Friday, June 25, 2010

Wizards Draft Hangover

I have been getting asked about my take on the NBA draft a lot today, and a lot of people seem to think I was trying to give myself some time digest the flurry of activity from last night before posting..........not true. I was busy celebrating a great day for the Wizards by having I lost count how many John Wall Shots. Usually when a man drinks something blue and is not at the beach, questions are asked; but if wanting to spend the rest of my life around John Wall is wrong, then I don't want to be right. For those of you particularly interested, the bar I was at had to use blueberry vodka, sour mix, sprite, and maybe something else to make the shots blue. They tasted like Kool-Aid.

Round 1 of I lost count how many

My general takes on draft prospects are on Bullets Forever, with the disclosure that I watched fewer college basketball prospects this year than I can remember, so don't have the usual cutting insights (phenomenal work from last year if I do say so, other than calling it the WDE).

As far as the Wizards, I have been hearing almost nothing but complaining, but we can't forget that what really matters in the big picture is that we got Wall. As Chad Ford pointed out in his chat with Sports Guy earlier this week, each draft has 5 stars and 5 starters, and everyone else is either out of the league or just a rotation player. I know there are plenty examples of late picks turning into gold, but generally speaking, the draft is about getting a star. Wall's development is infinitely more important to this franchise than those of all the other guys we drafted our could have drafted combined. And in conclusion, we got Wall!

That Wizards hat does look good on him...

At first, I hated the Kirk Hinrich trade, but now do not see it as a problem. To be clear, we acquired Hinrich, who will be paid $9 million this year and $8 million next year, the 17th pick, and $3 million cash money for a future 2nd-rounder. All these media people are throwing around that the Wizards paid $17 million for the 17th pick and Oklahoma City paid only $2 million, but this is not exactly the case. Firstly, OKC traded the 32nd pick for the 18th, in addition to taking on Daequan Cook. Although this draft looks short on star power, it is definitely a deep one, and with the NBA finances likely tightening, the 2nd pick of the 2nd round is an extremely valuable asset. The future 2nd rounder that the Wizards gave up is significantly less valuable. Then there is the fact that $17 MILLION sounds insane, but the Wizards have plenty of cap space this season that they do not need, so the $9 million this year should not even be considered by anyone other than Ted Leonsis, as he is the one paying that money out his own pocket. The issue is all about 2 years from now, when we will be paying Hinrich again and will want as much cap flexibility as possible. The question really is whether Hinrich's contract will prevent us from making any move we want in the summer of 2011. Yes, there is a salary cap, but we can exceed it by paying a luxury tax and Leonsis is clearly okay with taking financial hits to help the team. Even if there is a situation where Hinrich's deal pushes us into luxury tax territory, then you must consider the $3 million cash we received. That money with interest, can account for us going about $2 million over the cap. That may have been confusing, but for all intents and purposes, Hinrich is only really being paid $6 million in 2011, which is not considerably more than some random Joe Blow. This is not to mention the fact that Hinrich will be 'Hinrich's expiring contract in the summer of 2011. Just ask yourself, will Hinrich's contract be what is preventing us from making a move? The answer is clearly no, although I envy Leonsis for being filthy rich enough to pay that kind of contract.

Hinrich as a player I actually think could be a nice fit next to John Wall in the '2 guard offense'. The only part of this I don't like is that I would rather have a young guy with some upside as our 3rd guard. Hinrich will cut into Young Sushi's minutes, and may force to Wizards to not re-sign Shaun Livingston. I think the success of the deal may hinge on whether Livingston leaves and if so, how he performs. Overall though I think the deal is neither good or bad, but just okay.

The Kevin Seraphin pick at #17 is fine by me as well. I have honestly not seen him play 1 second of basketball, but have heard that he's raw and possibly comparable to Serge Ibaka. My concern is that Seraphin sounds like he moved up draft boards because of Ibaka's success, which is one of those irrational ideas that leads to bad draft decisions. Ibaka's development has little or no relation to that of Seraphin. That said, Mike Prada of Bullets Forever heard from sources that Seraphin is the 'real deal' and could be here as early as next season. I don't particularly mind him spending another year in Europe, as the Wizards have a large amount of minutes accounted for thanks to Gil, Wall, Andray Blatche, and Javale McGee. With 4 picks, I have no problem with one of them staying overseas for a year. That said, the Wizards need to know what they have, and we won't know until Seraphin starts playing in the NBA. Again though, I am perfectly fine with this pick and will trust the pros.

The Trevor Booker selection and trade are where I start to wonder what the hell Ernie Grunfeld and co. were doing. I have a small problem with the selection, and a major one with the trade. I have seen him play and he was the entire Clemson team last year, seriously, but lacks great athleticism and thus has little upside. He was productive though, and has a good shot as a rotation guy. I would have preferred Damion James, who is by most accounts the better prospect, and fills a need at SF. Jordan Crawford and Daniel Orton were also still on the board and considered better prospects. I think the Wizards are in a position where we can draft best talent available that is not a PG, but I am not gaga over any of these guys. Maybe Booker proves us wrong, which is why I don't have a huge issue, although I personally would have taken James or Crawford.

The trade is the baffling part. From everything us outsiders know, Booker would have been available at #30 or even #35; Chad Ford's final mock draft had him going #44! We could have kept our 2 picks and still gotten Booker and a better prospect than Hamady Ndiaye. Even if the Wizards knew something we don't, and Booker went before #30, then we could have had our choice of 2 of the following: Lance Stephenson, Tiny Gallon, Terrico White, Darrington Hobson, Jarvis Varnado, Devin Ebanks, Solomon Alabi, or Stanley Robinson (and Hassan Whiteside was available at #30). Even if Booker and Ndiaye turns out to be great, this deal may not be a good one.

As far as Ndiaye is concerned, I do not know much about him, even though I watch a ton of Big East basketball as a Georgetown fan. He was Chad Ford's #79 ranked prospect, but I don't see a lot of other guys who excite me other than Stanley Robinson.

This draft also caps what has been a rough year for Ernie: the awful draft pick trade of 2010 when we could have taken Rubio or Stephen Curry, trading away Jamison and Butler for little in return, and now apparently botching the #30 and #35 picks of the draft. Overall though, Grunfeld will look good because we lucked into John freaking Wall, and that's the way we should all come away from tonight. Sure, Leonsis' wallet is taking a hit, and we could have guys with a better potential to make our rotation and have trade value, but we got the Great Wall and that is why I had one glorious hangover today - one that might even inspire me to buy some blue vodka.

(John Wall image courtesy of foxnews.com)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

USA Over Algeria: Unbelievable Video Of Fan Reactions Around The Country

No words. Just watch.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Unofficial Capitals Awards Odds

Tonight in Vegas, Mike Green and Alex Ovechkin have a chance to make history. According to a tweet by PR guru Nate Ewell last night, not since Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey have two teammates repeated as NHL first team all-stars. Ovechkin is a lock and, no disrespect to Drew Doughty and Duncan Keith, Green should be too.




Odds of this happening, determined by yours truly without consulting official odds-makers in Vegas, using a calculator, or putting down the bottle:

4 to 5


Two-time reigning MVP Alex Ovechkin is nominated again for the Hart Memorial Trophy, which is voted on by the media. His competition is Henrik Sedin, who led the league in points, and Sidney Crosby, who tied for the league lead in goals with 51. While Ovechkin was bested in points by Sedin and equaled by Crosby, he dominated in points per game with a whopping (and career best) 1.51. Some are convinced that two absences due to suspension, a flameout in the Olympics, and the star-studded Caps lineup will hurt is chances to take home the trophy. Fair or unfair, I am one of those people, and I think Sedin ultimately takes home the Hart (althought I hope I'm wrong).


Odds of Ovechkin winning the Hart Trophy, determined by yours truly without consulting official odds-makers in Vegas, using a calculator, or putting down the bottle:

3 to 2


The Ted Lindsay Award, formerly known as the Lester B. Pearson Award, is given to the league's most outstanding player, as voted on by the NHL Player's Association. Ovechkin has won this award two years in a row and there is no reason it should end this year. While media members may fault Ovechkin for "dirty" play, players surely realize that there isn't a more dominating presence on the ice. I am fairly confident he will take home this trophy for the third year in a row.


Odds of Ovechkin winning the Ted Lindsay Award, determined by yours truly without consulting official odds-makers in Vegas, using a calculator, or putting down the bottle:


1 to 2


Now on to the difficult stuff and, as usual, it's Mike Green in question. The James Norris Memorial Trophy is awarded by the media to the NHL's top defense player who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-around ability at the position. While there are many tight races to be won tonight, this one will be subject to the most scrutiny. It's easy to determine a defenseman's offensive contributions through goals, assists, and points, but to quantify his defensive abilities is a much more daunting tasks. Advanced metrics such as GAON/60 and +-ON/60 help paint the picture but not every voter trusts them, let alone knows about them. Two things can sway these voters: their eyes and what everyone else is saying. Their eyes should tell them that Mike Green is the most dominant offensive defenseman in the game, and the stats back it up (76 points in 71 games to lead all defenseman). However, their eyes are also telling them that Green is prone to bad turnovers, that he gambles too much in the defensive zone, that he is cashing in on a number of easy assists to superstars like Ovechkin, Alex Semin, and Nicklas Backstrom. Making matters worse, there is a stigma surrounding Green, mostly undeserved, that he can't play defense because he's so good at offense. Just blame ignorant Flyers fans for that one. He's not freakin' Sandis Ozolinsh, people.


Nevertheless, Duncan Keith's consistency throughout the season as the steady rock of the Chicago defense will win him his first Norris Trophy. Drew Doughty will finish a close second, and Green a close third. I don't see Green ever winning a Norris if he fails to do so this year, especially as a young stud like Doughty matures into a better Chris Pronger, minus the douchiness.

I will be stunned if Green wins this award.

Odds of Mike Green winning the Norris Trophy, determined by yours truly without consulting official odds-makers in Vegas, using a calculator, or putting down the bottle:

3 to 1

The festivities begin tonight at 7:30 ET. The boozy pregame begins whenever you goddamn feel like it.
 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What's Wrong with Matt Wieters? I know.

If you'd asked 2009 Red Rover to fill in the blank: "next season, Matt Wieters will have 5 home runs by ___," I would have answered "the third inning." That we are 67 games and more than 200 at-bats into this season and Wieters has only 5 home runs and a dreadful .230 batting average has me concerned. Not enough to abandon ship like some spineless traitor, but enough to pierce through the protective shield of numbness I have carefully crafted over the past decade of local sporting failure.



Popout.


Luckily, when disappointment of this magnitude strikes me, I have a fail-safe coping mechanism: I rationalize. I think of random stuff that's to blame for the shortcomings of my adopted extensions of self. After all, I'm totally awesome and therefore so are the athletes I root for. So, Matt Wieters, what ails ye?

1.) A strained ligament in the doohicky.
2.) Behind-the-scenes relationship strife with secret lover January Jones.
3.) His hands sting from the powerful fastballs of future aces and stalwart rookies Brian Matusz and Jakie Arrieta.
4.) He is lulling American League pitchers to sleep, poised to break out with a 50 HR second half.
5.) He is saving all of his strength to hit a 49 mile home run that nails Strasburg on the mound in DC that would thereby eliminate that attention-thieving foe and reintroduce Wieters to the local messianic spotlight.
6.) He is actually secretly Ted Leonsis. Man's been busy recently.
7.) He is so respectful of Ovechkin, he will wait until the Great 8 and the Caps get their Cup before he starts his career.
8.) He wants me to start rooting for the Nationals more.

If number 8 is the sole reason, then I guess Matt Wieters is God. Because isn't this EXACTLY like the biblical tests God gives to those Bible guys who have to, like, you know, avoid temptation and whatever? Like that dude who couldn't eat the apple and stuff? Or wasn't there a dude who God sent some once-in-a-generation flamethrowing ace to root for instead of an overhyped catching prospect up the road? I think that was Leviticus. See mom! I paid attention in Sunday school.

Well, GodWieters, I'm trying my damndest. Yet I find myself emotionally investing in the Nats success, and I'm struggling with this dilemma just like Rico Fantastic and Marion's Crackpipe. Although these new feelings come not at the expense of rooting for the O's, I fear someday they might. So throw me a bone here. Or at least make a female companion out of a bone for me, like you did with the apple thief. That would be pretty weird.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dan Snyder Never Ceases to Hurt Me

“I learned – and I think this has to do with Joe Gibbs – the most important thing for me personally is to have a head coach who is extremely competent, that’s what I’ve got with Mike. It creates an opportunity for me to be extremely hands off and not have to worry. I’m just enjoying myself. It’s been a lot of fun for me. It’s been effortless on my part."

Unbelievable, he is just full of surprises.............I don't even know where to begin..................I mean, is he serious?!? This idiot only realizes now that after seeking out the best professionals to improve your extremely valuable entity, you should just let them do their jobs and not meddle?!? Jim Zorn was maybe in a little over his head, but Joe Gibbs and Marty Schottenheimer!!! Clearly those guys needed your complete and utter lack of football experience. I can just see how the creator of 'Marty-ball' and 'Camp Schottenheimer' would step back and say, 'You know what, I think maybe I need to change my ways; we need some outside perspective from someone who has never played, coached, analyzed, or even written about the game, and this Snyder guy really has a fresh take.' 11 years! I want the last 11 years of my football life back!

Lavar Arrington and Chad Dukes were on this today, and I think they put it best by saying this is akin to having a broken air conditioner, then hiring a repair man to fix the issue, but instead of relaxing and letting the repair guy work, you completely stress over the repair because you decide to step in and do it yourself.

In a bit of fairness, Lavar made a great point that Snyder is an entrepreneur, and as anyone who has worked for or been an entrepreneur knows, there are a lot of control issues in running a business. More specifically, many entrepreneurs are complete control freaks, and Snyder is no different. As Lavar also noted, that does not mean being controlling in every situation is right, but you can at least understand Snyder's perspective a little bit. That said, it's been 11 years of constant public derision and a clear lack of success on the field; he clearly should have gotten the message and changed his ways awhile ago.

The good news is that Dan Snyder finally appears to be hands-off with the Skins front office. He may still be more involved than most people would like, but he appears to have learned something from these loooooong 11 years. Rehashing the incompetence makes me absurdly angry and frustrated, but maybe, just maybe, we really have reached a turning point. Now it's just up to Shanahan.......

(Image courtesy of misterirrelevant.com)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hell Freezes Over: Redskins Address a Need by Trading Pick for Vet and Don't Get Shelled!

I didn't think it could happen, but the Redskins made a move that makes sense. After years of going after big name players in the worst manner possible (see Cutler, Jay), we traded traded a mid-round draft pick for a good player with a reasonable contract at a position of need. Sure, Jammal Brown missed all of last season through injury, and has been far from a model citizen, but he is a 2x Pro-Bowler who fills our most gaping hole at RT for a reasonable $3.62 million next year. Call me crazy, but this smells like progress.

Even better, our offensive line is.........wait for it.............not yet..............not awful. Before I get too excited, Football Outsiders have shown that the best indicator of offensive line performance is continuity, which is something we certainly lack. Rabach and Dockery have only played the entirety of last season together (as well as the '05 and '06 seasons), and Mike Williams played a good chunk with those guys last year, but may be replaced by Artis Hicks, and we are bringing in 2 new OTs to comprise what has to be an O-Line with amongst the least amount of time spent playing together. That said, we finally have at least decent talent on the line for the first time in waaaay too long. Rabach and Dockery are not world-beaters, but they are at least mediocre; according to a KC Joyner article on espn.com that I cannot find and my well trained eyes, both of those guys rated are at least okay. I am not saying Trent Williams is definitely going to be great, but we have at least mediocre talent, if not better, at every offensive line position.

Almost as impressive, the Skins traded multiple draft picks for a veteran and are not getting destroyed by the media. I know that the strategy has not worked in the past, but I find it amazing that my friends and the media consistently pan the Skins for any time they do this type of deal, yet laud the efforts of any other team by saying something like, 'you can't draft a guy as good as Leon Washington in the 5th round'. I am not sure if this is a respect for Shanahan thing, but the the media was also awfully quiet on the Adam Carriker trade. Just another sweet sign of progress?

I personally don't really care what my friends and media say (ironic, I know), but things are changing in DC. It will take time for Jamal Brown to shake off the rust, Trent Williams to get up to speed, and the entire line to work well together, but this is definitely a huge step in the right direction.


(Image courtesy of cdn.picapp.com)