Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I've been in hiding as of late. I'll save you the Wanted poster jokes, because a bit of a somber mood hangs over things in the world of the Brown Bear, as I am sure it may for a good many people. The title of this post is stolen from a song by one of my favorite artists, Citizen Cope (find it here). The chorus goes as such;

If you come looking for hard times,
Hard Times ain't hard to find.

I couldn't help relating this to things going on in the world right now. I typically write about sports because its what I am passionate about, I feel pretty comfortable talking about it, and every now and then I think (hope) I might have something worth sharing. With the recent news emanating from State College regarding Joe Paterno's former assistant, who, out of disdain I am refusing to name, NBA Lockout, arrival of Fall/Winter, re-election and #occupywhatever protests, I felt the need to send out a little something. Part of what makes life so stunning, is that there are moments that seem dark, insurmountable, almost crushing at times; and there are moments of joy, euphoria, and emotion so poignant and fulfilling that we just sit in awe. The one thing I came away from this time of gloom with was a quote from a young mother who sat on the steps of the administration building at Pennsylvania State University. It read, "All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." At this point in the process, I feel like this is something that all of us can actively embrace and participate in. Loose enough that you can't blame me for whatever you do, and liberating enough that we all can sit and think about what it is we can do as individuals to push through the gloom and enjoy those moments of peace or excitement that, humbly, I believe to be the reason we watch and participate in sports, and work our way to bettering our lives and the lives of those around us. Or, to simplify it commercially, Just Do It. That is, once to you figure out what It is.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

End of the Dark Night....

With the end of the lockout, and the dark days of the Mountain West Conference growing smaller and smaller in my rearview, I knew that it was time to fire up the blog again. We've survived the summer downtime like a Lasik patient watching a game on the Mtn. (the jabs won't stop, can't stop), and we've bided our time waiting for the moment where we could all exhale and just softly whisper "football". How excited am I for the season to start? I ju8st rote tjhat last sentence with my rfootbqall mgloves on..........maybe we'll scratch that shtick for a column where I'm not ripping the Mtn...........anyways, GAME ON!!!!

-(Before reading this part, I ask you to click here, and turn your speakers up) Give the owners, players, media members, fans, sponsors, families, pets, and paper boys of the owners, players, media members, fans, sponsors and maybe even Roger Goodell credit for getting a deal done; OR, give them a round of applause for one of the greatest marketing ploys in the history of sports. As conspiratorial as that sounds, the NFL managed to turn the entire off-season into a long, ongoing story, finishing JUST in time to save precious pre-season revenue dollars, and us from being so desperate for football that we'd all foolishly tune into the Hall of Fame game, giving NBC more evidence to put it on year after year after year, all the while working people into such a frenzy that 9 of the top 10 trending topics on Google today were NFL related (per @darrenrovell), and we haven't even started training camp. Not so far fetched is it? Okay, it still is, but whatever the motives behind the lockout, the NFL came out of it looking and smelling like roses...

-Speaking of roses, someone should give the guy from Grumpy Old Men a bouquet and a freaking Oscar for his portrayal of NFL owner Mike Brown, because surely no legitimate businessman would force his franchise quarterback to retire instead of trading the guy because he was dissatisfied with the total unprofessionalism of the franchise. Need more proof the guy is worthy of the top of Mount Curmudgeon? How about Brown referencing that Palmer "gave his word" when he signed the contract. Would that be the same word you gave the team when you promised the team a new indoor facility TWO YEARS AGO, Mike? Or the one you gave to the city of 'Nati when you bilked them for millions while they built you a new stadium? I highly doubt his word choice would be the same if it was the Bengals cutting Palmer, whose non-guaranteed contract apparently means only one side has the right to be dissatisfied. Either way, you're not proving a point, you're just screwing Bengal fans everywhere, and I just get the feeling that this leads to you packing your crap in garbage bags and moving the team to LA next year, officially becoming the worst owner in NFL history, and no I'm not forgetting Al Davis (His abstaining vote was hilarious, are you kidding me? Has anyone checked to make sure Jonathon Silverman isn't standing next to Al at every public appearance, a la Weekend at Bernie's? We're sure? Alright then.) This is second oddest storyline of the season so far, right behind Pete Carroll getting the band back together to try and win another National Championship, errrr Super Bowl in Seattle. (You'll believe me when they sign Reggie Bush. Just wait.) Just let Carson go, sign Tyler Thigpen, and get plenty of cameras to follow Andy Dalton's face as he realizes every third play exactly what he's gotten into. Isn't there some way that Roger Goodell can just lock Mike Brown out? What's Larry Ellison up to now that the NBA is locked out? Better yet, how about Phil Knight dumps Oregon and tries his hand at an actual NFL team? Anything but Mike Brown. Or Donald Sterling.

-Pac-12 Media day was awesome. I couldn't help get goosebumps and day dream of seeing Utah headline Sportscenter Saturday nights or hearing Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit call their games on ABC. Sadly, despite moving up like 50 Cent after selling Lifewater, I was disappointed in a lot of the analysis of the Utes pre-season hopes. Seemingly everyone seems to think that our hopes rest squarely on Jordan Wynn. Granted, this year the Pac-12 has gone from Conference of Champions to the Conference of Quarterbacks, but can we stop placing the entire outcome of the season on the kid? He's a cog piece in the Rolex of success, but Wynn doesn't crank if the O line doesn't come together like they should, relying on two dominant tackles in John Wayne Cullen and Tony Bergstrom, behemoth Benji Kemoeatu at guard, and stalwart Tevita Stevens at center, a guy who is distinctly underrated and a veritable rock in the middle, not to mention the transition to a three point stance on offense, allowing the line better positioning for run blocking, and the addition of an H back, which will allow the linemen to double team more, as opposed to having to reach linebackers that are way too fast for them. Hell, even if Wynn does throw 30 touchdown passes this year, it means nothing if Brian Blechen and the U defenders can't stop the other team. I just feel that we're being fed dessert before dinner here, and unless some serious leaders step up a la Brian Johnson and Eric Weddle, on both sides of the ball, .500 ball will look more like a hopeful reality than a worst-case scenario.

-I apparently have terrible taste in choosing pro sports franchises to root for, because as if the Bengals weren't tormenting me enough, the Padres continue to just ruin baseball for me. At this point, I've stopped rooting for a strong finish and now spend my days thinking of guys we can trade for prospects, and hope that some day, we pull a Pittsburgh and win some games. Speaking of the Bucs, how much fun is baseball right now? The NL central is the hottest race in baseball not involving the AL East, and all three teams come from small markets? Weird. After a long talk with the Count of Realistic Expectations and Rationalism aka my cousin, we both realized that there isn't a whole lot wrong with baseball, other than the sport needs some marketing help. Those guys have all become so robotic and obsessed the sanctity of the game that, when a guy like Nyjer Morgan comes along, he's blacklisted for having some personality. Whoever takes over for Bud Selig has some work to do, but the cupboard certainly isn't bare. The MLB fan cave is honestly a really cool idea, and simply bringing back double headers could solve the season-length issue, just leaving the pace of the game and marketing as the two remaining hurdles to making baseball better. (Quick Note: I wrote this before the disaster of a call in the Braves-Pirates game last night. Let's add replay to the fix-it list too. Thanks)

-As summer comes to a close, so does one of the worst movie seasons in my short lifespan. I've seen two good (not great) comedies in Horrible Bosses and Hangover 2, one really odd, but somewhat entertaining movie in Super 8, and had a visual steriod shot in the eye from Michael Bay in Transformers 3 (worth seeing strictly for Rosie) and pretty much ignored everything else. My hopes in America have been buoyed by the trailer for Moneyball, Cowboys V Aliens, Alec Burks Indy Pro-Am highlights, and Otis, the new single from Jay-Z and Kanye, but while Jay and Ye have shown some amazing potential, nothing was really GREAT. I wonder if my expectations are just too high, or if this summer is just a residual effect of the economy and people aren't taking risks, but I feel like there have to be good things on the horizon, like the end of this column. Keep living the dream, Gang.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Draft Chat

As if you haven't had enough draft conversation leading up to "the biggest moment in _________ franchise history", the boss man and myself did a little back and forth chat with some Q and A regarding the draft. Enjoy!

So, Chasey T, answer me this; with the Third pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz select.......

"Brandon Knight" - I have a strong feeling that the Jazz will pick Brandon Knight. Rumor has it that KOC loves this kid and has for some time. I also think that this pick more than ever is really about "who" KOC really wants. He has a new Coach and I don't think he feels as inclined to listen to Coach Corbin, as much as he may have listened and negotiated with Coach Sloan. So to me, Brandon Knight is pretty close to a lock at #3.

Let me ask you now GM Brown Bear, with the 12th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz select.......

Jimmec Thompyomton!

Okay, that might be the worst answer in history, but the 12th pick is an enigma. I think there are teams that want to move up, and while this draft isn't top heavy on talent, there are a lot of really good role players later on that you could pick up if a team like Chicago wanted to move up to take Klay Thompson. If I have my choice, I take either Alec Burks or Klay Thompson. I question if Jimmer will be on the board at 12, and especially if you take Brandon Knight, you are better off taking guys that can possibly fill two needs, as opposed to drafting another rookie point that is just going to sit on the bench. Thompson is Kyle Korver 2.0, more creative with the ball, plays better defense, although not great, and will be a respectable outside shooter for a long, long time. The intrigue here is with Chris Singleton, who is long and can defend, or Bismack Biyombo, who athletically is just amazing, but can't shoot. At the end of the day, defense is something Coach Corbin can scheme and teach, scoring and elite shooting is not, so I have to lean towards Burks and Thompson.

Chase, with all the rumors swirling, what possible trades do you see the Jazz making, and who would you be targeting as the team transitions to a new look?

I like the idea of Klay Thompson on the Jazz. He immediately makes us a better shooting team without stepping on the floor. I do not like Alec Burks. He is Ronne Brewer's identical brother. Athletic, can make plays, but has no Jump shot. I'm tired of SGs who can't shoot playing for the Jazz. Singleton is interesting to me. Defense, Hard worker and ok on offense. I like him with the 12th pick.
The Jazz can make some moves right now. They have assets. Players, Picks, and better cap room then they've had in years. Do the Jazz try to move Devin Harris? If you draft Brandon Knight at #3 it makes sense. You could use the #12 pick and D. Harris for a player and pick in next year’s draft?? Do you move Paul Millsap? Millsap and Harris for Andre Iguodala and a pick in next year’s draft?
If I'm the Jazz I do absolutely NOTHING! I like Paul Milsap in the 6th man role and I like his contract. Do NOT move him! I also like Devin Harris playing off the ball with B. Knight in the game and Harris give Knight 2 years to grow into a full-time starter and leader. Draft your Future PG at #3 and a Role Player at #12. Then let this team start to take shape before you blow it up anymore.

What moves do you make Kevin O'Brown Bear?

The Alec Burks comparison is pretty solid, although he is a little better at creating his shot and getting to the rim, I get the feeling that he may have an attitude issue. The Jazz are sitting in a bit of a No Man's Land in some respects, because you are working on your future while trying to integrate the pieces that you've built around for the last year. The only piece I could see really making the Jazz better would be offering Devin Harris and the number 12 for Danny Granger (numbers work, btw). The unknowns with this team are too valuable to make any drastic moves, especially when you factor in that a lockout is on the horizon. The best way to get better right now is to draft guys who will fit into your system as it is currently constructed. I'll say this, I think big things are coming from Al Jefferson and Devin Harris, and if you can hold on for one more year to build some value in some guys, that could work to your advantage in drafting a scoring 3 next year, where you and I both know Harrison Barnes most likely will be waiting. I personally think Barnes is a more talented Danny Granger, or even a Carmelo. I know you'd love to see him in a Jazz Jersey too.

Being a BYU fan, where do you REALLY want to see Jimmer go?

I love Harrison Barnes. And next year hopefully the Warriors aren't as good and we have 2 picks in the 1st round next year to make some moves. I would like to see Danny Granger, but I think you would have to give Millsap and the 12th pick. Indiana has Collison and little need for Harris. They would like a big guy who can shoot like Sap.

Being a BYU guy I'd like to see Jimmer in a "Good" situation. I feel there are 3 good situations for him.

-Phoenix - Playing behind Steve Nash for a few years and the uptempo style that will fit him.

-Utah - If picked at 12 I don't think the Jazz are asking him to be a Starting PG. They are asking for a 15-20 minute backup who can play situational because of his offense. Jimmer fits that perfect. I also think after the novelty of Jimmer wore off in 2 years, expectations would not be more than they should be. First year would be a struggle though.

-New York - The uptempo run and gun style the Knicks play would really fit Jimmer. They have 2 Stars already. Jimmer would fit perfect as the 3rd guy in his home state.

Since you are a Utah guy (Jimmer hater) I assume you want to see Jimmer anywhere but with the Jazz???

First things first, I am, and always will be, a Utah Man. There is no wavering in my allegiance, but as a wise basketball player once said, Game respect Game, and I really do like Jimmer Fredette's game. Now, I'm in no way endorsing him for the Jazz, my personal feeling is that choosing him would have more of an effect off the court than on. Do he and Hayward battle to be the face of the franchise? What happens to the Jazz fans who don't want Jimmer, as there are a number of them? You and I have gone round and round about Alex Smith and the Niners, and let’s be honest, it would be better for us both if Alex were playing elsewhere. I think the same may come around with Jimmer if expectations were not met. Not denying his talent or how it will translate, but injuries, lockout, free agency, etc are all factors that could contribute to how the guy develops. My hunch is he is without a doubt a great fit in Phoenix or New York, but something tells me he goes to Sacramento. The team needs a guy like Jimmer, good leadership, awesome with the community, solid BYU fan base there, and more than anything, he combats the craziness of Cousins and Evans because he just has that effect on people. Both Kemba Walker and one of the Morris Twins have publicly stated how he is the man. The Maloofs need someone like that right now. There's little arguing that the franchise needs a game changer, and who better for Paul Westphal to connect with than Timmer, errr, I mean Jimmer. I just feel his intangibles make him a better pick for them. Not to mention it takes the Jazz out from between a rock and a hard place.

I agree the Jazz may be in a hard place to pick Jimmer. I personally don't think the Jazz should or will pick Jimmer. I think it's best for both parties to have him go #7 to the Kings so the Jazz never have to face that question.

Brown Bear let me ask you this, From this draft, In 3 years __________ is playing in an All-Star game. (Not named D. Williams or K. Irving)

Enes Kanter, or Brandon Knight.

I know you asked for a single name, but I felt like both of those guys needed to be in the conversation. Kanter has a lot of potential, but more than that, there just aren't a lot of bigs in the league that are All-Star worthy, especially in the East. As Garnett starts to go downhill, you pretty much have Dwight Howard and Amare Stoudamire, then a bunch of second tier guys, so potentially his path is the most clear.

Knight also has the same advantage. If he goes to the Jazz, and CP3 ends up in New York, the only guy he's going to have to beat out in three years is Russ Westbrook, and possibly Mike Conley or Tony Parker, unless Kyle Lowry or JJ Barea does something unexpected.

I've got two questions for you though, first is do you see any potential all-stars in this draft, and second, who is your "Paul Millsap" sleeper pick of the draft, or in other words, which late first/second rounders do you like?

I don't know if there are any All-Stars in this draft. If there are, it’s maybe 1, 2 at the most. I think Kyrie Irving and Bismack Biyombo. Irving because he will be on a lousy team and dominate the ball, Biyombo because of his Defense. If he leads league in Rebounding and Blocks he will be an All-Star. I don't see Derrick Williams as an All-Star and Kanter does not look like one to me either. Brandon Knight has the brains and work ethic, but not sure his skill set will get him to an all-star.

As far as sleepers go in the late part of draft I like 2 guys. Jimmy Butler-Marquette and Darius Morris-Michigan. I think Butler will be a starter in the league. He is an all-around great talent who plays Defense and can light it up on the offensive end. Butler will surprise people. Darius Morris I have liked for awhile. He could go 1st round or slip to 2nd round. Either way I think he can be a starting PG in this league. Good size and skill set for a PG. He is a pass first player and can create off the dribble. Give him a year or two and have him develop a jump shot and he will be a good player.

Who are your sleepers Brown Bear?

Seeing as how you stole Jimmy Butler out from underneath me, I'm going to head in a different direction and pick David Lighty, with honorable mentions for Shelvin Mack and Nolan Smith. I watched all three play during the course of the year, and David Lighty really reminded me of Wes Matthews, with a little more handle and controlled play. I like Shelvin Mack as a bigger backup point, and Nolan Smith at times showed some serious heart, and I feel like guys like that can always make an impact in the NBA. I'm curious to see what happens with Keith Benson out of Oakland, and Jeremy Tyler, the kid who went overseas to Japan to play instead of going to college, but I don't feel confident enough to pick them as potential impact players.

My last question for you is this, Mr. Thomas; Make a prediction for what you think will be the biggest surprise/shocker of the draft....

The biggest draft Surprise/Shocker will be... Whoever trades up to #2 to draft Derick Williams. I don't think Minnesota wants to stay at #2 and I think they will move it on draft day. So biggest surprise will be who traded up, and what did they give up in order to acquire the #2 pick???

Couldn't agree with you more, but I'm going to get a little crazy and say that the biggest surprise of the draft will be David Stern announcing that Mark Cuban will be taking over for him during the lockout. What, you got something against Mark Cuban?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dr. Jimmer, Mr Fredette

One of the great things about literature, specifically fiction, is that you can develop characters to better explain disorders, traits, character, flaws, etc, something that Robert Louis Stevenson managed to work in his favor with the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the book, the main character, Dr Jekyll creates a potion that transforms him into his alter ego, a vicious bloke he calls Mr Hyde. While Jimmer Fredette does not necessarily mirror the character in Stevenson's novel, the argument for whether or not the Utah Jazz should select him with the pick most certainly does. Just like an Oreo, there are two sides to every point FOR or AGAINST the Glens Falls Phenom.

1. Fredette would create a stir, both economically and attention-wise for the Jazz.

No doubt there would be a lot of eyes cast in the direction of the Utah Jazz, mostly due to the national interest in Jimmer and how his game will translate into the league. The Jekyll side of this is simple, more attention means more promotion for a franchise that has been more reliable, consistent, and arguably successful than almost any other in the league, both in and out of Utah, The nation fell in love with Jimmer, people would be tuning in. The downside? After losing Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams both mid season, the last thing the organization needs is more hype and distraction. Not to mention that Jimmer would take attention away from second year player Gordon Hayward, who in many eyes became the unofficial face of the franchise in the last few games, possibly causing a loss of confidence in the sharpshooter from Butler, and most definitely causing a conflict of interest regarding who to promote more, an element the Jazz would rather not deal with. Economically, the effect of selling a few more jerseys would be negated by the amount of money winning a conference finals, or, perish the thought, an NBA Finals would net you. In short, the best way Jimmer can make the Jazz money is to help them win games. Period.

2. Jimmer's ability to score, and the need for solid outside shooting.

This debate has been argued to death here locally. Yes, he can shoot at an elite NBA level, and even I can concede that he will be able to create his own shot and "get his" at the NBA level. His size would most likely prevent him from being a starter, but as Jason Terry proves regularly, sixth men in the NBA can be just as valuable. The Hyde Side of Jimmer is just as publicized, below average defense, something I'm sure he'll improve on as much as his body will allow, and the questions as to whether his game translates into the Jazz system, and if he will be able to adjust it accordingly, not to mention how his teammates will respond to him jacking up 35-footers.

3. Jimmer the Teammate

His boys from BYU stand by him like the Spartans did with Leonidas, as do his USA teammates, BYU fans, sports announcers, etc. In fact, the only people who don't seem to like him are Utah fans and Rick Reilly, the latter for reasons still unknown to this particular writer, but there's always the hell. This is pointless. He'll get along fine with Gordon, Pogo Evans, and Favor Flave. The guys are all so similar in that they all want to win, and all pretty much live in the gym. Every team has their ups and downs, but c'mon, who could hate seeing Fredette walking around in a pink backpack all season? Put your hand down, Mr. Reilly.

4. Is he the right pick?

This is a weird draft. Half the time I'm 100 percent sold that Brandon Knight is the best pick, some days I mull over trading the pick for Derrick Williams, and some days I just feel like bigger is better, meaning Enes Kanter. Bottom line is if you take Knight at three, you REALLY have to be convinced that Jimmer is the best player left on the board, and that you can find minutes for Raja Bell, Brandon Knight, CJ Miles, Gordon Hayward, Devin Harris and Jimmer at the 1, 2, and possibly three spot if you decide to go small, not to mention that you have players like Chris Singleton or Alec Burks that fill other needs you have. Second to this is the fact that no one knows for sure if Jimmer can play starter minutes in the NBA, and if you aren't convinced, are you willing to draft a bench player at 12? The possibility of someone like Bismack Biyombo sliding to 12 also throws a wrench into your plans. Best case scenario for the Jazz is this; taking either Knight, Vesely, or Kanter at three, and the Kings take Jimmer with seven, Charlotte with nine, or the Bucks at 10, and you never have to deal with the question. Bottom line is this, with Fredette on the board at 12, do you want to be the guy who passes him up, giving him a chip on his shoulder against you? Chances are if you did that, Dr Jimmer just might go into Mr Fredette mode every time he plays you. That right there is a scary thought.

Hump Day Help

I don’t want things to get awkward between us. I know, I only write when I’m “in the mood,” but it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what we have here. It’s a good thing. When you need me, I just throw it down, and when I need you, well, I feel like you’re always there for me. Readers, that is. I’m talking about my readers. I know I’ve been off the reservation for a minute, but now that the two job schedule is more complete, you can expect a hail storm of activity on the blog. No, I don’t really believe that, either, but it sounded like the right thing to say. Let’s get it started….

Hard to really start with anything other than the Heat. In case you’ve been travelling Europe by train with no digital connection to the world, thus being unable to read my blog posts, you know I hate the Heat. Not quite to Laker status, but close as you can get. I don’t hate Lebron, Dwayne Wade, Udonis Haslem or Mike Bibby(Chris Bosh was left off for a reason), but I feel like they did something to the NBA that just feels wrong. Sports is about winning to a degree, but really, the good feelings that come from winning are more about the overcoming of obstacles, triumph, bonding together with your team, and even the immortal “Nobody believed in us but the guys in this locker room!!!” response than they are about hoisting the trophy, sporting a fatty ring, and poppin champagne. I feel like what Lebron, D Wade, and Bosh did was worse in a way than using steroids, like they worked the system so they could be lazy and still win a championship, all while having a good ole time in Miami. Athletics was one of the few places where I wanted it to be hard, where I wanted it to kill me day after day, and see how much better I got, not just ride the coattails of the good players around me. Its like hooking up with a porn star because she’s too coked out to realize what she is doing. Okay, that’s a bad example, but you get my point. When the Heat win, my prevalent thought will be, “You didn’t earn this, you just ruined the NBA more so you could claim to be a champion,” and it will be a very sad day indeed for those of us who love the game for all the right reasons.

Don’t blame Jim Tressel for what is happening at Ohio State. He absolutely needs to be blamed for his cover up, and although his vest currently is covered in the stink of hypocrisy, the mess with athletes accepting benefits and boosters and yada, yada, yada is not his fault. If you don’t know who Jim Delaney is, consider him to be America’s Most Wanted in regards to ridding ourselves of the BCS. He is the mythical head of the non-existent BCS corporation, basically a tower of paperwork created by the big six conferences to keep money in their pockets and out of everyone elses. Delaney has admitted multiple times that a playoff could generate almost $1 billion more in revenue for the NCAA, more than enough money to solve the problem of paying players, budget shortfalls for smaller schools, etc, and refuses to do anything about it. People argue against a playoff by using this years’ Butler v. UConn basketball game as the reason why you should let computers pick, but I have boxers with more holes in them. (Don’t think too hard on that one.) One, Butler and UConn making the championship game is a reflection of the selection committee doing a poor job of seeding teams. Those who point to this years’ BCS National Championship as proof the system works are neglecting a terrific team in TCU that without a doubt deserved a chance to be National Championship contenders. If you think for one minute that Cam Newton could have outsmarted the Tank Carder-led TCU defense, you need to watch Jon Gruden’s QB camp where he essentially makes Newton look like a well-dressed moron. TCU could have beat them 8 times out of ten. Book it. I’ve never been so sure. Yet, we’ll never know because the BCS didn’t think TCU was good enough. Need even more evidence? With the BCS (not the NCAA mind you) vacating USC’s championship from 2004, arguments are popping up to award that to someone else. Some people think Auburn, being the highest-ranked undefeated deserves it, some feel Oklahoma, because they played in the championship game, and of course Utah has a legitimate case as well, but if there had been a playoff that year, the re-awarding of the National Championship would be easy. Believe me when I say, more violations will come out against EVERYONE. The rules are just too stupid and restrictive to be completely obeyed. Remember, The University of Utah Basketball Program was penalized because Coach Majerus served cookies at film sessions and bought Keith Van Horn breakfast the night his father passed away. And you thought the IRS was a bunch of sticklers….

One of my favorite recommendations on my “Who To Follow” list for Twitter is Darren Rovell, CNN’s Sports/Business reporter, and one of the segments he does on Twitter is the empty stadium seating for baseball. Some of the emptiness is not surprising, but one that really shocked me was seeing how empty Cleveland’s stadium was, despite the Indians being in first place. You would think that the city of Cleveland would be clamoring to jump on some kind of sports success, and the empty seats caused me to pause and think...What is going on with Baseball? Our national pastime has long been in the shadow of the NBA and NFL, especially during the first part of summer when the Finals is happening, but this year seems especially slow, and I think the primary reason is this; Baseball lacks a storyline. When the primary drama in your league is who will own the Dodgers at the end of the season, there may be a problem. Last year it was the tremendous number of no hitters and perfect games coming about, in the Steroid Era it was chasing the Babe, and typically for me, I've found baseball is at its' best when someone, or something, emerges to grab my attention. I'll readily admit I'm not a huge baseball game, I want to be, I really do, but something needs to happen to distract me from all the other sports going on right now, especially.....

NHL! NHL! NHL! Having recently jumped on the Hockey wagon by selecting the Ducks of Anaheim as my team of choice, (Thanks Coach Bombay) this year's hockey playoffs have been a great distraction to the fact that the Jazz didn't make the playoffs. Although the Ducks weren't as Mighty as they have been in years past, I still enjoyed watching them scrap, despite not having proverbial brick wall Goalie Jonas Hiller for most of the season and playoffs, and being led by 40-year old "phenom" Teemu Selanne, it was a great way to start liking hockey, and the playoffs so far have not disappointed. I have no idea what strategies are taking place, why the goalie for the Bruins stopped playing basketball, or how you manage to get twins on the same team, but when a dude bites another guy's finger, and the next game the other team shoves their fingers in the offending team's faces, asking them to bite them, something is going well in your sport. Hockey isn't classy, gentlemanly, or steeped in tradition and constantly aware of it's history, simply, Hockey is fun, Hockey is badass, and you can officially count me as a fan. Eat that, Soccer.

Chasey T and the Mock Draft

Back for the first time with my 2011 NBA Mock Draft. For now I will list the order I believe the lottery will be picked. Later we will review and discuss. It's been a minute, but I'm Back. The order of this draft is what I think could possibly happen as well as what teams have a need for.

1. Cleveland - Kyrie Irving - PG - Duke
2. Minnesota - Derrick Williams - SF/PF - Arizona
3. Utah - Brandon Knight - PG - Kentucky
4. Cleveland - Enes Kanter - PF/C - Turkey
5. Toronto - Jan Vesely - SF/PF - Serbia
6. Washington - Alec Burks - SG - Colorado
7. Sacramento - Kemba Walker - PG - Connecticut
8. Detroit - Bismack Biyomba - PF/C - Congo
9. Charlotte - Tristan Tompson - PF - Texas
10. Milwaukee - Kawhi Leonard - SF - San Diego St.
11. Golden St. - Klay Thompson - SG - Washington St.
12. Utah - Jordan Hamilton - SF/SG - Texas
13. Phoenix - Jimmer Fredette - PG - BYU
14. Houston - Jonas Valanciunas - PF/C - Lithuania

So there you have it. This is my early read of what I feel will happen. We are still 2 weeks away from the draft so it is subject to change. I will analyze the picks on my next update. Until next time... Stay Good - CHASEY T

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rule of Three....

I'm a terrible tweeter. I rarely can get my thoughts across in 140 characters, or 160 for that matter, if we're talking about texting. Knowing this is why I often put hand to keyboard(sounds weird, right?) and have to write down my thoughts about whatever it is that is on my mind. So obviously, when it came to watching the lottery last night, I had a flurry of thoughts, none of which would fit on twitter. So, instead, I'm logging about 3000 words of "What Will KOC Do" and mixing in my own opinion and "extensive analysis" regarding the upcoming draft and/or future of the Jazz.

Draft Pick #3

First things first. Kevin O'Connor sounded as excited as I, or any other Jazz fan have ever heard him sound. KOC's new role as almost sole constructor of the Jazz should either confirm or dissuade the notion that the man is a good GM. For years, Jerry and Kevin had to learn to work together, partially because Larry H. Miller made them, and partially because both men want to win so badly that they set aside ego, for the most part, and tried to work things out. Now that Jerry has exited, and Kevin has "his choice" in place as coach, he'll have to start this new chapter with a solid pick at number 3. Discussion has already risen to an audible roar to trade the third pick and #12 to Minnesota, either straight across for 2, add number 20, or to include another player in the deal, like CJ Miles or Raja Bell, and then draft Derrick Williams. I think this is a TERRIBLE idea. I know that the labor negotiations are coming up, and the lockout blah blah blah, but realistically, the NBA isn't in as bad of shape competition-wise as people might argue, even if the superstars do start joining forces en masse. I continually point to Oklahoma City as my example. The goal is to amass enough talent to possibly peak at the right time and win a championship. That happens either through free agency or draft, and with a little luck. Although I love Derrick Williams, I don't think he is a franchise-altering player worth giving up multiple picks for. Luck just might position you for him at three, if not, draft Brandon Knight, groom a PG for the future, with the option to either not re-sign Devin Harris at 9 mil plus or trade him for more draft picks, take Chris Singleton at the 12 spot and off you go.

Twelfth Man

Before I rampage here, notice I left out Enes Kanter. My hunch is that Kevin O'Connor saw enough out of him to know that he isn't a better player than either Knight or Williams when the Jazz worked him out earlier in the year, and credit O'Connor for having the foresight to get a look at the kid before all this "I won't work out against anyone" bull shiieerrr, um, garbage, started happening. I'd like to say that the Jazz will strike gold here, find some undiscovered gem and be lauded for their scouting prowess, but that's foolish. The best bet here is to take whatever need you have that wasn't filled earlier in the round. IF the Jazz get Derrick Williams, then the Jazz have to look at either, gulp, Jimmer Fredette or Alec Burks here. Right now, your logjam is at the four and five spots, and you need this season to figure out who is worth keeping next to Derrick Favors. More than likely the Jazz will end up taking Brandon Knight with the third pick, at which point you should look to draft either Burks or Chris Singleton, a defensive-minded wing with good length, athleticism and a decent shooting touch that would help bolster the two weakest areas of the team, shooting, and defense. (I'll also tell you that this spring has been wet, and Obama is president here, because apparently I'm making a list of the obvious.) Your hope is that whatever player gets drafted here becomes a contributor or, adds trade value later on down the road. Just to temper your expectations, the last five players taken at 12 were; 2010 Xavier Henry, 2009 Gerald Henderson, 2008 Jason Thompson, 2007 Thaddeus Young, 2006 Hilton Armstrong, and 2005 Yaroslav Korolev. (That last one was on the house, something young Yaro also hears a lot.)

Doors left open

There are other options in this draft. You could try and trade down (extremely unlikely) or you could look at a player like Kemba Walker at number three, or Jan Vesely, but if you are going to stick to Kevin O'Connor's rule of best player available, then those two automatically come below Knight or Williams. The 12th pick has some flexibility, you could take one of the Morris twins, Kawhi Leonard could possibly be on the board, and Jordan Hamilton from Texas most likely will still be available, but Hamilton lacks the defensive effort that Burks has shown from time to time, and Burks could be a better fit for a backcourt that includes Devin Harris and Gordon Hayward already. An attempt at drafting a big man, meaning Center, would be a drastic reach, as the only legit centers on the board would most likely be Donatas Montiejunas, a skilled European project, or Lucas Nogueira, a very raw, very Brazilian, center that despite being 7 feet tall, is only 18 years of age. Montiejunas would have to fall for the Jazz, and while Nogueira has some very interesting traits, it would be hard to justify taking him so early, especially seeing as how he has never played professional or collegiate basketball.