Wednesday, January 05, 2011

New Year, New Blog

Update your bookmarks and favorites, because I'm moving the blog over to wordpress. I bought a URL and everything!

From now on, if you want to read my brilliant insights, you'll have to go to:

The site design isn't close to final, but I'm workin on it. Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 27, 2010

You can have him, LeBron

The Cavs waived Jawad Williams:
In a surprise move, the Cleveland Cavaliers today released forward Jawad Williams, who had nine points in 23 minutes in Sunday night's 98-97 loss to the Timberwolves at The Q.
This is both kind of shocking and not at all.  Williams has been quite underwhelming this season, averaging just 4.0 points and 1.8 boards in 26 games (15 mpg).  And it's not like he's putting up those gaudy numbers efficiently.  Jawad's shooting just 32% from the field and 29% from beyond the arc.  Yuck.

My biggest complaint with Williams this year wasn't that he was shooting horribly, but that he kept taking bad shots.  At times this season, Jawad has seemed like a cross between Eric Snow and Larry Hughes. He has Hughes's willingness to hoist the ball whenever it touched his hands combined with Eric Snow's shooting prowess. Jawad never met a shot he didn't like and when you're shooting 30%, that's is not a good attribute to have.

I find it a bit interesting that the Cavs really didn't give a reason for Williams's release:

“We would like to wish Jawad and his family the best in the future and thank him for his contributions, not only on the court but in the community,” said Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant in a release emailed to the media.

Maybe they have other moves in the works, like a trade where they take back multiple players or simply a free agent signing. Could be they got sick of Jawad's attitude (his body language looked horrible from what I've seen) or maybe they just don't think they need a small forward who doesn't let his crappy shooting hinder his willingness to chuck up shots at every opportunity.  Who can tell, with Chris Grant's email.  

I wouldn't be shocked if we see Jawad end up in Miami, since James was recruiting him this offseason (chances the Cavs resigned Jawad just to spite LeBron: 100%). I'm not sure how useful he'd be for the Heat (or anyone, given his play thus far) but I could see him playing with LeBron at some point.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

(if you want to hang out with the ghosts of Christmas past, check out the PD's interview with Ron Harper. Harp says they could've won multiple titles. Ugh). 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Let Me Get This Straight

These Ohio State players broke the rules. They sold personal items (which they quite literally earned with their blood and sweat) for money. They made money off their status as a NCAA athlete. Therefore, they will be punished.

Suspended for five games.

Starting next year.

The next game, the nationally televised BCS Sugar Bowl sponsored by All-State... they can play in that game.


Well, because they didn't know the rules. The same rules that they broke (which were so bad, it warrants a five game suspension). They didn't know about those rules.

And since they weren't aware of those rules, they're allowed play in the bowl game.

But they still get suspended for five games for breaking the rules that they weren't aware of.

Starting next year.

So now Ohio State players are aware that they aren't supposed to take free services or sell items related to their status as NCAA athletes and they'll still be able to participate in the Sugar Bowl and all that comes with it:
Michigan State had hoped to earn an at-large bid to the Sugar Bowl, but was beat out by Ohio State. What gifts are the Buckeyes receiving? Custom earphones, a watch and a cap. Participants also will attend a gift suite were they can order gifts up to a value predetermined by the Sugar Bowl, not to exceed the $500 limit.
Got it? No more than $500.


The whole business of big time college athletics just feels so skeevy to me.

What a system we have. This is a system where (mostly white) men in their 50s and 60s make millions of dollars off of the work that the (mostly poor, minority) kids put in. These kids literally sacrifice their bodies to play in these games in front of 100,000 people. Apparently the best of these players (Terrell Pryor, Boom Herron and DeVier Posey are all major contributors on Ohio State) feel the need to sell items that should be regarded as family heirlooms to get some quick cash.

Some players made as much as $2,500! Almost three-grand! How dare they taint this pure, innocent game.

Again we come to the whole "Should players be paid?" argument. I don't know how that would even work. A work-study program? A stipend for every athlete? Would football players get more than cross country runners? Hourly pay? There's not a lot of easy answers.

I know these kids receive scholarships worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. They earn a free education and that's not nothing. (Nevermind how many pro athletes end up broke, but that's another story).

Scholarships are all well and good, but getting free math classes doesn't buy you a dinner. Or allow you to purchase clothes.  Or provide money for family emergencies. (Or buy booze or pot or whatever).  It's not like these kids can really go out and get 9-5 jobs for some extra cash. (Lord knows how often their pestered by boosters, alumni or fans asking for favors as well. The opportunity is certainly there).

A lot of OSU folks are mad that they sold Big Ten Championship rings and the Gold Pants pins. For shame! Don't they know how special and memorable these items are? Well... no. These are 18, 19, 20 year old kids who need money (and have won the Big Ten and beaten Michigan every year), let alone the fact that it's their personal property.

I just can't get that upset with these guys, especially since they're all still eligble for the Sugar Bowl. I might feel like they actually did something, you know, wrong if they were actually forced to miss a BCS bowl.

But that can't happen, Ohio State has to be at full strength, right? If Terrell Pryor and company sat out that game, who would want to watch? Who would buy commercial air time? Who would place bets on the outcome? Who would tune in? Would Ohio State fans still travel to game? We need Pryor vs Ryan Mallet. Ohio State vs Arkansas! Big Ten vs SEC!

All-State paid good money to sponsor this game, we can't blow it by sitting out the star players.

But they still need to be punished. They broke a rule so egregious that they need to miss five whole games.

Just not the next one. That game is worth money. A lot of money.

Just not to the players.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Streak is Over

The Cavs beat the Knicks. On purpose. With overtime and everything. They won't go 0-December. *whew*

I gotta give the Cavs credit, I did not expect them to pull this game out.  Don't get me wrong, they played the Knicks tough but while they were tied every now and then, most of the game they trailed consistently by 4-6 points. I figured that the Cavs would hang around but eventually the Knicks would pull away.

But Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao had different ideas.

I can't say enough about Andy. Varejao had 14 points and 17 boards (7 offensive!) and did a great job on Amare Stoudemire (Amare finished with 23 and 11, but committed dumb fouls, missed the game winning jumper and seemed really frustrated by Andy). (I know Amare is The Man on the Knicks, but they really should've had Cav-Killer Raymond Felton take the last shot. Felton finished with 23 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds).

Mo Williams hit a game tying runner with 3 seconds left in regulation and then dominated (yes, dominated!) overtime with 6 points and 3 assists in the extra period.  Mo and Varejao are starting to run the pick and roll pretty well, my only concern is Mo will jump in the air before Andy is open.  The passes have worked out, because Varejao is always rolling to the rim (and he pass is so late, Andy is quite open) but I don't like Mo leaving his feet without really knowing what he's doing. Mo finished with 23 points, 14 assists and 5 boards.

All in all, great win by the Cavs. Not only did they stop their 10 game losing streak, but they beat a team with a winning record in the process.

The Cavs face the Jazz on Monday and then travel to Atlanta on Wednesday.  For some reason, Cleveland isn't a part of the NBA's Christmas schedule this year. Weird.

Northern Lights

These are something I've always wanted to see in person.  Just seeing the pictures and videos is awe inspiring, I can't even imagine live.

NASA says 2012 should be a big year for the Norther Lights:
Since 2007 the aurora borealis has been growing in intensity and will peak during the year after next, according to Nasa scientists.
However, if the 2012 aurora are as big as expected, it could cause disruption to mobile phones, GPS and even the national grid.
The event will be caused by the Solar Maximum - a period when the sun's magnetic field on the solar equator rotates at a slightly faster pace than at the solar poles.
The solar cycle takes an average of around 11 years to go from one solar maximum to the next - varying between 9 to 14 years for any given solar cycle.
The last Solar Maximum was in 2000 and NASA scientists have predicted that the next one in 2012 will be the greatest since 1958, where the aurora stunned the people of Mexico by making an appearance on three occasions.
In 2012 scientists have stated that the 'Northern' lights should at least be visible as far south as Rome.

Watch this video and tell me that it isn't at least a little awesome. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010


On one hand, I give the Cavs a lot of credit for hanging with the Heat for four quarters.  The Cavs, most notably Boobie Gibson (26 points) and Anderson Varejao (18 points, 15 boards), really made Miami work for their 101-95 victory.

On the other hand, they still lost. I hate these moral victories (whoo! We lost by less than normal!), but the Cavs really did play with of a lot of energy and effort. It's a positive sign after being blown out in just about every game over the past two weeks.  

But it's frustrating. So you guys can hang with the Heat, in Miami (not that the crowd is really a factor), but get blown out by the Timberwolves, Pistons and Sixers? Really? As long as they stick to offensive plan (the ball movement was quite good, especially in the first half) and play with some defensive intensity (there was roughly a billion more hard fouls Wednesday night compared to December 2nd), Cleveland showed that they can compete with anyone.  Despite the final outcome, there's some positives Coach Scott can point to. 

However, all that being said, this really could've been much worse.  While Cleveland's 40% FG percentage looks (and is) terrible, remember that that's including Gibson's sizzling 10-16 performance. Non-Boobie Cavaliers shot a putrid 35% (25-71) and if you take out Varejao's 6-10, it drops down to 31%.

So despite finishing in double figures, the rest of the starters were ice cold, Mo shot 6-20 (1-10 3pt), AP shot 4-10 (1-6 3pt) and Antawn Jamison finished 5-18 (but 3-9 from downtown! whoo!).  And if you can believe it, somehow the bench was even worse.  Three players contributed a grand total of 12 points, 7 boards and 4 assists (J.J. was a team worst -12 in his 20 minutes).  

I don't think it's a coincidence that Boobie and Varejao performed well and kept the Cavs in this game. These guy were two of LeBron's most consistent Big Game teammates.  Both Boobie and Andy play without fear and both have had big moments in the playoffs.  Jamison, Mo, Parker? Not so much. 

Even with the effort and the intensity and ball movement and big nights from Boobie and Varejao, the Cavs still lost in the end.  Turns out, you really need to account for Dwyane Wade in transition. Who knew he's allowed to bring the ball up and just shoot a 3? Wade finished with 28 points (including 17 in the deciding 4th period), LeBron had 21-13-5) and Bosh pitched in 16 and 4. Miami didn't play extremely well, but they just had too much talent for Cleveland to deal with.

The Cavs can stop their 9 game losing streak at home on Friday when they face the 11-12 Pacers. If they fail to snap their skid, it won't get any easier any time soon; their next three games are against the Knicks, the Jazz and the Hawks Atlanta before returning home to face the Wolves the day after Christmas. Yikes.

Positive things happened. They still lost. Please don't go winless for the month of December. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This is stupid

Yahoo's Eric Freeman, on LeBron's and Z's statements about the Cavs:

There are a few ways to spin this; perhaps LeBron is just being nice to engage in damage control. Plus, while Zydrunas' words might seem a little cold, at least he's willing to admit that basketball is a business in which rival teams fight to come out on top over all competition. At least he's being honest about his feelings, unlike the devious James.

Except, if we're to commend Ilgauskas for telling the truth, then we also must admit that the affection Cavs fans still feel for him is a bucket of lies, too. Zydrunas is ultimately playing basketball to win and make money. So while the Cavs fans can appreciate his time with the team, they shouldn't act as if he has a kind heart unmatched by anyone who's ever worn the uniform.

In the end, Ilgauskas could be just as cold-hearted as LeBron. There's no doubt that James handled his departure from Cleveland poorly, but the difference in the reactions towards him and Ilgauskas can probably be explained best by the gap between their respective abilities. When you get right down to it, fans hate on the best player who left, not the worst person.

This really isn't all that hard to understand.  One player quit in the playoffs, made a spectacle of leaving and stabbed the city in the heart on national television. The other player worked his tail off, signed somewhere else like a normal free agent and placed an ad in the paper thanking fans for their years of support.

No one hates Z because they don't feel that he disrespected them at any point in time. Sure, talent has something to do with it (losing a past-his-prime center is easier to stomach compared to the two-time MVP) but if you ask any (sane) Cleveland fan, they'll tell you it's not that LeBron left, it's that he rubbed our faces in while doing it.

This isn't hard.

Paying attention, Chris Grant?

This is exactly the type of trade the Cavs should be pursuing:
The New Jersey Nets traded Terrence Williams to the Houston Rockets in a three-way deal that will land them Los Angeles Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic and a pair of first-round draft picks, the Nets announced on Wednesday.
The Lakers will receive Nets veteran power forward Joe Smith, two second-round picks from New Jersey and the draft rights to Sergei Lishchuk from the Rockets.
Trade a talented, but troubled young player, pick up some crap and a couple of picks. Bingo. 

It's my opinion that the Cavs have to be stockpiling draft picks. Trade whoever you want, just as long as you get a first round pick from someone.  The Nets dumped Terrence Williams in a 3 team trade and got firsts from both teams. 

Also, let's welcome Joe Smith to a new team, which I believe is his 12th.  Well done, Joe.  Let's hope the Lakers turn around and deal him at the deadline to team number 13. 

Oh, by the way, the Heat are favored by just 17 over the Cavaliers tonight in Miami. Seems a bit low. 17 sounds right if the Cavs were still, you know, trying. The Heat sent the Cavs into this free fall (and haven't lost since) and I don't see the Cavs snapping out of it tonight.