Thursday, May 8, 2014

Keith Price - Rising to the Top

How does one prepare himself for success when there are people who don’t think he is worthy of reaching his goal?  The statistics clearly state he should receive an invitation to an event where all the best will be present, where they all have the opportunity to showcase their talents and have them compared side by side in front of talent evaluators that shape futures.

How does he keep a million dollar smile on his grill after the negative experiences?  NFL prospect, Keith Price, quarterback from the University of Washington, wouldn’t have even made it this far if other people had their way.

Introduced to Price while we were both attending the same baby shower, less than two weeks from the 2014 NFL draft, he was gracious enough to share some of his thoughts with me. “Playing in the NFL is all I ever dreamed about.  It’s all I ever wanted to do since I was a kid throwing the football right here in the street,” KP said to me with the trademark smile (UW fans call him Teeth Price) on his face after I prodded him about his level of nervousness, “It’s more about finally realizing that my dream is coming true.” 

KP wanted to know what my thoughts were about his place among the quarterback prospects after mutual friends told him that “I know more about sports than anyone around here.” I sized KP up and mentioned that I’m not an expert on talent evaluation but if I stand about an inch taller than him, off the top of my head I can say that he doesn’t have the prototypical quarterback height (I’m 6’3”), however that didn’t stand in Drew Brees’ or Russell Wilson’s way of winning Super Bowls.

After breaking several University of Washington career passing records, Price was overlooked for a place on the post-season Senior Bowl roster and even worse, didn’t receive an invite to the annual NFL combine in Indianapolis. The NFL combine is where collegiates who are hopeful of playing in the NFL display their athletic abilities and skills via a variety of drills in front of representatives which include general managers, assistant coaches, scouts, and medical staffs of all 32 NFL teams.

Asked about being snubbed from the combine KP said “I’ve had to deal with playing in the shadows my entire life. In high school (St. John Bosco in Bellflower, CA), I played in the same league as Matt Barkley. When I got to U-dub, they wanted to give the job to Nick Montana (son of Hall of Fame quarterback, Joe Montana). I never worry about what anybody from the outside says about me, I just put in the work and stay focused.”

Prior to receiving the news about not being invited to the combine, Price was training daily with several of the players who would later showcase their skills including the number one prospect, Blake Bortles from the University of Central Florida. Price ranks his abilities “right up there with the best of them.” He has a good relationship with the aforementioned Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, who has taken him under his wing, who believes Keith can be a starting quarterback at the highest level.I asked Keith how his workout at the University of Washington was received and he responded, “They saw what I can do.”

In the midst of laughs and a bunch of little kids running around, KP always has a smile on his face as an example to them to be happy because good things are ahead.  “I believe that the cream will always rise to the top,” is what he said to me as we parted ways.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mike D'Antoni Resigns From Lakers

I can't even be objective about this post to tell you the truth, as a Lakers' fan, I am so happy right now. After coaching the Los Angeles Lakers through their worst season in franchise history, coach Mike D'Antoni resigned from his post.

Not many other coaches would have survived the season under the immense slander he received from the Lakers' fan base. He didn't have much ammunition from the armory, as Kobe Bryant missed most of the season with injury to highlight the MASH unit that masqueraded as a professional basketball team. He was constantly at odds with the best player, Pau Gasol, and his defensive schemes were comical at best.

I tip my hat to coach Mike D'Antoni for doing the right thing by stepping down. Now, the coaching search begins. Who is next? Byron Scott? John Calipari? The NBA will be waiting for the announcement.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Donald Sterling: Just a Reminder, So What Should Be Done?

To the informed fans of the NBA, Donald Sterling's character had been well known for many years, so his latest display, thanks to TMZ, shouldn't come as a shock and elicit outrage. It should have been a simple reminder.

I ask those that are calling for his head:

Those are just a few of the reasons why very few free agents or coaches wanted to be employed by this organization in the past, and part of the reason that they were trash. It wasn't until David Stern vetoed the Lakers' trade for Chris Paul - he wanted to play in Los Angeles badly - adding him to the Clippers mix to help rising star Blake Griffin decide to be the first top shelf player to ACTUALLY WANT to sign a long term deal with the team. The rest is history. The team's performance on the court ushered the Sterling disdain into the background and made people forget about all of the bad he had done.

My Proposed Solution

Unfortunately forcing Donald Sterling to sell the Clippers while their value is at an all-time high will only benefit him.  What I propose is for the NBA to issue a death penalty on the Clippers. Take away the Clippers draft picks for the next five years and allowing any of their current players that are under contract to leave the team and make the Clippers pay their wages. Then remove the Clippers from any nationally-broadcasted games. This way, it will hurt Donald Sterling's pockets.

What do you think should be done about this?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Steel Reserves

The fan votes have been tallied for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game and the starters have been announced, picking the All-Star reserves is the hard part and with those selections are where the majority of the complaints are voiced. There should really be no bickering about the starters because the game is for the fans and they vote who they want to see.

The reserves however, should only be chosen based on merit
The coaches choose who the seven reserves are for their respective conference, and are given certain guidelines that need to be followed in order for the roster to be filled out:
Players must be ranked in specific order of preference in three categories.
  1. They must vote for two guards, three frontcourt players and two wild cards.
  2. Each coach is instructed to vote for players at the position he thinks is most advantageous for the All-Star team and not necessarily the one he normally plays during the season.
  3. Voting for their own players is restricted.

With that caveat, I give you my choices for All Star reserves.

The Western Conference All Stars as voted by the fans are Kobe Bryant (injured), Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, and Kevin Love.

Backcourt 1 - James Harden  He's the league's top scoring guard, gets to the cup and splashes from deep, and he's also a quality playmaker that drops over five dimes on the regular.

Backcourt 2 - Tony Parker  He's really one of the most under-appreciated of this era. A very efficient scorer, he shoots over 51% from the field and 43% from deep.

Frontcourt 1 - Lamarcus Aldridge  Finally living up to the promise that most scouts saw in him prior to being drafted. He's having a career year while leading the surprise team in the West in scoring and rebounding at 24.2 and 11.2 respectively.

Frontcourt 2 - Dwight Howard  Other than having some of his defensive numbers lower than usual, he's doing what he's always done, albeit less of an impact on his current team.

Frontcourt 3 - Anthony Davis  Here's a guy that is living up to every expectation of him and some, as he's an impact player on both ends of the court.

Wildcard 1 - Damian Lillard  I would have thought due to the rise of Aldridge that his assists would be up but they've taken a dip. Nevertheless, when you win games like his team has, he's earned his spot here.

Wildcard 2 - Chris Paul Until it's confirmed that he won't be back in time, the last spot belongs to the best point guard of this era.

*It's likely Kobe Bryant won't participate on the court, therefore incoming commissioner Adam Silver will choose his replacement. Dirk Nowitzki should receive the nod here, as it is likely he won't see another one of these games. 

The Eastern Conference All Stars as voted by the fans are Kyrie Irving, Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony.

Backcourt 1 - John Wall I don't know what USAB was thinking when they left Wall out of the 28 player pool for international play but he's clearly the best point guard in the Eastern Conference this season. one of only two players in the entire league averaging 20 points and 8 assists per game.

Backcourt 2 - Demar Derozan The go-to player on a division leading team is putting up decent numbers this season. His style of play is perfectly suited for this type of wide open game.

Frontcourt 1 - Roy Hibbert  This should be an automatic choice for coaches. Roy is the defensive anchor on the conference's best team and leading candidate for DPOY.

Frontcourt 2 - Joakim Noah  This team needs size, besides, there's not much too choose from due to injuries and poor performance. In any case, Noah is still worthy of a nod .

Frontcourt 3 - Chris Bosh  He's a player that I feel doesn't get enough credit for Miami's success. While the other two guys have taken days off, Bosh has been the glue.

Wildcard 1 - Paul Millsap  The under the radar signing of the summer has picked up the slack and filled the void that Al Horford's injury created. Winning has to be rewarded and Millsap is making an impact.

Wildcard 2 - Jeff Teague  This was the toughest choice to make on either roster but without this man, we'll be talking about Atlanta as one of the teams playing for a top draft pick.

Snub Knows

DeMarcus Cousins is having a career year, even having a better all around season than D12. Him being left off of the team is a direct result of last year's rule change that removed the center position from voting consideration, lumping them with forwards. Unfortunately his performance failing to translate to team success is what does him in at the end.

Lance Stephenson's play in the backcourt for Indiana is one of the main reasons for their success. However I asked myself if the numbers he's putting up weren't for the conference's number one team, "would I even consider him?", that answer would be no.

This conversation about who got snubbed and who belongs is always a hot topic.  Join the discussion by voicing your opinion in the comments section below.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The NBA’s First Trimester From A to Z

I published this earlier for The Pick and Roll.

There’s much to discuss about this fantastic NBA season thus far, and it’s hard to know what’s really going on by just checking box scores. So allow me to make it easy for you by giving you a tour of the NBA’s first trimester, from A to Z.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

NFL Week 17 Power Rankings

One week left in the season, let's see how they stack up.

1.  Seattle  No longer invincible at home but still belongs on top. They're going to need to figure out how to loosen up defenses for their run game.

2.  Denver  There shouldn't be a question about who the best regular season quarterback of All-Time is. The defense is hurting for certain, with no signs of improvement.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

NFL Brain Dump - Playoff Race of Disgrace

So many teams had a chance to make a statement in week 15 and strengthen their playoff position but failed to capitalize on their opportunities. The top three seeds in the AFC all lost and gave other teams hopes of getting either a playoff bye or home game. Outside of the West division, the top teams in the NFC are falling by the wayside. Now there are teams whose life lines were weak just a week ago, are now revitalized.