Disclaimer: My opinions are my own, and they don’t mean a damn thing in regards to how you should think about basketball, or anything for that matter.
This post is dedicated to anybody who seeks to change something just for the sake of being original.
Countless people work for their entire lives in an effort to be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. How dare anyone seek to downsize it.
It’s funny how this time of year changes as you get older, growing up the school year would finish late November or early December giving us plenty of time to get into the Christmas spirit. This year thanks to some changed circumstances I just haven’t been able to enjoy this time of year as much. Thankfully some things still hold true, as the festive season picks up, so does the intensity of the NFL season thanks to some dramatic playoff races. With four teams battling for the top seed in the AFC, more teams battling for their wildcard spots, and finally the divisional races in the NFC East, North and West you can’t help but love the NFL at this time of year. Of course at this time of year, things start to get busy all around so here are some rapid recaps of the NFL games I was covering this week rather than my usual rambling on separate games, as hard as it is to believe, I do have a life outside of this site!
Linsanity is dead. There, I said it.
It was on its last legs once Carmelo Anthony returned from injury last year, but now Jeremy Lin’s catchphrase has to contend with “Fear the Beard,” and it’s not faring well.
The Houston Rockets paid big money to lure Lin away from the New York Knicks in free agency this summer and added more firepower in a blockbuster trade before the start of the season to bring in James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Through 18 games this season, the NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year in Harden is taking full advantage of a starting gig with the Rockets. Harden leads the team with 24.7 points per-game, while Lin is struggling to be anything more than mediocre.
TSHQ’s Atlantic 10 Preview
By Gus Elvin
You know the deal by now, it is conference preview time and like I promised, here is your full Atlantic 10 Preview for the 2012 season. The Atlantic 10 is at its biggest this season, both literally and figuratively, as the conference has a league record 16 schools after the additions of VCU and Butler, and also is at an all-time high in terms of talent and notoriety. The A-10 has added 2 big time mid-majors in Butler and VCU and with a strong returning collection of schools led by Saint Joe’s and Temple, some think the A-10 could earn up to 6 NCAA Tournament bids. I don’t see the A-10 getting 6 bids but they will get more than 3, as there are 8 or 9 teams on paper who have a realistic shot at competing for an NCAA berth. This is one of the hardest conferences to project this season, as seemingly ever media outlet has a different pick to win the league, just one indication of the talent and parity within the conference. In what should be a very exciting year for the conference, here is my in depth breakdown of the Atlantic 10.
-Once Again an (*) signifies a preseason NCAA Tournament selection.
* I apologize for not getting these write-ups up sooner but these are my preseason predicted standings. The stats are updated but I have not changed my order based on how the teams have played so far this season.
The largest deal, money wise, which was signed this week belonged to…. Angel Pagan! That’s right. $40 million over four years was the most money spent on a free agent at the Winter Meetings in Nashville over the past four days. Surprised? Because I know I am. No one expected such lackluster spending without a few blockbuster trades. Hell, there were as many non-fatal shootings and stabbings around the MLB this past week than there were big deals. I haven’t checked Elias, but I’m willing to bet that’s a first. With plenty of teams displaying such glaring holes it’s a little shocking that so few moves were made. In the same instance, however, it is understandable since the top two free agents have yet to sign. Once Josh Hamilton and Zach Greinke figure out where they would like to play, I anticipate a flurry of moves to follow. Until then, we’re only left with the facts of what happened in Nashville. At least, what we KNOW happened in Nashville.
Meet Courtney Lee, shooting guard for the Boston Celtics.
He’s a decent on-ball defender at-best and can score in bunches when given the chance. Some would call that being a role player, but I assure you that’s not the case.
If Courtney Lee were a role player because of his scoring, then what of Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony or Deron Williams?
If the main goal is to score, roles are everything that would lead up to it: rebounding, defense, etc.
Some of the best role players in the league include: Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka (blocks), New York’s Tyson Chandler (rebounding) and Memphis’ Mike Conley Jr. (steals).
Some of the better role players in the game are without the benefit of a superstar scorer to take away defensive pressure, but that comes twofold. Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao has the ability to score at the basket, but his biggest asset is on the defensive end of the floor. Varejao has averaged over six rebounds per-game in each of the past six seasons. He’s also managed at least one steal per contest over the past two seasons.
The Pelicans? I should just stop here leaving my incredulous question unanswered because that is how ridiculous this name change is for the (current) New Orleans Hornets. I’m all for a name change. I think the Houston Oilers made a sound decision when they changed their name to the Titans upon arrival in Tennessee. The Thunder grew on me when the Supersonics moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City. Hell, even the Wizards aren’t as ridiculous of a name in comparison to the PELICANS. Plus, it’s not like the Hornets are the original mascot of New Orleans. Nor does the nickname even make much sense for the area of the country. Even if it doesn’t make sense, Hornets are pretty badass. No one wants to mess with a bee hive. I’d punch a Pelican in the face if it looked at me crooked and wouldn’t loose any sleep over it either. But out of all the name changes in the history of sports is this the worst?
Love him or hate him, the Miami Heat’s LeBron James is today’s gold standard at the small forward position.
Aside from suspect free-throw shooting, what’s not to like about LeBron’s game? At small forward, he can shoot from virtually any spot in the halfcourt, defends well and rebounds.
If you look around the league, guys like Paul Pierce, Rudy Gay, Kevin Durant and even second-year pro Chandler Parsons do a lot of the same things. In other words, a little bit of everything.
But before we look more into the present, let’s understand how far we’ve come.
Well for some of us Fantasy Freakz it is officially Playoff time. The time of the year when you pray that your lineup doesn’t throw up a few goose eggs and get beaten by a guy who knows virtually nothing about the National Football League. For others, this is perhaps the final week of the regular season and you need to beat an opponent by 29 points and have a competitor lose to the 12th place team just to squeak in. It is imperative for all of us to make sure we field the best possible lineup and we may need a little help in differentiating between two players who are projected to be extremely close. Whereas most prognosticators will give a “gut feeling”, statistical analysis is a very important tool to use when selecting your lineup and that is what I shall do for your reading pleasure.
I have written a couple of separate articles profiling the Boom or Bust potential for QB’s, RB’s and WR’s starting for Week 14 and I will leave a copy of the link here in case you need a little extra help. http://tshq.co/2012/11/fantasy-football-playoff-boom-or-bust-quarterbacks/
ELI MANNING VS. NEW ORLEANS
Manning gets a plum matchup this week against the terrible Saints pass defense. The Saints are in desperate need of wins so they’ll be pressing harder than usual. The Giants find themselves in the midst of a funk as well and they know they’ll need to bring their A-Game out on Sunday. The Saints are ranked 30th against the pass and are surrendering a league tying worst 8.3 yards per completion. They also have given up almost 1 completion of 40+ yards per game. A shootout is imminent with lots of Fantasy Points to garner.
Nashville, Tennessee, has been the place to be this week. While some Winter Meetings are all talk, this one has seen plenty of action league wide. The trade market hasn’t been too active – a bunch of speculation and discussion, but nothing major as of yet – but free agents have been inking deals while money is being tossed around as if the world really is ending in a few weeks. New television deals nationwide are supposedly responsible for these new avenues of spending, which baffles me considering the rather poor ratings for this past World Series. Nonetheless, there are plenty of new faces in brand new places and it leaves me to wonder what kind of impact these moves will have in 2013.