Thursday, June 28, 2012

2012 NBA Draft - Two I Like, Two I don't Like

I hate the NBA yet I love the NBA draft.  And not for the reasons someone like Bill Simmons likes it with the weird suits and awkward handshakes, I love it because it's kind of a goodbye to the college players that I enjoyed watching before they become irrelevant to me in the NBA.

Despite there being only one potential "can't miss" super star there is a lot of depth and with the lack of international players, I'm familiar with almost everyone that is projected to be drafted.

I'm not going to do a mock draft because on sites like CBS and ESPN they are put together because those guys have access to GMs and scouts.  I'm going to give you some players that I think are going to be overvalued and undervalued based on where I see they are projected to go.

Players projected to go too high:

Bradley Beal - SG - Florida
I like Beal as a player, I really do.  But seeing him go as high as 3 overall is ridiculous to me.  The era of a Dwayne Wade or Kobe Bryant being the best player on an NBA Champion is just about over.  We're entering the era of the athletic SF and PF.  Look at the best SGs to be drafted the last few years: Klay Thompson, Marshon Brooks, Evan Turner, Jordan Crawford, James Harden and Tyreke Evans.  They are all complimentary players.  And I get a SG might have to be taken higher based on the quality of the draft but I don't see a huge difference between the 2-20 pick in this draft.

Dion Waiters - SG - Syracuse
I see him going 7 to Golden State in the ESPN and CBS mocks.  Golden State has two picks in the 1st round and if I'm them I hope Drummond falls to 7 and then take a Jared Cunningham with the 30th or 35th pick.  I honestly don't see that much of a difference between the two.  I guess I'm still in the belief that unless you're a playoff team who traded in to the Top 10, if you have a Top 10 pick you are not a very good team and should still be aiming to draft someone who will be the best player on your team at some point.

Players projected to be drafted too low:

Andrew Nicholson - PF - St. Bonaventure
In any sport it seems like GMs and scouts fall too much in love with a player's workouts and not enough of what they did in college.  Andrew Nicholson might lack a little of the athletism you would like in an NBA PF but he is a winner.  He took a lowly A-10 program, put them on his back and took them to the NCAA Tournament.  You can't put a measurable on that.  And not only that, he improved himself from a guy who took zero three pointers in his first two years to a guy who took 53 of them in his senior year and hit 43% of them.  The team that gets him in the early 20s is getting a solid player.

Jae Crowder - SF - Marquette
If GMs drafted solely on effort, Jae Crowder would be a top 3 pick.  Of course he's only a 6'4-6'5 SF which this day in age is too small for a SF but he's solidly built and has over a 6'9" wingspan and is capable of guarding three positions.  He's big on the glass for his size and he is always in a position for steals.  He's a capable scorer and shooter (35% from three).  He's projected in the mid-to-late 2nd round.  That guy can play on my team any day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I'm Ready to Start Panicking - Mets Fan Style

My hiatus is over.  I didn't really have time to post as my wife and I welcomed our second kid in to the world.  But I'm back just in time to start panicking over the Mets.

I know I could be overreacting right now as a Mets fan but, I am now in fear of Johan Santana's no-hitter on June 1st being the catalyst in the wheels coming off on their surprising early season.

I shouldn't say the no hitter is the reason, but it's Terry Collins' handling of the pitching staff after the no-hitter.  Johan Santana is a creature of habit.  I completely understand that off of his surgery and 134 pitches you would want to do something to lighten his load, but giving him extra rest was not the way to do it.  By giving him extra rest and shuffling the pitching staff around it created a domino effect that resulted in losing 6 of their last 7.  Just say Santana is on a 110-115 pitch count for each game.  Have him start on normal rest but have him only throw 90-95 pitches.

Lets take a look at the last two series:

June 5th - @Washington - Lost 7-6 in 12
This was Chris Young's first start back from the same surgery Santana had.  As a means to push Santana back the Mets opted to go with a 6 man rotation and start Jeremy Hefner the next night.  So not only was the bullpen shorthanded with Hefner slated to start tomorrow, Jon Rauch had an elbow issue and was unavailable to pitch.  So 5 man bullpen.  My question   Of course it goes 12 innings and the bullpen blows leads in the 8th, 10th and 12th.  Knowing what we know now that the Mets would send down Pedro Beato and keep Jeremy Hefner up when the rotation stabilizes, wouldn't it have been nice to have Hefner available in the pen to eat some more innings instead of stretching Frank Francisco and Elvin Ramirez into second innings?

June 6th - @Washington - Lost 5-3
Hefner didn't pitch terribly after allowing a three-run homer in the 1st but this is where Santana should have been pitching on regular rest.  Based on how he's been this year you'd like to think he would have done as well or better than Hefner did in his 6 innings.

June 7th - @Washington - Won 3-1
Thank god for R.A. Dickey.  On regular rest by the way.

June 8th - June 10th - @ Yankees - Swept all 3 games
It's hard to assume this series would have gone much differently than a sweep even if the Mets staff was on regular rest.  The Friday night game was a foregone conclusion.  Anyone who expected anything from Santana was misguided.  Long rest = disaster for him.  It would have been Niese's turn and there was probably nothing he could have done with the way Kuroda pitched.  Gee on Saturday battled despite not having his best stuff and who knows what Chris Young would have given you on Sunday.

The point is, this is a brutal stretch of schedule for the Mets and as fun as this season has been so far, Mets fans know how fragile it is.  By babying Santana too much, I feel they probably cost themselves a 3-3 stretch in these which is a lot less damaging than 1-5.