Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Spur of the Moment

Look for the San Antonio Spurs to be the early title favorite in 2010 after acquiring Richard Jefferson from the Bucks on Tuesday.

From a winning standpoint the Spurs trade for Richard Jefferson looks brilliant (They gave up Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, & Fabricio Oberto). But from an economics standpoint, it may not be the best.

The Bucks gave up Jefferson to clear some much needed cap. It would clear $15 million for the Bucks in 2010-11 and give them more options for next season. They're also expected to release Bowen and Oberto (Look for the Spurs to pick Bowen back up on a minimum contract).

In my opinion, they gave up Jefferson so they could re-sign likely both Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions, plus I am sure they want to start developing Joe Alexander.

As for the Spurs, if they wanted to be a title contender again this was the right move. They've lacked a big-time threat out on the wing. Jefferson will provide that. He's averaged 21 ppg the past two seasons and looked very impressive towards the end of 2009. He's also a big threat from the arc, averaging about 40%; which is something the Spurs have lacked.

San Antonio also got rid of some unneeded veterans. It was time to bring in another scoring threat to help compliment Duncan, Parker, and Ginobli.

Financially, it may not be the best for the Spurs, but I still think it was necessary. They are now over the cap by 4.5 million this year and have no room for the 2010-2011 season. They may have to trade Matt Bonner now to save cap, which will hurt the bench. But I still think this trade was worth it.

Duncan, Parker, Ginolbi and most of the team are not getting any younger and it was now or never for San Antonio. The Spurs will be a title threat for at least the next couple of years and this trade could put them over the top. They might as well of done it because in a few years the Spurs will need to start bringing in some young and fresh blood anyways. The Spurs are my early 2010 title favorite.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Glimmer of Hope

The United States Soccer team overcame adversity and also got some luck to end up with a spot in the Confederations Cup semis vs. Spain; they still have a lot to prove, but also a lot to gain.

As I watched the U.S.A's matches this past week, particularly vs. Brazil and Italy, the Americans looked over matched, soft, and passive. I know they were going against some of the powerhouses of world soccer, but I know this team is much better than that. They got annihilated 3-0 and 3-1 in those matches.

I think this team has a lot of potential and these matches are just preparation for the World Cup next summer, which is really what matters most. But I know the U.S. is better than this. They made countless mistakes in these losses. I know I don't know soccer as much as I do basketball, baseball, or football, but I know enough to at least unleash some criticism.

This team needs to be more aggressive, they seemed very passive throughout pool play, even at times in their 3-0 win vs. Egypt. Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, and Michael Bradley all passed up plenty of good looks and shots around their opponents goal. Especially in their losses they all seemed to not want to take "the" shot. You can't have this vs. the best in the world.

Altidore passed up plenty of shots and never took advantage of the chances he had. He passed up plenty of opportunities and looked awful in the chances he got, not getting off any quality shots at all.

The U.S. still advanced to the semi's, but they played mediocre at best. I know Altidore is better than this, he has plenty of potential and raw talent. I really hope Bob Bradley continues to give him playing time and help him develop because the Americans will need him his presence next summer.

The U.S. had an early 1-0 lead vs. Italy off of an early Landon Donovan PK... want to know why they got the early lead? They were aggressive. They were keeping pressure on the Italian defense and goalkeeper and passing the ball around their offensive end and getting great looks. But once they had the lead they stopped being aggressive. They dropped a mid back into the defense and that gave the Italians more opportunities, not to mention some silly mistakes as well. In soccer it all comes down to opportunities and mistakes.

All in all, there is no other team in the world that is more up and down than the United States. I'd like to see Coach Bradley give some of his younger guys more opportunities to develop because some of the veterans aren't getting it done on a consistent basis. This team needs all the games it can get because they're somewhat young. If they could somehow pull off a win vs. Spain and maybe even win this thing, it could go a long way to the Gold Cup later this summer and even the World Cup next summer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The NBA just ain't what it used to be

On Sunday night during Game 5 of the NBA Finals I found myself watching the College World Series and Fox News. I would flip back and forth between the two and occasionally watch a few minutes here and there of the NBA Finals.

The NBA just ain't what it used to be. I remember watching it non-stop when I was a little boy.

I remember watching Hakeem "The Dream" and his Rockets dominating and winning titles in 1994 and 1995. I remember Michael Jordan's ridiculous performances night after night. I remember Penny Hardaway and Shaq going toe-to-toe with Jordan but continually coming on the losing end. Who can forget Reggie Miller, Dale Davis, Jalen Rose and the Pacers trying to do the same? The NBA's glory years have come and gone...

Really, I have no idea what it is. I just couldn't get myself to watch more than 5 minutes of a game in the playoffs unless it was my Spurs or close to the end of the game. If the Finals was Lebron vs. Kobe I probably would've watched more of it, but it wasn't. To be honest, I really can't tell you what has happened.

Is it the selfishness and self-centerdness of a lot of the players now days? Is it the lack of team play? I really can't tell you, I just can't watch it like I used to. It used to be one of my favorite things to watch and now I find myself preferring to watch many other things before it.

If anybody has an answer I would really like to know, because I can't tell you exactly why.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Legalize Steroids in Sports

"Steroids are a huge problem in sports. Steroids are a serious health problem today and lead to heart disease, brain tumors, strokes, and even death."

Those are statements you hear almost everyday. They're beaten to death by the media, teachers, public officials, friends, and maybe even family. But none of them are true. There is no evidence that steroids lead to any of these things.

Steroids are blamed for former professional wrestler Chris Benoit killing himself and his family. But according to University of Wisconsin bioethicist Norman Fost, there is no documented correlation between steroids and brain tumors.

Many so called "experts" and doctors claim that steroids lead to heart attacks. Many say things such as, "it's possible and probable" that steroids are associated with hearth disease. But that's all they can ever say. There's no evidence whatsoever. Unlike smoking, where there is substantial evidence between it and lung cancer, there are no long-term studies that show steroids cause those diseases.

Steroids may not be completely safe, but why single out steroids? Every single over-the-counter drug has it's side effects. Tylenol can lead to ulcers and asthma. What's to say steroids is worse for you? Or even smoking? Drinking beer? Or what about texting/talking on the phone while driving? People put their lives in danger all the time.

I truly believe adults should have the freedom to harm their bodies and steroids should be just another personal choice; Whether it be steroids, smoking, alcohol or whatever, as long as they're not threatening anybody else.

A lot of the stories you hear about athletes killing themselves because of steroids are bogus. There is no evidence steroids lead to Chris Benoit's death and his supposed "roid rage".

But what about the "cheating" factor you might say? There's plenty of other things athletes do to gain a competitive edge over their opponents. What about the slippery swimsuits for swimmers? What about the new special contacts that help shade the sun for baseball players? What about Tiger Woods improving his eye sight to 20/15 with special lasik surgery?

Don't get me wrong, professional sports leagues should be allowed to ban these substances all they want, but congress and our government have no business being involved in any of this.

But what I am trying to get at is that the steroids argument is overblown and is no worse for you than alcohol or smoking, among numerous other things.

Steroids aren't the problem, rather it's the people suggesting they're a problem.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Witnesses to Weakness

It's true we were all witnesses. We were witnesses to greatness all year long. We were also witnesses to weakness on Saturday night.
Lebron said he was too competitive and upset after the loss to shake hands with the opposition. Well that is kind of a poor excuse, but in the heat of the moment it is understandable and forgivable. What I don't like however, is that he also used the same reasoning for not addressing the media after the game. He was too upset and competitive so he left his teammates out to dry? Left them to face the music all alone? Left them to try to explain how the best team in the NBA was not going to the Finals? C'mon Lebron!

We all know that you aren't going to be in Cleveland very much longer at all. But you still have to do your part as a teammate and teamleader! I am a very firm believer that Lebron James is the best player in the NBA--hands down. However, his behavior after last night's loss to the Magic proved that best player does not equal best teammate. Lebron has got some growing to do as a teammate, most of which he will almost surely do in New York or New Jersey. I also believe he will continue to grow on the court as well. As good as he is, something just tells me he hasn't reached his potential yet.

Well, we all would have loved to be witnesses to Kobe vs. Lebron but it will have to wait. Instead we'll all be witnesses to a Lakers vs. Magic finals, and that includes King James from his couch at home. And what about those commercials? Was that Nike's way of assuming Kobe and Lebron would be squaring off in the finals? Maybe they should run some Kobe and Dwight Howard puppet commercials for the finals!