Friday, July 25, 2014

Conversations with Doug Melvin's Moustache.

to begin:  because it's long, I'll put this post in a nutshell.  Q:"Who do you think Doug Melvin and the Brewers will acquire at the MLB trade deadline? A:"A guy whose name is in all caps near the end of the post"  Discuss.  For the brave amongst you who are interested in drug influenced conversations with a General Manager's moustache, by all means, Plow Ahead.

It's the end of July. We're less than a week away from the trade deadline, that arbitrary demarcation of sink or swim for MLB franchises. In America's Pastime, to buy or to sell, that is the question. It's quite the decision for many franchises this year. In fact, without checking the rest of the internets and relying entirely on my own swiss cheese memory, I can't remember a year with so many teams hovering on either side of .500, nor a year with absolutely no definitively dominant team. (Who is it? Oakland? Name a great hitter in that lineup. The Dodgers? Not even first in their own division. I like the makeup of the Nats and Angels, but they've got flaws too)

So, in a year full of so much parity, there ought to be a lot of teams confused as to whether or not they are buyers or sellers. Several bad teams may consider themselves a solid #2 starter or a big stick away from the World Series. These factors should lead to several bigger than usual-type trades. Trades which will undoubtedly change the futures of franchises in the decade to come. All caused by the pressure of that July 31 deadline, and the imagined outcomes of thousands of possible BABIPS and WARS. Wax on, Wax off. 

So... what does any of this mean for our semi-beloved Milwaukee Brewer franchise? What types of hypotheticals are being filtered through Doug Melvin's moustache?
If I'm Doug Melvin's lip foliage, I'm high on a few peyote buttons, thinking in several different directions at once, and trying to calm down a rather frantic Doug Melvin.

DM:I'll tell you one thing, Mr.Sanchez, this Brewer team is rather firmly entrenched in first place. This is not a place we are accustomed to. I understand mediocrity. I understand the beauty of the struggle. I understand the raisin in the sun. But I am not sure I'm ready to handle the luster of this particular pot of gold. How did we get here? Where will we go? Does it matter?

DMM:"Don't freak out Doug Melvin. For God's sake man, you have TWO FIRST NAMES! As your lip sweater, I advise you to remember the last time we did this peyote thing.  It was last year, on our Southwestern road swing, where you finally saw the same vision that I have always had tucked in between my whiskers- Starting Pitching wins Championships. Always has.  Always will.  That was a good day. Those Enchiladas were delicious. I still have some Salsa Verde over here in the left hand corner nook.   Doug, you ask how we got here.  We got here mostly through building a pitching staff of mostly solid, #2 type, veteran, starting pitchers.  Lohse and Garza have been very good additions- you done good there Dougie.  Oh yeah, and we also developed most of our offensive talent within our own system, and added a few exciting defensive players like GoGo and Segura. Not to mention, it doesn't hurt having your best players like Braun, Lucroy and Gomez hitting their primes at the same time. Not to stress you out, but where we go from here, and if it matters or not, might just have a little bit to do with what you choose to do here at the trade deadline.  Bottom line Doug, we're in first place in the division.  First Place!  The Brewers!  Best record in the National League!  Facts!" 

Oh jeez.  Heavy hangs the crown.  Yeah, we're in first, but we just snuck through that rough patch which let the whole Central Division catch up to us. They ALL scare me- even the Cubs. You may not know this, as you are only a dirt squirrel, but human life can be quite filled with anxiety from time to time, and I can't always know for sure which way to go. The fans want me to be perfect. My wife wants me to be perfect. But I'm not. I'm Doug Melvin. Shouldn't I toss in all the chips, and go and get David Price? I hear he's available. I mean, that's what the internets tell me. If you yourself, my household pet which I stow aboard my upper lip, taught me that Starting Pitching wins championships, shouldn't I go trade for the best guy out there... I mean come on you little fanny duster, this is MILWAUKEE, we have a shot at a CHAMPIONSHIP this year! This is beyond once in a generation! This is my LEGACY!

"Relax Doug Melvin. Aren't you Canadian? You remind me of Larry David in that one sketch except he's bald and you have ME on your not very staunch upper lip. You seem so laconic in your interviews with ROCK and MOM JEANS. Maybe that's because you let me take over and do the talking. Jesus, we need to go find some Valium for you to balance this ship. Anyway, let me, your crumb catcher, assuage your fears, and KNOCK SOME COMMON SENSE INTO THAT THICK SKULL OF YOURS! Just kidding there buddy. 
 OK, first things first. Stop worrying about the NL Central:  The Cubs suck, and won't be any good for a couple years. The Reds have some decent starting pitching, but they have injuries across the board, including notorious Brewer Killer Brandon Phillips, and their best player, Joey Votto. I wouldn't be surprised if he's out for the rest of 2014. They also can't hit right handed pitching, and our starters all happen to be right handed. 
 Sure, the Cardinals seem to be our nemeses year in and year out, and although you can't ever count them out, they are having a rough year. Their two best hitters, Matt Holiday and Allen Craig have both declined this year. More like fell off two cliffs. The whole team is striking out a ton, even sometimes on 4-2 counts, and can't hit for power. And they lost the straw that stirs the drink, Yadier Molina, for most of the regular season. We play them a lot down the stretch, so here's to controlling our own destiny in that regard. 
 The Pirates scare me a little, but only in the way the Elephant is frightened by the mouse. They've got a lot of speed and some pop in that lineup, but no real power other than McCutcheon and Alvarez- that latter has really underperformed this year. Their pitching, however, has Overperformed all year, getting solid numbers out of guys like Morton and Volquez. They don't have a true ace, unless you count Liriano, he of the 2 wins and mid 4 ERA. However, last year, they were willing to spend on guys like Byrd and Morneau down the stretch, to help put them in the playoffs. So, if they were to go all in and mortgage some future for a guy like David Price, and another someone like AJ Burnett- who is familiar and soft and warm and broken in like your wife's love mitten... well, then we might have something to be worried about. 

But that's a lotta what if's Doug Melvin, and I, your Lower Brow, do not deal in other team's whatifs. We deal in our team's whatifs, Doug Melvin, and you seem to be hung up on David Price, as are a lot of teams, as he's really the only difference making arm out on the market. Here's the deal- Unless Tampa Bay receives a Godfather offer for him, they aren't moving him. They've won seven straight, and are right in the middle of the playoff hunt, so Price is likely going nowhere. Even if he is, it's not to Milwaukee. Let's be honest, the minor league cupboards are pretty bare. 
 DON'T HANG YOUR HEAD LIKE THAT DOUG MELVIN, I can see your gut, but not your shoes! Empty minor league cupboards are what happens when your major league ones are so damn full! Did I tell you lately how much I appreciate the advice you gave Roenicke about the Gennett/Weeks platoon? That thing is really working out. That shirt looks great on you. The vertical stripes are VERY slimming. Oh boy... this pep talk is taking a turn for the worse. Well, why don't you and I go soak your minor league sorrows in a pint, old buddy."

(Two bars & six pints later) Alright Mustache, you have again showed me the error of my ways, mainly by just clinging there to my upper lip through the thick and thin. I can see we're in a pretty good way right now, and I should just enjoy the ride, not just be focused on rampant and delusional self-improvement of my baseball team as a manifestation of my own mortality... and rather short penis. I mean, HEY, we're in first place! FIRST PLACE! FUCK YEAH, TIME TO GO PLAY AMERICAN PIE ON THE JUKE BOX. E-4!

"DOUG, DOUG! That is not a "Juke Box". That is a woman. Those are sequins, not buttons upon which to press E-4. E-4 is what Ricky used to make a lot of before he fell into his destiny as a platoon player. That is a liverwurst sandwich, Doug. Her liverwurst sandwich. Don't take a bite... aw Jeez Doug. Hey Buddy, let's go sit down at the bar and finish talking about what to do at the trade deadline this year. DOUG, DOUG!, let's make an honest assessment of our strengths and weaknesses, and distinguish between our needs and wants."

You're such a frickin' adult sometimes, you Mouth Mirkin, but more often than not... you're right. To be honest... we really don't need much this year. We've got 4 solid starters, each who can dominate on any given night, each who can pitch deep into ballgames. A couple are power pitchers which always plays well in the playoffs. Our lineup is solid, and Roenicke has tinkered with it pretty well, putting hot hitters at different slots in the lineup. Shit, he had Brauny hitting at 2,5 and finally back to 3, all within a week. Yikes! Before the PEDs, that never would have happened. Lucroy is a legit MVP Candidate, and just so Solid on defense. GoGo is still a knucklehead, but he's our knucklehead, and damn if I wasn't right on getting him locked up longterm before he became an All-Star. Speaking of All-Stars, I don't know how Ramirez got to start in the midsummer classic, but let me put it this way, I'm darn glad he's playing in a contract year. I'd like to joke about Jean and his many 6-3 groundouts this year, but there's just no way there's anything funny about a guy losing a kid. He's played good D and is hitting the ball well to opposite field as of late. Khris Davis is Krushing the ball much better than the non-stripper Chris Davis in Baltimore. Heck, even the two-headed Overeynolds is hitting better than that Chris Davis. Unlike him, I think our platoon has over 20 homers on the year, and is definitely hitting over .200. I bet you every sportswriter and blogger in Milwaukee would have had me trade for the other Chris Davis in the offseason, and NOW LOOK. EVERYONE LOOK! FEAST YOUR EYES!

You're starting to rant, Doug.

Sorry, Sorry. So, yeah, combine all that with the Weeks/Gennett platoon, and we're pretty solid on offense. Heck, if I'm honest with myself, I can see we could use an upgrade at 4th outfielder, and maybe a toolsy utility guy to back up Jean. Ben Zobrist comes to mind for both of those needs. Maybe I can get him on the cheap from the Rays and cover all our bases, proverbially speaking of course. Wait, you said the Rays aren't really likely to be selling now, and let's face it, they are more wants than needs, aren't they? Sometimes, you little Molestache, you say the most when you say nothing at all.

What about the bullpen? Aw, you know bullpens, they come and go like metamucil farts. But I gotta say, ours has been pretty darn good this year. Let's start with K-Rod. He wasn't even our closer in Spring Training, heck he was barely on our team. But he's like that girlfriend that keeps coming back, summer after summer, back for more of Dougie's Sugar. Look at him though- second in all of baseball in saves. And that's why you don't break the bank for closers. I'll tell you what-that Will Smith for Aoki trade looks darn nice, considering he might be a darn good lefthanded starter in the future, and he's more than served his purpose this year. Not to mention, Zach Duke. Have you looked at his ERA and WHIP? Are you kidding me? Zach Duke! I found him down in the Arizona Penal League. Where do you think we got these peyote buttons?

What about right handed relievers Doug? Well, the lefties have been getting righties out too, plus, we got Wooten and Kintzler and they've done a real good job for us this year.

No they haven't. They've both sucked. Well, that's just like your opinion, Man. And even if you're right, Henderson and Thornburg coming back from the DL real quick, and those are two guys we can count on.  Not to mention the promise of Jeffers.

Are they really, Doug? A journeyman minor leaguer coming off shoulder problems, a second year kid with elbow trouble, and a guy who had the upside of a homeless man's Doc Gooden... before he himself had his own spate of drug problems. Sounds like several beacons of reliability. A handful of Old Faithfuls. 
Sigh... When you're right, you're right, you little Cookie Duster. So, we finally get to it. We need a veteran right-hander out of the bullpen for the late innings. But here's the thing- to me, bullpens are a crapshoot. I mean we had a couple of lights out closers in Axford and Turnbow both turn South in a hurry like two-day old Chinese food. How do I know who to trust when all I've got is scouting reports, stats, advanced stats, and video of each and every pitch these guys have thrown in the past decade. It's tough to build a pair of shoes out of a couple of shoestrings.

Dougie Dougie Dougie. All I hear out of your mouth are excuses, and I'm hearing a lot of them here on my perch above your wordhole. You sound like a little baby chicken instead of the robust Walrus everyone can see that you are. You know what you need to do Dougie, and you're not even going to have to step out of your comfort zone to do it. Are you ready? Two words for you- LaTROY... HAWKINS. Just rest for a minute in that little thoughterfall.
 You little Son of a Selleck. You've done it again. That makes so much sense it's almost too much sense. He's pitching for a horrible team, in a bad park for pitchers out there in Colorado, yet he's still got a serviceable ERA, solid peripherals, and 17 saves. He's been pitching well, the old codger. Did you know that he and I have remained pen pals since his days with the Brewers? We use the only remaining Pony Express rider, a 103-year old guy named Lightning Jack who carries our parcels back and forth on his Donkey named Stan. Nice Fella, that guy. But yeah, it'd be nice to have LaTroy back. The Rockies are bad, and not going anywhere fast, so it's likely a 41 year old closer doesn't fit too tightly into their plans. He sure would look good in the late innings for us. He pitched real well for us back in 2011, the last year we had a shot to go anywhere. So, I'm comfortable with his track record. You know how it is, you old soup strainer, I can't seem to quit "my guys". Guys like Doug Davis, Yuniesky Betancourt, and K-Rod... I like to give them a second time on the wagon. Now that you've mentioned it, THIS team WITHOUT Latroy Hawkins on it would look a little like my face without you on it.

"Gotta tell you Dougie, I'm not quite sure how to take that last thing you just said. So, I'm just going to hope it's the last nubbin of the peyote talking. By the way, I'm pretty sure Yuni B is available, as he's just over a little sea, playing in Japan... and we do need a utility man... just saying."

(Full disclosure: the author met Doug Melvin in Boston on a roadtrip to Fenway a few years back.  He's nothing like the indecisive peyotehead represented here.  Except for the Canadian stuff.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

2 year opt outs

I expect to see a lot of 2-year opt outs in the NBA contracts that will be signed later this week. There are two reasons for that, which are related. This will hopefully be good for the Bucks (more on that later).

The first is that the TV contracts for the NBA expire at that point, and if NBA ratings continue to go up there will be a large increase in revenue to the league. With the new CBA, 50% of that revenue goes to the players (down from about 57% in the previous CBA), meaning there could be a sizable increase in the salary cap for that season. The other reason is Lebron, as pretty much everything in the NBA is about Lebron.

I expect Lebron to resign with the Heat for a large contract but with a likely 2-year opt out. Lebron can get money anywhere he wants to go, but he also wants to win championships. He has a clear path to the finals with the Big 3 in a weak Eastern Conference so Miami just makes sense in the short run. Lebron knows about the TV money too, but that is probably less a factor in his decision than Wade’s knees. Does Wade have another season or two of elite level play, even if it is for only 50 regular season games and the playoffs? Probably. Does Wade have 4-5 more seasons of elite level play? Probably not. The 2-year opt out combined with the salary cap increase gives Lebron a chance to opt out and move on if needed, as well as opening the number of options he has due to the salary cap increase.

The Bucks should be in a decent position to take advantage of this, should it happen. The Bucks have 4 players with significant contracts expiring in 2 years (Ilyasova, Mayo, Pachullia, and Henson’s rookie deal). I don’t expect the Bucks to be able to bring in any big free agents with all that open cap space. However. the Bucks may be able to take advantage of a team desperate to clear space for a shot at Lebron. With about 25 million in expiring contracts the Bucks will have flexibility to move them for a quality player(s) on long term deal.

Monday, July 7, 2014

If you could choose any college basketball team to be a fan of, which would it be?

Fandom is strange in that, like your family, you really don't get a choice. True fandom is something that just happens to you—usually by inheritance, but sometimes by happenstance or osmosis. I submit that if you chose to be a fan of some team, then you aren't really a fan. (To put it bluntly, you're an asshole.)

Anyhow, what if you could choose? You'd want to choose a winner, obviously. And you'd probably want to choose a clean program with a likeable coach, preferably one who will be around for a good long time. I think you'd want to choose a program that gets top recruits, since following recruiting is kind of its own fun thing.

After the Badgers beat Arizona last year and Sean Miller gushed about how happy he was for Bo, I got a little emotional and declared some secondary allegiance to Arizona. I meant it at the time, but I doubt it will stick. We'll see. But if I could choose to be a fan of a team, Arizona would certainly be a finalist. They have a great young coach, get top recruits, and seem poised to head to multiple final fours, if not win national titles, in the coming years.

But I think there's an even better program you could choose: Kansas. Bill Self is still just 52 years old, and there's no reason to think he's going anywhere, ever. They've got tradition, and they're the only game in town. I guess the only reason not to be a Kansas fan is that the expectations would be so high every year. Anything less than a final four is probably equivalent to the Badgers losing in the first round. But, still, I'd take Kansas.

What do you guys think?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Jason Kidd to the Bucks?

According to Twitter, Jason Kidd has been granted permission to talk to the Bucks about becoming their next coach AND GM. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

The path forward

Having watched a lot of bad Bucks basketball over the past many years I have found there is only one way to stomach it. You have to be able to watch the young players and see a path where they could fit on a really good basketball team, otherwise watching a team lose over and over is just boring. There was a path when Bogut had a healthy elbow and Jennings was a 19 year old scoring point. There was even a path (maybe not to a really good team, but at least an entertaining one) when the Bucks paired Jennings with Ellis in the back court and had Sanders to block shots, letting everyone run and have fun. Obviously neither of those paths worked out because of Bogut's injury, and Ellis' agent was a idiot. Each failure usually leads to a new path, but last season's team was really a void. Even a Bucks optimist like me had trouble seeing how these kids were going to be quality starters on a good team someday, other than Giannis who was a long way away. With the addition of Parker I can start to see a new path. Here is my vision of what a hopeful fan sees as a path to sustained success.

Good NBA teams usually have a rotation of 7-8 really good players, and 3-4 other capable players that just fit what the team needs. A team like Miami that has 3 superstars can get away with having more of the capable players that just fit what they need. The Bucks are not likely to get 3 players of that caliber, so I will focus on a more traditional team rotation. If I'm being optimistic, there are currently 5 Bucks who could fit into a rotation someday, although most of them are young and not there yet. Some of them may never get there, but this is all about seeing a path, not predicting the future.

The path starts with the 2 forwards the Bucks have recently drafted, as you may have imagined. They are young so they still have lots of room to grow, and you can imagine how they may fit someday if they keep getting better. Not all youngsters are going to keep getting better, but again this is about a hopeful path. It starts with Parker and Giannis as the starting forwards. Giannis and Parker can both handle and shoot so they will put perimeter pressure on a defense. If they can defend you can see this duo being very successful for a long time. If they both turn out to be max contract guys, the Bucks will be able to keep them for their 4 year rookie contracts and probably for another 4-5 year deal when they hit restricted free agency. If they are able to have a successful 8 years together in Milwaukee, then maybe when they are 27 and hit unrestricted free agency the Bucks will be able to convince them to stay.

Center is another story. I was not a believer in Sanders as a center before last season and his combination of stupidity off the court and poor play when he was out there didn't improve my opinion. He signed a 4 year extension before last season at a reasonable starting center rate of about 10 million per year, but given his antics last year he seems unmoveable right now. All that said, I do think Sanders is a good enough player to be in the rotation of a playoff team. I don't like him as a starting center, unless he is teamed with another big. He could excel playing next to a Boozer like player, like Noah does in Chicago. Against good NBA bigs he gets bullied, and if the Bucks are going to have 2 smaller/perimeter type forwards I think they need a more traditional center to make up for the rebounding and physicality. My hope is that Sanders plays like his old self this season, and some team in love with modern metrics (who all seem to love Sanders) trades us a traditional center for him. So Sanders counts as one of the 5, but not one I see in the long term path.

The 2 guard position is mostly a void. Mayo and Delfino will hold down the fort at the 2 this year unless the Bucks are able to pull off a trade. Neither player will be with the Bucks past the lengths of their current contracts. My hope is that the Bucks hit a top pick in the Lottery next year and are able to draft a guard next year to fill in here long term.

Point guard is also not a great situation, but not as bad as the 2 spot. Knight came over in the Jennings trade and was supposed to be a more traditional point. When all the veteran Bucks got hurt and they went young (tanked) Knight was forced into a scoring point role. He did score 17.9 per game and shot a respectable and career best 42.2% from the floor, but his 3pt% dropped from 38.0 and 36.7 in his first 2 years to 32.5 last year. He is not a great play maker at the point, and he is a decent but not great defender, but he is only 22 entering his 4th season. He will be a restricted free agent after this year so the Bucks will have a decision to make about him. If he can go back to playing a more traditional point, and allow Parker to take on the scoring load he could be an effective starter. If he can shoot in the low 40s and hit 3s in the high 30s I can see a role for him in playoff caliber rotation. Not the highest praise, but that's what he is.

The last player of the 5 is Henson, who I had hoped would take a big jump last year given the opportunity for minutes with the youth movement. Just looking at the stats, he did get in more games, more starts, more points, more rebounds, and more blocks which all sounds pretty good. For whatever reason he still did not seize the opportunity to move in as a starter. Maybe that was the coaches, but Pachulia and Ilyasova played less than 55 games, and Sanders just 23. All 3 had one of their worst seasons as pros and still Henson couldn't get in there. Henson doesn't have youth on his side like Giannis as he was a polished college Junior when he was drafted and will be 24 this season. Nevertheless I see him in the Bucks path forward. I don't think he will be a starter, but I see him coming off the bench for major minutes. He is too slender to play with big starting centers, but off the bench he can play the 4 or 5 with a 2nd unit. I imagine him in a 5 man front court rotation with Giannis, Parker, and a true center to be determined with Henson and a wing to be determined coming off the bench.

The rest of the team is probably not going to be around long. Ilyasova and Pachulia will play out their contracts if the Bucks can't trade them. Middleton has some promise, but with the forwards the Bucks have invested in, he probably won't get an opportunity. Maybe the Bucks trade him for a backup guard or point so he gets a chance elsewhere. Wolters may have a chance to be one of the 3-4 capable players. I saw a stat about him on NBA.com that he had a 3.28 assist to turnover ratio, and a plus/minus for the entire season of -26. Considering that the Bucks were outscored by about 700 points this year and Wolters didn't just play in garbage time minutes that stat was interesting.

So that's the Bucks' much brighter future. A better but still bad season this year while Parker, and Giannis develop. They find a combo guard and a wing to come off the bench in free agency, or maybe a 2nd rounder develops. A trade of Sanders and a lottery guard in next years draft and they are off to 14 years of success. Just like that.

Parker- 3 or 4

I'm home sick today so I will continue my comments on the Bucks' newest player. Parker played the 4-spot at Duke, but has been projected by most as a 3 in the NBA. This is typical as most players tend to shift down a spot from college to the pros unless they are a true center or a point guard. The same thing has been said about Wiggins being a 2 or 3 in the NBA. As players are coming out at 19 years old now, many are still developing and will start playing small and move into their natural position as their body matures and their game develops. The question about these guys is are they versatile, meaning they can play multiple positions effectively, or are the tweeners meaning they struggle no matter where you put them.

When it comes to determining a player's position in the NBA, there is a saying: you are what you can defend. One of the reasons I liked Wiggins over Parker was defense, and I feel Wiggins can play 2 or 3 because he can defend either position at the NBA level from day 1. In addition, with his athleticism he may be a guy who can guard 3 positions as his game develops. When you can guard multiple positions that allows your coach to play a lot of combinations around you, because you can always slide your better defender around. If you need more shooting, you slide him over to 3 and bring in a guard at 2. If you need more rebounding, you play him at 2 and let a bigger forward play the 3.

Parker should be able to score no matter where the Bucks play him. He was very effective at Duke playing in the post, and averaged 3 offensive rebounds per game. He was equally effective in transition and on the perimeter where he shot 36% from 3. We will see how he does against taller and more physical NBA defenders, but his all around offensive game leads one to think he will find a way to be effective. His body has led many to think he fits better as a 4 as he was listed at about 250lbs before the weight became a draft issue, and now he lists himself at 235. The fact he played the 4 at Duke and averaged 8.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game lends to the idea he can play the 4.

So what are the Bucks to do? Play him at the 3 where he can play on the perimeter more and take advantage of his shooting and play making skills, but may struggle against smaller quicker wings on defense? Do they play him at the 4 where he can take advantage of bigger players who have to respect his outside game but aren't as adept at guarding the perimeter, but let him take the physical pounding of guarding a 4. Think of who he will have to play. Would you rather see him matched up on Kevin Durant, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony, or Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, and Zach Randolph?

I think the answer will depend mostly on the development of the Greek Freak. Much of the Bucks' future will depend on the development of Giannis, who Bucks' management seems to be in love with. Giannis as a young 18 year old playing in the NBA had the look of a natural 3 with his ball handling and perimeter skills. At 6'9" he had the length and wing span you love at that position in combination with elite athletic ability. He, like Wiggins, has the potential to defend multiple positions and that may be the answer. If Giannis can guard the 3 or 4, Parker can guard the other. Hammond said as much in his pre-draft interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Have you had discussions about how players' positions may change based on No. 2 pick? 
"We've talked about that. I think, once again, that these guys are multiple position guys helps that discussion. For that matter, I think Giannis is going to be a multiple position player some day. He came last September he was 6-9, 190 (lbs.) and today he's almost 6-11, 217 pounds. I think Giannis is a guy that is going to be able to play, at his size, he's going to be able to play some small forward and he's going to play some power forward some day."
So there it is. Parker will be playing the 3.5. In the end having guys that neatly fit into positions doesn't matter nearly as much as having guys that fit together. The Bucks hopefully have found 2 forwards that will fit together very well for a long time. Will they find enough other pieces to fit with them, and turn this into the type of winning team I remember watching growing up in the 80s? We'll see.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

It makes sense

I am doubtful that Cleveland ever really had doubts Wiggins was the guy. Athletes of his caliber are rare. Athletes that have basketball skill, great character, and youth are rarer. Athletes that actually try all the time on defense, despite developing in an AAU circuit that cares as much about defense as the kids on the playground, are crazy rare. Parker is no doubt, a better offensive player right now. Wiggins is no doubt, a better defender right now. Is it easier to teach a kid to improve his offense, or defense? I wanted Wiggins for the Bucks, but they didn't get him so now I have to hope I am wrong and he sucks. Or at least that if he is great, that he takes several years to develop and then bolts Cleveland for hopefully some team out west.

Enough moping. Time to move on.

My love of Wiggins does not limit my enthusiasm for Parker. He should be a very good player for several years. ESPN threw up a Big Dog comparison on their draft coverage, and I think that may be dead on. He seems like a guy who could carry the scoring in any given game much like Big Dog did, and Michael Redd did after him. Neither of those guys was good enough to win playoff games by themselves, and I don't think Parker will be either. That's OK. The Bucks will need to find some help for him.

This is a good pick, but also a management pick. Parker is a guy that can sell tickets and build enthusiasm for the next few years, even if the team mostly loses. That should be just long enough to get a new arena built. I don't doubt that John Hammond was on board with this pick, but it doesn't really fit his draft profile. Hammond takes high end potential guys. His drafts have included:


  • Joe Alexander- Obviously didn't work out, but he was drafted because he tested off the charts at the combine for athleticism, which is the point I'm trying to make here.
  • Brandon Jennings- Best high school player the year before going to Europe instead of college.
  • Larry Sanders- Great athlete but raw as could be.
  • Tobias Harris- Was certainly no big time athlete, but he was the youngest player in the draft. In the NBA youth= upside.
  • John Henson- Maybe Hammond safest pick as a college Junior and proven rebounder, but a weird body type.
  • The Greak Freak- another crazy athlete who needs development

If Hammond was allowed to just run this team the way he wants, I feel like he would have gone Embiid. One thing Hammond has shown is the willingness to draft players regardless of position. They have a ton of forwards, and yet they keep drafting them. The question will be: are they acquiring quality assets they can trade to improve their team, or will they just allow other teams to steal their guys because they know they can't play them all? Time will tell. Hard to say if Hammond will be with the Bucks much longer. He's not management's guy after all, and new management tends to like their own guys.

Monday, June 23, 2014

From the world within a world of baseball.

Somehow this is real-

http://m.mlb.com/video/v33934447/ladsd-dodgers-and-padres-booths-on-torres-hat

Any time you get a little commentary from Vin Scully, that's a pretty good day.

I think he could explain how he actually ate shit on a shingle back in 1947, and grew four inches overnight, and I'd believe every word.