Thursday, November 19, 2015

F Barkley and Other Sports Shit You Want

If you haven't heard Charles Barkley's most recent idiotic comments about the NBA (or anything else), consider yourself lucky. After all, this is a man who while sitting across from me in a Las Vegas hot tub decided to put down his newspaper, but then realized water probably isn't the best spot to do that. Then he had to fish it out while it floated around and said, "Man, that was stupid." Yeah, that happened.

After stating emphatically the Golden State Warriors would not win the championship last season because they're a "jump shooting team", Barkley now is claiming the current Warriors, specifically, Steph Curry, would never have survived during his time in the NBA. You can watch the video here. The gist of it is the game used to be tougher, and the NBA, like the NFL, is now a hands-off game.

Seriously, Chuckles, you're comparing the problems with today's NBA to that of the NFL? You pretty much lost the argument right there. But I'll humor it for a moment more.

While it may in fact be true that hand-checking is called more tightly now then it was when the Knicks and Pistons were punching opponents in their spines, a time Barkley looks back upon fondly, you build your team to compete in the moment. Had the rules been different maybe the Warriors find different players for their team. Who knows? Yet I doubt they would even have to because this Warrior team is one of the few who could compete in almost any era (and the Spurs). They have the scoring, the size, the team game, and every other aspect down pat.

If there's a major difference between teams in the 90s to most of the teams today, it's truly the "team aspect." Most players before the Kevin Garnett era spent at least 3 years in college, and really learned the game. Team basketball was a hallmark of the Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan eras. Yet the Warriors are one of the few teams who can also compete on that level, featuring a number of guys who graduated college, or played in Europe. What the teams of the 80s and 90s were great at is something that separates the Warriors from other teams now.

Then of course, there's Curry. I think it's fair to say Isiah Thomas was the best point guard of the era in which Charles loves so much. Is there anyone out there who believes for a seocnd that Thomas is a better player than Curry? I for sure do not. There was a time I certainly did, but that time has clearly passed. Everything Thomas brings Curry brings, except Curry is now also bringing the greatest shooting stroke of all time.

Sorry to say it, but Barkley's arguments carry about as much weight as his championship trophies do. And that's why he's complaining.


I've been saving this one, but I'm finally ready. Buffalo Bills Coach Rex Ryan is the biggest coaching clown since, uhh, his dad, former NFL Coach Buddy Ryan. And rarely do clowns win. Like father, like son.

The last few weeks Ryan has looked the fool time and time again, and yet he doesn't even seem to know it. He hasn't seemingly recognized it for the last decade.

There is a thing some call a "player's coach." It supposedly represents the type of coach who can relate to players, who isn't a hard-ass, can maybe even get away with having a beer and a joke with them. Pete Carroll is that guy. Urban Meyer might be that guy. Bill Belichick, less that guy. Ryan? Nothing like any of these guys.

"Player's coach" or not, all of these champions are serious guys. It's why they get consistent results. No matter what type of coach you are, you need to be a serious one.

Having grown up with a father already coaching in the NFL, Rex never had to be as serious as the guys who worked hard to get where they are. He didn't earn $25 a week like Belichick did during his first job with the Colts, or drive a soda truck in Ohio as a second job like Nick Saban did. He had connections. Buddy got him his first college and pro jobs. Now you might say he had to work harder to prove himself, but is there any indication that's the case? Is there any indication he's a serious guy, a tireless worker, someone others should take seriously?

No there is not.

Ryan is a child, still wanting to be noticed, and never having learned the lessons his father Buddy missed before him: brash and obnoxious coaches rarely win. People who don't face consequences rarely learn.

The most recent example of Ryan's clownish behavior came 2 weeks ago against his former team the NY Jets. Any coach who would make IK Enemkpali simply because he had recently assaulted a player on the opposing team is not someone you take seriously. After all, what would we be saying if Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett made Greg Hardy a captain against any opponent?

A childish decision by a childish man.

I will forever root against any team this man is a part of. Looking forward to the day he loses his last job. He can go hang out with Barkley and discuss what it was like to not win in Philadelphia.


Right before the NBA draft I suggested the Sacramento Kings should deal Demarcus Cousins to the Orlando Magic for Center Nikola Vucevicqa, Forward Aaron Gordon, and their first round draft pick.

Pretty steep price for one player, but for Cousins they would have gotten it.

My reasoning was simple: 1) Cousins is a problem and he will never succeed in Sacramento (maybe anywhere). 2) European players are less likely to complain about where they play like their American counterparts do. 3) Gordon is from San Jose area, which isn't far from Sacramento. Keeping players in Sacramento, or getting them to come, is somewhat of a problem. It's why they needed to get rid of the one star who didn't want to be there, and find potential stars who do.

Instead, the Kings seemed to think they could land Kentucky Coach John Calipari, who coached Cousins in college. They triple-downed on that idea by drafting Willie Cauley-Stein and signing Rajon Rondo, also Calipari-coached players.

The hope was team owner Vivek Ranadive could convince Calipari to come to Sacramento to coach the team.

How's that plan working out?

No joke, I sent Ranadive an email before the draft suggesting such a move. To my surprise, I got not reply :-)

Kings lineup COULD HAVE BEEN:

C - Nikola Vucevic

PF - Rudy Gay

SF - Aaron Gordon

SG - Mario Hezonja

PG - Emmanuel Mudiay

That's a team with a real future. A team that could grow. That's a team George Karl could potentially coach.


Sorry to say it, but my Oakland Raiders are further away than the recent excitement would lead us to believe.

Before yesterday, the Raiders had 2 defensive players other teams would covet. The first being Khalil Mack, and the other being Aldon Smith, who will now sit out for one year due to his suspension. In fairness to the situation, we kind of fell ass-backward into Smith so hard to think of him as a building block.

I'm excited about the potential for the Raiders offense over the next few seasons. There are a number of good players on the team. But unless they significantly upgrade their defense at every single level, this team won't truly be competitive for a while. Fortunately, management seems to have a good grasp on the draft, so I expect good things will come.

Challenging for a playoff spot next season? Certainly possible. A title? We're a long ways off.


I'm trying to figure out if Chip Kelly will still be the Eagles coach next season if he doesn't make the playoffs. I'm not sure he could handle it. I'm positive Eagles cannot.

The big issue for Kelly is he's also the General Manager of the team, and I don't think he quite understands how to deal with the team personnel. Someone else needs that job. The other reason it's a problem is usually when you downgrade someone's professional position the situation deteriorates from that point forward. I can't site any specific examples in sports, but in life, usually how it plays out.

My guess is you'll see him running down the sidelines in Southern California next season.

I'm of the opinion he's a very good coach, but that he needs to have better players than most of his opponents to win. That may sound obvious, but a lot of coaches can't even win with the best players.


The last time I mentioned Ronda Rousey on this blog, I pretty much told you I was unimpressed with what she had done. Now I'm even less impressed.

I don't care much about women's MMA, so I didn't spend too much time following the Holly Holm v Rousey fight. But when I saw footage of Holm training, knew who was training her, recognized her distinctive size advantage, and was aware she was a striker, I pretty much anticipated the end of Rousey's dominance.

Yeah, I am kicking myself for not predicting publicly ahead of time, but believe me when I tell you, I was figuring it would happen :-)


Kentucky has "reloaded" again. It's lame. It's not interesting. I get why the players go there.

I just wonder where they're going when Calipari takes the Lakers job.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Kaep and the 49ers

If you have ever read anything I've posted on this subject, or heard me discuss the 49ers on the radio, then you're well aware I NEVER believed Colin Kaepernick was a good quarterback. Nor did I think he ever would be, or ever will be.

Call it a hunch, intuition, a guess, or just the ability to see what to me is so glaringly obvious, but others so obviously not. At this point it no longer matters because one thing is finally clear to all: the guy sucks.

No, no, it's not the offensive line. No, no, it's not the surrounding skill-players, or the coaches, or anything other than his lack of ability to play the position. Countless other Quarterbacks have done more with less, many playing right now. It's simply this: Kaepernick does not have the ability to anticipate what's going to happen on a football field before it does. He makes obvious plays as well as anyone, but it's the not-so-obvious plays which separate the good from the bad, no different from a point guard in basketball. I used to joke about how Steph Curry could become a better QB than Kaepernick in 2 years, having never played the sport. Thing is, I really wasn't kidding.

Now that the thing which was so obvious to me is apparent to those of you who couldn't see it, lets point out the parts of this story seemingly less obvious to those commenting on the matter.

First off, it is worth noting nearly every host on KNBR-680, for whatever reason, either willfully distorts the reality because of their relationship with the 49ers, or they really have no clue what they're witnessing. They all seem utterly clueless about this player. I've never heard a radio station's "talent" (using that word VERY loosely) create so many excuses for a player who not only isn't good, but is also both a terrible interview and a prick to the media. Remarkable how poor their coverage has been the last few years with regards to Kaepernick. Yet at the same time, I've come to expect it. We all have.

So many 49ers fans listen to KNBR and came to believe the Kaepernick problems were "fixable", since it was so often repeated. Clearly, they were all wrong in their group-think.

Next is ESPN's Mike Greenberg, who today mentioned how the 49ers "deserved this" for letting Jim Harbaugh leave. Greenberg isn't alone in this; but for the sake of argument, he represents everyone who says similar things. Sorry, Mike, but Kaepernick was never a "superstar."

For a moment, lets take a realistic look at the Harbaugh situation. I said at the time and still believe you fire a General Manager before you do a coach, but clearly the immature 49ers owner Jed York wasn't going to do this. Instead, he chose his guy GM Trent Baalke.

In defense of Baalke his drafts have actually been quite good, which was a problem for Harbaugh, as odd as that seems. One would think the drafting and signing of good players as a net positive. Not so much in Harbaugh's world. In fact, one of the biggest dust ups between Baalke and Harbaugh, if not the biggest, was Harbaugh's loss of draft control especially as it relates to Kaepernick. Harbaugh desperately wanted to select the player with the 7th overall pick in the 2011 draft. Baalke instead chose Aldon Smith, who despite his off-field problems, is/was clearly the better player.

Because of this loss of power Harbaugh decided he couldn't get rid of Alex Smith fast enough, who at the time of his benching was 6-2-1. Since Harbaugh is a know-it-all egomaniac, he wanted to prove to everyone, Baalke in particular, just how good Kaepernick would be. He pushed Kaepernick onto the field as quickly as possible to rub it in Baalke's face, as well as send a message to York that he's the football mind that matters. This part of the story you NEVER heard on KNBR, that's for sure.

To Harbaugh's credit he was able to succeed with Kaepernick despite the flaws in his game, but this was the beginning of the end between coach and management. It was also only a matter of time before the flaws started to show up. You can't trick NFL coaches over the long run.

Harbaugh is a good coach, but clearly not a great assessor of talent. Guys with huge egos often believe they can make anyone good. In Kaepernick's case, Harbaugh saw this Adonis-like athlete and figured it would be a cinch. Unfortunately Kaepernick's flaws became more and more obvious after nearly every game they played, especially if Seattle was on the field.

Contrary to Greenberg's comments, the Kaepernick gimmick Harbaugh pulled off for a couple of seasons was quickly figured out. He was far from a "superstar" in Harbaugh's last season, which if you assume Harbaugh to be a great coach, it should have been his best. It was his worst.

You can't teach a guy to be a NFL pocket passer when he gets to the league. They couldn't teach Tim Tebow to be accurate, Terrelle Pryor to have good mechanics, or Robert Griffin III to remain in the pocket. These things are learned well before you're drafted, and are often innate. The appeal with Kaepernick is he seems to possess ALL the physical tools these other 3 have, but it's still not enough. It takes a strong mind to be a great quarterback.

That's the one thing Kaepernick has never had, and never will.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Now That the World Series is Over...

I am not at all surprised the Kansas City Royals won the World Series. As I told Mets fans the last few weeks, "You better pray someone beats the Royals."

There was a collective, "I'm not worried about them...just want to get there!"

Well, no one did.

As a general rule, teams beat individuals. So whether it's Daniel Murphy or Jacob deGrom, when you're facing a TEAM which possesses that never say die attitude, it's hard to beat.

I believed the Mets would make the World Series, and I also believed they wouldn't win. Now here we are.

Today I'm hearing a lot of, "This Mets team has the basis to be great, and next year just might be their year." I wouldn't count on it.

Baseball is the trickiest to predict, and there are a lot of question marks facing this Mets team. For example, does the first baseman still field like he's in High School? Is management signing Yoenis Cespedes, the man most responsible for getting them to the playoffs? If not, who is filling that role, and can that player repeat the enormous feat? Will homophobe Daniel Murphy be on the team? And if not, which Mets player is single-handedly carrying the club through 2 rounds of the playoffs? Where does the power come from in this lineup against an AL team?

I know, I know, it was the pitching. But it wasn't. It was Murphy, who in the Cubs series helped give their pitchers a lead after every first inning, and in the Dodgers series destroyed their will. It was a freakish situation for a player who has never in his career (nor will he again) shown that type of ability. Certainly, he won't be on the Mets next season for he is an average player who is also extremely disliked. I heard an ESPN reporter on the radio the other day call Murphy, "the most disingenuous player I've ever met in my 15 years covering the sport." That's nice.

Putting all of this side, the assumption the NL East will be the worst division in baseball again is just that, an assumption. The road to the playoffs could not have been easier for the Mets, which is part of the reason I saw them making it this far. It's unlikely they'll have the easiest schedule in baseball post-All Star Game like they did this year.

Pitching is impossible to predict. Just as no one saw Jake Arrieta performing miracles for the Cubs, no one has any clue how the Mets staff will look next year.

So yeah, put me in the camp that says, "This was their shot."


As a Cubs fan it's hard for me to say "this was their shot" because very few people predicted them to do anything. Yet they did have an opportunity, and no different from the Mets, you just never know when another one is coming around.

Where do the Cubs get their pitching from? Is it not crazy to expect a repeat from Arrieta? Jon Lester is trending toward #3 status, and the best free agent pitcher available is David Price, a man who has never won a playoff game in 9 tries and holds a 0-6 record taboot. Is he the answer?

Because the team is so young, and the turnaround seemingly so quick, my guess is they will be back in the mix the next 3-4 years. But I'm not going to get too excited until I see better pitching across the board, starters to closer.

My guess is they take the field with the team they have and attempt to trade for pitchers going into Free Agency in 2017. R.A. Dickey won't be one of them.


The NFC East is such a clusterfuck I'm trying not to concern myself with it. But I have to for a number of reasons.

One of which is not because I've mostly drafted fantasy players in the NFC East and South, hence my current dominance (and Todd Gurley, because of my wife, of course).

First thing, it's amazing the Giants are in first place when they have one of the 5 worst defenses in football. No, seriously, they do. And I'm including TCU and Baylor.

Slowest LBs I've ever seen, a defensive line with only one great player that has 10 fingers, and a secondary that's awful when Prince Amukamara isn't playing, and he's not even that good. Yet somehow they're in first place.

Next is the Redskins. Their quarterback is Kirk Cousins. Should I repeat that?

Cousins is the second least heralded quarterback coming out of college in the entire league, just barely ahead of his Spartan alum Brian Hoyer. And yet somehow the Redskins are a game out of first place. In most other seasons this team maybe doesn't have a single win. Today they're a 1/2 game out of first. I'm sure they'll trade all their picks for Trevone Boykin.

And then there's the Eagles, the most hated team in the their own fans. Actually, the team isn't hated at all. Just the coach, the quarterback, the starting running back, and the wide receivers. Okay, let me rephrase that: the most hated offense in the league by their own fans, and being led by "an offensive genius."

It's not a good situation.

The crux of the Eagles problems are simple: their coach should not be a GM. Nothing more; nothing less. The team has some talent, but clearly the coach doesn't know who should be on the team. He should just coach the team.

As for the Eagles defense, it's one of the best in the league. However, the offense is such a mess they spend about 59 minutes on the field every game, and will eventually get worn down. It's a problem.

Then there's the most talented team in the division if not for the loss of their Quarterback and star Wide Receiver, the Dallas Cowboys. Thank goodness the Cowboys lost yesterday because at 3-5 this team would still be in a great place to win the division. Considering their unpredictable nature, it's way too much to ask them to go 6-3 the rest of the way in order to achieve an 8-8 record, which may win the division. Just don't see it happening.

More likely scenario, the Cowboys don't make the playoffs and all the knuckleheads they sign stir the pot up enough to make this franchise a dumpster fire worth staring at. Couldn't happen to a better owner.

In the end, the Eagles will win the division at 9-7, losing to the Patriots, Cardinals and Giants, but squeaking into the playoffs. And still, fans will want Chip Kelly fired as he attempts to trade Fletcher Cox next season for LaMichael James.


Speaking of Kelly, did anyone see Ohio State Head Football Coach Urban Meyer on...wait for it...WAAAAIT FOR IT...THIS SHOW?

Let me just say if you're a fan of inspirational speakers and like football, it's worth watching. Although it is odd Meyer holds his iPhone the entire interview. And it's equally as odd how bad Rose is at interviewing people in subjects he's not comfortable with.

Throughout the interview Meyer brought up a number of great coaches and players from Belichick to Brady to Tebow to...CHIP KELLY. More than once he referenced Kelly's insight and ability to "understand people." I found it surprising considering the situation in Philly and his inability to win any massive games in college. But I also found it hard to dismiss what Meyer had to say. It was Meyer's praise of Kelly which leads me to believe this guy should not be a GM, and should focus solely on coaching. For there's just no way a guy like Meyer would have such admiration for a guy who isn't capable of doing a good job.


Finally, I always get amped up for the start of the NBA season, but then Denver @ Lakers is on and I'm like, "There has to be a Sex and the City marathon on somewhere!"

Thank goodness for On-Demand.

I do look forward to the Kobe/Lakers meltdown which will certainly ensue. There are some amazing stats about Kobe coming out right now, like how he "misses more shots than 99% of the NBA takes" and "he has more missed shots than he has made passes this season."

This is sure to end well in LA.

As it stands now I'm loosely getting into the NBA, eagerly anticipating the NHL season which begins in late March...


First CFP Playoff rankings: 1) Clemson 2) Ohio State 3) LSU 4) Baylor

Final rankings? 1) Ohio State 2) Clemson 3) Stanford 4) Alabama

Sorry Big 12, but I see all of you guys beating each other, and then Oklahoma losing to OK St for no good reason.