Archives for June 2008

Soxman’s Fantasy Baseball Weekly Insider

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Fantasy Fill-up
Well, reality does not mirror fantasy this week as my White Sox get “sweep revenge” over the Cubs, but my fantasy team continues their downward spiral. 

Alas, my fantasy advice appears to be helping other teams get ahead, which is the main reason we publish this column on The SportsBank.
 
 

Sizzlers
 
Mark Buehrle
Buehrle didn’t allow more than two earned runs for his fifth straight start. He has re-emerged as a high-end Fantasy SP and should be starting in all league formats right now.
 
A.J. Burnett
2 wins, 18 Ks, and a 0.60 ERA.  The ace is back.
 
Carl Crawford
3 homers and 6 RBI last week from a guy known primarily for speed.  What a bonus!
 
John Lackey
2 wins, a 0.54 ERA, and a 0.78 WHIP in his last two starts.
 
Dustin Pedroia
A .556 batting average with 2 dingers and 7 runs scored over the last 7 games.
 
Mariano Rivera
Rivera remains perfect in 22 save chances this season.  It’s hard to believe that he dropped in many drafts who believed it would soon be “Joba time” in NY.  Enjoy raking in the saves from one of the best closers in baseball.
 
Marcus Thames
The streaky Thames had three singles, one run and one RBI in four at-bats Sunday against the Rockies. Thames is 10-for-23 (.435) with one homer and three RBI in his last seven games and is making a strong case for AL Player of the Month honors in June as he is hitting .313 with nine homers and 15 RBI.

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Fizzlers
 
Joe Blanton
Blanton has given up 16 runs over his last 14 innings.  So much for him being the ace of the A’s staff.  He’s also the first American League pitcher to lose 11 games.
 
Ryan Dempster
Appears to have come back down to Earth a little posting a 30.86 ERA last week, compliments of the Chicago White Sox.
 
Eric Byrnes
Has really been struggling since his return from injury.  The D’backs outfielder failed to produce one run or deliver one RBI last week.

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Hidden Thunder
 
Here are some sleepers to consider who have been pounding the ball the past seven days:
 
Brian Buscher, 9-22, HR, 7 RBI for the streaking Twins
Jim Edmonds, 5 HR, 8 RBI, and he’s returning to St. Louis this weekend
Pedro Feliz, 6-18, HR, 6 RBI for the fighting Phillies.
 
Twice the Fun
 
Here are your best bet pitchers who are getting two starts this week.
 
Jon Garland, (OAK & TOR)
Joba Chamberlain, (TEX & BOS), boasts a sub two ERA in his last four starts.
James Shields, (BOS & KC)
John Danks, (CLE & Oak)
Edinson Volquez,  (PIT & WAS)
DL Watch
 
Carlos Zambrano
“Big Z” declared himself ready to “pitch in the World Series” after throwing a pain-free session in the bullpen Sunday. He will be activated to start July 4 in St. Louis and should qualify to return to your starting rotation.  Big Z can sometimes get “over pumped” with excitement.  Considering they are playing arch rival St. Louis, the second place team in the NL Central, AND it is his first game back from the DL, it will be a high-risk, high reward start.
 
Chipper Jones
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that it’s “expected” that Jones will be placed on the DL. He has missed eight starts and hasn’t played since June 25th due to his injured right quadriceps.
 
Magglio Ordonez
Maggs is on the 15-day disabled list with a pulled right oblique muscle.
 
Aramis Ramirez
A-Ram will miss the Cubs’ next three games to tend to a family matter in the Dominican Republic.  He asked for four games and actually got into a shoving match with the Cubs traveling secretary, so he could end up missing more games depending on the situation.  His troubles might explain his cold weekend against the Sox.  You might consider starting someone else in his place this week.  Mark DeRosa and Ronny Cedeno are the most likely to take his spot in the line-up.

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Eric Gagne
Keep him reserved for now.  He may start out as a set-up man.  Torres is 12 for 12 in save opportunities since “Gag me” went on the DL and lost the closer’s role.  Gagne could be one of the biggest free agent busts of this season.

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The Best Draft Classes Ever

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By Tim St. Sauver, The Love of Sports.com

The Intro
That’s right. Over 100 years. Thousands of players. Four sports.
We’re talking serious research here, my friends.
I’ve come up with the Top 10 draft classes in sports history.

The Excerpt

10. MLB – 1985
It’s very difficult to qualify a draft as being good when the majority of players selected will never reach the bigs. However, the ’85 class is responsible for 18.2% of the MVP awards handed out since their draft and 13.6% of the Cy Young Awards over the same amount of time.

The 1985 Rule 4 Draft had 832 players selected. It had star power, depth and stands out among other MLB drafts due to the speed at which its top players made it on to MLB rosters.

Best of the Draft:
–Barry Bonds (6th overall) – Seven-time MVP, 762 HR, career .298 BA, 1 huge asterisk
–B.J. Surhoff (1st overall) – 1999 All-Star, 2,326 hits, 1,153 RBI
–Will Clark (2nd overall) – Six-time All-Star, 2,176 hits, 1,205 RBI, career .303 BA
–Barry Larkin (4th overall) – 1 World Series ring, 1 MVP, 12-time All-Star
–Rafael Palmeiro (22nd overall) – Four-time All Star, 3,020 hits, 1,835 RBI
–Randy Johnson (2nd round, 36th overall) – 10-time All-Star, 5 Cy Young awards, 284 wins, 4,629 Ks
–Mark Grace (24th round, 622nd overall) – 1 World Series ring, Three-time All Star, 2,445 hits, career .303 BA

Other Notable Selections:
Bobby Witt, Pete Incaviglia, Walt Weiss, Brian McRae, David Justice, Brady Anderson, Randy Velarde

Steal of the Draft:
John Smoltz – Selected in the 22nd round and 574th overall, Smoltz has 3,011 strikeouts, 210 wins and 154 saves to date, as well as Eight All-Star appearances and one Cy Young Award.

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6. NBA – 2003

LBJ. Melo. D-Wade. The 2003 Draft formally introduced us to what many expected to be the future of the NBA. The top players from this class have been part of making some of 2002-03’s worst teams into contenders (the Cavs and Nuggets had 17 wins each in 2002-03). However, there’s only one ring here, and Wade’s inclusion on this year’s league-worst Heat squad all but nullifies that ring in my eyes. Stars don’t let their team finish 15-67.
Still, the sixth-best draft class ever isn’t so bad.

Top Selections:
LeBron James (1st overall pick) – averages 27.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.6 assists over career
Carmelo Anthony (3rd overall) – 24.4 PPG, 6.0 RBG, 3.0 APG
Chris Bosh (4th overall) – 18.9 PPG, 9.0 RBG
Dwyane Wade (5th overall) – 23.9 PPG, 4.8 RBG, 6.5 APG, NBA Championship Ring
Chris Kamen (6th overall) – 10.3 PPG, 8.3 RBG
Kirk Hinrich (7th overall) – 14.4 PPG, 6.5 APG
T.J. Ford (8th overall) – 11.6 PPG, 6.9 APG
David West (18th overall) – 14.0 PPG, 6.8 RPG
Leandro Barbosa (28th overall) – 12.7 PPG
Maurice Williams (2nd round, 47th overall) – 12.5 PPG, 4.9 APG
Kyle Korver (2nd round, 51st overall) – 10.4 PPG

Steal of the Draft:
Josh Howard was the last pick of the first round. His 15.2 points per game and 6.4 rebounds have been a key part of Dallas’ regular season success over the past five years. Unfortunately, working with Dirk has kept Howard from having any real shot at a championship.

The Link

http://theloveofsports.com/index.php/site/comments/the_best_drafts_of_all_time/
 

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An Exclusive with Top A’s Farmhand

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Paul M. Banks interviews Cougars slugger Corey Brown
“Downtown” Corey Brown is the Kane County Cougars leading home run hitter and a likely starter for the Midwest League All Star game.

Brown is currently second on the team in RBIs, hits, slugging percentage, and OPS. He homered in a Major League Spring training game earlier this year.

The Oakland Athletics prospect was selected as a compensation pick n the first round (59th overall) of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Oklahoma State University. In 2007, Brown finished second in the Northwest League in slugging percentage, fourth in home runs and fifth in RBIs. I caught up to him at a cold weather early season game this season and asked him if frigid games make it easier for the pitchers, and if warmer weather helps the hitters. I asked him if the commonly held belief is true.

“I guess you can kind of say that, but the weather hasn’t been too bad. Today was a little chilly. When it’s cold, the pitchers can go out there and be stiff. Cold weather is a disadvantage for both of us. Maybe the hitters a little more because you’re kinda ready to swing at the ball when it’s in; you get jammed it doesn’t do anything to your bat, but it doesn’t feel too good. I think for both of us it’s pretty hard to go out there and perform your best when you play in some of the weather we do out here in the Midwest League.”

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PMB: What’s different from your experience in Vancouver last season, when you were named a short season All-Star by “Baseball America”?

CB: I got too many strikeouts, that’s different. I’ve always struck out a lot, but I’m really struggling now. I got to keep working with our hitting coach. He’s going to keep helping me, and it’s a long season. Too many strikeouts, forget about today…take tomorrow like it’s a new one. I think we have a great team, great chemistry. I think we can play good together because everyone gets along. We’ve got a lot of good pitchers. Italiano and Dewing were able to do a no hitter which you rarely ever see. Pretty tough to do and they both went out there and did a great job.
 
PMB: What are your main individual goals for this season?

CB: I’ve got to cut out the strikeouts, at least cut ‘em in half because right now I’m struggling. I’ve always been someone to pretty much lead the team in Ks, and one of my goals is to maybe do a little better on that. I’ll work on that and eventually I’ll come around because I know I can do better. And there are other things to work on too, but that’s my main concern.

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The Ron Santo Interview

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“This Old Cub’s” candid take on the 2008 baseball season

By Paul M. Banks
WGN radio broadcaster Ron Santo is a legendary figure within the Chicago Cubs organization. His number #10 was the third number retired by the Cubs, honoring a stellar Cubs career that included nine All-Star appearances and five Gold Gloves. The current Chicago Cubs color analyst held a press conference right before the Cubs’ official opening of  Little Cubs Field, a little league park built to replicate Wrigley Field in Freeport, IL. In “Pretzel City,” about 30 miles west of Rockford, Santo was the guest of honor on June 14th. The current Cubs color analyst is known for many things outside of his playing career, including his unabashed on-air cheerleading and the success he has had in his personal struggle with diabetes during his life.  When he was diagnosed at age 18, doctors gave him a life expectancy of 25 years. The current 68 year old Santo was named the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation “Person of the Year” in 2002. Two years ago, Santo, the subject of “This Old Cub,” a theatre released documentary film created by his son Jeff, came within five votes of the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. He is eligible again in 2009.

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When given the chance to speak with a man whose blood is figuratively Cubbie blue, I got straight to the point and asked him who poses the biggest threat to the Cubs in the National League Central division…

RS: I think it’s going to be the Cardinals. I didn’t think so heading into the season, but you look and what we’ve done being 19 games over .500, and they are just three and half games behind. They’re playing real good baseball, so normally we’d be running away with it if it weren’t for the Cardinals.

I followed up by inquiring why so many teams (not just the Cubs) are dominating at home, but at the same time struggling on the road. Especially considering that the Cubs are a national team with a national following…

RS: Every where we go, there are Cub fans, and it’s amazing. One thing I’ve learned being in Chicago since I was eight years old is that Cub fans never lose their allegiance, no matter where they move. But you’re always thinking that if you can play .500 on the road and do real well at home, that’s a winning year. You don’t expect to do better than .500 on the road. You just don’t.

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His thoughts on whether the Cubs need to make a big acquisition before the trading deadline…

RS: Lou Piniella is one of the best managers I’ve ever been around; he’s very good at using his 25 man roster and putting them in positions where they can succeed. There is so much on this team, and Carlos Marmol has been unhittable. And the reason Lou has Marmol as a set-up man is because of the fact that you gotta have somebody to put in to stop the bleeding when you’re ahead, who can go and give your closer a chance to win that game. Geovany Soto is one of the best hitting catchers in the NL. I think he’s about 400,000 votes ahead of the next closest catcher for the All-Star game. This team is going to have quite a few players on the All-Star team. Probably by July, if there’s anything we need, it’s the same thing every team is looking for which is another starting pitcher.

On instant replay…

RS: I don’t think they need it. These umpires are human, they make mistakes. When you think about all the balls and strikes that they call, sure they’re going to make a mistake here and there. And I don’t think this is going to be a big help.


On why there have been so many broken bats in the Major Leagues recently…

RS: When I played, we only had two bat companies: Adirondack and Louisville Slugger; but today it’s all about supply and demand, and they’re just getting bad wood. They’re not getting the good wood. And they have to do something about it soon or else someone’s going to get hurt seriously;  and I’m speaking mainly about the fans because the big part of the barrel gets sharp and ends up going into the stands.  

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On the toughest pitcher he faced during his playing days…

RS: Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, you can just keep going down the line. All tough.


Later, he gave a speech at Little Cubs field and took Q & A from the fans. The best of which regarding his unapologetic Cubs cheerleading on the air…

RS: When I started at WGN, they just told me to be yourself, you know, and I’m a Cub fan and that’s the way it is.

Another fan asked him if he could give everybody an AWWW!!!!! GEEESSHHHH!!!! on cue…

RS: I can’t do it unless I’m watching a ballgame

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Cubs Legend Ron Santo Opens Little League Park

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By Paul M. Banks
On Saturday, June 14th, current WGN radio Cubs broadcaster Ron Santo appeared at Little Cubs Field in Freeport, IL. Santo, a legendary figure within the Cubs franchise, appeared for the Cubs’ official opening of a little league park built to replicate Wrigley Field.

In “Pretzel City,” about 30 miles west of Rockford, Santo was the guest of honor at a private reception held at the Freeport Park District office. Ticket buyers enjoyed a private chat with Ron, autographs, photos, and more. The proceeds benefited Little Cubs Field, a nonprofit corporation that constructed a Wrigley Field replica in Read Park in Freeport. (www.littlecubsfield.com) The Ron Santo flag featuring his #10 on the left field foul pole once flew in the big park on Chicago’s North side. After the reception, a large crowd was on hand to watch Santo tour the park before he gave a speech. “No doubt about that it is a big league scoreboard and when I walked on to the field here, I felt like I was walking on to Wrigley Field; and I felt like I was walking on air,” the nine time National League All-Star said.

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He also took questions from the audience before throwing out the ceremonial first ball, and leading the crowd in the traditional singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” prior to that afternoon’s little league contest. Ron Santo’s son, Ron Jr. was also on hand for the ceremonies, and he (along with Little Cubs Field founder and visionary Denny Garkey) took turns in batting practice off the five time Gold Glove award winner. “There is no doubt that any kid who comes to play here is going to want to take it up a notch and get to the big leagues. You’ve done an amazing job with all the attention to detail,” Santo said. 

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The current Cubs color analyst is known for many things outside of his playing career, including his unabashed on-air cheerleading and the success he has had in his personal struggle with diabetes during his life.  When he was diagnosed at age 18, doctors gave him a life expectancy of 25 years. The current 68 year old Santo was named the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation “Person of the Year” in 2002. Two years ago, Santo, the subject of “This Old Cub,” a theatre released documentary film  created by his son Jeff, came within five votes of the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. He is eligible again in 2009.

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Happy 2008 NBA Draft Day!

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By David K.
Final Mock Draft 1st round scores:

www.draftexpress.com: 10 out of 30

My mock: 9 out of 30

ESPN’s Chad Ford: 9 out of 30

www.nbadraft.net: 7 out of 30

1. Chicago-Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis
My Prediction: Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis
My thought: Bulls GM John Paxson avoids causing a riot in the Chi tonight.  Let the Kirk Hinrich/Ben Gordon trade rumors roar.

2. Miami- Michael Beasley, PF, Kansas State
My Prediction: Michael Beasley, PF, Kansas State
My thought: Let’s see if he ends up wearing that Heat hat the rest of the night…

3. Minnesota- O.J. Mayo, G, USC
My Prediction: O.J. Mayo, G, USC
My thought: Text message from TSB.net writer and T-Wolves fan Peter Christian: “If he isn’t traded within an hour, I’m writing my resignation as a T-Wolves fan… Then I’ll jump off a cliff.”  Personally, I like the pick.

4. Seattle Russell Westbrook, PG, UCLA
My Prediction: Jerryd Bayless, PG, Arizona
My thought: Right position, wrong guy.  I think Bayless will be the better player down the line.

5. Memphis- Kevin Love, PF, UCLA
My Prediction: Kevin Love, PF, UCLA
My thought: This pick just makes sense as the Griz need a power forward.

6. New York- Danillo Gallinari, SF, Italy
My Prediction: Danillo Gallinari, SF, Italy (over Bayless)
My thought: Hopefully “boo” translates to “we love you” in Italian.  Poor kid.

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7. L.A. Clippers- Eric Gordon, SG, Indiana
My Prediction: Jerryd Bayless, PG, Arizona
My thought: Makes sense I guess, Clips NEED a guard.  2-1 odds he backs out of going to the Clippers and plays overseas.  I mean he is the Basketball Judas.

8. Milwaukee- Joe Alexander, F, West Virginia
My Prediction: Joe Alexander, F, West Virginia
My thought: Expected.  Just for the record, I love the Richard Jefferson trade.  Scott Skiles is getting two players perfect for his style of coaching.

9. Charlotte- D.J. Augustin, PG, Texas
My Prediction: Brook Lopez, C, Stanford
My thought: Interesting… Jay Bilas is about to go nuts because he LOVES Brook Lopez.  This means the Bobcats are going with a big at #20.

10. New Jersey- Brook Lopez, C, Stanford
My Prediction: Brook Lopez, C, Stanford
My thought:  When is the first Brook Lopez/Jay-z meeting and can I be there to witness it.  By the way, hearing his voice makes me want to stab my ear drums with an ice pick. 

11. Indiana (traded to Portland)- Jerryd Bayless, G, Arizona
My Prediction: Jerryd Bayless, G, Arizona
My thought: I’m surpsied he went this low.  Now with him and T.J. Ford, the backcourt in Indiana has dramatically improved. 

12. Sacramento- Jason Thompson, PF, Rider
My Prediction: Anthony Randolph, F, LSU
My thought: WOW… I heard his stock was rising, but this is ridiculous.  Anyone know where Rider is?

13. Portland (traded to Indiana)- Brandon Rush, G/F, Kansas
My Prediction: Brandon Rush, G/F, Kansas
My thought: Where are all the trades?  I expected a lot more movement than this.

14. Golden State- Anthony Randolph, F, LSU
My Prediction: Kosta Koufus, C, Ohio State
My thought: Immediately after making this pick, the Warriors purchased some HGH for Randolph.

15. Phoenix- Robin Lopez, C, Stanford
My Prediction: Kosta Koufus, C, Ohio State
My thought: Sideshow Bob will give Phoenix a back-up for when Shaq is wearing a suit on the bench for half the season.  In my opinion, Koufus’ offensive ability would have been a better fit in Phoenix.

16. Philadelphia- Marreese Speights, PF, Florida
My Prediction: Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas
My thought: Right position, wrong guy.  PF is a glaring need in Philly.  Jay Bilas just gave the first “motor” reference I’ve heard so far.

17. Toronto (will be traded to Indiana)- Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown
My Prediction: Kosta Koufus, C, Ohio State
My thought: Picked Hibbert in my final mock, should have stuck to my guns.

18. Washington- Javale McGee, C, Nevada
My Prediction: Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas
My thought: Stu Scott just dropped some knowledge on us that his mom played in the WNBA.  Great job, Stu!

19. Cleveland- J.J. Hickson, PF, N.C. State
My Prediction: Donte Greene, SF, Syracuse
My thought: I’m not sure drafting a guy who needs time to develop is the answer to help LeBron now.

20. Charlotte (from Denver)- Alexis Ajinca, PF, France
My Prediction: Alexis Ajinca, PF, France
My thought: I heard Charlotte was hot for him.  Dammit, Chad Ford had this in his final mock.

21. New Jersey- Ryan Anderson, PF, California
My Prediction: Donte Greene, SF, Syracuse
My thought: Nets have to be making another trade, right?  They now have a glut of young post players with Yi, Lopez, Sean Williams, Josh Boone, and Anderson.

22. Orlando- Courtney Lee, SG, Western Kentucky
My Prediction: Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas
My thought: Why is Arthur slipping so low?  Wouldn’t he have been a great compliment to Dwight Howard up-front?  I do like Lee though.  Dammit, Ford had this one too.

23. Utah- Kosta Koufus, C, Ohio State
My Prediction: Kosta Koufus, C, Ohio State
My thought: Okur and Koufus: two goofy white guys with similar game.  Sounds like a perfect fit in Utah.

24. Seattle- Serge Ibaka, PF, Congo
My Prediction: Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas
My thought: I had Ibaka going to the Sonics with their 32nd overall pick in my final mock.  Drafting a foreign player who will need time to develop makes sense. 

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25. Houston- Nicolas Batum, SF, France
My Prediction: Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas
My thought: Since I have nothing intelligent to say here, Chad Ford and I are even at 9 right picks for our final mock drafts.  I need to bring it home down the stretch.  And we just found out Arthur has an undisclosed kidney problem which explains his free fall.

26. San Antonio- George Hill, PG, IUPUI
My Prediction: Mario Chalmers, PG, Kansas
My thought: IUPUI… Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis.  Big-time reach.

27. Portland (from New Orelans)- Darrell Arhur, PF, Kansas
My Prediction: Ante Tomic, C, Croatia
My thought: Worth the risk at this point, kidney and all.  If I was New Orleans, I would tell Portland I had my fingers crossed about the whole trade thing.

28. Memphis- Donte Greene, SF, Syracuse
My Prediction: Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, Memphis
My thought: Let me channel my inner Dickie V: “He should have stayed in school, baby!  What was he thinking?” 

29. Detroit- D.J. White, PF, Indiana
My Prediction: Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, Memphis
My thought: CD-R would have been a great fit off Detroit’s bench.  White is a little too similar to Jason Maxiell in my opinion.

30. Boston- J.R. Giddens, SG, New Mexico
My Prediction: Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG, Memphis
My thought: YES!  CD-R was not the choice!!!! 

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Final 2008 NBA Mock Draft

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By David K.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

It’s already been an eventful pre-draft with trades.  Toronto rolled the dice by acquiring Jermaine O’Neal from Indiana in exchange for T.J. Ford, Rasho Neterovic, and the Raptors’ 1st round pick (#17).  Charlotte acquired Denver’s first rounder (#20) for a protected future 1st round pick.  Portland pretty much bought New Orleans’ first rounder (#27).

Here’s my final mock draft (which will likely be useless once a major trade among the top ten picks happens.)  So many wild cards this year… I hate it…
1. Chicago- Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis
I am now of the mind-set where I would genuinely be shocked if the Bulls take Beasley.  Chicago will draft a franchise changing guard in Rose and then look to trade Kirk Hinrich for an offensive-minded big.

2. Miami- Michael Beasley, PF, Kansas State
The O.J. Mayo to the Heat rumors continue to gain more and more steam.  I still maintain that Beasley will be the pick, but it will be by whichever team offers enough to move into this spot.

3. Minnesota- O.J. Mayo, G, USC
The T-Wolves could swap picks with Miami.  If another team moves into the two spot, Mayo will be the choice.  If the Heat do grab Mayo, the T-Wolves are ecstatic to land Beasley.  Love or Lopez could be a safe Kevin McHale-type pick.

4. Seattle- Jerryd Bayless, PG, Arizona
If the Sonics stay at this spot, a point guard should be the pick since current Sonic PGs Luke Ridnour and Earl Watson are not the answer.  Forget drafting a post player like Love or Lopez, Durant NEEDS a point guard.

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5. Memphis- Kevin Love, PF, UCLA
Grizzlies are loaded with young guards and wing players, so they need a low post player with this pick.  If the Heat and Griz end up swapping picks, expect Miami to take Lopez here (and therefore destroy my mock.)

6. New York- Danillo Gallinari, SF, Italy
Mike D’Antoni wants a point guard to lead his up-tempo style of coaching but I’m not sure he thinks Westbrook is the answer.  For a team in need as much as the Knicks are, taking the best available player sounds about right.

7. L.A. Clippers- Russell Westbrook, PG, UCLA
Eric Gordon seems like a good possibility as well, but Westbrook has more ability to run the point, a glaring weakness for L.A.’s “other team.” 

8. Milwaukee- Joe Alexander, F, West Virginia
Alexander worked out for the Bucks for a second time Monday and seems to be one of the few players who actually wants to play in Milwaukee.  New head coach Scott Skiles seems to covet Alexander’s toughness.  If Gallinari falls, I think he would be the better pick.

9. Charlotte- Brook Lopez, C, Stanford
Lopez would provide some immediate help up-front for Emeka Okafor.  He potentially could go as high #3 to the T-Wolves and would be a solid value at this spot.  Augustin and Westbrook also look like possibilities now that the Cats acquired a second 1st rounder.

10. New Jersey- Anthony Randolph, F, LSU
A lengthy, athletic forward chosen on potential, Randolph will likely need a year or two to develop physically.  This pick makes more sense if the Nets are seriously shopping Richard Jefferson.

11. Indiana- Eric Gordon, G, Indiana
I’m not sold on the basketball Judas.  He’s under-sized for the two and not skilled enough to run the point which is why I have him this low.  With the Pacers acquiring T.J. Ford, their biggest need turns from a point to a scoring two guard.  Then again, Gordon could go as high as #4. 

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12. Sacramento- D.J. Augustin, PG, Texas
The Kings are counting their blessings that Augustin falls to them.  Sacramento’s biggest need is a floor leader and without the Pacers trade, were likely not getting one through the draft.
 
13. Portland- Brandon Rush, G/F. Kansas
The Blazers seem to be shopping this pick in hopes of landing a small forward to come in and contribute right away.  Rush is best option if a trade isn’t made because he is NBA ready and could add some shooting and defense on the wing.

14. Golden State- Kosta Koufos, C, Ohio State
The Warriors could use backcourt help in case Monta Ellis leaves via free agency or a big in case Andris Biedrins is gone after this season.  Koufos is a foreign 7-footer who can hit from outside would be a nice fit in the Warriors high scoring offense. 

15. Phoenix-  Robin Lopez, C, Stanford
The Suns need to add some depth up-front behind Shaq.  Lopez doesn’t have “superstar” written on him, but he will be a solid contributor doing the little things on both ends of the floor.

16. Philadelphia-Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas
The Sixers need an offensive minded front court player to plug in at the four.  Arthur is solid with his back to the basket or facing the hoop.  In my opinion, this pick is the perfect match.

17. Indiana (from Toronto)- Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown
With the Pacers trading O’Neal for Nesterovic (a free agent at the end of the year), they will need to add a big with one of their two picks.  Hibbert seems like the safest bet at this point.

18. Washington- Jason Thompson, PF, Rider
Thompson is starting to make some noise in the middle of the draft.  Rumor has him going as high as #14 to the Warriors.  With Antwan Jamison possibly leaving via free agency, a power forward seems like the best option.

19. Cleveland- Donte Greene, SF, Syracuse
I think a player like CD-R would be a perfect fit, but with Greene dropping this low, the Cavs can hope he develops into a Rashard Lewis-type player and help LeBron in the next year.

20. Charlotte (from Denver)- Mario Chalmers, PG, Kansas
Assuming the Cats land a big at #9, a guard is the obvious choice here.  Of course, it could go vice versa and further mess up my mock.  Obviously, Charlotte acquired this pick with a certain player in mind.

21. New Jersey- DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A&M
I haven’t been high on Jordan all year.  Besides, he barely cracked 20 minutes a game in his freshman season with the Aggies, but the Nets can afford to pick a young player based on potential with their second 1st round pick.

22. Orlando- Ryan Anderson, PF, California
A scoring big who can hit from the outside seems like the perfect compliment to Dwight Howard.  A shooting guard could be another route for the Magic to go.

23. Utah- Marreese Speights, PF, Florida
The Jazz could lose Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur to free agency after next season, so drafting a young post player seems to make sense.  Speights could be a great pick at this point.

24. Seattle- Alexis Ajinca, PF, France
With their second 1st rounder why not add a foreign prospect who could be a running mate for Kevin Durant.  Ajinca could easily go in the late-lottery based of his potential.

25. Houston- Javale McGee, C, Nevada
Yao Ming is coming off season-ending surgery and Dikembe Mutumbo cannot play forever making a big the best option.  McGee needs some seasoning before he becomes a contributor in the NBA.

26. San Antonio- Nicolas Batum, SF, France
It’s likely that he doesn’t contribute right away, but developing foreign talent is what the Spurs seem to do best.  Concerns over a rumored heart issue appear to be no more.

27. Portland (from New Orleans)- Ante Tomic, C, Croatia
The Blazers don’t need to add a player who can contribute right away.  Tomic can continue to develop overseas and potentially be a nice back-up for Greg Oden.

28. Memphis- Chris Douglas-Roberts, G/F, Memphis
If the Griz go with a big at #5, a two-guard seems like the logical choice here.  Memphis could also opt to take a foreign player to develop overseas.

Detroit,
You better lose yourself in the #29 pick, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
Cause opportunity comes once in a lifetime…


29. Detroit- Bill Walker, G/F. Kansas State
A knee injury during work outs hurt his stock which at the time, was on the rise.  This late in the draft, Walker seems like a safe risk for the Pistons.

30. Boston- Courtney Lee, SG, Western Kentucky
Ray Allen came through big in the finals, but seemed to lose gas early in the playoffs.  A NBA ready two-guard to come off the bench seems like a wise choice for the Celtics.

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No Trent Meacham in the first round? LOL! There’s always the 2009 NBA Mock Draft! 

Second Round
31. Minnesota- Jamont Gordon, G, Mississippi St.
32. Seattle- Serge Ibaka, PF, Congo  
33. Portland- J.J. Hickson, F, N.C. State
34. Minnesota- DeVon Hardin, C, California
35. L.A. Clippers- D.J. White, PF, Indiana
36. Portland- Gary Forbes, G/F, UMass
37. Milwaukee- Kyle Weaver, SG, Washington St.
38. Charlotte- Goran Dragic, PG, Slovenia
39. Chicago- Trent Plaisted, C, BYU
40. New Jersey- Nikola Pekovic, PF, Serbia
41. Indiana- Richard Hendrix, PF, Alabama
42. Sacramento- Joey Dorsey, PF, Memphis
43. Sacramento- George Hill, PG, IUPUI
44. Utah- Nathan Jawai, PF, Australia
45. San Antonio- Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, SF, UCLA
46. Seattle- Sonny Weems, SG, Arkansas
47. Washington- Davon Jefferson, SF, USC
48. Phoenix- Chris Lofton, G, Tennessee
49. Golden State- Anton Ponkrashov, PG, Russia
50. Seattle- Omer Asik, C, Turkey
51. Dallas- Shan Foster, G/F, Vanderbilt
52. Miami- Pat Calathes, PF, St. Joseph’s
53. Utah- Sean Singletary, G, Virginia
54. Houston- Malik Hairston, SG, Oregon
55. Portland- Semih Erden, C, Turkey
56. Seattle- Mantas Kalnietis, PG, Lithuania
57. San Antonio- Joe Crawford, SG, Kentucky

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58. L.A. Lakers- Bryce Taylor, SG, Oregon
59. Detroit- Josh Duncan, PF, Xavier 
60. Boston- Othello Hunter, PF, Ohio State
 

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Sadly, Drew Neitzel did not make the cut, but on the plus side, mentioning this gives me another reason to post a picture of his hot sister Erin. Also, why is “Drew Tang Clan” flicking off the photographer in this picture

9 Mile: A Cubs-Sox battling rhymefest

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Soxman vs. Seymour Pennants in a Red Line Series Rap Battle

From North to South, 71 city blocks separate Wrigley and the Cell, or approximately 8.8 MILES. From Lou Piniella vs. Ozzie Guillen in Chevy Ads, Shaq trashing Kobe in his rhymes, the “battle rap” is all the rage right now.

After the Cubs sweeping shellacking of the White Sox this past weekend, most southsiders have been silenced.  So as we engage in another Cubs vs. Sox exchange, some may be surprised that our sock-laden, super hero, Soxman is standing tall and taking Cubs fans everywhere, head-on.


 
(SM) So why would Soxman jump to the front of the pile? Let’s just say I owe it to the movie  “8 Mile.”  Yes I’ll admit it, that the sweep was vile, and I won’t complain that some calls stunk worse than bile.  Cubs fans are gloating and show boating, all the while looking for Sox fans to start scapegoating.  As they laugh and sing “Hey Chicago What Do You Say?” I Lose Myself, and refuse to play.  Cause to try and battle would only give them their way, so use your mind before you jump in the fray.  Yes Cubs fans, you won okay? Congratulations…. and oh yeah have a nice day.
 
The best team in baseball deserves a high five, and we’re also still in first and very much alive.  So words of advice, if you continue to brag, hang that broom right next to our 2005 World Championship Flag.
 
Regardless of what happens, or who finishes worst, always remember: WE WON IT FIRST.  So we’re not bitter or trying to save face, but if you win the gold, it’s still SECOND PLACE.
 
So good luck at going for the silver, we already won the gold, in a 100-year race, this battle is getting old.  So the game is over, try to keep the pace, Sox fans instead focus on the AL Central race. So go  gloat over your three impressive wins, I’m onto to worrying about the Tigers, Indians, and Twins.

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(Seymour Pennants) Soxman…no long rants necessary, the scoreboard did all the talking
 
The Cubs did all the talking when they kicked southside ass all over Chicago this weekend.  I know those poor poor White Sox were suffering from jet lag due to the excruciating distance from their home field.  I know Sox players aren’t used to playing at a field where they know their cars will still be there after the game.  But winning teams gut up, and rise above challenges like…a fun atmosphere, nice bars and restaurants, and beautiful women.  Maybe it was the bad call that was responsible for The Cubs winning 11-7 on Sat, and 7-1 on Sun, because both games we just so close.
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(SM) I think this is a re-run, the truth be told, your arguments are like you, played out and old.  So why don’t you be original, instead of being bitter and cold, and say something we don’t know…now that would be bold!  I know you’re my elder, and I look like a pup, at least I don’t need Viagra to get myself up.  So with a World Series title your Cubs may flirt, but just remember that score on your “Since 1908” shirt.
 

The longest winning streak at home in 65-years, is enough for me to man up and buy y’all a round of beers.  I am a southsider and this exchange has been fun, but just remember, the final bell hasn’t rung.
 
So make fun of my socks, I guess that’s where this exchange ends.  Oh one more thing, you might want to change those Depends.

 Peace-out. Soxman takes off his Sox starter jacket, and his titled White Sox Cap and leaves the room pumping his chest.
 
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Soxman, That was well said, and often quite witty, especially ‘cause you must be feeling so shitty.  But rather than rhyme about my bowels being loose, it’s much better done by the original Rapper…Dr. Seuss.

When you think things are bad, when you feel sour and blue, when you start to get mad… You should do what I do.

“I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”
“I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant’s faithful, one hundred percent.”
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” Seuss, like the Cubs…..Rules!

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Obama’s a Sox fan, Hillary was a Cubs fan, before she became a Yankees fan, before then becoming a Nationals fan or whatever team she supports today…we know who won the primary contest. Expect a similar spanking at the Cell this weekend.

Penultimate 2008 NBA Mock Draft

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By David K.

I feel like I’m taking crazy pills when trying to figure out this mock draft as of late.  This will be my second to last (hence the term “penultimate”) mock with the final version coming out Thursday morning.  For more of my thoughts on the draft, click on the link below:

http://www.thesportsbank.net/2008/06/24/what-to-expect-from-the-2008-draft/

Early Wednesday, the first of what should be many trades was made when the Blazers acquired the Hornets 1st round pick (27th overall) for cash.  Portland now joins Seattle as having six total picks in the draft.
 

1. Chicago- Derrick Rose, PG, Memphis
I am now of the mind-set where I would genuinely be shocked if the Bulls take Beasley.  Chicago will draft a franchise changing guard in Rose and then look to trade Kirk Hinrich for an offensive-minded big.

2. Miami- Michael Beasley, PF, Kansas State
The O.J. Mayo to the Heat rumors continue to gain more and more steam.  I still maintain that Beasley will be the pick, but it will be by whichever team offers enough to move into this spot.

3. Minnesota- O.J. Mayo, G, USC
The T-Wolves could swap picks with Miami.  If another team moves into the two spot, Mayo will be the choice.  If the Heat do grab Mayo, the T-Wolves are ecstatic to land Beasley.

4. Seattle- Jerryd Bayless, PG, Arizona
If the Sonics stay at this spot, a point guard should be the pick since current Sonic PG’s Luke Ridnour and Earl Watson are not the answer.  Russell Westbrook would be a stretch, but a possibility as well.

5. Memphis- Kevin Love, PF, UCLA
Grizzlies are loaded with young guards and wing players, so they need a low post player with this pick.  If the Heat and Griz end up swapping picks, expect Miami to take Lopez here.

6. New York- Russell Westbrook, PG, UCLA
Mike D’Antoni wants a point guard to lead his up-tempo style of coaching.  Westbrook isn’t a true point, but has the athleticism and defensive abilities to be very effective on both ends of the floor.

7. L.A. Clippers- Danillo Gallinari, SF, Italy
A point forward like Gallinari is the pick over Gordon since Corey Maggette is likely to opt of out his contract.  Gallinari performed well in a talented Euro league so he should be able to contribute right away.  Clips could swing a deal with Miami involving Elton Brand to move up to #2 to grab Mayo.

8. Milwaukee- Joe Alexander, F, West Virginia
Alexander worked out for the Bucks for a second time Monday and seems to be one of the few players who actually wants to play in Milwaukee.  New head coach Scott Skiles seems to covet Alexander’s toughness.  If Gallinari falls, I think he would be the better pick.

9. Charlotte- Brook Lopez, C, Stanford
Lopez would provide some immediate help up-front for Emeka Okafor.  He potentially could go as high #3 to the T-Wolves and would be a solid value at this spot.

10. New Jersey- Anthony Randolph, F, LSU
A lengthy, athletic forward chosen on potential, Randolph will likely need a year or two to develop physically.  This pick makes more sense if the Nets are seriously shopping Richard Jefferson.

11. Indiana- D.J. Augustin, PG, Texas
Pacers need a better option at the point than Jamaal Tinsley.  This may be one of the few lottery picks that seems to be an obvious choice, even though people are concerned with the fact that Augustin is a bit undersized.

12. Sacramento- Eric Gordon, G, Indiana
I’m not sold on the basketball Judas.  He’s under-sized for the two and not skilled enough to run the point which is why I have him this low.  This would be a value pick over drafting a need, which is a point guard.  Unlike other mock drafts, I just cannot imagine Mario Chalmers (the next best PG) going this high.

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13. Portland- Brandon Rush, G/F. Kansas
The Blazers seem to be shopping this pick in hopes of landing a small forward to come in and contribute right away.  Rush is best option if a trade isn’t made because he is NBA ready and could add some shooting and defense on the wing.

14. Golden State- Alexis Ajinca, PF, France
The Warriors really need a point guard in case Baron Davis opts out and since Monta Ellis is a free agent.  Still, this is too high for Chalmers to go.  Ajinca is still a work in progress, but seems like the type of player Don Nelson would like to have.

15. Phoenix- Kosta Koufos, C, Ohio State
Foreign 7-footer who can hit from outside would be a nice fit in the Suns high scoring offense.  Phoenix could be very active on draft day with Leandro Barbosa and Boris Diaw being rumored in trades.

16. Philadelphia-Darrell Arthur, PF, Kansas
The Sixers need an offensive minded front court player to plug in at the four.  Arthur is solid with his back to the basket or facing the hoop.  In my opinion, this pick is the perfect match.

17. Toronto- Roy Hibbert, C, Georgetown
The Raptors don’t have anybody to protect the rim and the big bodied Hibbert would be perfect for that.  He is also one of the better passing bigs to come out of college in a long time.  This pick could go to Indiana as part of a trade for Jermaine O’Neal.

18. Washington- Jason Thompson, PF, Rider
Thompson is starting to make some noise in the middle of the draft.  Rumor has him going as high as #14 to the Warriors.  He would be nice insurance for the Wizards if Antwan Jamison leaves via free agency.

19. Cleveland- Chris Douglas-Roberts, G/F, Memphis
This is another pick that I think just makes sense.  LeBron needs some help on the wing and CD-R is ready to step in right away for the Cavs and take some of the load of the King.

20. Denver- Mario Chalmers, PG, Kansas
Nuggets need a reliable point guard to take some of the ball-handling responsibilities off AI.

21. New Jersey- DeAndre Jordan, C, Texas A&M
I haven’t been high on Jordan all year.  Besides, he barely cracked 20 minutes a game in his freshman season with the Aggies, but the Nets can afford to pick a young player based on potential with their second 1st round pick.

22. Orlando- Robin Lopez, C, Stanford
The other Lopez is a defensive-minded big who does the little things around the glass and would be a great role player alongside Dwight Howard.  Ryan Anderson is my sleeper pick for this spot.

23. Utah- Marreese Speights, PF, Florida
The Jazz could lose Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur to free agency after next season, so drafting a young post player seems to make sense.  Speights could be a great pick at this point.

24. Seattle- Donte Greene, SF, Syracuse
Greene should have stayed in school one more year and been a sure-fire lottery pick next season.  With their second 1st rounder why not add a poor man’s Kevin Durant who has the potential to be in the Rashard Lewis mold.  Based on potential, Greene could easily go in the late-lottery.

25. Houston- Javale McGee, C, Nevada
Yao Ming is coming off season-ending surgery and Dikembe Mutumbo cannot play forever making a big the best option.  McGee needs some seasoning before he becomes a contributor in the NBA.

26. San Antonio- Nicolas Batum, SF, France
It’s likely that he doesn’t contribute right away, but developing foreign talent is what the Spurs seem to do best.  Concerns over a rumored heart issue appear to be no more.

27. Portland (from New Orleans)- Ante Tomic, C, Croatia
The Blazers don’t need to add a player who can contribute right away.  Tomic can continue to develop overseas and potentially be a nice back-up for Greg Oden.

28. Memphis- Serge Ibaka, PF, Congo
With all the rumored Grizzlies trades, this pick could go a number of different ways.  For the time being, I’ll assume Memphis takes a young or foreign talent with their second 1st rounder.

29. Detroit- Bill Walker, G/F. Kansas State
A knee injury during work outs hurt his stock which at the time, was on the rise.  This late in the draft, Walker seems like a safe risk for the Pistons.

30. Boston- Courtney Lee, SG, Western Kentucky
Ray Allen came through big in the finals, but seemed to lose gas early in the playoffs.  A NBA ready two-guard to come off the bench seems like a wise choice for the Celtics.

Second Round
31. Minnesota- Jamont Gordon, G, Mississippi St.
32. Seattle- J.J. Hickson, F, N.C. State
33. Portland- D.J. White, PF, Indiana
34. Minnesota- DeVon Hardin, C, California
35. L.A. Clippers- Ryan Anderson, PF, California
36. Portland- Gary Forbes, G/F, UMass
37. Milwaukee- Kyle Weaver, SG, Washington St.
38. Charlotte- Goran Dragic, PG, Slovenia
39. Chicago- Trent Plaisted, C, BYU
40. New Jersey- Nikola Pekovic, PF, Serbia
41. Indiana- Richard Hendrix, PF, Alabama
42. Sacramento- Joey Dorsey, PF, Memphis
43. Sacramento- George Hill, PG, IUPUI
44. Utah- Nathan Jawai, PF, Australia
45. San Antonio- Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, SF, UCLA
46. Seattle- Sonny Weems, SG, Arkansas
47. Washington- Davon Jefferson, SF, USC
48. Phoenix- Chris Lofton, G, Tennessee
49. Golden State- Anton Ponkrashov, PG, Russia
50. Seattle- Omer Asik, C, Turkey
51. Dallas- Shan Foster, G/F, Vanderbilt
52. Miami- Pat Calathes, PF, St. Joseph’s
53. Utah- Sean Singletary, G, Virginia
54. Houston- Malik Hairston, SG, Oregon
55. Portland- Semih Erden, C, Turkey
56. Seattle- Mantas Kalnietis, PG, Lithuania
57. San Antonio- Joe Crawford, SG, Kentucky

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58. L.A. Lakers- Bryce Taylor, SG, Oregon
59. Detroit- Josh Duncan, PF, Xavier 
60. Boston- Othello Hunter, PF, Ohio State

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Sadly, Drew Neitzel did not make the cut, but on the plus side, mentioning this gives me another reason to post a picture of his hot sister Erin
 

Beasley Does It

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Paul M. Banks explains why the Bulls might take Michael Beasley #1.

Amongst all prospects, Kansas State freshman Michael Beasley is perhaps the most NBA ready in terms of athleticism. The Bulls will remember the fact that he just had one of the most dominant seasons in college basketball history. His post game has progressed well with a great spin move and a very quick first step to get past defenders. His film conveys a soft touch on hook-shots and fadeaways. As you might’ve heard, the Bulls need post scoring. Beasley is tough in getting good position on the block, and he works hard to grab offensive rebounds. His numbers bear this out. His length, quickness, jumping ability and strength combine to make him one of the most difficult match ups for opponents.

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Nelly once asked in his hit song #1, “What does it take to be #1? Before later stating proudly, “I’m like Sprint or Motorola, no service outta your range.” And Beasley’s range extends all the way to NBA three-pt distance. However, his services will be requested most in attacking the tin as last year’s Bulls had too many jump shooters and not enough balls to go around on the perimeter. Beasley has a sweet stroke, left handed jump shot that would make Bill Raftery scream ONIONS!!! ONIONS!!! He also has great elevation, leaping ability and overall length. Not to mention that the so-called attitude problems he had before have now pretty much disappeared. And we all know how much attention Bulls GM John Paxson pays to these things.

So Beasley does Beasley have “what it takes to be #1”? We’ll see….

-If you want to know why the Bulls might or should pick Derrick Rose instead check out the post I wrote for NBC or Sarah’s essay from lottery night.

-If you want to go really in-depth and think about trades that the Bulls might make regarding this pick, check out Dave’s detailed theories and analysis here.

-For Dave’s full mock draft and more draft related content….

http://www.thesportsbank.net/2008/06/24/what-to-expect-from-the-2008-draft/

http://www.thesportsbank.net/2008/06/23/2008-nba-mock-draft-4/
  

What to expect from the 2008 Draft

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By David K.
 

-I finally put Derrick Rose at the #1 spot to Chicago.  I guess I’m drinking the whole “how often can you draft a franchise point guard” Kool-Aid that everyone seems to be pouring.  I’m still holding my ground on my theory that whoever Chicago takes…expect a semi-major trade to follow in the coming weeks, if it doesn’t happen on draft day itself.

-There are so many wild cards in this year’s draft.  For example:

Stanford’s Brook Lopez and UCLA’s Kevin Love could go as high as #3 to Minnesota or fall all the way to New Jersey at #10. 

UCLA’s Russell Westbrook could sneak up to Seattle at #4 or fall all the way to Sacramento at #12. 

If Eric Gordon doesn’t go #6 to the Knicks or #7 to the Clippers, he could very likely fall into the late lottery. 

LSU’s Anthony Randolph is rumored to be in the mix of going #5 to Memphis, yet at the same time could fall out of the lottery.  (a.k.a. This makes piecing together a mock draft a difficult chore…yet somehow I manage)

There will be one major trade in the top seven picks that will royally screw up my final mock draft.

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-Every year there is an established collegiate player who falls in the draft and Dickie V. cries foul when teams keep passing on him.  Expect a minute rant on how stupid these teams are for passing on Georgetown’s Roy Hibbert should he fall into the 20’s or Chris Douglas-Roberts if he slips into the 20’s. 

-With that comes the annual underclassmen who don’t get drafted in the first round, and thus, don’t get a guaranteed NBA contract.  That will lead to the annual Dickie V “who are these guys listening to when declaring for the draft” speech.  It’s like clockwork.  Trust me.

-Heading that list will be Texas A&M’s DeAndre Jordan who because he is 7’0 and athletic has been in scouts’ eyes since his high school days.  But he barely found his way off the bench for the Aggies in his freshman season.  He will truly regret going pro when he falls into the 20’s.  (For the record, I have NEVER been high on Jordan unlike ESPN’s Chad Ford.  And yes, that’s my way of calling Ford out.  BRING IT SISTER!)

-Jay Bilas will undoubtedly make the most sense of any broadcaster on ESPN’s set.  Hopefully, we don’t have to suffer through Stuart Scott asking the draft picks stupid question like why the Lopez twins are so enamored with Disney characters.  (I’m placing 2-1 on this question honestly being asked.)

-Expect Mike Miller, Richard Jefferson, or T.J. Ford to be dealt on draft day.

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Fantasy Flopping

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Soxman’s Fantasy Baseball Weekly Insider
 

Ok, the Cubs have swept the White Sox and my fantasy baseball team is now under .500 (35-37), for the first time in the 12-year history of me playing this game.  What more could go wrong?  How about Carlos Zambrano going on the DL?  Alas, we take a look at this week’s fantasy picture.
 
Sizzlers
 
Jermaine Dye
At least there is something HOT associated with the White Sox this week.  Jermaine Dye has 5 homers and 13 RBI over the past 7 days.  He’s performed well against the Cubs throughout his career and has a three-game series at home against them this weekend.
 
Prince Fielder
After a slow start “the Prince” of the Brewers is red hot, hitting .364 and belting 5 homers this past week.
 
Mark Teixeira
Would have made the fizzler list if not for his monster game yesterday, .750, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 3.750 OPS!  June is also his month to heat it up.
 
Justin Verlander
Verlander is 2-0 in his last three starts with a 1.48 ERA and one complete game. He is starting to once again look like the Cy Young pitcher that he was believed to be going into the season.
 
Andy Pettitte
2-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.92 WHIP is his past two starts.  He could give your team a “shot in the posterior.”
 
Justin Duchscherer
Insane numbers on the year.  In 4 starts, he has a 1.53 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP.
 
 
Fizzlers
 
Jason Varitek
Over the last 21 days Varitek is hitting .104, 1HR, 4 RBI, 340 OPS.
 
Adam Dunn
.111, 0HR, 0 RBI over the past 14 days.
 
Pat Burrell
.143, 0HR, 0 RBI over the past 7 days.

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Carlos Marmol
11.25 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP in his last 6 appearances.
 
Javier Vazquez
6.94 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP over his last 4 starts.
 
Jose Contreras
A 10.13 ERA and a 2.19 WHIP in his last 3 starts.
 
Can anyone tell why the Sox are slumping?
 

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Sleepers
 
These players are still not owned in many leagues, yet they are out-performing many superstars.  Consider riding their streak while you can.
 
Jeff Baker
Has been starting at 2B for the Rockies; also qualifies at 1B and OF in most leagues.  He has hit .435 with 4 HR in the past week.
 
Marcus Thames
Thames is a streaky slugger who can go on tears from time to time.  A .282, 9 HR, 13 RBI, 1.256 OPS over the last 14 days says that now is one of those times.
 
Seth McClung
Desperate for starting pitching, I’m riding McClung until Big Z comes back from the DL.  The once “closer-in-waiting” seems to have found a groove with the Brewers, posting 2.89 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP over his last three starts.  The Brewers offense is also starting to sizzle.
 
Jeremy Reed
The once “crown jewel” of the White Sox farm system failed in his first full-time audition with the Mariners, but has been on fire in his second chance, hitting .409, 1 HR, 1.072 OPS over the last 14 days.
 
DL Watch
 
Carlos Zambrano
Should only miss two starts.
 
Paul Konerko
Going to take BP this weekend.  Hopefully this DL stint heats him up.
 
Eric Gagne
Gagne is 1-2 with a 6.98 ERA in 20 games. Gagne has a chance to close again, but it might not happen right a way.

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Curt Schilling
Should be dropped in all leagues.  His entire career may be over.
 

Double Dipping
 
In leagues that benefit from two-start pitchers, here are the best bets for the week:
 
Mark Buehrle
(Dodgers & Cubs) After posting a 4.97 ERA in May, Buehrle is 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in June. Owners BEWARE: he holds a 5.10 career ERA against the Cubs.
 
Others:
 
Ben Sheets (Braves and Twins)
Johan Santana (Mariners and Yankees)
Josh Beckett (Diamondbacks and Astros)
Felix Hernandez (Mets and Padres)
Jake Peavy (Twins and Mariners)
John Lackey (Nationals and Dodgers)
Sean Marcum (Reds and Braves)

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