Archive for the “Sports” Category

One of my most favorite topics

I was absolutely shocked that the Wolves did not move up in the NBA lottery. Just shocked. The Wolves have been around since 1989. They have never moved UP in the draft. They have always drafted where their record dictates they should draft or lower. That is hard to do. Good things simply don’t happen to the Wolves. I mentioned something similar two years ago.

Even as an unbiased fan I think the lottery system is broken. The NBA has changed the rules of the lottery multiple times, can’t they do it again? What if they had four pools of teams? Right now 14 teams are in the lottery. Here is my suggestion.
• Teams 13 and 14 simply draft in those positions. This year, that would be Indiana who finished 36-46 (missed the playoffs by three games) and Phoenix, who finished 46-36 (winning record, would have been the 5th seed in the East, missed the playoffs by two games in the West).
• Teams 9, 10, 11 and 12 pull names out of a hat to draft in those positions
• Teams 5, 6, 7 and 8 pull names out of a hat to draft in those positions
• Teams 1, 2, 3 and 4 pull names out of a hat to draft in those positions
Why doesn’t that work? Teams sandbag at the end of the year now hoping for one more ping pong ball. You could still technically have a weighted lottery in each group. Or just give each team an equal chance within that group. That would give a 25% chance for each team in each group to get the highest pick in that group. That has to be better than the current system.

The lottery clearly isn’t the only reason the Wolves are terrible, but a little luck can’t hurt.

Let’s recap the past few years.

2005: Minnesota drafts Rashad McCants (Danny Granger was selected three picks later)
2006: Minnesota drafts Brandon Roy (3rd team All-NBA this year) with the 6th overall pick and traded him for Randy Foye, the 7th overall pick.
2007: Portland and Minnesota tie for the sixth worse record in the league. There is a coin flip, which Minnesota wins so they have a slightly better chance in the lottery. BUT, Portland moves up from the 7th pick to the 1st pick and takes Greg Oden (could have had Kevin Durant). Minnesota ends up with Corey Brewer. Not a great draft overall.
2008: Minnesota gets the highest draft pick in their history (#3 – last time they had the #3 pick they took Christian Laettner after Shaq and Alonzo Mourning). They draft OJ Mayo and trade him for Kevin Love. –> I’m still holding out hope that this works out. They could have drafted Russell Westbrook or Eric Gordon….hmmm.
2009: Minnesota and Memphis tie for the fifth worse record in the league. Minnesota wins the coin flip, giving them a slightly better chance at moving up in the lottery. BUT, Memphis moves up to the #2 spot and Minnesota moves down to the 6th pick.

I want to be excited for basketball in Minnesota again. I want to root for the Wolves. It’s been tough since KG left and tougher given the decisions the front office has made and the terrible luck the franchise has had in the lottery.

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For some strange reason I like the game LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal have going with their pregame introductions.
Watch LeBron’s here:

And here is Shaq’s, which I think is hilarious. Mostly because you know these guys don’t dare say “no” to Shaq:

I love that guys like Shaq, who is 37 years old, can still laugh and have fun getting paid to play a game.

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I have written about this before (The New J-Term), but let it be heard again….March is the best month of the year. I am not one to wish my life away, but I look forward to March like no other month in a calendar year. March is the pinnacle of the college basketball season. I have been watching great conference tournaments, including the six overtime game between Syracuse and UConn, over the past couple weeks. The NCAA Tournament field was selected this past Sunday and I watched it with one of my best friends Mark Gerber. We analyzed the matchups and picked our favorites as they were announced. The first round games start Thursday morning. This Thursday and Friday should be national holidays, in my opinion.

As I look at the bracket and the matchups, there are things to remember. No 16 seed has ever won a game. Only a couple 15 seeds have won. Every year at least one 12 seed beats a 5 seed and the 7 seed vs. 10 seed game is a 50/50. Last year was the first year all four #1 seeds have made it to the Final Four. How long will Ty Lawson be out for UNC? Can Marquette and UConn contend with the injuries to their key players? Who will be this year’s Stephen Curry? I get excited just thinking about all of the great basketball that will be on in the next few weeks.

You can view my bracket here.

On top of all of this, softball starts in April. March is most definitely the best month of the year.

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It is pretty well known that I’m a huge KG fan. I have probably watched 90% of his games and interviews since he came into the league in 1995. Why do I like him so much? One obvious reason is because of how hard he plays at both ends of the court every game of every season. He played as hard in the NBA Finals last year as he did in a January game vs. Atlanta in 2001 with the Timberwolves.

The other reason I am a big KG fan can be seen in this video. Pay attention to how KG describes the situation in Las Vegas over the summer. It’s as if he is saying, “yeah, that makes sense…what the heck.” “No nonsense.”

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When the Wolves first traded OJ Mayo to Memphis for Mike Miller and Kevin Love I was against it. I just thought that the Wolves needed to take a gamble. As far as careers go, Mayo probably could be a 1 (think Joseph Forte) or a 9 (think top 10 NBA player today). On the other hand, Love could be a 5 (think serviceable, but not All-Star like Andrew Bogut) and he could be a 7 (think Brad Miller when Miller when he was good). I just felt like the Wolves needed to gamble and find a team-changing player. I was and am still a little concerned that Mike Miller is the kind of player that helps you win 40 games, but not the kind of player that helps you win 55 games. Do the Wolves want to be a 40 win team? Let’s hope they are building a team with a goal of 55 wins.

Maybe most of my fear was that McFale pulled off this trade and I have no confidence in him as a General Manager. I feel like teams call the Wolves when they are desperate and need to steal some players.

Some time has passed and I have warmed up to this trade. Mike Miller is a solid player. He averaged 16.4ppg and 6.6rpg last season with Memphis. He shot over 50% from the field and over 40% from three. Playing with an inside force like Al Jefferson will only make him better (assuming Big Al can learn to pass out of a double-team). Kevin Love plays the game the right way. He is strong and gets in good position for rebounds.

If OJ Mayo averaged 16.5ppg and 6.5rpg this season, he would have a shot at Rookie of the Year. So, we get those stats out of Miller AND get Kevin Love. We also dumped Marko Jaric and Antoine Walker in the deal. Walker was easy to trade since he was in the last year of his contract, but getting rid of Jaric’s contract (a mistake McFale brought on a few years ago) was a good move.

My concerns about McFale as a GM and Wittman as a coach are still there. What style of basketball to the Wolves play? As an avid fan I should know this, but I don’t. This is Wittman’s fault. They need to define a style. Again, I like Randy Wittman as a person, but not as a coach. I just don’t ever see “NBA Championship Coach” being written next to Randy Wittman’s name.

I’ve warmed up to this trade a bit, but I’m anxious to see how it plays out. I’m hoping I can learn to love Kevin Love as a basketball player.

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