Assessing Stephen Curry’s Future in the NBA

After Stephen Curry scored 70 points in leading the 10th-seeded Davidson Wildcats to victories over 7th-seeded Gonzaga and 2nd-seeded Georgetown, the sophomore sensation receivedome 1,800 Facebook friend requests. Davidson’s Fall 2007 enrollment was just 1,674 students. Needless to say, Curry’s name has spread far from the small liberal arts college campus outside of Charlotte, N.C.

Curry added 33 points in a decisive 73-56 win against Wisconsin in the Sweet 16. After scoring 30+ points in his first four career NCAA Tournament games (he scored 30 in a first round loss to Maryland last season), Curry was “held” to 25 points on 9-25 shooting from field in a dramatic 59-57 loss to top-seeded Kansas. Even in defeat, Curry made headlines, being named Most Outstanding Player of the Midwest Regional and deservingly so.

While Curry’s dreams of a Final Four appearance won’t be realized this year, the dream of following in the NBA footsteps of his father, Dell Curry, who played 16 years in the league, now seems almost certain. The question is, what kind of pro would Stephen Curry be?

The parallels to his father are obvious in terms of his shooting touch. Dell ranks 21st in NBA history in 3-pointers made and 22nd in career 3-point percentage, leading the league in the 1998-99 season. However, Stephen shows signs of being a more prolific scorer. His averaged 21.5 points per game as a freshmen, 25.9 as a sophomore, and most impressively, he’s averaged 31.6 against stiff competition in his five-game NCAA Tournament career.

With two years of eligibility left, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Curry stick around in school for another year or two. Being at a small school like Davidson, he may not want the bright lights of the NBA just yet. And his wiry 6’3” 185-pound frame may not be the prototypical NBA body.

But the buzz surrounding Curry may never eclipse the level it’s at right now, save an unlikely repeat march in the tournament by Davidson. NBA scouts have to be impressed by the way Curry handled the variety of defenders and defenses that were thrown at him over the past couple weekends. Curry is likely a mid-late first round pick at this point with a lot of upside.

His body resembles Monta Ellis, but he doesn’t have quite the same explosiveness. I think the better comparison is Sacramento Kings guard Kevin Martin. Listed at 6’7”, Martin is a few inches taller than Curry, but he is also listed at the same weight of 185 pounds. While Curry may be bothered most by taller, longer defenders, he’s very crafty with the ball and moves well without it. Plus, running of the screens at Davidson is one thing, but coming off a pick set by an NBA big man should help free Curry, who doesn’t need long to fire his quick-release jumper.

That’s Stephen Curry’s NBA ceiling: Kevin Martin’s innate ability to score combined with Dell Curry’s feathery touch from beyond the arc. At this point, the biggest question marks are on defense. At this point, his body is not strong enough to handle most NBA 2-guards so the question is whether he can defend quick point guards. Otherwise, he becomes a defensive liability.

On the other end of the projected-future spectrum, I’d compare Curry to someone like Juan Dixon, who averaged better than 25 points per game for Maryland on their way to winning the 2002 tournament. Dixon is another undersized guard, who at 6’3”, 164 pounds played shooting guard in college. Dixon is now on his fourth team in six seasons, averaging 8.8 points for his career and only 4.3 this season. For me, a career mirroring Dixon is the low end projection for Curry.

Curry is best suited as a scorer. He’s played with a good point guard in Jason Richards at Davidson and I think he’ll be most successful as a scoring guard rather than as a playmaking point guard. His size makes that a tough fit in the NBA, but if teamed with a big, physical point guard, Curry can become a 15-20-point a game scorer in the NBA.

Personally, I’d like to see him stay in school for at least his junior year and maybe his senior year as well. Add a few pounds in the weight room and add a few moves to his offensive repertoire.

Here’s the dilemma. The odds are that if he stays in school, his draft stock dips a bit after the hype of this tournament becomes a memory and he goes late first or possibly even early second round. However, he enters the league more polished, more NBA-ready and has a better chance at a long, successful career a la his father.

If he enters the draft this year, the upside is that he’ll get drafted earlier and maybe someone even takes a flyer on him at the backend of the lottery, earning him a significantly more lucrative contract. However, he’ll also be burdened with greater expectations and less physical tools to live up to them. With an NBA father, Curry doesn’t fit the mold of many who make the jump to the pros. He certainly doesn’t need the money. So while no one could blame Steph Curry if he decides to capitalize on his fame and turn pro, I’ll applaud his wisdom if he chooses to return to the place where he will have cult hero status that goes beyond any number his Facebook page can count.

For more information, visit

Playing the NBA Match Game

The seedings in the Western Conference get jostled almost daily. With more than two weeks remaining, a glance at the standings today reveals that nine teams are still very much in play for any of the available eight playoff spots. And those “If the playoffs started today…” graphics are essentially useless until the matchups are actually set in stone, which likely won’t be until the final games end on April 16.

Until then, here’s a look at how the team’s have fared against all eight potential playoff opponents.

Green/blue in the column indicates a series win. Orange/red indicates a series loss. Everything else is either a 2-2 split or has games left to be played.

A quick glance at the chart gives you some idea of which team doesn’t want to face a particular team in the playoffs. Only the Hornets, currently in first place, have not lost a season series to any of their potential playoff competition, though Utah leads them 2-1.

Phoenix, however, has yet to win the season series against any Western playoff foe and has already lost the season series with the Lakers, Hornets and Spurs.

For more information, visit

Predicting the Final 10-12 Games in the NBA’s Wild, Wild West

The race for the Western Conference playoffs is likely going to go right down to the final day of the schedule, April 16, when 8 of the 9 teams vying for a spot will be in action. (The Lakers’ season wraps up one night earlier.)

With each team having between 10 and 12 games left on their respective schedules, I just had to peak ahead. Below, I dare to prognosticate how they’ll finish based on their remaining schedules.

Seed. Team, Projected W-L

1. San Antonio Spurs, 57-25
After losing 6 of 7 earlier this month, it’s hard to believe the Spurs could finish with the best record in the West, but they’re only 1 game back of the number one spot today, 6 of their final 10 are at home, and only two of their road games are against fellow Western playoff contenders.

2. New Orleans Hornets, 56-26
The Hornets are quietly buzzing along with the best record in the West as of today. However, the scheduling gods aren’t smiling down on them. They’re currently on a 6-game road trip that includes Boston and Orlando. All in all, 8 of their final 12 games are on the road. Throw in home dates with Golden State and Utah, and the Hornets may have the toughest schedule the rest of the way in the West.

3. Los Angeles Lakers, 56-26
If the Lakers lose the April 11 date with New Orleans, the Hornets will own the season series tiebreaker. A Lakers win would split the season series 2-2 and the next tiebreaker would be conference winning percentage, which is currently up in the air. The Lakers have 7 of their final 10 games at home, 8 if you include the “road game” at the Clippers in Staples Center. With all three games against West contenders at home, the Lakers would be in position to secure the top seed if it weren’t for their myriad of injuries.

4. Utah Jazz, 54-28
By virtue of winning the Northwest Division, the Jazz would be assured one of the top four seeds. However, home court advantage in the first round still goes to the team with the better overall winning percentage. That matters as much to Utah as anyone in the West. Utah is one of only two Western playoff contenders with a losing record on the road. With road games against New Orleans, Dallas and San Antonio down the stretch, the Jazz are likely to start the postseason on the road.

5. Houston Rockets, 55-27
Houston plays just 3 of its final 10 games at home. The good news is that only 3 of their 7 road games are against Western playoff contenders. The bad news is that they play a back-to-back at Denver and at Utah in the final week of the season. A win this Sunday at San Antonio would be huge as they kick off a 5-game road trip. A Rockets-Jazz rematch of last year’s first round 7-game series would be fantastic.

6. Phoenix Suns, 54-28
Back-to-back losses to beasts of the East, Detroit and Boston, have to have Suns fans wondering about their championship potential. Their closing schedule features 6 road games and 5 home games. A back-to-back this Friday and Saturday against Philadelphia and New Jersey, two Eastern Conference teams fighting for playoff positioning, should not be overlooked before Phoenix closes the season with its final 9 games against teams from the West.

My predictions had the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors finishing the season deadlocked at 50-32, which means I had to consult the rules for a three-team tiebreaker. They are as follows:

1. Best head-to-head winning percentage among all teams tied
2. Highest winning percentage within division (if teams are in the same division
3. Highest winning percentage in conference games
4. Highest winning percentage against playoff teams in own conference
5. Highest point differential between points scored and points allowed

Talk about potential drama. Dallas (sans Dirk Nowitski) travels to Denver tonight. The teams split their first two games. The Nuggets also have two games remaining with Golden State (1 home, 1 away) after splitting the first two games against the Warriors. Dallas currently leads Golden State 2-0, but the Mavs and Warriors also have two games remaining.

For the record:

  • Dallas is 3-1 against Denver and Golden State with 3 games remaining (1 home).
  • Denver is 2-2 against Dallas and Golden State with 3 games remaining (2 home).
  • Golden State is 1-3 against Dallas and Denver with 4 games remaining (2 home).

Depending on your perspective, the Warriors are in the best or worst position. They currently have the worst head-to-head winning percentage among all teams tied, however four of their final 12 games of the season are against their direct competition. If they sweep Dallas and Denver, they’re almost surely going to be in. Anything short of that, and it’s anybody’s guess.

My guess? Golden State gets 2 from a Dirk-less Mavs team and splits with Denver, making them 4-4 in the three-way head-to-head series. And Denver wins tonight against Dallas, which puts the Mavs at 3-4 and the Nuggets at 4-3.

That would mean Denver gets seventh slot, Golden State slips in at number eight and the Mavericks would be the odd team out. Shocking to imagine the number one seed from the West last year could miss the postseason after adding Jason Kidd, but it’s entirely possible in the West this year.

For more information, visit

Calling Out Kobe Bryant

Do you want to win your first MVP, Kobe? Of course you do. Championship, Finals MVP, regular season MVP. That’s your mindset. And you want it all now. Do that and you’ll force your critics to shut up, stand up, and ‘fess up to you as the greatest baller on the planet today.

But in order for all that to happen, you need to shut up and step up first. Enough is enough, Kobe. We get it already. Nobody in the league today matches your competitiveness, your will to win, your ‘I want to be the best’ inner drive. But you’re going about it all wrong by showing up the referees.

You played with Shaquille O’Neal for eight years, witnessing firsthand that star players actually don’t get all the calls. No one in the history of basketball was involved in more physical contact without a whistle than Shaq. The refs could have called a foul on almost every possession, but Shaq rolled with the punches. Oh by the way, he also won multiple championships as The Man, 3 Finals MVPs and a regular season MVP. Fuel for the fire. (You’re welcome.)

This year, you are arguably the NBA’s MVP. Arguably. But your role in the Lakers most recent loss, an unthinkable 108-95 clunker at home against the Bobcats, defies MVP logic. The glaring number on your 27 point, 6 rebound, 3 assist stat line is 2 as in the two quick technical fouls (his 14th and 15th for the season) that got you ejected during the fourth quarter of what was a bad loss, plain and simple.

One more tech in the Lakers’ final 10 games would earn you an automatic one game suspension. At your current rate of one technical foul every 5.5 games, it’s not that much of a stretch to think you could cost the Lakers home court advantage in the playoffs by missing a crucial game down the stretch. In a Western Conference race where you’re nearly as close to the top of the standings as you are close to the lottery, one game means more than ever. You, more than anyone, should know that and honor it.

Few can get to the basket at will the way you do, Kobe. Fewer still can finish the way you can with the left or right hand, off the glass softly or with authority over a would-be shot-blocker. So why do you insist on doing that screaming/moaning/grunting routine every time you drive to the basket? It’s not professional. It’s not believable. And it’s not acceptable from the game’s best player.

Just make the play and play on. If you get fouled, the refs will probably call it. If not, they won’t. Every once in awhile they’ll make a mistake. Either score despite the contact or make up for it on the defensive end. But you have to put a stop to your verbal flopping. No one likes a whiner. And let’s face it, Kobe, you have no reason to complain. Not this year.

The basketball gods have smiled upon you. Bynum’s blossomed. Farmar’s flourished. Sasha’s shimmered. And they gave you Gasol for crying out loud. They handed you your perfect pick-and-roll compliment, a missing piece to the Lakers championship puzzle and you didn’t lose anyone to note besides “Mr. Addition by Subtraction” Kwame Brown.

There are just 10 games left in the season. It’s winning time. The schedule is such that you don’t have to leave the Pacific Time Zone for the rest of the season. Heck, you only have one game left outside the state of California. Losing to Charlotte was a serious slip-up. Still, you should lead the Lakers to the top seed in the West regardless of injuries. That’s what an MVP would do.

No excuses. No more whining. No more technicals. Just win, Kobe.

For more information, visit

Saying So Long to C-Webb

He was my favorite basketball player during the years when I was learning to play basketball. From the moment he first donned the maize and blue at Michigan in the early 90s through his first five years in the NBA playing for the Warriors and Bullets/Wizards, Chris Webber was the coolest player playing.

The shaved head and baggy shorts combined with the brashness to go behind the back and dunk on Barkley made Webber appealing to me as a kid and so did his vulnerability after committing a mental error on the big stage of the NCAA championship. I wrote about Webber’s influence on me briefly a couple weeks ago in my “15 Years After The Timeout” post. And fair or not, that single play is the most universally recognizable moment in Webber’s career.

A Rookie of the Year, five-time all-star and five-time all-NBA selection (one 1st team, three 2nd team, one 3rd team), Webber is a borderline Hall of Famer. But he never won, or even reached a championship during his NBA career. And in two NCAA championship games, his Wolverines fell short twice, including the heartbreaking loss to North Carolina in 1993. For critics, that’s enough to label Webber’s career a disappointment.

When Webber was traded to the Sacramento Kings in 1998, I was put in a bind. My favorite player was suddenly suiting up for a team in the same division as my favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers. Webber’s arrival vastly improved the fortunes of a Kings franchise that had won exactly one playoff game since moving to Sacramento in 1985.

My allegiance was to the Lakers, and so it was a bittersweet feeling as Webber’s Kings proved to be a stepping stone on the way to three straight NBA championships. The Lakers’ third title team, in 2002, was pushed to seven games in the Western Conference Finals by Sacramento. If it weren’t for a clutch three-point shot by Robert Horry in Game 4 of that series, the Kings probably would have won it all that year, and Webber likely would have had a Finals MVP to vindicate his career.

I didn’t know back then that he would never be that close to the top again. The 2003 season ended in the second round, and Webber played just 23 games in the ’04 season. In 2005 he was traded to Philadelphia. His numbers and production dropped and despite featuring two former #1 overall draft picks in Webber and Allen Iverson, the Sixers couldn’t get out of the first round. The 2006 Sixers failed to even make the playoffs.

Then last year, when Webber was picked up mid-year by Detroit, his hometown team, he started 42 games. But he was not the same player he once was. The man who was once the lead dog of the Fab Five was the fifth wheel on this Pistons team that fell to Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals.
That brings us to the present. In a year when big names like O’Neal, Garnett, Kidd and Gasol switched teams, it’s no surprise that Webber’s return to Golden State this season went under the radar. However, his reconciliation with coach Don Nelson was big news. If not for the Warriors or C-Webb, the basketball player, then certainly for Webber as a man. But
just nine games into his comeback, Webber’s knee got the best of him. First The Timeout, then Big Shot Bob and now the bum knee. Webber’s story is seemingly void of happy endings.

But that’s OK. If everyone had a fairytale ending, no one would enjoy fairytales. Webber’s more like a tragic hero. Incredibly gifted, yet significantly flawed. From the recruiting scandal at Michigan to his trade demands after one successful year in Golden State to his injury plagued final seasons, Webber’s legacy is as much about the lows as the highs, but it’s not limited to the lows.

The average fan doesn’t want to admit it, but there’s more Chris Webber in everyman than David Robinson or Tim Duncan. Most people don’t get to ride off into the sunset as a champion or stay at a peak level year after year. Webber didn’t get that chance, but don’t hate him because he wasn’t always great.
If Webber proved anything over his career it’s that everyone makes mistakes. Being a fan of Webber was no mistake for me.

For more information, visit

The Baseball Preview For Casual Fans

I maintain that baseball is my third favorite sport. Look, there’s even a baseball in the header graphic. But it’s a distant third behind basketball and football. Distant as in I’d rather watch professional, college and high school basketball/football before Major League Baseball.

So my lack of writing about baseball is not so much about disliking baseball. It’s more about my obsession with basketball and football.

That said, I felt called to write my first baseball column for the site today because, believe it or not, the MLB season began today in the wee hours of the morning as the Oakland Athletics battled the Boston Red Sox in the friendly confines of…Japan? Yes, Japan.

Seven months from now, the A’s and the Sox may reconvene for a chilly October playoff series in the U.S. northeast, but they started their 162-game marathon of a season in the Far East. (For the record, the Red Sox won the game 6-5 in 10 innings.)

It may be a prognosticating faux pas to write a preview column after the games have already begun, but let’s be honest, I don’t really know what I’m previewing to begin with and a one game advantage isn’t going to make much of a difference. In the NFL and NBA, I can rattle of rosters of players like family members. In MLB, I can’t conjure up one name for some teams much less determine the lasting impact of Tampa Bay dropping the “Devil” from their Rays.

But after hours minutes of rigorous research looking up which teams play in which division, I found the courage to predict the finish for the Yankees and Red Sox all 30 Major League teams along with a rationale in great detail 10 words or less.

American League East
1. New York Yankees: Eight years between World Series wins makes Steinbrenners go crazy.
2. Boston Red Sox: Lovable losers to Yankees’ reflection in less than five years.
3. Toronto Blue Jays: Joe Carter happened in 1993. Nothing’s happened since then.
4. Tampa Bay Rays: No more Devils. No chance of winning division either.
5. Baltimore Orioles: Cal Ripken’s streak only outdone by O’s losses without him.

American League Central
1. Detroit Tigers: I like big bats and I cannot lie.
2. Cleveland Indians: Always the bridesmaid, never the best team in baseball.
3. Minnesota Twins: Twin partings Hunter and Santana leave ‘Sota sorta bitter.
4. Chicago White Sox: 2005 Champs. 2006 Chump. 2007 Chumpier. 2008 Chumpiest?
5. Kansas City Royals: Minor league players playing in a major league park.

American League West
1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Geographically challenged, financially charged.
2. Oakland Athletics: Environmentally friendly baseball: reduce spending, reuse strategy, recycle roster.
3. Seattle Mariners: Where Ichiro is perpetually on base and in scoring position.
4. Texas Rangers: Not the Walker version, unfortunately.

National League East
1. New York Mets: City? Check. Payroll? Check? Championships? Hold that thought…
2. Atlanta Braves: If time is a human construct, consider the Braves immortal.
3. Philadelphia Phillies: Mascot doubles as face of the franchise. Sorry Ryan Howard.
4. Washington Nationals: Check, this is real franchise.
5. Florida Marlins: Owner loves fantasy baseball, starts from scratch each season.

National League Central
1. Chicago Cubs: Cursed and cuddly baby bears haven’t won in a century.
2. St. Louis Cardinals: Same outdated haircut, same winning ball club for LaRussa.
3. Houston Astros: Insert steroids joke/essay/lamentation here.
4. Cincinnati Reds: Remember when Griffey was great? Before Cincinnati.
5. Milwaukee Brewers: At least they’ll win more games than the Bucks…
6. Pittsburgh Pirates: …but these Bucs won’t: All-time losers after this year.

National League West
1. Arizona Diamondbacks: Not ‘Arizona Backs,’ Tampa, but Arizona back to the playoffs.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers: Torre in Dodger blue won’t be enough.
3. Colorado Rockies: Baseball in the mountains hits a valley this year.
4. San Diego Padres: Did St. Diego really have more than one father?
5. San Francisco Giants: Fewer headlines, homeruns and wins minus Bonds.

1. New York Yankees over 4. Boston Red Sox
2. Detroit Tigers over 3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

1. Arizona Diamondbacks over 4. St. Louis Cardinals
2. New York Mets over 3. Chicago Cubs

1. New York Yankees over 2. Detroit Tigers

2. New York Mets over 1. Arizona Diamondbacks

2008 World Series
1. New York Yankees over 2. New York Mets

As a Yankee hater, I feel like the Bronx Bombers have been far too cooperative in recent years with postseason flameouts. I expect a big money brawl (not to be confused with Moneyball) in the World Series with a renewal of the Subway Series. Johan Santana will help the Mets push the series to seven games, but the Yankees will find a way to win in spite of Alex Rodriguez’s penchant for poor playoff performances.

For more information, visit

The Monday After the Onset of Madness

This is what a college basketball hangover feels like. After a weekend of bracket-busting madness, I find my picks ranking me in a tie for dead last over at Tied with my mom.

Once again, knowing so much helped me so little when it came to filling out my bracket. The redeeming factor is that my favorite team in the tournament (UCLA) also doubles as my pick to win it all, and they are still alive. Barely. Even the mighty Bruins flirted with disaster, falling behind by 10 points in the second half.

Three double digit seeds won two games apiece in the tournament. Meanwhile the entire state of Indiana failed me by winning just three games combined. Thanks a lot Butler, Notre Dame, Purdue and Indiana.

Two regions have been nearly without upset. In the East, only 9th-seeded Arkansas beating 8th-seeded Indiana saw a lower seed advance. Ditto in the South where #5 Michigan State over #4 Pittsburgh was the lone surprise. But the West and Midwest regions have made up for it. Twelfth seeded Villanova and Western Kentucky moved on to the Sweet 16 whereas 2-seeds Georgetown and Duke went home early.

For what it’s worth (and at this point, the answer is “not much”), here are my second chance picks for the second weekend of the tournament:



1. North Carolina over 4. Washington State
The Tar Heels will not eclipse the century mark for a third straight game because the Cougars play stingy defense, but Washington State still won’t have enough points to match Carolina’s total with a healthy Ty Lawson running the show.

3. Louisville over 2. Tennessee
I thought Tennessee was ripe for an upset. And after a first round scare against American and an overtime thriller against Butler, I think Louisville is the team that gets in done in a mini-upset.


1. Kansas over 12. Villanova
There’s a reason why Villanova was the lowest seeded at large team in the tournament. As impressive as their comeback win was against Clemson, they received a gift when they received Siena in the round of 32. Kansas will end the Wildcats’ season right here.

10. Davidson over 3. Wisconsin
Davidson is not a fluke team. If the clutch performances of Stephen Curry against Gonzaga and Wisconsin weren’t enough, consider this: the Wildcats haven’t lost a game in 2008. Yes, that’s 24 straight wins since a one-point loss at North Carolina in December 2007. Wisconsin is a strong, tough-minded team from the Big 10, but Curry and company seem to have that magic touch.


5. Michigan State over 1. Memphis
Memphis nearly did itself in at the foul line against a Mississippi State team that had no business being in the game late. The Spartans won’t let Memphis off the hook so easily. Look for the guard combination of freshman Kalin Lucas and senior Drew Neitzel to pull the upset and knock off the first number one seed in the tournament.

2. Texas over 3. Stanford
The Longhorns have the edge on the perimeter and the Cardinal possess the advantage on the inside. In the end, I expect D.J. Augustin to bounce back from an embarrassing airball free throw late in the game against Miami to outperform Stanford’s twin towers, Brook and Robin Lopez.


1. UCLA over 12. Western Kentucky
The offensive highlight of the tournament’s opening weekend belongs to Western Kentucky’s Ty Rogers, who hit a game-winning, buzzer-beating three to defeat Drake in overtime 101-99. The defensive highlight of the tournament’s opening weekend belongs to UCLA’s Josh Shipp, who made a game-saving shot block to secure the Bruins’ 51-49 second-round win against Texas A&M. In the third round, expect most of the highlights to favor UCLA, who simply has too much talent for the Hilltoppers to overcome.

7. West Virginia over 3. Xavier
West Virginia’s Joe Alexander may be the best player in the West region not named Kevin Love. The 6-8 junior is playing his way up the NBA Draft boards and may be playing his team within a game of the Final Four. Xavier won’t go down without a fight, but the Musketeers showed vulnerabilities against Georgia and Purdue and West Virginia is playing better than both those teams right now.



1. North Carolina over 3. Louisville


1. Kansas over 10. Davidson


2. Texas over 5. Michigan State


1. UCLA over 7. West Virginia

For more information, visit

Headlines Tugging at My Heartstrings

Generally I have a one track mind this time of year, but March Madness and bracketology have to share the spotlight for the moment. While I’m picking my favorite college basketball team (besides Michigan) UCLA to win the NCAA Tournament this year, my other favorite teams are all making headlines of their own in the sports world.

Headlines by ESPN, comments by me:

Los Angeles Lakers
Bynum likely to return during first round of playoffs

  • The first word on an estimated return plan since the Lakers center went down in January is not great news for Lakers fans. I’m not so much worried about the Lakers faltering down the stretch run of the regular seasons as I am about them gelling together on the fly in the playoffs. Bynum and Gasol, who is now injured as well, have yet to play a game together. There’s no telling how the two young 7-footers will coincide. Talentwise, there’s enough room on the court for them, but until it plays out that way, I’m cautious about the Lakers chances of winning it all this season.

Michigan Wolverines (football)
Top-ranked QB Pryor commits to Ohio State

  • After leading Jeannette High School to the Pennsylvania Class-AA state championship in basketball, Pryor formally announced his much anticipated decision to attend Ohio State University, spurning the likes of Penn State, Oregon, and most importantly to me, Michigan. Wolverines head coach Rich Rodriguez now has to come up with a Plan-B that does not include the 6’6” quarterback with 4.3-speed in the 40-yard dash. Michigan hasn’t beaten Ohio State on the field much lately. Losing this recruiting battle off the field doesn’t help their chances of changing that trend over the next few years.

Oakland Raiders
Davis, Raiders in the midst of eye-popping spending spree

  • Counting the playoffs, the Raiders won 13 games during the 2002 season, which culminated in an embarrassing Super Bowl loss. They’ve won just 19 games combined in the past 5 seasons since that game, and become a league laughingstock along the way. Perhaps only the Clippers are a bigger pro sports punchline. And 78-year-old owner Al Davis gets much of the blame, especially for his handling of coaches (5 coaches the past 7 years) and players (benching Marcus Allen?) This off-season seems like a make-or-break proposition for Davis. He’s doled out huge contracts in an attempt to be competitive and to “just win, baby.” But that method of spending big to win big hasn’t always paid off (see: Snyder, Daniel). My heart wants Davis’ payout to succeed, but my head tells me the silver and black is still not back.

For more information, visit