Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wrapping Up the NBA Finals

By Charlie Scaturro
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America
Although I watched the NBA Finals from my couch, trying to digest everything that was happening between the Heat and Thunder left me feeling worn out. This exhaustion was probably due to some combination of the contrived narratives that floated around throughout this series, the frenetic pace every game was played at, everything about the “Russell Westbrook experience”, Scott Brooks being Scott Brooks, and of course, listening to people criticize LeBron for weeks on end regardless of what he did.

There was a lot happening both on and off the court, but the one thing I’ll remember about this series above all else was that we got to see two players who have the potential to be regarded as all-time greats by the time their careers are over (Kevin Durant and LeBron James) go toe-to-toe for the most coveted prize in professional basketball. The other thing that I will remember about this series is that it was the first time LeBron put all of the pieces together and reached his seemingly limitless ceiling to bring home a title. In other words, we witnessed one of the greatest players in NBA history maximizing his potential. And it was incredible.

Whether or not LeBron can build off his first title run to pile up the championship banners in the coming years is something we simply don’t know right now, but at the very least, we saw him become the player we all know he’s capable of being; an unstoppable 6’9’’ 260 lb. force of nature who has absolutely no weaknesses on a basketball court.

Throughout various points of the NBA Finals, I found myself saying “What the hell just happened?” more times than I thought possible, but when a series features so many compelling moments, personalities, and downright draw dropping basketball, I really had a hard time processing everything that was going on. I’m a little late on this recap (work has been busy lately), but here’s my best effort to wrap up the NBA Finals between the Heat and Thunder:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wherefore Art Thou, Ryan Zimmerman?

I know we’ve got about 100 games left in the regular season, but it’s time to start taking the Washington Nationals seriously as a playoff contender. The “will they or won’t they” debate over Stephen Strasburg’s innings limit is a debate for another day about two months from now, but here’s their potential line-up and pitching rotation for a playoff series:

2B Espinosa
CF Harper
3B Zimmerman
LF Morse
1B LaRoche
RF Werth
SS Desmond
C Flores
SP Strasburg/Gonzalez/Zimmermann/Jackson
RP Mattheus/Clippard/Storen

Looks pretty formidable to me. But is there any question that Ryan Zimmerman is the biggest liability on that list?

Monday, June 18, 2012

SIIJ's 2012 NBA Mock Draft

About ten days ago, we realized we hadn’t been giving our site the tender love and care it deserves. Back in late February / early March, SIIJ was either getting a new article or an update to a running article on a daily basis – as one might expect, as our primary focus / passion is on college hoops. Since the tournament started, however, we’ve been pushing out an average of one article every other week, the majority of which have been Charlie’s doing. We could throw a bunch of excuses your way, but the fact of the matter is that’s simply unacceptable, and starting with this joint effort, we’re going to drink our prune juice to try and get a little more regular with our output.

After spending six straight weeks watching the NBA playoffs on a nightly basis (do you realize Derrick Rose tore his ACL on April 28? This post-season is almost as long as the regular season.), we decided we had to write something about the NBA. Still, we didn’t want to become the four millionth web site to post its opinion on LeBron or Durant, so we settled on a McShay/Kiper style NBA Draft article. If you turned on ESPN at all in March or April, you probably get the idea: we each mock-drafted the entire first round, mashed it together, and each wrote about 15 of the 30 picks. As such, there are a couple of guys that we wrote about twice (we apparently love Harrison Barnes) and a few that were barely mentioned at all (sorry, Terrence Ross), but what follows is our collective opinion on what each team should do with its first round draft pick(s).

And yes, we realize that this whole thing crumbles to nothing after 6 of the first 10 picks get traded around, but it’s a fun read nonetheless.  Any write-up that is followed by a "C.S." was written by Charlie, and any write-up that is followed by a "K.M." was written by Kerry.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Searching for This Year's Isaiah Thomas and Kenneth Faried

By Charlie Scaturro

Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images North America
With all due respect to Isiah Thomas, who is currently stuck in basketball purgatory after being fired from FIU, I find that the case of Isaiah Thomas (who spells his name the Biblical way, and just completed his rookie season with the Sacramento Kings) is much more interesting. And this is especially true when you consider that the NBA Draft is just a few weeks away.

If you were a fan of college basketball during the last few seasons you know that Thomas was one of the better guards in the country during his final two years at Washington, not to mention being one of the most exciting players to watch in all of college basketball. But despite how productive he was for the Huskies and despite his stunning athleticism, Thomas’ meager 5’9’’ 185 frame had many doubting whether or not he could even stick on an NBA roster, much less be a difference maker on the court. So when the Kings selected the Washington native with the final pick of the 2011 NBA Draft last June, not only did the pick not make headlines, but it didn’t mean anything to anyone who wasn’t a big college basketball fan or University of Washington alumnus.