Niblets for July 2010

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NOTE:  We will finish our question mark review for the NFC South and West Thursday.

Best comment of the month:

teeth whitening gets the comment of the month again. Comment on LeBron is LeGone to Miami I wonder if the incentives in the contracts for the beach boys are going to impose problems during their season? What if one of the players decides to pad their stats instead of playing team ball and set off the egos.

TW, I think we have a new name for the guys in South Beach–the Beach Boys. Well done and thanks for reading our site.

Updates on previous columns:

LeBron, Gilbert, Miami and Cleveland The Heat added F Juwan Howard, Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jamaal Magloire and rookies Dexter Pittman and Patrick Beverley. Z is nearly useless and was at the end of the bench during the Cavs run in the playoffs last season. Howard is not what he used to be but will help. Magloire gives the heat some physical play inside at C.

The Cavs have done very little to add talent despite owner Gilbert’s statement. The fact is that if the team could not attract a top UFA with LeBron on the roster, they will have no luck getting one now.

Baseball Heads Down the Back Stretch The rich (Yankees) get richer and traded for Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns, along with reliever Kerry Wood. The Cubs and the Indians continue to be some of the best minor league teams in baseball by giving up talented players for nothing. Even so, the Rays took sole posession of 1st place by beating the Yankees 2 out of 3 last weekend.

The Rangers got the best pitcher on the trading block by getting ex-Indian and former Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee from Seattle and catcher Bengie Molina from the Giants.

Questions in the NFC East and North training camps The injury to Cowboy 1st round pick WR Dez Bryant is the feared “high ankle sprain.” He may be ready for the opening game but that will give WR Roy Williams a chance to earn his money and establish himself as the starter. He won’t but will start for the first 6 weeks.

Niblets fresh from the cob:

The Raven’s D backfield took another major hit when Domonique Foxworth’s season ended with an injury. They traded QB John Beck to the Redskins for unproven CB Doug Dutch. Beck was at one time the QB of the future for the Dolphins.

The latest rumor is that Bret Favre is not coming back. We have heard that before and we will see. If he is not coming back, the Vikes will struggle to win their division let alone get deep in the playoffs.

The Pats have taken WR Wes Welker off the PUP and he is expected to be close to 100% by the start of the season. That is great news for Tom Brady.

There are only a couple of rookies unsigned as of today. That includes 2nd over all DT Ndamukong Suh. He was reportedly asking 50M guaranteed. But according to his agent, that is not the case.

Raven 2nd round pick LB Sergio Kindle fell and will be out for several weeks with a cracked skull. He has been diagnosed with Narcolepsy.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: LeBron,NBA,NBA Playoffs,Heat,Cavilers,Cubs,Yankees,Indians,Rays,Rangers,Beach Boys,Trade deadline,Ravens,Patroits,Favre,Vikings
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LeBron, Gilbert, Miami and Cleveland

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LeBron is gone. Gilbert is 100K poorer after being fined by the NBA for his open letter to fans. The Cavs have nothing to show for LeBron leaving except a couple of late 1st and late 2nd round picks. But as always, there is more to the story than has been reported elsewhere.

First we will look at LeBron.

LeBron said that his top priority was winning. The fact is that he realized that he could not do that alone. But he wasn’t alone in the 2009-10 season. He had the best cast he ever enjoyed since turning pro. In addition to the 08-09 team, owner Dan Gilbert brought Shaq and Jamison into town to not only help LeBron but to show him the team would do whatever it could to keep him happy. That was not enough to get past the Celtics in the playoffs.

However, many including owner Gilbert believed that the failure to win against the Celtics was not so much the fault of the supporting cast as it was a failure of LeBron himself. In the three consecutive losses to the Celts, LeBron went 7-22 for 22 points, 3-14 for 15, and 8-21 for 28. That puts his shooting percentage at 34% well below his 09-10 season average of 50.3%. Jamison hit 38% which is a little more than 10% below his season average of 46.5%. Shaq sank 59% of his shots which is well above his average of 49.6 for the 09-10 season.

One of the best indications of the offensive efficiency and effectiveness of a player is points per shot. LeBron got 1.21 points per shot. During the season he averaged 1.41 pps. Jamison got .88 pps vs his season average of 1.19. Shaq came through strong in the playoff against Boston with 1.81 pps vs. his season average of 1.37.

LeBron said the city of Cleveland should forgive him for just 5 bad games in his years on the team. He knew he was not playing up to normal. The fault may have been on his injured elbow or that may have been a good excuse to tank the series.

Why would he do that? Let’s go back to the Olympics. Not the last one but the one in 2004. Wade and James talked then about playing together. They signed short contracts to allow them to become UFAs in 2010. In the 2008 games, Bosh joined in the collusion. If the Cavs had won the title in 2009-10, how could he move to Miami saying that he wanted to win? He couldn’t.

Another possibility was that after the game 2 loss to the Celts in Cleveland, LeBron realized what some have been saying for awhile. He is not a Jordan but is rather a Pippen. He is not capable of carrying a team on his back but has to be the “other” guy that helps a real star win. He will never admit that publicly but by going to Miami he has told the world he felt like he needed a star or two to win.

Dan Gilbert:

Gilbert may have really hacked off the NBA and Commish Stern but he said what he had to in order to keep the Cavs’ fan base together. We can not forget that the people of Cleveland have been disappointed so often by their sports teams. As I said in the first article on this blog years ago, it seems like God hates the Browns. That applies to the Indians and the Cavs as well. The Browns were stolen by Art Muddle. The Indians are run by an owner with all the spirit and charisma of a pet rock. Gilbert may be a little poorer but the people of Cleveland love him for his desire to win and finally standing up to James.

Leaving was bad enough but the 1 hour “LeGone” TV special was overkill. It seems to every Cavs fan that LeBron just wanted to twist the knife after inserting it into the heart of the team. “Et tu LeBron?”

Miami:

One thing that can not be overlooked is the advantage that any team in Florida has over most states and particularly Ohio. Florida has no individual income tax. Ohio is one of the highest tax states in the country. Given the amount that the “Big 3” will earn, that fact has not been lost on them.

Finally Cleveland:

All the top drawer free agents are gone because LeBron waited so long to let the team know he was leaving. Even with LeBron, there was little chance that any one of them would come to the Cavs. Reportedly LeBron did try to convince Bosh to come but I doubt that given the background quoted above. Shaq is a UFA as well and may go elsewhere. That will leave the team with little hope for the immediate future. The only thing about which a Cavs fan can be positive is that Gilbert will do absolutely everything in his power to make the team competitive in the long and short run.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: LeBron James,Dan Gilbert,Cavilers,Heat,Stern,NBA,NBA Championship,Celtics,Cleveland,Miami
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Niblets for June 2010

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Best comment of the month:

From Teeth whitening on Analysis: the NFL proposal for the “enhanced season”If the NFL wants more marquee matchups then change the scheduling. Who wants to see a division winner play against a 4th place team in the other conference. Let division winners play the other conference’s 4 winners.”

That is an excellent point. The schedule is based on a formula and that has not changed since the league went to 6 divisions. The NFL should revise the formula to allow more key games particularly if it does go to an 18 game season.

Updates on previous columns:

Previewing the NBA Draft

I got 7 of the 20 I projected. In addition a couple of teams traded up to get guys in front of other teams that were targeting them.

B I G News in football!

The musical chairs in college football conference switches has not stopped yet. There will be another couple of changes announced before the end of the 2010 college season. However, don’t for a minute believe that the increased power of the Big 10+2 or the PAC 10+2 will bring us closer to a playoff. Those two conferences were the leaders in resisting the move toward a playoff.

Is there a teeny tiny silver lining on the Dark Cloud over the Cavs?

LeBron is deep into his national grand tour. However, there is another issue that has come up. In Cleveland, a lot of his posse has been employed by the Cavs. It is very doubtful that any other team would find jobs (and money) for those that shine in the reflected light of his star. In addition, two of the most likely landing spots are Chicago and Miami. In Chicago LeBron will never be able to overtake the icon that is Michael Jordan. In Miami he would be the “new guy” on the block. Even if he wins a couple of titles, it will be for Wade’s team not his own. Only in Cleveland can he be “the” guy who leads “his” team to a title.

Niblets fresh from the cob:

UFA DT Hollis Thomas (Panthers) has been suspended for 8 games in the 2010 season for a second violation of the NFL drug policy. That has been suspected by the NFL GMs and is one of the reasons that Thomas has not gotten a contract.

RB LenDale White (Seahawks) has been suspended for 4 games for the same thing. The Seahawks say that they knew that when they traded for him but that to me seems that is just the new regime trying to cover their posteriors.

Titans QB Chris Simms was arrested for operating a motorcycle under the influence of pot. Simms was on the bubble for making the 53 as it was. This will almost insure his release if he is convicted or suspended bu the Commissioner for being charged.

Chargers WR Vincent Jackson has received a 3 game suspension for a violation of the personal conduct policy of the league. That could be reduced by his appeal. But any suspension will reduce Jackson’s value in a trade. At this point, the best the Chargers could hope to get would be a 4th round pick in 2011.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,NBA,NBA Draft,LeBron James,NBA Free Agency,Cavilers,Panthers,Titans,Seahawks,College football,playoffs,Big 10,Big 12
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Sports Buffet for 5/25/10

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Note: I will have a B I G announcement about getting back on the Internet radio very soon. We will also have Niblets this Saturday.

NFL

The NFL took a huge loss in the Supreme Court Monday. The Court in effect said that the league is not a single entity in regards to licensing producers of apparel but 32 separate businesses. For the details about what this means, check out my NFL News, Notes and Rumors on NFLDraftDog.com.

Vikings QB Bret Favre had the surgery on his ankle that he had said would be required to play in 2010. Expect him to be back this season the day AFTER the team breaks camp. At 40 timing is everything.

NBA

Most analysts are saying that the Magic just have not shown much effort in their series with the Celtics. They said the same thing about the Cavs. Could it be that the Celtics are just so good that they make their opposition look inept? Yes. The combination of very good coaching, experienced veterans that know how to play the game and the fact that for the first time all year the team is healthy have all contributed to the Celtics success in the playoffs.

The Magic did squeak out a win Monday in Boston. Don’t expect that to save them. The series will be over in 6.

Los Suns finally won a game. They trail the Lakers 2 games to 1. Los Suns will Los–e. The series will only last 2 more games.

The Cavs finally fired CINO (coach in name only) Mike Brown.  This will not keep LeBron in Cleveland.

MLB

The Astros are trying to trade SP Roy Oswald. There are a lot of challenges including his contract, history of injury and the fact that he can’t seem to find the plate. Because Roy is one of the faces of the franchise Astros ownership is not going to be willing to give him away just to make him happy. With most teams looking to reduce payroll, it is unlikely that the team will be able to get a deal.

The Reds are hanging in against the favored Cards in the NL. The Rays are hanging in to the always tough AL East. As long as both teams pitching stays healthy, they could be around past the All Star game.

Congrats to MLB for keeping politics out of the game. We don’t see that kind of guts out of many pro leagues these days.

NHL

The Black Hawks haven’t won the Cup since 61. Their goal tender Antti Niemi was driving a Zamboni not that long ago for a little extra cash. Now he is the toast of the city and the league. Great D helps win in the NHL but nothing will get you to the Cup Finals faster than a really hot goalie.

The Flyers will represent the East in the finals. This should be a great series. I have heard that the Flyers looked really good but since I don’t have the Verses network, I can not comment on that.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NHL,NBA,MLB,NHL Cup finals,Favre,American Needle v. NFL,Supreme Court,Celtics,Cavilers,Magic,Suns,Lakers,Astros,Oswald,Reds,Cardinals,Rays,Black Hawks,Niemi,Flyers,Verses Network
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  • Published: May 20th, 2010
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Sports Buffet for 05/20/10

Sports Buffet for 05/20/10

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NFL

Former pro bowl CB Shawn Springs was released by the Pats. He has lost some speed and will end up as a decent FS but is no longer to play CB at this level.

DL Glenn Dorsey was the 5th pick in 2008. He was less than effective in the 4-3 and is a liability in the Chiefs 3-4 at DE. A trade would do him a world of good. However, don’t expect the Chiefs to get anything even close to full value for a player that has not developed as expected.

NBA

We would like to thank the Orlando Magic(less) for participating and don’t forget your parting gift–the home version of our game. Losing 2 games at your house to start a 7 game playoff is like Florida Republican Gov. Crist lose the primary for the Senate and enter the race as an independent. He could still win but the odds are very much against it.

The problem for the Magic is that the two losses were from different causes. They lost game 1 because Howard was shut down and the team looked out of sync from the long layoff. They were just out hustled in game 2 by a supposedly over the hill team. They could still win but I believe the series will be over in 5 games.

The Cavs are done. They were done in by LeBron James quitting on the team. He is almost certain to leave and go to Chicago or Miami. After the second surprising win by the Celtics in Cleveland, it looked like James came to the conclusion that he was not going to win a title with the Cavs and had already decided he would not be back. Danny Ferry should have fired Coach Brown right after the game in Boston and made him get his own way back. That would have given LeBron some hope that Ferry was willing to do more to help James win a title in Cleveland. Without James, the team is in serious trouble. I will have more on this later.

There is talk about building a state of the art basketball arena in downtown Los Vegas. They people there feel they can recruit an NBA team to share it with UNLV. While there are several teams struggling to get fans in the seats, I am not sure that LV will be better.

I have always been a fan of Grant Hill of the Suns. He has been through so many injuries but has come back to play very well this year. He plays hard at both ends of the floor and had a great game last night in LA.

MLB

The Reds have shown some life. They beat the Cards and moved into first place in the division. They won’t win it but at least have given their fans some fun watching better baseball than they have played in the last few seasons.

Some businessmen in Tampa are trying to figure out how to build the Rays a new stadium. It won’t work because the team will still have trouble drawing fans. While new buildings help for a year, in the 2nd year they will not increase the revenue but will hurt by adding unnecessary debt to a franchise already struggling financially.

The current MLB CBA has 2 years remaining. Look for serious labor issues because a number of teams are losing money now.

NHL

The Flyers are the 7th seed but had home ice advantage vs the Canadians the 8th seed. Philly has a 2-0 lead in the series and it looks like Canadians have hit a brick wall. That wall is named Michael Leighton goalie for the Flyers. He is supported by a solid D in front of him that is playing very well.

The 2nd seed Black Hawks have a 2-0 lead as well and have an even stronger hold on the ticket to the finals. Capt. Jonathan Toews has 7 goals and 16 assists in the playoffs.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NBA,MLB,NHL,Florida,Magic,LeBron James,Cavilers,Celtics,Los Vegas,Grant Hill,Toews,Black Hawks,Reds,Cardinals,Rays,CBA,Collective Barganing Agreement,Canadians,Leighton,Flyers,Springs,Chiefs,Dorsey
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Analysis: The Cavs take 2 steps up and 1 step back.

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The Cavs took 2 steps up with the trade for C Shaquille O’Neal. Most of the experts are saying that Shaq won’t impact the Cavs that much. That is both true and false. But then they threw away their 1st round pick by drafting Christian Eyenga of the Congo via Spain. One step WAY back.

False: The thing that Shaq gives the Cavs is an inside scorer. Shaq is also a better passer than almost any other C in the league. When the Cavs get the ball inside and the D begins to collapse on him, he can pass to the perimeter for a 3 point shot. That will work if anyone other than LeBron James is capable of hitting a 3 in the playoffs. Mo Williams was brought in to be the other outside scorer and take some pressure off LeBron. That worked well in the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs. However, in the series against Orlando, Mo became one of the statues standing watching LeBron take on the entire Magic team. Add to that the fact that Mo couldn’t have hit the Mississippi River from the middle of a bridge and the Cavs get blown out of the playoffs.

The older C Zydrunas Ilgauskas gets the farther away from the basket he seems to play. Over the last couple of years, no one doubled Z. And most of his points have come from 10 feet and out. He has not been an inside scoring force that LeBron needs. He has never been physical. Given the ability of Shaq to catch the ball and score inside, he is a major improvement in the middle over Z.

True: The addition of Shaq does nothing to help pick and roll D which was half the reason that the Cavs lost to the Magic. The Cavs needed the addition of one more outside shooting threat that can also play D against the opponent PF or SF with some quickness. Don’t even think that Cleveland can play Z at the PF against teams like the Magic. Forward Richard Jefferson that was traded to San Antonio from Milwaukee is EXACTLY the kind of player that could have made the Cavs much more effective against the Magic. He also would have helped against the Celtics. By getting Jefferson, the Spurs can challenge the Lakers in the west.

That brings us to the draft. ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper said of a team during one draft “They clearly don’t understand what the draft is all about.” He was right then and it applies to the Cavs’ 2009 NBA draft as well. Eyenga is supposed to be very athletic. Ok, that’s nice. But any prospect that has a highlight tape that looks like it was taken by a $9 cell phone is not worth a 1st round pick—even the 30th pick. I admit I had never heard of Eyenga. I have a list of 150 players that I have seen and Eyenga is not on that list. He was also not on the lists of any website I have been able to find.

The point that Kiper was making is that having a good draft is a product of getting value with each pick. Do the Cavs really think that Eyenga wasn’t going to be there at 47, their other pick in the draft? He would have been there in September of 09 as an undrafted and unknown FA. With that 30th pick, the Cavs could have gotten DeJuan Blair (PF Pittsburgh 16th on my ranking) who is a good defender and rebounder and can score a little. The Spurs will work Blair into the rotation immediately and he will develop into a starter down the line. They could have gotten Sam Young (SF Pittsburgh) or Dante Cunningham (F Villanova). Even Richie Cunningham would have been a better pick. He played for his high school team on Happy Days didn’t he?

I did like the pick of Danny Green (SF North Carolina). He is as ready to contribute as anyone picked around him (47 overall).

So what do the Cavs do now? Get into the Hedo Turkoglu (F FA from Orlando) sweepstakes. Turk could be the guy they need to fill that other F position opposite LeBron. Turk as I predicted has opted out of his Magic contract. The Cavs need to spend the money now to get Turk and pay the luxury tax. If they fail to win it all in 09-10, they will lose LeBron and 90% of the value of the franchise.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NBA,NBA Draft,Shaquille O’Neal,LeBron James,Cavilers,Lakers,Magic,Kiper,Jefferson,Turkoglu,Happy Days,Blair,Cunningham,Young
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