Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On the Lakers and the 2014 NBA Draft (Get the Point, Not the Size)

For the first time in nine years, I'm watching the NBA Draft to see what happens to the Lakers. The three-year back slide since the 2011 playoff sweep by the Mavericks has led to this and I guess all year, we've been waiting to see what happens.

Mostly, I've been praying that with some of the questionable personnel moves that Lakers management have made, they do the right thing on Thursday. Avoid getting a big man and get a guard to finally move into the 21st century NBA. With no second round pick this year or any draft picks for 2015 as of right now, this pick means a lot which is why they need to go small than big.

The Lakers have lacked a great, young, dynamic point guard for 15 years. While Ron Harper, Derek Fisher, Gary Payton, Smush Parker and Ramon Sessions were solid, Nick Van Exel was really the last one they've had. In this era you need a strong lead guard to be able to do anything in the West.

That's why the Lakers need to pray Dante Exum or Marcus Smart are available.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Clayton Kershaw: A No-No for the Young Prince

I was running Wednesday night with my crew and my phone died. So when I changed batteries afterwards, I got all the updates from ESPN. "Clayton Kershaw has retired the first 15 batters......Clayton Kershaw has retired the first 18 batters."

Naturally, I turned on the game on the radio. All I heard was the roar of Dodger Stadium and silence from Charley Steiner and Rick Monday. I started swelling up with hope and then all a sudden, Steiner started saying Kershaw was being embraced by his teammates as he threw the 12th no-hitter in L.A. Dodgers history.

All I could do was smile. A month ago, he had perhaps the worst game of his career as he was chased in the first inning. Now the Young Prince had the game of his life and it was even more special knowing we've been blessed to see such a wonderful talent grow and blossom into the best pitcher in baseball.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ready for the World Cup (How I Learned to Stop Hating and Love Soccer)

Let's go back 16 years. The 13-year-old me was ready to watch the Cup but with jaded pessimism. With Jim Rome's anti-soccer talk in my ears, I was raised to think soccer was a silly sport. I was an American snob in training and watching the 1998 American team finish dead last made it feel even more like I was right.

I knew the big soccer stars like Ronaldo and Zidane and I became a fan of the bald French goalie Barthez. But I wasn't about to dive deeper in soccer and there was no way I believed America would ever matter since I knew the best soccer talent was worldwide. So I stayed segregated in my growing hoop/pigskin/baseball world.

And here I am now. More geeked for the World Cup than I've ever been. Fully immersed in the previews (hat-tip to my Bro Jackson brethren killing those) and anxious to see Brazil kick it off, while praying the turmoil there doesn't get too overshadowed.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Heat vs. Spurs: A Rematch Hoops Fans Can Love

My good friend Keith and I talk a lot about hoops and one of the things we talk about is the science of hoops. We recommend pieces that discuss the science of the game without boring us with gossip or unnecessary hit jobs. We talk about the X's and O's and when I get away from the Twitter stream of consciousness, I see the game as more than just narratives and enjoy it.

Another friend, Paris, wrote an excellent piece about how he's stopped being a fan and becoming an watcher/observer of the game in reaction to over the top fan behavior. It's a freeing thing to enjoy the games, be passionate/excited and then break it down without losing much sweat or hyperbole. Of course some games will still hit you in the gut but life goes on.

I say all of that as an intro to this Heat-Spurs rematch that I'm excited to see. Two similar teams playing beautiful basketball. Two coaches who are masters of their profession in terms of strategy, preparation and adjustments. I'm ready to sit back and watch our first Finals back-to-back rematch in 15 years. Here's what I want to see.