Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's The Lockout, We Movin' Like Bernie

After a few Jack and Cokes, and in the moments following Commissioner Stern announcing that the Timberwolves would be creating the logjam to end all logjams by drafting Derrick Williams, I found myself asking, “How the hell does David Kahn get out of this one?” How will Kurt Rambis (or Sam Mitchell. Or Brian Shaw. How about a cardboard cutout of Mike Fratello?) balance minutes between Williams, Love, Anthony Randolph, B-Eazy and last years 4th overall pick Wes Johnson? Only one way to find out... TO THE TRADE MACHINE.!

Now, I tried to approach this situation with a few basic rules in mind, which are up to my discretion to either abide by or break worse than Andrew Bynum’s glass kneecap. For the integrity of the blog, I tried to adhere to my guidelines as best as possible. One, the trade obviously has to work monetarily, especially with the NBA going into labor talks (and what is looking more and more like an extremely ugly lockout. 45 million hard cap? A ⅓ of player salary rollback? Please. We’ll save that for another article.) in the coming weeks. Two, for all teams involved, does it fit their needs? And if not, why? Does it still work? For example, is a star player disgruntled or voiced their desire to leave or be traded? Is Team A rebuilding and is Team B looking for veteran presence? Three, will this trade get more coverage than just a blurb on ESPN’s BottomLine ticker? Basically, I ask myself if it’s worthwhile even opening up my browser to get to the Trade Machine. No one cares if Omer Asik is swapped for Daequan Cook. It has to have some meat, some substance to it. I forgot that Hasheem Thabeet was swapped for Shane Battier mid-season until I
saw the Grizzlies play in the first round of the playoffs.

Trade 1:
Philladelphia 76ers get:
Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh
Minnesota Timberwolves get:
Andre Iguodala
Golden State Warriors get:
Michael Beasley, Andres Nocioni, Martell Webster

Philly clears cap space (Iggy’s 12.3 mil per, Nocioni’s inexplicable 6.9 mil per) and ditch an agitated Iguodala. Minnesota gains the veteran presence they desperately need while making room in their crowded front court. Golden State sets themselves up for a ton of cap space in 2 years (Webster’s and Nocioni’s contracts expire in ‘13) and make room in the back-court for rookie Klay Thompson. Only flaw I see here is that Ellis and Lou Williams make up perhaps the most defensively inefficient backcourt in NBA history.

Trade 2:
Atlanta Hawks get:
Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu
Los Angeles Clippers get:
Josh Smith, Marvin Williams

An indifferent and upset (Atlanta fans booed him. At home. In the playoffs.) Josh Smith joining Milkshake (officially Blake’s nickname. No, you can’t argue this. Deal with it.) means the Clips become the NBA version of Phi Slamma Jamma, the Hawks clear 4+ million in cap, and Al Horford can
finally switch to the four. Everyone wins... wait... Donald Sterling just learned he has to take on an extra four mil in salary and squashed it. Shit.

DeAndre Jordan, Griffin and Smith (don’t forget Eric Gordon) break at least two dozen backboards before the All-Star break, all 3 participate in the dunk contest, hardcore and casual NBA fans alike embrace the whole, “oh look, they’re all teammates and smiling and celebrating and throwing crazy ridiculous 360 alley-oop windmills to each other, the NBA is fun again!” mentality, Clipper jersey sales skyrocket and this years All-Star Weekend becomes the most viewed ever. Someone get Stern on the phone.

Trade 3:
Mempis Grizzlies get:
Steve Nash, Jared Dudley
Phoenix Suns get:
O.J. Mayo, Mike Conley, Tony Allen

Is this not the best offer the Suns get for their 37 year old 2-time MVP point guard? Let me repeat myself. Steve Nash is 37. They are clearly going into re-build mode and getting young players like Mayo and Conley that are able to contribute right away would be a step in the right direction. Who knows how much Nash has left in him, especially without the miracle workers that are the Suns training staff (Grant Hill has played 80+ games three years in a row. If you would have told me that was going to happen in 2009, I would have bet my life against it. Seriously.) Nash would be a perfect compliment to a healthy Rudy Gay and the big man combo of Gasol and Z-Bo. Even though Memphis is a fairly young team, they are still at least one major piece away from seriously contending in the West. If you’re Chris Wallace, don’t you trade away Conley and Mayo (already knowing what kind of players they are and what they can contribute, and we may have seen the best they can offer in the playoffs) for two more years of Steve Nash? Zach Randolph isn’t getting any younger (and with just signing a huge 4-year deal, he’s not getting any more motivated, either) and Gasol’s contract just expired (although Randolph has hinted that one of the reasons he re-signed with Memphis is because they intend to extend Gasol). Convince me that a core of Nash-Gay-Randolph-Gasol doesn’t contend in an aging Western Conference for two seasons. You can’t.

And now for the big mamajama. The "Big Bang" Trade as I like to call it.

 Boston Celtics get: Dwight Howard, Zaza Pachulia
Orland Magic get: Pau Gasol, Jeff Green, Jeff Teague, Devin Ebanks
Los Angeles Lakers get: Rajon Rondo, Josh Smith, Jermaine O'Neal
Atlanta Hawks get: Jameer Nelson, Lamar Odom, Avery Bradley

I know that was a lot to diguest, so let me break it down for you team by team.

The Magic do this deal because it is apparent that Dwight wants out, and after learning from the Raptors and Cavs, realize that dealing for the future is a better move than watching your franchise guy walk out the door emptyhanded. Picking up Gasol (an All-Star) in return helps ease the drop-off of production that they are losing at the center position. Also, I see it as a resurgence for Jeff Green's career, perhaps even allowing him to break out of his "scared puppy" persona that he developed in Boston. Smaller market, lower expectations and I think we see Green get his groove back. The most important part of this deal though would be the fact that the Magic can finally part ways with Jameer Nelson. It's no coincidence that Orlando's best run in the past 5 years came in 2009 when Rafer Alston was running for the show for an injured Nelson. He just never really jived with this team and I think he, like Green, could use a change of scenery.

The Celtics say yes to this trade faster than Rick Pitino in a restaurant bathroom because it lands them the best player in this trade and arguably the most imposing playing in the league. This move extends KG's career by 2 seasons (taking a huge piece of the defensive burden off his back) and the Celtics go on to win the 2012 title. The loss of Rondo would hurt them more from a chemistry standpoint as opposed to production, but remember that point guard is the deepest position in the league. They would be able to find a serviceable replacement fast.

Now this move gets a little tricky when it comes to the Laker's, strictly because they would be dismantling a core nucleus of guys who made it to the Finals in 3 out of the past 4 seasons. But after their embarrassing sweep in the playoffs to Dallas and the retiring of Phil Jackson, it is essential that they shake things up. This move frees up room in the front court for Bynum to shine, and Josh Smith is a younger and more athletic version of Lamar Odom. Also, Kobe gets to finish out his career with an All-Star point guard (something he's never had before) and they might even be able to get something out of J.O. (not bad in the New York series), whose 5.8 mil comes off the books next year anyway.

And now for the Hawks. Let's face it- the Josh Smith experiment in Atlanta was fun, but it just wasn't going anywhere (anywhere being the Finals). With Odom they get a class act that will provide leadership right off the bat, production at the forward position, and lots of television exposure from Lamar & Khloe. Also, the addition of Jameer is a upgrade at the PG slot (Captain Kirk Heinrich) and would allow them to continue utilizing Jamal Crawford as their 6th man (his most effective role).
Well there you have it folks. These are our deals, but when it comes down to it, the only deal that matters is the one between David Stern and Billy Hunter.
-G and Fresh

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The 10 Greatest Basketball Video Game Characters of All Time

First things first, I’d just like to thank Dan for giving me an opportunity to contribute to the 2 Man Weave. Getting straight to the point, my name is Gary, and you’d be hard pressed to find two things I love more than the NBA and video games. So, it seems appropriate that with my 2 Man Weave debut, I’d combine the two into one super-blog (I’d settle for a slightly-below-average blog to be honest). I present to you, the 10 greatest basketball video game characters of all time.

10. Kevin Durant, NBA 2K11

When it comes to current gen basketball games, I like to do a full 82 game season with 12 minute quarters (I told you, it’s damn near impossible to find 2 things i love more than the NBA and video games). This year, I picked the Jazz (the throwbacks did it for me) set up my sliders and started a season. 3 games into it, I had my first match-up with Oklahoma City and Kevin Durant. Little did I know that I was on my way to my first defeat of the season, and there was nothing I could do about it. I don’t remember exact numbers, but Durant attempted no less than 20+ 3’s, and made at least 65% of them. I know this because he proceeded to do it EVERY TIME I played OKC. He was unstoppable from behind the arc, from mid range, at the rim, EVERY WHERE. Westbrook never scored more than 15. It seemed that their entire offense consisted of “Westbrook brings ball up, passes to KD, KD takes it to the rim/shoots contested 3/settles for an awkward midrange J.” And every single one worked.
Kevin Durant makes life very easy for virtual Scoot Brooks

9. Coolio, Rap Jam Vol. 1

It’s Coolio. In a video game. A BASKETBALL video game. And this was before Gangsta’s Paradise came out. The game also included LL Cool J, Public Enemy version Flavor Flav (YEAA BOYYY), Naughty by Nature, and Queen Latifah before she was the Queen Latifah.

8. Shawn Kemp, NBA Jam

I’m not talking about any of these remakes (NBA Jam Extreme, On Fire, or any Jam title followed by a year number). Anything beyond Tournament Edition is dead to me. I’m sure most of you can recall the ridiculous front flip dunks, Tim Kitzrow’s “ HE’S ON FIRE” and “BOOMSHAKALACKA!”, and the unadulterated goal tending featured in this 2-on-2 free for all. Hell, I still have TE for my SNES. Sure you had teams like Utah (Stockton/Malone), Phoenix (Barkley/KJ), Charlotte (‘Zo and Grandmama), and the Knicks (Somehow Ewing had more speed than Starks? What?). But the real Jam addicts knew that Seattle was where the best duo was at. You could pair up the Rain Man with the Glove or Detlef Schremf and you would have to TRY to lose. I preferred to pair him up with Schremf for inside/outside dominance. Then again, it really didn’t matter, since Kemp could basically dunk from the arc and block any shot within a 30 foot radius.

7. Yao Ming, any 2K game since 2002

Abusing the up-and-under animation anywhere within 6 feet of the basket, this move was especially hard to stop between 04-08 when the Rockets also had a still serviceable McGrady, who would drive the lane, make a layup or dunk, or make the defense collapse and pump-fake/pass to Yao. Seriously, this move was automatic. Not to mention he absolutely shut down your inside game. He also got the “LeBron” treatment when it came to no-call travels. This video is all the proof you’ll need.

6. Scottie Pippen, NBA Jam

I guess the developers at EA Sports (these dudes have basically run the sports video gaming world since the dawn of time) felt bad for Chi Town because Jordan wasn’t in the Player’s Association, so they gave Pip street-balling superpowers beyond all comprehension. He’s like Shawn Kemp with range, speed, and the ability to catch fire with minimal effort. I swear one of my most vivid childhood memories consists of virtual Scottie shoving teammate BJ Armstrong to the ground, grabbing the loose ball, sinking a 45 foot trey and threatening BJ that if he ever touches the ball again, he’ll put him on permanent Paxson jock strap duty… No? Just me?

Start at 1:00 minute mark
5. Michael Jordan, Chaos in the Windy City

Also up for consideration here was Shaq from Shaq Fu, but that game never actually used basketballs. Sorry, big fella. This one on the other hand, includes various status-inflicted basketballs, such as flame balls, frozen balls, purple balls (I hope you’re as uncomfortable reading this as I am writing it) and bowling balls (um... alright). These balls are used as weapons against zombies with basketball heads that have apparently overrun the city of Chicago. Why? Does it really matter? You can dunk into nets scattered throughout the levels that reward you with different power-ups or health, such as an extra life, or a health boost in the form of a box of Wheaties or a bottle of Gatorade. Let me repeat myself. HIS HEALTH IS WHEATIES AND GATORADE. Can you imagine how the brainstorming for this gem had to have gone down?
“OK, so, MJ, er, uh, Michael... is it okay if I call you Michael? Look, we here at Electronic Arts would like to do this game, with you as the main character...”
“Hell no man, you know I’m not part of the Players Association.”
“Oh, we’ve got that taken care of, sir. You’re the only NBA player in this game. It’s a platformer...”
“A what?”
“...You throw super-powered basketballs at zombies with basketball heads while eating Wheaties and Gatorade.”
"...You tell Frank (Jordan’s agent) about this?”
“Yes sir, he’s given us the OK.”
“...F*** it, what ever.”

*presumed dialouge

4. The corner three, Double Dribble (otherwise known as DOUBLE DIBBLE, just listen to the announcer at the beginning of the video)

This one is going WAY back. Before Tecmo, before Live, before Jam. Not long after Jumpman (not to be confused with the Jordan logo) changed his name to Mario. And yes, I realize that it’s not actually a character. Straight from the wikipedia page: Several positions on the court were 'hot spots,' high-percentage areas where shots-taken were likely to score points. For example: it is easier to hit a 3-pointer on the bottom right-hand side of the screen. A player could start a 3-point jump shot from the top right or left corner of the court inbounds, and continue the jump out of bounds and even slightly behind the hoop and it would go in nearly every time. Here’s a video to prove it. So remember kids, if you’re ever in a situation to hustle some money from a friend in a 25 year old basketball game for a console that most people sell for 50 cents at garage sales, use this age old trick. To quote the great Craig Kilborn/not-so-great REM, “that’s three in the corner.”

3. Tom Chambers, Lakers vs. Celtics

The flowing, blonde mullet. The short shorts. The ridiculous hops for a big white dude. Chambers was the total package. Just ask Mark Jackson. However, virtual-Chambers was blessed with something other than great hair and big ups. Try the ability to dunk from the arc. He’s borderline Bo-Jackson status. Although I’ve never heard it with an official title, I’ve taken a liking to the one that YouTube’r cvmh777 has given it. With that, I present to you the Tom Chambers Double Pump Dunk of DOOOOOOOOOOOOOM.

2. LeBron James, NBA 2K9

As an avid 2K’er, I built many a faux-championship hope around LeBron since ‘03. Yea, I could make a LeChoke joke here or tell you how I asked him for a dollar and he only gave me 75 cents (didn’t have a 4th quarter. BA-ZING.), but remember, this is about fake basketball. Give me those ‘09 Cavs against any team in that game and I will destroy you. LeBron will score 93 and shoot 80 percent. He will drive to the hole on you at will. Attempt to block it? Get ready for a gravity-defying, completely unrealistic airtime, 360 adjustment lay-up that he inexplicably sinks. And there will be absolutely nothing you can do about it. Just don’t rage quit.

1. Charles Barkley, Barkley’s Shut up and Jam

Maybe giving the number one spot to a man with his name on the game can’t be justified, but all’s fair in love and video games (or something like that). This is a classic case of what I like to call, “Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball” syndrome. If your name is on the game, you’re by far and away the best player, and right off the bat (no pun intended) have an unfair advantage. Sir Charles was faster, stronger, could shoot better, jump higher, push harder (it was a 2-on-2 street ball game) and dunk ferocious-er (give me a break here). Apparently, there is also a spot on the court from 3 that Charles would never miss from. You can’t dismiss the fact that the game play music was pretty dope for its time and Charles’, “go get the damn ball,” never failed to amuse me in my early gaming years. All in all however, this game is downright turrible.

Honorable Mentions include:
  • Air Alnight, David Robinson’s Supreme Court (yea, I guess this is a real game)
  • Duke Blue Devils, Coach K Basketball (did I even need to put this here?)
  • Detlef Schremf, In the Zone
  • Eddie Griffin, NBA Live 03
  • Yeti Snowman, NBA Street

-G (@dontgetkilled)

Monday, June 20, 2011

2011 N.B.A. Mock Draft, 2 Man Weave Style

Will someone out-embarrass Tim Thomas from this year's class?

Welcome to the 2 Man Weave's 2011 NBA Mock Draft. The draft is a place where words like "upside" and "athleticism" get passed around like Ja Rule's jewelry. A place where ill thought out panic trades get made seemingly on the hour, their effects not fully known until months later. It's a night for the NBA's next generation to don bizarre outfits, showcase their girlfriends, and embarrass themselves on national T.V. But most of all, it is the night where these young men get to live out a dream eighteen plus years in the making. The night they make it big time. The night they make it to the N.B.A.

This years group is by no means a class like '84 or '03. Hell, they may not even produce a single MVP or All-Star starter.

But there is a chance that they will. See that's the beauty of draft night. We don't know anything yet. Maybe Kyrie Irving will be the next CP3, or Klay Thompson the next Chris Mullen. Until they step on the court and prove us wrong, there is no limit to how good these players can be. So please, keep reading and get familiar the class of 2011. Somewhere in here you may find the next Dirk Nowitzki.

Or Nicholas Tskitishvili.

Looks like Kyrie knew what number he was going to be picked all along

1. Cavs- Kyrie Irving, 6’3 PG, Duke.
Despite only playing 11 games for Duke last season due to a nagging toe injury, Irving seems to be the safest bet at #1. You know what you’re getting with him- stability at the point guard position for the next 10+ years, a level-headed team leader with excellent decision making skills. Cut from the same PG cloth as Chris Paul. Kyrie will provide immediate help for a franchise in shambles.

2. T-Wolves- Derrick Williams, 6’8 F, Arizona.

Williams has the most NBA ready game of any player in this year’s draft. A natural 4, Derrick really added to his game last season by improving his 3P% to a unbelievable 57% to go along with his 19.5 ppg and 8+rpg. It’s hard to find a flaw in his game.

Don’t be surprised if the T-Wolves end up trading this pick though. They are already entering this season with Ricky Rubio as their premiere rookie and would love to add some veteran help to a team that has been in the rebuilding phase for the better half of this century. Some teams that are potential suitors to trade for this pick are the Bucks (Andrew Bogut), Warriors (Monta Ellis) and 76ers (Iguodala). It’s also no small secret that the Cavs are very interested in Williams as well, and if they decide to go with Irving at #1, look for them to potentially swing a deal involving the #4 pick + assets to move up for Derrick. It has also been said that if the T-Wolves do stay put and take Williams, that Michael Beasley and/or Anthony Randolph will be moved before the season starts.

3. Jazz- Brandon Knight, 6’3 PG, Kentucky.

Knight averaged a 17/4/4 as a freshman at Kentucky, filling the void left by John Wall (last year’s #1 pick) without skipping a beat. He is a great shooter and scholar (4.0 gpa), who just needs to work on limiting his turnovers (3.2 per game). He can start right away in Utah and should continue Utah’s tradition of excellent point guard play (Stockton, Williams).

4. Cavs- Enes Kanter, 6’11 C, Kentucky.

The Cavs are a team with a lot of needs and after scooping up their PG of the future, Kyrie Irving at #1, I think the big man from Turkey makes the most sense for them at #4. Kanter had somewhat fallen off of the radar since winning MVP of the 2009 U18 Euro League and setting a Nike Hoops summit record with 34 points in 2010 (he was ruled ineligible at Kentucky last season), but scouts like what they have seen from him in workouts this spring and think his game will translate over very well to the league. Bold prediction but I think Kanter averages a double-double his rookie season.

Kanter wore #0 at Kentucky, which is appropriate because that is the exact number of games he played for them

5. Raptors- Jonas Valanciunas, 6’11 C, Lithuania.
So far Jonas has been the wildcard of the 2011 draft. Flip flopping back and forth about whether or not to enter, despite the almost unanimous buzz that he will be a top 5 pick. He’s only 19 and is under contract for his Euro team (Lietuvos Rytas) so we may not see him for a few seasons, but his size and potential are too much for Toronto to pass on. A beast around the rim, Jonas shot a mindblowing 70.8% from the field and 88% from the stripe. We may not see the results anytime soon but in the long run I love this pick for ever-rebuilding Toronto Raptures.

6. Wizards- Jan Vesely, 6’11 F, Czech Republic.

Vesely is one of those guys who will benefit from Dirk Nowitzki’s stellar post season run, perhaps making teams a little more eager to roll the dice with a foreign prospect. But that’s not to say that Jan’s skill level isn’t deserving of such a high lottery pick. An athletic big who can run the court and shoot the 3. The only downsides with Vesely is that like Ricky Rubio in 2009, Jan is still under contract with his club team (Partizan) until 2013. Oh, and his Shaq-esq. 44% FT.

7. Kings- Kawhi Leonard, 6’7 SF, San Diego St.
Kawhi, an athletic wing from Riverside, CA, will make the perfect running mate for Tyreke Evans on this young Kings team. One knock on Leonard is his long range shooting (career 25%3P). That number will have to go up in order to be a successful wingman in the NBA. However, Kawhi still finds a way to get his buckets, averaging a double-double for his career in college. He will be an effective, do-it-all, Gerald Wallace type player at the next level.

8. Pistons- Kemba Walker, 6’1 PG, UConn.

One word comes to mind when describing Kemba- WINNER. He singlehandedly put the Huskies on his back in March, leading them to 11 straight victories en route to the Big East and NCAA championship (he won MVP of both tournaments). The only knock on Walker is his size (a generous 6’1), but he plays with enough heart to overcompensate. When I watch Kemba play, I can’t help but draw up the Allen Iverson comparisons. Great news for Pistons fans.

9. Bobcats- Alec Burks, 6’6 PG, Colorado.

Burks is listed as a PG but it’s highly likely he’ll move to the 2 once he gets to the NBA. He has the size (6’6 with a 6’10 wingspan) to cover three positions and can rebound (6.5rpg) to go along with his array of offensive moves. He averaged 20+ ppg last year for the Buffaloes and in 2009 was the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Missouri.

10. Bucks- Tristan Thompson, 6’9 PF, Texas.

This 6’9 big from Ontario, Canada would make a great fit in Milwakee, a team with desperate needs inside. Thompson is young (20) and has tremendous upside. Hopefully he can provide the push needed for the Bucks to break through the cusp, and into that 8th playoff seed in the East.

11. Warriors- Klay Thompson, 6’7 SG, Washington St.

Klay (son of 1978 #1 overall pick Mychel Thompson) was a top 10 scorer in the nation last year for the Cougars, putting up over 22ppg. He has great range and at 6’7 can shot over many of the other 2g’s teams throw his way. His style of play compliments the Warriors nicely, a team that by no means shies away from the 3 ball. Not entirely sure if new head coach Marc Jackson is going to want a more up-tempo or defensive minded style of play, but regardless there will be always be room on the floor for someone who can make it rain.
12. Jazz- Jimmer Fredette, 6’2 PG, BYU.

If Fredette is still on the board at 12 there is no way Utah can afford to pass on the BYU folk hero. Jimmer led the nation in scoring with almost 29 ppg and took the Cougars to the Sweet 16. Disregarding the pressure that the fans will be putting on Utah management to make the pick, it also makes perfect sense from a basketball stand point as well. Jimmer is tough as nails and can shoot the lights out of the gym. If the Jazz can find a way to mask his poor defense, he will end up a better version of JJ Redick.
Something tells me Jimmer won't be abiding by that wacky BYU honor code once he gets to the league

13. Suns- Chris Singleton, 6’9 SF, Florida State.

No players stock has jumped higher since the college season ended than Singleton. At 6’9, coaches rave about his defensive ability. A stretch forward who can lock down 3 positions. Offensively Chris has a great motor and will be a solid replacement whenever Grant Hill decides to hang it up in Phoenix. Defense wins championships in this league and Singleton is Shane Battier 2.0.

14. Rockets- Marcus Morris, 6’8 PF, Kansas.

Morris falling to Houston at #14 would be a blessing for the Rockets, a team that has been desperately trying to beef up their front court since the loss of Yao. Marcus can score from anywhere within 18 feet and finishes with the best of them around the rim. For a team in need of help at multiple positions Marcus should be able to start from Day 1 and put up good numbers alongside Louis Scola down low (a la Chuck Landry in ’09).

15. Pacers- Marshon Brooks- 6’5 SG, Providence.

averaged the second most points per game in the country last year (24.6) while playing in the toughest conference ever assembled. A stone cold scorer that will bring immediate help from the SG position to a team that already has some good pieces to build around (Collison, Granger, Hibbert). Brooks is deceivingly long (7’2 wingspan is tops for all guards in the draft) and will make you pay if you don’t put a body on him when the shot goes up (7+rpg). Marshon will be an upgrade from the Brandon Rush/A.J. Price SG combo that we saw a lot of last year from Indiana.

16. 76ers- Bismack Biyombo, 6’9 C, Congo.

Biz Markie has been the hardest player to project this year, with some mocks having him go as high as #5, others well into the 20’s. At just 18 years old Biyombo has lots of room and time for improvement. However, his defensive skills/instincts show that the future is bright for this Euroleague import. In a few years I could see his career replicating that of former 76er enforcer Sam Dalembert.

This upcoming season watch as Bismack Biyombo competes for both a starting job, and the title of “N.B.A.’s best name” (currently held by Serge Ibaka).

Knicks- Jordan Hamilton, 6’8 SG, Texas.

Hamilton, who played high school ball at Dominguez H.S. (Tyson Chandler, Brandon Jennings) in South Central L.A. would be a great wing addition to Mike D’Antoni’s high octane Knicks offense. He averaged 19 ppg as a sophomore at Texas and is said to have range “well beyond the N.B.A. three.” Jordan also grabbed 7.7 rpg for the Longhorns and would fill New York’s void for a gunner nicely. This pick would upgrade them offensively from the Fields/Walker/Williams combo they utilized last year.

Although point guard and center are the Knicks biggest liabilities at the moment, at this stage in the draft picking players based on talent over need can yield the best results.

18. Wizards- Dontas Motiejunas, 7’ PF, Lithuania.

The Wizards are a team on the rise (can’t go anywhere else but up, right?), and after selecting Vesely at #6, #18 is a great spot for them to take another gamble with Motiejunas. Dontas has a great inside/outside NBA game and has lottery level talent. The only thing he needs to improve on is his attitude. It’s been said that he can get complacent (lazy) at times and doesn’t always dominate the way he should. However, a change of scenery (continent) could go a long way in fixing that problem.

19. Bobcats- Kennith Faried, 6’7 PF, Morehead St.

The Bobcats, a team with many needs, should go with the safe play here and take Faried, the nation’s top rebounder. Faried is a one of those guys who has a keen skill for reading angles and knowing where the ball is going to bounce off of the rim. He comes from the Dennis Rodman school of rebounding. A hardnosed, athletic banger who broke Tim Duncan’s All-Time Division 1 rebounding mark this past season. Faired was also Second Team All-American, averaging 17+ppg to go along with his 14.5 rebounds.

20. T’Wolves- Tyler Honeycutt, 6’8 SF, UCLA.

After David Kahn’s abysmal ’09 draft, look for him to continue (Williams at #2) to play it safe again here and take Bruins sophomore Tyler Honeycutt (a small risk, big reward player). Honeycutt looks to continue the trend of UCLA players who overachieve at the next level (think Trevor Ariza, Darren Collison, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love). Although his numbers don’t wow you (3.0 TO’s/2.8 apg), his athletic ability will. Tyler is incredibly versatile and crashes the boards well for a swing man (7+ rpg). Also, being around an N.B.A. weight room should do wonders for his 187 pound frame. He will certainly need to bulk up if he wants to be productive on either end down low. Look for Honeycutt to contribute off the bench for a new look Minnesota team next season.

21. Blazers- Darius Morris, 6’4 PG, Michigan

Morris led the Big 10 in assists per game (6.7) during his sophomore campaign in Ann Arbor and should be able to crack the rotation right away on a deep Blazers team. Andre Miller doesn't have too many quality years left in him, but he will make a great mentor for the L.A. native point guard. Scouts have been raving about his length (6'7+ wingspan) and court vision. However, like Josh Selby and Kawhi Leonard, Darius needs to work on his long range shooting (25% from behind the arc). If the Blazers decide to go with a different PG here, keep an eye on Norris Cole from Cleveland State. They are very similar players who will both have productive careers as floor generals in the NBA.

22. Nuggets- Tobias Harris, 6'8 PF, Tennessee.

Harris, the versatile, lanky big man out of Long Island ranks 3rd amongst all big-men on John Hollinger's Draft Rater (usually a good indicator of next level success) behind only Derrick Williams (#2) and Tristan Thompson (#10). He had a great freshman year for the Vols and was the lone bright spot on a season plagued by turmoil. The Nuggets are pretty set at positions 1-3 and would love to add depth to their front court to help out Nene and Kenyon Martin. At just 18 years old, Harris has one of the biggest upsides in the draft.

23. Rockets- Markieff Morris- 6’9 PF, Kansas.

Admittedly it is a bit of a stretch that Markieff will fall this far in the draft, but the possibility of two brothers (Marcus at #14) playing together on an N.B.A. team is be too cool for me to not hypothesize over. Markieff has an N.B.A. ready body, and although it’s unlikely to see him take over a game offensively, he shoots well from 3 and can give you a hard 18-24 minutes a night. A three-headed attack down low consisting of the Morris twins and Louis Scola would be a nightmare for Western Conference foes.

24. Thunder- Nikola Vucevic, 7'0 C, USC
Nikola, the 20 year old big man out of Montenegro, would be a great fit in Oklahoma City. Although they just locked up center Kendrick Perkins to a long term extension, Perk hasn't been able to prove that he can stay healthy for back to back years, making Vucevic a great safety asset to have moving forward. He has a very good jump shot to go along with his wide arsenal of post moves. It's not every year you that you get the chance to pick up a serviceable 7-footer this late in the draft.

25. Celtics- Nikola Mirotic, 6'10 PF, Montenegro (Real Madrid)
The Celtics are aging fast and will be looking to hit a home run in this draft by taking Nikola, the 6'10 sweet shooting Euro (As opposed to the safe play- Trey Thompkins, JaJuan Johnson etc.). Mirotic shot 45% from 3 last season and is versatile enough to guard both forward positions. He's not as good as Danillo Gallanari but they have similar games. He is still under contract in Europe for another two seasons (the reason he isn't projected higher) but that time frame should coincide nicely for when Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O'Neal retire.

26. Mavs- Josh Selby, 6’3 PG, Kansas.

Selby is a classic example of a guy with lottery level talent, that will drop in the draft because he came out of college a year or two too early. In this case though I think it will actually benefit him in the long run. The Mavs, fresh off their first championship ever, need to find an apprentice for Jason Kidd and one or two years as an understudy could do wonders for Selby’s game. Despite being more of a combo guard (think Eric Gordon with a worse jumper) I think in time Selby could become a starting point guard at the next level.

27. Nets- Kyle Singler, 6’9 SF, Duke.

The Nets, who are entering their last* season before they cross the Hudson and come back into New York, don’t have time to mold players and coddle them for a few years before seeing results. Which is why they need to take Singler, a true leader, national champion and four year starter from Duke. Singler doesn’t have a high ceiling (he’s already 23), but in the right system could end up a poor man’s Keith Van Horn (I bet you never thought you’d read that sentence in your lifetime). Uber competitive, with great touch inside and out, Kyle will rack up some points playing alongside Deron Williams. He’s joining a Nets team that routinely saw Sasha Vujacic put up team highs in scoring last season, so it goes without saying that Singler will get his fair chance to contribute.

Singler and Psycho T will be back at it again next season, battling for an Eastern Conference playoff spot

28. Bulls- Shelvin Mack, 6’2 PG, Butler.

Shelvin followed in ex-teammate Gordon Haywood’s footsteps by leading the Bulldogs back to a second straight Championship game appearance and will now follow him into the N.B.A. The Bulls are in dire need of a backup PG to spell Derrick Rose (Keith Bogans anyone?) and Mack could contribute right from the get go. The Bulls achilles heel in the playoffs was their lack of players who could create their own shot (sans D-Rose) and that just happens to be what Shelvin is best at (16 ppg as a junior last season). I picture Mack’s career arch playing out much like the great Bobby Jackson did in the previous decade.

29. Spurs- Jeremy Tyler, 6’10 C, USA.

Tyler is a very gifted, yet interesting player. He left high school after his junior year to go play professionally in Europe, a move that was highly scrutinized by basketball fans and analysts alike. After an unsuccessful Euro tour in which he quit after just 10 games, he then spent the following season (10-11) playing in Japan where he rediscovered his confidence and excelled once again. If not for his bizarre path that led him to this year’s draft Tyler could have easily been a lottery pick. He has an N.B.A. ready body, a perfect combination of size and strength, and will be a decent replacement for Tim Duncan whenever he goes the way of “Old Yeller”.

Will Jeremy Tyler excel at Greg Popovich University?

30. Bulls-Keith Benson, 6’11 C, Oakland.

Keith Benson epitomizes both the terms "raw" and "upside". At 6'11 (7'4 wingspan) Benson could very easily become a serviceable backup in the Chicago, a team that preaches defense. He showed much progress in his years at Oakland and in his senior season boasted an impressive 18/10 (Granted the Summit League is no Big East, but you can't knock those numbers). The Bulls are in good shape moving forward and can afford to take this chance on a minimal risk, high reward player like Benson.


-fresh (@danye33)

Dunn's Greatest Accomplishment Still Yet To Come?

Early this morning, at approximately 3 a.m., Jackass star Ryan Dunn passed away when his 2007 Porsche crashed off of Route 322 in West Goshen, PA. By now I'm sure many of you have been made aware of the alleged speed that Dunn was traveling at (100+ mph) and that just hours before the crash he tweeted a picture of himself and two buddies drinking and visibly drunk at a bar.

It goes without saying that drinking and driving is a terrible act, one that often times leads to life ending consequences. In this instance though let us not dwell on the the fact that what he was doing was wrong, and take jabs at him posthumously on Twitter (cough cough Roger Ebert, you prick). But instead we should view this as another reminder that you should never take life for granted, and to respect and obey the laws that were put in place to prevent us from things like this happening.

Ryan Dunn was a hilarious man whose influences stretched far beyond the typical Jackass fan. A friend of mine who I spoke with today shortly after hearing the news texted me the following response on why this loss hurt so bad "(Dunn) was my favorite (of the Jackass guys) because he had that rad beard, rode BMX, and was even on the flow team for Fit (a big BMX company)." In addition to the extreme sports (and extreme idiot) world, Dunn was an original member of CKY crew and starred on a handful of different television shows and movies outside of the Jackass spectrum (Viva La Bam, Home Wreckers, Proving Ground, Dudesons Movie and Haggard, just to name a few). In fact, less than two weeks ago I remember watching him and Steve-o on "Minute to Win It" and I actually caught myself rooting out loud in my living room for them.

A part of my childhood died today, now all we can hope is that people can learn from this tragedy so that no one else has to die this way.

-fresh :(

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Music Videos That Don't Suck Vol. 3

Because all MTV airs nowadays is breast feeding teenagers and well, more breast feeding teenagers, I've taken the responsibility upon myself to present to you, the reader, with worthwhile music videos to watch. This installment features Weezer's 2008 single "Pork and Beans" off of their self titled Red album. Mentos enduced soda explosions play a big role in making this music video a classic, but more so it's because it incorporates lip syncing performances by some of the most famous, original, YouTube stars. The following legends appear in the video- the "numa numa" guy, chocolate rain guy, dramatic chipmonk, K-Fed (no relation to YouTube, hilarious none the less), daft hands, the 155 t-shit kid, Chris Crocker, SHOES!, evolution of dance guy and Miss South Carolina.

This music video came out around the same time as the South Park "YouTube stars" episode and share many of the same characters. It's a dope song, and despite not making much sense lyrically, is catchy as hell.

"I'mma do the things that I wanna do,
I ain't got a thing to prove to you,
I'll eat my candy with the pork and beans,

Excuse my manners if I make a scene"

-fresh (@danye33)

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Good Guys Won

Dirk "Das Booting" an 80k bottle of victory champagne

The Dallas Maverick's won their first N.B.A. Championship Sunday night, when they beat the Heat 105-95, putting the final exclamation point on one of the most exciting series of all time. The star of the finals (and playoffs) was MVP Dirk Nowitzki, who cemented his legacy as a top 20 player, overcame the flu and left thousands of people asking the question "Hey Lebron! How's my Dirk Taste?"

Dallas played fundamental, never-say-die basketball, proving that it takes a team effort to win the title, not just a hodgepodge of prima donna superstars. For guys like Dirk, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion, this title forever changes how they will be remembered. Bumping each one of them up a level from before (Ex. Kidd now enters the top 3 point guards of all time discussion, passing Isiah in my book).

J.E.T. (Terry's nickname/initials) became the fan favorite of the Finals by repeatedly backing up his trash talk, and roasting Miami for a game high 27 in the clincher. Prior to his Game 6 takeover, Simmons referred to his game 5 dagger three in LeBron's face to ice it as the "biggest irrational confidence shot of all time". He became one of those guys who makes it easy for us to root for them. Something that can't be said about that Miami team.
From the Wade/LeBron's cough-gate, to their premature celebrations and subsequent disappearing acts when times got tough, the Heat really did fit the "Bad guys" typecast quite nicely. Their loss in this series put an abrupt halt to their season, a season that had been followed intensly under a microscope like few before. They may not have come through (yet) with their promises of championship after championship (8 to be exact), but they did provide us with non-stop entertainment, fodder for discussion and an Arabian sized stash of fuel for the media fire.

With the first year of the MoHeato project official in the books, I'd like to enter these next two YouTube videos into the "2 Man Weave" Hall of Fame. The first- Dan Lebatard's orgasmic rant from last summer after LeBron signed with Miami. The second- The "Miami Heat Welcome Party". Both have now made the step into internet Gold for all of eternity. Riley may have got them all, but the good guys got the ring. 

-fresh (@danye33)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thanks, I think?

Steve-o book signing, June 8th 2011

-fresh (@danye33)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

LeBron's Rough Draft

For years I've defended LeBron James. Always electing to give him the benefit of the doubt when it came to his recurring post season collapses, stretched out free agency stint (not making his decision until a week after he officially became a free agent, thus stagnating the Cav's abilities to pursue other high caliber free agents) and his eventual decision to "Take his talents to South Beach". It may have taken some time, and a Knicks postseason birth, but I've finally come to realization that a 25 year old choosing to go play a game for a living, in a beautiful city, with his close friends does not make him the antichrist, much to the dismay of the media.

Let's face it- James isn't Jordan. This became clear eleven months ago when he decided to team up with what should have been his arch nemesis on the court. If you can't beat them, join them, and LeBron came to that decision on his own. This may have been the first time that we fully realized he wasn't Jordan. Surely the greatest basketball player of all time would never have done such a thing, but perhaps we should have realized that a few months earlier when he decided that he would change his number from 23 to 6, out of respect for Michael.

The thing is, LeBron never wanted to be Michael. We wanted him to be Michael.

We longed for someone to marvel at the way we did with Michael. Which is the absolute root for all the constant criticism, comparison and micromanaging we do on a hourly basis with this guy. Take LeBron's over-analyzed Game 4 Houdini act in Dallas where he disappeared in the 4th quarter, tallying a beyond lackluster 8 points in a game where he was the fifth best player on his team. This led to everybody and their mother writing columns, posts and tweets bashing his heart, drive and to a degree, skill set. I saw several statuses the day after where people listed Jordan's point total from every Finals game that he ever played in, to beat in the fact that he never had a point total close to LBJ's "8" in game 4. But what good does that even do? If you've been paying attention for the last year you would know that LeBron is not Michael.

What made Jordan the most feared and respected player in the game was his killer instinct. A competitive force inside him unlike anything we had ever witnessed before be it on the basketball court, golf course or poker table.

In times of adversity, or when things weren't going his way, be it as far and few between as they have been, we've seen LeBron take a backseat approach and fade into the shadows. Maybe LeBron knew that about himself last summer and hoped that by joining the Heat, his friend Dwyane would be there to pick him up when the going got tough. That by joining forces together, they could coexist at the top of the N.B.A. throne for the next decade.

But to quote Coldplay front-man Chris Martin from his song "The Scientist", "Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard." I think that is what LeBron didn't take into consideration when he bolted Cleveland for Miami, a move that in any other profession or situation in life would have been looked at as a no-brainer.

Like a loaded pair of dice, the storyline of LeBron's season had already been predetermined long before he would first don that red and black Miami Heat jersey. The bulls-eye had been placed, the villain cast and the script written. The only thing not set in stone was the ending to this movie, an ending still very much in James' control as this N.B.A. Finals series morphs into best of three, winner takes all for N.B.A. supremacy.

Now is the time for LeBron to truly show us what he's made of. He has been knocked down, but will he get back up? This series has already provided us with more storylines and memorable moments, comebacks and collapses than we ever could have dreamed of, and the best is yet to come.

Michael Jordan's legacy has already been scripted in stone. LeBron's legacy is still its "rough draft" phase, but a heavy portion of that legacy will be determined in these next few nights, and I for one, will be enjoying every second of it. Let's save the MJ comparisons for when LeBron retires, and if he has six rings by then, maybe we can talk. But for now I'm just going to enjoy watching LeBron James for who he is, LeBron James.

-fresh (@danye33)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Opposite Ends Of The Drug Spectrum

The above video is one of my favorite T.V. scenes of all time. It's from an episode of "7th Heaven" and centers around a family meeting at the Camden house over who was responsible for the joint that had been found. Needless to say, hilarity ensues. Mary and Lucy accuse the mom of being a stoner because they found the joint in her dresser, while looking for socks. However, Father Camden quickly puts an end to that thought when he explains that he was the one who found the joint by the door, then placing it securely in the moms dresser. This prompts young Simon to then ask "Well then, whose joint is it?", putting all eyes on the eldest child (man) Matt, who then confesses and has this exchange with Simon:

Simon- "You've got to be kidding"

Matt- "Look...Simon-"

Simon- "Man, I can't believe you" (then storms out of the room)

At this point the Reverend instructs everyone to go to their rooms, leaving just Matt, the mom and himself in the living room. The conversation (rant) that ensues is probably the greatest example of over-the-top television parenting of all time; featuring such gems as "Is this why...(while holding up the joint) you've never held down a job?" and "Hey, well here's something that doesn't take a whole lot of skill. Just a lighter and a complete lack of self respect."

Finally, Matt decides he can't deal with this nonsense anymore (rightfully so), and leaves to go hang out with his friends, ending in dramatic fashion while his dad screams with agony and bangs his fist against the oak wood door.

This whole scene is pretty amazing, and a good blueprint for how parents SHOULD NOT act when trying to get a point across/teach a life lesson. Now on the other side of the drug spectrum we have this below video from "The Sopranos", where Christopher gets high on heroin and falls asleep on Adrianna's dog, crushing/suffocating it to death. I remember being traumatized watching this as child, and thinking how could anyone want to do that stuff? Whereas after watching Father Camden's freak out as a kid, I found myself sympathizing for Matt, completely justifying his cannabis use.

-fresh (@danye33)