Friday, October 24, 2014

Why I Still Want the Celtics to Tank This Season

Some folks are daring to show a little optimism about the Celtics after a solid preseason showing where they went a respectable 5-3. I'm here to squash that optimism and get everybody back on board with Tankapalooza Part II: The Tankening.

Premise 1: The NBA is such a star driven league that you can't win a championship without an MVP level talent.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you should know that I am a strong supporter of this premise. Going back for decades, the only team to win an NBA Championship recently without an MVP level talent on their team has been the Detroit Pistons. If you'd like to read more about my justification for this premise you should check out this article.

Premise 2: The Celtics do not have an MVP level talent on this roster and are unlikely to acquire one with the season about to begin.

Some folks have a pretty high opinion of Rajon Rondo. Even his biggest fanboys like DP don't delude themselves into thinking he's an MVP caliber player. Even in his best years playing with multiple future hall of famers Rajon was never even close to an MVP award. He's been in the league for 8 full seasons at this point. He's not going to make some great leap in talent now. He is what he is. He's a very good player and a perennial all-star, but he'll never be more than that.

I don't mean to dismiss Marcus Smart before he's played a minute of actual NBA basketball. There are some cases of players selected around or after the 6th pick in the draft going on to have MVP level careers. Dirk Nowitzki was a 9th pick. Kobe Bryant was 13th. Steve Nash was 15th. Karl Malone was 13th. The Celtics media team was happy to point out that Larry Bird was a 6th pick. By all indications Smart is off to a good start, shows serious talent and still has room to develop. Even with all this cautious optimism we need to take a realistic approach to this. There are some caveats for those guys that got selected later. Dirk was an international when those were less common. Kobe Bryant was 17 years old and the first guard ever to be taken directly out of high school. Red Auerbach was operating on a completely different level from the other NBA franchises at the time in terms of talent evaluation. He was able to see Larry Bird for what he really was and knew exactly how to use him to his full potential. For all the teams that strike gold on some of these later picks, there are dozens of guys who are just good, solid players and some guys who are just complete busts. Even if we hit the lottery with Marcus Smart and he is the next big thing, he will probably need more time to develop and more time to assemble the right pieces around him.

Conclusion 1: The Celtics will not contend for a championship this year.

Even if things broke right for the Celtics, there is some serious competition out of the East this year. The Bulls with a healthy Derrick Rose look scary. Lebron has assembled a new big 3 in Cleveland with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Remember when we were talking about whether or not Kevin Love, Carmelo Anthony and Rajon Rondo could be a contender? By comparison the Love/Lebron/Irving Big 3 is a juggernaut. That's not even getting into the quality teams out in the west. The deals weren't out there to make the Celtics a team that could compete with the likes of that, so Danny Ainge did the smart thing and made a tactical concession. He used his pick on a good developing player and continues to accumulate assets for when the time is right.

Premise 3: If you can't compete for a championship the absolute worst thing that can happen to an NBA franchise is to get caught in the "middle".

Going back to Premise 1, we need to find an MVP level talent. The highest hit rate on getting those guys comes at the top of the 1st round in the lottery picks. Many teams get caught "in the middle" where they qualify for the low playoff seeds and get crushed or get low percentage chances at the top pick and they never get that MVP level talent they need to truly compete. Even if you miss out on the very top of the round, you're getting your best chance by picking higher. It gives you the best trade assets to lure one of those top level talents.

Conclusion 2: If the Celtics can't win a championship this year and getting stuck in the middle will jeopardize future seasons, the best course of action is to tank the season.

Danny Ainge can't come right out and say that this is his plan for this season. The NBA competition committee would throw a fit. Ainge's actions speak louder than his words. He made no significant acquisitions of any kind and continued to stockpile draft picks, trade exceptions and expiring contracts.He couldn't set off the fireworks that he wanted, but the assets are still there. When the opportunity to add that MVP level talent comes he will have the trade chips and cap space he needs to make it happen. Wouldn't it be great if he had a lottery pick to barter with or a highly regarded talent acquired with that pick to lure in an MVP caliber player? It could be yours if you're willing to endure another embarrassing season on the bottom of the standings. I am certainly willing to swallow my Celtic pride for another season if it puts us in the best position to compete going forward. If you care more about raising banners than regular season wins you should embrace the tank job. We'll be back, but it's going to require patience and good timing.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Celtics Look Pretty Good In The Preseason

The Celtics finished 5-3 this pre season and I'm all in!

I really like the pieces on this team. Jared Sullinger could just be playing out of his mind in the pre season due to lack of competition but last nights performance of 15 points and 17 boards could be a thing that could be close to his average. He will never be looked at as a Kevin Love type superstar, but he can certainly be a 15/15 type of player. He has incredible rebounding skills and he has a very polished offensive game for a shorter PF. He's going to be a real solid player.

The rooks Marcus Smart and James Young have their flashes of brilliance and also rookie mistakes. Smart is going to be a problem for the league once he gets some time under his belt. I never saw him take a play off on both ends of the floor and is an extreme competitor. He's not afraid to shoot which I like the confidence (but could be a detriment some times) and is willing to drive and get to the line. James Young is a flat out gunner. I don't know how much time he will get this year due to a surplus of SF players on the team, but he could easily be instant offense.

Speaking of instant offense Marcus Thornton is that. Yes he looks like he is 300 lbs, but he is very Eddie House like offensively. There will be games where he wins it for us, there will also be games where he shoots us out of the game.

Kelly Olynik has disappointed me somewhat. He still looks extremely slow defensively and his aggressiveness on offense can come and go.

Tyler Zeller is better then he showed pre season, but he will need to be a lot better if he wants to get minutes in the season.

Evan Turner is good. He is going to be a pleasant surprise. I never minded him in Philly, and he is a solid player.

Jeff Green Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley did what I expected.

This Celtics team is going to win a lot of games with their 3 point shooting, unfortunately they are going to lose a lot of games to their gunning nature.

Now, Rondo is expected back very soon it will be interesting to see what Brad Stevens does to the line up.

I imagine the starting line up will be:
Rondo, Bradley, Green, Sully, Olynik

With Smart, Turner, Bass, Thorton, Zeller, Wallace, Young being in the rotation.

I think during big stretches during the games you will see a lot of small line ups like:

Rondo, Bradley, Smart/Turner, Green and Sully

And when Rondo is out I see a lot of

Smart, Bradley, Turner, Green, Sully/ Olynik

This is a very big year for the Celtics as guys will have to make major steps for improvement/ trade value. I like this team a lot and think they will surprise a lot of teams especially on the defensive side of the ball. I predict the Celtics will be a top 8 defensive team.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pittsburgh Is Back! Probably Not Going To Lose Another Game This Year

The Steelers needed to play a complete game like this. They had 2 embarrassing losses against the Browns and Bucs, but pulled in a complete game on both sides of the ball against the Texans in a 30 to 23 win game. The score makes the game look closer then how it was as a TD got taken away from Ben and Antonio Brown late in the game.

Speaking of Antonio Brown, he may be the best WR in the NFL right now (with Calvin Johnson is injured). The guy is just incredible he had 9 catches for 90 yards and threw a TD. Like I said earlier the refs overturned what should have been a TD. He leads the league in catches with 50, yards with 719 and has 5 TDs. He's the best and yet another great draft pick by the Steelers.

Ben threw the other 2 TD passes to home grown Le'Veon Bell and Martavious Bryant. Just an incredible performance by Ben.

The defense held it's own and got some turnovers which they were last in headed into the game. Just an incredible performance and Pittsburgh is going to go undefeated for the rest of the year and win the SB.

We are back Baby.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Yet Another Reason Why Jameis Winston Should Be A High First Round Pick Next Year

Florida State could have lost this game very easily to Notre Dame and it would have been understandable. Notre Dame although having a weak schedule have been playing well, FSU lost 10000 people in the draft and impact players at that and all the controversy surrounding QB Jameis Winston. As a matter of fact, ND was leading at halftime by 7 and Jameis had a forgetful first half.

But in the second half, when all the pressure was on the young QB Winston excelled. He hit another level in the second half and completed 15 of 16 throws for 181 yards and a TD. He kept himself composed as he always does, and won a game with all the chips stacked up against him. Of course there was some controversy surrounding the ending, but that had nothing to do with Winston... so it's not worth getting into.

I wrote a post last week saying there was a poll saying teams wouldn't want Jameis as their starting QB and that was dumb. Here is another case on why this guy is the best QB in college football. Cool, composed, and the best under pressure QB in college football. For the teams that don't see their current QB as the guy of the future, Jameis is already better then most of them. He can be a franchise player and he's a proven winner. The off field stuff, does play a roll in the draft, but I believe that those can be overlooked based on the production Winston has had.

Lay off Jameis Winston and just enjoy the ride.

The Curious Case Of Percy Harvin

In an odd move that seemingly came out of nowhere, Percy Harvin was handed over to the Jets for a potential 4th round pick. When Harvin was traded to the Seahawks and got the huge contract for accomplishing nothing in his short career, I was incredibly critical of the moves because Harvin didn't do shit yet to deserve all this stuff. Other on the site argued with me thinking he was a giant X factor and blah blah. In Seattle he had impact in the playoffs, but when it came to the post season his name was mentioned a lot, and he better have as the Seahawks gave up I think a 1st and 3rd for him. But as for the impact player they hoped for, there was much to be desired.

Well now he is on the Jets and the gets got him for 1/1000 of what the Seahawks original investment was. I like the move for the Jets as they obviously don't have many playmakers and he can help them in that regard. The only thing is, there have been several reports about his attitude in Seattle including sitting out games, not coming back into games, altercations with teammates, etc. The Jets had a player like that in Santonio Holmes that didn't work a lot for them.

What I don't get is that if he was such a clubhouse cancer and almost cut for nothing, why didn't we hear about this until this week? It's odd. You would think one of these things would get leaked somehow.

I guess bottomline, this makes the Jets better. No, Harvin will not turn the team around especially if these attitude problems are as prevalent as they have been reported, but he does make them better.

Peyton Manning Breaks Brett Favre's Career Touchdowns Record

Peyton Manning threw 4 touchdown passes in a rout of the San Francisco 49ers last night. In the process he broke Brett Favre's career touchdown record of 508 touchdown passes. This has given me a great excuse to talk about one of my favorite topics: How overrated Brett Favre is.

It's easy to dislike Brett Favre. There's the general stuff like the constant retiring/un-retiring shit he pulled. The Wrangler commercials. The dick pics. John Madden's love affair with him. There's also stuff that's a bit more localized to Patriots fan with his lone Super Bowl win coming at the Patriots expense and his short stint with the Jets. But beyond that, there are his fans that think he belongs in the GOAT discussion with the likes of Brady and Manning.

I think when it comes down to it I don't like Brett Favre because he's so different from the way Tom Brady plays the game. Favre made his career off of highlight reel throws on the run or across his body. He was a gun slinger that made risky decisions that either got him onto SportsCenter or lost his team the game with a costly interception. Brady built his career off of good decision making and protecting the football while still putting up results. Where Favre was looking to throw the home run ball downfield into double coverage, Brady saw a risky play and hit the easy 5 yard completion to his check down. This is why when you look at Brett's numbers compared to Peyton Manning you see the huge gap in turnovers. Brett has 112 more interceptions and 67 more fumbles than Peyton does. This is why Favre holds the NFL career record for interceptions, protecting the football was never his top priority.

There is also the speed with which Peyton has managed to surpass Brett's record. Brett had 56 more games in his career than Peyton Manning currently has. If Peyton plays out this season and then 3 additional seasons without missing significant time he should be in that neighborhood for career games played. Brady would need an additional 6 more seasons after this one to catch up to have played that many games.

The Brett Favre apologists will point out that the rules changes have given quarterbacks better protection and freed up their receivers. I agree, but I don't believe that comparing Favre to Manning is the same thing as trying to compare Manning to one of the old time greats like Joe Montana. Favre and Manning had significant overlap in their careers. In the 20 seasons Favre was in the NFL, he played 13 of them with Peyton Manning in the league. One of those early seasons was his rookie year with the Atlanta Falcons before being traded to Green Bay. Favre only appeared in 2 games for the Falcons and made 4 pass attempts. He still managed to throw 2 interceptions in those 4 attempts. There is some consideration to be given to Favre for playing more of his career in an era that was tougher on quarterbacks and receivers, but not nearly enough to cover the gaps in production and ball security when compared to Manning and Brady.

Now that I've said I'll that I can get back to forgetting Brett Favre existed, at least until his Hall of Fame induction in 2016.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Anyone Who Says They Wouldn't Want Jameis Winston QBing Their Team Is A Moron

Sure Jameis off the field has messed up and shown immaturity from the bbgun incident, Burger King Incident, Crab Legs Incident, Autograph Incident and Fuck Her Right in the Pussy Incident (I'm leaving out the false rape allegations because it's not fair to label him as a rapist if he was found of no wrong doing). But he is already better then half the QB's in the league right now. There is a poll on ESPN saying would you want Jameis to be QBing your favorite team right now and 81% say no. That means that 19% of America is sane.

On the field Jameis Winston has done nothing that he can perform at a high level and on top of that perform when the pressure is highest. He won the Heisman, he won the National Championship, he finished a highly pressured final drive in the National Championship in game winning throw, and led FSU to an undefeated season last year and probably this year. I know that there is a hearing today and Jameis will probably get suspended from college football due to some maturity issues. However, nobody can't say this kid can't ball. If the Jets, Bills, Dolphins, Vikings, Giants, Bucs, etc would rather have their shitty QB over Jameis then you are a horrible fan. Last year Winston threw 40 TDs to 10 picks and got another 4 on the ground. This year his stats aren't as gaudy but enough to be leading a top 2 team in the country.

Again, I'm not defending Jameis' maturity, because it's not where it should be, however, that can be corrected. He should be the 1st overall pick and if the team that picks number 1 passes on him, it's the biggest disservice to their franchise. I would take Winston 100% of the time over Mariotta.


The Patriots Get By With A Little Help From The Refs

Sure the Jets probably deserved to lose, they relied on FGs instead of actually scoring in the red zone. However, it seemed as if Goodell wanted to help the Patriots out before his inevitable firing.

Apparently you can't line up directly in front of the long snapper during FG attempts (I never heard of this rule, but apparently it's a rule) so when the last second FG attempt was being had Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower was initially lined up right in front of the Jets long snapper. If the play was snapped during the attempt it would have been a 5 yard penalty and the Jets would have had a closer attempt.... which Folk could have missed/ blocked/etc. However, before the snap took place the official ran up to Hightower and moved him so their would be no penalty. I don't know why he would do that as officials are supposed to be honest and it's not his place to do it, but he did it anyway. The Jets then snap the ball, Chris Jones blocks the field goal for sweet redemption from last years push play, game over.

There is only one conclusion to draw from this, is that Goodell is the gift that keeps on giving for N.E., he first covered up the spygate scandal, he constantly gives the Patriots breaks and ultimately gave the Patriots the game last night. Also if that official lay up wasn't enough, there were multiple pass interference calls that simply weren't.

I don't want to harp on this because the Patriots defense looks horrendous and when they play better teams they will be exposed without a rushing defense and with Revis being far from an island, and beating a lowly Jets team by 2 at home is nothing to boast about but it is worth noting that once again the Patriots get bailed out by officiating. I was shocked that a personal foul wasn't called on that Brady flop job either, Goodell must have been in the bathroom.

Patriots Survive Jets

This was an ugly win. This one didn't bother me as much as the one we saw earlier in the year against the Raiders. The Jets were playing to salvage their season/Rex Ryan's job and they do have some areas where they are competent. This game had "trap game" written all over it and the Patriots survived it with a win.

I said in my preview that I was concerned about the Jets pass rush. The lone sack for 1-yard would make it seem that this concern was unfounded, but I think that the impact of the Jets pass rush was bigger than that. Brady was feeling the pressure this game. He threw the ball away to avoid the sack on a number of plays and he was moving in the pocket to avoid pressure often. The offensive line was generally able to do their job and when the protection did break down Brady was able to buy himself time or limit the damage. It was nice to see Brady and the O-Line working in tangent to limit the effectiveness of a good pass rush. Brady's numbers were less exciting than we had seen the past two weeks, but it was still a solid performance with a lot of good decision making. The distribution of passes continues to be well spread out among the receivers. LaFell, Gronkowski, Edelman and Shane Vereen all had 4-5 catches each. There was a Danny Amendola sighting as he caught a 19-yard touchdown pass on a long 3rd and goal.

The Patriots running game was adequate, but got few opportunities. They only got 15 touches in this game. One of those was the once-per-game Julian Edelman end around play. Three of them were on the Patriots final drive where the runs were obvious because of the need to kill the clock.

I said in my preview that I was concerned about the Jets running game. The Jets running game chewed up the Patriots for 218 yards on the ground. Geno Smith, Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson all ran right over the Patriots defense. This opened up opportunities for Geno in the passing game as he had arguably his best game of the season. The Jets moved the ball at will and scored on their first 5 drives in this game. Fortunately, all but one of those scores were field goals. The Jets weren't forced to punt until late in the third quarter. I think it's becoming clear where the Patriots weakness is on defense. They're getting exposed by big north-south running backs as they can't make tackles at the line of scrimmage. I'm tempted to put this onto the loss of Jerod Mayo, but it had been a problem against Kansas City and Miami when he was out there as well. The pass defense was also lackluster for such a highly regarded unit. The Patriots defense is one of the best teams in terms of creating turnovers and the Jets are one of the worst teams in terms of ball security, but the Jets never turned the ball over.

All in all, this was a strange game. I think if you looked at the stat sheet without knowing the score you might assume the Jets won this game. They got more first downs. They dominated time of possession. They dominated in total yards. They didn't make any turnovers. In the end, they couldn't come through when it mattered settling for field goals on those early drives. The Patriots were able to maximize their opportunities and punch it into the end zone and that was what allowed them to win this game despite being outplayed for the most of it.

We're on to Chicago! The Patriots will have the long week to rest up and prepare for when the Chicago Bears come to Gillette. This is the beginning of a tough stretch in the Patriots schedule as they take on 4 playoff teams in the next 6 games. Chicago might be the easiest team in that stretch, currently sitting at 3-3. The Bears will be taking on Miami this week at home before heading to Foxboro. The Bears are a well-rounded team. Their defense is above average but not spectacular by any means. Jay Cutler has put together some good numbers for this year and Matt Forte has been solid. This is a team the Patriots should beat, but if they make mistakes the Bears are competent enough to capitalize on those mistakes.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Steelers Stink Right Now..... They Will Be Back

So Mike is obviously really jealous of my popularity and probably should recognize who puts the asses in the seats. Anywho, here is my Steelers have been sucking this year post. I touched upon it before but Todd Hailey is the anti christ. The fact that Pittsburgh has let this blow hard coach the offense is fucking pathetic. They don't utilize Ben to his best ability (which is back yard football) and run shitty draws and short passes. I think LeVeon Bell is great, I think the WRs are great and I think their line has been performing well enough. However, they rarely go for it and they don't utilize their big playmakers the way they should. I guess Tomlin deserves some of this blame for letting it happen, but Hailey is the main culprit. On the other side of the ball Dick LeBeau needs to go. He was great and has been for an incredible amount of time, but offenses in today's Goodell driven NFL have caught up with him. The Steelers have had too many injuries and blitz too much and for them to be able to cover 3/4 wrs/ a TE. It's pathetic.

They lost to the Browns and Bucs, which are 2 inexcusable losses and they lost mainly because the offense is playing scared and the defense puts to much pressure on themselves to be effective.

Either way my prediction of the Steelers vs the Seahawks stays because Pittsburgh will make a miracle run like the Royals.

Jets by 8

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ebola..... Should I be Concerned

Ebola just came to Mass.... should I be concerned?

I have been ignoring Ebola and just assumed it was an Africa thing because everything in Africa is awful. However, this is starting to become like every movie ever Outbreak, contagion, etc. Soon everyone will be throwing up their guts and dying. I'm starting to get terrified. I'm starting to think that 100% of us will get this stupid virus. When it's time for me to go, I want an honorable death like getting shot while saving a child or something heroic.... most likely now I'm not going to make it to 30 and be throwing up and shitting my guts out of my mouth and ass.

Things I'm grateful for before Ebola takes me:
Sox, Celtics, Steeler, Bama and Kentucky Championship wins
Food specifically Cheeseburgers, Hot Dogs, Steak and Cheese Subs, Buffalo Wings
I guess friends and family