The two guys who went 1 and 2 in this years draft are Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin. The Oilers took Hall with the first overall pick after a 2 year love affair with him that bordered on an unhealthy obsession, I have been told I have a few of those so it’s alright. He’s a Canadian and that franchise has been trying to reform the glory days of having a mostly Canadian roster as a year in year out contenders. The Oilers did reach the finals in 2006, losing to Carolina, however, since Messier traveled to New York to end the Rangers curse this once proud franchise has not been the same. Obviously they are not goina be like the Messier Oiler teams that won 5 cups from 84 to 90 but they will give their all to make it appear that way. Now here’s a scouting report on the newest members of the NHL. Hall is from Calgary and has been the top prospect for 2 years now. He averaged over 2 points a game at the World Juniors. He is a scoring Left Wing who actually has produced more assists than goals the last few years, he had 106 points with 40 goals and 66 helpers last year. Basically he is the opposite of Rick Nash who was a puck hog in his younger days and put up 40 goals but only 20 assists. I’d say he’s a guy who with a talented centerman could contribute right away.
As for Seguin, the Bruins selection with the 2 spot, he is a centerman that a great forward like Hall would love to play with. Ironically enough, he also had 106 points his last minor season, Seguin played for the Plymouth Whalers, so he is a semi local guy for a Boston team. He can be best compared to Pavel Datsyuk who can put up highlight reel goals, yet is not afraid to play defense. Hall has been labeled a Joe Sakic type of guy, who was similar to Datsyuk but with more fire power and less flash. Seguin like Sakic and Dats has great vision and can make any winger look better than he is, much the same way Crosby has throughout his career. A center who will play unselfish, is not scared or to good to play D if necessary, and can score thanks to a sick wrist shot is hard to come by. For a more recent player comparison Seguin is similar to the number 1 pick 2 years ago, Steven Stamkos who just tied Crosby for the most goals scored last season coupled with 44 assists. Stamkos took a year of growing pains his rookie season before finding his NHL stroke. Unlike Stamkos at the time, Seguin is being thrown on a playoff team that wont ask him to do too much. He will have a great mentor in Mark Recchi, a future hall of famer who has done it all individual and team wise, “the recking ball” was just re-signed for another year to help guide him along.
The B’s do already have 2 veteran centers, Bergeron and Savard who when healthy are certainly servicable with talented forwards like Hall. This would have potentially made Hall a better fit in Boston. However, it just wasn’t going to happen Hall is from Canada and had all the press going into the draft, Edmonton had to take him or risk a major PR hit if things did not workout. The reason Hall would have been a better fit with the Bruins is simple, center is a more important position and cup teams almost always have a great center and can get by with a non super star wing on the top line. Regardless, I could see Seguin playing a wing for a while and then eventually moved back to center when he starts to take off. Right away playing a wing would put less pressure on him.
Be happy Oiler and Bruins fans unlike in some other sports (MLB and NFL mainly) the top draft picks are usually going to produce within the first 3 years of being in the league. This has been especially evident recently with Fleury, Ovechkin, Malkin, Crosby, Kane, and Stamkos in no particular order. Even throughout history with Gretzky and Lemieux, guys with a lot of hype in juniors are generally future NHL stars.
Butler suffered a major knee injury towards the end of West Virginia’s loss to the eventual tournament champion Duke Blue Devils in the Final 4 this April. The injury and it’s corresponding surgery certainly hurt him on draft night, Butler was a projected top 10 pick at the height of the Mountaineers run during the season. Regardless this may be a blessing in disguise, the better picks are generally placed on the weakest teams, (Washington, Philly, Minnesota, Sacramento etc) give or take a weird lottery ball bounce based on last season, Butler now will go to a playoff team from 2009-2010 despite the fact that it may or may not include Dwayne Wade. It also may be a big help whether or not Wade is on south beach to be able to consult with a Hall of Fame guy running the organization, Pat Riley. Butler will be able to be mentored by a man who won 5 titles as a head coach, 1 as an assistant, and another as a player (72 Knicks, teammate of Phil Jackson), not to bad at all. Ebanks most likely could have used another season of college ball, however, we all knew from his first practice that was never a possibility. He will join a stacked roster looking to 3 peat for the second time in 10 years and a franchise hoping to tie the rival Celtics with a 17th banner after next year. As was said perfectly by a friend of mine, get ready to carry Kobe’s bags Devin. Granted with some development and if he can get his mind straight Devin Ebanks could become a nice addition to a great team, he also will have a legendary figure within the franchise to help mold his talent and guide him along the way, his head coach (if he doesn’t retire) Phil Jackson otherwise known as Mr. 11.
You knew I’d disagree with one of these and here it is. Don’t get me wrong Myers had a great rookie year. However, 48 points (only 11 goals) is not exactly eye popping. Not only that but he was surrounded with veteran talent on a pretty good team in Buffalo. Myers fit a necessary role as a third line center who could give you a nice extra scoring punch and win a face off, great, but he was not this years rookie of the year. Despite all the team accomplishments and amazing individual talent that has put on the winged wheel over the years one of the most successful marque franchises in all of professional sports has not had a Calder winner since 1965. It appeared another drought would end this season too. Unfortunately it was not to be despite Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard playing to an almost MVP level. Howard posted a 37-15-10 record, a .924 save %, a 2.26 GAA, and even 3 shut outs for a team riddled with injuries that had to go on a 16-2 tear to earn the 5th seed. Yes, he was inconsistent in his first playoff run as starter, he had tons of talent in front of him despite most of them underachieving, but his stats speak for themselves. None the less, Howard no longer has to worry about a hall of famer coming in and snatching the starting job from him, he will be between the pipes for Hockeytown as the top guy for the next decade. The future of this franchise no longer rests on Nikcklas Lidstrom’s shoulders, all the pressure is now on Howard’s.
This was actually a bit shocking to me, although I feel the right man won. Reports from several reliable sources were saying Crosby was going to win the award as well as sources proclaiming it would be 3 in a row for Ovie. Neither of those were accurate as the best of the Sedin twins receives the honor. Sedin led the league in scoring with 112 points, he blasted 29 goals and registered 83 assists, his brother Daniel with about 30 points less was the next closest guy on his team. Without his career year and then some the Canucks may have been several spots lower in the standings. Crosby and Ovechkin could win this award every year in all honesty but both of them now are surrounded with a great deal of talent. Obviously Malkin is a big help to Sid but the reason the Pens have won 2 East titles and a cup is due the secondary scoring which judging by Staal’s Selke nomination is only getting better. Ovie can rely on guys like Semin, he is very underrated, as well as Green and company. Crosby and Ovechkin both did score 50 goals but had 30 less assists and 3 less points. They will both win this several more times before they hang em up but this may be Sedin’s only shot so I’m glad he got it. Sedin also had 166 shots on net compared to Ovechkin’s 368 for any of the haters out there, Crosby had 298 Pens fans.
By: Mike Asti
As I did following Griffey’s surprising retirement from baseball earlier this month, I want to take time out to pay the athletic respects to another great player of my generation, this time in hockey. Rob Blake officially announced that this past season, his 20th in the NHL, was his last and he is retiring as a player. While unlike Griff this was not exactly shocking news since he had nothing left to play for and just finished another long playoff run. However, when an athlete of his stature calls it quits it is important to reflect upon why this was man was in fact great.
Rob Blake flew under the radar for most of his career. This even happened when playing his prime seasons in the second biggest market in the country, Los Angeles. The reason for this is simple actually, he played in perhaps the best era in NHL history for defensemen. Legends such as Chris Chelios, Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Pronger, and Scott Niedermayer manned the blue line in the last 20 years and are all going to the Hall of Fame someday. While unlike how enshrinement is constantly discussed in terms of their careers, Blake is also worthy of the honor but doesn’t get the hype. I placed him as an honorable mention for the last decades best and that wasn’t even the best 10 year period of his career. Read more
OK I have to steer Marcus back onto the path of righteousness, because clearly he is a lost puppy and forgot that Kobe is not better than Magic and never will be.
Magic’s Resume: 13 years, 12 All-Stars…MVP: 87, 89, 90…Finals MVP: 80,82,87…MVP runner up: 85,91…Top 5: 83,84,85,86,87,88,89,90,91…Leader: Assists 4x: Steals 2x: FT%1x…Career Avg: 19.5-7-11.2, 85%FT, 52%FG.
Magic’s legacy started before he even stepped foot on an NBA floor. He was amazing at Michigan State, and even great in High School, shit he had to be with the nickname Magic, I am just saying that if your going to proclaim your self Magic you best have the game to back it up. Magic played in ten championships over a thirteen year span capturing six championship(included college). He co-captained the greatest basketball team ever assembled in the 1992 Dream Team, and also has one of the greatest names in the history of sports. Magic battled with the games greatest such as Erving, Bird, Moses, Isiah and Jordan. He was every bit as important off the court as he was on, he gelled with the city like none other, probably getting him into a little trouble. He transcended the game into what it is now, and i find it foolish of people to forget about him and all he did. Without Magic and Bird there is a solid shot there would not even be an NBA today. People need to stop naturally thinking that everything that takes place today is the best and greatest and start showing a little appreciation for one of the most influential athletes in NBA history.
Magic was the first underclassmen to ever be picked in the NBA draft, Magic entered the league at a time when there was a bit of a racial barrier in the league, at the time many people felt the league was “too black” that was never the case for Magic. Magic single handily won the 1980 championship for the Lakers by dropping 42-15-8 all doing it without Kareem. The only season in which Magic did not appear in the All-Star game was in his second season, where he missed 45 games due to a knee injury. Following that season is when we saw Magic at his peak, 82 Magic was defensive specialist and i would argue that 1982 Magic was better defensively than any of Kobe’s years. That season the Lakers crushed teams with a ruthless half court trap which lead to Magic piling up 200 steals. No player has even come close to 1982 Magic, (18.6 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 95.apg). The most interesting point to note of all of that was that he was splitting point guard duties with NORM NIXON. The Lakers would have won the 1981 championship had Magic not gotten injured, Kareem wrote in his autobiography ” We didn’t repeat as champs in 1981 because Ervin got injured, and when he came back he had forgotten what made us and him so successful.”
Marcus brought up the point of Tragic Magic, didn’t think he would find that but none the less he did. The 84 Finals really hurt Magic, not only did Bird win but Magic handed it to him. He chocked in crunch time of game 2,4 and 7. How so, well he dribbled out the clock in game 2, missed ft in game 4 and made consecutive turnovers in the final 80 seconds of game 7. There was an SI article that summer titled “Johnson in the Clutch: Don’t Call Him Magic, Just Call Him Unreliable.” Well Magic’s response to this was a fuck you in the 85 Finals where he dropped 18.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 14 apg.
From 87-91 Magic tallied three MVP’s, 2 rings, made the Finals four times, won 60 plus games per year and this was all in his last four seasons of his career. How many players can say the twilight of their career was this impressive, i mean if Jordan had that stint with Washington.
Magic is the most amazing player who to ever run the fast break, yes kids better than Nash. His 6’9 height, huge hands and excellent vision allowed him to see the court like none other. He is the best leader in NBA history, yes better than Jordan. Magic extracted more from his teammates than anyone, whether it was a All-Star game, playoff game, or pick up game Magic got the best out of everyone. Kobe has quit on his teammates, Magic has never decided to stop shooting for a whole half to prove a point. He made every teammate better in ways Kobe has not. Maybe it is because Kobe’s game is to score but Magic showed to could easily do that as well. Kobe has always had that feeling that he has to do it all and you saw glimpses of it even in this Final,s despite being 3-17 at one point he was still throwing up bricks. I love Kobe and by no means am a Kobe Hater, but Magic did as much as Kobe on the court so they have to be considered a wash in that department. If you arrived at that conclusion like me then I go to off the court, and here Magic blows Kobe away. Off the court still ties into being the greatest Laker because Magic transcended the game of basketball to what it is today. The only thing Kobe is known for off the court is a court case in Denver. Kobe is back on top, but lets not forget that once upon a time he wanted out of L.A for Chicago, hated his teammates, didn’t want to listen to coaches and so on. All that has to be factored into the equation here. Lets not be prisoners of the moment here people, Magic is still a top the Laker pyramid.
After defeating arch-rival Boston in 7 games and winning his fifth title the debate has begun. Is Kobe Bryant the greatest Laker of all time?
Yes, he is.
I want to start off by dismissing any argument favoring Kobe Bryant over Michael Jordan. Kobe Bryant is not as good or better than MJ, and probably never will be. Even if he wins a sixth, he cannot touch Jordan’s Finals numbers. In the Finals, His Airness was 6-0, averaged 33-6 -6 and won 6 Finals MVPs. If he wins a few more titles then I suppose it’s going to be open for discussion. Still, I cannot imagine the consensus greatest ever not being Michael Jordan in the foreseeable future. While he may not be MJ, Kobe is now officially the best player Hollywood (or Minneapolis) has ever had.
When discussing the Greatest Laker of All Time, it all comes down to four players Jerry West, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson. As good as of a player as Jerry West may have been, he was 1-8 in the Finals, never beat the Celtics, never won an MVP, and the only Finals MVP he won was a losing effort in the 1969 Finals, so he is eliminated. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did win three MVPs and Finals MVP as a Laker, but his best years were with Milwaukee. His numbers during the last 4 of the 5 title’s L.A. won in the 1980’s were not even close to his Milwaukee days. As great as his career was as a whole, the tail end of it was in L.A. So it basically comes down to two players Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson.
As far as skill goes, offensively it is almost a draw. Magic Johnson is the greatest passer ever, Bryant is the most complete scorer ever. Johnson had a much better FG% shooting 52% from the field, Bryant shot 45%, but being a point guard Johnson didn’t take as many shots as Bryant. Kobe is one of the best non-point guard passers in the game but he can’t find the open man like Magic could. Johnson gets the slight edge offensively because of his better FG% and offensive balance. However the edge goes to Bryant in overall skill because of the other side of the floor, defense. Kobe Bryant is one of the best perimeter defenders of all time. He is a staple on the all defensive team (10 selections, 8 1st, 2 2nd). Magic, despite leading the league in steals twice, has never made an all-defensive team.
When talking about the greatest Laker, their success against the Boston Celtics has to be taken into consideration. In their first two meetings with the Celtics in the Finals, Bryant and Magic went 1-1. Magic is 2-1 overall, but that can’t be held against Bryant, he hasn’t had the opportunity to play them 3 times due to Garnett’s injury in 2009. Kobe’s Lakers however have accomplished something that Magic Lakers or any other team in the history of the league has been able to do, beat the Celtics in a Finals Game 7. Many will hold Bryant’s Game 7 performance against him shooting 6-24. But he still managed to score 23 points and grab 15 rebounds, both totals are higher than any Celtic. Magic has had a few historical screw ups against Boston in the 1984 Finals, giving him the nickname “Tragic” Johnson. At least Kobe managed to win even in his worst form. Overall titles including those that are not at the expense of Boston, they both have 5. Magic won five titles over a span of 12 seasons, winning back-to-back once. Bryant has won five over a span of 14 seasons with a 3-peat under his belt and a back-to-back that could become a 3-peat next season.
Bryant critics always use the Shaq argument, even now. “He never would have won 3 without Shaq”. Well, Shaq wouldn’t have won without Kobe either, and neither would have won 3 without Derek Fisher, Rick Fox and Robert Horry (Game 4 WC FINALS!). I don’t hear any slight against Magic for having Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy. Kobe did something Magic never did, won multiple championships with two entirely different teams. Magic Johnson did win his 5 in less time than Bryant, but he’s always been on teams with enough talent to win a Gold Medal in the Olympics. Kobe and Shaq were the only Hall of Famers on the 2000-2002 Lakers, the rest were role players. The Lakers today feature Kobe Bryant, 1 perinnial all-star, and no Hall of Famers. Pau Gasol has an outside shot at the Hall of Fame if he continues to win rings, but would never have a chance if it wasn’t for Bryant. Magic Johnson had at one point and time 3 other Hall of Famers on his team, Jabbar, Worthy and Bob Mcadoo. Not to mention Defensive Player of the Year Michael Cooper and Byron Scott who was considered to be one of the better players to never play in an all-star game. So if you wan’t to use the Shaq argument, just remember you are favoring Bryant.
Considering the above, you have to give Kobe Bryant the slight edge in the G.L.O.A.T debate. If he wins a sixth, it won’t even be close.
Before I begin on the legacy of Kobe Bryant I want to first pay respect this Celtic team. The Boston 3 Party is one of the greatest stories in NBA history.
Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were probable Hall of Famers, but leading mediocre at beast teams to no more than one deep play-off run. Kevin Garnett was a surefire first ballot Hall of Famer, but was under much scrutiny for leading his team out of the first round once and was labeled as one of those players that just didn’t have it in them to win a championship. Needless to say all three players needed a championship to validate their career.
The date is May 23rd, 2007. Boston came off one of their worst seasons ever (24-58). A season they pretty much threw away for a chance at the first overall draft pick which would give them the rights to add the much coveted Greg Oden to their roster. They Celtics had get this pick, this is what they were playing for (or stopped playing to obtain, whatever works) . The 7-footer was going to be the key to revival of Celtic basketball. Here it is, the moment of truth…
NUMBER FIVE!?!?!? ARE YOU SHITTING ME!?
The Celtics got the lowest draft pick possible. How devastating. After the death of Len Bias in ’86, it seems as though Boston just could not catch a break. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. That night, Celtics would trade their #5 pick, Jeff Green, Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West for Ray Allen and #35 Glen Davis from LSU. Alright, a seven time all-star and a promising rookie, not bad. Still not good enough there is one more piece left to complete the Green Machine.
The date is July 31st 2007. The day of the largest trade ever for one single player. The Celtics would acquire 10 time all-star and 2004 MVP, Kevin Garnet in exchange for 7 Boston Celtics. A new big three is born.
Let’s fast-forward. The date is April 16th 2008 the Celtics finish with a league best 66-16 record, the second best in record in franchise history and complete the biggest turnaround ever, improving 42 games from the previous season. Kevin Garnett would go on to win Defensive Player of the year anchoring a defense that had the third highest efficiency in league history (98.9)
The road to the Championship would was a long and trying enterprise for Celtics. Taking their first and second round the full 7, barely escaping LeBron James. They went on to beat EC Powerhouse Detroit in 6 to advance to the Finals. The 2008 Finals would put the Celtics against the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers lead by newly acquired Pau Gasol and league MVP Kobe Bryant. The Celtics shut down the Lake-Show. Garnett bullied Gasol in the paint and Kobe Bryant was held to his worst shooting performance of the play-offs.
The date is June 17th, 2008, Game six of the NBA Finals. The Celtics pulverize L.A. by 39 points, largest margin of victory in Finals history for a title clinching game. Allen and Garnett’s careers are finally validated and Pierce is ranked among the Celtic greats as he hoists the Finals MVP trophy before the Garden crowd.
Although they lost, the people of Boston will always remember the improbable 2010 Celtic play-off run. They took down the league MVP and Championship favorite in the second round, the defending Eastern Conference Champions and gave the defending champions the fight of their lives in what will certainly go down as one of the greatest play-off series of all-time. These Celtics may be the best defensive unit the league has ever seen. Having the best defensive point guard in the league (Rondo), a defensive player of the year (Garnett) and two of the leagues most underrated perimeter defenders (Paul Pierce and Ray Allen) They held the leagues best big man to 7 points and 7 rebounds, shut down the league MVP and did as good of a job as anyone has or anyone will ever do in defending Kobe Bryant, the second best scorer ever. This team has elevated Garnett in the top 15-20 best players of all time and Pierce and Allen in the top 50.
It may be difficult to like Celtics fans, but is it is hard to not to like these Celtics. Three of the leagues best players came together sacrificing their numbers and playing time for the greater good. They made up for lack of athleticism and old age with unparalleled heart and aggressiveness . They are the most resilient team in the NBA today, and probably the most resilient team ever. Win or lose in the Boston 3 Party have cemented themselves in league history.
But I still fucking hate Glen Davis.
I wish I could just stay home blog about this all day there is so much I have to say. However I am going to be at work, fighting crime all day at the D.A.’s office. Don’t worry there is much to be covered and I will cover all of it asap. I just want to point out I called this from the beginning and correctly predicted how this series would turn out. Go me.