Friday, June 25, 2010

Draft on Tap Links

I tried to watch the NBA draft last night, but I really couldn't. There just wasn't much intrigue, much excitement, especially with the Sixers being finished after Evan Turner's name was called at No. 2. Sure, I had it on all night, but more of my attention was focused on the Wedding Singer.

I do have a few thoughts on the draft, however. For starters, damn, this was one deep class. There may not be many superstars in the fold, but even all the way through the second round, there are tons of players that can be major contributors in the NBA. Upon further review, Greg Monroe is my favorite player in the entire class, and he fits in perfectly in Detroit. I can envision him becoming another Rasheed Wallace-type player.

The three most impressive picks/steals in the first round to me were James Anderson, Quincy Pondexter and Jordan Crawford. Always picking late because the team is perennially a contender, the Spurs went and did it again, getting James Anderson at No. 20. I was a bit surprised, because I definitely think Anderson is a better player than Patrick Patterson, Larry Sanders, Luke Babbitt, Kevin Seraphin and Eric Bledsoe, all players taken ahead of him. He'll fit in perfectly with the Spurs, a tough, versatile player willing to do anything for the team.

Pondexter, while underachieving at times during his days at Washington and perhaps even a little overconfident in his abilities, has a ton of talent and is another multifaceted player. Now he joins a young, confident Thunder squad that's oozing young talent. He's just another athletic, do-it-all type to join a team full of those kind of players. And Jordan Crawford may be my second favorite player in this draft after Monroe. It's somewhat of an obvious comparison, what with them sharing the same last name and all, but I can see Jordan Crawford being almost a more disciplined Jamal Crawford — an excellent scorer coming off the bench who's capable of playing starter minutes. Oh yeah, and you may have heard something about him posterizing LeBron.

As far as the second round goes, there was a hell of a lot of talent there too, a bunch of players I foresee definitely making a team: Hassan Whiteside, Lance Stephenson, Jarvis Varnado, Devin Ebanks, Gani Lawal, Willie Warren, Stanley Robinson, not to mention big names like Dexter Pittman, Andy Rautins and Luke Harangody. And it was nice to see Da'Sean Butler get drafted after his horrific injury. That guy deserves a shot at the NBA.

Of all the second rounders, the three most intriguing to me are Lance Stephenson, Jarvis Varnado and Willie Warren, with Stephenson standing out the most. I'll admit, ever since I saw Gunnin for That No. 1 Spot, I've been a pretty avid follower and fan of Born Ready. He's had his detractors all along, and his one season of college ball at Cincinnati was certainly an up-and-down one, but I think Stephenson actually has the potential to be one of the best players in this entire draft if he can diligently work on his game and dedicate himself as a professional. He certainly has the body and skill set to become a lethal player in the league. The Pacers snagging him 40th overall could be the steal of the draft.

Then there are Varnado and Warren. Jarvis may have a long way to go offensively, but every team needs a shot blocker protecting the paint and causing opposing players to think twice about going to the hoop. Varnado is the all-time leader in blocks in NCAA history. At worst, he's another Theo Ratliff, who has made one hell of a long career by rebounding and especially blocking shots. The case of Willie Warren is definitely a mix bag. A year ago, he was thought to be a late lottery pick. But after a subpar sophomore season, his stock plummeted. So what's the real story with Willie Warren? Is he the player that burst on the scene at Oklahoma as a freshman, shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 37.2 percent from three, or the guy who this following year saw his field goal (43.8) and three-point (30.9) percentages fall, despite upping his scoring, rebounding and assist averages? Without Blake Griffin around, Warren wasn't as good a shooter, and he didn't exactly give GMs a ton of confidence that he could run the point, average 3.8 turnovers and 4.1 assists for a nearly 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. But still, he's a young guy with a reputation as a shooter, the type of player that could turn into instant offense off the bench. Kind of like a Louis Williams, though much better defensively. Someone I'll keep my eye on for sure.

All in all, it was an underwhelming experience for me. Nothing crazy really happened. Many of the players once you got past the first five picks or so were rated relatively close, so there wasn't much in the way of shocking developments. The Hinrich trade to Washington is a little bizarre, considering the Wizards now have John Wall, Gilbert Arenas and Kirk Hinrich, but other than that, there weren't any big trades. It was pretty much just a dull night. But hey, the Sixers got their man, the Phillis completed the sweep of the Indians and it's Friday, so that's plenty to be excited about.

Links …

-Domonic Brown is Batman:

And Superman:

And word on the street is he's getting called up to Lehigh Valley, which means, as meech so eloquently put it, "That’s one step closer to the Phillies, people."

-Yesterday at work, I went to the bathroom, and when I came out, I thought I must have unknowingly passed out and fallen asleep on the floor because when I looked out the window, it was pure darkness. Turns out, it was just that ridiculous storm that swept through. Which just so happened to take place during the late innings of the Phils' 12-3 win over the Indians yesterday. Here's what it looked like at Citizens Bank Park:

-Ladies and gentlemen, the Jerks are back in town.

-Excellent breakdown of the options for the Flyers in goal, discussing Jonathan Bernier, Jonathan Quick, Cory Schneider, Dan Ellis and Chris Mason, not to mention Michael Leighton.

-The Union christen PPL Park on Sunday.

-Remember that time I was talking about Lance Stephenson? Watch him throw down a sick putback dunk:

-To follow that up, Antone also reminds us why, exactly, the Sixers took Rodney Carney a few years ago and then decided to bring him back after trading him.

-Bobby Valentine is back in the NL East, now reportedly as the Marlins manager. The only question is, did he bring his mustache with him?

The man is a master of disguise.

-Cliff Lee is still putting up greatest man who ever lived with these insane numbers:

Lee leads all major league pitchers in FIP, at 1.98. He leads the majors in WHIP, at 0.91. His K/BB rate is 19.00, more than three times the rate of his closest competitor, Roy Halladay (6.13). He's given up more than three earned runs in a start just once, thrown more than 35 balls in a start just once (all of his starts have gone at least six and a third innings), and accrued 3.7 Wins Above Replacement, best in the majors, despite having four fewer starts than both Ubaldo Jimenez and Roy Halladay, who, by the way, have no-hitters this season to their name. In short, Cliff Lee has been absurdly good at his job this season.

Yeah, you read that correctly: His strikeout to walk ratio is three times better than anyone else alive. Wow. It gets scarier from there, and not in a good way:

So the Mariners will be trading Lee for prospects, especially hitters. And his suitors will be teams with playoff aspirations that need pitching. The Mets and Twins appear to be the front-runners. The Mets can offer a slew of prospects and can take on Lee's salary and write him off as a rental, even if a playoff berth don't happen, thanks to their enormous revenues. The Twins have a better catching prospect in Wilson Ramos—the Mariners are "interested" in adding a catching prospect—and can throw a back-end starter like Kevin Slowey or Scott Baker into the deal.

Sweet Jesus, Ruben Amaro better pray until his knees are sore that Lee doesn't end up in a Mets uniform this season. It would be the worst thing in the history of things. And as quick as this city was to praise him following the World Series victory in 2008 for basically bringing everyone back and keeping the core together, this city will turn on him just as fast if they get a glimpse of Cliff Lee, their hero last October, in a Mets uniform. This entire ordeal makes me sick to my stomach.

-The Fightins Tickets. Just click it.

-Go to The Basketball Jones and watch every damn video from the draft.

-Sheed has retired, and Eric Freeman shows his appreciation for the Philadelphia native.

-SLAM's NBA Top 25 under 25. Chester product Tyreke Evans comes in at No. 6. Pretty decent list overall, but the fact that Brandon Jennings comes in at No. 25 is a bit hard to swallow. He should be ahead of several guys on the list.

-Michael Vick celebrated his 30th birthday in Virginia. There may have been a cake fight that Ookie or his co-defendant or both didn't take to kindly to. Later, outside of the place the party was held, said co-defendent, Quanis Phillips, got shot. Vick's lawyer claims Vick wasn't involved in the shooting. What no one really seems to be considering here is … where was Marvin Harrison?

-For an overdose of Shoals and company, check out his draft diary and all the awesome draft coverage at FreeDarko.

As for the weekend, the NHL draft is going on, and the Phillies begin their odd three-game set with the Blue Jays, where the Phils are actually the away team and there will be a DH despite the games taking place in Citizens Bank Park. It's going to be weird. And historic. And oh yeah, Roy Halladay take the mound against his former team tonight.

BallHype: hype it up!

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