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Top 10: NBA players you should know but don’t

While the glory years of Jordan, Magic and Bird are long gone, the NBA is currently grooming its future stars right under your nose. Do you smell it? No, its not the King James-Kobe Bryant-Dwayne Wade headline acts you’re used to getting hyped about. These are the up and comers in the NBA; these are the players plagued by bad teams and bad markets…the finest of the NBA underground. I’ve compiled a list of the NBA’s most underrated and least talked about ballers who have ridiculous upside. So wake up, get your coffee and don’t sleep on the following:

CDR leads the Nets in scoring.

Chris Douglas-Roberts: I love guys with two last names. The second-year stud who was a teammate of Derrick Rose at Memphis has come into his own depsite playing for the woeful Nets. He is currently averaging over 18 points and 5 rebounds per game while leading the Nets in scoring. At 6’7” Douglas-Roberts is an above average perimeter defender and getting better.

Luis Scola: The 6’9 import  from Argentina made a little name for himself last year during the Rockets series with the Lakers. But this year he has taken it to a new level averaging a double-double (15 point and 10 rebounds). A scrappy defender, Scola has that ability to get under the skin of opponenets and do ‘dirt.’

Jason Thompson: In his second year removed from uknown Rider University, this power foward is making strides for the Sacremento Kings starting in every game this year. While we hear little of west coast teams other the Lakeshow, Thompson has an impressive 14.5 point and 9.5 rebound per game average. The Kings are +20 when he’s on the court.

Russell Westbrook: Oklahoma City does have a team, the Thunder. He will soon be a household name; Westbrook has been a star since last year coming out of UCLA. His points and assists are up from his rookie year and he fills up stat sheets: 16.4 points, 7.1 assists, and 5 rebounds per game as a 6’3” guard.

Is Marc better than Pau?

Marc Gasol:

While his brother gets all the ‘pub’ in L.A., dare I say Marc in Memphis is as good? Known as a good back to the basket and help-side defender, Marc is having a career year with 15 points and 11 boards a game. He is shooting over 60% while leading the team in blocks and ranks second in steals.

 

Kevin Martin: This kid has been on the rise over the past two seasons, and if you haven’t heard of him, you should. Despite only playing in five games this year, the 6’7” skinny guard (a career 17 point per game scorer) is averaging 30 points per game and shooting 44% from the arc. He is a scoring phenom.

Granger is the modern day Scottie Pippen.

Danny Granger: Another player that you should know about. Probably the most known on this list, Granger is the Pacer’s do-it-all guy. Having a career year with 24 ppg and just under 7 rpg, the versatile 6’8” forward is a modern day Scottie Pippen and fills up the offensive and defensive stat sheet.

Brook Lopez: I hated this guy in college, but the big man out of Stanford is one of the only good things happening for the New Jersey Nets. In a league with no centers, Lopez is developing into a guy who can score in the post and defend the basket. He’s getting 17 and 9 while blocking 2.7 shots per game.

Ryan Anderson: By no means a star, Anderson has added another piece to the 2009 Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic.  Hedo Turkoglu departed for Toronto, but the 6’11” sharp shooting Anderson will be a key to Orlando’s success. A spot starter averaging 13 ppg and 4 rpg in his second year, Anderson can stretch the defense giving Dwight Howard room to operate and an option to pass out of double teams.

Tyreke Evans:This kid is turning out to be a personal favorite of mine. The rookie who took over for Derrick Rose after leaving Memphis is another young talent in Sacremento. His physically imposing 6’6” 220 lb frame makes him a tough match up for any NBA guard. Evans is getting 18, 4.5 and 4.5 in his first 11 games with the Kings and should challenge Brandon Jennings for rookie of the year. Still developing, Evans has a tremendous upside offensively and has shown good insticts on the defensive end.

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LeBrown James

Here is a little poem i wrote:

Roses are red, violets are blue, if I ever have to watch a Browns game again, punch me in the face.

Eric Mangini's job is on the line

I can think of at least 3 things that are brown that I like more than watching the Browns play football:

1) Hashbrowns.

2) Brown-nosers.

3) Dirt.

 Maybe even four if I get creative.

Seriously, with that anemic offense…I’d rather chew on a light bulb than have to watch that team for one quarter. Derek Anderson…Brady Quinn…Derek Quinn…does it even matter? This team’s horrible. You know when your team captain is a washed up running back who was charged with intent to distribute 5 kilo’s of coke, you got some leadership issues.

Mangini, wow you’re in a tough spot. What do you do? You got a terrible team, no hope, and probably going to lose your job. But there is a ray of light: Lebron James?

LeBron James stated if he put time into it, he could be 'really good' at football.

Yes, Bron Bron. After LeBron’s latest comments, Mangini entertained the idea of LBJ playing for his putrid Browns and even went as far as to offer the allstar an invitation to come join the team. Job security? I don’t care if you guys go 0-16…if ManGenius can get Lebron to play ball for the Browns, I’m putting him in the category of Belichick, Shanahan, and Cowher. You’re a total winner in my book bro.

I’ll take it a step further, I don’t care if Cleveland doesn’t win a game for the next 3 seasons. If LBJ is split out at receiver or tight end next season, I’m buying the NFL Sunday Ticket and tivo-ing every  single one of those Browns games and making a point to watch ’em.

Maybe there is some hope if you look deep into the Cleveland Brown…you might be able to pull something out of that mud. Lebron James. Now that would be one of the best coaching jobs I’ve ever seen.

 

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High Above the Rim; Getting High-er

Despite questions on how his game would translate to the NBA, Noah leads the NBA in rebounding.

‘I love you mommy’ – Joakim Noah yells to the UC crowd after the Bull’s 125-123 triple overtime win in Game 6 against the Celtics.

 

Questionable. Until Joakim Noah took the ball from Paul Pierce and went the length of the court in the third overtime of Game 6 in last year’s epic Bulls Celtic series, Noah had more question marks surrounding his name than ‘The Riddler.’ Despite a stellar collegiate career at Florida (before it was Tebow Land), there were questions on how the 9th overall selection in the 2007 NBA draft, the 7-ft lanky center with limited offensive game,  would translate in the NBA. More importantly, he had what some people in NBA draft board rooms would call ‘character issues.’ 

Homeboy did have his share of issues too – clashing with head coach Scott Skiles during his rookie campaign – his child-like interviews with the media –  his 2008 mishap with Gainesville police where they found open alcohol and weed in his car (what a surprise!?!…redefining the meaning of a high draft pick).

Regardless of that, this kid’s a different breed, no doubt. How many people do you know who have a professional tennis player for a dad and a mom who was named Miss Sweden in 1978? Probably not many, and if you do, then you need to bring your friends around more. We should chill.

Noah looking highly amused-nice assist

But seriously, just look at the dude. His physical appearance resembles a 7-foot tall Bozo the Clown with longer hair and a bucktooth smile.. not to mention looking like a distant relative of Cheech or Chong. It’s no wonder fans would question what kind of player he would turn out to be.

But the past is the past, and the present is now…unless of course you just got high in which case time demensions can be confusing….I digress.

Point being: The kid who was a one-time questionable draft pick is currently morphing into NBA stud…a ‘chronic’ double-double machine…a ‘habitual’ and ‘potent’ offensive rebounder…an overall ‘dank’ center (ok, you get the point).

Does his jumpshot look like a special olympics shot-put event? Yes. Does he often look like he hit the UC hardwood immediately after attending a Cypress Hill concert? Absolutely. But looks can be deceiving and 12-games into the season, Noah finds himself leading the league in rebounding (12.4) and is currently averaging a double-double. Throw in a couple blocks a game while hitting on 56% of his shots…ladies and gentlemen we have a legit NBA center in the building.

But the most valuable aspect of his game is his ‘energy’ (I hate the term ‘energy player’ more than calling a quarterback a ‘game manager’ – but he is exactly that). Who ever said smoking weed makes you lazy? Noah runs the floor like he’s trying to escape the Gainesville police and avoid his second marijuana misdemeanor…hustling back on defense and closing lanes…hitting the offensive glass for put backs…beating his man down the floor for an easy bucket…he’s a crowd igniter…he’s charasmatic… he has an identity.

It's been said that former Bull head coach Phil Jackson thought so highly of Noah that during the 'Kobe's fleeing L.A. for Chicago' rumor, the former Gator was the instrumental piece that allowed the Lakers to flirt with the idea of trading Bryant to the Bulls. 'I like the (lanky) centers more than the power (guys),' - ha, take that Shaq.

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Steelers Fan Talks Shit in Bears Bar – Gets Poisoned

PITTSBURGH – A Steelers fan, left blind and living with brain damage, says the effects were the result of being poisoned at a Chicago bar following a game in September.  “I haven’t been able to see. I’ve basically been blind for two months,” said Zack Heddinger. Heddinger told Channel 4 Action News anchor Michelle Wright that he and a few friends went to a bar following the Steelers’ 17-14 loss to the Bears at Soldier Field on Sept. 20. Heddinger said he and his friends were trash talking with Bears fans inside Kitty O’Shea’s, but can’t remember what else happened.”Basically, I guess, my buddies had gotten into an altercation and they offered a drink as a peacemaker from what I understand,” said Heddinger.  Not long after taking the drink, Heddinger passed out and was rushed to a nearby hospital, his heart stopping four times. “They thought it was antifreeze or something like that …because it was so strong,” said Heddinger.   Doctors suspect his drink may have been spiked with toxic grain alcohol.”I don’t think they tried to kill me. I think they tried to hurt me, but the killing came pretty close,” said Heddinger.

Let me share with you a quick story.  2006 NFC Divisional Playoff Game.  Bears vs Seahawks, Soldier Field.  Seattle fan four rows in front of us is wearing a plastic Seahawks helmet he’s probably had since he was a kid.  Long story short, by the middle of the 2nd QTR the face mask was ripped off and the helmet was smashed to pieces….while it was still on the dude’s head.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times — if you’re not from Chicago, you don’t come here and talk shit.  You just don’t do it.  I mean, what was this silly son-of-a-bitch Steelers fan thinking?  Its CHICAGO!!  We beat the shit out of each other arguing over Cubs / Sox.  Can you imagine what we do to outsiders?  Forget about the gangs and the mob for a second, there is nothing scarier than a bunch of pissed off South-Side Pollacks with no future.  And what a goober, falling for the free peacemaker drink spiked with antifreeze.  Oldest trick in the book my friend.  This guy is LUCKY he’s not dead.  And let me assure you, if the Bears had lost 17-14 instead of won, he would be.  Let this just serve as a lesson to all the other wise-ass, shit- talking visitors out there — you run your mouth here and you head home missing an ear or not being able to screw or something.  And that’s if you’re lucky.

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A Gamblers Dream…

Are you kidding me??  This is not happening.  

Georgia Tech only giving -13.5 at Duke.  The #7 team in the country playing a powder puff this week and the number is less than 2 TD’s.  I took that game without even blinking, final score GT49- Dukeies 10.  Next, on the menu, my eyes wandered over to the Cardinal of Standford, going into the house that Pete built and taking on a diminished Carroll led Trojans.  Surely, USC giving only 10.5 would handle Jim’s Harbaugh’s future doctors and lawyers.  I mean, USC has to still be embarrassed by the game 2 years ago when Stanford, 40 point DOGS handed USC the loss.  My disdain for USC allowed me to enjoy that Stanford victory 2 years ago, and helped me in taking Stanford this past weekend.  Stanford 55- USC 21…  2-0 baby!!

As usual, at this point I thinking, only 3 more games, and it’s yours.  I jumped into Big Ten action and immediately caught the Hawkeye fever.  Sure, they were going into the Horseshoe, but getting 17 is a huge number.  Remember Iowa is a team that plays nearly everyone closely.  Their defense is fairly solid and even without their quarterback there was no reason to let this dog lie.  I took Iowa and watched as they lost in OT 27-24.  With the 17 on the front end, this was an easy winner. 

The only time I really broke a sweat was watching the Irish, led by Mr. Weis.  Is this experiment over yet?  Charlie, first, wipe your nose off, we can all see the snot running down your face.  Next, give us a reason to believe you deserve another year.  Any wins against a Top 20 yet, nope.  Sure, you have flashy rings and a stunning physique, but your not doing nearly enough in South Bend and the time has come to pack your bags.  This was it, ND was gonna finally win against a Top 20, and Pittsburgh was giving 7.  Well, I was wrong, the Irish had a chance near the end to actually win the game, however ended losing 22-27, but with my 7 on the front end, BAM 4-0.

Here I was, sitting 4-0 and my hopes all riding on Oregon and if they can hold off Arizona State, and not just bet them, but pound them by 19+.  Sure the Ducks have been just crushing everyone since the first lose at the Blue Abyss earlier this season, but 19 is a big number.  4th quarter… not up by enough, bam, just then FG and finally another with less than 2 minutes to ice it, Oregon 44 – Arizona State 21.

My sensational Saturday, 5-0 without really even breaking a sweat.  Those of us that play the spread, know the feeling of that sweet temptation offered to us.  The delight in watching as our team covers, or the dog awakens, allowing us the savory taste of victory.  Sure the financial reward is fulfilling, but the knowledge of knowing WE picked the right team, is oh so satisfying. 

Parlay those picks together, on a $100 bet, and I just walked away with a cool $2500.  Only one problem… I didn’t play.  I had the winners written down before the games started, and just didn’t pull the trigger.

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Moobs…

Here I sit, waiting for my 1 hour flight to Detroit from Chicago, and of course I’m on a 1 hour delay.  As I gaze thoughtlessly into the crowd of strangers parading past me, it occurs to me, the man boob is becoming ever more ever-present.  One might ask, how do I notice this, and it is simply, how can I not.  This mysterious male feature has really taken shape over the past few years.  Much like the female version, it comes in all shapes and sizes, however us males typically have to earn ours.  There is no special formula that leads us to these flabby protrusions other than lack of exercise, too much gourmet fast food, and of course the sweet nectar of barley and hops.  Apparently there is some mumbo jumbo about a health disorder leading to this fabulous flab, but that is just heresay in my world.

moobsBoth young and old are affected alike.  College aged males slothed through the terminals, man jugs a bouncing, obvious victims of a lifestyle consisting of large amounts of mountain dew and Taco Bell all while playing mind numbing hours of Halo.  Middle aged weekend warriors were not stonewalled with the effects either.  These gladiators of recreational action have spent countless years packing on the muscle only to fall victim of the inevitable gain of extra pounds leading to a blubber infusion near the pectoral region. 

Then there’s the mammoth of the species.  This slow-moving behemoth has long ago decided that physical fitness was a passing fad that he had no interest in partaking in.  Not hard to spot, but fewer and fewer throughout the terminals, I was able to observe 3 of these special creatures (lucky enough to watch as 1 was in their natural habit, Potbelly Sandwiches, engulfing a 9 inch monster and 44oz coke; I spied another 7 inch delight in a bag on the table, perhaps a pre-flight 3 bites before boarding).

It was than that I was struck, my focus wasn’t as much based on the development of these man cans, but rather the tighter then Shawn Merriman’s hands around Tila Tequila’s neck, shirts being worn.  At some point, men decided to wear shirts that no longer providing the baggy protection from displaying their over juggly chesticles but rather squeeze into Ed Hardy’s overpriced, over-revealing creations. 

So dudes, the time has come for action.  Much like when we try to warn our buddies about the fury he is going to unleash by attempting to wrangle that hairy chinned, gorilla at the end of the bar, after 9 drinks (see Devious Scale), we must act and warn them about their mitties.  There are only 3 acceptable ways of doing this.  First, straight out, matter of fact, i.e. “Dude, new shirt… not good, your flab is flying, control that.”  Second, constant ball busting, typically within a larger group of male friends at a sporting event or in the local watering hole.  The cohort must consist of a minimum of three close friends in which have the freedom to bust balls at will because of past catastrophe that they helpjon-gosselin-932ed you avert in another 11 drink episode (see Devious Scale) in which the wildebeest at the circle table in the corner was snorting at you in delight.

Finally, the final way to force your friend into wearing a bigger shirt is by a constant barrage of purple nurples and titty twisters.  Engage this attack at a moment when defense systems have not yet been deployed, bringing attention to the weakened area in hopes that the thin fabric of Affliction and Ed Hardy (see side picture of douche bag —>) will never grace those shoulders again (or at least until he supports those moobs). 

The fact is, guys get fat, fine, but for the love of everything holy… wear a bigger shirt!!  I speak for society, we do not want to see the outlines of your chubby, hairy nipples, followed by the banana shaped bouncing that burns into our retina’s, leaving us simply dumbstruck.

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Things we should all learn in high school

Let me drop some score on what Ice Man touched on…

‘I thought high school games were played on Friday’ – Troy Aikman on the Bears performance against the Arizona Cardinals.

Never fall in love with the hottest girl in your high school; she always ends up to be a dissapointment a few years down the road. She’ll flaunt that 18-yr old figure but a few years of campus binge drinking always brings out the best in everyone. Three years later, you’ll wonder why you sacrificed all that time with her while watching all those ‘other girls’…more deserving girls get that ring on their finger they rightfully deserved. I’m a victim of my own advice. The once swarming, ball hawking, opportunistic, 11-man shield protecting the goal posts on the lake front has been reduced to shell of its former self. The 2006 prom queen, prude and impreganable without prophylactics is now washed up and has the likes of Tim Hightower ‘running up in it.’ When did she become so easy? It’s a damn shame, she used to look sooooo good…mmmm.

The Bengals remind me of another thing I learned in high school. You know that girl that never really looked that attractive…always got in trouble…didn’t have her shit together so you paid her no mind? Well boys, always be nice to her because you never know what she will turn out to be. A few years down the road when you and your buddies are trying to run game at the local watering hole, she’s going to walk in. Tossing that shiny hair over her shoulder and flaunting that ass. Her once-unapproachable personality blossumed and you find that she is no longer the socially awkard ‘troubled’ girl…rather she’s the talk of the bar, turning all heads while your boy mumurs… ‘Isn’t that what’s her face?’ You can’t believe it…what the fuck happened here? She used to be a big mess and while she might not be ‘championship’ material, you know damn well that she’s going to see a ring far faster than the rag doll your dating…even if its only a cheap engagement ring with ‘AFC Champion’ engraved on it. It all comes full circle…just as fitting as watching Ced Benson come back and run right over you, and when its happens you’re going to turn to your buddy as say, ‘You know we used to date, right?’

Bullshit…and if you did, then you shouldn’t have been so quick to dump her. Idiot. But I guess that your Forte when your Thomas ‘Jones-in’, huh?

Well, since 2006, the Bears have had my cheap engagement ring…NFC Champion, but she’s not what she used to be…and at this point…with her current qualities and disasterous make-up… I think we are just forever engaged. She’s never going get her ‘wedding’ ring. What a bitch.

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