Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Basketball's Christmas 2011 - 5 Weeks Later

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Been a slow few days… but really excited for Lake Tahoe this weekend. Gretchen’s clean, full tank of unleaded, stopping by the store tonight to get road trip supplies, overnight bag ready, Steve Miller Band tickets in pocket, hotel reservation for one-bedroom suite, plans to meet up with family & friends, even sunscreen AND jacket ready to go… because there may be some isolated thunderstorms. I’m good to go… even if solo.

Last night, I played a few pickup games… and had a pretty good run though I still get down on myself when I make silly mistakes (a lot more than I used to). I did dunk it twice yesterday though. Once to end a game to 30. Great exclamation point to a close game too. Did okay, mostly tip-ins offensively. I guess, I don’t know, maybe it’s me. The feet seem heavier than they used to. When I was playing all the time, I had a bit of a light footed, dare I say prance in my step. Now I’m a little more solid… but that may just be because I don’t run nearly as much as I used to. I’m starting to get there though. Obviously I’m dunking again… but not hitting my head on the run like I used to. By the way, I know it’s about a month late… but here’s my take on this year’s NBA Draft… aka Basketball’s Christmas. Even if there’s not a season (there will be though), here are some thoughts that I had & takes that I have on certain players and situations:

2011 NBA Draft

1. Cleveland – Kyrie Irving – PG from Duke – First & foremost, I find it HILARIOUS that the first pick of the NBA Draft has the same first name as my niece (Kairi, but both pronounced Ky-Ree). It’ll be a running theme for a first dozen picks or so… but that’s more of a baby naming update than anything. Anyway, he played just over 5 hours of college ball (which a few walk-ons do) before injuries ended his season, but apparently was the best player of this year’s draft. I’ve never seen him play, only a few highlight reels… but Cleveland needed a franchise player… and hopefully they got it. It’s hard to knock a Duke guy. Coach K knows what he’s doing out there when he has time… but he didn’t have much with Kyrie. We shall see. I wish him & the city of Cleveland the best. He draws a lot of comparisons to one of my favorite guards that never made it, former fellow scoring point guard from Duke, Jay Williams. Word of advise, Kyrie... STAY THE F**K AWAY FROM MOTORCYCLES!!! (Sorry Jay, that's tragic what happened to you) Not sure what they were thinking with the number four pick going to forward Tristan Thompson (sounds like a supermodel) from Texas… but hey, maybe they saw something in workouts that I didn’t in the game that I saw with him losing to Arizona.

2. Minnesota – Derrick Williams – Forward from Arizona – I REALLY liked this guy in the few spots that I’ve seen of him. Is he a polished nugget? Of course not, but you & I know that the Draft is all about potential nowadays, not immediate talent. This guy would’ve been my #1 pick… but hey, again maybe Cleveland saw something that I didn’t. The thing is… I don’t know what it is with GM David Kahn and drafting all the same position every year. Two years ago, it was three point guards in the same draft (one of which may come to the league this year). Last year, it was small forwards. This year, it was power forward because he drafted Williams… and then Donatas Motiejunas from Lithuania, who’s obviously a project… but you can’t teach big. Combined with my brother from another mother, Kevin Love, my dealer Michael Beasley & Ricky “El Pistola” Rubio finally coming stateside, the T-Wolves can get back into contention… oh wait, there’s still a lockout… and they don’t have a couch since they axed Kurt Rambis… and it’s still cold as f**k in Minnesota. Good luck, guys!

3. Utah – Enes Kanter – Center from Turkey – I LOVE that there’s finally an Enes in sports… no longer just the guy from Dukes of Hazzard. Okay, this is the seven-footer who was going to play at Kentucky, but got PAID in Turkey… so he couldn’t play college ball for a year… and now he’s going to get PAID in Utah. Basically he’s going from a very religious part of the world with beautiful women… to a very religious part of the world with beautiful women. The change should be minimal… and he’s more than welcome in Slick City, I’m sure. With the 12th pick, they also picked up two-guard Alec Burks to help with their outside shooting, so hopefully the Jazz can get back on track. They just kind of fell apart last year after trading away a LOT of their players.

5. Toronto – Jonas Valanciunas – Center from Lithuania – You can’t teach tall… but I hear this guy has game. Toronto is also proving itself as the NBA’s only “international” team by filling its roster with international players. I like it… but unfortunately it hasn’t turned into wins for them as of late.

6. Washington – Jan Vesely – Forward from Czech Republic – Now this guy… I have a soft spot… for MANY reasons. First and foremost, he’s from the Czech Republic aka the Mother Country. Secondly, the guy looks a LOT like I did at his age in my early college days – tall, skinny, lanky, big nose, scraggly hair, etc. Thirdly, he plays like I did too… where he can jump out the mother f**king building!!! The guy has some hops… and puts some great emphasis on his dunks as well (like I did & am trying to get back into). It should be exciting with him in the nation’s capital with last year’s number one pick John Wall. Oh… and fourth, he's a true romantic, not unlike myself. Have you seen his smoking hot girlfriend? No wonder the man has the swagger to be called the European Blake Griffin or my favorite... the Dunking Ninja!!!

7. Charlotte – Bismack Biyombo – Forward from the Congo – When you draft on potential, there’s a HUGE change of either boom or bust. This guy… is the perfect example. What does anybody know about him? Not his age apparently. They’ve seen him play a handful of scrimmages against teenagers where he was able to pick back in a few rebounds and use his go-go-gadget arms to swat away shots. He’s about 6-8 with the wingspan of a f**king gorilla. They know he can’t shoot. Like at all. Does that really matter though? As long as he can put back in those rebounds after grabbing a few, play some good defense without fouling out, that’s really what a good center needs to do. Seriously, what centers in the league do more? Dwight Howard puts in 20 points a game? Who else? The Bobcats also drafted a shooter like Kemba Walker from UConn so Bismack can just clean up any misses and put them back in. I like it. Ballsy pick… but this is a game of balls.

10. Sacramento – Jimmer Fredette – Guard from BYU – Sigh… the guy can shoot… but he’s not going to save the franchise. Period. A lot of hype can work wonders for you though. I know I have to represent for Utah & all… but I just don’t see it happening. The Kings will be moving to Anaheim soon… and Jimmer may not make the trip for them. I see him as Adam Morrison a few years back… but a little more level headed. Oh… and unless Isaiah Thomas from Washington turns into Isiah Thomas from the Bad Boyz Pistons days, I don’t see the Kings in the playoffs any time soon. I like the youth & talent on the team though. They may surprise folks.

11. Golden State – Klay Thompson – Guard from Washington State – Never heard of him... but his dad was former #1 Mychal Thompson (about 8 inches taller & in 1979). I have to root for my new home team… since I did buy a shirt for them this past weekend… but I have to question their decisions a lot. They picked a shooter. They have shooters, plenty of them. They need a defensive presence ANYWHERE on the court. Basically, what I see this pick as… is a way to trade Monta Ellis for a possible frontcourt presence… but we’ll see. WARRIORS!!! COME OUT AND PLAAYAAAAY!!!

15. San Antonio – Kawhi Leonard – Forward from San Diego State – He may look mopey in most of his pictures... but he's my pick for STEAL OF THE DRAFT!!! How he ended up with the Spurs, I don’t care… but I like it. Great defender, athletic, projected as high as a top 5 pick on some draft boards… but falls to #15 and the Spurs traded for him. I really like it. GO SPURS!!! They also picked up point guard Cory Joseph from Texas late in the first round… and he may be able to replace George Hill in the backup role… but we shall see.

That’s pretty much all I have to say about it this year… and I know that you cared. Anyway, put it in stone… and we’ll revisit it in a few years, see how I did. Been pretty good so far. That’ll do it for today. Trying to figure out when my mom can come to visit with the niece, nephew, brother & possibly my buddy C-Rock from Slick City. We shall see though. I’m excited about the idea… but yeah, still tentative. Have a great day everybody!!!

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