Random Thoughts 3/11/14

-Wow, didn’t realize it’s been nearly two weeks since I posted anything.  Sorry about that.  Anyway, a lot going on the world of sports.  I’ll start with my favorite… basketball.  The NBA season is coming to a close.  Most teams have around 16-17 games left.  The Eastern Conference picture is becoming more and more clear by the day.  The Hawks and Cavs are clearly the best two teams in the East.  I know everyone will think I’m crazy, but I’m still not 100% sure the Hawks are an elite team.  I will admit that they have absolutely nothing left to prove in the regular season.  With that being said, they’re going to be judged based on how they fare in the postseason.  Anything less than reachingOne  the Eastern Conference Finals would be a major letdown.  Truthfully they should be disappointed unless they make the NBA Finals.  The Cavs feel the same way.  The way the rest of the East is playing, I think they’d all be happy to win one round.  Washington, Chicago and Toronto are all playing really bad basketball right now.  Toronto is 1-9 in their last 10 and Washington is 3-7.  The Bulls are hanging in there with a 5-5 record, but they’ve lost 3 in a row and just don’t look very good.  Indiana has really come on strong lately, winning 6 in a row and 9 out of 10.  To be fair, that 10 game stretch included 2 games against the Knicks and 2 games against the 76ers.  Plus they beat Cleveland without LeBron or Kyrie, they beat Golden State without Curry and they beat New Orleans without Davis.  I would be positively shocked if the Eastern Conference Finals isn’t Atlanta vs. Cleveland.

-The Western Conference continues to be a giant mess.  Who knows what’s going to happen there.  A big question is health in the West.  Houston is missing Dwight Howard.  Portland is without Wesley Matthews and LaMarcus Aldridge is banged up.  The Clippers are without Blake Griffin and Chris Paul looks a little gimpy.  San Antonio has had a myriad of injuries lately, but does appear pretty close to full strength now.  Dallas finally got back to full strength, but Al-Farouq Aminu got banged up last night and Tyson Chandler still doesn’t look 100%.  OKC needs Durant to come back and be 100%.  And New Orleans need Davis to stay healthy.  If all of those guys are healthy (other than Matthews who is out for the year), the West should be totally insane come playoff time.  I was listening to a podcast today talk about how the Mavericks wouldn’t have a chance and they don’t match up well against Memphis.  I don’t agree with that.  The season series is 2-1 in favor of Memphis right now.  One of Dallas’ biggest weaknesses is guarding against the three.  Memphis is 2nd to last in 3-pointers made and 22nd in percentage.  The argument I heard was that Nowitzki can’t guard Randolph or Gasol.  I don’t disagree with that, but those guys aren’t exactly threats to score 30+ and win the game by themselves.  Gasol has scored 30+ points only 4 times this year.  And Randolph hasn’t done it one time all year.  I just don’t see those guys going out there and winning the series because Dirk can’t defend them.  Switching gears a bit, how excited would you be if you were the Warriors and you won 65+ games and got to face OKC in round one?  If Durant isn’t Durant then I would say the Warriors wouldn’t be too worried.  However, if Durant is close to 100%, that would be a super tough match up for anyone.  I’d still pick Golden State, but I wouldn’t feel very good about it.  I truly wouldn’t be shocked to see anyone lose in the West, IF everyone is healthy.

-Spring Training is fully underway and it’s been a blast for me so far.  Many of you know that I’m a big Cubs’ fan and boy was yesterday fun.  In case you missed it, Soler, Baez and Bryant went back-to-back-to-back.  Let’s hope that’s a sign of things to come.  The Cubs will be a huge story all year in the trading card industry.  I can’t remember a time when one team had so many guys that could impact products.  For all of our sakes, I hope that 2015 is a heck of a season for the young Cubbies.  The Red Sox are another team with several guys who can help products.  Everyone is banking on Rusney Castillo being the real deal.  It was unfortunate to see him get hurt in his first game.  Hopefully he comes back quickly, so that he can drive some of these early season baseball products.  I was very sad to see the news about Yu Darvish.  I can’t say that I’m a Rangers’ fan or a Darvish fan, but I certainly have never had any issues with them either.  I always hate to see elite talent get injured.

-How about all the moves in the NFL?  It’s been crazy.  I can’t remember a time when we saw so many star players get traded.  Oh all the trades, the one that makes the least amount of sense to me is the Saints trading Jimmy Graham.  They just signed him to a new contract last year.  He’s truly an elite TE, who is an absolute game changer.  I get that the Saints needed to dump salary.  However, I just can’t imagine there weren’t other players who could have been traded or cut.  They did get a first round pick and a quality Center.  I just don’t get why they’d blow up their offense like that.  Do they really think Drew Brees isn’t the answer anymore?  Are they truly going to shift to a run-first offense?  I don’t mind what the Eagles did in acquiring Sam Bradford.  I’m not totally sold on him being a franchise type QB.  However, they didn’t have to mortgage their future to get him.  He’s still only 27 and isn’t making an obscene amount of money this year.  He is a free agent in 2016, but that gives the Eagles a year to decide if he’s really their guy.  The free agency period has been fairly wild too.  I always have a tough time understanding why guys leave certain teams.  I’m a very competitive person so this may be skewed.  However, it’d be darn near impossible for me to leave a contender for 10%-20% more money when I’m already making millions.  Maybe I’m wrong but I bet Julius Thomas is going to be sitting there in week 8 wondering why he left Denver.  Jacksonville will be 3-5 and Thomas will have 32 receptions because his QB play stinks.  I get the idea of chasing the money.  And I realize it’s easy to sit here and say that I’d leave money on the table.  I’d just hate to be on a team that is perennially bad when I have the chance to play for a winner.  Revis did the same thing.  He was in New York for several years and never got to a Super Bowl.  He finally gets on the Patriots and wins a ring in his first season.  So what does he do?  He skips town and goes back to New York.  Maybe he doesn’t care now because he got his ring.  I just don’t see the Jets competing anytime soon.

No tags for this post.