Posts Tagged ‘Jordan’

Darko Milicic: The Ramifications of the Biggest NBA Draft Bust Ever

June 25th, 2010

The Detroit Pistons could be celebrating a three-peat right now.  Kobe would still be behind Shaq and Magic, and Phil would be stuck on nine championships.  That is why Darko Milicic is the Biggest Bust in NBA history.

Yes, the Blazers should have picked Jordan over Sam Bowie.  But a big part of Bowie being a bust was injuries; he made the NBA All-Rookie team in 1985. 

You’re probably thinking, "What about Olowokandi or Kwame Brown?"   True, Olowokandi and Brown didn’t have the skill to justify where they were picked, just like Darko.  But those guys aren’t even on the same bust planet as Darko.  Here's why. 

The Clippers and the Wizards were (are?) teams in the dumps because of poor management, drafting, and coaching.  Their goal was to get the guy that could have the biggest impact.  It was all about potential.  Also, can you really call these guys busts when the best players drafted after them were Paul Pierce and Pau Gasol, respectively?  It’s not like anyone passed on Jordan. 

And no one is knocking Orlando for picking Dwight Howard over Emeka Okafor.  Sometimes the gamble for the player with the most potential works out.  The worst that can happen is that you’re in the lottery again.

So as crazy as it sounds, the closest parallel to the Darko situation is the Tim Duncan draft of 1997.  The Spurs already had a franchise player in David Robinson, but he was injured for most of the year, and San Antonio ended up with the #1 pick.  But otherwise, the 1997 Spurs were similar to the 2003 Pistons, in that both teams were in the position to add a top prospect to an established team. 

The Spurs, of course, picked Duncan, who would keep that momentum going.  They didn’t draft a project.  They drafted to win now.  Imagine if they had drafted Chauncey Billups (took years to become great), Antonio Daniels (role player), Tony Battie (who?), Ron Mercer (seriously?) or Tim Thomas (slacker-iffic!)?

This is why Darko is the Biggest Bust.  Drafting Darko kept the Pistons from repeating in 2005, and getting past the Eastern Conference Finals from 2006 to 2008.  Darko is the reason why the Pistons are in the lottery this year. 

Imagine the Pistons with Chris Bosh in the middle for the last six years?  All of a sudden, the aging of Ben Wallace and the departure of Rasheed Wallace aren’t such big deals.  Chauncey Billups might still be running the point. 

Imagine the Pistons with D-Wade at shooting guard?  Wade would have learned under Rip Hamilton, and then taken the starting SG spot to a whole new level.  

Imagine Mr. Offense, Carmelo Anthony, with the two Wallaces and Antonio McDyess at his back? 

Key free agents would have come to Detroit to play for championships.  These hypothetical Pistons would have rivaled the Cavs, Magic and Celts in the East, and the Lakers and Spurs in the West.  These Pistons could have been a dynasty, and entered the pantheon of all-time greatest franchises.

For those of you who agree, should Joe Dumars lose his job for this mistake?
For those of you who don’t agree, who do you think is the Biggest Bust in NBA Draft history?

NFL Trade Rumors: Seattle Seahawks Should Avoid Albert Haynesworth

June 25th, 2010

A couple of months ago, we speculated on the idea of the Seahawks acquiring disgruntled defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth from Washington.

It was a Monopoly-money, tongue-in-cheek exercise, but now the idea has become a full-blown rumor propagated by others.

While we thought it might be worth checking into in April, it has since become abundantly clear that it is not a good idea.

Haynesworth’s own current and former teammates have had nothing but bad things to say about his bad attitude, which has led to him sitting out mandatory minicamps in Washington because the team is switching to a 3-4 defensive scheme and he doesn’t want to play nose tackle.

Haynesworth is a talented player who can be dominant when healthy, but he also is a chucklehead, and when his own teammates are calling him out for his selfish behavior, that’s the worst sign of all.

Kevin Mawae, who played with Haynesworth in Tennessee, told Sirius NFL Radio that Haynesworth’s hard-headedness in Washington is no surprise to his former teammates in Tennessee.

“I mean, if you don't want to be there, don't take the $21 million contract,” Mawae said, referencing a $21 million option bonus Washington paid him on April 1 after reportedly offering him the chance to leave without the money. “How things turned out it's no surprise to guys that have played with him in Tennessee.”

Current teammate London Fletcher was just as critical, essentially calling Haynesworth a selfish player on the field and off.

Washington is trying to recoup the $21 million bonus, but the team is likely to fail. In the end, the Redskins will probably end up trading him after having paid him $32 million for one season.

Adding this selfish behavior to his history of anger problems and injuries, what might have seemed like a slight possibility a couple of months ago now certainly is not. The Seahawks need to steer clear of Haynesworth.

The Hawks also need to stay away from Marshawn Lynch. Although he’s a hard-running back, he is a powder keg waiting to blow. He already has had several incidents in Buffalo, and the Bills seem ready to faze him out of the offense.

Of course, the Bills stupidly turned down mid-round offers from Houston and Seattle during draft weekend. Now they probably won’t get anything better than a fifth-rounder for him, and the Seahawks shouldn’t even think about it for anything more than a sixth.

Like Haynesworth, Brandon Marshall and LenDale White, there are just too many headaches associated with a guy like Lynch.

Until the Seahawks drafted safety Earl Thomas, one guy who made sense to pursue was St. Louis restricted free agent O.J. Atogwe. If he wasn’t an option after they drafted Thomas, he certainly isn’t now that he has signed a long-term contract with the Rams.

The Seahawks seem set with their major pieces, although they might still be in the running for guard Chester Pitts. With many veterans signing with teams in advance of training camps, Pitts figures to be signed somewhere by mid-July.

Pitts is still recuperating from microfracture surgery, which would seem to make him a perfect backup candidate – a veteran who wouldn’t be asked to play every down. But would the 10-year vet settle for that kind of role?

The addition of safety Kevin Ellison could be one of the best under-the-radar moves made since the draft.

Ellison, picked up on waivers this week from San Diego, seemingly has the perfect resume to challenge for the starting strong safety spot next to Thomas. Ellison played for coach Pete Carroll and crew at USC, where he was a captain and first-team All-Pac-10 in 2008. He started nine games for the Chargers as a rookie last season, and the 6-1, 221-pounder has the requisite size.

The Hawks are unsettled at that position, with 36-year-old Lawyer Milloy currently running with the first string instead of Jordan Babineaux, who has previously proven to be a bad fit as a run-stopping safety.

The one knock on Ellison is an arrest last month for illegal possession of a controlled substance after police found 100 Vicodin pills in his car. Ellison has had knee trouble and had used the painkillers last season.

It looks like the Seahawks might have missed out on a fifth-round compensatory pick in the 2011 draft.

The Seahawks have lost two qualifying UFAs, receiver Nate Burleson and defensive lineman Cory Redding. And they have signed two, guard Ben Hamilton and special-teams ace Sean Morey. They needed one of their other free agents to sign elsewhere to give them a net loss. And with Burleson hauling in $5 million per year from Detroit, that likely would have netted Seattle a fifth-rounder (possibly a fourth) in next year’s draft.

Cornerback Ken Lucas drew the most interest, but Tennessee drafted several defensive backs and Baltimore just signed former Seahawk Ken Hamlin instead.

The signing period is nearly over, and it’s possible that it’s too late for any further free agents to count in the equation (if they weren’t tendered an offer on June 1).

Now Seattle’s only hope of a comp pick seemingly will be based on net value lost, which would be a seventh-rounder (three net-value seventh-rounders were given out this year).

Speaking of draft picks, the Seahawks have been busy signing theirs. They reportedly have secured all six of their Day 3 picks, leaving only first-rounders Russell Okung and Thomas and second-rounder Golden “Donut” Tate unsigned.

As we mentioned last month, Okung and Thomas will combine to command upwards of $50 million guaranteed.

To find out why it might be a good idea to keep troubled linebacker Leroy Hill, go Outside The Press Box.


Why Jordan Shipley May Be the Cincinnati Bengals’ New Go-To Guy

June 24th, 2010

Have you ever heard of the expression "Tall poppy syndrome?"

If not, it's basically when a group of people get together and choose to dismantle and criticize another human being, who may be talented at one thing or another.

How does this relate to football?  I hear you ask.  Well, it's simple: in the 2010 NFL Draft, I, like many people, felt that Jordan Shipley was extremely hard done by in terms of his overall selection.

However, that is in the past now, and what is important is Jordan Shipley's future in the NFL.

For the most part, it seems every offseason we are astounded by a handful of players that were listed as "write offs" so to speak, in terms of their performance and NFL future. 

But here we are once again, finding ourselves starring right down the barrel of yet another highly underestimated player. 

Okay, so not everybody totally underestimated Jordan Shipley—after all, he was one of the few standout wide receivers to enter this year's NFL Draft.  Although, with this in mind, it seemed that as soon as Jordan Shipley was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, most people chose to switch off and forget about the former Texas star.

Luckily though, Jordan hasn't let that totally happen.

In case you are unaware, Jordan Shipley, like many other young rookies in recent weeks, has impressed just about everybody during his scheduled team organized activities with the Cincinnati Bengals.

According to's James Walker, Jordan Shipley has caught everything from the slot position so far in mini camps, and is looking to have an extremely impressive rookie debut.

So what does this all mean for the Cincinnati Bengals as a team?

I won't go as far to say that Jordan Shipley is the Bengals savior, but if we look ahead into the future, I think it's fair to say that Jordan Shipley may play quite a factor in the Bengals wide receiver game.

In recent years, the Bengals have lacked a lot of receiver positioning.  Sure, they have the highly talented Chad Ochocinco and newly-signed Antonio Bryant, but since the departure of T.J Houshmandzadeh to Seattle, the midfield receiving scheme has been almost non existent in Cincinnati.

This is of course, where Jordan Shipley steps in.  In Shipley's time with Texas, he was Colt McCoy's go-to guy.  They were roommates, they were great on the field, and for Texas fans, even imagining the two on separate teams was almost unthinkable prior to the NFL Draft.

However, aside from Colt McCoy's and Jordan Shipley's bromance, it was duly noted that Jordan Shipley was a fantastic receiver, particularly in the midfield. 

Perhaps this was due to the way Mack Brown ran the Longhorn offense, or perhaps it is simply a God given talent, but for the Cincinnati Bengals, they finally gain a receiver that can expose some serious defensive holes in the middle of the field.

And how does this help the Bengals? I hear you ask.

Before I answer this question, let's focus on how it helps Carson Palmer. 

I think you'll agree that in recent years, Carson Palmer has been good, but he's been that extra step down from being great.  Sure he is now quickly becoming an NFL veteran, however now Carson Palmer needs to step up offensively, and carry the Bengals on his shoulders.

Therefore, having this third or forth wide receiver option in Jordan Shipley benefits the Bengals immensely.  If Chad Ochocinco is underperforming, then no longer will the team suffer.

Of course Antonio Bryant will play a massive factor, but it should be taken as a luxury to have a highly adaptable wide receiver like Jordan Shipley on the roster.

Now, I focus back to how this helps the Bengals as a team and quite frankly, this answer is easy. 

In Jordan Shipley's time as a Longhorn, when he and Colt McCoy played exceptionally well, the Longhorns won nine times out of ten.  So in 2010, if Jordan Shipley receives a fair amount of playing time, and a decent amount of snaps, then expect him to perform well, and perform for the Bengals.

I'm not stating that Carson Palmer needs to become Colt McCoy, but he does need to utilize Jordan Shipley properly.  Recognize his talent, and take advantage of his surefire hands and ability to make a play after the catch.

If Cincinnati execute this game play well, then wins should begin to grow like wildflowers.


Ryan Cook is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report . He is also an NFL columnist for Real Sports Net and a Green Bay Packers writer for Fan Huddle and PackerChatters . Don't forget to follow him on Twitter .

NHL Awards Picks: How It Turned Out

June 24th, 2010

Well, I didn't get everything right, but then again with all the talented players that were nominated, a bunch of the awards could have gone either way. Let's see how it played out.

Hart Trophy: Pick - Henrik Sedin, Winner - Henrik Sedin

This was the one award in which everyone wanted to see the same result. Sedin had an amazing year and really broke out of his shell to be in the same league as the NHL's elite. He really deserved this one, and I'm sure everyone breathed a sigh of relief when his name was called. One for one.

Vezina Trophy:
Pick - Ryan Miller, Winner - Ryan Miller

Brodeur is an amazing goalie and Bryzgalov had a huge year, but Miller was just outstanding. He led the Sabres in a great season overall, and had some of the best numbers of all goalies in the league, even without being top in shutouts or wins. Very fitting choice. Two for two.

Norris Trophy:
Pick - Drew Doughty, Winner - Duncan Keith

For this pick, I knew Keith was probably going to win, but I wanted Doughty to pull it off and jump-start his career in a big way. Keith is a great player and an even better defensive player and winning this award caps off an amazing year for the Chicago blue-liner. Two for three, but happy about it.

4. Calder Trophy:
Pick - Jimmy Howard, Winner - Tyler Myers

Once again, this was a very tight race, and Myers is definitely deserving. I didn't think he had as solid of a year as Howard, but comparing them was tough considering their different positions. Two for four, and still happy about it (I just didn't want Duchene to win).

5. Lady Byng Trophy: Pick - Martin St. Louis, Winner - Martin St. Louis

St. Louis stops Pavel Datsyuk's stronghold on this award with a very deserving win. Near the top of the league in points, near the bottom in penalty minutes, and all that while playing on a pretty terrible team. Good choice here, three for five.

6. Selke Trophy:
Pick - Jordan Staal, Winner - Pavel Datsyuk

Like my choice for the Norris, I picked the player I wanted to win even though he was up against solid opposition. Datsyuk is a great player and he excels at every part of the game. Three for six.

7. Jack Adams Trophy: Pick - Dave Tippett, Winner - Dave Tippett

The Coyotes were the turnaround team of the year, from near bankruptcy to playoff contender. There's no denying that Coach Tippett did an outstanding job with his club this year and deserves this award. Back over .500—four for seven.

8. Ted Lindsay Award: Pick - Henrik Sedin, Winner - Alexander Ovechkin

Of all the choices, this is the one that disappoints me. Everyone knows that Ovechkin and Crosby are the best in the league and are going to score tons of goals. Sedin was the most outstanding player this year—the definition of this award. He was robbed of a big night. Unfortunately, four for eight.

9. Bridgestone Messier Leadership Award: Pick - Sidney Crosby, Winner - Sidney Crosby

With the final award that I made a pick for, Sid the Kid comes up clutch to put me back over .500. Crosby was a great leader for his team this year, showing poise and maturity as they attempted to defend their Stanley Cup victory from last season. He is a natural leader and will continue to be so for years to come, just like the great Mark Messier that this award is named after.

Final results: five for nine. Not too bad, considering I was only upset at one of the four I got wrong. Good results all around and I can't wait to see who we'll see on this list next season!

Los Angeles Lakers Short on Hopes in the 2010 NBA Draft

June 24th, 2010

With the confetti shower and the parade down Figueroa Street just memories of a successful defense of their NBA Title, the Lakers are now looking more toward free agency to fulfill their needs than today’s NBA Draft.

They traded both their 2008 and 2010 first round picks to the Memphis Grizzlies in the deal for Pau Gasol.  They no longer have first round picks in 2011 and 2013, either.  The highest they will draft this year is the 43rd overall pick, followed later by the 58th pick.

While they may luck out in the No. 43 slot, there is little hope of picking up anyone decent with that last pick.

What are their needs?  Well, if you look at their roster and figure out who may be going, it is obvious they need a point guard.  Both their starter, Derek Fisher, and his backup, Jordan Farmar, are unrestricted free agents.

While it is expected that the team will try to re-sign Fisher, they are apt not to get in a bidding war for Farmar, considering that the Lakers are well over the salary cap.

Also expected to leave are Josh Powell and D.J. Mbenga.  That means the Lakers could use another large body as a backup center or power forward.

Who might be available at the No. 43 slot?  Well, at point guard or shooting guard, here is the long and short of it.

Mikhail Torrance is a tall 6’5” guard from Alabama who averaged 15.6 points per game along with 5.1 assists.  He has a 47 percent field goal average along with 35.8 percent on his three-point tries. 

Despite the fact that 6’1” Derek Fisher and 6’0” Jordan Farmar have been mainstays at the position over the last three years, General Manager Mitch Kupchak favors taller guards.

So, Torrance is the long one.  The short one is Jerome Randle, a senior out of Cal.  Despite his diminutive size, Randle is one of the more impressive players likely to still be available deep into the second round.  Randle averaged 18.6 points per game on 47.5 percent shooting and a very respectable 40.4 percent from beyond the arc.  He also added 4.3 assists per game.

Another small point guard who will most likely still be around deep into the second round is Sherron Collins, a 5’11” senior from Kansas.  Collins averaged 15.5 points and 4.5 assists.

Looking at some big men who might be available, Jarvis Varnado, a 6’9” senior from Mississippi State, is a prolific shot blocker.  He led the nation in blocked shots, averaging an astounding 4.7 blocks per game to go along with his 13.8 points and his 10.3 rebounds.

Another possibility at power forward is Luke Harangody, a 6’8" senior from Notre Dame.  Harangody pulled out of last year’s draft, hoping to improve this year.  He has been the top scorer in the nation and led the Irish with 21.8 points per game and 9.1 rebounds.

Devin Ebanks is a sophomore forward from West Virginia who did not live up to expectations.  Despite some off-the-court difficulties, Ebanks is still expected to go early in the second round due to his overall athleticism and potential.  If he is still on hand when the Lakers pick, Kupchak just might take a chance and pull the trigger.

The biggest prospect as far as size goes deeper into the second round is Brian Zoubek, a 7’1” center from Duke.  He only averaged 18.7 minutes per game and 5.6 points.  However, he did average 7.7 rebounds while he was in there.  But there are players who may still be on the board that have better athleticism.

Finally, another big guard, who has been in the NBA Draft since 2006, is Russian Alexey Shved.  He hasn’t played very much in the European League, but he has been impressive in a couple of camps in Europe.

I don’t really expect either of the Lakers' two picks, no matter who they are, to make the team.  I think they will get bumped by free agents.  But you never know.  Stranger things have been known to happen.

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