When will they ever learn?

Michael Vick looks to be in trouble with the law again

In the past decade, professional sports has been a revolving door for players who are repeatedly involved in off-field incidents and it seems that this trend is going to continue.

Today, more details were released with regards to the shooting that occurred after Michael Vick’s birthday bash last Thursday night.

It was initially thought that Vick left the nightclub w,here his “ALL WHITE 30th birthday bash” was taking place, at least 10 maybe 20 minutes before the shooting occurred. However, time stamped video shows that Vick left the nightclub at around 2:07am and that the shots rang at about the 2:10am mark.

The shooting victim has now been confirmed to be Quanis Phillips, a party attendee and a co-defendant of Vick’s in the federal dog fighting case. Vick is not a suspect in the shooting, but part of his probation states that he is not allowed to have contact with anyone convicted of a felony unless granted permission by his probation officer. Vick claims that he did not invite Phillips and that he did not associate with him at the party.

No one right now knows the real story behind this but time and again we are seeing the same athletes unable to stay out of trouble off of the field.

It is possible that this incident is going to spell the end for Vick’s NFL career as the NFL has said that they have a zero tolerance policy with regards to Michael Vick’s case. Even if this incident wasn’t Vick’s fault or wrongdoing, the fact is that athletes are constantly putting themselves in situations where they are almost asking for trouble. As Colin Cowherd says, “nothing good ever happens at 2 in the morning.”

It would seem like it is about time that these players start to shape up and get with the program? Sure doesn’t look like it to me. I think that the small percentage of professional athletes that get in the news for their off the field altercations are always going to be around and that is something that is not going to change.

You would think that these people would learn from their own but also from watching the mistakes made by other athletes. I always wonder why they don’t learn, but what I think many of us fail to consider, is that change is not as easy as it looks or sounds. My question is whether these athletes are mentally capable of stopping themselves. This is not an attack on these athletes’ intelligence, rather it is a question of overcoming inborn personality traits and characteristics that lead them in the direction of their oblivious decision making.

It is mind boggling to see professional athletes willingly throw away fame and fortune.

If you are over the age of 15 I am sure you have heard a bit about the Nature vs. Nurture debate. Well, I’m a big believer that nature prevails in most situations. There is no doubt that nurture plays a fairly large part in the development of a person but in the end you cannot change who you are. You may be able to change your appearance to society and those around you, but in the end your true colours will eventually triumph. Just ask Tiger Woods.

Adam “Pacman” Jones is a prime example of a talented athlete who was given repeated opportunities to reconcile but decided not to take advantage of them. Jones’ legacy could very well end up being the professional athlete that couldn’t get away from strip clubs.

Pacman was drafted 6th overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2005 NFL draft but missed most of training camp due to a contract dispute. Apparently the Titans were concerned with several off the field incidents that happened shortly after the draft. This included a fight that put him on probation.

Then in April of 2007, after Pacman’s breakout sophomore season, he was suspended one year for numerous off-field altercations. In 2008 was traded to Dallas where during the season he was suspended for four games because of a dispute with his bodyguard. Later, in January of 2009, the Cowboys announced they would release Jones after officials learned that he was a suspect in a June 2007 shooting outside a Las Vegas strip club.

Pacman was given more than enough opportunities to succeed and leave himself financially set for the rest of his life but against better judgement he decided to take a different route.

Needless to say, but Ben Roethlisberger drinks like a champion

Another star who has had a number of incidents is Big Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben has had not one but two incidents involving women who have accused him of sexual assault. As an observer from the outside you figure one time isn’t so bad, it could just be a crazy woman looking for some attention. However, when you hear the same allegations twice you do not give the same leeway to a person. Roethlisberger will be suspended for the first six games of the upcoming NFL season. Big Ben is also well known for his hard partying ways.

The jury is still out on Ben Roethlisberger as he already has two super bowls to his name despite his problems off the field.

One other guy I want to mention is Tennessee Titan quarterback Vince Young who has also had a number of issues off the field. Despite some of his early on-field success, Young went missing for a bit in 2008 because he was upset over being booed by Titan fans and spraining his left MCL in his knee. Young almost lost his job but was kept on and had a nice little comeback season last year after being reinstated as the team’s starting quarterback. But this past offseason Vince Young got into a fight at a nightclub with a person who allegedly made some derogatory remarks about his alma mater Texas Longhorns.

So yet again, just when it looked like Vince Young was turning the corner and becoming more mature he, like so many others, regressed back to his old ways.

Yes it is true that maybe Vince Young was provoked. Maybe Michael Vick didn’t do anything wrong at his own birthday bash. Maybe Ben Roethlisberger did not rape these women. Maybe Pacman was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I don’t buy any of those maybe’s but even if they aren’t true there is no denying the fact that these players are putting themselves in a position to get in trouble. Is it really that hard to avoid a nightclub or a strip club. It’s great to have fun but why would you ever risk all the things that you have worked so hard for in your life just for a bit of entertainment?

They all talk the talk and say that they are going to rescind their old reckless ways, but walking the walk is a whole other beast.

Why the —- is Michael Vick going to a nightclub for his birthday. When you’re under the kind of scrutiny that Michael Vick is under it is completely nonsensical to do that.

Is it that these guys think that they’re stars and feel invincible?

Possibly.

But as I said earlier I think that it is more to do with athletes unable to resist. Unable to resist the temptations of being a star, the spotlight, and everything else that the life of a professional athlete has to offer. I think that they are people who live off the adrenaline of life. It is who they are and it is how they get to the top of their profession. They can’t force themselves to make the smart decision.

Michael Vick, Adam “Pacman” Jones, Ben Roethlisberger, Vince Young, Tiger Woods, Plaxico Burress, the list goes on. If you’re asking yourself when will they ever learn?

The simple answer is probably never.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

Also check out howiGit’s blog, a guaranteed great read every time.

Lebron and sidekick will be dominant, but will it translate to a championship?

Fellow all-stars Lebron James and Chris Bosh could be playing together next season

This past weekend the New York Times reported that a team executive from one of the clubs going after Lebron James said the free agent to be is strongly leaning towards the Chicago Bulls, along with fellow USA teammate Chris Bosh. The source said that he gathered as much from discussions with his fellow NBA executives, saying, “I think it’s a done deal.” The source also stated that the other major teams attempting to lure Lebron and Co. are the Miami Heat, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, and the Los Angeles Clippers. Now we all know that Lebron James can carry a team to the top of the NBA standings and adding a guy like Chris Bosh to his team would make it that much more dominant. However, the question arises of whether bringing in Lebron and another max player will translate into an NBA championship.

If the New York Times report does indeed happen to be correct, and the Bulls are able to lure Lebron and Bosh to the windy city, they will be joining probably the best supporting cast, of the teams that have the cap space to acquire 2 max free agents. Of the 5 players that the Bulls have under contract next year, 4 of those guys are all productive players. The 4 include Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, and Taj Gibson. Derrick Rose is turning into one of the elite point guards in the league and Joakim Noah has made a name for himself with his rebounding, hustle, and determination. Although Luol Deng has not lived up to the big contract he signed a couple of years ago, he did have a strong comeback season last year averaging 17.6 points and 7.3 rebounds. Taj Gibson, who plays the same position as Chris Bosh also had a solid rookie season and would be a very adequate backup.

I think that there is virtually no doubt that the Bulls, with Lebron and Bosh, would be a dominate regular season team. However, come playoff time, they are going to have some issues if they are unable to bring in the role palyers that would best complement their lineup. First off, as of right now the Bulls are missing a shooting guard/quality stand-still shooter. If you have Derrick Rose, Chris Bosh, Lebron James and Joakim Noah in your starting lineup, LBJ is the only “consistent” 3-point shooter (33%). The offensive end is seriously contracted with those 4 guys on the floor. If the Bulls cannot add a couple quality shooters it will be tough to call them legitimate contenders for the NBA Championship.

J.J. Redick is looking at a raise this offseason

For the Chicago Bulls, cash is going to be an issue for bringing in quality players, but there are a couple potential guys on the market that could fit nicely onto their roster. J.J. Reddick is a restricted free agent who proved that he can be a real solid bench player for the Orlando Magic this year, as he has expanded his game and improved his defence. Also, former USA National team player Mike Miller is an unrestricted free agent and could be what the Bulls need. Although Miller has stopped shooting the ball in recent years, he still shoots it at a high percentage, and maybe getting open looks from a star-studded Bulls cast could change that. Nate Robinson could also be an option as a guy coming off the bench. Robinson showed that he can keep his mouth shut and put the team above his own needs while he was in Boston. Let’s not forget the aging Anthony Parker who is a smart veteran that knows his role and will not be seeking a whole lot of money.

It should be noted that Luol Deng has shot the 3 ball at around 38% the past three years, but only took 1.2 three-pointers a game last season, which was the most in his career.

The thing is, it is hard enough to find good role players for your team under normal circumstances. But when you are hoping to sign top flight free agents the salary cap becomes even more of an issue. It is going to be a big problem for these teams that have shed so much salary specifically for the 2010 free agent class because they have virtually no one on their rosters. The Chicago Bulls currently seem to be the best equipped of the teams in contention for Lebron and friends.

Right now, the Knicks have Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, as well as the developing Toney Douglas and Bill Walker. They also have Eddy Curry, but he is just most likely going to sit on the bench and count his millions. New York is not looking like the most viable option for any top tier free agent.

The Miami Heat, assuming Wade comes back, have only 3 guys on their roster after waiving James Jones today. The other two would be Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers. Again, like other teams in their situation, they are looking to find a number of quality bench/role players.

People like to talk about the weakness of Lebron James’ supporting cast in Cleveland, but when you look those guys compared to these other teams, was it really that bad? The Cavs had Mo Williams who is a very good shooter from the outside and although he isn’t a playmaking point guard you have to wonder if Lebron would work well with a point guard who dominates the ball and can’t shoot from the outside at a high percentage. Anderson Varejao and Joakim Noah are very similar players. It is obvious that Antawn Jamison underachieved but he has been a 20-10 guy throughout his career. Moreover, you add on Delonte West and J.J. Hickson, and suddenly you think that maybe these teams aren’t much better off than the Cavs.

Don’t get me wrong, adding an all-star power forward will make a world of difference for Lebron James, but in the end you need the proper role players to get the job done. It also has to be said that having Bosh or Stoudemire as a sidekick is not a very solid intimidating presence in the paint for opposing big men. Bosh isn’t strong enough to be a true force inside and Stoudemire doesn’t seem to care on the boards sometimes. That’s why the situation in Chicago would be great because Joakim Noah can be that force in the inside even though he is more of a power forward.

Brook Lopez is turning into one of the best center\'s in the NBA

One team that isn’t talked about nearly as much as the Knicks, Heat, and Bulls, are the lowly New Jersey Nets. In terms of supporting cast, the Nets are arguably in the second best position among the teams involved in the Lebron sweepstakes. New Jersey currently has 8 guys under contract and soon to be 9 with Derrick Favours coming to town. As we have seen with the LA Lakers the past two years, having a big team makes a big difference. If Derrick Favours can live up to his potential, he would give the Nets a two headed monster up front along with Brook Lopez. You also have an all-star calibre point guard in Devin Harris, who is looking to rebound after a poor injury plagued season. Then add to the mix good role players in Courtney Lee and sophmore Terrence Williams. All of the sudden you’re looking at an upper echelon team if you can acquire Lebron James. However unlike Chicago or Miami, the sidekick needed here would not be Chris Bosh or Amare, rather someone like Joe Johnson would probably be the best fit if Lebron were to flock to New Jersey considering they would already have two starting big men. It was also reported today that Yi JianLian has been traded to the Wizards for Quinton Ross and cash, which leaves even more cap room for the New Jersey Nets.

It looks as though Lebron James is going to leave Cleveland and bring a sidekick with him wherever he goes. There is no denying that a team with Lebron James is immediately a playoff team, but without the right pieces it will not be a championship team.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

Also check out howiGit’s blog, a guaranteed great read every time.

Lampard non-goal didn’t matter…are you kidding me!

England leaves the 2010 World Cup with another disappointing finish

Earlier today European soccer powers England and Germany faced off in the round of 16. Germany went on to take the match by a seemingly lopsided 4-1 score. After 32 minutes England was down 2-0 and looked defeated. However, a Matthew Upson header inside the box cut the deficit in half as England started to pour it on. They continued the pressure after the Upson goal as Lampard thought he had tied the game with a chip shot the bounced off the bottom of the crossbar, over the goal line and out. But alas a goal was not awarded by the referee. Thus at half England was still down 2-1 despite giving a poor effort for the first 30 odd minutes. England continued strong in the second half and came very close to breaking through a number of times with the best of those chances being a Frank Lampard free kick that hit the crossbar. The English push allowed numerous German counter-attacks and against the flow of play Muller scored in the 67th minute and then again 3 minutes later to make the score 4-1. Many people may be saying that the disallowed Lampard goal didn’t have any real effect on the game. They will say that the Germans were ultimately the better team and that the score was 4-1. If you’re in that boat then you are sadly mistaken.

There is no doubt that Germany was the better team for the majority of the first half as the England defence looked about as stable as a 3 legged horse. However, there is no denying that after Germany took that 2-0 lead England transformed into a completely different team. The 2-0 deficit removed the tension from the squad, gave them a sense of urgency that was lacking, and allowed them to just play the game. Being down 2-0 in soccer is such a difficult thing to comeback from. Being down 2-0 to a supposed superior team is even more difficult.

For a long time we are going to be hearing people say that Germany was the better team and that the Lampard goal didn’t even really factor into the game. The German squad would have won eventually anyways.

I don’t understand this thought process in the slightest bit.

First off, any sports fan should know that if the Lampard shot is counted it would signal a significant turning point in the game. England would have gone into the half with all the momentum on their side, where as the Germans would have been deflated like a pin to a balloon.

Also, despite losing a bit of the momentum because of the non-goal the English squad were still able to come out very strong in the second half. England was carrying the play and creating potential scoring opportunities. Yes it is true that the English did not capitalize on some of their almost chances but you have to remember this is soccer. What do you expect?

The Germans may have been the better team at the end of the day but the reason they won 4-1 was not because they were the better team. The reason they were able to blow the game open was because the England push for that all important tying goal allowed odd man counter-attacks from the German side. If the Lampard goal is counted there is no reason to believe that the Germans would have been able to have the amount of odd man rushes like they had when they were up 2-1. If the English had not been down by a goal they would not have been forced to attack in the manner that they did. The game would have been a much different game had that 2-2 goal in the 38th minute counted. As a hockey fan I see this happen all too often where a team down in the final period of a game are constantly exposed defensively as they give their all out push to salvage a good result . This situation is very similar in soccer and was very apparent today.

It should be mentioned that prior to this game, the previous 4 encounters between England and Germany resulted in extra time. This is not American football or hockey where scoring isn’t at as much of a premium. This is soccer.

This also brings to greater light the importance of video replay. I highlighted this point in an earlier post and even though controversial goals do not come about very often, the ability to have video review on hand is very crucial. I strongly believe that the key to a game is getting the calls right. I have heard it over and over that fans do not want to stop the game because it ruins the “flow” of the game. Think about that and realize that getting the call right is much more important than a few minutes of stopped time. Ruin the integrity of the game or ruin the flow? Your choice.

The Lampard non-goal was the biggest deciding factor in today’s 4-1 German victory. It is indisputable that England would have gone into the half with all the momentum, they would not have been forced to play so offensively, and thus the outcome would not have been the same

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

Also check out howiGit’s blog, a guaranteed great read every time.

Toronto Maple Laughs

It has been 42 long years since the Toronto Maple Leafs have even made an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals and it doesn’t look like they are close to breaking the longest Stanley Cup drought in the NHL. In past years the Toronto Maple Leafs have had teams that have been close to Stanley cup teams but came up just short. Recently though the Maple Leafs, one of the most storied NHL franchises, have been perennial bottom-feeders. For bottom place teams the NHL draft, which takes place tonight, is usually the best place to start building a foundation for the future. However, unlike other teams of their kind, the Maple Leafs under GM Brian Burke have chosen not to take the rebuilding route. Despite his best efforts to make the Maple Leafs an immediate winner, it was and still is apparent that Brian Burke did indeed make the wrong decision and now there is no turning back.

Brian Burke has stated numerous times that he is not going to rebuild and that he strongly believes the Maple Leafs are a team that has the right pieces in place to build a winning franchise immediately. With this school of thought, at the beginning of last season Brian Burke decided to deal his 2010 and 2011 first round picks and his 2010 second round pick for Phil Kessel. Toronto ended up finishing second last in the league and subsequently the draft lottery provided the Boston Bruins with the #2 pick overall in the 2010 draft. The #2 pick this year is either going to be Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin who both qualify as very good #1 overall picks. Instead of being able to draft a young, cheap franchise player to build around, the Maple Leafs have a quality, expensive (5 years $27 milllion) 1st line forward. Also, as mentioned they do not have their first round pick next year, which will probably end up being another top 5 pick.

For me the key to building a good franchise comes from investing your resources in scouting and developing young players. In the new salary cap NHL, having quality inexpensive youth is the key to developing a good team. Obviously Brian Burke doesn’t feel the same way.

Phil Kessel is arguably worth 2 first round picks but he is definitely not worth 2 most likely high first round picks. The problem with giving up high first round draft picks for a proven scorer is that there is nobody for a guy of his calibre to play with. I would like to know what the logic is behind bringing in a young, proven, expensive and a supposed franchise player when there are no quality pieces to surround him with. If you have no pieces in place then the most logical way of finding quality pieces would probably be through the draft. However, when you’re constantly giving up your future there is almost no way you can build around a supposed franchise forward.

The Toronto Maple Leafs do have some good young pieces. For example, Mikhail Grabovski, Viktor Stalberg, and Luke Schenn but these guys are not the players that are going to carry a team . Bringing in Dion Phaneuf for a number of middle-of-the-road players is probably the right decision at this point. The initial problem was overpaying for players such as Jeff Finger and Francois Beauchemin who, because of their age, had hit their ceiling before ever coming to Toronto. Building a team around Phil Kessel, Dion Phaneuf and no name Joe is not going to get the job done.

The inability for Brian Burke to be patient has made it so his team doesn’t stand a chance of being a real contender in the years to come. Following in the footsteps of the Chicago Blackhawks’ front office would have been more sensible decision. The Blackhawks’ four core pieces, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Kane, and Jonathan Toews were all acquired through the draft. In addition to those 4, the Blackhawks also drafted Dave Bolland, Troy Brouwer, Adam Burish, and Dustin Byfuglien who were all intergral players from their Stanley Cup winning team. It is also evident that their extra money poured into scouting allowed them to steal away Patrick Sharp and Kris Versteeg in trades for virtually nothing.
After the Blackhawks finally had the right young pieces in place, they were then able to sign a couple of major free agents in Brian Campbell and Marian Hossa. I guess patience eventually only led the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup victory, but what is that worth anyways?

With the NHL draft going on today and the Toronto Maple Leafs without their top first round pick it looks like it’s going to be another disappointing season for the team and their fans. The Toronto Maple Leafs do not have the correct pieces in place right now and I don’t think that they will be able to find them through free agency or trades. It is possible that Maple Leaf teams of the future could slip into the 7 or 8 seeds because of the weakness of the Eastern Conference but Brian Burke has set his team up for a future of mediocrity.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter! Follow me at http://www.twitter.com/paintstheblack.

Also check out howiGit’s blog, a guaranteed great read every time.

NBA Draft forcing major personnel decisions

John Wall is a lock to be the 1st selection in Thursday's draft

John Wall has been the consensus number 1 pick ever since he entered his freshman year at Kentucky. His explosiveness and instincts have put him at a level above the rest of the 2010 NBA draft class. However, with the Washington Wizards holding the 1st pick in the NBA draft there has been a lot of speculation as to what is going to happen at the point guard position. It is not just the Wizards though, a number of other teams with early lottery picks are going to have to choose between future and the present as well as needs and best available.

Washington Wizards. It is no secret that the Washington Wizards have had a lot of off and on the court issues with their players and especially Gilbert Arenas. On the court Gilbert Arenas has shown he can be one of the best players in the NBA as well as one of the best clutch shooters in the league. After receiving a big contract from the Wiz, Gilbert was hampered by injuries but last season was finally healthy. However, he had trouble getting back to his old form. Later in the season, after an incident where he brought guns into the locker room, Arenas was suspended for the rest of the year.

Fast forward to the present. The Wizards have the first pick in the 2010 draft and are no doubt going to select the 6 foot 4 point guard John Wall out of Kentucky. It just so happens that point guard is the position that Gilbert Arenas plays. What are the Wizards to do? The possibility of trading Gilbert Arenas is very low considering the massive amount of money that is still owed to him (Around 95 million over next 5 years), and his play which has been less than stellar to say the least. I think that the best and most obvious decision would be to move Gilbert Arenas to shooting guard and bring in John Wall to play the point. First off, there has always been a lot of criticism to the way Arenas plays point guard as he dominates the ball and mostly creates for himself rather than for teammates. It seems like a move to shooting guard could be suitable for Arenas. However, a problem that this poses is that both John Wall and Gilbert Arenas are players who dominate the ball. Although John Wall is a very unselfish player, he is going to need the ball in his hands a lot. Both Arenas and Wall are unbelievably talented players but meshing together is going to take time and force them to put their egos aside.

Evan Turner is widely regarded as the second best player in the draft

Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers hold the second pick in the draft and are a team that isn’t really being talked about right now. Shooting guard Evan Turner has been the consensus number 2 for as long as John Wall has been the talk of the town. Bringing in Evan Turner is the sensible pick but I also see it as a potential problem for the 76ers. Andre Iguodala is listed as a Guard/Forward, so he can play the 2 or the 3. Drafting Evan would mean an obvious move for Andre Iguodala to small forward. Now the transition to small forward isn’t the problem, rather the problem I see is that Turner and Iguodala are quite similar as players. Both players are slashers that are very good in transition but aren’t great outside shooters. Granted Iguodala is alright from beyond the arc as a career 32.1% shooter from back there, but by no means is he automatic. Evan Turner has a great mid-range game but is also not a polished outside shooter. I just don’t see this team, with their 2 star players being so similar, having great success in the future. A quick note also is that Louis Williams is probably going to see his role diminished as a result of Evan Turner’s arrival.

New Jersey Nets. The new owner for the Nets, Mikhail Prokhorov, has some mighty aspirations for a team that almost set the record for most losses in a season last year. For rebuilding teams, the draft is where it is all supposed to start but the fact that the lowly Nets did not get the #1 or #2 pick this year is causing some major headaches for the front office. The Nets need a top flight wing player but no player of that criteria seems deserving of the #3 pick. That leaves the Nets with probably having to take another big man to complement Brook Lopez. Now taking another big man is not the most terrible thing in the world but it is not ideal. The safest choice would probably Derrick Favours who has all the physical tools to be a great big man but is very raw. The other big man choice is Demarcus Cousins who is slipping in a number of mock drafts because of questions surrounding his maturity and work ethic. Having a two-headed monster could pan out great for the Nets, just look at the San Antonio Spurs when they had David Robinson and Tim Duncan. However, the inability of the Nets to find a franchise wing player in this first draft under their new owner could cause some issues in the future. The Nets do have a lot of cap room this year and there are a number of very good second and third tier free agents out there. With the Nets probably not getting the wing player they need in this draft, it is very possible that an opportunity for immediate success could have the Nets overpaying for lower level free agents.

Demarcus Cousins' draft stock has been falling

Minnesota Timberwolves. Another team with a number of personnel issues are the Minnesota Timberwolves and this draft is not going to help solve those problems. First of all, the T-Wolves made one of the most mind-boggling draft decisions ever last year by drafting two franchise point guards in Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn. Minnesota also has issues up front because the front office has decided that there is no way that the two power forwards Kevin Love and Al Jefferson can play together. There has been a lot of talk over the last few months about dealing Al Jefferson but nothing has happened so far. Like the Nets, the Timberwolves could use a good wing player, but again the question is whether there is one deserving of such an early pick. I didn’t mention earlier that Wesley Johnson is
probably the only guy that could be taken that high, but he may have limited upside on the offensive end. The guy that I would probably peg in that spot if he falls to them is Demarcus Cousins. Cousins is a legitimate talent as well as a legitimate center, which is something the Timberwolves could use. I think that all the talk surrounding his immaturity and work ethic can be changed if he is put into the right environment. This is a guy who could eventually be classified among the best big men in the league and it would be too hard to pass up on a talent like him. What they are going to do with their power forward situation is something we will have to wait and see. Minnesota needs a wing player but could use a center and Cousins fits the bill.

Sacramento Kings. A number of mock drafts have a big man pegged the Kings way but I just don’t see why the Kings would go in that direction given their current situation. The Kings already have young power forwards in Jason Thompson and Carl Landry. In addition to those two they acquired center Samuel Dalembert from the 76ers. Big man is not a need for the Sacramento Kings. After dealing Kevin Martin the Kings are another team in need of a wing scorer but alas there doesn’t seem to be very many quality ones in this draft. The Kings are going to have a very tough decision to make come Thursday evening.

Toronto Raptors. Well, I have to talk about the Toronto Raptors because I am a huge fan of theirs. The Raps have way too many personnel problems to deal with. Their point guard play has suddenly become very average, Hedo Turkoglu doesn’t want to play for them anymore, and who knows what is going to happen with Chris Bosh. In my opinion, the smartest thing for the Raptors would be to try and pick up a true center rather than try and replace Chris Bosh. The Raptors have lacked a real interior presence since Bosh has arrived on the scene and Andrea Bargnani could easily move to power forward. I have seen most mock drafts put Cole Aldrich into the hands of the Houston Rockets who draft at #14 right after the Raptors. Despite his limited upside, I think that Aldrich would be the safest and smartest pick. Like other teams early in the draft the Raptors need a productive wing player. Their first round pick last year Demar Derozan is still developing and as of right now Hedo Turkoglu is still around. Drafting a wing player in this draft would be almost pointless because there is no room on the roster for a wing player to get significant playing time and develop. Cole Aldrich on the other hand can block shots, rebound and play defence, which are none of the attributes that the Raptors had as a team last season.

The 2010 NBA draft class may not be one of the strongest draft classes of all time. Well, they said the last year too. But one thing that is for sure is that more than usual we will be seeing teams in the early stages of the draft having to make very tough decisions in choosing either for need or the best player available.

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