Sunday, June 10, 2007

I'm asking for it, I know

Please allow me to utiilize the full power of the blogosphere by making a completely uninformed opinion. I believe that if Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were forced to play with inferior racket technology, Rafael Nadal would beat Federer consistently on any surface.

The improved racket technology obviously increases the speed at which all shots are hit. However, the greatest advantage comes on the serve, when no adjustments need to be made. This gives an advantage to the players who specialize in big serves. A bigger serve increases the number of aces and thereby decreases the numbers of points in which the ball is in play.

This shift in the game decreases the importance of strategy as well. There is no need to create shots that magnify your opponent's weaknesses if the ball can be hit so hard nobody can even get to it. The older rackets demanded that players focus more on placement than rocketing their shots past.

The serve-and-volley game exploded in the 90s, not coincidentally with the exponential acceleration in racket technology. Pete Sampras won so many Grand Slams because his game revolved around his powerful serve and three of the four Slam tournaments are played on hard courts or grass - surfaces that benefit his type of game. It is for this reason I will always believe Andre Agassi was the better pure tennis player...at least after he cut his hair.

Put Roger Federer on clay and he goes from being a legendary player to just a great one. Why? The clay surface slows down his shots and takes his greatest weapon away - his power, especially on his serve. Giving him an inferior racket would do the same on any surface. Rafael Nadal would lose the same power, but his superior shotmaking and strategizing would conquer Federer's serve and blistering forehand.

Now it's your turn to give me the myriad reasons why I'm hopelessly wrong.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


You've probably heard about Michael Jordan's fun as a newly single man. You might have heard that he had a lot of fun. But what about the other side? What were they thinking? Thankfully, Hubie Brown is here to sort it all out:

You're a 15 year old girl who could pass for 21. You're incredibly attractive and well endowed. Now let's say you're mature beyond your years, so the boys in high school interest you little if at all. Now you find yourself on vacation at a remote Caribbean island with less restrictive laws than the U.S. You're allowed to inbibe alcoholic beverages in public. You're at a nightclub when a handsome, slightly older African-American gentleman approaches you. At first you don't recognize him, but then you say to yourself, "Holy smokes, it's Michael Jordan!" Now you're presented with a quandary: This man, who is old enough to be your father, finds you alluring and requests the pleasure of your company. You're very excited, due in some small part to the rum you've been drinking, and you allow yourself to be whisked away by this man. The next morning you wake up conflicted. You just had a passionate evening with the greatest basketball player who's ever lived, but if this escapade had occurred in your home country it would have been at least a misdemeanor. What do you do?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Where Can Bryant Go?

So Kobe has had enough and wants out. The tough part is actually not finding a place for him to go, it's finding a place he WANTS to go.

Let's rule out a few places:

1.Miami: Why would you want to put them back together after everything, even if they have made up? And why would you do that to your star?
2.New York: The Knicks could only pull off a trade if they used a time machine to switch their team with the one from 10 years ago. And even then they'd be hemorrhaging picks.
3.Atlanta: No way Kobe goes anywhere he can't win a championship within 4 years.
4. LAClipper: The only way that deal gets done is if they trade Brand, which would be the only incentive for Kobe to sign there.
5.Any small market team, anywhere. Kobe can spout off all he wants about playing to win, but he's got to be somewhere his image can grow. He's been partying with models and rock stars for ten years, not like he's going to stop all of a sudden, just because he's landed in Milwaukee or somewhere. So he won't land in Milwaukee or somewhere.

ONLY places Kobe can be traded.

1.Phoenix
2.Chicago
3.Minnesota
4.Dallas
5.New Jersey- hear me out.
6. Portland (and thereby the end of the world)

Jersey makes the most sense. Why? Because here's what you need to win with Kobe Bryant (besides Shaq and for the referees to suck your dick a la 2001). You need a rebounder, a point gaurd to run the offense, and a number two scorer to play the pippen to his jordan. That's it. And Jersey can get that done.

Let's look at our options. Kobe will only go to a team with two qualifiers:
1. A team that can win now, as in, next three years.
2. A team in a large market, or at least notable NBA franchise.

refer to these as q1 and q2

1. Phoenix:
q1: yes
q2: sorta

trades:
1. Amare, Raja Bell, first rounder in 2007, second rounder in 2008.
- this is the only way they don't give up the Hawks pick next year, and would be HORRENDOUSLY STUPID.
2. Marion, Bell, Barbosa, and the Hawks pick next year.
- If they do manage this, they better somehow figure out a three way trade with someone in the teens this year so that they can get a backup pointgaurd for Nash. This makes a ton of sense. Sadly, it means I completely abandon my Suns fanship.

ESPN NBA Trade Machine Approved: the marion trade. Amare's actually not making enough to warrant this trade. Isn't that odd?

2. Chicago
1.Yes
2.Yes
Chicago makes a TON of sense. The house that Jordan built, the young nucleus, the defensive presence/rebounder in Wallace, the young pieces to make the trade. It's sad, but this is a way better deal than any KG deal.

trades
-Luol Deng (don't start, Kobe is more valuable, and you know it), Ben Gordon, 1st round pick in 2008.
It sounds insane to give up Deng, but at least this way you keep Thomas, you keep Hinrich, and you've got your 2007 pick to get another scorer/rebounder.
-Gordon, #9 pick in 2007, 1st round pick in 2008, Chris Duhon, Tyrus Thomas
Gordon's going to have to be in any deal. With Kobe there, there's no longer any use for him. Losing Thomas would be a huge mistake for them. But then again, it's Kobe, and putting Kobe with Hinrich, Deng, and Wallace would be worth it, because they would win the East by approximately 2000000000000000 games.

ESPN NBA trade machine approved: none. no one makes enough to cover Kobe besides Wallace, and he's trade restricted and wouldn't be moved anyway. Bulls are kind of fucked here, unless they want to pay the luxury tax out the ass or restructure somebody's contract (hi, Kirk Hinrich, want to win a championship?)

3.Minnesota
q1: no
q2: kind of
x-factor: KG.

trades:
-Wow, they need help. They don't have any sexy picks, and no good players besides KG. But, they have a ton of expiring contracts after next season. So, let's try.

-Randy Foye, Mark Blount, Mike James, and Troy Hudson, first round pick in 2008, second round pick in 2007 and 2008. These are the only players of value, and they're all for about 3-4 years, besides Foye, who is the only valuable part of the trade. The Wolves would have to sign Will Ferrell to play small forward, and even then, might be the only NBA team to play 4 on 5.
-Ricky Davis, Randy Foye, Rashad McCants, Troy Hudson and the 2007 or 2008 first round pick. Well, then. Davis is the biggie, here, cleaning off 6.4 million after 2007-2008 season. All in all, the Lakers would clean about 10 mill of the books, if they let Foye go. They're stuck with Troy Hudson, BUT, this means they're in prime position to make a move in the 2009 season for LeBron, Wade, or Melo. If I'm Lakers Management, this is the route I'm going. Suffer for two years, then sign LeBron James and kill everyone for another 5 year spurt.


NBA Trade machine approved: both.

Dallas
q1: absolutely
q2: yes

Weird to think of him in Texas, but this again makes a lot of sense. Cuban wants the homerun, everyone wants him to blow up the team, but he won't... unless he can get someone that can score 80 a night and sell out every game for the next 7 years.

trades:
-I tried every possible combination to get Kobe and Dirk on the same team. No go. All the big contracts are long, all the short contracts are small. Apparently their GM's plan was to win a championship this year, and then suffer for the next decade. So...
-Dirk Nowitski, Devin Harris, #1 pick in 2007 and second round pick in 2008. I know that seems like a lot, given that Dirk is the MVP, but Kobe is undeniably a bigger value, and it's not like Dirk's stock is that high right now. But this is actually a good fit, and works under the cap. You know have for the Lakers:
1.Devin Harris
2.anyone you can find in the draft
3. Kwame Brown
4. Dirk Nowitski
5. Lamar Odom.

That's not a bad team. It's not a great team, but it's the closest way for you to look like you're not getting hosed, and you can trade dirk again in a year, or negotiate to pay him more money for less time and get him off the books.

for the mavs, you've got
1.Jason Terry
2.Kobe Bryant
3.Josh Howard
4.Eric Dampier
5. Desagna Diop

and that pretty much fills the formula I referenced earlier, point gaurd, rebounders, secondary scorer.

Trade approved: yup. Amazingly enough, Dirk is pretty tradeable.

New Jersey:
q1: barely
q2: WOAH YEAH.

This makes the most sense to me. Why? Kobe will not shut up about wanting to play with a point guard like Kidd. specifically, Kidd. And this moves him from LA to Jersey... to Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Nets begin play in 2009. Imagine Kobe. In New York. Hooootttt.

trades:
Let's assume for this discussion that Carter's gone in free agency. Good riddance, you're getting Kobe F'ing Bryant.
-Jason Collins/sign and trade with Mikki Moore, Richard Jefferson, first round pick in 2007, second round pick in 2009.
The best case scenario would be to keep Jefferson, but it just ain't happening, since he's the only player of value on the Nets with the contract. Trading Kidd would defeat the purpose. If this trade goes down, there have to be follow up trades with another team. Lakers would almost certainly have to get rid of Odom or Bynum, and more than likely the Nets have to pick up a rebounder, someway somehow.

Portland:
Yes, I know that Portland is guaranteed to win a championship inside four years. I know they have the best future of any NBA franchise. That's just it. They're an NBA franchise, therefore stupidity is the apple of Eden for them.

q1: Um....yeah.
q2: It'll be a major NBA city after they win six championships!

trades
-I can't believe the numbers on this work, but.... Zach Randolph, La Marcus Aldridge, and first round pick in 2008. It doesn't seem like enough, but the Lakers would have such heat from Kobe for this deal... Jesus.

1.Brandon Roy
2.Kobe Bryant
3.Gregg Oden

You don't need forwards. That's it. Just put those three on the court, and they'll win 60 games.

option 2:

-brandon roy, Zach Randolph, and first rounder in 2009/second rounder in 2007.

DUMB. But, hey, the thought could be, "let's just put oden/durant and kobe together, and we can find people in a year to do the rest."

Worst case scenario:
-the #1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft, La Marcus Aldridge, and Raef LaFrentz.

Well, you've got Brandon Roy, Kobe Bryant, and Zach Randolph!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

U-S-A! U-S-A!

We all know soccer is not the biggest sport in this country. Very few kids have dreamed of growing up to become professional soccer players. But what if they did? I know this country has enough natural athletes who would have excelled in the sport if they pursued it*. Below is a possible starting XI (that's how it's written) for Team USA, including current position and team. Please note: this lineup is built using a customary 4-4-2 formation.
*I tried to include hockey players; I really did. All I kept coming up with was either Chris Chelios or Mike Modano and they're just too old. America has given up on hockey. Oh well, more for soccer, right?

Goalie: Joe Mauer (C, Minnesota Twins)
I always thought the skills that make someone a good catcher would translate to a good goalie. Mauer gets the nod only because the 2006 World Cup would have marked the end of Jason Kendall's career. As long as I'm being entirely speculative, might as well take it all the way, no?

Left back: Bruce Bowen (SF, San Antonio Spurs)
He's getting up there in years, but he's the only one who could contest Peter Crouch on headers, and besides, he would be brutal on prima donnas like Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Christiano Ronaldo. Step over deez nuts, bitch.

Center backs: Torii Hunter (CF, Minnesota Twins) and Ed Reed (S, Baltimore Ravens)
Hunter would also be great defending set pieces with his hops, and Reed's ability to survey the entire field and anticipate plays would lead to many intercepted crosses.

Right back: Champ Bailey (CB, Denver Broncos)
Bailey's natural cover abilities would translate easily to soccer. There's no way he'd leave some streaking midfielder unmarked down the side.

Left midfielder: Michael Vick (QB, Atlanta Falcons)
You can't tell me he wouldn't have some sick moves to go with his blazing speed. Plus, he has an international moniker and he could spread good cheer and, well, you know, to other countries.

Center midfielders: Gilbert Arenas (PG, Washington Wizards) and Chris Paul (PG, New Orleans Hornets)
Arenas is the guy who can do it all - create plays for himself or set up his teammates. Besides, he's a great quote all the time and to see him interact with players from around the world (and blog about other countries) is too much to pass up. Chris Paul, while a young guy on the team (Jason Kidd just misses the cut), would still make for a helluva playmaker and lead the team in assists.

Right midfielder: Reggie Bush (RB, New Orleans Saints)
His otherworldly agility makes his selection a no-brainer. He would pack the house in whatever sport he played, so whatever. He's the best.

Strikers: Allen Iverson (PG, Denver Nuggets) and Dwyane Wade (SG, Miami Heat)
Would AI's killer crossover translate to his feet? I see no reason why not. Wade has a nose for the hoop, so changing that to the back of the net isn't much of a stretch. I figure by this point you have the idea, anyway.

Bring on the Brazilians!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Mat-titude!

So, for the second week in a row, Mizzou is in Sports Illustrated — and, unlike last week, this time it's positive coverage:

Our wrestlers are awesome.

Under ninth-year coach Brian Smith, the Tigers have risen from the depths of the Big 12 to No. 3 in the country and, thanks largely to [undefeated-over-the-past-two-years Ben] Askren, muscled past reigning four-time national champ Oklahoma State in their conference.

The depths of the Big 12, indeed. That's where they were our freshman year, when I watched them scrape out a tie against Missouri Valley (an NAIA school!) in the Hearnes Fieldhouse. They went 7-10-1 (0-4 in the Big 12) that season, their ninth losing one in a row.

But not only is it great that MU is doing so well — eight wrestlers are going to this weekend's national championships, two of them seeded first in their weight classes — I'm just as happy by this picture:





Look closely: That match is in the Hearnes Center. The wrestlers are no longer relegated to the Fieldhouse, which most students know as "where they have the blood drives, which no longer earn sororities points." And there are people there too! So maybe the student body is noticing after all.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Since we've all been wondering what he's up to


For the last year, Snyder has split time between his home in Charlotte, N.C., and a beach house he's rented in Wilmington, N.C., friends say. He took the year off to relax and take stock of his life.

and

Since [Krzyzewski] has a tendency to only employ former players as assistants, the gossip has Quin Snyder, laying low since his scandal filled run at Missouri[,] possibly returning to Durham. Snyder was responsible for some of the Blue Devils most talented teams, including being the point person in the recruitment of Elton Brand and Corey Maggette, the kind of guys Duke doesn’t currently have. So Snyder gets a safe port and an image makeover and Duke gets a big-time recruiter.

Also, note that the Star reporter says that Alden looked "tan."

Mizzou: One Year Later [KC Star]
As Good As It Gets [Yahoo Sports]

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

We're in!*

And solidly so, too! With a smaller field this year, and more automatic bids, I didn't know if we'd make it.

Bring on DePaul!

And shush — in a rebuilding year, I think this is a noteworthy achievement.

*Er, that is, on the off chance we don't knock off Texas, A&M and kU on our way to the Big 12 title, thus securing an automatic bid.