Sunday, May 29, 2011

10 Questions That Will Decide Who Wins The NBA Finals

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo Credit:Layne Murdoch/Getty Images North America
The NBA Playoffs certainly haven't gone the way many thought they would but a Finals matchup which features LeBron James and the Heat against Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks shouldn't disappoint many fans.  Both teams have compiled impressive 12-3 records in the postseason thus far and although they've been involved in some close games, it's hard to deny that the Heat and the Mavericks have been the two best teams in the league for the last few weeks.

There are plenty of exciting matchups and interesting story lines that will play out during this series and I've come up with 10 questions whose answers will decide which team hoists the Larry O'Brien Trophy and which team goes home disappointed. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Kevin Durant and The Thunder Have Reached The Point of No Return

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America
It's hard to pinpoint exactly when it happened to the Thunder.

It could have happened when they added Kendrick Perkins to an already impressive roster, it could have happened when Russell Westbrook emerged as a legitimate star alongside Kevin Durant, or it might have even happened when the they blew a 15-point fourth quarter lead in game four of the Western Conference Finals, but one thing is for sure, the Thunder have reached the point of no return.

It was just a matter of time before a team this talented, young, and promising, reached a place where they would be criticized for every set they ran, every mistake they made would be magnified, and rumors about tension in the locker room would fly around the internet and television alike.  It was also just a matter of time before Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and the Thunder would be expected to challenge for an NBA title.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and How Each Team Can Advance to The NBA Finals

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America
Both the Western and Eastern Conference Finals are shaping up to be great series and even though both are far from over, a lot of things have already transpired on the court.  Dallas and Miami both have 2-1 series leads but considering how much talent both the Bulls and Thunder have, it would be foolish to count either team out at this point.   

So consider this a quick round up of what's transpired thus far in both series which includes a look ahead to what each team has to do in order to advance to the NBA Finals. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

The 2011 NBA Draft: The Year of The Role Player

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America
One of the first things that most people have been quick to point out about the 2011 NBA Draft is that it's not the most talented collection of players anyone has ever seen.

You could blame this relative lack of superstars on the surprising number of top tier prospects who decided to stay in school or you could simply chalk it up to the luck of the draw, either way, it's hard to deny what most experts have been saying about this class for some time.
And while there have certainly been some less than flattering assertions made about this class as a whole, I think it makes more sense to look at the 2011 NBA Draft for what it is, rather than focus on what it isn't.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Jeff Teague Paradigm: What His Playoff Emergence Reveals About Succeeding In The NBA

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo Credit:Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images North America
Before the second round of the 2011 playoffs began, the only people who knew who much about Jeff Teague either religiously followed the Atlanta Hawks or had an unhealthy obsession which consisted of documenting the professional careers of former Wake Forest basketball players.

Whether you knew who he was or not, Teague's career before the Hawks second round series against the Chicago Bulls was basically irrelevant to the vast majority of basketball fans.  This isn't to say that Teague wasn't a solid player, but in the broad NBA spectrum how relevant is a non-lottery pick who spent the last two seasons toiling on the Atlanta Hawks bench?

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Way-Too-Early College Basketball Top 25

Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America
This is the first part of a two-part series, stay tuned for teams ranked 1-12.

It's probably still too early to be coming out with a Top 25 for next season, but since we now know which guys will be going to the NBA and which will be staying in school, at least the picture has become much clearer.  Before the May 8th deadline passed, trying to assemble a Top 25 was like going to a restaurant you had only walked by a few times and attempting to order without looking at the menu.

You probably wouldn't look like a complete idiot if you said something generic like "I'll have the burger" in much the same way you might look like you knew what you were talking about if you put teams like Duke, Ohio State, or North Carolina in the top 10.    

But there were plenty of other teams, like Texas or Vanderbilt for instance, whose fate hung in the balance to such a degree that even trying to rank them would have been an exercise in futility and basically a waste of time.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Even a Great NBA Postseason Can't Overshadow The Looming Lockout

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images North America
I hate to be that guy who can't enjoy the moment, but even as I've watched Zach Randolph suddenly morph into the most unstoppable post player in the league, the Lakers struggle with "trust issues", and the Miami Heat turn into the bully everyone thought they were going to be at the start of the season, I can't stop thinking about what awaits the NBA this summer. 

Anyone who follows sports is already sick of the term "lockout" thanks to what's been going on with the NFL over the past few months, but the impending NBA work stoppage has the potential to make the NFL's current drama between the players and the owners look like nothing more than a lover's quarrel.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

And Your National League Player of the Month Is...

After roughly thirty games of baseball, only one player ranks in the top five in his respective league in each of the triple crown categories. Hell, as of Cinco de Mayo, he ranks third or better in the entire MLB in batting average, home runs, and RBI.

Can you name him?

No, it’s not Albert; his batting average is about one hundred points below what we’re used to seeing from him. Take another guess.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Is the Return of the Tribe For Real?

At the risk of using a word that no longer exists within the city limits of Cleveland, the most “optimistic” Indian fans spent the month of March hoping for a wild card berth. Maybe a handful of season ticket holders thought they could steal the AL Central pennant, but certainly no one thought they would finish the month of April with the best record and the highest run differential in the majors.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Roger Goodell's Day Of Humility At The 2011 NFL Draft

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images North America
With the future of the NFL hanging in the balance for well over a month, the 2011 Draft figured to be unlike any in the history of the league.  And while most people were focusing on the affect that the lockout had on every team and player who weren't able to proceed with business as usual, Roger Goodell found himself in a very interesting position as the draft got underway.

Ever since ESPN (and more recently the NFL Network) realized that the Draft was something the average fan cared about, it has become one of the most anticipated days of the NFL calendar year.  With the growing popularity of the draft, the NFL decided to move the first round from Saturday afternoon to prime time on Thursday night in order to better capitalize on the ever expanding demand for all things football amongst their fan base.