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Who are Sports best Athletes

April 15, 2011 3 comments

Well this is an age old question that came up the other night where most great conversations take place..At a sports bar. While spending some time with some friends and Alexander Keith we had a brief debate about which sport has the best athletes? Well let me first eliminate some sports that I have heard actually people paid to talk about sports on TV suggest. Golf more specifically Tiger, No Way! Golf is for people who are retiring why am I even trying to give examples, it’s golf!! Baseball, Uh No, unless you are playing in the middle of the field you are doing very little on the field and you get a break every inning. Football, well these guys tend to be quite athletic but I will elimate them, because 1 they play half a game as there is a defence and and on offence. Also the actual action on a football field is about 5% of the allotted time to play the game as most of the time nothing is happening the game is on pause. I will narrow the debate to 3 sports – Hockey, Basketball and yes – Soccer. In all these sports you play continuously, you play offense and defense, you use your entire body and when you look at the average player they are in physically good shape. (Some of the guys you see playing football or baseball could not be put in a rink, a ball court or a soccer field.). My vote goes to the Soccer players as I think although Hockey would likely be the hardest sport for the average person to play because it involves skating. The debate with my arguement comes down the high impact and high intensity of Hockey and Basketball vs Soccer. Reason being in Soccer most players play the full game (90 Mins). Much longer than Hockey or Basketball and do not get subbed off at all. In Hockey you take 90 sec shifts and may play 20 mins on a given night and in Basketball you tend to have most guys play 30-40 mins a night. I mean the stats for Soccer players is crazy when you see how much a player runs during a game. Even if you dont have the ball you are in constant movement whether on offense or defence. However one could argue the pace of soccer is much slower than basketball! But at the same time since Hockey and Basketball are North American and created in the birthplace of the mighty dollar. The average 48 min Basketball game or 60 min Hockey game takes 3 hours to watch from start to finish while a soccer game may take 2hrs. The soccer game is constant with no breaks other than halftime. Hockey and Basketball games tend to have numerous breaks in addtion to quarter ends and period ends. TV timeouts allow for the players to get numerous breaks that allow them to play the so called heavy minutes. Also for Hockey the inclusion of a stick and equipment devalue the athleticism of the sport, where Basketball and Soccer is man and ball strictly.

Categories: Basketball, Football, Hockey, Soccer

New NBA Rankings

February 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Well in the first week of the season I posted my top teams which I think was Lakers, Boston, Miami, Orlando and a few other pretenders.

Now with the All star break coming up my new rankings are quite different.

1 – San Antonio. I did not rate them before and I don’t think many people did. But right not no one is playing better ball and they once again are doing like they always have as a team. These guys don’t have any one guy that’s the man but everyone as a role and they do it well. Good starters, good bench, good coach and experienced on how to win in the playoffs. This could be the last year for these guys but they will be ready come playoff time as this is the healthiest these guys have been in a while and TD will be well rested as his minutes are down. Can win with defense and offense so match up well with any opponent.

2 – Boston. Pretty much a reflection of San Antonio and have all the traits that the Spurs have but with more star power and more swagger. These guys believe when they step on the court that they are better than you and will let you know about it. With Perkins back they will be even stronger and have the size and toughness to make other teams lose mentally before the game even begins. Like San Antonio Boston has experience, depth and ability to match up and play any style.

3. Miami – The hate are rounding into form and seem to have now realized how the big three were meant to play together. Lebron pretty much runs the point and this is dangerous for any team as he can score or deliver open shots to a team that has guys who can score. Miami also continues to be a good team defensively as Lebron and Wade are two of the best 2 way players in the L. Only weakness for these guys is still who is the guy that takes the shots in crunch time? Lebron or Wade and do they know who gets the ball. The other weakness is also that often times these guys still rely on Lebron and Wade to take tough shots and get caught in them taking turns one on one and the rest of the team taking jumpers. Boston and San Antonio will make you pay if you don’t get the rest of your team joining the party. Having said that if Mike Miller does what he does, team will only be more dangerous to stop and with Lebron, Wade and Bosh that’s scary.

4. Lakers – Like I said this is my team and on paper these guys are a scar team. However on the floor these guys are not the same team. The success of the Lakers will depend on their desire when playoff time comes around and if these guys have the will to win a 3rd title. With Phil Jackson and Kobe around I think chances are you will see the Lakers start getting in to a groove towards the end of the year.With a bench that has Odom, Barnes, Blake, Shannon Stewart there is great depth and based on talent level, experience Lakers can repeat. All these teams above have beaten the Lakers this year but we will see which Lakers team they face when its Playoff time. 3 keys for the Lakers, Pau Gasol has got to go back to being one of the best offensively skilled big men in the L and get his confidence back and not get bullied into being passive. Ron Ron has to focus on ball and being the guy who shuts down Paul Pierce, Lebron/Wade, Manu who ever need be.  Not too much Kobe time, the team becomes predictable when they play give the ball to Kobe and lets watch him do his thing.

5. Chicago – I had Dallas with these guys in the 5 spot and essentially they are the same team. Both teams have great depth. Have improved on good teams they had over last year and have a clutch guy that can carry the team. Dallas has a bit more experienced team and ability to grind out games. However Chicago are gritty too and now with Boozer have a post presence and will get even better with the return of Noah assuming he is healthy. Dallas will really miss Caron Butler who is a defensive gem who can score the ball. And that swings it for Chicago who are performing well and will gain a key player, while Dallas will really miss a key player and have to step it up.

We will soon see who will be the team to do it this year but it looks real good as the matchups will be good when playoffs roll around. Orlando has talent but too many weaknesses to go all the way. Dont see any team with a chance of getting out of the East not from Miami, Boston or Chicago. In the West after San Antonio, Lakers and Dallas, the team that has a shot is the Thunder who have energy, athleticism and KD. But don’t think they have  a team to beat Spurs and Lakers. Denver remains dangerous but pretty much are the same team they were before but talent level has slightly depreciated from last year and who knows Melo may not be there come playoffs? I love this game.

Big shouts to my raps for ending the 13 game losing streak, thought they had a shot at the 8 spot in the East in that first week too and had they not lost Barbosa and Reggie Evans and some other injuries I think they may have challenged for it. Oh well seems like we gunning for a good lottery pick now. However I did predict the end of the 3 point streak this season although injuries likely killed that too!

Categories: Basketball

Raptors, can they make the playoffs in the East?

December 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Well we are almost 20 games into the season and my pessimistic view of the Craptors has become a lot less optimistic where I will now start calling them the Raptors again. At the beginning of the season I believed that the loss of Bosh would be detrimental to the team and the inability of us to close the deal on the Calderon trade added to the teams woes. However the emergence of the “one for all approach” on this team and their ability to still score is making a believer out of me.

Obviously when you are in the East every team has a legit shot at the playoffs. But the Raptors are starting to look a lot better than the team many people picked to finish last in the East. The deal for Barbosa is looking very good as this guy seems to be able to score at will. The Suns must feel like they were totally taken advantage of as Turkolu continues to suck. Calderon is becoming like the player he was two years ago and the young ones are getting better with each game. Not to mention Bargnani is growing in confidence and believes in himself as well as his teammates believe in him.

We were always going to be the team that had to rely on effort and hard work to win games but this team does have talent and a lot of depth which allows little drop off when we go to the bench. The addition of Bayless and Peja is a great trade on and off the court. Despite lack of PT for Peja he has shown he can still shoot and Bayless has done all you could ask in his role as backup PG.

Right now the Raps are in 8th spot and I think have a legit shot at grabbing that last spot. The only team that worries me that is currently below us in the standings are the Bucks. Cleveland, Charlotte, the other bottom feeders are teams I think we can outlast. But it will be a dog fight to the end and there remains a lot of ball to be played. Having said that yes we can make 8th and clinch a playoff spot, however this is December, check in later in the season to see if we are still Raptors and don’t become Craptors!!

Big shouts to Amir Johnson for that dutty crown off the loop from Jose yesterday, made Sefolosha (or whatever his name is) King for a day!!

Raptors Beat Celtics 102-101

November 21, 2010 2 comments

The Raptors have pulled off a hard fought victory against a very tough Boston Celtic squad. In front of what looked like a full Air Canada Centre, Andrea Bargnani dropped 29 points (on Kevin Garnett) with Amir adding 17 and 11.

The game started off on a slow note for the Raps who ended the first quarter being outscored 31-23. This led to a, “here we go again” feeling but the Dinos battled back scoring 38 in the second taking a 58-61 lead into the break.

Good veteran championship teams have a tendency to play ok-ish at the beginning of a game to turn it on in the second half showing their class over their opponents. But the Celtics came out in the third and only put up 17 points against the Raptors 21.

In the final frame the Celtics made their expected push and would take the lead on some clutch 3 point shooting by Ray Allen. Ironically enough, it was Allen who turned the ball over during a key sequence that let to a couple of hit free-throws by Amir Johnson after he was fouled down low fighting for a rebound. Those two foul shots were the final two hit shots in for the game as Paul Pierce missed a game winning shot with 2.7 seconds left sealing the victory for the undermanned Raps.

The victory comes on the heels of a trade with the 10-1  New Orleans Hornets sending Jarrett Jack, David Andersen and Marcus Banks packing for shoot first PG Jerryd Bayless and shoot even more F Peja Stojakovic.

Mixed emotions Winter? Raptors or die!!

Boston vs Miami – Episode 2

November 13, 2010 Leave a comment

All right I was wondering how this game would pan out. Game 1 featured a rusty Wade and the first game together for the new Miami Hate. I figured the story might be different this time as Wade was rounding into form and these guys now had a handful of games together. However it seemed to be a repeat of the first game with Boston getting a big lead and Miami playing catch up. However I came out of this game with an appreciation for the Boston Celtics that I never had before, mostly because I am a die hard Laker fan and don’t like to give Boston any credit. However Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are clutch and their experience taking big shots is priceless. Time and time again they responded to Miami with big shots that would have otherwise changed the momentum of the game and that was the difference. Lebron played strong and made shots as did Wade but they could not keep pace and when a clutch shot was called for they could not sink it. Had they made these shots at these crucial times then they may have been able to win the game but Boston decided when they needed to score they would do just that, regardless of what Miami thought about this.

The other major difference between these teams was the toughness and the Basketball IQ. First off Boston is a lot tougher especially with the addition of Shaq and Jermaine Oneal. These guys do not let teams just run through the paint or take the ball to the rim. And when you play the Hate who have the two best guys at taking the ball to the rim this becomes even more effective. Twice LBJ took the ball strong the rim and he got hit twice by the two biggest guys on the Celtics Shaq and Big Baby. Luckily for LBJ he is built like a brick or he may have not got back up. Look at the “dutty, dutty, dutty, yo yo” dunk that little Rondo threw down. No fear of getting hit and even so I would rather get hit by Bosh than Shaq any day. Bosh arrived just in time to inbound the ball on that play, he was totally unaware, Bosh needs to grow back the dreadlocks.

The other noticeable difference was the offences of the two teams. Boston shot the ball quite well so Miami did not get to rebound and fast break as much as they would have liked. When you saw both teams set up in their respective offences you could see that Miami pretty much give the ball to Wade or LBJ and they drive and create or most often take a tough shot, they hit them but the degree of difficulty are shots that only they can make. Boston however passed the ball a lot more which resulted in open shots for most of their plays. Ray Allen often had open shots that came as a result of good screens and passes. Paul Pierce took the odd tough shot but that is what he does and he does it well and he does it when he needs to. At the same time Rondo has excellent court vision and can create easy shots for teammates or make the first pass that three passes later winds up in an open shot.

Toughness, smart play and clutch shooting. This is what wins now and in the playoffs and Miami will have to look at games like this and learn from them if they want this thing to pay off for them. Season will be nice.

Big shouts to Panhead, in my NBA rankings earlier I did not have a number 5 team and I did not mention Utah as I looked at them without the alcoholic, I mean Boozer and figured they would not be as good. But Utah seem to be effective with whomever they have out there and Milsap is stepping up to fill those shoes. By the way Utah only came out East this week and beat Orlando, Miami and Atlanta – Utah you get my five spot for now.

Categories: Basketball

Whos taking the NBA crown?

November 9, 2010 1 comment

Well we are only a week into the season and there are some interesting teams that could be in the mix come the end of the year. Here are my picks for who will be around and why, but I may have to re-evaluate this as the season goes on – We are only in week 1.
 
1. Lakers – Not because I am a Laker Fan but this team are the reigning champions, back to back champions, have been there 3 straight years and could actually be better this year than the last 3 years. Why, they have arguably the best starting 5 based on offensive ability and defensive ability, they have one of the best coaches ever, one of the best players ever and arguably the best in the league right now and have one of the best and deepest benches. They have upgraded their bench with the addition of Blake and Barnes, have Bynum coming back and only a lack of interest could stop this years Lakers. The rest of the Western Conference seems the same if not weaker with the departure of Boozer and Stoudamire to the East and their biggest challenge may come from the Oklahoma Thunder who are a dark horse to make some noise with the best scorer in the NBAKevin Durant.
 
2. Celtics – Well they have been there 2 of the last 3 years and have added some nice pieces with the O’neals but they are already old and got older and their durability comes into question as already Shaq is on the shelf and the other Oneal could go down any minute now. Having said that they too have the defensive ability to shut teams down inside and out, have the basketball iq to make up for what athleticism they have lost and also have an excellent coach. However this team is not as good as the team that won it all 3 years ago and need someone that can step up like James Posey and Eddie House did when they won it all, Big Baby  now seems to be their biggest contributor off the bench but they need more than that and I am not convinced they have what is required to take it to the Lakers. The emergence of Rondo as a premier point guard in the league has been impressive and his ability to create shots for his teammates is likely better than any other pg in the league, including Nash right now.
 
3. Heat – The Miami hate are the sexiest team in the league and the team everyone wants to see win and everyone wants to see lose. We may even question if it would be good for the NBA if this team won? However a team with 3 players of the calibre of Bosh, Wade and King James have to be thrown in the ring and they will only get better as they all learn how to play with one another. The thing that is impressive is that these 3 players can also play good defense, more so James and Wade, but its the other pieces that will be the detriment to this team. 3 players can not win it all no matter how good they are and their bench does not have enough tools to help them go all the way. Mike Miller is a great pick up for the heat but it will depend on the ability of the others to grow with the team for them to challenge at the top.
 
4. Magic – This team is capable they have the depth, they are one of the best shooting teams in the league and their 3 point bombing will also give them a chance to compete. If Dwight Howard can live up to his potential he could be unstoppable inside. In addition Van Gundy is a great coach. However this team needs to not rely on its talent and play smart. They got beat down by the Celtics last year but they need to play to their strengths and know when to change it up. This team also is not as good as the team that made it to the finals 2 years ago and Vince will never do what Turkolu did that year. Actually no one will do what Turkolu did that year not even Turkolu himself if he came back. And that’s the problem for the Magic, which is what they will need this year a little bit of magic.
 
5. I have stopped here as there is a crowd of teams and I can not rate one above the other. Thunder have the potential to be here, but are still too young although they have they gained some knowledge from last years taste of playoff ball. San Antonio, seem to be a poor mans version of the Celtics, I think the glory days in San Antonio are over. Denver have the talent and depth to get there, but is Carmelo focused on winning in Denver or New York? And last year with George Karls sickness we learned the importance of a good coach. In the East after the top 3 you have Atlanta who have the talent but just for some reason seem like something is missing, not sure what it is but it’s not there in Atlanta. The team that will give teams something to think about will be the Bulls. They had a good core last year and losing Hinrich will hurt but the addition of Boozer will more than offset that and they should be able to challenge teams with Noah, Boozer and Rose in Chi Town, they will be the Utah of the East.
 
Having said that, my hope is that the Lakers meet the Heat in the final. (Stern might like that too) Kobe gets ring number 6 and Jordan comes out of retirement to stave off Kobes claim to surpass him as the Lord of the Rings. Oh yeah a trade between the heat and Celtics to exchange Shaq for Ilgauskas would add to the drama of this dream final and Kobe and Shaq could do a freestyle rap battle for additional bragging rights on a live version of Shaq vs.

League Across Continents?

November 3, 2010 2 comments

Recently David Stern of the NBA was enthusiastically discussing the merits of European expansion in the NBA. All I can say is WOW! In fact, this year the Raptors will be playing 2 league games in London (not Ontario – but I doubt if many NBAers know the difference). Now to me having 2 North American based NBA teams playing in Europe may be somewhat feasible, but to expect a team to fly for 5 hours to play league games is a bit ridiculous. Traveling across 3 time zones from Toronto to L.A. is bad enough – Let alone from L.A. to London, England.

My only hope is that other professional sports don’t get this bright idea. Over the years NFL teams have played regular season games overseas and some big soccer teams from Europe have played pre-season games over here. I have no problem with this simply because both teams have come from abroad to showcase the product – as opposed to NA based teams playing against European teams or other teams from other continents for points. Think of how complicated it could become when you consider the economical effects – not to mention the immigration issues that may arise if this were a regular thing.

Ya sure you are expanding your audience but you are also cheapening the product.

Categories: Basketball, Football, Hockey, Soccer