Tuesday, April 28, 2015

On Baltimore...

It’s like a broken record. Every time a protest happens there will be idiots who just want to cause trouble. There also are people who are so beyond fed up with an oppressive system that an emotional outburst occurs. That’s what we’re seeing in Baltimore right now. On April 12th Freddie Gray was arrested. 45 minutes later his spine was severed 80 percent and he would die a week later. There have been no answers given as to why he was arrested, how he was injured, and what was going to be done to the 6 officers who by their own admission did not administer proper medical attention to an obviously injured man. 

I must be a masochist because I have tried and be rational and explain that every time this happens it derails the conversation to focus more on the aftermath than what led to the action. And invariably it will always lead to discrediting the Black Lives Matter movement. Allow me to say to anyone who was curious on my opinion (which may be few to none at this point) that yes we all know that all lives matter, but right now we’re talking about black lives and the unfair treatment and executions that are becoming common place it seems. I saw a joke that basically said people who scream all lives matter when this topic comes up must go to funerals and scream “I know someone who died too!” 

I’ve also seen a ton of “hilarious” memes showing Martin Luther King Jr and others marching beside a photo of a young man rioting. They claim this is what real protesting looks like. 
Conveniently leaving out the silly part where they were attacked with dogs, fire hoses, had rocks thrown at them and spit on.
Can this be added to the meme too?
 Another pet peeve is whenever I get hit with a “well Dr. King wouldn’t want this” or something of that nature. We’d know what he thought had he not BEEN SHOT IN THE FACE while protesting so properly. 

I think that all of this could have been avoided had one thing happened. The police just admitted they made a mistake. Come out and speak to the community and let them know the 6 individuals acted over zealously and would see their day in court unlike Mr. Gray. I’ve said this a million times but if you don’t call out the abusive ass clowns, it makes the job harder for the good guys. Speak up for John Crawford, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, Rekia Boyd and far too many others to put here and say yes we are police and yes these deaths are unacceptable. No one is above criticism as no one is perfect. You have a hard job, we all know and acknowledge this fact, but you knew that when you signed up. I’m not anti-police, but what I am anti is this notion that they have to be treated with kid gloves and nothing negative can be said. 

I know this will come off as complaining but I had to get this off my chest. The Puma should probably run. He happens to be getting married in 4 days. Peace.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Quandry of The Anonymous NFL Executive

I have noticed a growing trend that occurs every year around the NFL Draft and I suppose you the loyal followers of the Puma deserve to hear about it. As we get closer and closer to the sports nerds Thanksgiving (Christmas of course being the NBA Draft) the "anonymous NFL executive" becomes a very vocal person. And usually this anonymous person does not come baring good news. And more often than not his verbal barbs always strike the black quarterback.

Don't believe me? How about this report on Teddy Bridgewater: "He's a dynamic playmaker, but is he the guy you want running your offense? They're very similar." The he in his quote is of course reference to the fictional quarterback Willie Beamen from "Any Given Sunday." 
Hmm...what's the similarity? I wonder...
The flashy, me first player who rarely put team first. Teddy Bridgewater was the most mild mannered player who never so much as had a parking ticket. Contrast that with the scouting report for the player who actually resembled Beamen the most, Johnny Manziel: "Mental Toughness: Performs at a high level under constant media attention and scrutiny."
What a leader!
He failed to mention constant spats with coaches and by his own admission learning a little over half of the playbook. But yeah he shows grit.

This year the man up to the plate is Jameis Winston.
Now allow me to state this, off the field he has been a moron and possibly a criminal. Thanks to the Tallahassee police screwing up the investigation, we may never know the answer as to whether he is a criminal. On the field however, there is no question that he is the best quarterback in the current draft. Don't take my word for it, how about we take the word of Steve Mariucci who has worked with such quarterbacks as Steve Young and Brett Favre. "The most astute X's and O's guy that he's ever put on the board." Rich Eisen added, "He was not only answering the questions that Steve was throwing at him but anticipating what that question might lead to next and answering that question before Steve even posed it."

Now look, off the field concerns are huge. But when evaluating a player, let's not make up things about his on the field play. Be open and just admit you're scared off by the off the field stuff. Believe me it's a legit reason to not draft a guy.

Well I've ranted enough. Suppose I'll work up a mock draft lottery for you all. I promise, no unnecessary slander.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Final Four Preview

What a tournament so far. Despite my bracket looking like the Red Wedding I have thoroughly enjoyed watching hours of this tournament…despite my hatred of the current NCAA system but that’s another post. Before I go into my preview that will inevitably be wrong I’d like to offer just a few of my favorite moments from the tournament so far.

·         Everything about Georgia State. From their coach falling off his stool seeing his son hit a game winner to the redemption of Kevin Ware these guys truly are the embodiment of March Madness.
Glad to see this guy back in the tourney.
·         The emotion that some of the coaches show for their players. It always warms my cynical heart to see a hall of famer like Roy Williams jitterbug after a victory or be brought to tears when asked about his kids after a loss. Definitely something we should see more of.

·         Notre Dame versus Kentucky. Wow. That may have been the game of the tournament and definitely one of the best I’ve seen in quite a while. Notre Dame had the perfect game plan and executed it to damn near perfection and they still lost.

Now on to what none of you asked for, my astute analysis.

Michigan State Versus Duke:
# 7 Michigan State:
What a run by these group of guys. I echoed the sentiment of Bomani Jones, who would have thought a team that lost to Texas Southern would make it out the Big Ten Tourney let alone make it to the Final Four. They are an excellently coached group but unfortunately Cinderella turns her slippers in after running into Duke. This is a team that lives and dies by the three and Duke is a team that can keep pace with you unlike Louisville. And if it comes down to free throws this is just a group that can be consistently counted upon.

#1 Duke:
This is going to be the most difficult thing I have ever written. So Krista if you’re reading this you should know I have vomited at the thought of praising the Blue Devils. That said I give praise where it’s due. Jahlil Okafor is a downright beast. We knew that coming into the tournament
What most of us didn’t account for were Tyus Jones, Quinn Cook and Justice Winslow all playing the best they have the entire season now that we've hit the tourney. I don’t expect this game to be a blowout but I do forsee a victory for these bastards from Durham. 

Wisconsin Versus Kentucky:
#1 Wisconsin:
There is in my opinion no team left in this tournament as annoying as the Wisconsin Badgers with their faux underdog persona. All season they have played up the scrappy band of misfits who happened to defy the odds and succeed. No, you have a team of All Americans and Mr. Basketballs and have been ranked in the top ten for the better part of the last 3 seasons. That said they have a daunting task ahead of them. Kaminsky versus Townes could be a draw, other than Dekker Wisconsin can’t keep up with the athleticism of Kentucky.  History will repeat itself.

#1 Kentucky:
This team is a modern marvel. I say that without a hint of sarcasm. Never before have I seen such a group of highly rated players put ego aside and buy into a coach’s system so readily. How else could you convince potential first round picks last season the Harrison twins, Alex Poythress, and Willie Cauley- Stein to say no to NBA millions for a chance at redemption? Take the experience of those players with the amazing play of the potential number one pick Karl Anthony Townes and there is no surprise this is a team that is on the precipice of history. Kentucky will win out and become the first every 40-0 champion.

There you have it folks. I’m the only person in America calling for a Duke-Kentucky final with Kentucky winning it all. Stand and be amazed by my individuality! Alright I’m off to shower again as speaking positively of Duke has me feeling quite dirty.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

I Love The NBA

Holy hell This NBA season has been quite the roller coaster. As a Bulls fan, this season has been a touch bittersweet.

The Good:

·         The emergence of Jimmy G. Buckets (The “G” stands for gets in the words of Stacey King.)
·         The ascension of Nikola Mirotic.
·         Tom Thibodeau remaining the tiny guard whisperer with Aaron Brooks.

The Bad:
Fred Hoiberg?

·         The continued knee woes of Derrick Rose.
·         Rumors of Thibodeau leaving and being replaced with Fred Hoiberg.

With all that said I remain confident we can make it back to the Promised Land barring Lebron going super saiyan. Now on to why you all came here, the unsolicited opinions of an egomaniac!

Most Valuable Player: Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City

I know he missed time this season but he has been playing out of this earth and the player most responsible for the Thunder making a legitimate push for the playoffs. He does despite having the most inept big game coach in recent memory.

Rookie of the Year: Andrew Wiggins, SG, Minnesota
Wiggins joins such luminaries as Damian Lillard in making me look like a fool.
I admittedly wasn’t too big on Wiggins coming into this season. Now that he is comfortable in his game he has made me look like a fool and is potentially the franchise player everyone thought he would be.  More confidence has led him to be a 20 points a night scorer in the second half of the season and he was already a near elite wing defender.

Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta Hawks
Seriously would you know who this guy is?
No joke I had to google the Hawks to even find out who the coach was. Regardless of this fact I have to give props where they are due. He has taken the Hawks from the definition of a 6 seed to the front runner in the Eastern Conference and looking like a baby Popovich while doing so.

Disrespectful Play of the Year: Steph Curry destroying the ankles of Chris Paul
I mean…damn. Just…damn.

The Grim Reaper Award: Deandre Jordan, C, Los Angeles Clippers
This goes to the guy who has taken more souls on the court and this season it’s not even close. Just ask Jason Smith of the Knicks about Mr. Jordan.

And while I know this is about the NBA I’d be remised if I didn’t mention the greatness of Dean Smith. Last week’s news of how he bequeathed one final gift for all his players didn’t surprise me at all. Just google the kind of crusader he was for civil rights and you will understand that it was about more than basketball for him. They truly don’t make them like Coach Smith anymore.