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Thursday, May 27, 2010

OFFICIAL SITE MOVE ANNOUNCEMENT

WE WILL NO LONGER BE POSTING ON THIS SITE. IT WILL SOON BE RE-DIRECTED TO www.zeusofsport.com BUT UNTIL THEN JUST CLICK THAT LINK TO GET TO OUR NEW STUFF.

THANK YOU.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cramer: Where did he go?

Cramer: Playoffs: Yawn

I don’t know if anyone else has watched the NBA play-offs lately, but let me give you a quote from game 4 of Boston vs. Orlando:

“This is the first game in the 2010 playoffs that has gone to overtime”

Alright, the quote wasn’t exactly that, but it might as well have been. These playoffs have been sub-par at best, and the worst ever… at worst. The NBA saw its second most competitive team in the West go down in flames in the first round (Denver), its best player go down in hotter flames in the second round (LeBron), and its apparent “best team” is now on the brink of elimination in the conference finals (Orlando).

So why should anyone watch anymore? Yeah, the finals might be Boston vs. LA… history, legacy, rivalry, blah blah blah. No one besides Los Angeles and Boston fans wants to see either of these two teams win the finals. Kobe would get his fifth, or a mediocre regular season team would prove how irrelevant the regular season is by literally ratcheting it up 10 octaves in the playoffs to cruise past the three teams that played their hearts out from the start (Cleveland, Orlando, and LA). I might be biased as a victim of these playoffs, but I have a hard time believing anyone would be nearly as intrigued by this Boston/LA match-up as they were 2 years ago.

With that being said, I’m going to look past the NBA Finals, and get a head start on free agency coverage. As you may or may not have heard, July 1st marks the start of the biggest free agency season in the history of the NBA. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson, Dirk Nowitzki,…, Channing Frye, John Salmons,…,Brendan Haywood, Z, Shaq, oh, and LeBron James; the list goes on and on and on and on… and on. There was lot of the speculation during the season that a majority of these free agents would end up right back where they were already playing, but with the results of the playoffs things may have changed a bit.

The big players in free agency are sure to be Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Miami, Los Angeles (the bad team), and Cleveland (simply because they have the main target). All of these teams underperformed this season, and some don’t even have a coach in place for next season. Come July 1st, things are going to move fast, so let’s look at what could ultimately influence the big names to go to their final destinations. I’ll break it down team by team (for the aforementioned teams):

Chicago- Many have argued that the Bulls have the best shot at signing LeBron in the off-season, and that may be true, but let’s take a look at some of the arguments that have been made. The Bulls have Rose and Noah. Okay, I’ll buy that as a great, young supporting cast. Add in Taj Gibson, and you’re looking at a team that can contend immediately. However, there are only two ways for LeBron to end up in Chicago: signing there directly, or through a sign-and-trade. The first simply won’t happen. LeBron would be leaving 30 million dollars on the table to skip town, and that’s something the self-proclaimed “businessman” is not going to do. So that leaves the sign-and-trade as the way for ‘Bron to end up in the house that Michael built. Chicago just doesn’t have the pieces to pull that off, and therefore LeBron won’t be in the Chi next year. Mark Cuban has already expressed interest in LeBron, and he can offer a much more enticing package than Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich, as can a handful of other teams around the league. If Danny Ferry makes it clear that LeBron is available for a sign-and-trade, then Miami, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles (both teams), Dallas, and Houston will all be possible destinations… Chicago has the least amount of assets that they’re willing to give up out of those teams. Sorry Chicago. I believe you will have to settle for Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire and a shooter such as Anthony Morrow or Ray Allen.


New York is next. Check back soon for that post, along with the opening of our new site!

Vernon: Top 5 NBA PGs

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Timmy Vernon:


With the emergence of Rajon Rondo, the age-defying play of Steve Nash, the injury to Chris Paul and the explosive play of Derrick Rose, the conversations over “Best NBA Point Guard” have re-ignited. Before I fall all over myself trying to write an impressive intro for my first Zeus column, let’s instead get right to the rankings.



1) Steve Nash

I think if you took a poll of NBA players, asking which point guard they’d want to play with most, Steve Nash would win by a considerable margin (I’m sure Sports Illustrated has already done this, but our research budget here at Zeus of Sport is limited at best). Nash has it all – the vision, the shot, the experience, and the creativity. He’s worth the price of admission every night, making passes or throwing up running, underhand floaters reminiscent of the Pistol. Admittedly, at age 36 he’s pretty limited defensively, but his offensive game makes up for it. His vision is unmatched, as he’s able to find the open cutter or drive and dish, creating open shots for teammates (there’s a reason Phoenix was far and away the most efficient 3-point shooting team this year). His 3:1 assist: turnover ratio is impressive for a guy who has the ball in his hands as much as Nash. His shooting as a whole doesn’t even compare to any other point guards, ranking in the top 5 in 3-pt %, top 2 in FG %, and the far-and-away top FT shooter of any point guard today. Because of these factors, I’d argue all day that Nash is the best PG in the NBA.



2) Deron Williams

Big body, great vision, consistent shooter, leader on the court – there’s not much more you can ask from Deron Williams. He ranks second only to Nash in assists (in guards to play a full season), and his 47-37-80 FG-3pt-FT %s, while not spectacular, are consistently solid for a player who shoots and scores as much as he does. His defense separates him from players like Nash and Rose, who either don’t have the size/quickness or defensive discipline to match up with the various styles of point guard play across the NBA. He gets to the line more than anybody else in the top 5, and has shown the ability to pull up or drive, draw defenders, and dish - a big reason why Kyle Korver ran away with the best 3pt % in the league. The crown for best 2005 draft PG must be placed on Williams’ head for this season – but how long will it last?



3) Chris Paul

The only reason this post is even relevant is because of CP3’s two-month absence with a knee injury that resulted in doctors removing his torn meniscus rather than repairing it. They did this in hopes of getting Paul back sooner, which was a great move!!!…except that the Hornet’s had no title hopes….and that Paul is essentially their entire franchise…and that New Orleans had an inferior roster that went 8-17 in his absence, making his return worthless.

When healthy, there’s no question Paul is the best point guard in the league. The best assist: turnover ratio, league leader in steals, high percentage shooter and, if needed, prolific scorer. A year ago, when asked who would be the best player to start a franchise with, after the King most GMs would probably pick Paul. He’s as creative as Nash, as quick as Rondo and Rose, as tenacious on D as Williams, and has got as much vision as any of them. Just look at his numbers and remember who acted as his supporting cast. He really is the ultimate “make others better” point guard.

However, he wasn’t the same player in the week stretch after returning from the injury, and a botched knee surgery could easily ruin the effectiveness of a player like Paul. Not knowing what he will be like next year at full strength (if he even will ever be full strength), I had to place Paul in the middle of the pack, undeserving of the 1 spot but great enough that his memory prevented me from putting him 5 or leaving him off the list.



4) Rajon Rondo

I almost bought into the Rondo hype from these playoffs and ranked him #2 behind Nash. But then I remembered….HE CAN’T SHOOT!!!! Of point guards playing over 25 minutes a game, he ranks 4th in 3-point shooting. 4th worst that is, with an embarrassing 21%. Watching Rondo at times is amazing and impressive, and at other times is comical when the young Celtic won’t even think of shooting outside of 18 feet.

With that type of shooting you know he must do some other things pretty damn well to rank a close 4th with a group of great PGs. If you ask Mo Williams or Jameer Nelson, I’m sure they could tell you how quick Rondo is. He makes forwards look stupid with his patented fake-behind-the-back-while-cupping-the-ball-into-a-fingeroll move. He’s got the speed and he sees the court, and outside of his lack of jumper, he knows how to score. When you’re the leader and best player on an NBA Finals team that features three possible Hall of Famers, you know you’ve got something going.



5) Derrick Rose

The next Jason Kidd? No, no, no – the next Isaiah Thomas? Nah, he’s more athletic than both! Could he be the next “Big O”? Hell, he’s just Jordan in a point guard body!!! Going to school in the Chicago area, I’ve heard all of these comparisons for the young Derrick Rose. Carlos Cabrera, a fellow Zeus of Sport writer (WHERE’S HE BEEN!?), tends to perpetuate each of these ridiculous, unfound comparisons. Right now, Derrick Rose is an entertaining, explosive, yet streaky scoring guard who needs to develop range to be a complete point guard. I see him as a less creative but more complete scoring version of Rondo, who both are penalized for an abysmal 3-point %. Rose at this point can take over a game by himself, but isn’t to the point where he can lead his team to completely dominate. He’s a shoot-first point guard averaging six assists a game (the same as Allen Iverson’s career average, the ultimate shoot-first guard), and hasn’t yet figured out how to involve his team into his offensive game. Could he be the next _______ (fill in the blank)? Absolutely. He has the skill set necessary to be an absolutely dominant player if he develops the long jumper. But for the sake of today’s best NBA point guard argument, he will have to settle for number 5.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cramer: Bigger Announcement

Ladies and Gentlemen, after a long year of Zeus of Sport being run through Blogspot, we have decided to move to our own domain. Look for www.zeusofsport.com to open soon!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cramer: Announcement

I would like to announce that I will be welcoming a new writer to Zeus of Sport. Timmy Vernon, a freshman at Northwestern University, will be starting as a co-writer for Zeus of Sport this weekend. He has a vast knowledge of sports, and is a member of the Northwestern University Varsity Football team. I am proud to announce his arrival, and look forward to what he has to offer.

Keep an eye out for Timmy's work coming soon!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cramer: Apology

I'd like to apologize to my readers for not posting yet about the Conference Finals. I am in recovery from the shock that was the Cavs losing to Boston, and when I recover I will be back to update you on my thoughts about Phoenix vs. LA and Boston vs. Orlando.

Sorry again.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cramer: ________

Alright. It's over folks. The Cavs have been eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics in 6 games. I'm borderline speechless, but at the same time have a lot to say.

Let me start by saying thank you to the Cavs for a fun ride. I started this blog with my friend Wills last summer with the intention of covering the sports World, but my individual focus was on the Cavs. Over time, this blog has turned into a blog that focuses on the Cavs, and the affect they have on the NBA. I've seen and thought a lot about this team during that time period, and obviously it reached an all time low on Thursday night when their dream of winning a championship went down the drain.

I'm not going to focus on the game too much. The Cavs put themselves in a position to win, but they shot the ball way too poorly, and turned the ball over way too much to actually pull out a victory against what may very well be the best team in the NBA. Make no mistake about it, the Celtics came into this season as possible favorites to win the championship, and with the resurgence of KG those hopes are now very much intact. It's tough to swallow, obviously. This Cavs team believed 100% that they were better than the Celtics.

What I really want to talk about is LeBron and the future of this team. I'm going to be posting about this a lot over the next 2 months, but this is just my preliminary feelings on that. First of all, I'm extremely disappointed in LeBron. He showed flashes of being healthy, but could never put it all together on the court. It was so weird to me to watch this man struggle in a way I haven't ever seen him do. He was unable to do ANYTHING on the court. He couldn't finish, couldn't shoot, couldn't pass, couldn't close out on jump shooters... and yet he ends up with 27 19 and 10. Stats don't always tell the full story, and this is a prime example.

I'm all about the "no excuses" policy that many greats have had before, but when it affects your play as much as it clearly did to LeBron, you have to be honest with the media afterwards. LeBron is somewhat of an historian when it comes to the NBA, and if he thinks that this performance won't tarnish his legacy, he is sorely mistaken. Unless we find out over the next couple of weeks that he has elbow surgery, or some other issue, this will be a big red "X" on LeBron's hall-of-fame resume (he'll get in, but there will always be questions about his ability to win, and perform in the playoffs).

People will say that he does everything he can to get his teams wins, but his team just isn't good enough. That was true last year, and the year before... but not this year. As a matter of fact, it wasn't even LeBron's fault this year. It rests on Mike Brown's shoulders. If he is not fired by Monday, there is something seriously wrong with that franchise. In order to bring LeBron back to Cleveland for at least 3 more years, they need a GREAT coach next season. If they are able to bring one in, they have a much better chance of competing in games like these. Instead of constantly being outcoached, they need someone who can put these wonderful pieces together to form the championship team that they should be.

There are also some roster shake-ups that need to made, however they need to make them differently than they have in years past. It's been an arms race in the East for the last couple of years, but every year the Cavs have been competing against a different team. Two years ago they built their team to beat Boston after they lost them, but then they lost to Orlando. Last year they built their team to beat Orlando, but they lost to Boston. Had they gotten to Orlando, they would have had a much better chance than people are giving them credit for. The same goes for LA. They just didn't have the appropriate players to match-up with KG and Rondo this year (Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic anyone?). KG will continue to age, so they shouldn't be focused on him, but they certainly need to bring in someone to play the point. Mo should be a 6th man for this team.

However, getting back to my point, they need to build their team to be able to win regardless of the match-ups. The NBA is a lot about match-ups, but due to Mike Brown's terrible coaching style, the Cavs have focused WAY WAY WAY WAY too much on individual match-ups, and just trying to match-up with the other team, rather than making the other team match-up with them. Look at Orlando. Sure, playing Lewis at the 4 could give them defensive troubles, but it doesn't because they stick to their guns and make other teams put smaller people on the court in order to be able to match-up with THEM. Antawn Jamison may have been the answer for that, but it was a trade that ultimately may have cost them this series. Varejao or Hickson would have done a MUCH better job on KG than Jamison did, and that match-up likely lost them the series.

So instead of looking at the Cavs roster now and looking at what they can do to match-up with the Celtics for next year, I'm going to tell you what I think they can do to make themselves better:

1. They need a starting PG. I'd take a good long look at Darren Collison of New Orleans, or possibly getting a draft pick to take a young guy in the first round. The last couple years have had some really good PGs taken who were not expected to be as good as they have been (see: Rondo). If Mo were coming off the bench with Delonte... man, this team would have been fire.

2. They need a starting SG. Anthony Parker isn't going to cut it. If Danny Green wants to become great, fine, that's cool. Christian Eyenga? Ha. They need a legit 6'6" athletic wing player who can run with LeBron. Ray Allen would be nice, but he's old and likely not going to sign. Once again, this would be nice to get in the draft so they don't have to waste their MLE on this need, because the next need is much more pertinent for immediate success.

3. They need a starting C. Maybe not a starting Center if they can bring back Shaq for a year, but they need someone who will be able to take the reigns from him in a year and be able to defend Dwight Howard with relatively little to no help. I know I'm looking at match-ups here, but the fact is that if you can't defend Centers, you can't win against teams that have shooters. Orlando is that, and they will be the Cavs biggest threat in the coming years.

Looking at all those needs, I have to take a stance on LeBron. He should leave. There is no way in the world the Cavs can get all of those pieces this summer, and LeBron needs to go to a place where they already have people in place. He can't waste his youth on Cleveland any longer. I've thought about whether or not I'd support LeBron in a different jersey, and I would. I wouldn't support his team as much as I have the Cavs, because I have absolutely fallen in love with them, but I will always support LeBron's desire to become the best there is. He's a champion stuck in a loser's body right now, and in order to get into a new body suit, he needs to go to Chicago. It probably won't happen, but if he does, he will redefine greatness in the Chi.

I'll be back for more in the coming days/weeks. Sorry for ramblin'. It's been fun.

Peace.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cramer: Danny Green Help Us!?

Hopefully Danny Green has some sort of healing vision for LeBron's elbow here:

Cramer: Look at This


If anyone saw this on the ESPN Home Page last night, notice how swollen LeBron's elbow is (this pic was taken after he took off the sleeve in game 5. E-Mail me for a bigger shot of it (Zeusofsport@gmail.com).

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