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Cleveland Browns: Is the Colt McCoy Era Over Already?

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Notable Free Agents: RB Peyton Hillis

Yes. Yes it is. Colt McCoy struggled as his receivers struggled to stay healthy, but even then, he just doesn’t have the arm to carry the Browns to the next level. He is a good game manager and is someone that can be counted on to fill in, but handing the reigns of the team to McCoy just won’t do it. The Browns defense was one of the best in the league last year and they have the same crew back for this year. (They just resigned stud LB D’Qwell Jackson to a five-year extension.) So now it’s about strengthening the offense.

The Browns are in heavy talks with the Rams for the #2 overall pick so they can draft QB Robert Griffin III and add a Cam Newton-like athlete leading the team. If they do this, they will instantly become a team that other teams will have to watch out for. They might not be a playoff team (in a division that has the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers and the resurgent Cincinnati Bengals), but they won’t be a team to look past on the schedule.

If they stay put at #4, they better hope WR Justin Blackmon falls to them. Adding him will give the Browns that deep threat they so desperately need. McCoy just needs the arm strength to get the ball to him, which I don’t think he has.

Then there is the question of RB Peyton Hillis. Things did not end so well last year with Hillis missing much of the season with a leg injury (and one game for strep throat). That’s why despite the Browns need for a running back, they will let Hillis go and look to the free agent market for their RB issues. RB Montario Hardesty is next on the depth chart, but saying he’s an injury risk is like saying that your mom’s favorite china is fragile. It’s a given. RB Chris Ogbonnaya is the other running back and he’s average at best. The Browns should make a play for Raiders free agent RB Michael Bush. The guy is a beast and the Raiders can’t afford to pay two backs (Bush and Darren McFadden) top ten money, which they both deserve. The Browns make a play for Bush, draft either Griffin III or Blackmon and their offense instantly becomes better and they become a team that will be on the rise.

On the Clock: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Pick #5)

Minnesota Vikings: Questions Abound on the Offense.

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Notable Free Agents: TE Visanthe Shiancoe, LB E.J. Henderson

The Minnesota Vikings are teetering on a fine line right now. Rookie QB Christian Ponder played better than expected last year after QB Donovon McNabb’s failed comeback attempt (again).

Question 1: Can he continue to improve with a full offseason after a lockout shortened one last year?

RB Adrian Peterson blew out his ACL and MCL at the end of the year and may start the season on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) List (which means he would miss at least the first six games of the season). AP is known as a workaholic and has been working intensely to get back in time for the Preseason, but no one is going to know for sure until Training Camp begins.

Question 2, 3 and 4: Will AP be ready for the start of training camp? If so, will he be the same monster that defenses fear? If not, can backup RB Toby Gerhart carry the load until AP is ready to step back onto the field?

The Vikings need to keep Shiancoe to give Ponder a safety valve on offense and draft WR Justin Blackmon to give Ponder a deep threat. The offense will always revolve around Peterson, but until he is at full speed, Ponder will have to carry this offense and manage it at least as well as he did last year. If he regresses at all, the Vikings are in trouble. Draft Blackmon and add some help in the secondary and the Vikings should land on the better side of 8-8 this year.

On the Clock: Cleveland Browns (Pick #4)

St. Louis Rams: Will trading down help?

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Notable Free Agents: WR Brandon Lloyd, S Darian Stewart (Restricted)

The St. Louis Rams just can’t draft worth a crap. Here are the last six 1st round picks starting with last year and where they are now:

2011: Pick 15, DE Robert Quinn (Average rookie year, but under-achieving for a 1st rounder. Five sacks and 23 tackles last year)

2010: Pick 1, QB Sam Bradford (Solid rookie year, but injured much of 2011)

2009: Pick 2, OL Jason Smith (Injury-prone and on the verge of being cut)

2008: Pick 2, DE Chris Long (May finally be living up to the hype. 30.5 sacks for his career including 13 in 2011)

2007: Pick 13, DE Adam Carriker (No longer with the team. 4.5 sacks in the four years with team. 5.5 sacks last year for Washington Redskins)

2006: Pick 15, CB Tye Hill (No longer in the league. Three years and 28 games for the Rams and only four INTs. 5 INTs in his five-year career)

 So will trading out of the #2 pick help the Rams at all? Maybe, but they need O-line help desperately if Bradford is going to succeed; which is why they should stay at #2 and take Offensive Tackle Ryan Kalil. He would end up being what they thought they were getting with Jason Smith. Now they also need help in the secondary and wide receivers that won’t get hurt, but protecting Bradford should be first and foremost on the Rams list.

If they decide to trade the #2 pick, I wouldn’t blame them as long as they are getting a wealth of picks (and a couple of players) in return. I see a team like the Seahawks try to trade up to get QB Robert Griffin III and it could work. Seahawks trade WR Sidney Rice, their #1 pick this year and next year for the Rams pick. That would work for both teams. Rams get a top-notch receiver (if he can stay healthy) and two #1 picks which could help plug some holes on the O-line and in the secondary. Would I do this? Probably, but I would be hesitant to take on a highly-paid and injury-prone WR. They already have somewhere around 7000 WR coming off Injured Reserve this off-season, do they really need a another?

I don’t know. It’s all speculative anyway. Bottom line: If the Rams don’t trade down, they need to take OL Ryan Kalil.

UPDATE: The Rams will trade the #2 pick! According to ESPN.com, the Browns (Pick #4), Redskins (Pick #6) and Dolphins (Pick #8)  are interested in trading up. I bet they trade with the Redskins because, frankly, Owner Dan Snyder is an idiot and will give up way too much to move up. I don’t think the Fins need a QB. Chad Henne was coming into his own before he separated his shoulder and was placed on IR. It all comes down to what is offered for the Rams. This should help them rebuild quickly and get Bradford the help he desperately needs.

On the Clock: Minnesota Vikings (Pick #3)

Indianapolis Colts: With or Without Peyton

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Indianapolis Colts (1st overall pick)

Notable free agents: DE Robert Mathis, WR Reggie Wayne, WR Pierre Garcon, LB Philip Wheeler, C Jeff Saturday, G Ryan Diem

I would not want to be GM Jim Irsay right now. The decisions he makes in the next couple months will affect the Colts for the next decade. First and most importantly: Do you keep franchise QB Peyton Manning? Manning is owed $28 million dollars if he is on the roster on March 8. That’s a massive amount of cash for someone who is still rehabbing a neck injury over a year and a half after the injury happened. Plus, if they do bring him back, there is still no timetable for his return and he may not be able to return at all. I know Manning wants to play and he wants to stay in Indy. But $28 million is a huge price for a question mark, even if that question mark is the greatest player in Colts history (sorry Johnny Unitas fans). Irsay needs to shake his hand, give Manning a big ol’ man hug and say “Thank you.” 

Then draft Luck and begin rebuilding. Why? They are a team that is getting old. Future Hall of Fame center Jeff Saturday may have another year or two of Pro Bowl play, but he’s aging. Do you really want Luck learning to gel with someone who is one or two years from retirement? The veteran presence would help, but Luck seems to be poised enough as it is. I don’t think it’s that necessary for him.

Then there are the receivers. Wayne’s skills are tailing off and Garcon is good, when he’s not dropping balls like Lil Wayne drops rhymes. I’d keep Garcon on a one- or two-year deal and if the butterfingers improves, then sign him long term. As for Wayne, if your cleaning house and starting over, then it’s time to say “Goodbye.”

And if the Colts defense is going to be any good at all, they need to sign Mathis long-term. DE Dwight Freeney can’t do it all and if the Colts rebuild on offense and let Mathis go, then another 2-14 season could be in store.

So Irsay could let the free agent veterans go and start rebuilding now (which is my suggestion), or he could sign them all to one- or two-year deals in the hope of winning one more Championship. Regardless if he keeps Manning or not, if he doesn’t draft QB Andrew Luck, he will regret it. And if he guesses wrong with Manning, he will lose his job. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Time for the NFL preview!

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Yeah, you read right. The NFL combine is right around the corner. Free agency begins in just a couple of weeks and the draft is two months away. As a die-hard NFL fan, this is almost as exciting as the season itself. So for the next month, I will be profiling one team a day (in draft order) with some commentary from some guests as well.

So gear up footballers! We here at Out of Bounds are ready to blow your mind with analysis and predictions so accurate, you’d think we have Cleo writing for us.

First up tomorrow: Indianapolis Colts (1st overall pick)

Fantasy Footballers…Time for Your Sleepers!

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Okay, so you just read about who you can scratch off your draft boards this year, now you need to know who to go for, especially in the later rounds. Because, let’s be honest; your league is won by drafting well in the middle to later rounds. While last year, your opponent gambled in the 14th round on Bengals backup running back Bernard Scott, you took a chance on Eagles QB Michael Vick. Those are the picks that win championships. So, here you go; list #2 to take into your draft. The sleeper picks that will win you a fantasy football championship this year. (ADP is the Average Draft Position based on a 12-team standard league snake draft)

1. Sam Bradford – QB St. Louis Rams (ADP: 106) – Bradford finished in the Top 15 for QB’s last year as a rookie. He set records for completions and TD’s and only Peyton Manning threw for more yards as a rookie. All this with a makeshift receiving corps. The Rams have tried to help Bradford by bringing in talented, but injury-prone Mike Sims-Walker and by drafting Tight End Lance Kendricks and receiver Greg Salas. Bradford is getting drafted around the ninth and 10th round, but could easily reach the top ten for QBs this year with better receiving options and pass-happy Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels running the show. He’s a QB2 with significant upside.

2. Beanie Wells – RB Arizona Cardinals (ADP: 75) – Okay, I’m drinking the Kool-Aid. Last year Wells was drafted as a RB2, but produced as a RB5. He was terrible. But Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt said that Wells is the lead back in Arizona and not only do I believe it, but with new QB Kevin Kolb running the offense, I think the running game will significantly improve. Wells is someone who has the opportunity and potential to produce RB2 numbers at a RB4 price. I’m in.

3. Greg Olsen – TE Carolina Panthers (ADP: 155) – The Panthers traded for Olsen shortly after the lockout and it couldn’t be a better for him. In Chicago, Olsen’s talented were wasted as Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz apparently hates Tight Ends. Now in Carolina, not only is he in a TE-friendly offense, but with rookie QB Cam Newton running the show, he’s going to need a safety valve. Enter Olsen. He’s getting drafted as a flier at the end of the draft. Make him your flier as a TE2 and he will produce TE1 numbers.

4. Alex Henery – K Philadephia Eagles (ADP: 190) – Yeah, I get it. You’re asking yourself, “How can he put a kicker on a sleeper list?” Well, I admit, this is a homer pick. I’m a life-long Nebraskan and I would go against the grain and take former Husker Henery a round or two before the last round. But I have a legit reason. He is the most accurate kicker in the history of college football. Yeah, Henery is THE MOST ACCURATE KICKER IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL HISTORY. And he is on arguably the most high-powered offense in the NFL. That means he could very well win you ever close game that you are in. Trust me on this one.

5. Danny Woodhead – RB New England Patriots (ADP: 129) – The Patriots grabbed Woodhead off of the New York Jets practice squad early in the season and he ended up being a perfect flex player by the end of the season as he averaged 5.6 yards a carry and scored six touchdowns. He’s not a starter, but he will fill in better than most. And he graduated from my alma mater Chadron State College. But it’s not a homer pick…seriously.

6. Rashad Jennings – RB Jacksonville Jaguars (ADP: 134) – Jennings proved last year that he can handle the workload filling in admirably for lead RB Maurice Jones-Drew in the last two games of the year. MJD is recovering from off-season knee surgery and probably won’t make it through all 16 games this season. Whether you draft MJD (ADP: 13) or not, drafting Jennings anywhere after the 10th round is a steal.

7. Jacoby Ford – WR Oakland Raiders (ADP: 109) – Owner Al Davis loves speed and he has that with Jacoby Ford. He is a national champion sprinter and has the speed to take any reception to the house. He has a great repoir with QB Jason Campbell. With no other real competition, Ford could turn out to be  the #1 guy in Oakland which will yield some solid WR3 results at a WR4 price.

8. Jay Cutler – QB Chicago Bears (ADP: 125) – Cutler started off last year hotter than Olivia Wilde. But then his attitude started creeping in and he finished the year with an MCL injury that was universally-criticized. This season, he arrived to camp leaner and more focused. Being drafted as a low-end QB2 at the end of the 10th round, this could end up being Grand Theft Robbery.

So there you go. Sleepers to help you win your league. Did I miss one? Let me know who. Any other comments? Send them my way!

Fantasy Footballers! You Need This List!! Top 10 Busts!!

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Okay, if you are reading this, you have probably read dozens of sleeper and bust articles on the web detailing why you should draft Cardinals RB Ryan Williams over Beanie Wells or some other combination. But this is the one you want to take with you into your draft. Why? Because I’m right. Well, I think I’m right. Anywho, you won’t be dissappointed if this is the only list you use in your draft. So without boosting my word count any more, here are the 10 players to completely avoid or, at least, don’t draft where they’re average draft position (ADP) is. (The ADP is based on a 12-team draft on Fantasy Football Calculator.)

1. Kenny Britt – WR Tennessee Titans (ADP: 72) – There are two main reasons to drop him from your draft board. 1. He is incredibly injury-prone. He only played in 12 games and despite nine touchdowns, he was too boom or bust for me. Almost a third of his yards and exactly one-third of his touchdown total came in one game last year. Yes, when he’s on the field, he is a force, but how can he dominate with a 35-year-old Matt Hasselbeck and/or rookie Jake Locker running the offense? There is just too much risk for him to be rated as a Top 30 receiver.

2. Peyton Manning – QB Indianapolis Colts (ADP: 35) – Yeah, you read right. The most consisent QB of the past decade will be a bust this year. He’s coming off of his second neck surgery in 15 months and isn’t expected to play at all this preseason. Now, if there is anyone that can come back and play like he never left, it’s Manning. But I think he will have serious issues scanning the field with a bad neck. Add in an aging and inconsistent rest of the offense and the 35-year-old could be seeing the beginning of a slow steady decline.

3. BenJarvis Green-Ellis – RB New England Patriots (ADP: 67) – The Lawfirm came through as a waiver-wire savior last year, but when has coach Bill Belichek ever stuck with just one RB? Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead were the one-two punch last year, but it’s just as possible that Belichek goes with two complete unknowns by Week 4. It’s not that The Lawfirm isn’t talented enough to be drafted as a mid-6th rounder, it’s that his coach may not give him the opportunity to do so. If he falls to the 8th round, I’d take him. But 6th? I’ll let someone else take a gamble on him.

4. Marques Colston – WR New Orleans Saints (ADP: 44) – Colston has had five knee surgeries in five seasons. His knees are bound to give out at some point and I’m betting it’s this year. Yes, the Saints are one of the biggest offenses in the league, but QB Drew Brees has 47 targets to throw to. Colston may be the go-to receiver for now, but I don’t see it lasting long if his knees can’t hold up. A mid-4th rounder it too high for a walking injury.

5. Ryan Matthews – RB San Diego Chargers (ADP: 39) – Last year, he was the rookie to draft going as high as the second round in fantasy drafts. This year, expectations are tempered, but he’s still going in the late 3rd and early 4th round. Matthews didn’t prove anything last year and he already battling a preseason injury. You can get his backup Mike Tolbert at least four rounds later and I’m betting they get the same stats. Take a sure thing around pick 40. Potential should be later in the draft.

6. Brandon Lloyd – WR Denver Broncos (ADP: 49) – Last season, Lloyd connected with QB Kyle Orton in then-head coach Josh McDaniels’ high-flying offense for 11 TDs and over 1400 yards. This year, new head coach John Fox is a much more conservative and run-oriented guy which does not bode well for Lloyd (or Orton for that matter). Lloyd didn’t do much the previous six years of his career and at the age of 30, I doubt he will again.

7. Frank Gore – RB San Francisco 49ers (ADP: 17) – Frank, you’ve had a lot of good years with San Fran and you have made many a fantasy owner very happy. But you are 28 and the punishment of being the only running back for four years is certainly taking its toll. You will probably put up solid numbers, but you missed the last five games of last year with a hip injury and the quarterback and receiver play can’t get much worse. You’re it and defenses know it. So do savvy fantasy owners. If you take Gore, you better have a solid #3 RB on your bench, you’re going to need him.

8. Jeremy Maclin – WR Philadelphia Eagles (ADP: 50) – I love Jeremy Maclin, but there is one major question with him. He reportedly had mono during the offseason and for the brief amount of time that he was in camp, he was weak and appeared frail. Now he is having tests done back in his hometown of St. Louis. The worst part? The Eagles are not saying a word about it. Nobody knows what is going on with Maclin, what is wrong  and when (or if) he’s going to be back. Don’t get me wrong, if he was healthy he’s easily a WR2. But I’m not spending a WR2 pick on someone who is the epitome of a question mark.

9. Marshawn Lynch – RB Seattle Seahawks (ADP: 68) – Lynch had one of the best runs in history during the playoffs against the Saints. But that’s not going to happen every week. In fact, with a patchwork offensive line (stud right tackle Russell Okung already has a high-ankle sprain) and the mediocre-at-best Tarvaris Jackson at QB, Lynch is going to have to shoulder a lot of the burden in Seattle. He might be able to, but I don’t think he has the ability to take over a team like Arian Foster did last year in Houston. Lynch is being drafted as a third RB, which is probably where he should be, but I see RB4 numbers with one or two breakout games mixed in. Good luck starting him in those games.

10. Michael Crabtree – WR San Francisco 49ers (ADP: 82) – Look, Crabtree thinks he’s Terrell Owens. “If I piss and moan enough then I’ll get the ball thrown my way and I’ll get my stats.” Reality check: Crabtree has done nothing to prove that he has TO’s skill set since he turned pro. Crabtree held out his rookie year and last year he played in every game, but the QB play was so horrific that he only caught 6 TDs and accumulated 741 yards. This year he’s already hurt, they brought in downfield threat Braylon Edwards and the QB play is not going to get any better with Alex Smith back and rookie Colin Kaepernick nipping at his heals. Crabtree is being drafted as a WR3, but he’s nothing more than a bye-week fill-in until things improve under center…and he gets his prima-donna tendencies in check.

Disagree with my assessments? Let me know in the comments.

Jim Tressel resigns (as advised by this guy!)

Monday, May 30th, 2011

So Ohio State coach Jim Tressel resigned just three days after I suggested it  (and probably after THE Ohio State University realized that he is the major reason the college will get major sanctions). OSU is trying to enact as much damage control as it can and Tressel’s resignation reeks of the college trying to save face. Now it’s just a matter of time before the Athletic Director “resigns” as well. He publicly supported Tressel after this all went down and now he will go down with the ship. Hey, I predicted Tressel’s resignation (actually I suggested that he be fired, but that’s a minor quibble), maybe I’ll be two for two!

THE Ohio State University needs to fire coach Jim Tressel now, or else!

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Ohio State University (or THE Ohio State University if you’re nasty) is in a heap of trouble. Head football coach Jim Tressel revealed back on March 8, that he had withheld information from OSU’s Athletic Department regarding five of his players (including star QB Terrell Pryor) selling their Big Ten Championship rings and other memoribilia to the owner of a tattoo parlor for cash and free tattoos among other things. This scandal, which started off as another story of college athletes doing something stupid and turned into a stunning allegation against a (formerly) well-respected coach, is now making “THE” OSU appear more and more like enablers.

After the story broke about the improper benefits, OSU were just a couple of weeks away from playing in the Rose Bowl. The NCAA should have done the right thing and suspended these players right away. The players blatently broke NCAA rules, plain and simple. What did the NCAA do? Let them play in the Bowl game then suspended them for the first five games of next season. Who do they play in those five games? Akron, Toledo, Miami (FL), Colorado and Michigan State. Only Miami (FL) and Michigan State are relevant games and this is the weakest part of their schedule. If the NCAA wanted to penalize them, they needed to take them out of the Bowl game. Why didn’t they? Money.

After the suspensions were handed down in December, the NCAA decided to investigate the college. OSU held its own investigation as well. When interviewed, Tressel denied any knowledge of any of the violations. That turned out to be an outright lie. He received an email in April of 2010 from lawyer (and former OSU letterman) Chris Cicero that several of his players had sold signed memoribilia. Tressel acknowledged the email with the response, “I’ll get right on it.” His version of getting right on it? Keeping quiet. This was his first opportunity to let the school know what he found out.

Then, in September he signed an NCAA form stating that he had no knowledge of any violations. That was his second chance. Then he lied in December. He had three opportunities to clear the air and make things right. Did he? Nope. Why not? Well, a scandal would be detrimental to the football program especially if he revealed it when he found out in April. A scandal could mean fewer fans go to the games and watch them on TV. That would mean less money for the school. (Seeing a pattern here?)

Tressel finally admits that he lied and covered up what he knew and how long does he get suspended? Two games. Yep, he won’t be albe to coach the Akron or Toledo games. Seriously? I could coach those two games and OSU would win. Those are more like scrimmages. Tressel, however tries to rectify himself by self-imposing a five-game suspension, the same as his players. Well isn’t that nice. Now that you got caught with your hand stuck in the cookie jar, you’re going to try to give back the cookies? It doesn’t work like that. And what is the college doing? Defending him.

Yep, Athletic Director Gene Smith, when asked if he supports Tressel said, “Definitely, no question.” Really? You would defend a coach that withheld information, not once, not twice, but three times? Information that now could place your entire Athletic Department on NCAA probation or worse. You’re defending this? How can you trust him?

Yes, he’s an excellent coach. He’s brought a National Championship to OSU and had numerous players have very successful NFL careers. Players love him and he consistently has top recruiting classes. But at what point does integrity come into the picture? What he did was egregous, blatent and has now placed a bulls-eye squarely on OSU and its football program. The only way OSU can save face is to fire him. He didn’t make a mistake. He lied and withheld information hoping he wouldn’t get caught. As long as OSU keeps him as the head football coach, there will always be a cloud of doubt and distrust hanging over the program.

The best way to get rid of this? Fire Tressel and bring in someone else. Here’s a thought: How about Jon Gruden? He loves the spotlight, would be able to carry on the OSU tradition of dominance, recruit top-notch talent and bring in even more fans. This would be a fantastic fit and would make people forget about all of this very quickly. Even if Gruden doesn’t take the offer, there are several other coaches out there that you could slot in and keep the winning tradition.

Apparently AD Gene Smith doesn’t want this to just go away. He’s rather support a tarnished coach who can win games. Why? Because he wants to make sure the team is winning to keep bringing in the money. Okay, but when the NCAA comes down hard on OSU, Tressel and the football program, its on your head Mr. Smith.

Guest writer throws down some NBA smack talk.

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

(Editor’s note: This round of NBA musings come courtesy of someone who has so much NBA knowledge, you might as well call him Spalding; my good friend Ryan Wahl. Read and be enlightened.)

This has been an amazing year in the NBA Playoffs. The individual performances, the games, the emergence of new stars, the disappearance of old stars and the hype of the Heat have made these more memorable than any playoffs in a long time. Here are some musings on not only the playoffs, but some NBA chatter over the last month.

– There seems to be an opinion that has popped up comparing Dirk Nowitzki to Larry Bird. To quote the wise philosopher Chad Ochocinco, “Child, please”! Now don’t get me wrong, Dirk is a monster and one of the best in the league. He’s having a legendary playoff run so far…essentially Bird-like. I must say, though, that one or two playoff series does not a career make. Larry Bird is a 3 time NBA champion, 3 time league MVP and 2 time Finals MVP. No disrespect, Dirk, but you are not in the rarified air that is Larry “Legend”.

– While watching the Chicago Bulls, I can’t help but think a solid offensive threat off the bench is needed. Here’s a wild “out of the box” idea…Allen Iverson. At this point of his career, AI would have no problem coming off the bench for a title contender. Why wouldn’t you want a guy who can get you to the free throw line, give you 15-20 points off the bench, keep an up tempo style of offense and has shown toughness few guys have?

– Before the series against Miami, the Chicago depth was the hot topic on every ESPN show I watched. “They have too many pieces.” Now that we are 4 games in to the series, they have all backed off and finally saw what I saw all season. Their depth is not what you may think. Other than Derrick Rose, what do they have? Carlos Boozer – Overpaid underachiever. He will give you two games worth mentioning in a seven game series. Luol Deng – Someone who will consistently disappear, occasionally making an appearance to make you remember he could be good. Kyle Korver – Good outside shooter and…oh yeah, nothing else. Keith Bogans? Joakim Noah – Hustle player but won’t give you anything you can guarantee. I never know if he’ll get a double-double or foul trouble. Taj Gibson? Really?

– Speaking of Taj Gibson: yes, his dunk on Dwyane Wade was impressive. Let’s get real folks. It wasn’t the series-defining play so many media members want you to believe. Why was that dunk any more impressive than Udonis Haslem’s dunk on Derrick Rose? It’s because of the nationwide Heat Hate. Let’s be real. Haslem’s dunk and overall game in game 2 changed the complexion of this entire series. Gibson had one game with 2 good dunks. That’s it. So really, who’s play was more impressive?

– The real key to the Heat-Bulls series is defense, but I ask you, why does this surprise people? It seemed to me that media and fans were shocked the Heat were this good defensively. Did we not watch LeBron James in Cleveland? He’s a 3 time NBA All-Defense First Team player. Dwyane Wade is a 3-time NBA All-Defense Second Team player. These guys play defense! This is why they are a title contender. They know how to contain teams.

– Speaking of the Heat, can we please stop asking “Is it LeBron’s team or Wade’s team?” It is a pointless question. We wonder who will take the shot at the end. You know who? The player who is hot and playing well! LeBron will always make the smart basketball play, whether it is taking the shot or passing it to a teammate. His basketball IQ is higher than any of the talking heads on TV so please, stop asking this foolish question.

– I may be alone, but I have grown to dislike Kevin Durant. I get it. He’s clean cut. There’s no tattoos or controversy around him. Congrats. Just a note for him, if you are going to flex and yell “It’s my team”; take control of your team. He’s a soft outside shooter with minimal post game for a guy almost seven feet tall. Carmelo is a superior offensive player. He can beat you inside and outside. Their defense is similar, as both don’t put forth full effort all the time.

Since I mentioned the Thunder, I’ve got a few more thoughts on them…

– Russell Westbrook…you are not Allen Iverson. You are not Derrick Rose. You are not even Stephon Marbury and he’s awful. (Editor’s thought: Yes, but is he Stevie Franchise?) Know who you are. You are a high volume shooter who should be shifted to the 2 guard spot. If I were the Thunder, I’d call the Hornets and get Chris Paul for him. The Lakers would also be in the market for a “point guard” and you could get something for him. The Durant-Westbrook dynamic will not work. That’s obvious.

– Kendrick Perkins is garbage! Yes, I have said it before and I will say it again. He has no offensive skills. He’s slow which makes him a defensive liability. He can act tough (a performance he learned from Kevin Garnett in Boston) and look mean, but come on. He flexed on Nene of the Nuggets, who got in his face while so tough Perkins backed down. Nene proceeded to abuse him and throw him around like a rag doll. Stop with the Perkins hype, please.

– The Washington Wizards new jerseys are sweet. I can’t lie, if they had a player worth a damn, I would buy one. They are sweet. Can I get a Chris Webber in the new style?

– LeBron James is great. Admit it. Stop the hate. No, he isn’t Michael Jordan but he never claimed to be. The media and fans put labels on him. He didn’t try to be anything he wasn’t. He is what he is, one of the greatest players the league has ever seen. He’s a guy who skipped college and has exceeded expectations. The other guys who skipped college never carried a team to the level he did at such an early age. Not only did he carry the Cavaliers, he carried them to become the top team in the league for a while. No he didn’t win a title but who wins titles with Anthony Parker, Mo Williams and Delonte West (or Anderson Varejo and aging vets Antawn Jamison and Shaq for that matter). Really?

– Dwight Howard will be in Orlando next year. Lakers fans should just stop it. Stop hoping. Quick fact for you; size wasn’t your issue. Poor point guard and aging superstars were. They should be doing whatever they can to get Chris Paul or Derron Williams. A few other issues with the Howard/LA nonsense:

– The collective bargaining agreement will prevent it. There will be a hard cap and they won’t be able to pay him his market value. Will he really take a pay cut to play in LA with a team aging and in flux? Doubtful.

– The alpha dog issue with Kobe Bryant. He’s arrogant enough to think he’s still the best player in the league and will likely always think that, despite physical evidence to the contrary. That dynamic will not work. Howard will not take Bryant’s volatility and it will be ugly.

– Orlando will continue to trade and try to build around Dwight Howard. He is their centerpiece and he knows it. He runs that town and franchise. They’ll do right by him and he knows it.

– The media and fans will turn this into another Carmelo Anthony situation thus causing unneeded public backlash towards him. Let it play itself out. Stop with the internet articles and talk shows beating it to death. We get it. He’s a free agent after next season. He’ll make a decision when he wants to. He has that right. Stop trying to force a decision. Stop with unnecessary distractions.

– Finally, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is asking for a statue. What happened to the days when players were honored to get anything, such as a retired number or something like that? Now we have players begging for statues and saying they feel “disrespected” and “slighted” about not getting a statue? This is ridiculous. Quick note to Kareem; you are not a Greek God. You played basketball with one of the best players ever in Magic Johnson. The 5 titles in LA had more to do with him than you, in my humble opinion. Be proud your number is retired by the Lakers. Maybe your poor attitude towards media and management didn’t exactly endear you to them. Fact is no one is owed a statue. No one. It’s an honor if they decide to, but come on. This is ridiculous. I will thank Kareem for one thing, though. His comments sparked a great discussion amongst friends regarding statues. Let’s have some fun; if you could give just one statue to represent an NBA franchise, who would you give that honor to? Have some fun with that. I’ll post my choices next time.

I’m out but always remember one thing…Wahl knows Ball.