RSS

Monthly Archives: February 2011

How the East Was Won

With a slow night in the NBA tonight, we get a chance to regroup from the crazy last couple of days in the basketball world.

It all started on Thursday, with the NBA trade deadline. Major deals were reached, with many teams getting a facelift. Many teams traded away star, and important players, who, for some, were franchise players.

The East got a complete make-over around the trade deadline. The Nets got Deron Williams, who could be a corner-stone player for the Nets in the future. The Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson  to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. And we all heard about the blockbuster trade, where the Knicks traded away half of their team for Chauncey Billups and, of course, Carmelo Anthony.

And, along with these trades this past week, the Orlando Magic remodeled their team in the beginning of the year, trying to give Dwight Howard the tools to win.

Those trades created a power-shift in the Eastern Conference this year.

Now, instead of two or three teams that had a decent shot of winning the East, like in the past, there are now five teams that have a legitimate show of winning the Eastern Conference. The Celtics and Heat both look they are going to fight it out for the top-spot in the conference. But now, the Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, and the New York Knicks all have the personnel to go far in this years playoff.

We got a sneak-peak of the playoffs last night, with the Knicks going to South Beach to play the Miami Heat. In an up-and-down game, which came down to the last minute of play, the Knicks edged the Heat, on a last-second block of LeBron James by Amar’e Stoudemire.

So with the ‘Power-of-three’ reigning in the East, it is going to be an exciting playoffs. No one team has come out as the favorite. Miami, on paper, should be the favorite, but they are 0-5 against the Celtics and Bulls this year, and 12-15 against the top eight teams in the conference.. The Bulls, with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, and the Magic with Dwight Howard and company, have been looking to take the title all season. And Knicks, with Anthony and Stoudemire, proved last night that they can hang with the best.

And, after this season, the waters in the East will become even more clouded. The Knicks are looking at Chris Paul to compliment Amar’e and Carmelo, which will make them even stronger. The Nets, with Deron Williams, will be looking to land a couple of big names on the eve of opening their brand new stadium in Brooklyn.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

How do I think will win the Eastern Conference this year?

My prediction: The Celtics. They are the only team on that list with experience. They know what it is like to play at this level during the playoffs. Their ‘Big-Three’ of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, along with Rajon Rondo, have been to the NBA Finals two out of the last three seasons, winning it all back in 2008.

Who do you think will represent the East?

Agree? Disagree? Want your voice to be heard? Leave a comment below, or e-mail me at: jeff.langan.jr@gmail.com with your thoughts, suggestions of topics, or just want to talk sports. Follow me on Twitter @jefflangan, or subscribe to this blog.

I would love to hear your feedback.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 28, 2011 in NBA

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

And with the Second Pick in the 2011 NFL Draft…

With the National Football League Combine coming to a close, the perspective draft class is becoming clearer. After all of the 40-yard dashes, the interviews, and the countless amount of on-the-field drill, it is becoming clearer who will be a high-round pick, and who will be waiting until Day Three to get drafted.

Today, the defensive lineman and linebackers got to show their speed, agility, and coordination on the field all day at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. And boy, did they.

According to reports, there is a lot of speed in this years defensive draft. With the rise of the spread offensives in the college ranks, many defenders have to sacrifice strength for speed, with the quarterback getting rid of the ball faster. This is very evident in the SEC, where it is all about speed and agility.

What excites me about this draft is that there are a lot of good picks for the Denver Broncos.

It is bittersweet seeing the Broncos so high up on the draft board. I want them to win, but at the same time, it will be a good chance for the Broncos to pick up a lot of talent on the defensive side, where it ranked close to last in the league.

Now, with the combine almost over, the Broncos are on the clock. And with April 28th coming quick, they have to decide quickly what to do.

John Fox, Denver’s new head coach, is a very defensive-minded coach. It is likely that the Broncos will be going from a 3-4 defensive scheme, to a 4-3 defensive scheme. With a 4-3 scheme, comes speed, which the the Broncos are lacking.

That is what excites me about this year draft. There is a TON of speed in this years draft. Defensive linemen were putting up faster speeds than in the previous years. Von Miller has impressed everyone today, running a 4.46 40-yard dash. he also wow-ed everyone with his on-the-field skills. Nick Fairley also impressed with his burst of speed, as well as his ability to rush the quarterback. Patrick Peterson is also on the Broncos radar. The shut-down cornerback from LSU could be a good fit in the Broncos secondary, complementing the All-Pro Champ Bailey (who, thankfully, is returning).

Now, for my pick.

If I were the Broncos, I hope they draft Von Miller. I know that he isn’t projected to be a number two pick, and would be a stretch, and a risk. But the Broncos need a young-stud to lead the Broncos into the future. Bailey and Brian Dawkins are the leaders now, but are getting old. Von Miller can add the speed that the Broncos are looking for off the edge, and could help lead the Broncos into the future, and beyond.

Agree? Disagree? Want your voice to be heard? Leave a comment below, or e-mail me at: jeff.langan.jr@gmail.com with your thoughts, suggestions of topics, or just want to talk sports. Follow me on Twitter @jefflangan, or subscribe to this blog.

I would love to hear your feedback.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 28, 2011 in NFL

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Why the Problems with the Combine?

The NFL Scouting Combine, which starts in the next 24 hours, is a place for college players to show off their ‘freak-of-nature’ skills, hoping to convince a team to draft them in April.

With that being said, why are players not participating, or making a big deal that they are?

In the past two days, there has been some big Combine news. Cam Newton has shocked the Combine world by going to the combine and throwing. Today, on ESPN, they reported that Da’Quan Bowers was only going to lift at the combine.

Am I missing something? Why not go all out for the Combine. It is your one time to show what you got to every coach and general manager in the National Football League.

I understand you could be worried of getting injured, but let’s face it, you could injured anywhere. Why hold back?

Guess this is why I am writing instead of being on the field in front of scouts.

Agree? Disagree? Want your voice to be heard? Leave a comment below, or e-mail me at: jeff.langan.jr@gmail.com with your thoughts, suggestions of topics, or just want to talk sports. Follow me on Twitter @jefflangan, or subscribe to this blog.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 23, 2011 in College Sports

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

“‘Melo-mania” Shows What is Wrong With the NBA

It is finally over. The story that had the NBA in a choke-hold is finally over. Carmelo Anthony is a Knick.

Reported by The Denver Post, around 9:30 at night on Monday, the deal sent Carmelo Anthony, Chauncy Billups, Sheldon Williams, Anthony Carter, and Renaldo Balkman to the New York Knicks, in exchange forWilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov (basically halfof the Knicks team), a first round pick, and two second round picks, along with $3 million in cash, to the Denver Nuggets. The Minnesota Timberwolves also put their hands into the candy bowl, getting Eddie Curry and Anthony Randolph.

Now, as of now (early, early, in the morning on Tuesday), this is the proposed deal. As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts in this deal, and specific details are coming out slowly.

This deal exposes what is wrong with the National Basketball Association.

With this deal, one team gives away an arm a leg, while the other team gets very little. It doesn’t seem fair, morally. On paper, and in the bank account, it is an equal trade. ‘Melo is a good player, so of course you will have to give up a lot.

But, this shows the biggest flaw of the NBA. Teams stacking up on talent.

Sure, you see this in other sports. The Yankees, the Cowboys, can, in some ways, be guilty of doing this. They do whatever it takes, and at all costs, to win. The Yankees can bully around pretty much any team (except the Phillies; sorry- I am a Red Sox fan, so I had to get that jab in). Every year, they have the highest salary, by more than a couple millions. The Cowboys use their brand to attract high-profile players, another way of bullying teams.

But in the NBA, it is a little different. The theory right now in the league (especially the Eastern Conference) is the ‘Big-Three Theory.’ Teams have been loading up on three high-power stars, and use them as the core of their team. It all started in 2007, when the Celtics signed Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, to add with Paul Pierce for the ‘Original Big Three.’ And with two finals appearance in three years, it appears to work.

This past off-season, the most high-profile ‘Big-Three’ connected in South Beach, with the Miami Heat signing Lebron James and Chris Bosh, to go along with Dwayne Wade. As long as those three stay healthy, they fire on all cylinders, and look like the team to beat in the East.

Those aren’t the only two teams in the league with a ‘Big-Three’ alliance. Orlando, Los Angeles, San Antonio, even Orlando, have a solid big three, with three high-profile players joining together to play together.

And, with the addition of ‘Melo in New York, it looks like the Knicks will enter into the ‘Big-Three’ discussion this offseason. Deron Williams, of the Utah Jazz, a Chris Paul, of the New Orleans Hornets, are voicing their pleasure of joining the Knicks this offseason, to complement Carmelo and Amar’e Stoudemire, who are now in the Big Apple.

This brings me to my point. This is bad for the NBA.

Just think about this for a second. These teams with a ‘Big-Three’ add no excitement. Sure, you have the mystery of which team will come out on top, but, for the most part, there is no parity in the NBA. The same-old teams win, the same-old teams lose. There is no surprise anymore. You never see an underdog team rise to the top. You never see a Butler, or a Florida Marlins, that team you don’t expect to win, but does anyway.

If I were the commissioner, I would take a look at this, and try to fix it. With no surprise and intrique, fans might stop tuning in. And that means no money. Think about it.

I would like to hear your thoughts on whether you think ‘The Big-Three Theory’ is good or bad for the NBA. Comments are appreciated.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 22, 2011 in NBA

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Why I Love College Sports

In college sports, any team can win on any given day. It doesn’t matter what you are ranked in the AP Top-25, or what score some computer gives you for the BCS. No one is immortal.

Take a look at this past week in the college basketball world.

On Monday, Kansas took over the number-one ranking in the AP Top-25. That night, they lost to an unranked-Kansas State, on a buzzer-beating shot.

So, naturally, the number-one spot was up for grabs.

On Wednesday, both #10 Wisconsin, #16 Louisville, and #9Georgetown were upset by lower-ranked teams.  On Friday, #12 UConn was upset by #16 Louisville.

So, in theory, the Top-10 were safe in the rankings going into the weekend.

But, that is why they “…play to win the game.”

Saturday started the trend of toppling the top-10 teams. Saturday, #2 Texas, who was in-line to take over the #1 seed, dropped their game against unranked-Nebraska. #4 Pittsburgh, the ‘Beast of the Big East,’ lost a shocker against St. John’s in Madison Square garden. Also, #7 Notre Dame was defeated by unranked-West Virginia.

But wait, there’s more.

On Sunday, #3 Ohio State, the former #1-seed, went into their game against #11 Purdue in-line to take over the top-spot again, with both Kansas and Texas losing. But the Purdue Boilermakers played strong on their home court, and stunned Ohio State 76-63.

Now try and rank all the college basketball teams.

According to ESPN, the last time all top-4 teams lost in one week was the week of November 24th in the 2003-04 season.Out of the Top-15 teams, only Duke, San Diego State, BYU, Arizona, Florida, and Villanova won all their games this week. I don’t know who I would pick as #1.

Even in college football this week, there were three straight weeks where the #1 team in the country lost. The BCS standings were different every week. Every week, no matter how low your ranking was, you played the game as if your life depended on it.

This is why I love college sports.

Everyone plays hard. No one gives up. Even the underdogs have something to prove. You do not get this kind of competition in pro sports. In the pros, you see players giving up on the play, not caring whether they win or lose, and trash talk.

In college sports, it is competition at its finest. Players play every play like they have something to prove. No one gives up, and everyone plays to the final whistle.

Maybe some pro sports teams/players should take notes.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 21, 2011 in College Sports

 

Tags: , , , , ,

When I Was 20…

When I was 20, I was:

  • Looking forward to my 2nd season at 7th Regiment
  • Looking forward to being a junior in college
  • A lot of other things I can’t remember

When Trevor Bayne was 20 years old (and 1 day)

  • Starting in his second career NASCAR Sprint Cup Race
  • Starting the Daytona 500
  • Won the Daytona 500

…I’m jealous…

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 21, 2011 in NASCAR

 

Tags: , , , ,

Trouble on the Horizon for the NFL

March 4th is like an iceburg in the middle of the ocean that you are sailing towards.

And for football fans, its getting bigger and bigger.

The National Football League (NFL) and the Players Association (NFLPA) are trying to hash out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which expires March 3rd. After March 4th, if a new CBA isn’t reached, the players will be ‘locked out.’ That means the players won’t be able to participate in team activities, or get the necessary money to rehab any injuries they might have.

There are a lot of things that the NFL and the NFLPA have to negotiate to create a new CBA. A rookie salary-scale, as well as a possible 18-game schedule, is minor speed bumps in the road to a new CBA.

But the big speed bump appears to be the splitting of the revenue. According to ESPN.com, the league makes $9 billion annually. When they last negotiated a CBA in 2006, the players were given 60-percent of the league’s revenue.

But since 2006, the ‘bubble has burst.’

The owners are now claiming that, in this economy, the aren’t making as much revenue as they have in the past. Tickets sales are down, and the stadiums aren’t raking in as much money as they have in the past. The owners are starting to ‘hurt’ financially. This time around, they are looking to receive a larger chunk of the money, saying that players already are getting a lot of money in their salaries.

But along of with all of the issues they have to negotiate with themselves, they also have to deal with the media.

Both the NFL and NFLPA are using the media, from ESPN, to Twitter, and every website in between, to try and tell the public what is happening in the negotiations, and what they thing of it. It has become a “He-said/she-said” type argument, with lots of mud-slinging on both sides of the table.

The federal government has stepped in, sending in George Cohen, the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, to try and bring both sides together, to get an agreement together  in the next week, to avoid a lockout.

One thing Cohen has recommended, to both sides, is to put a gag order on all negotiating talks. That means no one is allowed to talk to the media about anything going on.

All we know, is that this past weekend, both sides met for three days straight, totaling over 20 hours. Now, I know you may not think that is a lot, but considering how heated both sides were getting, that is a lot of time.

So keep an ear out football fans. T-minus one week. Before the federal mediation, it looked like both sides weren’t going to get together. But there is a ray of hope shining on that iceberg, a glimpse that there will be a new CBA, and that there will be a 2011 season.

But even without a CBA, there will still be a draft. So even if there is a lockout, at least we have the draft right? Sort of like a small consolation prize. But if there is a lockout, the draft could be the last football we see for a while.

Positive thoughts football fans. Positive thoughts.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 18, 2011 in Campus Lantern Articles, NFL

 

Tags: , , ,