Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Draft stuff. It's a little late, but it's still faster than the Vikes making their pick.

Thoughts on Saturday's NFL Draft:

  • Know this: I hate Chris Berman. I loathe him. He hasn't made an original joke since about oh, i don't know, 1983. He has forced Tom Jackson into being his little lackey, made to laugh at his lame ass jokes and sing "San Diego Super Chargers" twice a broadcast. His nicknames aren't funny anymore ("The Beer Man!" We know, Chris, we know. Go away now). He knows less about football than anyone on any NFL broadcast he's ever worked on (noteable exception: Paul McGuire). Maybe because he knows he's at the short end of the stick and his shtick is starting to wear thin and he needs to look like he knows what he's talking about, he tips every draft pick before the Commish read them. EVERY ONE. And it's not even like he knows; someone is telling him through his head set. I know this isn't an original thought, and I'm not the first one to say it, but I really can't think of anything that annoys me more. Does he think people are tuning in to hear him tell them who their team is taking? Why does he do this? One reason. That's all I want.
  • If one more person compares Mario Williams to Sam Bowie, I am going Reggie Evans on them. I mean it. You want your cookie jar tampered with? Say Bowie. In fact, just to be safe, don't even mention David Bowie around me. Or Sam Perkins. Better safe than sorry.
  • Honestly, though...say what you will about picking Williams over Bush, but the deciding factor was money. The Texans didn't want a hold out, so they took a player they wanted less. I've never run an NFL team, but my gut is telling me that wasn't the smartest way to make a fairly important decision.
  • Last thought on Super Mario: he played on a D line that had two other prospects go in the top 26, plus two other defensive players who were drafted, and Bush, Leinart, et al get punished for being surrounded by too much talent? That adds up. By the way, NC St. had five (5!) defensive players drafted, but they still went 6-5 this year (which, incredibly, Mel Kiper Jr. knew off the top of his head). At least USC won with all their talent.
  • Jet fans applauded their pick, which wasn't all that sexy a pick (I love sexy picks. If I was a GM, all my picks would be sexy). What's stranger, that or Kobe pulling a Steve Nash?
  • And the Niners, my team, take Vernon Davis, who's apparently a monster, so that's cool. He cries, though, so that's not cool.
  • Overall, I enjoyed the Niners draft. Except for a few WR, every pick was on the defensive side of the ball. No complaints there. Plus, they drafted Michael Robinson, who was responsible for this hit, which was harder than any hit a defender the Niners had last season:

  • Leinart falling to the Cardinals at the 10 spot: That offense could be something special in a few years; they have weapons galore. And Leinart has to be geeked with all his new toys. But he has to wish he came out last year, right? No national title, dropped 9 spots, lost millions, and all to not go to class and chill with groupies...he coulda done that in the NFL, right? Course, he would have all of Alex Smith's concussions for the next 4 years, but still. And no, I'm not bitter he stayed when he coulda went to the Niners a year ago. Not at all.
  • Move of the draft: the Steelers moving up to get Santonio Holmes. They replace Randle El, last season's X factor, with someone better than Randle El, although he can't throw like Randle El. Although I'm sure he doesn't throw random laterals and do that stupid reverse backwards spin every time he catches a punt, so maybe it'll ever out.
  • I know he has a torn hamstring, but how fat did LenDale White look? You could barely read "Got Robbed" on his Chauncey Billups t-shirt (interesting choice) because it was stretched so thin. And running backs should have just one chin, yes?
  • How are Trey Wingo's two primary responsibilities the NFL and the Women's Final Four? How did that happen? Could there have been two more random assignments? Does Karl Ravech cover softball? Who does he hate more, Merril Hodge or the blonde Mrs. Steven A. Smith from the girl's Final Four? Am I out of questions? Yes, yes I am.
  • The Giants drafted a DE. Lions and WR jokes, anyone?
  • Players Who Will Be Better Than Expected: Anyone from USC: LenDale, Leinart, Winston Justice...Maurice Stovall.
  • Players Who Will Be Worse Than Expected: Jay Cutler, Sinorice Moss.
  • Three teams drafted teammates within the first three rounds: Bills (Donte Whitner and Ashton Youboty, Ohio St.), Jags (Marcedes Lewis and Maurice Drew, UCLA) and the Cards (Leinart and Lutui, USC). Just thought that was cool. Plus, I wanted to say "Youboty."
  • My boy is the biggest Dolphins fan I know. Actually, he's the only Dolphins fan I know. But he's hardcore. So this is for him. And oh, they just signed Marcus Vick to a tryout. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2006 Miami Dolphins!

  • The Patriots drafted a kicker to replace the greatest clutch kicker off my lifetime, maybe ever. Um, I know Belichek's a "genius" and all, but...I dunno, he better be good.
  • Basketball players with NFL teams: Ed Nelson, Jai Lewis. Thought that was interesting.
Aaaaaaaand i'm spent.

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In defense of Raja Bell.

The NBA needs to take a few deep breathes.

They need to count to 10, destroy a stress ball or two, rub their earlobes and say "woo-sah," something, anything. They need to take a few steps back and realize exactly what the Raja Bell foul on Kobe was. They need to make sure Raja Bell isn't suspended and that he's in the starting line up for Game 6.

Why? Well, first of all, Raja Bell didn't clothesline Kobe around the neck and then throw him to the ground. Hit hit him in the chest with a forearm and then didn't catch Kobe as he was falling to the ground. There's a difference. A big one. Yea, eventually, Raja's arm found Kobe'e neck. But he didn't hit him there.If he would have clotheslined him around the neck, then sure, suspend him. But thats not what he did, and it wasn't as bad as everyone is making it out to be.

He hit Kobe in the chest with a forearm. He hit him hard in the chest with a forearm. It was intentional, and it was flagrant. But that's all it was. It was dealt with properly at the time (Bell got the gate), and that's it.

I mean, this is the playoffs. The fouls are going to be harder - and they should be. You can't let teams waltz around out there, and when necessary, you foul hard. You aren't "sending a message," but you're letting the other team know that you'r going to be there all night, and if they want to win, they're going to have to do more than just show up. If the NBA isn't going to allow harder fouls in the playoffs, then the playoffs aren't going to be the same. The intensity is tampered with. You can't even have a hint of that, not with the perception that NBA players don't always play hard.

(This is an enirely seperate issue - or maybe not - but the NBA needs to chill with the suspensions, alright? It's the freakin' playoffs. Its basketball, not bocce ball. There's going to be contact, and it's going to be physical. It's a contact sport. Let's all get off our high horses and let 'em play some basketball, contact included.)

There is something to be said for where the NBA has set the bar so far this postseason in terms of handing out suspensions, but that's no reason to suspend Bell. And as for that "bar," you have to look at the circumstances surrounding each instance (and being wrong the first couple of times isn't a good enough reason to be wrong the third or fourth time, either).

Artest didn't deserve to be suspended - if anyone else touched up Manu like that, it wouldn't even have made Sports Center - but since he's Ron Artest, he got a game on the sidelines. Fair or not (fair to me), that's what happened. And Posey's foul was just stupid on his part; you could see it coming a mile away (well, as long as you aren't Kirk Hinrich). It was cheap and not a "basketball move," a saying the league has fallen in love with. And as intentional as it was, Hinrich didn't even fall over! Sure, it was hard, but you get suspended for
not even knocking someone over? What if he would have fallen over?

It's debatable whether or not Bell's foul was a "basketball move." I think it was. It was a hard foul. Was it really all that different from Brenden Haywood wrapping up LeBron? Or how about Luke Walton drilling Tim Thomas out of mid air in this series? Knocking some one out of the air is more of a potential risk for injury than anything Raja Bell did. And not to pile on (well, ok, to pile on), but Reggie Evans sexually violated Chris Kaman and he didn't get suspended. Arguably the worst - nah, easily the worst - transgression of the post season goes unpunished, and you are going to suspend Bell for a hard, playoff level foul?

(I mean, what would you rather have done to you? Your cookies nearly ripped off, or a shot to the chest? Show me someone who wants a shot to the chest and I'll show you the next first round draft pick of the Phoenix Mercury.)

And when it comes down to it, Game 6 is just too important not to have Raja Bell in it. It's the most exciting series of the first round, and Bell's absence in Game 6 would cheapen the Laker's potential clincher. He needs to be there.

Remember your pressure points, Commish. Woo-sah, woo-sah.

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