Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kris Humphries: Priceless

In honor of Kris Humphries' amazing off season and new contract we made this...

The Heart Exam - Pre-draft Analysis

I've done the following things at least once every year for the past 10 years: blood check, dental clean, and play fantasy basketball. Look, let's not kid ourselves. Fantasy football is fun, and fantasy baseball is a classic, but nothing beats fantasy basketball. With that said, I'm going to do my best to keep this column going for the whole fantasy basketball season. I'm not sure what kind of wisdom I can impart on you but I hope that at least you'll find it entertaining, if not helpful. Since this is draft week for almost everyone, I'm going to cover some of the players that I absolutely love coming into this lockout season.

My only rule coming into this year's draft: Draft young. This is a shortened season so guys that perennially miss 15-20 games a year become studs because of the 66 game season. Bear in mind that these recommendations are for 12-team H2H leagues. Let's take a look at that list today:

1. Kevin Martin - Every year, I try to avoid this guy like a plague because he just can't seem to keep himself on the court. However, this year, he might be unnoticed in your drafts, and he's a steal if you can get him late in the 3rd or later rounds.

2. Gerald Wallace - Remember when this guy was just a leaper on the Kings? It's probably why he kept getting injured early on in his career. And every year since, this guy has gone through injury after injury. The amazing thing is that he keeps producing in fantasy. Big man with good percentages, 17-6, shoots the 3 and a steals artist? Yes please. With Oden gone and Camby another year older, expect his rebounds to go up a notch.

3. Andrew Bynum - I'm targeting this guy in all of my drafts. If this guy is going to breakout, this is the season to do it. Barring a trade to another team, the Lakers need Bynum to produce in bunches to stay competitive. With Odom out, Bynum will be forced to play more than his 27mpg last year. We know about his knee problems but if this guy can give me 50-60 games like he's been doing, I'm a happy man. My modest projections for him are 16-12, 2+ blocks.

4. Andrew Bogut - I see Bogut as a bit higher risk than Bynum. At 27, he's going into his 7th season in the league. Unlike Bynum, Bogut's been playing the big minutes his whole career (32.8mpg career). The production is there even though he only averages about 60 games a season. The risk is that Bogut will now have to play more back-to-back games and have much shorter rest in between games. Could this speed up his injuries?

5. Devin Harris - This guy has been on my don't draft list for the past decade. Yet this year, I think he's worth picking up as a middle of the draft sleeper. Devin averages 60 games player per season for his career which is amazing when we only have 66 games this year. Since coming to Utah, he's no longer the #1 or even #2 option on his team anymore. Though Jerry Sloan is gone, Jerry Sloan's assistant is taking over so expect to see much of the same things. With Millsap, Jefferson, and Favors coming into their primes, Harris will no longer need to put his body on the line to make plays. In fact, expect to see Devin shoot more 3s. (3pta before Utah: 2.0, 3pta after Utah: 4.1)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Knicks Are Back

It has been well over a decade since I have been excited for my beloved NY Knicks. Instead, for the last 10 years, I tried to convince myself that Eddy Curry would finally get and stay in shape, Jamal Crawford could put it together and be more than just a streaky scorer, and somehow Isaiah actually knew something everyone else didn’t when he drafted picks like Balkman and passed up on Rondo. It has been years of players entering the draft to use the Knicks' interest to pump up their draft stock, from Stephen Curry, OJ Mayo, and even Jimmer Ferdette. Instead, the Knicks ended up with Jordan Hill, one of the biggest busts that year, and passed up on nice guards like Eric Gordon and Brandon Jennings. Let’s not forget drafting Michael Sweetney, Channing Frye, and Nene Hilario all in the top ten picks of their respective drafts. Nene turned out to be a solid player, then the Knicks traded him away on draft night with Camby for one-legged Antonio McDyess. Isaiah Thomas continued to bring in bad character guys with overpaid contracts, creating a team that was never bad enough to rebuild in the draft but never good enough to make the playoffs.

With all that said, Knick fans everywhere have survived only by the miracles created by the greatest Knick GM, Donnie Walsh (not much competition for that title). Fans in NY haven't had players to cheer for since the 90's when we had Ewing, Houston, Spreewell, Camby, Larry Johnson, Charles Oakley, and overachieving John Starks. And no, I wouldn’t count the fattest front court of Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry something worthy of fan praise. But now, we finally have the additions of Amare and Melo, who each have more All Star appearances alone than the Knicks did as an organization in the last decade.

Many critics think the Knicks overpaid for their entire front court, and I won’t disagree with them fully. But when you have been so bad for so long, sometimes it’s better to take a risk on proven stars. Plus, for the first time, stars want to come to NY, even if it means taking less money. With a couple of decent draft picks in Iman Shumpert and Josh Harrelson who have shown enough promise to earn some playing time, and glue guys like Fields, Toney Douglas, and Jared Jeffries (can’t believe I’m saying this… see link), and now with the most recent signing of Tyson Chandler, Baron Davis, and Mike Bibby (not really sure about this one), the Knicks look primed to be at least a contender for the NBA Championship.

I am dreaming of the Knicks finally returning to relevancy and creating new rivalries with teams like the Bulls and Heat for the next 4 seasons. I hope to see game 7's like we had in the 90's. The Knicks are finally playing for now and have a team built to win. It hasn't been like this since the Jeff Van Gundy days.

Maybe as a Knick fan, I have my head up in the clouds, but after seeing what I have witnessed the last 12 years, I believe that we are allowed to have this moment. I can picture it now, Baron Davis dropping 3's and dimes left and right, Tyson Chandler swatting shots and dunking alley-oops, and Amare and Melo averaging a combined 60 points every night. As a NY sports fan I know too well, things that look great on paper mean nothing, but until I’m proven wrong, as Amare says, “The Knicks are back!”

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Brett Favre: The deadbeat dad who left after the divorce but I can’t help but still love

As a lifetime Packers fan who never pulled for another quarterback besides Favre until Aaron Rodgers, the past 4 years has been quite painful. It started with leaving for a division rival, which made diehard Packer fans who were loyal to Favre do the unthinkable, going as far as wearing a Favre jersey split into half Green bay Packers and the other half Minnesota Vikings. After that, Favre continued to be a topic of conversation in the press for what seemed to be all the wrong reasons.

I can’t say what came first, my love for the Packers or for Brett Favre. People are quick to judge Favre for his decision making and gun slinging mentality. But honestly, there was never a point where I felt that we lost because of him. It was almost fitting that his last throw as a Packer ended up in the arms of the opposing team. I loved that Favre was a high risk high reward type of player. With him at the helm you never felt out of the game, and I am sure the opposing fans felt the same way. He took the chances fans want to see their QBs take instead of getting sacked for a loss or playing it safe by throwing it away. Many times Brett hit players in double coverage or in windows that didn’t seem to be there. Of course other times he just threw interceptions. Brett played a numbers game and for the most part, he came out on top and won every major award and game in the sport.

It is easy for everyone to criticize Favre for his fickle nature when it comes to retirement. Even the media is tired of speculating if Favre will try another ridiculous comeback. Let's be honest, walking away when you know you still can perform at a high level is hard to do. Even when we can’t perform at a high level, we still try, like playing pickup basketball at the University gym or flag football with a bunch of high school kids over Thanksgiving break. We might even feel great during the game, but the next morning, you realize, “Dang, I feel like I just got hit by a truck” and it starts to make sense why people pick up golf in their late 20s.

We criticize Favre for how he handled Rodgers when he came into the league, but to be fair, how would you treat someone who you knew was hired to replace you? Favre was threatened because he knew the Packers were very invested when they drafted a talented QB in the first round. Favre was unable to retain control, and it was either retire after 2007 or face the embarrassment of being benched by an unproven player the year after taking his team to the NFC Championship. Favre may never stop being bitter about Rodgers and trying to downplay his success.

Love him or hate him, no one can deny that Favre was one of the most iconic figures in NFL history. Watching Peyton unable to play this season reminds us how amazing Favre's consecutive start streak really is. In a few years, I hope that the only memories of Favre is of him as a Packer, not photo texting as a Jet or banged and bruised up as a Viking.

I hope Favre will slowly recreate his public image and more stories like him mentoring Colt McCoy over the summer become the only reasons why he shows up in the media. Favre owes it to his fans to have the world remember him for his long and successful career and not the rocky ending. 

After the divorce between the Packers and Brett Favre, I picked the Packers. But I have to be clear that Aaron Rodgers will never fully fill the void Brett Favre left behind. I will continue to wait for Favre to return to where he belongs, and that is walking beside Bart Starr in Green Bay.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Houston Rockets Signed Jeremy Lin

1.       They needed to keep up with Minnesota in the race for the most PGs on a NBA roster
2.       If you can’t have Yao Ming at least you can have his mini me
3.       Dallas Mavericks wanted to sign him last year
4.       Without Yao all the Chinese people that fill the nosebleed seats need a reason to show up
5.       Outspoken Christian seems to be working for the Denver Broncos so why not
6.       He went to Harvard
7.       They thought they were going to trade Goran Dragic
8.       Gasol + Jeremy Lin was supposed to be the perfect Yao replacement
9.       Makes videos with Houston native KevJumba
10.   If he doesn't work out as a backup backup backup PG, he can always move to the front office with Daryl Morey. Supposedly, he's good at math.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I’ve been putting off the idea of writing about Tebow quite a while. As the rest of the world seems to have clearly chosen sides on the most polarizing current player in sports, I find myself flipping back and forth. As one who views himself as a serious Christian, you would think that I would be on this bandwagon from the start, but as a University of Texas student during the Colt McCoy era, I could only view Tebow as annoying and prima-donna like. Colt too was open about his faith. Like Tebow, he went on mission trips in the summer. Colt also won many games on the field. But the media loved Tebow. Maybe it was the fact that he won National Championships and played for a team that was filled with talent at every position. Or it could be the fact that he wore his emotions on his sleeve and gave memorable speeches with big declarations of never giving up and winning every game mixed with crying and screaming in one emotional package.

I became sick of stories about Tebow, sick of him talking about how people passed him up at every stage growing up, sick of him calling out his haters publicly in poorly made energy drink commercials. Lastly, I was sick of how much love he got from people who knew nothing about his sport and how ugly he made the beautiful game of American football look.

America has a hard time accepting perfection, and even though Tebow’s game is far from it, his ability to stand firm in his belief through his word and actions have rubbed people the wrong way. There is a reason why Americans consistently vote to have Batman beat Superman in a cartoon episode over the years. Batman is dark and flawed, something we relate to, while Superman is too good to be true and kryptonite is just a lame made up weakness to make the storyline somewhat interesting. Half of the public including myself is just waiting for Tebow to do something stupid so we can point our fingers at him and say he is no different than Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson.

But as more and more people enter the conversation, one can only be in awe of a young man taking so much abuse and scrutiny. He is criticized when he wins, embarrassed when he loses, and rebuked by both people who love and hate him. Jake Plummer came out and blasted him. In a different way, Kurt Warner did the same. Not only are non-Christians sick of his “To God be the Glory” attitude, devoted Christians are too.

I hate Tebow when I’m with people clearly drunk on Tebow Kool-Aid, but love him when I watch people trash him on ESPN. Tebow represents many traits I dislike in people. He is a teacher's pet, overly confident, and annoyingly always positive. But I can’t help myself from loving what he is doing. Tebow wins in ways only divine intervention can logically explain. His teammates go to war for him on both offense and defense. And he stands up for something he believes in, something that just doesn’t happen in our society. Everyone is so politically correct these days. I am sorry, but the break at the end of the year is for Christmas, but in the corporate world the term is year-end party because we are afraid of connecting anything to religion. It is okay to have freedom of speech in promoting our dislike for our government and the rich, or the need for gay rights, but once a person mentions what God is doing in their life, all hell breaks loose.

Tebow is having a bigger impact that anyone could imagine. How many times have you heard someone go to church because of an athlete or talk about converting if he ever wins the Super Bowl? Because of Tebow, Christianity is relevant again in the public media and helping people feel unafraid to talk about a subject that has been buried for decades.

To be honest, maybe my dislike of Tebow stems from knowing that I wouldn’t be as strong or outspoken if given the same opportunity. Clearly I don’t go around my office proclaiming my faith or praising God for all the blessings I have received. I doubt any of my co-workers even know I am Christian unless they take a detailed look at my Facebook account. American Christians have become so comfortable in how we act, we make excuses like, religion is a personal choice, and no one should be pressured into it. Let’s face it, we are quite pathetic as a group of Christians. We are so afraid of offending people or getting funny looks that we deny who we are. If we really are Christians, we would understand the urgency to speak out. Tebow gets that, and unfortunately, even Kurt Warner does not. Jesus came to make people feel uncomfortable and make us realize something has to change. I hate that about Tebow. I hate how he makes me feel uncomfortable and I am almost embarrassed by how he proclaims the faith I believe in. But that has to do with me, my fears, and my selfishness to be loved and accepted by all.

It’s time that we all realize our hate for Tebow comes from the fact that he makes us feel like we didn’t try hard enough, whether it's on the field playing football or as a Christian sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. So to Tim Tebow, keep doing what you’re doing and maybe more and more people will understand what Tebowing is really all about.