Thursday, July 8, 2010

And We're Back!

After a long hiatus, the Four Point Play blog is back in action on WordPress! This time we’re going for bigger and better things – combining the sports foundation of the original Four Point Play with some new music for all of you, and whatever else I feel like posting on this thing.

In order to avoid beating the LeBron horse to death, I’ll spare you all my commentary before “The Decision” and leave you with another very interesting and important issue that has flown under the radar for some time. I am talking specifically about New York State’s attempt to continue the ban on MMA in the state. I personally feel very strongly that New York is lagging far behind in embracing this groundbreaking and exciting sport. As of now, NY is one of 6 states that continues to ban MMA matches from taking place, a rather absurd stance for New York, especially in its current financial state… I will leave you with the words of a friend, Alexia Klein of MMA Industries, to further explain this issue and shed some more light on this issue:

Mixed Martial Arts Legislation in NY Would Spur New Economic Activity

By Alexia Krause

With the New York state deficit hitting $8 billion, steps need to be taken in order to right the ship that is the state’s budget. Recently New York Gov. David Paterson stated that the projected deficit for the upcoming fiscal year has grown by an additional $750 million. There’s no doubting that the Empire State is in dire straits trying to fix their deficit. It is extremely difficult trying to balance a state budget at a time when the country as a whole is going through some of its most difficult economic hurdles in recent history. This forces us to take a fresh look at which programs will continue to receive funding. As a result, the state has been forced to cut, reject, and outright shut down many state programs and projects in order to make some type of movement out of the red and back into the black. Many of these budget cuts (like closing down state parks and cutting funding to public schools) were rampant and have cast an unfavorable light on politicians in Albany in the eyes of many New Yorkers. However, something must be done in order to fight the ailing state economy. As coincidence has it, a good fight might just be the answer to the budget problems.

On June 16th, the New York State Senate passed a bill to legalize MMA in the state in an effort to help amend the state’s financial problems. Opening the floodgates for MMA in New York would be more of a benefit to the state than it would to the MMA Industry. For years, promoters have happily held venues in nearby New Jersey. Mixed martial arts competitions like UFC, among others, have been banned in the state because many lawmakers felt it was too brutal of a sport (even though other legal sports like football and hockey can be just as- if not more- brutal). With the passing of this new bill, fans will finally be able to support their home state and local venues. MMA events would potentially have access to one of the most active metropolises in the world- New York City. There are dozens of great venues surrounding the state who have been capitalizing on this opportunity for years. At the UFC’s most recent event held in New Jersey, there were more New York residents in attendance than NJ natives. Fortunately state legislators have finally come to the realization that legalizing MMA will open access to a new revenue stream that it gravely needs.

By welcoming MMA in the state, as much as $11 million in economic activity could be generated for each event held. This activity ranges from salaries paid to venue workers, to an increased interest in martial arts training academies and dojos, and to tourism dollars spent in the surrounding area. At every step of the way, tax revenue is generated. Governor Paterson expects over $2 million generated annually if the bill is passed. The MMA organization UFC (who would play a large role in scheduling events in the state) is broadcasted in over 170 countries, made $5.1 million in Pay-Per-View sales in 2007 alone, and averaged 30.6 million viewers in that same year. This is 3 years ago mind you; the figures projected for the next fiscal year are much higher. This type of outreach is bound to benefit the state and bring thousands to events, thus helping the economies of struggling New York state cities.

Holding events isn’t the only way that this bill will help bring money to the state of New York. In fact, the broad reach of allowing MMA to be legalized is something that will affect participants in the sport from top to bottom. For example, people who run mixed martial training gyms and programs will see a huge revenue generating boost in enrollment that will give many the chance to train and compete in their home state. This bill may even have the effect of preventing violence instead of causing it (which opponents of the bill argue) because it will allow many kids to go someplace safe after school. Studies have shown that when at-risk children are trained by mentors in a disciplined sport such as MMA, they are less likely to become involved in criminal or violent activities. This is one of the most important aspects of the bill from a human perspective, and one of the greatest reasons why this bill needs to be passed.

Every once in a while, a sport can transcend its origins and become a true cultural phenomenon. This is what MMA could be for the state of New York and that is precisely why this bill needs to be passed. The New York budget is going through one of its worst economic times ever, but by legalizing MMA, it can help to fight back against the deficit and make a difference in the lives of millions of New Yorkers.


As of the morning of June 29th, 2010, the state assembly quashed the proposed bill which would legalize the sport. The efforts to block MMA in the state are led by a Mr. Bob Reilly, Assemblyman of the 109th district. You can read some of his stances in aninterview conducted by Ben Fowlkes of last year. If you visit that link, pay careful attention to his inconsistencies and question-dodging. This man claims to be a lifelong fan of boxing, but some of his comments in that interview are quite surprising.

Although this decision is a big setback for the industry, this is not the final word for the measure. New York is one of only 6 states which blindly ignore this sport. With your support, new revenue and jobs can be still be created.

Alexia is a lifelong fan of sports and fitness. Recently, she’s been smitten by Mixed Martial Arts. She is happy to be representing MMA Industries, proud suppliers of MMA gloves to athletes around the world. Alexia continues to bring you the latest news in the mixed martial arts world on everything from the most advanced MMA equipment to the newest MMA shirts.

A lot more to come from Four Point Play in the coming months, you won’t be disappointed. Thanks for everyones support and let’s hope New York will be rocking with LeBron-o-mania tonight.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Back in Action

So, I've admittedly been a little lazy with the summer updates, but being that the sports world is rather dormant right now I felt as if the summer months were the best time to take a little break. But fear not! Come fall, with football season, MLB playoffs, the start of NBA/NHL... Four Point Play will be back in full swing, better than ever, with (hopefully) a new website and some new writers to entertain you all.

That being said, if anybody wants to hop on and do some NFL team analysis, I'd love to have you write for the site, just pick a team other than the Giants (that's my job) and send whatever you have to - if I like it, I'll post it - simple as that.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with some of the more comical aspects of the fateful night that "Plaxi-CON" Burress derailed the Giants season:

- on the evening of November 28th, Giants teammates Plaxico Burress, Antonio Pierce and Ahmad Bradshaw were spotted at New York Strip club Head Quarters, eating turkey dinners and drinking bottles of Patron (not the greatest combo if you ask me). While at Head Quarters, the married Pierce was caught groping numerous strippers (still love ya Pierce)

- after Head Quarters, the three men headed over to Latin Quarter, a club on the East Side - where the dimwitted Burress brought his .40-cal Glock with him to the VIP section (smart one Plax! VIP sections at nightclubs are real dangerous spots! Thank god you had your glock with you)

- around 1:50 AM, Burress is escorted to another VIP section of the club by a bouncer and fumbles his gun, leading to the infamous "shot through the thigh" (AND YOU'RE TO BLAME! YOU GIVE THE GIANTTSS A BADDDD NAME!).

- being the good teammate that he is, Pierce then rushed Burress to his Escalade and drove off to New York-Cornell Hospital (Burress's gun was apparently brought to the car and placed in the glovebox by a caring bouncer).

- once at the hospital, Burress thought it wise to sign in under the fake name "Harris Smith" (Fantasy Football team name anyone?) and stays there overnight while being treated for gunshot wounds

- Pierce leaves Burress at the hospital and drives home, but not before dropping his blood soaked gun off with Plax's wife Tiffany (I'm sure she was THRILLED that Antonio Pierce woke her up in the middle of the night and handed her a bloody gun that her husband had shot himself with... what a wake up call)

- Ahmad Bradshaw is nowhere to be found - he was clearly the smartest one of the three and must have stayed at Head Quarters groping strippers all night (a perfectly common way for an NFL star to spend his evenings)

Now, on another note, legendary NY District Attorny Robert Morgenthau is apparently hellbent on sending a message to ill-behaved athletes and is determined to get Burress behind bars for AT LEAST two years. Morgenthau will be retiring at years end and it seems as if he would like to go out with a bang - so good luck trying to play football Plax... won't be easy.

PS - FUCK YOU PLAXICO! You went from "hero to zero" to use the old cliche in 99% of Giant's fans books. You singlehandedly derailed the Giants shot at back t0 back Superbowls with your selfish behavior. Without your services, we lost to the FUCKING EAGLES! AT HOME! IN THE PLAYOFFS! The same Eagles that consistently never had an answer for you. The same Eagles that you had torched throughout your entire career. Eli wasn't the same without you. The offense as a whole wasn't the same without you. And despite the best efforts of Domenik Hixon, Steve Smith, Amani Toomer and the rest of the Giants WR's, they just weren't good enough. So, I hope you had fun at Latin Quarter that night, and I at least hope you got laid before you shot yourself. Have fun in jail, ask Vick for some advice.

Monday, July 6, 2009

2009 NBA Free Agency

While the summer sports lull drags on and the baseball highlights play on repeat, many fans tend to tune out until the NFL comes back, or at least tone down their rabid fandom to appease the hordes of wives and girlfriends constantly complaining about sports overload. Unfortunately for our women, however, there are many of us who are drawn to the offseason by reports of free agent signings, training camp rumors and "wheelin and dealin" all around the sports world. For my purposes, I will focus on the recent plethora of NBA free agent signings, and while the available talent sure does not compare to next years free agent bonanza, there were a good number of significant moves made to spark interest in the NBA offseason.

Let's begin things with the almighty New York Knickerbockers and their blockbuster headline trade of Quentin Richardson to Memphis (who was quickly unloaded by Memphis to the Clippers for another former Knick Zach Randolph... so Q Rich to the Clippers, Z Bo to the Grizz... both are sure to catapult their respective teams into the pantheon of all time great NBA teams... or not) for the much maligned Darko Milicic (for those of you with short term memory loss, remember that Darko was drafted AHEAD of Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.. among others). While many fans may be skeptical of this move, I was rather pleased that Donnie Walsh managed to unload one of our many shoot-first, pass-later guards, as well as my personal least-favorite Knick. Darko will most likely never live up to his draft pick status (mainly due to the incredible success of the rest of that draft class, which of course also included Lebron James), but he has been showing signs of improvement and is a definite upgrade to the Knicks frontcourt clusterfuck featuring the likes of the immortal Jared Jeffries, Chris Wilcox and Eddy Curry.

In keeping with the orange and blue, many recent talks had indicated that Jason Kidd was high on the Knicks target list and would have been a great veteran addition to the team, but at last they could not match Mark Cuban's enticing offer of 3-years/$25 million for the 36 year old Kidd and he has since decided to stay put in Dallas.

Now that we have discussed the Knicks... let's move on to one of the bigger free agent signings so far this summer. I am talking of course about Shaq going to the Cavs to potentially end his career playing with Lebron and bringing a title to Cleveland (or so they hope). The 37 year old Diesel certainly has some stuff left in the tank and will provide a much needed frontcourt boost for the Cavs (who had an awfully hard time defending Dwight Howard this past postseason). This deal also sent Sasha Pavlovic and Ben Wallace to Phoenix (clearly a salary dump move for the Suns, for they will likely waive Pavlovic and Wallace has said he will retire). I certainly feel for Suns fans lately, it is clear that GM Steve Kerr believes their window to win a championship with this current squad has closed and they have begun the rebuilding process (a long, slow and painful process for any fan to endure) and as well as sending Shaq packing, they have also been looking to deal both Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash.

The next major move to take place (which actually happened before the Shaq deal) was the Bucks sending Richard Jefferson to the Spurs in another similar salary dump deal, while acquiring Kurt Thomas, Bruce Bowen and Fabricio Oberto. This deal is a serious winner for the Spurs, who add the dynamic scorer Richard Jefferson to an already stacked starting lineup, which now features four all-stars in Duncan, Ginobli, Jefferson and Parker. The Spurs believe their window is closing quickly to win another championship with this core and they certainly made the necessary moves to give them as good a shot as anyone this year. Watch out for San Antonio.

In keeping with the Bucks, who have seemingly gutted their roster, they also lost Charlie Villanueva via free agency to the Pistons. The Pistons also made another big acquisition by signing free agent Ben Gordon from the Bulls, but did also lose Rasheed Wallace to the Celtics, and are likely to lose Allen Iverson as well. All in all, the Pistons have come out on top and should be optimistic about their new potential starting five of Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Jason Maxiell.

Let's stop for a second and reflect on Boston's recent signing of Rasheed Wallace. If this had happened five years ago, the Celtics may have been unbeatable - picture this starting lineup when all players were in their prime - Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett. At one point that was a bonafide allstar team, and currently ain't too shabby either. However, all reports point to Marbury leaving town (which is a good thing for Boston) as Rondo has clearly established himself as the Celtics point guard of the future.

As the balance of power slowly shifts back to the Eastern Conference, the Orlando Magic had to make their move to stay competitive with Boston and Cleveland and pulled off a blockbuster deal with the Nets by landing Vince Carter. This is certainly a "swing for the fences" deal because they did lose their best young guard (Courtney Lee) for an aging, albeit effective, veteran in VC. This deal would have been even sweeter for the Magic had they been able to hold on to Turkoglu, but alas they could not afford him and Hedo opted to spend his days in the international friendly city of Toronto, giving Toronto an impressive starting five consisting of Jose Calderon, Shawn Marion, Hedo Turkoglu, Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani.

As if winning the NBA championship and retaining Kobe Bryant in the offseason wasn't enough, the Lakers have gone ahead and added Ron Artest to an already scary good Lakers team that at this point has to be the clear cut favorite to repeat as champions. Although they did lose Trevor Ariza (a vital part of their championship run), who signed with the Rockets, they replaced him with the more than capable Artest. Not only did they sign Artest, they also got Jackson to agree to stay on as head coach for at least one more year, showing that they aren't done yet.

Some more minor moves occurred around the NBA as well:
  • Jamal Crawford to the Hawks (Speedy Claxton and Acie Law going to the Warriors)
  • Randy Foye and Mile Miller to the Wizards (Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila and Oleksiy Pecherov to the Timberwolves)
Some other notable free agents, such as Carlos Boozer, Lamar Odom and Jason Kidd, decided to stay put and wait a few more years before testing out the free agency waters again. Others, such as David Lee, Allen Iverson and Nate Robinson are still waiting for the July 15th deadline to see where they will end up next season.

Now that we have gone over all of the major moves to this point in the NBA free agency, I will rank the best starting five in the league ON PAPER and include my incredibly premature predictions for the 2009-2010 season. Keep in mind, the following are only MY PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS (using the five best players on a team, and many will probably change because as we know, NBA coaches love messing around with their starters), and of course I am assuming that everyone will stay healthy, which we also know will never happen, but it makes this more fun.

1. Lakers - Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
2. Spurs - Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Richard Jefferson, Tim Duncan, Matt Bonner
3. Celtics - Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Rasheed Wallace, Kevin Garnett
4. Magic - Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus, Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard
5. Cavaliers - Mo Williams, Delonte West, Lebron James, Anderson Varejao, SHAQ
6. Nuggets - Chauncey Billups, JR Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin, Nene
7. Mavericks - Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Josh Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, Erick Dampier
8. Raptors - Jose Calderon, Shawn Marion, Hedo Turkoglu, Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani
9. Jazz - Deron Williams, Ronnie Brewer, Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur
10. Pistons - Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Jason Maxiell
11. Heat - Mario Chalmers, Dwayne Wade, Michael Beasley, Jermaine O'Neal, Udonis Haslem
12. Hawks - Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, Josh Smith, Al Horford
13. Hornets - Chris Paul, Peja Stojakovic, Mo Peterson, David West, Tyson Chandler
14. Thunder - Russel Westrbook, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic
15. Blazers - Steve Blake, Brandon Roy, Travis Outlaw, Lamarcus Aldridge, Greg Oden
16. Wizards - Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Mike Miller, Antawn Jamison, Brendan Haywood
17. Bulls - Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, John Salmons, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah
18. Clippers - Eric Gordon, Baron Davis, Blake Griffin, Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman
19. Knicks - Chris Duhon, Nate Robinson, Wilson Chandler, Al Harrington, David Lee
20. Rockets - Aaron Brooks, Trevor Ariza, Tracy McGrady, Shane Battier, Luis Scola
21. Suns - Steve Nash, Leandro Barbosa, Jason Richardson, Amare Stoudemire, Robin Lopez
22. Warriors - Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, Corey Maggete, Anthony Randolph, Andris Biedrins
23. Bobcats - Raymond Felton, Raja Bell, Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw, Emeka Okafor
24. Grizzlies - Mike Conley, OJ Mayo, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Hasheem Thabeet
25. 76ers - Andre Miller, Willie Green, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Samuel Dalembert
26. Nets - Devin Harris, Courtney Lee, Keyon Dooling, Yi Jianlian, Brook Lopez
27. Bucks - Ramon Sessions, Brandon Jennings, Michael Redd, Bruce Bowen, Andrew Bogut
28. Pacers - TJ Ford, Danny Granger, Jarrett Jack, Troy Murphy, Jeff Foster
29. Timberwolves - Ricky Rubio, Johnny Flyn, Ryan Gomes, Kevin Love, Al Jefferson
30. Kings - Bobby Jackson, Kevin Martin, Tyreke Evans, Andres Nocioni, Spencer Hawes

Western Conference Finals: Lakers over Spurs in 7
Eastern Conference Finals: Cavs over Celtics in 6
Finals: Cavs over Lakers in 7

Rookie of the Year: Blake Griffin
MVP: Lebron James

There was no reason or rhyme to those predictions, I just have some sort of gut feeling in July that this year Lebron will prove to Cleveland that he can in fact win a title, and then move on and bring his glory to New York (wishful thinking, I know... but a fan can dream!).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No Mas - WILT'S 20,000

Just came across this awesome shirt from the company No Mas celebrating the Lakers latest title and Wilt's legendary 20,000 (if you don't know what that's referring too, you don't deserve to wear that shirt). If you are interested in purchasing this, use the code "STILT" at checkout and get it for only $20 (down from $36).... (I'm no Lakers fan, but PROPS on that shirt... awesome!)

New York fans! Not to worry, go use the code "REBOUND" and get 20% of all their other awesome basketball-related shirts:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Look Back - The 2008 NBA Draft

So, as the 2009 NBA Draft looms, I will take a look back at the some of the high and low points of last years draft - the best picks, the worst picks, the most surprising rookies, the biggest busts etc... Here's a little refresher of the 2008 NBA Draft Results for all my fellow short-term memory loss heads out there:

1. Bulls - Derrick Rose
2. Heat - Michael Beasley
3. Wolves - O.J. Mayo (traded to Grizzlies)
4. Thunder - Russel Westbrook
5. Grizzlies - Kevin Love (traded to Wolves)
6. Knicks - Danilo Gallinari
7. Clippers - Eric Gordon
8. Bucks - Joe Alexander
9. Bobcats - DJ Augustin
10. Nets - Brook Lopez
11. Pacers - Jerryd Bayless
12. Kings - Jason Thompson
13. Blazers - Brandon Rush
14. Warriors - Anthony Randolph
15. Suns - Robin Lopez
16. 76ers - Marreese Speights
17. Pacers - Roy Hibbert
18. Wizards - Javale McGee
19. Cavs - JJ Hickson
20. Bobcats - Alexis Ajinca
21. Nets - Ryan Anderson
22. Magic - Courtney Lee
23. Jazz - Kosta Koufos
24. Thunder - Serge Ibaka
25. Rockets - Nicholas Batum (traded to Blazers)
26. Spurs - George Hill
27. Blazers - Darrell Arthur
28. Grizzlies - Donte Green (* this was the pick the Grizz got in return from the Lakers in the atrocious Pau Gasol trade... Donte Green, Kwame Brown, Aaron McKie, Javaris Crittenton or Pau Gasol? Who would you rather have?)
29. Pistons - DJ White
30. Celtics - JR Giddens

NOTABLE 2ND ROUND PICKS: Mario Chalmers, Bill Walker, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Chris Douglas Roberts

Now, obviously. it is much easier to look back in hindsight and criticize/praise teams for making good or bad draft picks. So, as I sit at my computer and bash organizations for making stupid draft picks, I do it all while respecting the pressure and stress that goes into the NBA draft and all the talented people involved in scouting and finding the next NBA superstars. Without further ado:

Best Pick of the 2008 Draft: TIE - Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic

While Derrick Rose is clearly a franchise point guard, superstar in the making, he was not the obvious choice for the #1 pick in the 2009 draft. Beasley's incredible college numbers made it more interesting, but in the end the Bulls clearly made the right decision.

The real steal in the first round of the 2008 draft came courtesy of the Orlando Magic, drafting the Western Kentucky guard Courtney Lee with the 22nd pick.
While it's not that surprising that Lee fell this far, a good number of teams are kicking themselves for not believing in this guy. We found out this year that Lee is an elite defensive guard, a substantial scoring threat and an overall great teammate. I'm sure any Knick fan would be thrilled to have Courtney Lee on our roster instead of the injury-plagued (albeit quite talented Danilo Gallinari).

Worst Pick of the 2008 Draft: Wolves (Pacers a close second)

Add another blunder to the Timberwolves management's resume... sure they drafted OJ Mayo, but immediately shipped him away for Kevin Love (a solid player, but by no means will he ever make as much as an impact on an NBA team as Mayo).

No disrespect to K Love, I think he will be a good player for years to come, but it was certainly questionable to pass on a talent like Mayo... something the Wolves will be regretting for a long time to come.

Most Surprising Rookie Season: Brook Lopez

I don't think anybody, including the Nets, thought Brook Lopez was going to blossom into the dynamic low post force that he has become so quickly. As a ROOKIE, Lopez averaged 13 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.8 blocks, shot 53% from the field and 79% from the free throw line. Impressive. Also not to mention his wide array of post moves resembles that of a seasoned veteran, not a rookie. At this point, I'd take Lopez over the likes of Greg Oden in a heartbeat.

Least Impressive Rookie Season: Danilo Gallinari

Yes I am being extra hard on Vanilla Danilo being a Knicks fan and all, and he did have a legitimate excuse for sucking this year, with his back injury and all, and he did show some promising signs in the limited minutes he did play. But all that being said, with the #6 pick in the draft, by all measures he had a very disappointing rookie year.

Most Untapped Potential: Anthony Randolph

This 6'10" athletic phenom from LSU unfortunately spent a large portion of this season wasting away on the Warriors bench due to Don Nelson's rigid unwillingness to give his rookies substantial playing time (that is until the Warriors decided to tank last season... but that's a whole other story). Anyways, this guy could be special if given the right circumstances, he's a dynamic scorer down low, a shot blocking presence and freakishly athletic. Look out for Randolph in the coming years, whether with the Warriors or not.

As the draft day approaches we can only speculate as to who will emerge into a bonafide NBA superstar and who will go the way of the Kwame Brown's of the world... anything can happen, I just pray the Knicks make a worthwhile pick with their ONE draft pick (thanks Isiah) or turn it into some valuable assets for the 2010 season. The draft airs tomorrow, June 25th @ 7 PM on ESPN.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ian's 2009 NBA Mock Draft

With the NBA draft looming (happens on Tuesday, June 25th) there are many questions to be asked about how the Knicks will approach their 8th selection. While there are a number of possibilities to be investigated (i.e. trading up with Memphis to the #2 pick to acquire Hasheem Thabeet, or trading down with somebody if the Knicks target Stephen Curry is off the board and roll with a point guard like Ty Lawson etc...), we cannot assume that any of this will happen. That being said, I will now investigate the players likely to available when the Knicks pick comes around on Tuesday.

Ian's Mock Draft:

1. Los Angeles Clippers -
Blake Griffin
ESPN Player Comparison: Carlos Boozer meets Amare Stoudemire
By this point, we all know that Griffin is doomed to rot away in Clipper-land, poor kid - he really had so much potential.

2. Memphis Grizzlies - Hasheem Thabeet (barring a trade)
ESPN Player Comparison: Dikembe Mutombo

I would LOVE for the Knicks to trade up to #2 with Memphis and be able to grab Thabeet (who many are calling the next coming of Mutombo). Thabeet's defensive presence would benefit New York moreso than another shoot-first guard and would finally bring a legitimate big man to New York for the first time since Ewing (I'm not counting the ghost of Marcus Camby who wasted away on our bench with injuries before we shipped him off and he had a career resurgence). I just compared Thabeet to Ewing?! Don't get me wrong, the offensive skills are lightyears apart, and while Thabeet may never be even close to the overall player Ewing was, he's still a highly skilled 7'3" defensive guru - last time I checked, those don't grow on trees.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder - James Harden
ESPN Player Comparison: "a less athletic" Brandon Roy

While many "experts" have had the Thunder taking Spanish phenom Ricky Rubio here with the #3 pick, I personally think he will slip a little bit. First of all, the Thunder already have a stud point guard in Russel Westbrook, and if Thabeet is off the board (obviously if he's still here, he would be the pick for the Thunder), I wouldn't be surprised if the Thunder drafted this dynamic scorer to add to the already impressive young core of Durant, Westbrook and Jeff Green.

4. Sacramento Kings - Ricky Rubio
ESPN Player Comparison: didn't give one, so I'm going to say shades of Tony Parker combined with a better version of fellow Spaniard Jose Calderon (see for yourself)

If Rubio is still on the board, I think the Kings would be nuts to pass up on him, although Sacramento ownership has been quoted as saying that even if he is available that "it's far from a done deal." This years draft is incredibly deep and PG, and of all the teams in the league, the Kinds PG need is well documented - do you really want to spend another year starting Beno Udrih?! Of all the talented PG's in this years draft - Rubio, Holiday, Jennings, Flyn, Lawson - I would say Rubio has the most upsided, but at this point it's basically a crapshoot, I'd be happy with any of those guys on my squad.

5. Washington Wizards - Jrue Holiday
ESPN Player Comparison: did'nt give one, I'd say he reminds me a bit of Mo Williams, although not as good a shooter... yet.

Reports say that the Wiz are trying hard to shop this pick (Knicks, Rockets, Pacers all in talks) to land a proven veteran. However, if they don't pull this move off, it's clear that they're in need of PG, and Holiday may be the best still available. When Arenas is healthy, he can capably run the point (although clearly not his true position), but that's a big when, for Arenas is as injury prone as they come.

6. Minnesota Timberwolves - DeMar DeRozan
ESPN Player Comparison: Richard Jefferson

What's with all the "De-" prefixes? What's wrong with the name Mar Rozan, I think it sounds pretty cool actually. I'm curious as to the origins of African American names beginning with "De", you've never met a white guy who's name was DeBill DeSmith or DeTodd DeMarks. Interesting, if anybody has any feedback to this conundrum please let me know. Anyways, this may be wishful thinking on my part that the Wolves don't snag Curry here (a definite possibility with their need at SG), but DeRozan is more of a dynamic player and seems more NBA-ready than Curry.

7. Golden State Warriors - Brandon Jennings
ESPN Player Comparison: didn't give one... a bigger, stronger Tim Hardaway with shades of (the good) Stephon Marbury - who can THROW IT DOWN.

The Warriors pose another serious threat to the Knicks hopes of landing Curry (if the Knicks don't trade up), as he would be a perfect fit for "NellieBall". However, the Warriors also don't possess a true point guard, and if Jennings is all he's cracked up to be, it could be a good fit. The Jennings story is well known by this point (he skipped college to go play professionally in Italy, and although he wasn't so offensively succesful in the Euro pro leagues, he does have tremendous upside and a valuable experience under his belt playing against elevated competition). I think Jennings is also a good fit here, but the Warriors could go a number of ways with this pick - maybe taking big man Jordan Hill to solidify their frontline or taking another guard like Johnny Flynn or Tyreke Evans.

8. New York Knicks - Stephen Curry
ESPN Player Comparison: didn't give one, so I'll roll with Coach D'Antoni and say Allan Houston, although not as big or NBA-ready, give him time and he could become very special... in the Ray Allen / Allan Houston mold.

This could be wishful thinking, but it's certainly possible. Curry has expressed serious interest in playing for D'Antoni and the Knicks (who even stated that he's a BETTER shooter than Allan Houston) and would be a great fit for the 3-happy Knicks. If he is gone however, there's no need to despair for the Knicks have needs at virtually every position and there are a slew of talented guys out there - Arizona's 6'10" Jordan Hill (an athletic 4 man who could provide a big role if David Lee opts to leave New York), Memphis's Tyreke Evans (the dynamic, athletic SG), possibly even talk of the 7'1" Ohio State big man B.J. Mullens (unproven at this point but with tremendous potential). As a fan, I'm hoping for either Curry or a trade up to get Thabeet... but I have complete faith in Donnie Walsh (first time I've ever said that about Knicks management) to make a smart, fiscally responsible move with our eyes still locked in on the 2010 free agent bonanza.

9. Toronto Raptors - Tyreke Evans
ESPN Player Comparison: Jerry Stackhouse

If Evans is still on the board, the Raps would be crazy to pass on him. They will be in need of another backcourt guy if Marion decides to leave (Anthony Parker will also be a free agent, leaving them very thin in the backcourt behind Calderon) and Evans could be a solid fit in Toronto. Evans is a strong, NBA-ready guard who has been compared to Jerry Stackhouse and would be a nice asset for a struggling Raptors team.

10. Milwaukee Bucks - Jordan Hill
ESPN Player Comparison: Ronny Turiaf

There has been talk of the Bucks eyeing Syracuse PG Johnny Flynn here, but I believe Jordan Hill will be a better player from the get-go. He's a solid 6'10", very good rebounder and defender and could solidify an already solid Milwaukee frontline with Bogut and Villanueva. Throw Jordan Hill into that mix and the Bucks could make some noise if they manage to hold on to Redd and Jefferson.

11. New Jersey Nets - Tyler Hansborough, PF
12. Charlotte Bobcats - Earl Clark, SF
13. Indiana Pacers - Johnny Flynn, PG
14. Phoenix Suns - Gerald Henderson, SF
15. Detroit Pistons - Austin Daye, C
16. Chicago Bulls - DeJuan Blair, PF
17. Philadelphia 76ers - Jeff Teague, PG
18. Minnesota Timberwolves - B.J. Mullens, C
19. Atlanta Hawks - Eric Maynor, PG
20. Utah Jazz - Chase Buddinger, SG
21. New Orleans Hornets - Sam Young, SF
22. Dallas Mavericks - James Johnson, PF
23. Sacramento Kings - DaJaun Summers, SF
24. Portland Trailblazers - Ty Lawson, PG
25. Oklahoma City Thunder - Terrence Williams, SG
26. Chicago Bulls - Omri Casspi, SF
27. Memphis Grizzlies - Toney Douglas, SG
28. Minnesota Timerbolves - DeMarre Carroll, PF
29. Los Angeles Lakers - Darren Collison, PG
30. Cleveland Cavaliers - Derrick Brown, PF

That's all for my first round prospectus, will be back after the draft with my percentages.

Joe Buck Live

So, I'm not sure how many of you got the golden opportunity to see the premiere of "Joe Buck Live" on HBO the other night, but if you did you know how excellent it was. Not because it was such a groundbreaking sports show, or because Joe Buck even deserves to have his own show... no what made the night was none other than Artie Lange of Howard Stern Show fame. It's safe to say that Artie may very well have destroyed Buck's shot at ever getting another episode of this show... his rant against Buck is filled with homo jokes, "Buck bashing", lighting up a cigarette during the interview etc... Here's a look at Buck's face midway through a Lange rant after Buck said his favorite website was

(paraphrasing here)
Buck: So I was on my favorite website last night...
Artie: You're favorite website is fucking TMZ?! What's #2
Buck: (uncomfortable fake laugh - hilarity ensues)

Anyways, I don't want to ruin this for you, but since HBO has seemingly taken down all of the clips of the on-air segment, I'll leave you to your own devices to find that one (hint: HBO On Demand... if you don't have this on your cable, I don't know what to say to you). However, there is still the online portion of the show that aired on and featured even more of Artie Lange ripping Buck a new asshole... enjoy: Artie Lange Owns Joe Buck.