Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Examining The Fit of Each First Round Pick in The 2011 NBA Draft

By Charlie Scaturro

This is the first of a two part series, click here for picks 16-30.

If nothing else, the 2011 NBA Finals proved how much fit really matters in professional basketball.  A Dallas Mavericks team that didn't have as much star power or athleticism as the Miami Heat showed that playing as a team and having pieces on the floor that complement each other can win championships.  Guys like Tyson Chandler, DeShawn Stevenson, Peja Stojakovic, and J.J. Barea might not be complete players but because of the way the Mavericks used them, they didn't have to be.

To put it simply, winning in the NBA isn't always about assembling a team of the five most talented players you can find, it's more about assembling a team that fits well together.  Obviously you need your Dirk Nowitzki's if your team is going to experience success at the highest level of competition and it's certainly easier said than done to draft players who truly fit your system, but with another NBA Draft in the books I thought I'd take a look at how each first round pick appears to fit on their new NBA team. 

There might still be some trade movement with these picks (which seems to be getting more confusing for some reason now that we have access to things like Twitter and 24/7 sports coverage) and free agency certainly will affect how these rookies will fit on their new teams, but for now here's how things look.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Classifying the Players Of the 2011 NBA Draft

By Charlie Scaturro

After watching one of the most exciting NBA postseasons in recent memory, the upcoming draft, which is supposedly one of the weakest the league has seen in a long time, might not seem like much more than another chance to for David Khan to embarrass himself on national television.

But even if this year's crop of prospective NBA players isn't as strong as usual, there are still plenty of guys available that can have productive careers in the NBA.  Following this line of thinking, I have already dubbed the 2011 NBA Draft class as "the year of the role player" and those teams and executives that don't realize the value which will sit before them in just a few days could be making a grave mistake. 

After all the poking, prodding, speculating, interviewing, and individual workouts have come to an end, the only thing that's left to do is draft the players.  With this time rapidly approaching, I've decided to classify some of the available players as a way of showing what kind of value and potential they can have on an NBA roster.  Obviously, many of these players aren't entirely one dimensional but let's take a look at where they fit in this year's class. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

7 Random Thoughts About The NBA Finals

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America
After watching the Dallas Mavericks take home their first-ever NBA Championship and also witnessing the media decapitate LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the process, I was trying to think of a way to make sense of everything that has happened over the last 13 days.   And as I struggled to do this, I realized that trying to make sense of what happened concerning LeBron James, the Miami Heat, and the NBA Finals was like waking up in college the morning after a raging party and trying to piece the night together.

You walk downstairs to see that someone re-arranged all the furniture in your living room, a 12-foot Christmas tree has suddenly appeared in your kitchen, and there's a blow-up doll sitting on your couch watching the home shopping network.  In a similar vain, some of the things that happened during the NBA Finals left me scratching my head and trying to re-hash everything that's happened in an orderly column just wouldn't be possible.  So instead, I present to you the only way I could recap what took place between the Heat and the Mavericks- a random collection of thoughts about the NBA Finals.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Way-Too-Early College Basketball Top 25

This is the second of a two-part series.  Click here for teams 25-13

It might still be too early to come 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 be an exercise in futility and basically a waste of time. Coming out with a Top 25 in the middle of June is still a tricky undertaking but at least we can project potential starting fives for most teams. Which is good enough for the guys here at Send It In Jerome and most others who are obsessed with college basketball.

So here's our take on the Top 25 teams for the 2011-12 season.

If the MLB Season Ended Today...

It’s admittedly way too early to start seriously considering the contenders for end of the year awards (unless you live near Washington DC, in which case Danny Espinosa was apparently awarded the NL Rookie of the Year Award before the season even began), but with more than a third of the season in the books and no other US sport currently doing anything more interesting than threatening to not play again next season, there’s no better time than the present to start looking ahead.

Don’t worry; I won’t bore yourself or myself with discussions of Gold Glove or Silver Slugger Awards.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

8 Things You Don't Want to See your Favorite NBA Team Do On Draft Night

By Charlie Scaturro
It's hard to think of the institution that is the NBA Draft as much more than an inexact science, but there are always certain picks and decisions that have fan bases around the league recoiling in horror well before they ever know how things will pan out.  Of course, each draft class is unique and there's no telling how the players taken in 2011 will mature, but like most things in life, these fears and opinions are based on what's happened in the past and how certain draft day decisions traditionally play out.

If you've followed any kind of draft coverage whatsoever, you've already heard that this year's class projects to be one of the weakest in recent history.  But in spite of the fact that many experts aren't very high on the overall talent in this draft, there will still be plenty of opportunities for GM's and executives to make those age old mistakes that have fans shaking their heads and reaching for whatever kind of cheap grain alcohol they can get their hands on to numb the pain of another draft night gone awry.

Keeping that in mind, here's my look at eight things you never want to see your favorite NBA team do on draft night.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Plaxico Burress' Bittersweet Relationship Will Continue with Giants Fans

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America
After spending nearly two years behind bars, Plaxico Burress has been released from jail and will be looking to rebuild both his life off the field and his career on it.  The talented but often troubled receiver has certainly experienced his share of trials and tribulations during his career, and no one has been through more with Burress than Giants fans.

The marriage between the two started in the offseason of 2005 when a usually frugal Giants front office opened up their checkbook to bring Burress to New York after he spent five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The numbers Burress posted in Pittsburgh were definitely above average, especially his back-to-back 1,000 yard efforts in his second and third seasons in the NFL, but the Giants realized that his value extended far beyond statistics.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

UCLA Basketball 2011: A Microcosm Of What College Basketball Has Become

By Charlie Scaturro

Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America
It's never easy to watch your favorite team lose in the NCAA Tournament, but even as UCLA succumbed to a more experienced Florida Gators squad this past March, Bruins fans had to be excited about the team's future.

Despite the fact that Ben Howland's team played the entire 2010-11' season devoid of any senior leadership, they posted a respectable 23-11 record overall, which included a 13-5 mark in the Pac-10 and a trip to the third round of the Tournament. 

Before college players officially declared for the NBA Draft, it was possible that UCLA could return a roster that would be on the brink of realizing some special talent, and one that had the potential to return the Bruins to the Final Four.