Friday, December 3, 2010

I've been talking about this guy for years . . .

He’s a senior All-American candidate with a national title ring in his drawer and an NBA contract in his future.
So a few months ago, during one of Duke’s offseason pickup games, it was easy to understand why Nolan Smith did a double-take when he was given an order by Kyrie Irving.
Actually, make that freshman Kyrie Irving.

“Get out of the way,” Irving yelled at Smith as he streaked past half-court and raced toward the basket. “Move out of the way. I got it.”
Despite his freshman status, Kyrie Irving is not backing down from anything at Duke.

More than a month later, Smith chuckled when recalling the story after Wednesday night’s 84-79 victory over Michigan State.

“You don’t really hear that too often – a freshman telling two seniors on the wing to get out of the way,” Smith said. “But we’ve got no problem sitting back and letting him do it, because we know he can.”
Indeed, Irving has proven that in his short time at Duke.

It began during players-only scrimmages in a dimly-lit gym and then carried over to supervised workouts under the watchful eye of Hall-of-Famer Mike Krzyzewski. Now, in front of an entire nation, Irving has blossomed into the top point guard in all of college basketball.

Anyone who questioned that before certainly won’t after Wednesday, when the 18-year-old Irving turned in one of the top performances by a freshman in Duke history by scoring 31 points and dishing out four assists in the top-ranked Blue Devils’ win over No. 6 Michigan State.

Thirty minutes after the final horn, Irving shrugged off his gaudy stat line as he lounged in a chair in the Blue Devils’ locker room.

“This was a big game for me,” he said. “But I try to do that every night.”

That’s what makes Irving – and, in turn, this Blue Devils’ team – so special. He could put up those kinds of numbers in just about every game Duke plays. But after just seven college games and a handful of practices, Irving understands the big picture.

Smith and National Player of the Year candidate Kyle Singler are future first-round draft picks who played an integral role on a team that went 35-5 en route to winning last season’s NCAA championship. Emerging power forward Mason Plumlee is one of the most athletic, skilled post players in the country, and reserves Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry give the Blue Devils two of the game’s top threats from beyond the 3-point arc.

Instead of trying to outshine his teammates, Irving grasps the importance of involving them. It may sound like a small thing, but that sort of maturity impresses NBA scouts more than highlight-reel dunks and behind-the-back-passes. It’s also the reason fans and media members are wondering aloud whether Duke can become the first team since Indiana in 1976 to go undefeated.

“When I came here I was just trying to find my place on this team,” Irving said. “I didn’t know how close a team could be until I came here. We’re definitely a brotherhood. The trust around here is really special. It’s made everything so much easier for me.”

Irving may be a different type of point guard than former No. 1 picks John Wall and Derrick Rose, but he’s every bit as valuable to his team. Not just because of what he does during games, but because of how Irving carries himself when the cameras are off and the stands are empty.

“He’s one of the best point guards I’ve ever seen,” Smith said. “He’s very coachable. He loves being on the court with us. Whenever I have something to say to him, he looks me in the eyes and listens. He’s been a great teammate.

“But he’s on a different level as far as confidence. We know there are going to be games where he’s just going to go – and we’re going to follow him.”

Wednesday was one of those games.

Michigan State took a 17-15 lead on 3-pointer by Korie Lucious with 11 minutes remaining in the opening half. Irving, though, responded with back-to-back three-point plays to put the Blue Devils ahead 21-17. Michigan State tied the game three more times during the opening period but could never take the lead.
Irving, who was often guarded by Michigan State standout Kalin Lucas, scored 18 of his 31 points in the opening half. The game was the second-straight banner showing for Irving against a big-name opponent. Last week he had 17 points and six assists against Kansas State and preseason All-American guard Jacob Pullen.
“I need that, especially this early in the season,” Irving said. “You can’t go out there intimidated or they’re going to take advantage of you.”

Opposing guards are probably thinking the same thing about Irving, who continues to draw praise from his coaches and teammates for being such a sponge during workouts.

“It’s scary,” Smith said. “He still wants to learn.”

Krzyzewski has always emphasized structure. But with Irving things are slightly different. Krzyzewski said he wants Irving to “follow his instincts” at times. He said he’s given him the freedom to make reads instead of always running set plays.

“We’ve changed the way we play because of him,” Krzyzewski said.

Duke scored 84 points against the Spartans. Last year, with Jon Scheyer running the point, Krzyzewski said the Blue Devils would’ve tallied about 63.

The new, fast-paced style has led to plenty of smiles in the locker room – and in postgame press conferences. The normally stoic Krzyzewski was in such a good mood after this win that he cracked a joke when asked to think of a word that best describes his freshman point guard.

“I’m not a big adjective guy,” Krzyzewski said.

He paused for a moment, then smiled.

“Sensational, scintillating,” he said. “Was that not a good attempt by me – a guy with a low SAT verbal [score]? Jesus Christ, I’m using up all my words.”

Save a few, coach. You’re going to need them.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kyrie Irving

289: Bobby Hurley's single-season school record for assists, set in 1991. That might be 2nd by the end of the year. 8.2: Hurley's 1992-93 record for assist average. That's also not safe.

Those 16 assists Hurley handed out in a 1993 win over Florida State? They may soon be moving down a line in the Blue Devils' record book as well.

And don't think for a second, this year's squad won't have a chance to at least threaten the Duke record for scoring average, a hard-to-top 92.4-points per game mark established 46 seasons ago.

So that brings us quickly to Kyrie Irving, Duke's dazzling freshman point guard who will lead the defending national champions onto the floor tonight for their season opener against Princeton.

For Irving, all the pieces are in place for a monster season. We're talking Ridley Scott-explosive.

The kid comes to campus with an NBA-ready game. He has quickness. He has vision. He has admirable panache.

And, oh yeah, he has a ridiculous supporting cast around him.

That is, I guess, if you can consider established All-American stars like Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith supporting cast members.

You can probably tell by now I love Irving's game. I've gone on record in several different forums with an unwavering guarantee: Duke's point guard will be a first-team All-ACC star. Right away.

Now as the Blue Devils keep their preeminent goal of winning a second consecutive national championship in mind, the biggest question revolves around just how well Irving will handle the pressure and expectation that's been thrown at him.
Stress reactions

There's so much we still have to learn about Irving's mental toughness and stamina and ability to accept struggle.

When he was engulfed by reporters at Duke's media day last month, his eyes nearly came out of their sockets.

"This is a new deal for me," Irving said. "I'm not used to this level of attention. But I guess I better start getting used to it."

Without question, his ability to become comfortable as a leading man on the country's most heavily scrutinized team will be a huge challenge.

And during Duke's first official practice last month, coach Mike Krzyzewski saw a fatigue in Irving's mannerisms that should not have been present so early.

The intensity of everything was clearly battering Irving. And the young point guard's eagerness to succeed was also wearing him down.

During a break 30 minutes before the end of the workout, Krzyzewski approached Irving and studied his face.

"You have furrows in your forehead," Coach K said with a smirk.

Irving laughed.

"You're too young to have furrows in your forehead," Krzyzewski continued. "This is what this is right now. You're going to have to do this without having furrows."
Thrown into the fire

As Irving's duties become more and more sophisticated with each passing month, Krzyzewski has given the rookie point guard some basic principles to always keep in mind.

First and foremost, Irving has to remember to take care of the ball, to learn the value of a possession.

It's worth noting that Jon Scheyer made 212 shots and had 194 assists last season yet committed just 65 turnovers in 1,470 minutes played as Duke's offense became one of the most efficient in the country. That was certainly a huge factor in the Blue Devils' ability to win 18 of their final 19 games.

Krzyzewski also wants Irving to get a feel for the difference between being aggressive and being reckless, a major adjustment for any newcomer to the high-level college basketball.

"With a freshman point guard, no matter how good you are, the very first thing to keep control of is wanting to do too much, wanting to force action when there's no action to be forced," Krzyzewski said. "It's about recognizing situations where I should attack or I should set up. . But as coach you don't want to micromanage him where he then loses his instincts. It's just a balance there."

Fortunately for Irving, the balance will come from having great mentors. Krzyzewski plus Smith and Singler will all be around for support and encouragement.

The wildly competitive schedule Duke will play over the next three weeks will also benefit the young point guard in the long run.

A Nov. 23 date with No. 3 Kansas State could materialize at the CBE Classic in Kansas City.

After that, Duke will host a Dec. 1 showdown with No. 2 Michigan State at Cameron Indoor Stadium followed three days later with a trip to New Jersey to face No. 17 Butler in a rematch of last season's national title game.

As crazy as it sounds, Krzyzewski is actually looking forward to seeing Irving struggle some during his first month on the big stage. It's the best way to learn more about his fortitude.

"That's going to be part of his evolution - having a lot expected of him," Krzyzewski said. "So we may as well put him out there."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The "Grand" Power Rankings

Okay, I've been slacking on these way sooner than i thought i would be, but don't worry, im wrapping up all three weeks into one. And no, i am not writing this because of Fred, its just a coincidence they're coming out immediately after Fudson's post. By the way Fred, you are being fined for excessively violent verbal hits. Please mail me a check for 50,000 dollars.

And the Power Rankings.

1. Silver Bullets:

Yes sir, 5-1, completely dominating freeman's all-star squad in the win column, and I left 50 points on the bench last week.

2. Revis and Butthead

Revis is getting burned every Sunday. Maybe freeman's team would have beat any other team last week but that is irrelevant. Only 2 waiver wire pickups? Free's bum knee is clearly affecting his mobility in his swivel chair and can't turn around fast enough to make the moves.

3. Nerd Rage

Giving Charlie the benefit of the doubt here, knocking off the number one team 's gotta move you up. And putting up 137 points when only getting one from Miles Austin is pretty impressive.

4. Cossacks

Pete, congrats on finally getting off your ass and dropping your kicker who doesnt kick anymore. Fourth place through six weeks? a new record for pete.

5. Professional Grade:

Mcnabb is working miracles over in Kentucky. 606 points through six weeks, less points than Got Rice? (1-5), less than Ocho (1-5), but somehow T'nab as he goes by in the streets, is 4-2.

6. Money Affiliated

Fudson's team is all over the place. He wins, he loses, then he loses some more, then he smokes some weed. And then some more weed. and some more weed. And finally some more weed. Roethlisburger is finally back, but antonio gates and desean jackson both out, can't be good fro Fudson.

7. Hater Players

Solid players, nothing amazing, nothing that jumps off the page, just solid.... oddly very fitting for Leon Parker, the Big Fundemental...except for that fadeway. just kidding parker....but really.

8. Got Rice?

Giving Timmy the benefit of the doubt, the '08 champ or '07 champ, or '09 champ, one of those years, and well i guess you can't teach experience. or indifference. Check ur team Chen.

9. Rowdy's Boys:

It's about time for the annual confusing Rob trade which somehow completely works out for him and propels him into the playoffs.

10. Ocho Cinco

Ryan Matthews not panning out, this team needs some moves.

Alright that's all i got, Everybody vote this week, there will be a five point bonus for those who vote that they may not or will not ever receive So vote!!!!

Sunny's Fact of the week: Carmelo to NY before this season is over.
your welcome.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Austin Rivers Commits to Duke!!!!!

I think we can finally put to rest the notion that Coach K’s time and effort for Team U.S.A. is “hurting” Duke. Don’t you agree?

Welcome Austin Rivers, the No. 1 rated high school player.

Who is Rivers (Like I really have to answer this question for any Duke fan, but I will anyway)?

Offensively, there is nothing Doc Rivers’ kid can’t do. He can shoot from almost 30-feet away and his mid-range game will be unheard of for a incoming freshman. He’s wicked quick, with a NBA-ready dribble-drive. He can play either point or two-guard, but if we are to assume that Kyrie Irving goes pro after one year, Seth Curry should have control of the point in 2011. With Nolan Smith’s departure, the shooting guard spot belongs to Rivers (sorry Dawkins).

If you want to find one weakness, word on the street is that Rivers favors his right. It’s not like he can’t go left, but he’s probably never really been challenged to at the high school & summer league level. This will change in college, so expect him to work on it throughout his senior year.

Getting Austin Rivers isn’t truly shocking. Once he de-committed from Florida, all the experts had pegged Duke. However, it was a bit surprising (and nice) that he simply cancelled trips to both Kansas and North Carolina. As a Duke fan, this had to feel especially sweet, after Roy Williams robbed Harrison Barnes last summer.

With the addition of Rivers, Duke clearly has the No. 1 or No. 2 class in 2011. The other solid group belongs to Coach Calipari and Kentucky.

On top of Austin Rivers, Duke now has (SF-4) Michael Gbinije, (C-11) Tyler Adams, and (C-5) Marshall Plumlee.

Some have speculated that the Duke coaching staff may be done recruiting in 2011. I suspect otherwise.

We know that Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith graduate, so they’re done after this year. Like we said before, Kyrie Irving could easily be one and done (especially if the Blue Devils can repeat). What about Mason Plumlee? Obviously I’m doing a lot of projecting (which has gotten me in trouble in the past), but he’s projected to be a middle of the pack first-round pick next year. Would he stay on another year, especially with the opportunity to play along side both brothers? Maybe.

As best as I can tell, Duke still has (PG-3) Quinn Cook and (PF-1) Quincy Miller. Both will be in town for “Countdown To Craziness,” so that’s a good sign.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Vandy League Week 2 Power Rankings

short and sweet

The Undefeated

1. Cossacks-

Pete in unfamiliar territory 2 weeks into the season. But even more unfamiliar territory was when pete actually picked up a free agent sometime last week, I dont even know how Pete knew what to do, I bet he had to read the 'help' section.

2. Silver Bullets-

Drew Brees what happened to those monster 40 pt games, these 20 point blue collar efforts are not cutting it. But still 2-0, not complaining, except about the cumalative 11 points my first round pick has gotten me so far.

3. Professional Grade-

The last 2-0 team, trent has guided his team a whole point above 200 points which is whopping third overall... from last in term of points. But still 2-0. good shit trent, way to cash in on that garbage td by Eli.

The 1-1's

4. Revis and Butthead-

Tough loss, Eli Manning once again proves himself in the clutch, pulling trent's squad ahead by only a couple of points while at the same time pulling his real team closer to losing still by a lot.

5. Nerd Rage

Big Week for Li, 38 points for the Pitt D, probably doesnt happen again, but still Schaub looked pretty good, addai and Frank Gore, let's hope that was a glimpse of things not to come from Gore, otherwise, he'll be scoring every game.

6. Fudson's team-

Fred's team basically came back to life. The Michael Vick experiment seems to be working for both Fred and the Eggles. in fact i think Fred called Andy Reid and threatened to take all his weed away if he went through with starting Kolb again..then Andy would have to be sober on the sidelines while he looks befuddled at the terrible offenseive plays he has just called.

7. Hater Players-

Leon with a solid effort, but no help from Tom Brady who only put up 15 against the Jets defense.

The bottom of the barrel

8. Got Rice?-

Timmy chen keeps having to play the weekly outperformer, however, 89 points would have probably lost to most people anyway.

9. Ocho cinco-

Not sure what's going on with Ryan Matthews....But Austin Collie and Reggie Wayne are off the charts

10. Rowdy's Boys

Pretty good week for Rob, unfortunately had to play Charlie, and more unfortunately the titans high school powered offense had to play the Pitt D.

Vandy League Week 1 Power Rankings

So like every year, i'll try and put these out after the week's over. I'll try to get them out by wed. But later on the year it'll become thur, then sat..then sunday morning right before the games, and finally i'll probably quit, so we'll see how it goes. First of Congrats Fudson, and to Charlie talking all that shit and going down like the Jets.

1. Money Affiliated (Fred Hudson)

Vwhaaat? Yup Fred, you're number one in our hearts this week, you had a tough a week, so the commissioner is throwing you a line. Congrats on snagging the top spot in our first ever worst to first power rankings. Fred's team followed the lead of vaunted new-prodigal son of philly, Kevin Kolb who posted a quality -1 points to set the tone for team money affiliated. But maybe Vick will change things around.

BTW Fudson, 4th and 1, vick in the backfield and reid calls a qb draw from a shotgun? questionable, like many of your draft picks.

2. Rowdy's Boys (Robert Small)

Tough start for Rob, no cowboys on his squad and Ryan Grant goes down for the season and free agent hawk trent mcnabb snags brandon jackson. On the bright side, hopefully favre and top flight wr, andre johnson, will combine for more than 13 points next week.

3. Nerd Rage (Charlie Li)

Steep drop for the pre-season number four but it seems like everyone else shot out of the gates. I don't see Matt schaub putting up single digits again he's a quality q, and the top two wr are solid, but this team needs more from addai, Gore, and crabtree, and pretty much everyone outside the top three. Maybe it was just a bad match-up week for Charles.

4. Ocho-Cinco (Jason Wu)

Ocho was the fifth highest scorer of the week so not bad for the first game. Pretty good from everyone, having almost all of Indy's passing game didnt hurt either, but Ryan Matthews and Jon stewart didnt show up last weekend at all.

5. Professional Grade (Trent Mcnabb)

Mcnabb had no business winning last week. A Ryan Grant injury and an Andre Johnson dud more than anything gave mcnabb the W. however, that Brandon Jax pick-up was smooth, before anyone even knew Grant was out, trent mus have been watching Grant hop to the tunnel. So trent, you get the five spot on pure potential.

6. Got Rice? (Timmy Chen)

I dont know if Timmy gets 24 from chad johnson every week and with shonn green fumbling all over the place (hitting his own guys) his leash might be short in the near future. But otherwise a 115 point day probably would have won most games last week.

7. Hater Players (Leon Parker)

Leon snags the three spot because of one Tom Brady. Its not looking good right now for all of us non-Tom Brady owners. Here's to Tom throwing all his touchdowns to Wes Welker.

8. Cossacks (Pete Kostiuk)

Once again pete, starts out strong, like always, like every year, Pete begins his march to 3-0, which begins his even longer march to 3-11.

9. Silver Bullets (Sunny Majumdar)

Aka 'the greatest fantasy victor', had a solid week, putting up 134 points in spite of poor performances from Brees and Mojo. Jay Cutler keep throwing to my man Matt Forte.

10. Revis and Butthead (Chris Freeman)

We know, 47 points from Arian Foster..but is he going to keep that up? perfect situation for big time run numbers the lead against a bad run D. But CJ busts out for 28 points in a game where he seemed to do nothing and Manning, well, he can still throw the ball. With 163 point bashing, we'll let Free warm up the top spot.

THE END....of the first inaugural Worst to First Power Rankings..all of you went to Vandy you should be able to figure it out, except maybe Fred, Fred if you have trouble, just hit the 'x' on the top right corner and dont worry about it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Austin Rivers

If you somehow haven't heard of him yet . . this is Austin Rivers, Doc's kid. He's absolutely nasty . . his crossover going left rivals Allen Iverson's . .

He is now the #1 player in the class of 2011 on multiple recruiting lists, and he's down to 4 schools: Duke, UNC, Florida, Kansas

Thursday, September 2, 2010

ACC Hoops Schedule Released . . . Go Get ‘Em

The Atlantic Coast Conference finally released the 2010-11 men’s basketball schedule today on their official website. And for those of you bored by our conference’s football offerings before the season has even begun, this is big news.

The ACC brass are stoked that the conference will be on television a record 182 times this upcoming year. Fans of the Big East and other power conferences complain that the ACC gets preferential treatment despite being a “weak” league. Right, a conference that has won five of the last ten natty champers is pitiful.
Here are some of the highlights of what promises to be another exciting year in ACC basketball. As the season draws closer, we will be back with full team previews. But for now, check out five of the best non-conference matchups before the New Year.

NOVEMBER 15: Miami at Memphis
Young Memphis Tigers coach Josh Pastner breathed a big sigh of relief when the best recruit of his short tenure, Will Barton, was declared eligible on August 20. I’m really impressed with what Pastner has been able to do in Calipari’s stead (how much he “learned” from the former Memphis coach remains to be seen). Miami’s sparkplug Durand Scott nearly beat Duke by himself in last year’s ACC Tournament, and young big man Reggie Johnson will fill in nicely for departing beast Dwayne Collins, who finally graduated. Look for Memphis to come out on top on sheer talent, but I’m impressed that Frank Haith has the cojones to schedule this type of game. 

DECEMBER 1: Duke v. Michigan State
This game continues to lose its luster, as the Spartan guards are dropping like flies. First it was the transfer of Chris Allen to Iowa State after being kicked off the team in East Lansing. More recently, the twenty-year-old Korie Lucious, hero of the Maryland game, was caught over the legal limit while driving. Tom Izzo is probably my second favorite NCAA coach, mostly because he doesn’t put up with stuff like this. Lucious will likely be suspended for the first half of the season at the least. That leaves more of the burden on Kalin Lucas, who is rehabbing his torn ACL, and 2010 Big Dance star Durrell Summers. Yet this will be billed as the best game of the ACC-Big 10 Challenge. Look for Kyrie Irving to get after it against Lucas—a player to whom he has been compared in the past. I had hoped Duke would face MSU at full strength; nonetheless, Izzo is a gamer and this could be the highlight of Duke’s early season schedule. 
DECEMBER 1: Virginia Tech vs. Purdue
Perhaps this is the year that Virginia Tech lives up to expectations. Many pundits think it’s a battle for second place in the conference between the Hokies and the Heels. Much of that advance praise for VT rests on do-it-all guard Malcolm Delaney, who wisely chose to return for his final year. Meanwhile, Purdue returns everyone but hard nosed point guard Chris Kramer. Pat Forde even put them ahead of Duke in his preseason rankings (but he has a hard time with such predictions). This would be a statement game for Seth Greenberg’s program—which returns everyone—and until I see Robbie Hummel play as well as he did pre-torn ACL, I think the Hokies have a good shot. Just don’t let Jeff Allen loose on JaJuan Johnson…that won’t end well. 

DECEMBER 4: North Carolina vs. Kentucky
In a battle of the teams I hate the most, UNC and UK face off yet again in this home and home series. Recently, ESPN’s sometimes knowledgeable college hoops blogger Eamon Brennan stated that UK has a slight edge in this matchup. It’s tough to say. Both teams have the same problem: a lack of proven size. Kentucky’s frontline is thin: 6’8” frosh Terrence Jones, Florida transfer Eloy Vargas, and perhaps Turkish semi-pro Enes Kanter, if he is ruled eligible. UNC has the sometimes healthy Tyler Zeller, the “wet noodle” John Henson, and Mr. Barnes, who’s supposed to be a guard anyway. I think the game hinges on Kanter’s eligibility. If he plays, he will be too much to handle down low, and combined with UK’s superior guard play led by Brandon Knight, I think Kentucky squeezes this one out. Look for UNC’s season to be a reverse of last year’s: a slow start with a more productive second half. 

DECEMBER 4: N.C. State at Syracuse
The ‘Cuse shocked a lot of people last year by reaching #1, but that’s mostly because people weren’t familiar with Wes Johnson and/or didn’t have respect for the Orange’s experience. Now most of that depth is gone, and for once in his life, Sidney Lowe has something to be excited about in Raleigh. All the hype has been loaded on CJ Leslie, but we think incoming point guard Ryan Harrow will determine State’s success as much as anyone. The frontcourt favors the ‘Cuse (remember the name Fab Melo), but the Wolfpack have an early chance to prove that they belong in the same breath as Duke and UNC for the first time since, I don’t know…Julius Hodge?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vandy League Preseason Rankings

Okay league, pre-season rankings, let's jump right into them, i'm sure all of you have been waiting with bated breath and a Harry Potter-esque zeal. Although I am sorry to say this will probably be the only time I will be able to put up pre-season rankings this year,....for football.

1. Revis and Butthead (Christian Freeman)

Terrible name, good team. Not Unlike a certain John Calipari led team, Free again starts of as the pre-season favorites but can he pull through all the way to championship? Free 's got a quality squad but the real story are the wideouts several quality quick-rise prospects:T.O., Berrian, and Mike Williams from Tampa. If they show up, this team will be tough.

2. Cossacks (Pete Kostiuk)

Pete, again, like clockwork, as sure as the sun will rise, and set, and the seasons will pass, is starting off with a good team. Arguably the best qb and rb in the draft and a potential monster wr in calvin johnson, who could explode at any time. But undoubtedly pete will run this team into the ground like he does every year. Pete for the love of god, keep up, drop players when they are hurt, pick up players who are good and well, you'll make the playoffs.

3. Silver Bullets (Sunny Majumdar)

Solid squad, Drew Brees, always keeps you in a game and MJD always gets the ball a lot in the jags offense. Portis obviously is getting old, but is in a run heavy systems with his old coach shannahan could be good for his numbers. Just need some of the recievers to hit like Wes Welker or Gaffney.

4. Nerd Rage (Charlie Li)

Charlie had a pretty good draft, but he needs Addai to be consistent and Schaub to stay healthy, the titans D loves knocking schaub out of games. Charlie has some quality receivers but can Austin Miles be the same guy he was at the end of last year, its always difficult to sustain high level performance, i guess we'll see.

5. Got Rice? (Timmy Chen)

Timmy's computer for the fourth year running has picked him a viable team. With Shonne Green, Mendenhall and thomas timmy 's got a pretty solid run game and romo can always come up huge.

6. Money Affiliated (Fred Hudson prefers: Fudson prefers more: Dumbass prefers most: Skakakakkaka)..but goes by Desean Queens.

fred's team probably will hinge around what Kevin Kolb can do this year, if he can maintain the flashes of brilliance he has been able to show Fred's team will immediately become slightly more decent and will lose to other teams by less otherwise fred aka skakakaka will lose to other teams by a lot like he loses to other people in beer pong by a lot.

7. Hater Players (Leon 'Lett' Parker)

The defending champ, from last year, (not sure how we let that happen, we should all be embarrassed...just kidding leon...but really, we should be embarrassed). Solid foundation with Turner and Brady, might have to add some pieces as the season goes on...such as 3 wideouts, 2 running backs, a kicker and a defense. And a tight end. Although i will say bradshaw might be pretty big this year, so maybe just one more rb.

And Leon, stop letting don beebe knock the ball away from you at the goal line in that super bowl.

8. Professional Grade (Trent 'built Ford Tough but not at all really' Mcnabb)

Trent's draft was a little suspect. Maybe his excel spreadsheets of all football statistical data by any player ever froze or something. But I'm a believer in Moss, and Bowe to i think was a good pick. Jackson is a great back on a terrible team, he's always questionable. And i dont know about eli at q, but trent will be working that waiver wire like he's trying to sell you a car. By the way that's what a trent does, he sells cars....or tries.... Now you get it.

9. Ocho Cinco (Jason Wu)

This team 's got pretty good WR's Fitzgerald, Wayne, TJ, and Collie. Fitzgerald is a slight questionmark with the qb situation there, but he's too good not to put up numbers and i think Derek Andreson will probably win that job and he's proven in the past that he can put the past. Ryan Matthews in the first was a stretch, ofcourse he could be very good, he's the only charger back really, but he probably would have been there in the second round.

10. Rowdy's Boys (Rob "i'll take marion barber over anybody anytime Small)

Rob missed the draft, explaining his lack of cowboys on his roster. Rob, I got Roy Williams, he 's in for a monster year where he will catch the ball at least one or twice a game, maybe...needless to say, he's on the block.

good luck league, games start pretty soon, sept ninth or seventh or week.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Vandy League

The Vandy league has officially begun, and my team (Nerd Rage) looks to be pretty serious, as I had one of the better drafts. I would say Reivis and Butthead and Cossacks each had outstanding drafts, but I think I did well with what I was given. Here is Sunny's little intro and the complete draft results. Hopefully, he will be kind enough to do weekly power rankings as well.

Alright league welcome back to fantasy football. I know its been a tough year for many of us, mainly Tiger and anybody who watched Lebron's hour long decision special, but the good news is that football season is back, the draft is over and everybody 's team has a fighting chance, except ofcourse Pete's team, which never has a fighting chance at anything.

First of all congrats to Leon for winning the league last year and dominating trent in the playoffs. Its always great to see trent get dominated in the playoffs. Timmy way to miss another draft, i think that 's four years in a row. Freeman, turn sportscenter off for just a second, rest your eyes and ice your knee. Fred go work on your laterals, Charlie good work with your laterals. And Trent, before you get mad, i have no idea if Leon beat you in the playoffs, i was too lazy to check. Oh and ofcourse, i'd like to thank Rob for not picking Marion barber with the first pick this year.

we got a new guy this year, Jason Wu, i think Ocho Cinco, he's a friend of Charlie's so there's a very real possibility of him being imaginary and Charlie just opening up another account to put himself in the league twice..if down the stretch we see a Mason Crosby for Larry Fitzgerald deal go through we'll know what 's up. But Jason, welcome man, I hope you have fun, and i've only known one other jason in my life, jason goldstein, so I imagine you as a fat, jewish kid who smokes a lot of weed so now you know where all my jokes will be coming from. Unless ofcourse you're imaginary, in which case, charlie, my bad.

That's all i got right now, i'll put up a pre-season ranking a little later. On another note, it seems the points are fractional, not sure why, i'm pretty sure we didnt do fractional last year, so i'm going to go ahead and change that.

-Sunny 'Founder of Ray Rice and Chris Johnson'

Round 1
1. Chris Johnson Revis and Butthead.
2. Adrian Peterson Cossacks
3. Maurice Jones-Drew Silver Bullets
4. Ray Rice money affiliated
5. Michael Turner Hater Players
6. Frank Gore Nerd Rage
7. Andre Johnson Rowdy's Club
8. Ryan Mathews OchoCinco
9. Randy Moss Professional Grade
10. Shonn Greene Got Rice?
Round 2
1. Rashard Mendenhall Got Rice?
2. Steven Jackson Professional Grade
3. Reggie Wayne OchoCinco
4. DeAngelo Williams Rowdy's Club
5. Miles Austin Nerd Rage
6. Tom Brady Hater Players
7. Brandon Marshall money affiliated
8. Drew Brees Silver Bullets
9. Calvin Johnson Cossacks
10. Peyton Manning Revis and Butthead
Round 3
1. Cedric Benson Revis and Butthead
2. Aaron Rodgers Cossacks
3. Roddy White Silver Bullets
4. DeSean Jackson money affiliated
5. Jamaal Charles Hater Players
6. Greg Jennings Nerd Rage
7. Ryan Grant Rowdy's Club
8. Larry Fitzgerald OchoCinco
9. Beanie Wells Professional Grade
10. Pierre Thomas Got Rice?
Round 4
1. Tony Romo Got Rice?
2. LeSean McCoy Professional Grade
3. Jonathan Stewart OchoCinco
4. Jahvid Best Rowdy's Club
5. Matt Schaub Nerd Rage
6. Jermichael Finley Hater Players
7. Antonio Gates money affiliated
8. Marques Colston Silver Bullets
9. Steve Smith Cossacks
10. Dallas Clark Revis and Butthead
Round 5
1. Anquan Boldin Revis and Butthead
2. Ronnie Brown Cossacks
3. Matt Forte Silver Bullets
4. Vernon Davis money affiliated
5. Pierre Garcon Hater Players
6. Michael Crabtree Nerd Rage
7. Steve Smith Rowdy's Club
8. Philip Rivers OchoCinco
9. Dwayne Bowe Professional Grade
10. Chad Ochocinco Got Rice?
Round 6
1. Jason Witten Got Rice?
2. Hines Ward Professional Grade
3. Knowshon Moreno OchoCinco
4. Brett Favre Rowdy's Club
5. Joseph Addai Nerd Rage
6. Marion Barber Hater Players
7. C.J. Spiller money affiliated
8. Clinton Portis Silver Bullets
9. Michael Bush Cossacks
10. Arian Foster Revis and Butthead
Round 7
1. Mike Sims-Walker Revis and Butthead
2. Hakeem Nicks Cossacks
3. Wes Welker Silver Bullets
4. Kevin Kolb money affiliated
5. Ahmad Bradshaw Hater Players
6. Brent Celek Nerd Rage
7. Percy Harvin Rowdy's Club
8. Tony Gonzalez OchoCinco
9. Jeremy Maclin Professional Grade
10. Santana Moss Got Rice?
Round 8
1. Donald Driver Got Rice?
2. Justin Forsett Professional Grade
3. Ricky Williams OchoCinco
4. Kellen Winslow Rowdy's Club
5. Felix Jones Nerd Rage
6. Visanthe Shiancoe Hater Players
7. Johnny Knox money affiliated
8. Jerome Harrison Silver Bullets
9. John Carlson Cossacks
10. Brandon Jacobs Revis and Butthead
Round 9
1. Reggie Bush Revis and Butthead
2. San Francisco Cossacks
3. LaDainian Tomlinson Silver Bullets
4. Santonio Holmes money affiliated
5. Steve Breaston Hater Players
6. Derrick Mason Nerd Rage
7. New York Rowdy's Club
8. T.J. Houshmandzadeh OchoCinco
9. Eli Manning Professional Grade
10. Mike Wallace Got Rice?
Round 10
1. Green Bay Got Rice?
2. Fred Jackson Professional Grade
3. Jay Cutler OchoCinco
4. Stephen Gostkowski Rowdy's Club
5. Donald Brown Nerd Rage
6. Julian Edelman Hater Players
7. Carnell Williams money affiliated
8. Thomas Jones Silver Bullets
9. Garrett Hartley Cossacks
10. Terrell Owens Revis and Butthead
Round 11
1. Minnesota Revis and Butthead
2. Malcom Floyd Cossacks
3. Devin Aromashodu Silver Bullets
4. Philadelphia money affiliated
5. Joshua Cribbs Hater Players
6. Jacoby Jones Nerd Rage
7. Joe Flacco Rowdy's Club
8. Laurence Maroney OchoCinco
9. Robert Meachem Professional Grade
10. Steve Slaton Got Rice?
Round 12
1. Dez Bryant Got Rice?
2. Chris Cooley Professional Grade
3. Heath Miller OchoCinco
4. Montario Hardesty Rowdy's Club
5. Leon Washington Nerd Rage
6. Matthew Stafford Hater Players
7. Carson Palmer money affiliated
8. Zach Miller Silver Bullets
9. Matt Ryan Cossacks
10. Braylon Edwards Revis and Butthead
Round 13
1. Bernard Berrian Revis and Butthead
2. Devin Hester Cossacks
3. Roy Williams Silver Bullets
4. Lee Evans money affiliated
5. Baltimore Hater Players
6. Pittsburgh Nerd Rage
7. Owen Daniels Rowdy's Club
8. Austin Collie OchoCinco
9. Dallas Professional Grade
10. Nate Kaeding Got Rice?
Round 14
1. Donovan McNabb Got Rice?
2. Willis McGahee Professional Grade
3. New Orleans OchoCinco
4. Chester Taylor Rowdy's Club
5. Mason Crosby Nerd Rage
6. Darren Sproles Hater Players
7. David Akers money affiliated
8. Jabar Gaffney Silver Bullets
9. Kenny Britt Cossacks
10. Tim Hightower Revis and Butthead
Round 15
1. Mike Williams Revis and Butthead
2. Darren McFadden Cossacks
3. Rob Bironas Silver Bullets
4. Washington money affiliated
5. Anthony Gonzalez Hater Players
6. Vincent Jackson Nerd Rage
7. Eddie Royal Rowdy's Club
8. Ryan Longwell OchoCinco
9. Lawrence Tynes Professional Grade
10. Dexter McCluster Got Rice?
Round 16
1. Chris Chambers Got Rice?
2. Mohamed Massaquoi Professional Grade
3. Ben Roethlisberger OchoCinco
4. Antonio Bryant Rowdy's Club
5. Anthony Dixon Nerd Rage
6. Marshawn Lynch Hater Players
7. Alex Smith money affiliated
8. Louis Murphy Silver Bullets
9. Greg Olsen Cossacks
10. David Buehler Revis and Butthead

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's been pretty slow

I know I haven't been updating this blog as much as I was in the past couple of months, but it's really because there's no football or basketball happening right now . . . As I stated many times before, I dislike baseball and all that it stands for.

Fear not, loyal followers, football season is just around the corner, and I will be here to ensure that my opinion is known to all. Have a great rest of the summer, everyone :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Duke at the NC Pro-Am

Some video footage of Duke players doin some serious work. Nolan Smith looks like he's ready to just dominate everyone. His handles are absolutely scary good now and his shot looks much improved. Mason is just an alley-oop machine and Miles looks freakin HUGE. Can't wait to see this team in action. Jersey #'s: Kyrie Irving - 10, Nolan Smith - 2, Miles Plumlee - 7, Mason Plumlee - 13, Josh Hairston - 16, Seth Curry - 5

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Countdown to the LeBronocalypse

By Bill Simmons

Read this article on

Careful; this column will self-destruct at 9 p.m. on Thursday night. I can't remember writing a column that had a shorter shelf life. Twelve hours and it turns bad like leftover sushi. Let's call this "Twenty-Three Random Thoughts Before Tonight's LeBronocalypse."

1. A few weeks after the 2008 Summer Olympics, Someone Who Knows Things told me the following rumor: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Chris Paul became such good friends during the 2007 Olympic trials, and then during their 2008 Olympics excursion in Beijing, that they actually made a pact in China to play together. You know, like one of those pacts in a chick flick where two friends agree to get married if both of them are single when they turn 40.

As the rumor went, the 2010 free agents (LeBron, Wade and Bosh) would sign with the same team (at that point the Knicks if they created enough cap room), then Paul would join them in 2012 (or sooner). I thought this was the craziest thing I had ever heard -- so crazy, I only mentioned it once (in a November '08 column). It reminded me of being in my mid-20s in Las Vegas, gambling in the wee hours with my single high school buddies, then all of us drunkenly saying, "We should all pick one city and live there, we'd just go out and kill it every night!" Then you wake up the next morning and forget it was ever discussed. So even if the China rumor was true, that didn't mean it was actually going to happen. Or so I thought.

2. Fast-forward two summers: If LeBron says the word "Miami" tonight, does that mean the rumor was true? Or at least discussed by those guys? Because how could anyone make up something that loony? In 2008, you and I could have sat in a room for 10 hours trying to make up the craziest possible sports rumor and never come up with "Bosh, LeBron, Wade and/or Paul all made a pact in China to play together" without throwing in some improbably bizarre addendum like, "And they did so right after covering up the shooting of Jayson Williams' chauffeur." Was the rumor accurate? Did they stick to their guns? Will we ever find out the truth? Because if they did make a pact, that means …

3. Stephen A. Smith wins the Woodward & Bernstein Award for reporting last week that Wade/LeBron/Bosh in Miami was "done." I thought it was ridiculous. How could it be "done"? Bosh and LeBron were committing to an owner, president and coach without meeting any of them?

My guess at the time: Smith got word that Miami was in the lead, took it and ran with it, then hoped he was right. If he was right, he became the big winner of the summer of 2010. If he was wrong, he could always claim that he WAS right, but that something got screwed up and things changed. I busted his chops a few times on Twitter about it; when he reported one week later that Bosh might be heading for Houston, it sure seemed like Smith was talking out of his butt like Ace Ventura. But if LeBron announces Miami tonight? Then Smith is vindicated and I'm giving myself the byline "William J. Simmons" in my next column as an apology. Although …

4. I'm still not crazy about any report that says "done" unless it's definitely, 100 percent done.
Quick tangent: I like the engagement-ring corollary for all sports reporting. If a friend calls me and says "I'm engaged," I always want to know if they actually got the ring. Give her the ring, you're engaged. If not, "Let's get married" may have been something thrown out there during a drunken dinner, right after sex, during a makeup session after an argument … who the hell knows? I want to see that ring. Once you get the ring, there's no going back. You're locked in. You can get out, but it's almost impossible, and even worse, you might have a one-carat diamond whipped at you at 65 miles an hour.

Had Smith said, "I learned tonight that Miami is the prohibitive favorite to get all three; someone would have to go back on their word for this not to happen," then it played out the way it had, he would have been the NostradamuSAS of this thing. But he tried to get engaged without the ring. Still, he gets a partial credit for sniffing it out. Nobody else had the Miami scenario. And if Smith DID have accurate intelligence and it WAS done, then that means the guys panicked and concocted every event these past eight days -- every waffle, every leak, every extra meeting -- just to throw us off the scent.

Did they willfully snooker the general public? Four red flags indicate they may have (assuming LeBron signs with Miami, of course).

5. Red Flag No. 1: Wade and Bosh (who have the same agent, by the way) hired documentary crews to follow them around. As any reality-show junkie knows, if there's no drama, you have to manufacture it. Well, how could a free-agency documentary (or reality show, or web series, or whatever they do with this footage) have drama if both guys decided where they were going weeks ago? You'd have to center it around Wade's upcoming divorce, or Bosh struggling to decide whether to stay with his girlfriend or hook up with those gorgeous half-Cuban, half-who-the-hell-knows models that only exist in South Beach. And neither guy would ever do that. So what works? Indecision. Meetings. More meetings. A lot of "agonizing." If this footage ever sees the light of day, I bet the acting is worse than your average episode of "The Hills." You wait.

6. Red Flag No. 2: Wade's second visit with Chicago (the old "I really might do this, look, I'm meeting with them again!" trick) was a textbook reality ploy. Look, I've logged my fair share of reality TV over the years. It's one of my vices, along with gambling, Sour Patch kids, Sly Stallone movies and unprotected sex in hotel saunas. (Fine, I made that last one up.) If I were producing Wade's documentary, I would have told him, "After we meet with the Bulls, let's leak information that you want to meet them a second time, and that you want to be closer to your kids post-divorce, then after the meeting we'll shoot a scene of you walking along Lake Michigan deep in thought like you're deciding what to do. Just trust me. It will be great TV." That's what you do when you fake reality. And that second Chicago meeting sure seemed fake.

(Also helping this theory: Multiple teams -- that's right, multiple -- believe Wade went through the free-agency process partly to spy on Miami's competitors for Pat Riley. And if he did? Savvy. Why not? Did you ever think an NBA free-agency period would include the word "spy"? That would have been the wackiest thing that happened this summer if Darko Milicic, Channing Frye, Amir Johnson and Drew Gooden hadn't signed for a combined $114 million on the same day Atlanta offered Joe Johnson $120 million to thank him for leading the Hawks to a four-game sweep in Round 2 in which they were outscored by 25 points per game.)

7. Red Flag No. 3: Wade is 28 years old and just finishing a bitter divorce. He's earned max money for exactly three years and doesn't have a second payday looming in 2016 like Bosh and LeBron do. As we learned with Antoine Walker and Allen Iverson, "wealthy" superstars are never quite as wealthy as we think. Walking away from a sixth guaranteed year in Miami (and no state income tax) when he's battled serious injuries in the past? No way. This was his one chance to bank as much money as possible. It was always going to be Miami.

8. Red Flag No. 4: Bosh clearly wanted to emerge from this summer more famous than he was. I know this because he hired his own documentary crew. Because he made an "Entourage" cameo last month. Because someone who attended one of Bosh's free-agent meetings told me that Bosh was considerably more concerned with his camera crew than hearing the team's pitch. Because he asked his Twitter followers where he should play next year -- a slap in the face to everyone in Toronto who supported him these past seven years -- and because I attended two different 2010 Lakers games at which Bosh inexplicably walked a complete lap around the court while holding hands with his girlfriend, like someone who just wanted to be seen. And it worked. You see a 7-foot basketball player strolling 0.02 miles an hour around a basketball court, you're going to notice them.

If you want fame, then attaching yourself to Wade and/or LeBron in a major market is the way to go. That's what Bosh did. Orlando's Stan Van Gundy even hissed yesterday that Bosh followed Wade around for two weeks like a "lapdog." Doesn't sound like someone who ever seriously considered anywhere but Miami. Add those four red flags together and it's pretty clear, in retrospect, that Wade and Bosh never seriously looked elsewhere. You know, because any time you can play in a city with such rich basketball tradition, you have to do it. It's hard not to get inspired during the national anthem when you see Rony Seikaly's number in the rafters.

9. If one more person refers to Bosh as a "superstar," I'm going to scream. His résumé: seven seasons, 11 career playoff games, one second-team All-NBA selection, never played in a big game in his life other than the gold-medal game of the 2008 Olympics. Now he's fleeing frigid Toronto for South Beach, no state income tax, Dwyane Wade, max money and the playoffs … and this makes him a "superstar"? Did we really drop our standards that low?

Look, I need my NBA superstar to sell tickets, generate interest locally and nationally, singlehandedly guarantee an average supporting cast 45-50 wins, and potentially be the best player on a Finals team if the other pieces are in place, which means only LeBron, Wade, Howard, Durant and Kobe qualify. There's a level just a shade below (the Almost-But-Not-Quite-Superstar) with Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Carmelo Anthony, Brandon Roy, Chris Paul and Deron Williams. (Note: I think Derrick Rose gets there next season.) Then you have elite guys like Bosh, Gasol and Amare Stoudemire who need good teammates to help them thrive … and if they don't have them, you're heading to the lottery.

You know what we call these people? All-Stars. Although if LeBron picks Miami, we have to call Bosh something else: "lucky." On a good team, he could absolutely thrive like Pau Gasol did on the Lakers, although he's not as sure a bet because Gasol played in so many big games overseas before the Lakers stole him. (Bosh had the opposite experience: He's never played in a Sweet 16, a Game 7 or even Round 2 of the NBA playoffs.) Hearing Bosh referred to as a "superstar" these past few weeks left me with the same face Jake had on Monday's "Bachelor" special when Vienna wouldn't shut up and kept undermining and emasculating him. If Chris Bosh is your third-best player, you're in tremendous shape. Just don't think you can win a title with a 228-pound big man who doesn't block shots and grabs 10 rebounds a night. You need more help than that. Which brings us to …

10. Let's say LeBron signs with Miami. Can you even make the Finals with LeBron, Bosh, Wade and nine minimum-salary guys? Because that might be next year's team … and if that's what happens, the answer is "no effing way." You don't win titles just because of your top three. That belittles the meaning of guys like Derek Fisher, Robert Horry, Steve Kerr, John Paxson, Brian Shaw … you could go on for hours naming role players who swung a title. The 2008 Celts lucked out by getting James Posey, Eddie House and P.J. Brown for practically nothing; Miami wouldn't have that luxury this summer, not with so many role players jockeying for contracts one year before the possible lockout. Nobody is taking less money to showcase themselves for a summer that might not happen. Even if Miami could spin Michael Beasley for a fourth guy (say, Trevor Ariza), that's still not enough. They'd need one more rebounder, point guard, a 3-point shooter and a center. Good luck.

11. Another problem: You realize how many minutes these guys would log on a three-man team? 42-44 minutes for 100 games … and if anyone missed an extended stretch of games, then that would put even more pressure on the other two. Crazy. No way they win more than 50, especially with teams gunning for them every night. We've also never seen two perimeter superstar alpha dogs coexist for an NBA title -- not even when Jerry West and Elgin Baylor teamed up with Wilt Chamberlain against the aging Celtics in 1969. LeBron would have to accept becoming Mega-Pippen to Wade's Jordan. (Yeah, right.) Even during the final quarter of the 2008 gold-medal game, when everyone on the American team was staring at each other wondering who was going to step up against a red-hot Spain team, there were a few minutes of tentative, "I don't want to step on anyone's toes here" basketball before Kobe said "Screw it, get out of my way" and took over the key portion of the game.

Well, at some point, Wade and LeBron will have one of those 2008 Spain moments … but what happens if both guys say "Screw it, get out of my way?" You need to have a special type of mentality to want that moment; that's why Scottie Pippen melted down in that 1994 Bulls-Knicks playoff game, because Phil Jackson had spent that entire year building him up and making him think "We can win without Jordan, you're just as good, we can DO THIS," then designed the biggest play of the season for someone else. It was a slap in the face. Pippen reacted terribly, but still, don't you want him to be pissed there? Isn't that what being an alpha dog is all about? Don't you need a special level of swagger and confidence to carry that load every night? And once you reach that level, doesn't it become impossible to share the spotlight with someone else? Of course …

12. Maybe LeBron knows that he isn't wired that way.

Maybe he wants to be an unselfish creator like Magic or a do-it-all wingman like Pippen. Maybe he has too much Doctor J in him, as I theorized after Game 6. Maybe he believes that if Wade carries the crunch-time load, it will free LeBron to do LeBron things and average a triple-double every game without having that burden of "I've gotta create every shot for us in the final four minutes." Maybe he thinks it's his best chance to win. And if so …

13. I think it's a cop-out. Any super-competitive person would rather beat Dwyane Wade than play with him. Don't you want to find the Ali to your Frazier and have that rival pull the greatness out of you? That's why I'm holding out hope that LeBron signs with New York or Chicago (or stays in Cleveland), because he'd be saying, "Fine. Kobe, Dwight and Melo all have their teams. Wade and Bosh have their teams. The Celtics are still there. Durant's team is coming. I'm gonna go out and build MY team, and I'm kicking all their asses." That's what Jordan would have done. Hell, that's what Kobe would have done.

In May, after the Cavs were ousted in the conference semifinals, I wrote that LeBron was facing one of the greatest sports decisions ever: "winning (Chicago), loyalty (Cleveland) or a chance at immortality (New York)."

I never thought he would pick "HELP!"

14. LeBron joining Wade after his 2010 playoffs flameout, in my opinion, is like Conan O'Brien getting kicked in the teeth by NBC, then overreacting and forming a late-night version of "The View" with Chris Rock, Adam Carolla and Jeffrey Ross over trying to create his own show somewhere else. (Note to Carolla and Ross: Don't get excited, it's only a hypothetical.) Total cop-out. The move of someone who, deep down, doesn't totally trust his own talents any more. And maybe he doesn't.

15. What should LeBron do? Pick Chicago. That's where the rings are. The fact that he didn't say to Bosh, "Come to Chicago with me, we'll play with Rose and Noah and win six titles together" was the single most disappointing outcome of the summer. That team would have been a true juggernaut with pieces that actually complemented each other, unlike this pickup-basketball situation that's brewing in Miami. Even with Boozer there in Bosh's place -- and I think he's a great fit for them, with or without LeBron -- it could still translate to multiple titles, because Rose could have been the best second banana since Kobe in 2001.

Just know that Kobe would have caught a whiff of those rings and gone to Chicago. Same with Jordan. Same with Magic and Bird. Chicago had the biggest competitive advantage of anyone: room for two max guys along with an under-23 franchise point guard and one of the only elite defender/rebounder big men in basketball. How can you care about winning and NOT go to Chicago?

16. I need to make that point a second time: How can you care about winning and NOT go to Chicago? Unless …

17. LeBron picks New York. Ballsiest move. Fulfills his "global icon" wishes, puts him in the best possible basketball city, allows him to live a relatively normal life in our biggest city, gives him the biggest possible challenge (saving basketball in New York) and the biggest possible reward (going down in history as the guy who saved basketball in New York). I wouldn't love the thought of him crushing Cleveland for a similarly shaky situation, but if he spun it the right way, you could talk me into it. And here are the words I'd want to hear:

"Bringing New York a championship -- and doing it in the biggest city in America, in the best arena to play basketball -- would mean more to more people than anything else I could do as a basketball player. It's a challenge I could not resist."

Say that and I'm signing off. Anything less … no.

18. I ruled out the Knicks last week after details trickled out about LeBron's comical New York meeting, which sounded like a "Saturday Night Live" sketch because of Donnie Walsh being in a wheelchair and wearing a neck brace (he just had neck surgery), and James Dolan being James Dolan. Now the Knicks are gaining momentum thanks to the "He's coming!" buzz that drove MSG's stock price up 6.5 percent Wednesday. Where did this buzz come from? As far as I can tell, nowhere. But there's buzzing. You have to believe me. My BlackBerry practically blew up yesterday with e-mails from sports-industry friends with "KNICKS???" in the subject heading.

If he spurns them, then suddenly we're looking at the most disastrous decade in the history of New York sports -- first the Layden Era, then the Isiah Era, then Donnie Walsh spending two years gutting the team so he could spend $100 million on a guy with a bad knee and a bad eye who hasn't played defense in six years. Do you realize the Knicks will have given away top-ten lottery picks in 2004, '06, '07, '09, '10 and, potentially, '11 and '12 without making the playoffs or landing one superstar? How is that even possible?
(Important note: The fact that David Stern stuck Rod Thorn in New Jersey, Walsh in New York, David Kahn in Minnesota and Stu Jackson in Vancouver has to be added to his Wikipedia page. Like, right now. He's the Pied Piper for putrid GMs.)

19. I always thought the goal was winning rings. That's what Russell, Bird, Magic and Jordan taught us. That's what I grew up believing. But sports are different now. You're a brand as much as an athlete. In the past 72 hours, with the suspense building for his announcement, LeBron created a Twitter account, launched his own website and agreed with ESPN on a one-hour live selection show that, incredibly, was the exact same idea that a Columbus reader named Drew had in my Thanksgiving '09 mailbag … but I thought he was kidding. Now I think he's Nostradamus. Or even NostradamuSAS.

Drew from Columbus looked into the future, and here's what he saw: A world in which it was totally conceivable that an NBA superstar would sell an hour-long show in which he picked his next team and tainted his legacy in the process. I played along and pushed a "Bachelor"-type setup ("The LeBrachelor!") in which LeBron whittled 29 teams down to six, then four, then two, then one over the course of six episodes. Hell, have him hand out roses. Why not? It's not like this would actually happen, right?

20. Seven months later, it's happening. I can't wait to watch for the same reasons I couldn't turn away from OJ's Bronco chase or the Artest melee: it's Car Wreck Television. If LeBron picks anyone other than the Cavaliers, it will be the cruelest television moment since David Chase ended "The Sopranos" by making everyone think they lost power. Cleveland will never forgive LeBron, nor should they. He knows better than anyone what kind of sports anguish they have suffered over the years. Losing LeBron on a contrived one-hour show would be worse than Byner's fumble, Jose Mesa, the Game 5 meltdown against Boston, The Drive, The Shot and everything else. At least those stomach-punch moments weren't preordained, unless you believe God hates Cleveland (entirely possible, by the way). This stomach-punch moment? Calculated. By a local kid they loved, defended and revered.

It would be unforgivable. Repeat: unforgivable. I don't have a dog in this race -- as a Celtics fan, I wanted to see him go anywhere but Chicago -- but LeBron doing this show after what happened in the 2010 playoffs actually turned me against him. No small feat. I was one of his biggest defenders. Not anymore.

And here's where I really worry, because I don't think LeBron James has anyone in his life with enough juice to hurl his or her body in front of the concept of "I'm going to announce during a one-hour live show that I'm playing somewhere other than Cleveland." It's the best and worst thing about him -- he has remained fiercely loyal to his high school friends, but at the same time, he's surrounded by people his own age who don't stand up to him and don't know any better. Picking anyone other than Cleveland on this show would be the meanest thing any athlete has ever done to a city. But he might. Assuming he's not malicious, and that he's just a self-absorbed kid who apparently lost all perspective, that doesn't make him much different than most child stars who became famous before they could legally drink -- or, for that matter, Tiger Woods. That's just the way this stuff works. Too much, too fast, too soon. You don't lose your way all at once; just a little at a time. Then one day you look up and there's a TMZ photo spread with 15 of your mistresses, or you're agreeing to stab an entire city in the heart on a one-hour television show.

(When Kevin Durant announced his own five-year, $86 million extension with an endearingly simple tweet yesterday, we all had the same thought: "Now that's how it's done." Pretty sad that an NBA star stood out for being humble and only caring about basketball.)

21. I don't think LeBron will pick Cleveland for the simple reason that he didn't want to meet with Tom Izzo a few weeks ago. If he was staying, he would have wanted to meet someone who may have been his next coach. He didn't care. That tells me he's gone. But what do I know?

22. I think he should pick Chicago, and if not the Bulls, then New York. But I live in a dream world where NBA superstars only care about winning titles and/or playing in the biggest basketball cities with sophisticated fans and tons of history. The truth is, New York might not mean anything to LeBron, just like college football recruits don't care about Notre Dame any more. He isn't old enough to remember Frazier's Knicks, or Bernard's Knicks … hell, he's barely old enough to remember Ewing's Knicks. And he might be too egotistical to follow Jordan in Chicago, like it was the sloppy seconds of NBA cities or something. But what do I know?

23. Before I heard that tomorrow's announcement was taking place in Greenwich, Conn., I would have bet anything on Miami … as well as my next column having the byline "William J. Simmons." The Greenwich thing threw me for a loop. I am still picking Miami. Cautiously. Then again, what do I know?
(Actually, I do know one thing: By going for 24 thoughts instead of 23, I have to nail only six of them to win the LeBronocalypse MVP. Let's go one more.)

24. The goofiest part of these past few weeks: The way media people have been speculating in a way that seems like a cross between learned information and opinion, except we're never really sure what's real and what's conjecture. Thanks to Twitter and the 24/7 news cycle, the lines have been blurred completely. Chuck Klosterman thinks the true hero of the LeBron saga is Brian Windhorst, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter who cranked out articles and Tweets by the boatload -- never speculation, always facts, always backed up by sources, and there were a couple of times when he made you wonder, "Wait a second, is Windhorst hiding under a table in LeBron's office right now?" Maybe he was.

Sifting through the various reports and tweets, trying to figure out fact from fiction, glancing at my BlackBerry every 15 seconds to see if anyone e-mailed me … that's what I'll remember from the LeBronocalypse more than anything else. And also, who knew anyone could keep a secret for this long in the Twitter/TMZ Era? Even yesterday, when I was batting around LeBron theories with my buddy Connor, we were breaking down the Greenwich thing and had this exchange:

-- Connor: "Greenwich, that's nine minutes from the Knicks' practice facility. That has to mean something."
-- Me (thinking): "Maybe they KNEW it was nine minutes from the Knicks' practice facility, so they put it there to throw people off the scent."

I mean … what the hell kind of sporting event is this? It's like college signing day crossed with JFK's assassination. LeBron's team wanted to keep people talking and promote his website, and really, that's what happened. The man nearly exploded Twitter and melted ESPN. He transcended free agency, the World Cup, everything. He will draw a massive television audience tonight; he's the only professional athlete who could have pulled that off.

What a week for LeBron's brand. I just hope he remembers to wipe the blood off the knife after he pulls it from Cleveland's back.