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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Milwaukee Bucks Need a Guard

The Milwaukee Bucks entire backcourt (Jennings, Ellis, Redick) is set to hit free agency on July 1st, and none of them are expect to return next season.  This leaves the Bucks with a major hole on their roster, and it is something they need to address in this year's NBA Draft.

The Bucks currently hold the 15th overall pick, and if the draft plays out how I expect it to, the Bucks will be deciding between three players - Shane Larkin, Dennis Schroeder, and Glen Rice Jr.  All three of these players have a good possibility of being selected by the Bucks, but Shane Larkin is the best option for them.  

Shane Larkin is the best pick-and-roll point guard in the draft, and is one of the better athletes too.  Even though he is the smallest guard in the draft at six feet tall, he is a pesky defender, who is an excellent ball handler and shooter.    

Shane Larkin would be a great fit alongside Larry Sanders and John Henson, due to his athleticism, ability to handle the ball, and solid leadership skills.  Shane Larkin is the best option for the Bucks now and in the future, and he is a player the Milwaukee Bucks cannot afford to pass on in the draft.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Milwaukee Needs Some Excitement

The Milwaukee Bucks are headed to rebuilding mode, with Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, and J.J. Reddick all set to hit the open market, and they need to draft a player to bring excitement and energy to the city of Milwaukee.  The only problem is, at the 15th overall pick in the draft, there are no players to get excited about.  In order to find that player they either need to move up to one of the top five selections of the draft, or acquire a well-known and successful veteran player.  While there have been rumors of the Bucks doing both of these things, trading for a big name player is the better option.

The Milwaukee Bucks have been rumored to be showing interested in Paul Pierce.  While Pierce would prefer to play for a contending team next year, the Bucks still have a possibility of landing his services.  The Boston Celtics would rather receive something in return for Pierce than buying him out before free agency, giving the Bucks some hope that a deal could get done.

If the Bucks were able to land Paul Pierce for their first round pick, he would instantly create buzz and excitement in Milwaukee.  While the Bucks would have to pay $15.3 million on the final year of his deal, it would be better than drafting a player who will need years to possibly develop into a solid NBA player.  Even at age 36, he is still capable of averaging near 20 points, five rebounds, and four assists per game, no matter what uniform he is wearing.

The Bucks need to generate excitement and energy with their 15th overall selection.  To do this, it will not be by drafting a player, but acquiring one via trade in Paul Pierce.  While Paul Pierce to the Milwaukee Bucks looks like along shot right now, this is a win-win for both franchises, and it would not be surprising if it were able to get completed on draft night.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

2013 NBA Mock Draft: Picks 1-10

The NBA Draft is only a few days away, and this draft has been very unpredictable, starting from the first overall selection.  There will be numerous surprises, with a few players sliding down the draft board, as well a few obvious selections.  Here is how I see the 2013 NBA Draft going:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Alex Len, Maryland, 7'1", C: The Cavaliers have numerous options with the first overall selection, but the player who would be the best selection is Alex Len.  Alex Len is a highly talented 20-year-old skilled big man, who is a terrific rebounder and shot blocker that can score from all areas of the court.  He possess huge upside, making him a great pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

2. Orlando Magic: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, 7'0", C: The Magic ranked 24th in blocked shots this past season, and Nerlens Noel would fill a major need on this team.  Nerlens Noel is a long, athletic center that led college basketball with 4.4 blocks per game a year ago.  His injury history and lack of strength are a major weakness for him, but his defensive abilities make him a player the Magic cannot afford to pass on.

3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, Georgetown, 6'9", SF: Since the NBA Draft Lottery, Otto Porter has been linked to the Washington Wizards.  If the Wizards hold onto their third overall selection Porter will be their guy.  He is an elite defender, who has a great midrange game, and is a good, unselfish passer.  Otto Porter is the closest player to a sure thing in this year's draft, and he would fit nicely into the Wizards young core of players.

4. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Bennett, UNLV, 6'8", PF:  Anthony Bennett has more upside than any other player in this year's draft, and he would provide the Bobcats with a much-needed scoring threat down low.  Even though he is undersized for the power forward position, he is an athletic forward, that is an excellent rebounder, and can shoot inside and out.  Anthony Bennett will develop into an All-Star caliber player, while dominating the paint for the Bobcats for the years to come.

5. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, Indiana, 6'4", SG: Victor Oladipo has very few question marks coming into the NBA Draft, and he has strengths that many few other players have.  He has elite athleticism, with a high-energy motor, and is tenacious on the defensive side.  He is the safest option in the NBA Draft, and it is just a matter of time until he develops into a great NBA player.

6. New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Burke, Michigan, 6'1", PG: Trey Burke is the best point guard in this year's draft, and he is exactly what the Pelicans need.  The Pelicans have been looking for a great point guard to team up with Anthony Davis to run the pick and roll, and Burke is their guy.  He is a strong, physical guard who sees the floor very well, and is a solid shooter.  Trey Burke would be an excellent fit with the young Pelicans team.

7. Sacramento Kings: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, 6'3", PG: The Sacramento Kings have been searching for a dynamic point guard over the last few years, and C.J. McCollum is their guy.  McCollum is an electric scorer, who is an excellent rebounder and picks up a number of steals per game, while excelling in transition.  C.J. McCollum will not become the next Damian Lillard like many people expect, but he has the tools to become a solid NBA player.

8. Detroit Pistons: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, 6'6", PG: Michael Carter-Williams has elite size for a point guard making him a solid defender who racks up steals often, and a great scorer in the paint.  He would be an excellent fit along Brandon Knight, and is capable of playing the point and the two due to his size.  The Pistons would be excited to draft Carter-Williams with their eighth overall pick to go along with their already impressive young core of players.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia, 6'6", SG: It seems that Caldwell-Pope is a consensus pick at number nine.  Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a deadly shooter with deep range and a quick release on his jump shot.  Besides being a great athlete and superb shooter, Caldwell-Pope is a good passer and excellent defender.  He fits well along side Rickey Rubio and should be a solid guard for the T-Wolves for many years.

10. Portland Trail Blazers: Ben McLemore, Kansas, 6'5", SG: Here will be the biggest surprise of the draft, Ben McLemore sliding all the way down to the number 10 pick.  He is a superb athlete that is a dangerous shooter, with excellent range, and he is a solid defensive player.  There is no question that he is talented, but his poor workouts have hurt his value, causing him to slide down the draft board.  McLemore would be a great fit along side Damian Lillard, and the Blazers would be happy if he falls right in their lap.

Is Yasiel Puig Deserving of an All-Star Selection?

Since Yasiel Puig was called up to the Los Angeles Dodgers, roughly three weeks ago, he has become an instant star, putting up insane numbers, while energizing the city of L.A.  His performance has many people calling for him to be selected to the All-Star Game.

He has posted eye-popping numbers in his first 20 games (.442 avg., 7 HRs, 14 RBIs, .476 OBP), and deserves to be on the National League All-Star roster.  While it will be a hard decision for National League manager Bruce Bochy to choose Puig over other deserving veteran players, it is a move he needs to make.

Yasiel Puig is someone that fans want to see in the Midsummer Classic, and he would create buzz and excitement unlike any other player selected to the game. Yasiel Puig is the hottest player in the game right now, and he has demonstrated that he is worthy of an All-Star Game selection.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Milwaukee Bucks Moving Up

The Milwaukee Bucks currently hold the 15th overall pick in this year's NBA Draft, but would they be better off moving up?  A few weeks ago there was a rumor that the Bucks and Washington Wizards were discussing a deal the was centered around the third overall pick and Ersan Ilyasova.

It is unlikely that the Wizards would agree to a direct swap of the third overall pick for Ilyasova.  If the Bucks are willing to send their 15th overall pick to the Wizards and take on Trevor Ariza or Nene's contract, then there is a real possibility this deal could get done.

For the Bucks, if this deal is able to get done, it would be a great trade for them now and in the future, but only if they acquire Trevor Ariza, who only has a year remaining on his contract.  The Bucks would be able to unload the underperforming, overpaid Ersan Ilyasova, while acquiring a veteran scorer on a one year deal, and most importantly, move up in the draft.

With the third overall pick the Bucks would have many options, but their best option would be drafting point guard Trey Burke.  Trey Burke is a strong, physical guard who is an above average shooter that possesses decent range, and is an exceptional passer.  He does need to improve slightly defensively, but he is a true point guard, who would fit nicely in the Bucks starting lineup along Larry Sanders and John Henson.

The Milwaukee Bucks need to make a splash in this year's NBA Draft, and to do so, they need to acquire the third overall pick and select the highly talented Trey Burke.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Milwaukee Brewers: Time to Look Towards the Future

The Milwaukee Brewers currently sit near the basement of the National League Central, and it is hard to imagine any significant improvement over the remaining part of the season.  The Brewers have struggled to be consistent this season due to injures and the lack of quality pitching depth.

Depth in the minor leagues is a major issue with the Brewers.  The Brewers have the worst farm system in the MLB, and they lack prospects that can make a significant impact at the major league level.  Being a small market team, the Brewers need to build through their farm system in order to sustain success year after year.

In order to build up their farm system, the Brewers need to rebuild.  Rebuilding is not fun, but it will help the Brewers become a successful franchise over a longer period of time.  The Brewers have numerous major league players who other clubs would be interested in.  Some of these players include Aramis Ramirez, Corey Hart, Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse and Ryan Braun, all of whom could bring a solid package of prospects back in return.  

The Brewers have struggled mightily this season, and it is time for them to enter rebuilding mode.  The Brewers need to start unloading some of their major league talent in order to build up their farm system, to insure sustainable success year after year.

Picking the Home Run Derby Teams

David Wright (NL) and Robinson Cano (AL) have been chosen as captains for the Home Run Derby.  This will be Cano's second straight year as the American League captain, and David Wright's first appearance in the Derby since 2006, when he was the runner-up.  With the MLB Home Run Derby almost a month away, Cano and Wright only have a few weeks to pick their squads.  If I had to make the difficult decision of picking both teams, here is whom I would select:

Team Wright: 

Justin Upton - Atlanta Braves:  Justin Upton got off to a hot start this season hitting 12 home runs in April, but has struggled hitting only two home runs since.  Even with his recent struggles, Upton possesses some of the rawest power in the game today, which fits perfectly in the Home Run Derby.  Justin Upton can hit home runs better than anyone else, and is a serious candidate for the Derby.

Evan Gattis - Atlanta Braves:  Evan Gattis has burst onto the scene this year hitting 14 home runs in only 156 at-bats.  He has been a great story this season, and it would only be better if he made the Derby.  Gattis can put on a show and he deserves to be participating in the Home Run Derby.

Carlos Gonzalez - Colorado Rockies:  Carlos Gonzalez has been on fire this season hitting 18 home runs.  CarGo did not show up when he participated in the Home Run Derby last season, but he deserves a second chance.  He has been a consistent home run hitter all season, and is exactly who Wright needs on his team if he wants to win.

Team Cano:

Chris Davis - Baltimore Orioles:  Chris Davis is the MLB home run leader with 20 long balls this season.  Every home run Davis seems to hit is always crushed, making him an ideal contestant for the Home Run Derby.  This will be Cano's easiest decision to make, and do not be surprised if Davis wins this years Derby.

Prince Fielder - Detroit Tigers:  Prince Fielder is the defending Home Run Derby champion, and is only one of two players to win it twice.  Even though Fielder has not demonstrated the same kind of power numbers as years past (12 HRs this season), Fielder is still one of the best power hitters in the game today.  Prince Fielder always puts on a show when he participates in the Derby, making him a good choice for the Derby this year.

Adam Dunn - Chicago White Sox:  Adam Dunn has been one of the best power hitters over his entire 12-year career, but for some reason he has never participated in the Home Run Derby.  Dunn cannot hit for average and strikes out a ton, but he does do one thing well -- hitting home runs.  Adam Dunn currently has 17 home runs this year, and is on pace to hit close to 40 home runs again.  Adam Dunn can hit home runs, and Cano should strongly considered selecting Dunn to be on this year's team.

Crazy Night in LA

Friday, June 7, 2013

Only One Way to Keep the Bucks in Milwaukee

Could the Bucks really leave Milwaukee?  There have been speculations that the Bucks will be targeted by the Seattle ownership group who recently failed on buying the Sacramento Kings.  Even though Bucks' owner Herb Kohl said the Bucks are not for sale, the Bucks and the NBA have said that the team will need to leave Milwaukee after the 2016-2017 season unless a new arena is built.

There has been no official talk of a new arena being built in Milwaukee and the clock is ticking.  Milwaukee needs to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee, where they have been a fixture since 1968, but the only way to do so is to build a new arena.

The Milwaukee Bucks currently play in an old and below average arena.  When the Bradley Center opened in 1988 it was meant to hold a hockey team not a NBA franchise.  With an arena that is built for a NBA franchise, it would make the Bucks a more competitive team.  Players would have a desire to come play in Milwaukee, and fans would be more interested in supporting a competitive team in a top of the line arena.

Herb Kohl has said that he would be willing to make a financial commitment to a new arena.  Though an amount was not given, he did say it would be significant.  This will help but in order to obtain a new arena, the people of Milwaukee and surrounding counties will need to publicly fund money as well.  This will not be a popular decision, but it will be a smart decision in order to keep Milwaukee a revenue-earning city, with a big city feel.

Without the Bucks in Milwaukee, the city will suffer financially.  People will loose jobs, hotels and parking lots will be in less demand, and surrounding restaurants and bars will receive less business without a major sports team in the downtown area.  This decision is just not about basketball, but about the city as a whole.

Milwaukee has already lost one team due to financial reasons and we cannot afford to loose another.  It is time for people to get on board with a new arena otherwise Milwaukee is not just loosing its basketball team, but its big city feel and revenue for the entire city.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

NBA Finals Prediction

The San Antonio Spurs verses the Miami Heat.  The experienced veterans versus the athletic Big Three.  Old versus new.  Who will win?  The San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs are an experience veteran team led by Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.  In the Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich era the San Antonio Spurs have won four NBA Championships, and are seeking their first since the 2006-07 season.  The Spurs have been off since wrapping up the Western Conference Finals on May 27th, but the layoff will be an advantage for the Spurs, to allow their veterans to rest.

Tony Parker and Tim Duncan have been outstanding throughout the playoffs, but they need Manu Ginobili to step up and provide the Spurs with a third scoring option.  If Parker is able to do an excellent job distributing the ball, and Ginobili is able to provide a scoring threat, the Spurs will win.

The San Antonio Spurs will win the NBA Championship in seven games with Tony Parker winning the NBA Finals MVP award.

MLB: Best No. 1 Draft Pick in the Last 20 Years

Over the last 20 years there has been hundreds of great players to reach the MLB, but only a few of them have been fortunate to be drafted number one overall.  Being drafted number one does not guarantee a player instant success, but over the last 20 years there has been a hand full of players who have lived up to expectations and are now stars in the show.

David Price, Joe Mauer, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Upton, Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper are all former number one overall draft selections, and they have had outstanding careers so far.  None of these players have been good enough to be known as the best player drafted number one overall in the last 20 years because that honor goes to Alex Rodriguez.

With the first overall pick in 1993 the Seattle Mariners took the highly talent shortstop straight out of high school.  This was a great pick by the Mariners, even though he only played seven seasons for the their franchise.  Once Alex Rodriguez hangs up the cleats he will go down as one of the best players to ever play the game.  He has won an enormous amount of hardware while putting up video game numbers throughout his 19-year career.  In his career he has posted a .300 average while accumulating 2,901 hits, 647 home runs and 1,950 RBIs.

Alex Rodriguez, even though he has admitted to using steroid, has been one of the best players in the last two decades.  Whether or not A-Rod makes the Hall of Fame is a different question, but Seattle made the right chose by selecting him with their number one overall pick in 1993.