Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Random Thoughts on a January Evening

-Chris Bosh for Andrew Bynum? Well not straight up but if this deal goes down (and it makes sense for both teams in the long run) then the Lakers will be even heavier favorites to win the title this year and beyond. The only weakness LA would have at that point is PG because their other weakness (bench) is negated a bit once the playoffs start. Toronto does this move only if for some reason they get indications that Bosh is gone. There's no reason to really believe (other than a little extra money and another year on his deal) that Bosh would stay in Toronto. They may end up in the playoffs but have no future with the roster they have now (sorry DeRozen). Locking up Turkoglu for 5 years was a terrible move. It looks bad'll look even worse in a few years. The one player that the Raptors can build around is Andrea Bargnani. They also have long contracts with Jose Calderon (being shopped) and Jarrett Jack. The Lakers make this move to give themselves a chance to lock up Bosh long-term and create a team that will be one of the best for the next 5 years. That's worth Bynum's potential upside to pair Bosh with Gasol, Kobe, Artest and Odom.

-Anyone else feel this year's college basketball season is missing something? Most of these conference races should be great but for the wrong reasons. So many of these teams are on the same level that picking the tournament bracket in March should be more of a chore than usual. The mid-majors don't look too great other than Butler while there are 3 really good teams that have seperated themselves from the other 300+ (Kansas, Kentucky & Texas). This could change but predicting conference champions right now would take a genius. ACC, Big Ten, Big East & Pac-10 could all be won by 3, 4 or more teams. We'll see what happens from this point on but I'm not getting too excited about college basketball yet.

-I'll have another entry previewing the 4 NFL playoff games this weekend (forgot to do one last week....I can tell you I was 2-2 in my picks. Had the Jets+ pts, Cards (pick), Eagles +3.5, Pats -6.5. Still haven't decided on 2 of the games but I can tell you for sure that I'm taking Vikings minus no more than 3 pts and Cardinals getting 7 pts. I know everyone is all over Dallas but I see that game being more low scoring than you would think. I'll explain in my next entry better but just trust me.....the under looks good.

-The Cavs have been up and down as of late but picked up nice back to back west coast road wins in Portland & Golden State. The loss in Denver was dissapointing, especially without Carmelo playing. The next few games are all Utah, at LA Clips, vs Toronto. After that, the Lakers & Thunder come into town. The key to the Cavs is just staying healthy, keeping Lebron's minutes down as much as possible and getting the #1 seed. Having that home-court advantage is big, especially in potential series vs Boston, Orlando & Atlanta this spring. Everyone talks about getting Antwan Jamison and that would be the best move the Cavs could make. No one's sure what Washington is going to do with Jamison but I'd much rather have him than Troy Murphy or Anthony Randolph (who's hurt & I don't see GS trading).

-Pitchers and Catchers in a month or so.....enough said. There are still plenty of intriguing free agents out there still. It'll be interesting to see these guys getting one year deals and coming into next season with something to prove.

-Will the real #2 in the NBA Western Conference please stand up? Is it Denver, Dallas, San Antonio, Phoenix or someone else? Who all likelihood, it won't matter either. The Lakers will run through the West in the spring (barring any major injuries & with or without Bosh). I'd be ready to put there losses in the Western Conference Playoffs at 4.5 and go under for sure. Last year, they lost 6 games before the Finals but 3 were to Houston. I could see LAL going 4, 6, 6 at worst. In the East, I'd favor Boston slightly over Cleveland right now (could depend on home-court) while Orlando & Atlanta are behind a bit. Miami, Charlotte, Toronto & Chicago are my other 4 picks to finish in the playoffs. Only Miami could give anyone a series out of those 4 with a potential 4-5 rematch with Atlanta looming in April.

-Almost finished with Bill Simmons' "The Book of Basketball". Go buy it now if you haven't already. It's informative, funny & well written. I know it's real long but definately worth reading through it all. I'm a big fan of Simmons writing so this shouldn't come as a surprise. Heck....I even read his Red Sox book even though their the team I can't stand as much as any other in sports.

-John Wall is everything that all the college basketball analysts are saying. He's the real deal and will be a force in the year & beyond. He could force teams to redesign their team structure around him depending on what they have on their roster. After that, I can't really see anything but "upside" and "potential" guys. No rock solid guys who'll step in next year & make a big impact. That's not good for teams like New Jersey, Golden State, Minnesota & Detroit who all can't afford to finish 2nd in the lottery in May.

-Players I love watching (at least for this week): Cole Aldrich (Kansas center), Luke Harangody (ND....a better Tyler Hansborough), Jarvis Varnado (Miss. St. block machine, skinny but could develop into a smaller Mutombo-like force down low), Xavier Henry (Kansas freshman...showing flashes of greatness, top-10 pick for sure if he comes out).

-Players that aren't showing me much: Avery Bradley (Texas....seems like an overrated prospect), North Carolina guards (shows how good Lawson really that he's gone, UNC is losing games in a guard-oriented league), Lance Stephenson (Cincy.....if he's going to be worth the headache, he's got to step up his game), Derrick Favors (Georgia Tech....I'd rather watch Gani Lawal work down low on both sides of the court).

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