Tuesday, March 8, 2011

For the City

The NBA's biggest surprise this year, my hometown team, the Chicago Bulls are turning more than a few heads this year.

The Bulls, who lost out on the talents of Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and Lefag James this summer, have really shown the importance of team chemistry and role playing.

We all know about how great Tommy T's defense has been for the Bulls, I personally am very impressed with how well/fast this team responded to the new defense. They have really embraced it and the teams record doesn't indicate anything else. I think a big reason for the defensive success plays right into team chemistry and role playing.

Watch the Bulls any game, it just looks like they are having fun out there. I think a big reason for this obvious chemistry is the amount of role playing players on the Bulls. The Bulls are filled with players who understand and play their roles very well. There is no bumping of egos on this team, and it all starts with humble, MVP candidate, Derrick Rose.

Derrick Rose, who Chicagoans have been watching since his high school days at Simeon, has taken Chicago's NBA team back to that elite level. Derrick Rose is averaging 24.6 ppg, 8 apg and 1 steal, as impressive as those numbers are, its what Rose does for the team that doesn't show up on the stat sheet that is soo impressive. He may seem soft spoken, but Rose is no where near shy on the court. He can basically take the the ball to the basket at will, his up and unders are out of control, he can throw down over any point guard and the open looks he creates for his teammates are phenomenal. He also controls the ball excellent and runs the offense with great poise, oh yeah and with his speed he isn't too shabby on the defensive side either.

We all know Derrick Rose is the complete package and he plays his role as the MVP of the team very very well. It's players like Joakim Noah, Ronnie Brewer, Omer Asik, Kyle Korver and Loul Deng that proves the importance of role playing.

Noah, who has missed a good chunk of the season due to injury, is excellent at what he does. He is loved by all his teammates, and you can guarantee that he will be the loudest one whether it be on the court or on the bench. He is a great rebounder and plays very solid defense. Noah is all about the team, and one of the least selfish players you could find. He pumps up his team mates and makes sure everyone is playing hard and is focused.

I like to compare Noah to Garnett. Not really in the sense of skill level, but in the sense of what they bring to the team mentally. Kevin Garnett is the most intense player in the game; he is soo intense most thinks he takes to "too far". That intensity also keeps all of his teammates focused and on their best game. I like to think of Noah in the same light, Noah is an intense trash-talking player that always keeps the team focused. Garnett and Noah both have the same team before themselves mentality.

I think the thing about Noah that has won the heart of fans is his hard work. Noah, after the Bulls lost to the Celtics in seven games, said he had never been pushed around like that in his life. In his defense he was guarding Kevin Garnett, but Noah took this as motivation and worked extremely hard in the weight room and on the court. Noah is exactly the kind of player a team needs, and his role is crucial for this team success.

Loul Deng who has been in Chicago for six years is starting to hit his stride, he is averaging 17.6 ppg and almost six rebounds a game. Deng has always been a solid player for the Bulls, but there is a difference in his game over the last few years. Deng is developing an outside game. Growing up watching games Deng was automatic from one to two steps inside the three-point line, if he took a step back then his shooting percentage goes way down. Deng has already taken 178 more three-point attempts than he did all of last year, and has made 57 more then his previous career high.

Now I'm not saying that Deng is a sharp shooter by any means, but his three point shooting has opened up his own game, therefore; Deng is a more dangerous player.

Now, we get to the deep Chicago bench that has played just an important of a role as any on this team.

Ronnie Brewer, who is not known for his offensive play, always seems to create that spark to get the team going. Brewer is known for his tough defensive play and his ability to turn defense into offense, which he had been doing a decent job of most of the year. Although he didn't get the start over Bogans for most of this season, it has not discouraged him from doing his job.

I am starting to understand why Deron Williams was soo upset with the departure of Brewer on the Jazz.

Omer Asik has been a surprise to me this year. Reading articles all summer the bulls were very high on this kid and now I understand. Although it will still take time for Asik to be a contributor to this team, I at least think its possible. His size and rebounding is enough of an asset to keep him on NBA teams. Looking at the last five games Asik is averaging about 16 minutes a game with about eight rebounds a game. His big body down low on defense has also shown to be a test for opposing players. Asik is very raw and his offensive game is almost non existent, but Asik does a very good job playing his role on this team and is a crucial part to this bench.

If anyone understands being a role player it's Kyle Korver. Playing a three-point specialist on every team he has been on, you know exactly what your getting with Korver. Korver is a career 41% three point shooter and this year is shooting 42%. A major thing this Bulls team lacks is a pure scorer, more importantly they have been missing an outside game. Korver off the bench provides just that.

Although he is not the complete package with Korver's shooting and Brewers defense, the Bulls have the best of both worlds with their two shooting guards.

I think the most phenomenal part of this season is how this team is bringing together a whole city. Unfortunately, I am in Lawrence going to school, but from what I have heard the city has once again turned into a Bulls town. Chicago has had some good teams over the last few years, but none that has shown promise like this team. Chicago has crowned another king, Derrick Rose.

Monday, February 21, 2011

State of the Kansas Jayhawks

March is a very special time of year for various college towns throughout the country, one could argue there is no better place to be during March Madness than a town in Kansas named Lawrence. This town that consist of less then 100,000 people that really take their college basketball serious.

Looking at the Jayhawks now with a 25-2 record (10-2 in the Big 12) one would say all is good in Lawrence. Although, if you have been watching the Jayhawks all year one might have a little reason for concern. Granted, Jayhawk fans expect their team to bring home a National Championship every year, but I do have some concerns. I will start with my smallest concerns and end with my biggest concern.

The least of my concerns (yet still a concern) for this team are the Morris twins. Marcus and Markeiff Morris are two stellar players for the Kansas basketball team and there is no question the Jayhawks would not be where they are if they did not have these twins. My concern comes in when these brothers decide to turn into the Bash Brothers. We have already seen Marcus suspended earlier this season for elbowing an opposing player, and have also seen the brothers throw other elbows in games with no penalty. My concern is not only there, when the Morris twins are in foul trouble (which happens too often) KU plays timid and has no down low presence. Besides Thomas Robinson (who in my opinion is just filled with raw talent)the Jayhawks really have no one down low. It is crucial that both these twins keep their cools and stay out of foul trouble if we want to be cutting down nets in Houston. (we really don't want Withey ever seeing double digit minutes)

My next concern is Tyshawn Taylor (not even getting into his attitude and recent suspension). Granted, Tyshawn has very big shoes to fill tyring to replace Sherron Collins, but he needs to step it up. For the first two and a half years of his Jayhawk career Tyshawn has shown many moments of promise, but too many moments of lackadaisical play. Sometimes it honestly looks as if his head is somewhere else and he is just waiting for the game to end. I don't dislike Taylor (unlike most Kansas fans) because I know how important he is to this team. He has struggled with reading defenses and controlling the tempo, but those skills will come with time and experience at the position. He is very good at getting the ball to the basket but doesn't finish nearly enough, he may be getting to the line, but is not taking advantage of those opportunities. This team needs Tyshawn Taylor just as much as he needs this team.

Josh Selby is my X-factor for this team. I went to the USC game (Selby's debut) and saw Josh Selby light it up with five three pointers, well that's about all he has done. Josh Selby has not lived up to his "one and done" persona, he honestly looks lost out there at times. Besides the USC game and the Iowa State game Selby has struggled from the field and he is not known for his defensive play. The reason he is my x-factor is when this Kansas team is clicking and Josh Selby decides to finally show up, it will be a B-E-Autiful sight. The tournament heavily relies on the play of your point guard, with Tyshawn Taylor and Josh Selby not playing to the standards most expected gives me reason to raise my eyebrows. The good thing about these two is they have shown flashes of brilliance, we know they can do it, they just need to be consistent.

Now, not all is bad in Lawrence for the Kansas basketball team. Both Morris twins have played great thus far, Marcus Morris looking like a lock for a lottery pick, and Markieff not far behind. Brady Morningstar (the oldest player in the NCAA) is coming off a career game, and is one of the few seniors on this team. Solid play, as always, by Tyrel Reed. Oh and the Jayhawks are #2 in the country looking at yet another possible #1 seed for the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wow it has been a while

Wow I have not updated this in quite some time, completely my fault, no excuses just been straight up lazy. Alot going on in sports right now, the one thing on my mind is Chicago Bears football. Everyone wrote the bears off this year, but that's another story for another time, with the playoffs right around the corner that's what I want to talk about. Now if the season were to end today the NFC match ups would be Packers at Eagles and Saints at Rams, with the Falcons and Bears having first round byes. In the AFC you have the first round match ups of Jets at Chiefs and Ravens at Colts, and the Patriots and steelers receiving first round byes. (THESE MATCH UPS ARE NOT FINAL) Now these are some interesting match ups of some good football teams. Starting in the NFC Packers/Eagles is a great game, many had the Packers in the super bowl to start the year and now they are fighting for a playoff entrance against the story everyone is talking about; Mike Vick's triumphant comeback to the NFL. The key to this game in my opinion is the Packers offense staying healthy. The Pack have struggled to keep a healthy o-line to protect Aaron Rodgers (Rodgers with two concussions this year, one sidelining him for a game). The Packers defense is very strong with veteran leader Charles Woodson in the secondary along with a very young but very strong linebacker core (not taking away from a good defensive line). The defense can handle the potent Eagles offense even with Desean Jackson going off as of late. I would love to see the Eagles win this game but my heart is telling me if the Packers do in fact make the playoffs they will be one of the most dangerous six seeds ever. The next NFC matchup is the Saints vs Rams. The NFC West is the biggest joke in the NFL right now. The winner of that Division will likely be under .500. In my opinion the Rams will end up winning this pitiful division, and at least have a better chance of competing in a playoff game compared to the awful awful seahawks. With this game I'm gonna go ahead and say the saints win against either of its opponents. Im not a fan of the saints but that was an impressive win vs the division leading Falcons yesterday in Atlanta. Pierre Thomas looked on point now that he is finally back and healthy, Drew Brees did not look bad either. What also impressed me was the defense holding down Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offense who plays VERY WELL at home.

AFC predictions later

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lebotched decision

Lebron James has finally made his decision, people can now go back to living their everyday life. I on the other hand have not been able to stop thinking about this decision. Although I am against the decision for James to go play in Miami, that is not why I am posting. Lebron James handled this situation probably the worse one could. Not only did he disrespect the teams that went out of their way to cater to Lebron during this time, but the way he treated the Cav's was unacceptable in my opinion. The Cleavland Cavaliers were slapped across the face by Lebron James. I understand Lebron James is a grown man and can decide to play where ever his soul desires, but the way he handled his business was not right. First off the national televised decision was not the right way to go. Star studded players such as Dwayne Wade and Amare Stoudamire had no problem just announcing their decision, no body else needed to hold an event for a decision that was dragged out and stabbed some hundred times by ESPN. Lebron is flashy, so what, I can get over that. The major disrespect started well before that. Cleavland is James's home town. The meaning of Lebron James to Cleavland is uncomparable to any other sports star to a city. The city has been riddled with sports let downs throughout its history, and the people of Cleavland get let down once again. Lebron did not respond in any way to the Cavs owner Dan Glibert after their meeting earlier last week. Dan Gilbert is a man who we will probably never know the extent to which he helped Lebron. With Lebron coming from high school, I could just imagine what Dan Gilbert has done for not only Bron, but his friends and family. At the absolute least he needed to call Gilbert some time before yesterday's decision to tell him the plan. I personally feel that the Cavs at least deserved that. Instead they were betrayed and humiliated by their "king" on national television. I feel for the city of Cleavland today, and actually hope them the best. Many of you have seen Gilbert's response to " the decision" and although harsh, I do feel it needed to be said. Gilbert just lost the person who raised the Cavs value $100 million since coming into the league. He along with the city of Cleavland feels betrayed and for good reason. This response is a nice summary of the way northeastern Ohio is feeling on this Friday morning. I never felt Lebron was actually going to leave Cleavland. Whats done is done. Although I do not agree with the way the situation was handled, I do respect the fact that winning is important to Lebron James. We hear winning is everything, but this is one of the first times we see a star of his caliber put money off the side and share the spotlight with two others.

Friday, June 11, 2010

NBA Finals

So I sit here on this Friday morning awaiting the start of the first World Cup game to start, and I still keep thinking about the NBA playoffs. The series is now even at two a piece as we head back to Los Angeles. The Lakers have the edge in the series with a chance to regain the series lead with a win on its home court. The Celtics may have caught a small break with the chance that Andrew Bynum does not play in this crucial final game. In order for the Celtics to win game five not only will the Celtics have to show up to play, but more importantly they need Paul Pierce to step up and live up to the name "the truth." Ray Allen will hit his shots, Rondo will continue his excellent play, and we always know KG will provide the energy. I was a little surprised, I felt after the Celtics won game two they would head home to win both games. Obviously this did not happen, and only time will tell who will be hoisting the trophy at the end of the year.

Also would like to once again congratulate the Chicago Blackhawks for not only bringing a Championship back to Chicago, but for softening the blow for how pathetic Chicago baseball is this year.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Just Phenomenal


Monday, June 7, 2010

NBA Finals

Posting to say how surprised I am that the Lakers lost game two. I am not a fan of either of these teams, and being honest I would rather see the Celtics win it. I think the Celtics last night just proved to the Lakers how series they actually are. Phil Jackson's pedigree is nothing to laugh at, having never lost a series after winning a game one at home, Phil is gotta be feeling a little nervous. Now alright the series is tied 1-1, and many probably feel the Lakers still got this in the bag. I on the other hand would not feel too sure if that was my team. If Boston takes care of business at home this series will be very interesting. I will post back with my game three thoughts.