Archive for May, 2010


Kobe Bryant Dominates Oklahoma City Thunder as a Point Guard

After watching Russell Westbrook carve up the Laker’s defense and make Derek Fisher look like he is just a tad under 1,000 years old, Kobe decided to guard Westbrook in Game Five.

But that wasn’t the only place that Kobe subbed in for Fisher.

The Lakers have a distinct size advantage over the Thunder—or anyone really—inside the paint. The problem is that the Lakers don’t have a point guard that can penetrate, draw the defense, and then get the ball out to the bigs. I love Derek Fisher, but he never had great court vision, and at this point in his career he doesn’t have the ability to get in the lane and draw the defense.

So Kobe came out guarding Russell Westbrook, but as soon as the Lakers got a few possessions, it became clear that Kobe Bryant was playing the point guard position at both ends of the floor.

On defense he shut down Russell Westbrook and disrupted the Thunder’s entire offense. He was such an intimidating force defensively that at one point Westbrook was going up for an easy layup, but when Kobe feigned a defensive effort (not even leaving his feet), Westbrook quickly got the ball out of his hands and passed up on two easy points.

On offense Kobe dictated the tempo, distracted the defense, and created open looks and opportunities for other players. His 13 points and seven assists may not seem all the impressive, but Kobe completely dominated the game. He created almost every single play; the ball went through Kobe and Kobe manufactured offensive opportunities. It got to the point that when Kobe touched the ball, you knew the Lakers were getting two points.

Overall it was a brilliant performance from a team that seems to be a point guard away from a championship. If Kobe can fill that role, while still putting up big points in games when his teammates are cold, then maybe this team has a shot at a repeated.


San Francisco 49ers Draft Recap

After months of mock ups and hundreds of hours of predictions, the NFL draft is finally over. Now, the obligatory months of analysis begin, with professional athletes praising picks on potential and overly optimistic fans swearing that a punter from Mississippi State is just what they needed to go from last in their division to Super Bowl Champions.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no different.

No. 11 Overall—Anthony Davis, OT

This guy was a really good pass blocker in college, and should be able to make the transition to the pros by Week One. He will provide Alex Smith with added protection and more time in the pocket to scan the field, enabling him to throw passes that land 15 yards away from the nearest Niner more effectively.

He has some trouble with run blocking, but don’t worry, because he isn’t the only offensive lineman getting drafted in the first round.

No. 17 Overall—Mike Iupati, OG

Here you go; your designated elite run blocker. This guy has the size, skill, and speed to open up big holes for Frank Gore and San Francisco’s running game. He will be ready to play as soon as he hit the field and should be able to greatly improve San Francisco’s power running game.

Two offensive linemen in the first round? Not very exciting by most standards, but I love it; you win football games in the trenches. They will not regret this investment.

No. 49 Overall—Taylor Mays, S

More than anything else, this guy is a physical specimen. He may have sub-par ball skills and he may have some trouble with his instincts, but his pure athleticism makes him a very interesting prospect with a lot of upside. With some good coaching, this kid could become Ronnie Lott 2.0.

Hmm, two offensive linemen and a defensive back selected already? Seems like the only need this team has left is an outside linebacker.

No. 91 Overall—Navorro Bowman, OLB

Another pick that has me thinking that Coach Singletary is taking the best talent and is confident that his coaching skills will turn them into great players. Bowman has physical skills that are very enviable, but has a tendency to cause a lot of problems on and off the field. Still, if Singletary can get through to him, he is going to be a tremendous steal at pick No. 91.

Everything after that is likely to have very little impact, at least in the short term. I mean, there is a reason they are getting drafted in the fourth round or lower (though I do hear good things about Dixon).

Overall, it looks like the 49ers had a great draft, and have filled a number of holes in their roster. They secured their already formidable defensive with a few good impact players and greatly improved their offensive line, ensuring that they will have a balanced attack next year—you know; if they had a quarterback.


Tim Tebow Pick Shows Josh McDaniels’ Arrogance

The biggest surprise of the first round of the 271 day long NFL draft was the Denver Broncos taking Tim Tebow in the first round.

Now I’m not here to argue whether picking a quarterback that hasn’t played in a pro-style offense, doesn’t have a lot of accuracy, holds the ball low, and has a release longer than one of Roger Goodell’s uncomfortable bear hugs was a good idea or not. Especially since the QB in question would normally go undrafted if it wasn’t for media hype and the fact that he was born of a virgin, as the prophecies foretold; again, I’m not here to claim that picking a guy like that in the first round was a good idea or a bad one.

But we’ve heard for a while that Josh McDaniels may just be a tad bit arrogant. From the way he stormed into Denver and started making huge changes (including shipping out their franchise QB) to benching Brandon Marshall and then sending him to Miami for draft picks. He seems to think he and his system are more important than the team’s most talented players.

And the Tebow pick solidifies it. You don’t take someone that early in the draft, especially someone that raw, without thinking that you have the ability to refine him and coach him into a starter in a fairly short amount of time. Josh McDaniels thinks he has the ability to make this guy a franchise quarterback and he basically said to the world “you all think Tebow can’t play? Just wait until I’m through with him.”

The bad thing for Broncos fans—who have had to deal with a lot of bad lately—is that McDaniels might be just a little too proud for his own good. He has come into Denver and made huge moves, but the team has not substantially improved. In fact, you can make the argument that they regressed. They were a team with a lot of holes in their roster, and since shipping out some of their best players, they only have more holes now.

Will it work? Maybe, but Belichick’s disciples don’t really have the best track record.


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