Saturday, April 28, 2007

Draft Thoughts Day 1

If you were like me, you watched the entire 6 plus hour draft, breaking down each team's needs and predicting who would take who. Most of my predictions stood, such as Russell to the Raiders, Thomas to the Browns, Brown to the Cards, Meachem to the Saints, and Gonzales to the Colts. Others, like Gaines Adams going to Tampa Bay, were not of surprise, then Miami, passing on Brady Quinn, takes Ted Ginn, Jr. Ok, so maybe they didn't want Quinn, that's cool. But, first round pick on Ginn? They could have picked up Sidney Rice in the second and received a better pick at round one, such as Okoye, Willis, or Carriker. Instead, its Ginn, then they grab BYU quarterback John Beck, who is a much respected quarterback. Obviously, Miami was planning on getting Ginn, regardless if Quinn was available or not. The injury raises a big question on will he be ready to go 100% when the regular season rolls around. If he is sitting out most of the pre-season recovering from the injury, it will not be a good sign for the front office's decision. It's a big gamble, and for it to be a first round pick, it's almost a stupid gamble.

Detroit took yet another wide receiver in Calvin Johnson, but soon made room for him, trading Mike Williams and Josh McCown for a fourth round pick. This should work out for both teams, provided what happens with Randy Moss in Oakland. I feel that if Moss is traded, Williams will be called upon to be the #1 receiver for Russell. The Lions also released Charles Rodgers, yet another first round pick, leaving only Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson as the first round wide receivers. Roy Williams has proved to be a solid receiver for Jon Kitna, and with the selection of Stanton, the offense is shaping up really nicely for the Lions, and under Mike Martz, there is no limit to their improvement. Good draft day for both the Lions and Raiders.

Other good pickups include Patrick Willis to San Francisco, Jamaal Anderson and Chris Houston to Atlanta, and New England again acquiring a first round pick for next year, while picking up Brandon Merriweather. Pittsburgh looked to find a replacement for Joey Porter with Lawrence Timmons, Buffalo got a real nice deal, trading up to get Paul Poluszny.

A puzzling pick for me was the Eagles selecting Kevin Kolb with their first pick, meaning they are ready to move past the Donnovan Days, or do not expect Donnovan to be healthy this season, but either way, Kolb is going to have a starting spot very soon. One would wonder Donnovan's thoughts on this...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

NBA Playoffs - Eastern Conference

The NBA Playoffs are amongst us! Only one night remaining in the regular season, and the Western Conference needs this night to decide its eighth and final seed. The Eastern Conference, however, is already set. Here is what the playoff picture is looking like, and few comments from me to go along with it.
* denotes seeding is clinched

(1) Detroit Pistons *

(8) Orlando Magic
Its been a few years since the Magic have been to the playoffs, and their last visit wasn't so pleasant. Up 3-1 over the top-seeded Pistons, Tracey McGrady guaranteed the Magic were moving on. 3 games later, the Pistons were in the second round. Since then, its been a rough ride for Orlando, but they have finally landed back in the playoffs, even if its the 8-seed playing against Detroit. Dwight Howard has dominated down low this season against the Pistons, averaging 20 point and 16 boards in 4 games, all losses however. Orlando will need a lot more help if they are to dethrone the top seed. Orlando steals a game, but thats it. Detroit in 5.

(2) Chicago Bulls

(7) Washington Wizards

The last time these two teams met in the playoffs were in 2005. Chicago, without most of what makes up their roster today, could not withstand Arenas or Hughes, and Washington won in 6. This year, Chicago comes in much more favored, looking to lock up a 2-seed, going against a Wizards team without Arenas (injury) or Hughes (traded) this time. Caron Butler is a doubtful, which will take out the top two scoring threats. The Wizards will need far more support from their bench than they can account for, and Chicago should clean house. Chicago in 4.

(3) Toronto Raptors *

(6) New Jersey Nets

These aren't your typical Raptors. You won't see a Vince Carter on this roster. What you will see is an excellent roster that could go a good ways in the playoffs. TJ Ford and Anthony Parker make for a good backcourt duo, and Morris Peterson complements Parker as an exceptional 3-point shooter and can attack the basket. Chris Bosh is one the league's top forwards today, and Andrea Bargnani has lived up to his hype as a strong body down low. New Jersey does have the big three, Kidd, Jefferson, and Carter, but without a physical presence down low to stop Bosh, Barnani, and Nesterovich, it will be a tough series. New Jersey will play a good series, but it will be happy day in O' Canada! Toronto in 6.

(4) Miami Heat *

(5) Cleveland Cavaliers

If Cleveland does indeed finish as the fifth seed (Wednesday night's games will decide), you can almost count on Miami advancing; considering the season Miami has had, losing O'Neal, Wade, Coach Riley, Williams, and Kapono to injuries, they still managed to overcome in the second half and take the Southeast Division title for the third straight year. The Diesel is in full gear, and Wade is showing great signs of healing, the Heat will be a handful to handle, especially without a dominant defensive post player, such as Ben Wallace. LeBron will be the key if the Cavs look to take down the defending champs. He will need to score and get the whole floor involved, else Miami will make it look easy. Miami in 6.

In the case that both Cleveland and Chicago win in Wednesday night's games, Chicago would own the tie-breaker with more division wins (12-4) than Cleveland (9-6), thus securing the 2-seed. For Cleveland's sake, at least for the first round, they will need to win and Chicago to lose to get the 2-seed and face Washington, again. Either way, there is not a road to the conference finals that doesn't go through Miami for the Cavs.

Due tomorrow ... the Western Conference breakdowns and any revisions that need to be made in match-ups listed here.