NBA Free Agent Target Practice: Who The Bulls Should Line-Up This Offseason

NBA 2009: Lakers Beat Jazz 119-109
Yeah, I'd be excited too if tens-of-millions of dollars awaited me on July 1. (Which happens to be my birthday.)

The Chicago Bulls have never been known for accumulating talent in the open market. Mostly because of the failures associated with the guys the team has given big money contracts to. Guys like Ron Mercer, Brent Barry, Eddie Robinson and Ben Wallace come to mind, and not because of anything productive they did on the court.

But this free agent class, which opens up at 11 p.m. central, can be different. Especially after a disappointing showing in the NBA Draft, where the Bulls essentially re-drafted Tyrus Thomas (James Johnson) and Joakim Noah (Taj Gibson) instead of drafting someone to replace Ben Gordon, who seemingly has one foot at the Berto Center and the other on 8 Mile Road.

After nearly knocking off the then-defending champion Boston Celtics, I have been led to believe Chicago is a few moves away from being a contender. They won't win the championship next year, but here are five guys I think that can help push the Bulls in the right direction.

1. Carlos Boozer, forward, Utah Jazz. If the Bulls feel they can't land Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire in 2010, they should probably use a pre-emptive strike and sign Boozer. The 6-foot-9 power forward is the back-to-the-basket scorer the Bulls need. What I like most about the 16-point, 10-rebound guy is that he wears his opponents out down low early in games before lulling them to sleep with his mid-range game. (He's staying put)

2. Hedo Turkoglu, forward, Orlando Magic. It won't be long until the Orlando forward turns into an "ex" Orlando forward as he proved to be the ultimate match-up problem for the Cleveland LeBrons and, for that matter, the rest of the NBA. Turkoglu could be the perfect guy for the Bulls' run-and-gun system because of his ability to not only play the two, three and four positions, but to score from them. Too bad the Bulls have cornered the market on average small forwards to the point where they can't afford one of the elite ones.

3. Paul Millsap, forward, Utah Jazz. The Jazz's more affordable option seems to be Millsap, who was a pretty darn good college player ... and trust me, I saw him with my own two eyes at the SIU Arena a few years ago for a BracketBuster game. He was a man among boys for a competitive Louisiana Tech ball club. His advantage over Boozer is that he is younger, but has that restricted tag hanging around his neck that could scare some teams away.

4. Luther Head, guard, Miami Heat. Even though the Illinois alum is far from an impact starter, Head could be productive as a role player off the bench. He is a career 39 percent 3-point shooter who I wouldn't mind standing on a wing or in a corner waiting to receive a kick-out from Derrick Rose.

5. Ben Gordon, guard, Chicago Bulls. And when all else fails, it's time for the Bulls and Gordon to kiss and make up. The Bulls need Gordon and his ability to fill the basket and hit big shots in big game situations. On the other hand, Gordon needs a contract from a team that will let him get his shots. If not for the prior rocky relationship, I'm sure this would be a done deal.

The only hurdle the Bulls need to clear to pick up any of these players is the remaining six years and $61.7 million dollars remaining on the contract of Luol Deng.

Cubs Fans, Your Knight In Shining Armour Is On His Way

Aramis Ramirez: Slugger and savior

Apparently, the Cubs didn't need a line-up shuffle. They just needed to face a Pittsburgh Pirates team that is worse off than they are. And I concede that Matt Holliday isn't coming. There's nothing wrong with a little wishful thinking, backed up with statistical analysis while getting the brain flowing in hopes that Jim Hendry finds this blog, has a lightbulb go off over his head, call Billy Beane and make something special happen.

Again, an extreme line-up turnover isn't coming and neither is Holliday. But Aramis Ramirez is.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the slugging third baseman will take batting practice at PNC Park this week. But unlike the rest of the time when players step into PNC Park to take batting practice, Ramirez is doing so from a batting cage, not one of the Pirates' starters. And if all goes well, The Ram's rehab assignment will start Thursday, putting him in line to come back against Atlanta next week.

Those associated with Chicago Cubs baseball conveniently point out the Cubs' offensive struggles while Ramirez was sidelined with a shoulder injury which occurred when he tried so damn hard to catch a ball down the third base line in an attempt to please the ultimate Aramis detractor, Barry Rozner.

Through 18 games, Ramirez hit .364 with 4 homers and 16 ribbies. At that pace, Ram-Bam-Thank-You-Ma'am was on pace for a 36 home run, 144 RBI season that still would have not gained approval from Rozner because of a perceived lack of hustle on Ramirez's part. That is the kind of production the Cubs need, especially from the middle of the order.

But Ramirez re-joining the team is more than a numbers boost, it's a mental boost, too.

Heck, knowing that the wet newspapers Mike Fontenot and Aaron Miles use as a bat will be glued to the bench is worth a few wins right there.

Penciling a career .285 hitter (.300 since joining the Cubs) into the third spot every day is the kind of thing that makes Lou Piniella's job easy. And at this point, the less work Lou needs to do with the line-up, the better. Nothing makes you age quicker than seeing Miles up with runners in scoring position.

After wrapping up a three-game set against the Pirates, the Cubs return to the Friendly Confines to host the first-place Milwaukee Brewers, who continue to pound opposing pitchers like they owed them milk money. Then there's three against the Braves before a series against the second-place Cardinals wraps up the first half of the season.

By the looks of that schedule, is there any way Ramirez can hop off the DL now?

Uh, Houston. We have a problem.

I hate to say it, but 'Sheed could help Houston. For the right price, this should be the Rockets next move.

By now, I am sure every NBA fan has read at least one story about Yao Ming's foot. 

Yes, the sports world recently acquired foot fetish has created quite the buzz (or buzz kill if you are a Rockets fan). Yao Ming will miss all of next season with a broken left foot. But the story doesn't end there, Ming could be done playing basketball entirely. 

Many have claimed the story is being blown out of proportion and this will serve as wake-up call for Yao Ming that his body cant handle the stress of playing in the NBA and for China's national team. I am no doctor, but I am sorry to say this story is not blown out of proportion. Yao Ming could have played his last NBA game. 

Being 7-foot-6 comes with a price, and unfortunately Yao is now paying that price. Having superhuman size is a health concern in itself and normally leads to a much shorter life. But when a man that size has a serious break in his foot, it's like a horse that breaks its leg. There is a good chance there is no coming back from it. 

It would be a huge loss to the NBA to lose the most gifted player over 7-foot-3 in the history of the league. Yao's gargantuan predecessors George Muresan and Manute Bol played like giants. Both were very uncoordinated and slow. But Yao is quick with a soft touch and can run down the floor like a power forward. While once-in-a-lifetime player gets thrown out a lot, Yao really is an oddity. 

My concern for Yao now is that the problems stop at his feet. Gigantism is a pituitary disorder and as stated earlier, can cause not just career-threatening, but life-threatening problems. Former professional wrestlers Andre the Giant and Giant Gonzalez both suffered from gigantism and Andre died in his 50s, while Gonzalez is having serious health issues at 43.

I'm not ready to jump to that severe of a conclusion, but while the selfish part of me wants Yao to get back on the court, I just hope he can get healthy and stay healthy for a long time to come. 

But for now Houston has a problem, and it needs to be addressed. Yao Ming is out and Tracy McGrady is out for most of the season. Ron Artest is a free agent. Houston has done a great job managing their cap the last few years and now is time to be even more careful. 

Yao! That hurts the bank account
Prior to this foot debacle, Yao having a player option at the end of next season was no problem for Houston. They wanted him to pick up that option and probably would have offered an extension. But now he has an option he will definitely pick up, because after a season on the sidelines, that backloaded deal is a lot better than any sort of money he would get from another team. 

So that money is accounted for. Now the Rockets have two realistic options. Artest is a free agent, but with Yao hurt, they should let him walk. Artest is not the cornerstone of a franchise, he is a nice third man. If they signed him, he would be the star and it would never work. 

The Rockets would also like to dump McGrady, but they will have to wait until the end of this season when his contract is up. I doubt any team will want to pick up that contract on a perennial injured player. 

So now the Rockets either have to use the money they save by letting Artest walk to sign a free agent center this season, or they trade some of the top-notch young players on their bench that have made them so good the last two seasons for a quick fix with Chris Bosh or Amar'e Stoudemire. 

It's a tough call. Picking up Bosh or Stoudemire would keep them in contention, but they would lose players that could help them for years to come. The team would struggle to stay in competition by signing one of the free agent centers and it would also tie them up financially more than a quick fix. 

My best advice: Sign Rasheed Wallace. I know, Rasheed Wallace scares me too. He comes overpriced sometimes and you don't know if he will always show up. But when he does, his post defense is still top-notch and his versatility makes him hard to defend. 

The Rockets could make a play for a real pricey big man like Carlos Boozer, but he would be too expensive and is not any sort of answer to replacing a center. Or they could go cheap and sign Marcin Gortat, but Carl Landry would work just as well in that case. 

Wallace would be a good move if they could sign him to a 2-year deal with a club option in the third. It would keep the team afloat without crippling them too much financially since McGrady is sure to be gone by the end of the season. 

The Rockets front office has the toughest job this offseason. Their next move could make or break this franchise for the next three years. 

My Pitch To Jim Hendry For Matt Holliday

MLB: APR 25 Rays at Athletics
Jim Hendry should rent A's OF Matt Holliday by any means necessary.

Cubs GM Jim Hendry is due for a good move, right? Through 73 games, Hendry is 0-for-the-offseason as Milton Bradley, Aaron Miles, Kevin Gregg and Ryan Dempster have flopped or fell short of the lofty expectations that come with multi-million dollar deals or, in Gregg's case, being traded for a prospect once deemed untouchable.

And just like last season, Cubdom is up in arms over a move by one of its arch division rivals in an attempt to unseat the Cubs from their perch atop the NL Central. I've seen this movie before. And as a Cubs fan, I like where this movie ends. But for some reason, I always fall asleep whenever the part about October rolls around. Funny how that works.

Hendry can make his detractors (mainly yours truly) by making one brash move that could push this team over the top.

Trade for Matt Holliday.

I know this seems like more of a stretch than Prince Fielder's waistline, but here me out. This would be the ultimate rent-a-player scenario, which could appease Sam Zell and the fools at TribCo that are basically holding the Cubs and the Ricketts family hostage. Adding Holliday would make the Cubbie faithful forget all about Mark DeRosa playing for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Stick Holliday in left and move Alfonso Soriano to second. Take note that any move the Cubs make to acquire an outfielder will likely bump Soriano to second base. And I don't want to hear about how bad his defense is there, because if it's bad one place it is bad other places too. At least at second, his numbers will generally out-perform the average second sacker.

Back to Holliday, whose big bat is the boost the boys in blue need. Now, how's that for alliteration?

There are a handful of things Hendry should take into consideration when acquiring his next big bat.
  1. How he hits at Wrigley/day games.
  2. How he hits on the road against NL Central teams.
  3. Production in the second half.
  4. Playoff production.
  5. The bounty.
And how does Holliday stack up?

1. Well, the numbers at Wrigley aren't pretty where he is a a career .229 hitter with only one homer and four ribbies. However, things look a lot better when the sun is out. Holliday owns a career .319 average, .391 OBP, .531 slugging percentage and .922 OPS.

2. While Holliday has struggled against the Cubs at Wrigley, he hits pretty well against the rest of the NL Central. He's got a career .292 average against the Reds, but has an underwhelming .269 average at The Great American Ball Park. Against the Brewers, Holliday has a ridiculous .342 average and 1.082 OPS. At Miller Park, he owns a .928 OPS. At Busch Satdium II, he has hit an absurd .385 with 5 homers in 11 games against the Cardinals.

3. The most encouraging stat backing Holliday is his .314/.388/.568/.967 slash stats in 1,380 second-half plate appearances.

4. The second most encouraging stat could be his career .289 average and .919 OPS in 11 games. Holliday makes Mark DeRosa look like a bum with numbers like that.

5. It's easy to use to back my argument, but it means nothing unless there is a match between the GMs. And there is no harder GM to deal with than Billy Beane, and if you've read Moneyball (or its bad-ass movie script) then you know what's up. Luckily for the Cubs, Hendry and Beane have worked together before, as recently as the deal that brought in Rich Harden.

When it comes to Beane, all trade talks begin with starting pitcher. Which means all trade talks must start with left-handed starter Sean Marshall and right-handed hurler Jeff Samardzijia. Maybe one of the pitchers the Cubs got from the Indians would intrigue Beane. I'm sure if Phil Rogers read this blog, he would have a suggestion of his own. As for hitters, Josh Vitters is as close as to untouchable as they get, if only because he will be with the team in two years when he takes over third and Aramis Ramirez takes over first. Everyone else is fair game.

It's up to you GM Jim. The Cardinals have thrown down the gauntlet and could be poised to run away with the division if the Cubs continue to slip down the slippery slope. But the GM of the two-time defending champs wouldn't let that happen, right?

Bradley Batting First? An Idea Crazy Enough To Work

Cubs vs. White Sox
Look me in the eyes and tell me the following isn't a crazy idea. Trust me, I know crazy!

Someone send this memo to Cubs manager Lou Piniella: The reinforcements are not coming, because if they were, they would be here by now.

The two-time defending NL Central champs are not even a shadow of their former selves. They rank 22nd in on-base percentage, 24th in slugging and 27th in batting average. Chicago's North Side edition of mediocre baseball currently sits in fourth place at 35-37 and still have managed to only be 3.5 games behind the first place Brewers and Cardinals. Contrary to popular belief, the Cubs aren't dead yet. They're not even on life support.

Are they on their death beds? Something like that. The Cubs are like that elderly relative that only gets up to watch the Price Is Right in the morning, Matlock in the afternoon and the 10 p.m. news before bed. Piniella needs to do something to jump start this team, and it has nothing to do with kicking dirt, throwing bases or abusing Gatorade machines or water coolers. Grandma would call this an afternoon snack.

Here is my proposal. First, a line-up shuffle.

The first step involves Alfonso Soriano vacating the lead-off spot for Milton Bradley.

It was the only five days ago when Bradley's OBP was at .360, its highest since April 10 when it was .389. And since no one is going to take on Crazy Uncle Milton's ego or contract, the Cubs are stuck with him until further notice. And I figure, the best way to get his bat going is to get him in a position to see a lot of quality pitches. He owns a career .369 OBP and has gotten on base at a 40 percent clip for each of the last three seasons, drawing a career-best 80 walks last season.

If Bradley can coax a few walks here and there by laying off pitcher's pitches, it could lead to him getting more hitter's pitches to drive to the gaps. And in case you've been living under a rock, Wrigley becomes a hitter's paradise in July and August.

Batting second is Ryan Theriot, for you fanboys who can't get enough of The Riot trying to jack pitches out to left. Maybe, with a guy on base, Theriot, whose OBP is a Soriano-esque .342, will return to slapping the ball to right field ... while occasionally driving an inside pitch to the left-center field gap.

Micah Hoffpauir bats third and plays left. He ranks third on the team with seven home runs and is slugging .467, which ranks second on the team behind only Derrek Lee. Like Theriot, Hoffpauir has a unique group of followers that salivate profusely during each at bat. Let's give him some swing and if he misses, he can return to being a skinny, white version of Daryle Ward.

D-Lee bats fourth. He's not back to 2005 MV-Lee quite yet, but he has proven to be the team's best hitter. Since moving to the No. 4 slot, D-Leezey has been raking. He is hitting .329 with a .413 OBP, slugging .582 and OPSing .996. All of his 11 homers and 32 of his 39 runs batted in have come as the Cubs clean-up man.

Jake Fox bats fifth and plays third. He's got good power, especially to the gaps and has been this year's Geovany Soto. Without the weed smoking, of course.

Finally, we get to the gravy, where somewhere, avid readers of this group will point and laugh with that sh*t-eating "I told you so" look on their faces as I move Alfonso Soriano out of the lead-off spot.

His batting averaged dropped from .280 on May 17 to .235 as of today. It is not as if Soriano can't regain his early-season stroke in the blink of an eye, for Cubs fans have seen this act before. But for the sake of this blog, let's move him to fifth in the order.

I'll concede that his value as a lead-off hitter diminishes a bit when he's not stealing bases. But if he wants to score, he is going to need to steal bases. I'm under the assumption that Soriano has the green light to go whenever he wants. So here is an idea for Sweet Uncle Lou: Throw out the steal sign whenever Soriano gets on first and get those legs in motion. If he refuses to go, Piniella should go Bobby Cox his ass and sit him on the bench right between he and Alan Trammel.

If not, send him home.

Besides, having Soriano running at first is a nice way to keep No. 7 hitter Geovany Soto out of a double play scenario while also maybe moving the infield defense around by opening things up with a little hit and run action.

Kosuke Fukudome bats eigth, where he should draw a lot of walks in front of the pitcher. Pitcher bunts him over (or in Carlos Zambrano's case, drives him in) and the line-up turns over again.

The line-up, again:
  1. Milton Bradley, RF
  2. Ryan Theriot, SS
  3. Micah Hoffpauir, LF
  4. Derrek Lee, 1B
  5. Jake Fox, 3B
  6. Alfonso Soriano, 2B
  7. Geovany Soto, C
  8. Kosuke Fukudome, CF
  9. The Pitcher
This is a hybrid model based on Billy Beane's ideology of getting guys with high OBPs on base before the boppers come up. I dont' care about clogging bases or baseball for traditionalists. I hate Joe Morgan, Dusty Baker and bad baseball.

I'm not saying that this will work, but it's worth a shot.

C'mon, this is the same organization that continually trotted out Willie Banks as a starter, Mel Rojas and Antonio Alfonseca as closers and Neifi Perez as an everyday shortstop. What's the worse that can happen?

Daily Dosage: The Windy City Blows

Ozzie loooooves his White Sox fans! (via Photobucket)

The White Sox took two of three from the Cubs this weekend in the battle of whack Windy City baseball. These teams might play a make-up game at Wrigley in September, setting up a situation where one team could theoretically serve a blow to each other's playoff chances. But we won't talk about that until both teams are over .500.

Ozzie Guillen continues to live in bizarro world. First, he welcomed the Cubs to the world class facilities of the South Side, which included meth labs, crack spots and the ever so popular 35th Street underpass. Then he goes on to say Sox fans are not stupid like Cubs fans. (Remembers the Ligue's jumping Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa. Then other fans jumping umpire Laz Diaz. Then other fans harassing Craig Biggio's wife at teh 2005 World Series.) You're right Ozzie, White Sox fans aren't stupid. They're just embarrassing. [Chicago Tribune, Paul Sullivan]

Phil Rogers' stupidity continues. "Get Carlos Zambrano out of here, even if the Cubs have to give him away. He's not the guy you want as the ace of a curse-busting team, and at this point, it's wishful thinking that he'll ever mature into that guy. Proving that I did not attend Kellogg, Wharton or even the Acme School of Business, I offer this proposition for Jim Hendry: First thing Monday morning, put Zambrano on waivers. If anyone claims him and the $62.75 million left on his contract, which runs through 2012, immediately trade him for whatever is being offered, from a bag of balls to a 32-year-old minor-leaguer."

I won't even justify that with a witty response. [Chicago Tribune, That One Idiot]

Random Thought: This tidbit in the Trib suggests Aaron Miles could go on the disabled list soon. The former Cardinal is batting .203 this season with the Cubs, which begs the question: When was he ever able? Just cut bait.

Random Thought II: In theory, the Cubs traded Mark DeRosa for Aaron Miles and three minor leaguers. And unless those minor leaguers become Hall of Famers, Cubs fans will never live this down.

Power Rankings: Shaken, Not Stirred

Reading Phil Rogers' power rankings ... or Phil Rogers in general ... makes me want to kick puppies. I guarantee you that reading this blog will make you feel better than that.

1. Michael Jackson. What can I say that has yet to been said about the King of Pop? He touched us all.

2. Point guards. Of the 60 picks in Thursday's NBA Draft, 19 were point guards. But none of them were Bryan Mullins.

3. Anniversaries. Two Fridays ago, we celebrated the day the Portland Trail Blazers passed on Michael Jordan for Sam Bowie. Last week, we celebrated The Sandberg Game. And as HJE put it, how many people have a game named after them. Still waiting for The Pujols Game. (Also, now waiting for a dick joke ... now.)

4. Bryan Mullins. The former Saluki star guard has earned his ranking despite not playing organized basketball since January. Never did I think a Saluki would get this much buzz, especially after a 13-18 year ... but what do I know?

5. Soccer. According to your Facebook status updates, you care about this game. Though, in my defense, I thought FIFA was a video game.

6. Mock Drafts. Thankfully, they're done for now. Everyone had one, even ESPN's Chad Ford, who hates them.

7. Twitter. Until the late-night tweets end, the micro-blogging social networking site will always have a home here.

8. Cry-baby Cubs fans. The tears that flowed after Mark DeRosa was traded to the Cardinals could have hydrated all of the thirsty kids in Africa. Never in my life has an ex-Cub been slurped so hard after leaving.

9. Shaq. Traded to the Cleveland LeBrons, the best big man of our generation is looking for a new nickname now that The Big Cactus no longer applies. How about The Big Second Fiddle?

10. Milton Bradley. If I didn't put him on here, he might think I'm trying to take him down.

DeRo Shall No Longer Be Your Hero, He's A Cardinal Now


Consider this to be my warning shot to Cubdom.

Mark DeRosa was a pretty good ballplayer in Chicago. He wasn't great. He was good. He hit 31 homers, drove in 159 runs, hit .289, on-based 373, slugged .451 and OPSed .824 primarily as a second baseman while dabbling at first, short, third, right and left in his two year reign in Chicago.

When he was traded, Cubs fans were outraged and that was understandable. Replacing Mark DeRosa with Aaron Miles is like replacing a reliable Honda Civic for a Yugo. And when DeRosa returned to Chicago, the Wrigley faithful gave him a standing ovation. Again. And again. And again.

Personally, I don't want to see that again. He's a Cardinal now. It's time to get over it.

Cubs fans slurped DeRosa so hard in his return, you would have thought they were erecting his statue next to Ernie Banks or retiring his number alongside Ernie, Billy Williams, Greg Maddux, Fergie Jenkins and Ron Santo.

Cubs fans, look at that dreaded sign over the right field bleachers. Your team hasn't won a World Series in 100 years and hasn't even squared off agaisnt an American League team in October since 1945. DeRosa didn't change that. There's no reason to treat him like he did.

Now the Cardinals have DeRosa and Chicago is up in arms. Milton Bradley has been bad and you can apparently add manager Lou Piniella to the list of people trying to bring him down. Ryan Dempster's glove trick is not apparently tricking anyone anymore

The Cards getting DeRosa is like watching your girlfriend leave town for her new job, only to return to be dating your slack-jawed cousin who believes Larry The Cable Guy is the funniest man in the history of comedy.

Meanwhile, your new special lady friend, who started off as cute, but tempermental, has been unable to step out of the buffet line since the day you started dating. And yet, the girl is still one weight watchers meal away from being able to seen holding hands with her again.

The Cubs are only 3.5 games out of first place, and that is fine and dandy. But Cubs fans, if you want to be angry, re-direct your anger, torches and pitchforks to the office of Jim Hendry. It was Hendry who failed to replace DeRosa's production at second base. It was Hendry who insisted on signing Bradley and re-signing Dempster. It was Hendry who failed to replentish a bullpen that has been flat-out full of bullsh*t.

As for the most beloved ex-Cub in team history, he'll get his second first-shot against his former North Side pals on July 10 at Wrigley Field, a game the TBDS staff will be in attendance at.

Funny how things work sometimes.

Here We Go Again: Cubs, White Sox, Baseball, Booze and The South Side ... What Can Go Wrong?

No need for a Michael Buffer reference, because we all know something's going down on the South Side this weekend. Ozzie Guillen welcomed the North Siders to the South Side's "excellent, new facilities." I didn't know he was hosting the Cubs for dinner at Harold's Chicken Shack, which happens to be the finest facility south of Addison Street.

It was a little too quiet for my liking when the teams split a pair of games on the North Side. And with the Cubs sliding down that slippery slope of suck, don't be surprised if Lou Piniella kicks dirt, throws bases or puts Alfonso Soriano in a head lock.

Speaking of which, how long until Milton Bradley beats up a father-son tandem that tried to jump him from behind. I say, pregame, Game 1.

And how long 'til Ozzie starts throwing at the rats' heads this weekend? No, not the Wrigley rats. I'm talking about the hood rats that sleep at that Red Line stop and line 35th Street.

Throwing for the Sox this weekend will be Contreras, Buehrle and Danks. The Cubs counter with Wells, Dempster and Zambrano. If the White Sox don't sweep this series I'll be surprised.

And if the Cubs win one game out of this series, I will consider this road trip a success.

Mocking The NBA Draft, Vol. 7.0: The After Party

NBA Unveils Reading and Learning Center at Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club
Yeah, David, I don't know what the T'Wolves are doing either.

Brief draft review:
  • The only bigger "duh" moment than the Clippers taking Blake Griffin No. 1 overall was when Charlotte drafted Duke guard Gerald Henderson. I am now convinced the Bobcats are trying to re-unite an all-time best All-ACC team.
  • The Timberwolves addressed their glaring need for a point guard four times last night. Even Villanova head coach Jay Wright thinks that's too many guards.
  • The highlight of the night was listening to Jeff Van Gundy's analysis. When he's not trying to not be critical of his brother in the NBA Finals, he's not half bad.
  • The lowlight of the night was team's allergic reaction to DeJuan Blair. I had the "oooh dejuan you so sexii" line all but ready to go, but it just doesn't seem right if it's coming out of San Antonio.
Here is the final mocking of the NBA Draft.

1. Los Angeles Clippers - Blake Griffin, Oklahoma. Blake, you can run from the Clippers' past all you want, there is a reason the Cubs aren't the nation's bad sports punchline. That reason is L.A.'s other team.

2. Memphis Grizzlies - Hasheem Thabeet, UConn. In honor of Michael Jackson (R.I.P.), the newest Grizz changed his name to Hasheem Tha-Beat-It for the night.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder - James Harden, Arizona State. And the award for best facial hair goes to...

4. Sacramento Kings - Tyreke Evans, Memphis. Some experts say he needs to improve his shot. There's a drive by joke to be had here.

5. Minnesota Timberwolves - Ricky Rubio, Spain. If looks could kill, the state of Minnesota would have been blown up. The Spaniard apparently wants nothing to do with the Mall of America, or Brett Favre for that matter.

6. Minnesota Timberwolves - Jonny Flynn, Syracuse. The look on Flynn's face said "I have to play with that guy?" as he thought of Rubio. Then Rubio had that look of "I have to play with that guy?" and it makes me think there is an Odd Couple-esque reality show to be made by ESPN.

7. Golden State Warriors - Stephen Curry, Davidson. There is no NBA fan base that I wanted to have a more heartbreaking draft than the Knicks. And for saving us from the slurp-fest that was going to be Curry at MSG, Golden, you are granted your freedom as a state.

8. New York Knicks - Jordan Hill, Arizona. David Stern could have announced the Knicks were getting the love child of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and would still boo.

9. Toronto Raptors - DeMar DeRozan, USC. Do you think the Song Girls know the Canadian national anthem?

10. Milwaukee Bucks - Brandon Jennings, Italy via Compton, Calif. Jennings is the best thing to come out of Compton since Dr. Dre's Chronic 2001. But showing up late to the NBA Draft is not a good way to start a career.

11. New Jersey Nets - Terrance Williams, Louisville. The post-Vince Carter Era started a little earlier than I expected.

12. Charlotte Bobcats - Gerald Henderson, Duke. Visions of Henderson dunking all over SIU at MSG are dancing in my head.

13. Indiana Pacers - Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina. The Pacers address a non-need by drafting a scrappy white guy who works hard and hustles. That must mean Dunleavy, Jr. or Troy Murphy are on the trading block.

14. Phoneix Suns - Earl Clark, Louisville. Some teams draft to win now, and after this pick, I'm convinced the Suns don't want to win ... well, that's the thing ... I don't know when.

15. Detroit Pistons - Austin Daye, Gonzaga. I was waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump on stage next to David Stern and say "you got punk'd! bring on DeJuan Blair" but that didn't happen until pick No. 37.

16. Chicago Bulls - James Johnson, Wake Forest. Here, the Bulls drafted Tyrus Thomas with a black belt. Well done.

17. Philadelphia 76ers - Jrue Holiday, UCLA. Holiday isn't ready to start in the NBA, let alone run a team. Good player, wrong situation.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves - Ty Lawson, North Carolina. This just in, T'Wolves to field a team without a guy taller than 6-feet.

19. Atlanta Hawks - Jeff Teague, Wake Forest. Better than what they had at the PG position before, which was nothing.

20. Utah Jazz - Eric Maynor, VCU. There is no better situation than to learn under Jerry Sloan and Deron Williams on a really good playoff team.

21. New Orleans Hornets - Darren Collison, UCLA. By adding Collison, NOLA has the smartest point guards this side of the Ivy League.

22. Portland Trail Blazers - Victor Claver, Spain. Who?

23. Sacramento Kings - Omri Casspi, Israel. Makes me wonder whatever happened to the Jewish Jordan.

24. Dallas Mavericks - B.J. Mullens, Ohio State. The Mavs would have been better served drafting Bryan Mullins. And after hearing that, they traded him to the Thunder.

25. Oklahoma City Thunder - Rodrique Beaubois, Guadeloupe. Who? From where? This has to be a prank, right?

26. Chicago Bulls - Taj Gibson, USC. I liked this pick until I realized Wayne Ellington and DeJuan "you so sexii" Blair were still on the board.

27. Memphis Grizzlies - DeMarre Carroll, Mizzou. Not slated to be drafted until the second round, the Grizz show why they've been living in the lottery since Hubie Brown retired.

28. Minnesota Timberwolves - Wayne Ellington, North Carolina. Another guard!?!?!? Oh, wait, this one can shoot. Good call.

29. Los Angeles Lakers - Toney Douglas, Florida State. The Knicks are hoping Douglas is half as good as their last point guard from FSU.

30. Cleveland Cavaliers - Christian Eyenga, Congo. I'm still in shock that the Cavs drafted a fan in the stands with their 1st round pick. LeBron has got to be thinking, "This is supposed to keep me in Cleveland."

The Big Dead NBA Draft Blog

In about an hour, the Los Angeles Clippers will draft Blake Griffin, thus ushering him into a career of disappointment, failure and being the Clippers' draft lottery representative for the next 10 years.

Our NBA scribe Jeff will be working The Big Dead Tweet as he dabbles into the Twittersphere for this momentous occasion that comes around just once a year.

If you will be on the go, I suggest and encourage you subscribe to our Tweets for the latest updates. And if you do not want to move your eyes over and to the right and down a little, this page is dedicated to your Twitter update needs.

So who is your favorite team going to draft? Probably someone who is useless, childish and will eventually be your team's whipping boy for the next three years.

You do love the Knicks, right?

60 minutes to liftoff

My thoughts exactly Big Aristotle. Your move to Cleveland could be great ... or not so much.

The mocking is done. Experts mean nothing. Fans hold their breath and pray they are not the unlucky saps that draft Psycho T or even worse ... BJ Mullens.

The trade of Shaquille O' Neal to Cleveland officially kicked off the trade madness that will begin in less than an hour. New York, Memphis and Minnesota will be scrambling like mad to wheel and deal. The first two deals will probably include Minnesota's picks and Quentin Richardson/Darko Milic.

Once that first wave happens, expect the big boys to get in the mix. Boston will continue to try to package Ray Allen and the Suns will continue to wave the white flag and unload any and everyone.

But for now, if I am a Cleveland fan, I am torn. O'Neal could help, or he could completely cripple the team. He has to be willing to work with Big Z and not demand minutes over him. Meanwhile, him and LeBron James will also have to check their egos at the door.

O'Neal is not a franchise maker anymore, but for Cleveland fans, lets just hope he is not a franchise destroyer.

And for the Atlanta Hawks, bringing in Jamal Crawford could be a great move. If the team can re-sign Mike Bibby, the Hawks will finally have their potent sixth man — a huge void since the loss of Josh Childress. The only thing holding them back from a very good chance at claiming the Eastern Conference crown is a backup for Al Horford.

But for now the trades are done and the celebration begins. It's a new beginning for every team and its the one night in the year in the NBA, where as Kevin Garnett would say ... anything is possible.

So check back frequently at the TBDS or its twitter page to get updates and analysis about all the picks.

These Should Be Gar's Guys In Tonight's NBA Draft

NCAA Final Four: Villanova Wildcats v North Carolina Tar Heels
Wayne Ellington owns the prettiest jump shot to enter the draft since Ray Allen. That should land him in a good spot in the draft, right?

Earlier, I made the Bulls aware of five players they should stay away from. This is a list of players they should embrace. New GM Gar Foreman can make the impact of a lifetime in a negative or positive form. This is the most important draft because it is the one that takes place today, and because it could help shape Derrick Rose's future.

You want to keep Rose happy, don't you? Well, then, you might want to draft these guys.

1. DeJuan Blair, power forward, Pittsburgh. As of this posting, the Bulls best big man off the bench is Aaron Gray, and that is nothing to be proud of. He is not the inside scorer the Bulls desperately need, but Blair is NBA strong with a knack of getting boards and loose balls. And for what it's worth, he dominated Hasheem Thabeet, who will likely be the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.

2. Jeff Teague, combo guard, Wake Forest. Teague might be the perfect replacement for Ben Gordon once Detroit's mega millions come a-callin'. At 6-foot-2, he's an undersized two-guard, but he handles the ball much better than Gordon ever dreamed of doing. A more complete player, Teague should be ranked higher than Stephen Curry, as Teague exceled against NBA talent that played at Duke, North Carolina and throughout the ACC.

3. Jrue Holiday, point guard, UCLA. Drafting Holiday could give the Bulls the option to trade Kirk Hinrich. The former Bruin stands 6-foot-4 and could be the sizeble point man that could move D-Rose to the shooting guard spot at times.

4. Taj Gibson, power forward, USC. Gibson could be available with the No. 26 overall pick and gets my stamp of approval if the Bulls are not able to land Blair with the No. 16 pick. He would also instantly become the best of Chicago's bench bigs.

5. Nick Calathes, point guard, Florida. He's going to Greece, so I wouldn't mind the Bulls drafting his rights and allowing him to use his playing time in Europe as a developmental experience. It would also save the Bulls some cap room for the next few offseasons.

BREAKING: Geovany Soto And The Stickiest Of The Ickiest

Puerto Rico v Tampa Bay Rays

For all the basketball eyes that we've grabbed today, here is a story that might take you back to the days of the Portland Trail Blazers of not too long ago.

Someone cue the Damon Stoudamire flashback:

Cubs catcher Geovany Soto tested positive for marijuana use while playing for Puerto Rico during the World Baseball Classic last March, the International Baseball Federation announced Thursday.

Soto released a statement saying he was "embarrassed by my lapse in judgment."

"While I full acknowledge my inappropriate behavior, I want to assure my fans and my family that this was an isolated incident," he said.

So to recap our non-basketball related stories:
  • Multi-millionaire athletes are often spotted with attractive, provocatively dressed women.
  • They also like to smoke up.
Let's be real Geo, you've made worse decisions in your life. Like swinging at face-high fastballs and 55-foot breaking balls. Maybe you should consult Dr. Snoop in filling your next prescription.

Hey, the Cubs need to rejuvenate that offense somehow.

Geovany Soto Tested Positive For Pot At WBC
[Chicago Sun-Times]

Hey, Chicago, Whaddya Say, The Bulls Better Not Draft Any Of These Lames Today

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Binghamton Bearcats vs Duke Blue Devils
While I have my no-no list, Gerald Henderson seems to have found this Binghamton Bearcat's no-no zone.

Everyone has their no-no list. And if the Bulls want to re-live their glory days, they read this blog and follow it accordingly.

Stay the f*** away from these five guys:

1. B.J. Mullens, center, Ohio State. Had Mullens stayed four years at tOSU, he probably would have ended up as a Top 10 pick after developing his game. Instead, he came out after one underwhelming year that saw him fail to make his mark in the NCAA Tournament against an undersized Siena squad. I'd be more comfortable drafting Bryan Mullins with the 16th pick than the other guy.

2. Omri Casspi, small forward, Israel. Here's hoping the Bulls learned from foreign flops such as Thabo Sefolosha and Dragan Tarlac. Just say no.

3. Gerald Henderson, shooting guard, Duke. Henderson fits the John Paxson mold of draft pick. A three-year starter at a college hoops power that excelled in the NCAA Tournament. And while he is an exceptional athlete, he isn't an elite athlete and isn't the kind of shooter that can make up for it. The Bulls already have two guys like that: John Salmons and Luol Deng.

4. Austin Daye, small forward, Gonzaga. Big men that can shoot the rock draw comparisons of Dirk Nowitzki and Hedo Turkoglu. But being that soft makes me think he's more like Adam Morrison.

5. Toney Douglas, point guard/shooting guard, Florida State. He's a better ball-handler, defender and distributor than Ben Gordon. But he's not as good of a scorer. Undersized two-guards that can't score don't last long in the Association. Besides, when was the last time FSU produced a star NBA player?

Yeah, and don't date any of these guys either.

Pardon The Interruption: Former Saluki Brandon Jacobs + Pretty Girl = Blog Brief

I know I promised NBA all-day, but when a former Saluki appears on KSK with arm candy, it deserves my undivided attention.

If my dad gets a chance to read this blog, I know exactly what he would say.

"See that could have been you, but I guess you'd rather write about an athlete with a pretty girl than be the athlete with a pretty girl."

Kinda, I've always had a thing for jersey chasers -- mostly because they're generally good looking, not smart and shallow -- so it's not like it would be hard to impress them. And there is nothing wrong with road beef.

Oh and that shirt deserves a plus-one.

Brandon Jacobs Has Excellent Taste In T-Shirts, Women [Kissing Suzy Kolber with image credit via G. Haygood Photography]

Scouts Honor? Projecting NBA Draft Hits Isn't An Exact Science

Revisionist history is easy. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't waste my time trying to whisper in Jerry Krause's ear "Hey Jay Williams is gonna crash his bike, I like the upside of this Amare Stoudemire kid." Instead, I would invest in Google, take in a live Frank Sinatra show, sleep with Marylin Monroe before DiMaggio and them get in her and maybe, just maybe, tell George H.W. Bush to pull out.

I always find it odd that experts have a professional comparison for amateur athletes. Sure, Andre Wadsworth had size and speed, but he never became Bruce Smith. Kerry Wood had a rocket for an arm, but he never became Nolan Ryan. Jeffrey Jordan has Michael's DNA but he's going to business school. The point is some of these guys get labeled without much consideration.

According to past projections, the Bulls should have a starting line-up of Shaquille O'Neal, Dennis Rodman, Larry Bird, Paul Pierce and Derrick Rose ... with Kevin Garnett coming off the bench.

How? Let's take you through time.

2006 - With the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft, the Bulls passed on Larry Bird. What were they thinking? Coming out of college, this player was "Old school right down to the stripes on the socks ... Like a coach on the floor ... The game comes very easily to him ... Can create offense for himself or others ... Very good scorer with complete offensive repertoire ... Great intangibles, competes and inspires others to play hard ... "

The Bulls could have teamed Bird with one of the great rebounders of all time, Dennis Rodman. Rodman was "Long, wiry athletic forward with great energy level ... Excellent rebounder who hits the glass hard ... His bread and butter will be defensively." ... and "Has a unique personality ... A free spirit with a "carefree" attitude. which can be a positive and a negative"

2007 - Chicago could have added a real clutch player had they drafted Paul Pierce instead of Joakim Noah in this draft. Sure, Noah became a rebounding force in the playoffs, but Pierce was described as an "Elite level athlete ... Extremely fluid and explosive ... Blessed with incredible gifts ... Has great length for a wing player. ..." He could play the two or the three in this system.

2001 - Always searching for a low-post presence, the Bulls actually did draft Shaquille O'Neal with the No. 4 overall pick. And to add to the frontcourt firepower, the Bulls ended up trading Elton Brand in exchange for Kevin Garnett.

This is why Jerry Krause is among the best executives in all of sports.

* Adam Morrison ended up playing like bird sh*t rather than Larry Bird.. Renaldo Balkman ended up being Dennis Rodman, without the wedding dress. Thaddeus Young could evolve into Paul Pierce if he wished upon a star. Eddy Curry lived up to the hype and ate Shaquille O'Neal. Tyson Chandler matured and became Kevin Garnett in a wild dream that involved drinking with a panda while Chris Paul watched in amusement.

Daily Dosage: Dipsy-do, Dunk-A-Roo Edition

NBA: DEC 25 Celtics at Lakers
We're trading Song Girls for Laker Girls ... God I wish I was in L.A.

It's been a while since we've revived the Daily Dosage, one of the most popular segments in TBDS history. But with the NBA Draft lurking this evening, I thought it would be a good time to bring it back. Now starring the Laker Girls, because that is what USC Song Girls aspire to be, right?

Quality Linkage:

  • Some ladies say size doesn't matter (holds back laughter), but apparently, the Bulls aren't going by that mantra. [Chicago Tribune]
  • Brian Hanley runs down the Bulls' draft options, should they choose to keep their picks. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • For TBDS NBA scribe Jeff: The Bucks are keeping their options open ... which means if J-Flynn isn't there at 10, they'll screw it up. [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]
  • The different paths to the NBA Draft. [NY Times]
  • What you need to know about tonight's draft coverage on the WWL. [Awful Announcing]
  • The perfect team to execute Orlando's conference-winning offensive system. Beware of copycats *coughSpurscough* [The Sports Geeks]
  • Hot NBA wives. [The Big Lead]
  • Want more hot chicks? Sure you do. Here's a Megan Fox gallery. [MadeMan via Chickipedia]

Mocking The NBA Draft, Vol. 6.0

This is day that most amateur basketball players dream of their whole life. Except when the Clippers are picking No. 1 overall and you're the consensus best player in the draft. Still, Blake Griffin will go No. 1 and a mess will ensue afterward.

We've had some moves, shakes and whispers in anticipation of what will be a busy offseason of contract moving as teams are preparing to get rejected by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and others in the summer of 2010.

1. Los Angeles Clippers - Blake Griffin, Oklahoma. Unless Ashton Kutcher shows up as the Clippers GM and tries to punk everyone by drafting B.J. Mullens, Griffin goes here.

2. Memphis Grizzlies - Hasheem Thabeet, UConn. One way to not be the worst rebounding team in the league is to draft someone who is 7-foot-3.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder - James Harden, Arizona State. The Thunder are easily becoming the most hyped 23-win team in NBA history. Drafting Harden will give OKC another legit scorer, but who's playing defense?

4. Sacramento Kings - Ricky Rubio, Spain. Sac-town's motto with Rubio should be easy. Draft now, trade later if necessary.

5. Minnesota Timberwolves - Tyreke Evans, Memphis. When your starting backcourt is Sebastian Telfair and Corey Brewer, you need more help than Lindsay Lohan after $1 nite. Evans is a good start

6. Minnesota Timberwolves - Stephen Curry, Davidson. After trading Randy Foye and Mike Miller (and presumably drafting Evans), the T'Wolves need a bucket filler. In college, Curry proved he could to it.

7. Golden State Warriors - DeMar DeRozan, USC. It wouldn't be the NBA Draft without a questionable draft decision by the Warriors, who add DeRozan to their squad of shoot-early, shoot-often SG/SF hybrids.

8. New York Knicks - Jonny Flynn, Syracuse. The Knickerbockers head upstate and grab their best point guard since ... Charlie Ward? Yikes!

9. Toronto Raptors - Jordan Hill, Arizona. Losing Chris Bosh to free agency is as much as a given as yours truly landing a three-way with Erin Andrews and Hannah Storm. With this pick, the Raptors will attempt to rebuild their frontcourt.

10. Milwaukee Bucks - Gerald Henderson, Duke. This is the kind of player Scott Skiles has wet dreams about. A productive three-year starter at a college hoops powerhouse that plays defense and puts out a max effort. Here's hoping Henderson likes Miller High Life, cheese and beerbrats.

11. New Jersey Nets - Terrance Williams, Louisville. It is almost unfortunate that Vince Carter won't play forever. Williams has the ability and athleticsm to be a good pro, especially if Devin Harris is playing alongside, running the point.

12. Charlotte Bobcats - Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina. Another draft tradition includes MJ and Larry Brown drafting someone with ACC ties. Makes me wonder if Coach K or Uncle Roy are running the Bobcats' draft board.

13. Indiana Pacers - Ty Lawson, North Carolina. The Pacers need a leader bad, seeing they haven't had one since Mark Jackson retired for the broadcast booth.

14. Phoneix Suns - Jrue Holiday, UCLA. The mass exodus from Phoenix begins with Shaq going to Cleveland and will likely end with Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash finding new places of employment. Holiday has skill and will be given every opportunity to excel with a team of nobodys.

15. Detroit Pistons - B.J. Mullens, Ohio State. Mullens has no business being a top 15 pick, but this is the same front office that drafted Darko Milicic ahead of Carmelo, Wade and Bosh. So, Mullens makes sense.

16. Chicago Bulls - DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh. The following conversation was copied, pasted and sent to me: MadPax93: Ooooh DeJuan, you so sexii!!!11!!! BigBlair: Yeah I am, trick!

17. Philadelphia 76ers - Eric Maynor, Virgina Commonwealth. Because they won't keep Andre Miller, will they?

18. Minnesota Timberwolves - Chase Budinger, Arizona. A younger, cheaper, more athletic version of Mike Miller. Did you know he once played volleyball? Oh, you didn't? Get prepared to hear it a dozen times tonight.

19. Atlanta Hawks - Jeff Teague, Wake Forest. He's not the true point player they want or need, but combo guards are all the rage these days in the NBA.

20. Utah Jazz - Earl Clark, Louisville. It's possible that Jerry Sloan's gang lose both Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap this offseason. Clark can play both forward positions and Sloan is just the coach that could get the most out of his talent.

21. New Orleans Hornets - Brandon Jennings, Italy/USA. Once a near lock for the lottery, Jennings has slipped, but could be a valuable asset down the line as a back-up for CP3.

22. Portland Trail Blazers - Omri Casspi, Israel. Drafting a foreign player that won't be stateside in a few years buys Portland some time to find money to keep Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge.

23. Sacramento Kings - James Johnson, Wake Forest. He can play both forward spots and give the Kings a relatively young frontline full of potential.

24. Dallas Mavericks - Darren Collison, UCLA. Like Jon and Kate's marriage, the Jason Kidd Era is over. Collison won't make anyone forget about what could have been with Devin Harris, but he'll try his best.

25. Oklahoma City Thunder - DaJuan Summers, Georgetown. With a team full of chuckers like Westbrook, Durant and Harden, OKC is going to need someone to hunt down rebounds.

26. Chicago Bulls - Wayne Ellington, North Carolina. Two reasons: 1) His sweet shot can replace some of the scoring lost when Ben Gordon finally leaves. 2) Chicago has a good history with shooting guards that happen to be former Tar Heels.

27. Memphis Grizzlies - Taj Gibson, USC. The Grizzlies rebuilding project contiues as it grabs another guy familiar with the concept of rebounding the basketball

28. Minnesota Timberwolves - Austin Daye, Gonzaga. He's a project pick right here that could pan out down the line. Or could disappear into relative obscurity.

29. Los Angeles Lakers - Victor Claver, Int'l. L.A. could stash this pick away for a rainy day in an attempt to keep as much money free as possible to re-sign Lamar Odom and Trevor Ariza.

30. Cleveland Cavaliers - Patrick Mills, Saint Mary's. LeBron is great and adding Shaq will help, but the Cavs don't have a pure point guard and I don't they can win without one. Mills can sit and watch Mo Williams and Delonte West throw up shots and when they hit a cold streak, can show them how to handle the rock like a pure point should.

Tracking Trades

Portland wants him and the Bulls should give him to them. The potential Hinrich trade is just one of many trade possibilities at the NBA Draft.

This has already been an exciting offseason and the Draft hasn't even happened yet.

The Bucks made a painful trade to open salary cap room when they shipped Richard Jefferson to San Antonio for Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas and Fabricio Oberto. Shortly after, the Bucks made a brilliant move and shipped out Oberto to Detroit for Amir "My potential is endless" Johnson.

Many speculate the Bucks could cut either Bowen or Thomas or maybe both. I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen. Trading Jefferson may have been their way of trading for Ramon Sessions and Charlie Villanueva.

Shortly after, Minnesota jumped on the trade game and sent perpetual shooters Randy Foye and Mike Miller to Washington for Etan Thomas, Oleksiy Pecherov and Darius Songaila along with the fifth overall pick.

I wouldn't expect the T'Wolves to hold on to Songaila or Pecherov, but they may opt to keep Thomas. And as far as getting the fifth overall pick, expect them to try to package that with their 28th pick to move to the two spot to assure themselves Ricky Rubio.

I like the move for Minnesota and meanwhile in Washington we have three guys now who will do nothing but shoot. Miller, Foye and Gilbert Arenas ... that combination should fail badly but will be entertaining to watch at least. Well at least the part where they scream at each other for the ball.

So now that those two deals are done, the rumor mill is churning and you can expect the following to happen on Draft night or shortly there after:

1. Cleveland begins their crusade: It's no secret GM Danny Ferry needs to make a move to keep the King happy and in Cleveland. It's all or nothing for the Cavs this year. A championship puts pressure on LeBron James to stay, but failing again would pretty much show him the door. The two most talked about names are Vince Carter and Shaquille O'Neal. Either would be nice additions to the roster, but I think Ferry is going for broke.

He wants to establish the Ming Dynasty. If Ferry could swing a deal for Yao Ming, you might as well hand the Cavaliers the championship. Sasha Pavlovic and Ben Wallace's expiring contracts won't be enough to bring the big man in though. They will need to offer a draft pick and a promising young player at least. Will it be done? Probably not. Could it be done? Yes. If it fails, expect to see Vince Carter running the floor with James next season.

2. Just Kidding New York: Recent rumors have surfaced indicating the Knicks could be interested in Jason Kidd. I think not. With the Phoenix Suns ready to blow up their team and start all over again, I would expect Mike D' Antoni to make a big push bring in Steve Nash. The Knicks have also expressed interest in Marcin Gortat, while still trying to save cap room for the summer of 2010.

I think they will be careful spending their money this summer, and signing Kidd is not being smart. Speaking of not being smart with their money, the Knicks are talking about swapping one expiring contract for another with the Memphis Grizzlies. Apparently they like what they see in Darko Milicic and are willing to part ways with Quentin Richardson to get him. I mean ... well, they're the Knicks.

3. Is Gar Forman John Paxson: The answer is yes if he fails to trade Kirk Hinrich yet again. There is plenty of interest from multiple teams in Hinirch, and while he is a good player, he has worn out his welcome in Chicago. The backcourt tandem of Hinirch/Gordon didn't work and I don't think it works well with Rose either. If Portland wants him, which apparently, they sort of do, then pull the trigger. Trading for any player on that team would be a pretty good move as they are very deep. They could possibly convince the Blazers to part way with promising young guard, Jerryd Bayless.

4. Is the Celtics' front office smoking: That question will be answered if they trade Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen for Amar'e Stoudemire. For some reason unknown to man, they feel Rondo is a dispensable piece of their puzzle, despite not having any other point guard on the squad. I understand Allen is supposed to make loads of money next season and it would be nice cap relief to let him go, but come on. Stoudemire will not help the Celtics very much and they would have a real hard time replacing Rondo.

A very sick, gross feeling tells me the Celtics are going to make a trade happen on draft night.

Those are the big stories going into tomorrow night's draft, but be sure to follow TBDS all day tomorrow as I will have blog updates about the big stories and a direct twitter feed of all the night's action.

Have a good NBA Draft Night Eve

Ghosts of the NBA Draft's past

Around this time every year, every "expert" and various websites come out with their mock drafts. Message boards get crazy with people begging their team to pick this guy or that guy. But the simple fact of the matter is, the NBA Draft is an inexact science that GMs mess up year after year.

Sam Smith tried his hand at how the last 10 NBA Drafts should have gone, but I don't exactly agree with everything he says, so I will take my turn at showing you how the last 10 drafts did go, and how they should have gone.


What did happen:
1. Derrick Rose
2. Michael Beasley
3. O.J. Mayo
4. Russell Westbrook
5. Kevin Love
6. Danilo Gallinari
7. Eric Gordon
8. Joe Alexander
9. D. J. Augustine
10. Brook Lopez

What should have happened:
1. Derrick Rose (#1, Memphis)
2. O.J. Mayo (#3 Minnesota, traded to Memphis)
3. Michael Beasley (#2 Miami)
4. Brook Lopez (#10 New Jersey)
5. Russell Westbrook (#4 Oklahoma City)
6. Mario Chalmers (#34 Minnesota, traded to Miami
7. Eric Gordon (#7 Clippers)
8. Courtney Lee (#22 Orlando)
9. Kevin Love (#5 Memphis, traded to Minnesota)
10. D.J. Augustine (#9, Charlotte


What did happen:
1. Greg Oden
2. Kevin Durant
3. Al Horford
4. Mike Conley, Jr.
5. Jeff Green
6. Yi Jianlian
7. Corey Brewer
8. Brendan Wright
9. Joakim Noah
10. Spencer Hawes

What should have happened:
1. Kevin Durant (#2 Seattle)
2. Al Horford (#3 Atlanta)
3. Rudy Fernandez (#24 Phoenix)
4. Greg Oden (#1 Portland)
5. Jeff Green (#5 Boston, traded to Seattle)
6. Glen Davis (#35 Seattle, traded to Boston)
7. Spencer Hawes (#10 Sacramento)
8. Joakim Noah (#9 Chicago)
9. Marc Gasol (#48 Lakers)
10. Ramon Sessions (#56 Milwaukee)


What did happen:
1. Andrea Bargnani
2. LaMarcus Aldridge
3. Adam Morrison
4. Tyrus Thomas
5. Shelden Williams
6. Brandon Roy
7. Randy Foye
8. Rudy Gay
9. Patrick O'Bryant
10. Mouhamed Sene

What should have happened:
1. Brandon Roy (#6 Minnesota, traded to Portland)
2. Rudy Gay (#8 Houston, traded to Memphis)
3. Rajon Rondo (#21 Phoenix, traded to Boston)
4. LaMarcus Aldridge (#2 Chicago, traded to Portland)
5. Paul Millsap (#47 Utah)
6. Jordan Farmar (#26 Lakers)
7. Shannon Brown (#25 Cleveland)
8. Randy Foye (#7 Boston, traded to Minnestoa via Portland)
9. Andrea Bargnani (#1 Toronto)
10. J.J. Redick (#11 Orlando)


What did happen:
1. Andrew Bogut
2. Marvin Williams
3. Deron Williams
4. Chris Paul
5. Raymond Felton
6. Martell Webster
7. Charlie Villanueva
8. Channing Frye
9. Ike Diogu
10. Andrew Bynum

What should have happened:
1. Chris Paul (#4 New Orleans)
2. Deron Williams (#3 Utah)
3. Danny Granger (#17 Indiana)
4. Charlie Villanueva (#7 Toronto)
5. Andrew Bynum (#10 Lakers)
6. Monta Ellis (#40 Golden State)
7. Andrew Bogut (#1 Milwaukee)
8. David Lee (#30 New York)
9. Linas Kleiza (#27 Portland, traded to Denver)
10. Nate Robinson (#21 Phoenix, traded to New York)


What did happen:
1. Dwight Howard
2. Emeka Okafor
3. Ben Gordon
4. Shaun Livingston
5. Devin Harris
6. Josh Childress
7. Luol Deng
8. Rajael Araujo
9. Andre Iguodala
10. Luke Jackson

What should have happened:
1. Dwight Howard (#1 Orlando)
2. Al Jefferson (#15 Boston)
3. Devin Harris (#5 Washington, traded to Dallas)
4. Jameer Nelson (#20 Denver, traded to Orlando)
5. Emeka Okafor (#2 Charlotte)
6. Andre Iguodala (#9 Philadelphia)
7. Trevor Ariza (#43 New York)
8. Kevin Martin (#26 Sacramento)
9. Josh Smith (#17 Atlanta)
10. J.R. Smith (#18 New Orleans)


What did happen:
1. LeBron James
2. Darko Milicic
3. Carmelo Anthony
4. Chris Bosh
5. Dwyane Wade
6. Chris Kamen
7. Kirk Hinrich
8. T.J. Ford
9. Mike Sweetney
10. Jarvis Hayes

What should have happened:
1. LeBron James (#1 Cleveland)
2. Dwyane Wade (#5 Miami)
3. Carmelo Anthony (#3 Denver)
4. Chris Bosh (#4 Toronto)
5. Josh Howard (#29 Dallas)
6. Leoandro Barbosa (#29 San Antonio, traded to Phoenix)
7. David West (#18 New Orleans)
8. Chris Kaman (#6 Clippers)
9. Mickael Pietrus (#11 Golden State)
10. Kirk Hinrich (#7 Chicago)


What did happen:
1. Yao Ming
2. Jay Williams
3. Mike Dunleavy
4. Drew Gooden
5. Nikoloz Tskitishvili
6. Dejuan Wagner
7. Nene Hilario
8. Chris Wilcox
9. Amare Stoudemire
10. Caron Butler

What should have happened:
1. Yao Ming (#1 Houston)
2. Carlos Boozer (#35 Cleveland)
3. Amare Stoudemire (#9 Phoenix)
4. Tayshaun Prince (#23 Detroit)
5. Caron Butler (#10 Miami)
6. Nene (#7 New York, traded to Denver)
7. John Salmons (#26 San Antonio, traded to Philly)
8. Luis Scola (#56 San Antonio)
9. Drew Gooden (#4 Memphis)
10. Mike Dunleavy (#3 Golden State)


What did happen:
1. Kwame Brown
2. Tyson Chandler
3. Pau Gasol
4. Eddy Curry
5. Jason Richardson
6. Shane Battier
7. Eddie Griffin
8. DeSagana Diop
9. Rodney White
10. Joe Johnson

What should have happened:
1. Tony Parker (#28 San Antonio)
2. Pau Gasol (#3 Atlanta, traded to Memphis)
3. Joe Johnson (#10 Boston)
4. Richard Jefferson (#13 Houston, traded to New Jersey)
5. Gilbert Arenas (#31 Golden State)
6. Shane Battier (#6 Memphis)
7. Mehmet Okur (#38 Detroit)
8. Jason Richardson (#5 Golden State)
9. Tyler Chandler (#2 Clippers, traded to Chicago)
10. Zach Randolph (#19 Portland)


What did happen:
1. Kenyon Martin
2. Stromile Swift
3. Darius Miles
4. Marcus Fizer
5. Mike Miller
6. DerMarr Johnson
7. Chris Mihm
8. Jamal Crawford
9. Joel Przybilla
10. Keyon Dooling

What should have happened:
1. Michael Redd (#43 Milwaukee)
2. Hedo Turkolou (#16 Sacramento)
3. Kenyon Martin (#1 New Jersey)
4. Jamaal Magloire (#19 Charlotte Hornets)
5. Mike Miller (#5 Orlando)
6. Jamal Crawford (#8 Cleveland, traded to Chicago)
7. Chris Mihm (#7 Chicago, traded to Cleveland)
8. Eddie House (#37 Miami)
9. Quintin Richardson (#18 Clippers)
10. Desmond Mason (#17 Seattle)


What did happen:
1. Elton Brand
2. Steve Francis
3. Baron Davis
4. Lamar Odom
5. Jonathan Bender
6. Wally Szczerbiak
7. Rip Hamilton
8. Andre Miller
9. Shawn Marion
10. Jason Terry

What should have happened:
1. Manu Ginobili (#57 San Antonio)
2. Shawn Marion (#9 Phoenix)
3. Elton Brand (#1 Chicago)
4. Rip Hamilton (#7 Washington)
5. Lamar Odom (#4 Clippers)
6. Baron Davis (#3 Charlotte Hornets)
7. Ron Artest (#16 Chicago)
8. Andrei Kirilenko (#24 Utah)
9. Andre Miller (#8 Cleveland)
10. Steve Francis (#2 Vancouver, traded to Houston)

Where's Reggie? Here's To Slamming Slam Magazine

It wasn't too long ago when the NBA released its 50 Greatest Players for its anniversary team. At the time the list included 11 active players including the G.O.A.T. (Jordan) and the G.P.T.N.W.A.T., which is short for Greatest Players To Never Win A Title (Barkley, Malone, Stockton & Ewing). Since that season, a few players have toed the Association's hardwood courts, thus Slam Magazine's recent edition of its 50 Greatest Players.

Slam's list of greats includes several active players including Shaq, LeBron, Kobe, Timmy, A.I. and that Canadian point guard. There is no doubting Bryant and Duncan's induction in the Top 12 as their fingers have more rings than all of Donald Trump's wives combined, but it is the inclusion of Nash and Iverson that should have life-long NBA fans scratching their heads like they forgot to use shampoo.

Like the aforementioned quartet of 90s stars above, neither Nash nor Iverson has a title, and that should be one of the first criteria to base their inclusion on. Sure, scrubs like Adam Morrison, Scot Pollard, Melvin Ely and Darko Milicic have their names etched on the back of NBA Championship apparel, but none of those guys will ever be confused with greatness. Luckily (for them) they were able to ride the coattails of some of the NBA's elite en route to a title. Therefore, it is a given that being associated with a NBA title does not make you a great player.

But doesn't it diminish a career just a bit if it does?

Truth be told, Iverson's career is written like a Hall of Famer's should be. A MVP trophy in 2001 sits proudly on a mantel with a 2005 points scored (2,302 points), overall steal titles in 2003 and 2005, not to mention leading the league in free-throws made in 2005 and 2008. Couple those achievements with four scoring titles (1999, 2001, 2002, 2005) and being the leader in steals per game from 2001 to 2003 and all Iverson needs is a speech and a plane ticket to Springfield, Mass.

But lately, a little bit of Iverson's luster has been lost. Most of it stems from his lack of a championship. Granted, it's not Iverson's fault lottery picks such as Larry Hughes and Jerry Stackhouse failed during his run in Philadelphia. Nor is it his fault that his best sidekick was Eric Snow? Kyle Korver? Theo Ratliff? But it says something that when traded from Denver to Detroit, the teams went in opposite directions, doesn't it?

Adding A.I. to the Pistons would surely would catapult the Pistons past the Celtics and back to the NBA Finals while sending Mr. Big Shot home to Denver was a nice story for a columnist to pen or for the fans back in Colorado. Instead, the Pistons fell out of one of the NBA top spots, past mediocrity and turned into a punch line down the stretch, taking a cue from its pro football bretherin and its auto industry, falling apart like an old Ford P.O.S. Meanwhile, the Nuggets had a resurgence that brought John Elway out of your old Madden '98 game and back into being a relevant figure. Jay Cutler could not be reached for comment.

As for Nash, he garnered a back-to-back MVP awards in 2005 and 2006 averaging 17.1 points and 11 assists per game while leading the league's most explosive offense. Again, it is not entirely his fault that his teams could not put together a defensive stop to save their backsides.

You know who suffered a similar fate and was better? Reggie Miller. That's who.

Like Barkley, Malone, Ewing and Stockton, Miller was virtually cock-blocked by Air Jordan's domination of the 1990s. When it came to breath-taking, shot-making heroics, The Reginald built an aura around him that only Jordan could surpass during his 18-year career. He single-handedly killed the Knicks.

Eight points in 8.9 seconds. Cherry poppers last longer than that.

He scored 25, 279 points (12th on the all-time list) with 7,680 coming by way of the 2,560 career 3-point buckets (NBA record) and 6,237 coming from the charity stripe. And don't forget about the 320 career playoff 3-point bombs he banged in over his career. He led the NBA in free-throw percentage five times (7th on the career percentage list with 88.8 percent connection rate), and while that sounds easy, ask Shaq, Dwight Howard and Nick Anderson how they feel about the importance of drilling a pair of clutch free throws.

There are more than a dozen players who deserve to be on that Top 50 players list. But where is the love for the guy that some said couldn't beat his sister in a one-on-one match-up?

Into the Crystal Skull.........errr...Ball


Bryan Mullins, fomer SIU Saluki guard, WILL NOT get drafted by the Boston Celtics.

To Wit: He won't be drafted or signed by anyone in the NBA.

Trust me: If Jamaal Tatum couldn't find a roster spot, a white guy without a consistent jumper isn't going to find one either.

Speaking of the draft, this will go down as one of the worst, talent wise, since that fateful year Kenyon Martin was selected along with a host of other bums in 2000.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will win the 2009 World Series. They have the best manager in baseball. They have speed and depth throughout the lineup and Manny Ramirez will return July 3. Start the fireworks.

Milwaukee Bucks have traded Richard Jefferson now the Bucks make the playoffs in 2009.

To Wit: Nobody cares about the eighth seed in the East except Scott Skiles. Skiles values defense more than scoring which can take you as far as a first round exit. Not to say defense doesn't matter but it takes a legit scoring threat to carry you deep in the playoffs.

Better Late Than Never: Happy Anniversary To The Day That Won Ryne Sandberg The 1984 NL MVP Award

Winter Classic: Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks

Reaganomics ruled and Michael Jordan was a Bull for only a week, but on June 23, 1984, the world belonged to Chicago Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg.

Sandberg entered the game with a .321 batting average, .371 on-base percentage, .531 slugging percentage and a .902 OPS. Numbers that any player, let alone a second baseman, would have wet dreams about finishing with.

After June 23, Ryno left Wrigley Field batting .332, on-basing .380, slugging .558 and OPSing .938. Yeah, a 5-for-6 game with 2 runs scored and 7 runs batted in will do that for you. Yes, everyone remembers the two home runs, and why not? Both were game-tying home runs off Bruce Sutter, a former Cub, and, at the time, the world's greatest closer. The second homer, of course, came as NBC was rolling the closing credits on the Cubs' comeback.

All of this coming against the arch-rival Cardinals in the heat of a summer pennant race, which certified the Cubs and contenders, cemented what ended up being MVP season for Sandberg and provided his career with that one game you set a soundtrack to and remind your "associates" that happen to be Joe Morgan apologists they can go shove it.

June 23 is celebrated as "The Sandberg Game" in Chicago. In St. Louis, it is known as the "We Still Have More World Series Than You" game. And how did Sandberg celebrate today? By putting his stamp of disapproval on Sammy Sosa's Hall of Fame credentials.

And no, I don't want to know how Rafael Palmeiro celebrated, either