Saturday, June 29, 2013

summer craziness

So there is no Packers or Badger football until August. No Bucks or Badger Basketball until fall.
Baseball is just too boring and the Brewers suck anyway.
Time to take this blog in a different direction.
Tonight will be the first in a series interesting questions. Tonight's topic:
Top songs I just can't help but get jacked up for.
When I got down to it, there are many, but 2 stand above the rest.
Beatles: Helter Skelter
Doors: Five to One

Honorable mention goes to:
Rolling Stones: Paint it Black
Guns and Roses: Welcome to the Jungle
Animals: House of the Rising Sun
Nirvana: Smells like Teen Spirit
Bruce Springsteen: Born in the USA
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Breakdown

Personal preference plays a pretty important role in this one. Feel free to dispute and add others.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Draft thoughts

I had two college basketball related thoughts about tonight's NBA draft:

1) Two Hoosiers were drafted in the top 4. What would Bo Ryan do with two top-4 NBA picks on the same team in the same year? I'll tell you what he'd do: he'd successfully petition to move his team up to the NBA, and the Badgers would finish fourth in the Eastern Conference but lose a seven-game series in the second round of the NBA playoffs. People would say he just can't win the big one.

2) A total of four players from Michigan and Indiana were drafted in the first round tonight. Coincidentally, the Badgers played Michigan and Indiana four times last year. They won four times, too.

I got so much hand I'm coming out of my gloves

Only you Seinfeld fans will get that one.

That's what John Hammond has to be thinking after the Bucks made their 1st round pick tonight. Hammond, who got a contract extension through 2015-2016 earlier this season, drafted a player that may not wear an NBA uniform for 2 years. The 18-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo has some spectacular talent, but is as raw as they come. Giannis also just signed a 4-year contract with his team (although there is reportedly not a huge buyout), so he will likely play at least one and maybe 2 or 3 more seasons overseas before he suits up for the Bucks. This is not the "win now" kind of player that Herb Kohl may have demanded if he didn't trust Hammond.

Hammond has shown a definite pattern in his drafts and Kohl has given him the freedom to follow it. Hammond has never picked higher than 8 since he became the Bucks GM. Every year he has taken a player that had a high ceiling, but also high bust potential. When you are picking in the late lottery or mid-first round this seems like a pretty sound strategy. Hammond's picks have been:

#8 Joe Alexander
#10 Brandon Jennings
#15 Larry Sanders
#10 Jimmer Ferdette (traded for Tobias Harris)
#14 John Henson
#15 Giannis Antetokounmpo

Henson was the only major college (UNC) guy that had a 3-year history of production. Larry Sanders was from VCU and a late bloomer. Alexander was an athletic guy but didn't have a basketball head. Jennings, Harris, and Giannis were all 18-year-old gambles. All but Henson are guys with big upside. Not that Henson won't develop into a good player, but he was a more known commodity after 3 years getting significant minutes at UNC.

This is of course bad news for this year's team, although after Monta opted out of his contract this year was pretty much sunk. When I look at the players taken after Giannis, there isn't much that jumps out at you. The 2 point guards will probably both impact their teams this season, and I would have been happy to see Schroeder in a Milwaukee uniform with no Monta. This is a draft that won't be able to be evaluated for 4-6 years when the Bucks have to decide if Giannis gets a 2nd contract.

Rich Man's Greg Steimsma

I was drinking after playing volleyball at the time, but my friend told me this is how Mason Plumlee was described when he was drafted. I bet no one ever thought they would be described as that after being drafted in the first round of the NBA draft.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bucks' Draft

The prospects for the Bucks in this year's draft are not good, as you would expect when a team doesn't pick until #15. However it's not all doom and gloom for the Bucks draft this year.

This year's draft is not considered to be a very good class overall. There is no super talent at the top. There is no Lebron, Durant, or Howard in this years class for a really bad team to get excited about. This is more of a foundation laying draft with a bunch of players who look like they will be solid NBA players, but none that look like perennial all-stars let alone franchise changing stars.

As with most years, we will look back on this draft in 2-3 years and say how did everyone miss on that guy. That's where the Bucks prospects (albeit a long shot) don't look so bad. In a draft where 1-10 aren't that different and 11-30 are even less so the Bucks have as good a chance as any team to hit on a diamond in the rough.

It is very likely that McLemore and Noel will go 1 and 2 in some order. Neither blows you away as a sure fire #1 pick, but both showed enough flashes of talent to move into the top 2 spots. The rest of the top 10 spots in no special order will go Porter, Burke, Oladipo, Bennett, Len, Carter-Williams, Zeller and McCollum. If any of these players fell to 15 the Bucks would be lucky to get them.
After the top 10, there are a bunch of players the Bucks could take. It's hard to say who they will fall in love with.

The obvious lack of depth at guard makes that an easy position for them to take. With Monta opting out of his contract, and Reddick a free agent there are a ton of minutes available for a rookie to grab. Caldwell-Pope is the player most think the Bucks are targeting. He has more length at 6'6" than the Bucks guards last year, but it's likely he is off the board at 15.

At point guard there is Dennis Schroeder from Germany who many people seemed to have fallen in love with so much that he has been discussed as a top 10 pick. Who knows if Kohl is one of his admirers, but he could be a nice backup and eventual replacement for Jennings if the Bucks sign him and then have to trade him.

The small forward position got less interesting when Dario Saric pulled his name out of the draft. If he had stayed in I think he would have been a good pick had he made it to 15. The other small forward is Shabazz Muhammed who also may not make it to 15. He was the hot prospect coming out of high school, but there are so many weird things going on around this guy that it's hard not to think bust. From his coach at UCLA declaring him in the draft, to his Asian little league age issues (is he 18 or 22), to his crazy father this is one guy I hope is gone at 15 so the Bucks don't have to take him. It's no fun watching a kid self destruct as I think he may.

Then there's a ton of bigs that will be available for the Bucks to pick from. Adams is the most likely to be off the board before the Bucks pick as he is the only other true center (7'0" and 255lbs) than Len with 1st round potential. In today's NBA many teams don't really play a true center, but all you have to do is look at the playoff teams to understand that a true center is still a valuable position (Duncan, Hibbert, Gasol, Noah, Bogut, Chandler). The rest of the hybrid center-power forwards the Bucks will have to pick from include Olynyk, Plumlee, and Gobert who all offer some different skills.

The Bucks will likely end up with one of these 7 players if they keep the pick. The other option is trade, which Hammonds has been more than willing to do in the past.

My prediction: Gorgui Dieng. The Bucks just keep acquiring 6'11" shot blockers with limited offense, so why not continue to corner the market.
I will be disappointed if I am correct.

Poor Bucks

My Bucks got some bad news this week when Monta Ellis opted out of the final year of his contract to test the free agent market. The Bucks had reportedly offered him a 2 year extension had he not opted out, making it a 3 year deal for about 36 million. Monta is the best player on a mediocre team and probably will get a bigger 4 year deal on the open market. Without any idea what direction this team is going in, it's hard to blame anyone for leaving. With the new NBA rules it is unlikely the Bucks will get anything in return in a sign and trade. They will just get worse.

This makes it more likely the Bucks will go completely in the tank next year. There is very little chance they will attract any player of his caliber, and even to get someone close they will have to grossly overpay. Kohl will likely do this since he wants to win now and keep public support behind a new stadium. They will have no choice to match an offer for Jennings if Ellis leaves, even if it is for a ridiculous amount of money. So starts the cycle of dumping bad contracts that I had hoped the Bucks had exited.

At least there is the Draft to look forward to soon. I'll follow this up with a post about the Bucks bleak prospects in the draft. Posts have been hard to come by this summer. Too many sunny days to spend time typing.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Golf Remains the Stupidest Sport on Earth

You may recall my spirited attack on the decision by the USGA and Scottish Royal Academy of Golf (or whatever the hell they call it) to ban "anchored putting."

Over at Slate, Josh Levin has a great article about the last time golf banned a putting practice, the "croquet" style, which was practiced by none other than Sam Snead:
The spry old-timer stands directly behind the ball, his putter between his legs. He then contorts his body into the shape of a question mark, anchoring the flatstick with his top hand and moving it forward with his bottom hand—an approach that golfer Jimmy Demaret said was reminiscent of basting a turkey. "I putt better this cockeyed way,” Snead explained to Sports Illustrated in 1967. “Not too many people can bend over quite as well as I can, but I think it is good for old golfers. They don't have to coordinate two hands, only one." And as he told the AP that same year, there was an additional benefit: “I can read the green much better with my croquet style because my eyes are so much closer to the putting surface.” 
Before Snead got to stooping, the croquet crowd hadn’t attracted much notice from the USGA. But as Al Barkow explains in Sam: The One and Only Sam Snead, the straw-hatted, seven-time major champion was a famous name, a player whose actions could inspire widespread adoption of an unorthodox technique. At the 1967 Masters, the legendary Bobby Jones—a man who, according to the Atlanta History Center, “called singular attention to the game’s best traditions”—threw a conniption at the sight of Snead’s bizarro methodology. According to Barkow, “Jones sat with Sam in a golf cart and told him that the putting style he had adopted didn’t look like golf.” Jones mentioned his objection to USGA executive director Joe Dey, who “took up St. Bobby’s observation and set in motion the process of banning croquet putting.” 
Despite the protestations of Snead, Gary Player ("I don't believe you should put a man down to hitting the ball one way") and Jack Nicklaus ("This is ridiculous. Why don't they just let us tee up the ball and play it?"), the croquet prohibition went into effect in January 1968. The new golf commandment both banned croquet-style putters like The Dude and decreed that it was henceforth illegal to straddle the ball on the green. “[F]or the first time in golfing history,” as Sports Illustrated explained in a 1967 feature, “the game's ruling bodies were telling a man how he had to hit the ball.” Dey told SI that a full-on ban “was the only way to eliminate the unconventional styles that have developed in putting. The game of golf was becoming bizarre. It was some other game, part croquet, part shuffleboard, and part the posture of Mohammedan prayer." Croquet putting had been banned, essentially, because a couple of old guys thought it looked dumb.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Season Over, Man. Season Over.


Since a promising 9 game winning streak the Brewers have lost  27 of 37 games, a starting pitcher to injury, a starter who was demoted to AAA, and gained their #6 prospect Scooter Gennett who was promoted to the big leagues to essentially take over for former all-star Rickie Weeks, who is batting .192 and has to be one of the worst defensive second basemen in the history of baseball.  (To his credit, one year Weeks did miraculously finish just fourth worst in fielding percentage among NL second basemen.)

Today, the Brewers' general manager Bob Melvin admitted "any more trades this year [will be made] for two or three years from now instead of now," suggesting the Brewers are ready to enter full-fledged rebuilding mode.

But wait, there's more!

Tonight, news broke that Ryan Braun--along with Alex Rodriguez and 18 other no-names--is facing a potential 100-game suspension in connection with a protracted Miami-based PED scandal.

Unfortunately for the Brewers the MLB does not have a salary cap, meaning big market teams like the Yankees can afford to buy more cheaters while draft-reliant teams like the Brewers will need years upon years to recover. In other words: What has two thumbs and probably won't be watching the Brewers for the rest of the year?  This guy!