The A-Train Rant 19.0!!!!

Ranting-Homer

Kicking off  your weekend with this edition of The A-Train Rant…

  1. What the hell, Roger? WHAT THE HELL? 2 game suspension for an athlete beating his wife? But you can suspend a player for smoking marijuana and keep another from playing for 2 seasons because of dog-fighting. That’s why the NFL offices are so screwed up.
  2. Michelle Beadle wants to beat down Stephen A. Smith. She may have used her words but she sounds like she wants to use her fists.
  3. Someone help Sam Ponder…I see what she was trying to do but she got annihilated on social media.
  4. I feel bad for Tony Dungy, he spoke his mind then took back what he said. It’s like we can’t say anything about issues period before being scrutinized. Then again, he helped the person previously described in Statement 1.
  5. Kevin Love will be a Cleveland Cavalier. Regardless of what other “sources” or reports say. Chicago is giving up a lot to get him with. I can let go that Love won’t be a Bull. HE’S GOT TO BE EXCITED THAT HIS NAME IS MENTIONED EVERY DAY NOW.
  6. Despite losing 2 games to a 4th place AL East team, the Cardinals still has Milwaukee’s number and they will still collapse.
  7. NFL season is just around the corner. Can’t wait for fantasy football.
  8. Oakland A’s should be in the World Series this year. It’s a true “Moneyball” team again.
  9. James Harden and Dwight Howard will never win a championship as teammates. I’m being nice.
  10. Crazy as it seems, the Washington Wizards will be one of the scariest teams to face in the Eastern Conference. People will talk about Chicago and Cleveland but watch out for D.C.
  11. Big ups to “The Front Page” radio show for allowing me to come on board and talk sports. Catch them every day from 12pm-3pm CST on KFNS 590 AM.
  12. Shoutout to the St. Louis Surge and their owner Khalia Collier…women’s professional basketball in St. Louis. Yep, it’s real. Check it here.

Have a great weekend.

More to come.

The A-Train

The A-Train Rant 18.0!!!

 

Ranting-Homer

Time for another edition of The A-Train Rant…

  1. I want to first say thank you to the people at Fox and MLB for completely dropping the ball during the All-Star Game. No mention of Tony Gwynn at all. I understand everything was meant for Derek Jeter but hell, give credit to one of the greatest hitters our generation has ever seen. Damn sure didn’t help when Ken Rosenthal tried to explain the situation later.
  2. I wonder why Erin Andrews got the NFL on Fox gig over the now departed Pam Oliver. Was it hair? Race? (No, not the race card) I see why the people at WEEI went completely in on her. It wasn’t right to say but hey, I didn’t make the comments.
  3. The MLB All-Star Game is ALL Bud Selig’s fault…he made an exhibition too serious. (Was slated in my rant about the All-Star game)
  4. The Los Angeles Lakers are not going anywhere next season. Great job adding Carlos Boozer (laughs)
  5. July 17th was the worst day this year for sports…they weren’t any. If you want to count golf, cricket and the WNBA, go right ahead.
  6. The Miami Heat have a better chance to win the East over the Miami Cavaliers (aka Cleveland).
  7. Adam Wainwright should learn to keep his mouth shut.
  8. Kevin Love is not going anywhere.
  9. Derek Jeter is hated so much…Deadspin went this far.
  10. Kevin Durant is going to Washington in 2 seasons.
  11. Stuart Scott is the greatest. Just watch his ESPYs speech.
  12. Shoutout to Dr. J, straight chin-checking Stephen A. Smith on First Take.
  13. When does football season start?

More to come.

The A-Train

THE ASSOCIATION REPORT: Second Edition

nba-logo

In the second edition of “The Association,” the primary focus is on the professional level…the NBA.

Here we are in the month of February and the Oklahoma City Thunder is playing like they want to be in the NBA championship once again, even without their floor leader Russell Westbrook. Reggie Jackson is definitely picking up the slack at the 1 position, Serge Ibaka playing magnificent ball at the 4 position and DEFINITELY should have been an All-Star this year (we’ll talk about that later) while Jeremy Lamb, 3-point veteran Derek Fisher and defensive specialist Thabo Sefalosha providing great contributions from the bench. This team has been on a roll have blown out opponents in the month of January…including their 17-point win against the Miami Heat. The person behind those epic wins is their MVP for not only the team, but the league as well…Kevin Durant.

Durant is without a doubt playing the best basketball of his career. It was ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith that said about Durant that he can play “any of the 4 positions.” He can. He really can. He’s a great ball-handler, he can handle the wing positions and he can post up on just about anyone. He definitely a player that is hard to guard…just ask LeBron James. In their matchup on January 29th, LeBron may have won the point battle, 34-33, but it was Durant who had the last laughs. On three different occasions, Durant buried 3-point shots in the face of James. Both guys are definitely valuable to their respective teams, but you almost can’t go against either of them. LeBron is actually having a down year…at least if you are talking about his scoring average (which is at 26 points a game), but the other numbers have remained consistent. But the guy everyone is talking about in circles…is Durant. He clearly has made it known to fans and haters that he’s tired of being second best. So far, he’s the best player. I can hear the LeBron fans immortalizing the great Ric Flair’s line, “To be the best, you got to BEAT the best.” Still, Durant is the best player.

One team you should definitely watch for is the Golden State Warriors. This team is young, energetic, highly-entertaining and VERY exciting. I haven’t seen them look this good since the days of Run TMC (TIM Hardaway, MITCH Richmond, and CHRIS Mullin). If you are looking for a “one season to the playoff” team, this is not the team for you. Mark Jackson’s boys will be in the playoffs for a while. Stephon Curry playing all-star ball as usual. He needs to make sure to let his game do the talking and not his mouth. Klay Thompson is a dead-eye shooter and can give opposing guards fits. Andrew Bogut and David Lee are very solid in the post…but health will be the issue for these two. The addition of Andre Iguodala was genius by Golden State. He doesn’t have to be THE guy for this team, all he has to do is play his role where he’s needed. I can’t forget about young guys Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and the recent acquisition Jordan Crawford (from Boston), they bring punch off the bench. The Warriors are as young as the recent Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. It may look a little far-fetched that they would be in the NBA Finals this season but they have the right pieces to make themselves a championship contender.

While the New York Knicks have been the NBA’s biggest primetime drama (yeah they moved out the Lakers), the important piece of the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony has suddenly become an ultimate prize for other suitors. As the rumors continue to fly out about where ‘Melo could be going…whether it’s Los Angeles, Chicago or even staying in NYC…the question is: Is he worth it? It will depend on what squad decides to put him on their roster. If it’s the Lakers…you’re asking for trouble. As much as Laker fans want him there, he’s not the answer to their equation. Maybe a Kevin Love added to the mix could make it a championship contender but I just don’t see it. Yes, the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics pulled off doing Big 3’s to help them win championships, but those teams were very different compared to what other NBA squads are trying to combine and make their own.  If he goes to the Clippers, it’s going to have to be in exchange for star Blake Griffin. Griffin could work well in NYC, he does like to run and the Knicks are a running team. The longshot is Chicago…yeah they don’t have Derrick Rose but they could use a scorer, the bad part is they won’t have a good defender unless head coach Tom Thibodeau can help him a great deal. Who wants an effective scorer but poor defender for their playoff-bound/championship contending team? I would choose Chicago. That’s not because I’m a Bulls fan either.

(I’m going to try to be nice with this one) The beginning of the month saw a 30-year tenure for David Stern come to an end. Stern took the NBA to an international phenomenon, taking the game all over the world, and even returning with some of the Non-American’s best players. Stern made the NBA very marketable…turning people like Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James into household names. He even was the brainchild with the WNBA and did his best to bring substance to his league. Adam Silver takes over the commissioner’s position and hopefully will bring a lot more positivity to the league.

A-Train

Hey Chicago, We’re Ready When You Are

Chicago_Bulls3

These days it’s tough to be a Chicago Bulls fan. I mean really tough.

The days of Marcus Fizer, Dickey Simpkins, Mark Bryant, Matt Maloney, Khalid Reeves, Michael Ruffin and Khalid El-Amin are gone. From 1998-2004, the Bulls were 119-341, with 5 straight seasons of 50 or more losses and went through coaches like Tim Floyd, Bill Cartwright, Bill Berry and Pete Myers. Yes, the Jordan replacement…PETE MYERS! YIKES! But after clever drafting and added some key veterans, the Bulls became playoff contenders again. In the last 10 seasons, they enjoyed their finest season during the 2010-2011 season when they went 62-20 and Derrick Rose was named MVP. It looked like the Bulls would be CHAMPIONSHIP contenders, then…Rose gets injured in the 1st round of the following season’s playoffs and it went downhill from there. He didn’t play the following season after much controversy and distraction about his injury status, yet the team was able to make the playoffs only to get bounced by the eventual champion Miami Heat in the second round.

This season…PURE HELL. PURE H-E-L-L.

Not even a full two months have gone by and several Bulls players have been injured, including Rose (who’s out for the season again) and my “favorite player” to hate Carlos Boozer. Yes, him. The hate for LeBron has ceased. Not only that, the recent trade of Luol Deng to Cleveland for Andrew Bynum and draft picks. Bynum will never get to see a minute in a Bulls uniform because he was waived in under 24 hours. Just trying to get the room for cap space and lure a potential free agent, maybe a Carmelo Anthony, LeBron or a Kevin Love. Now, Love would be an awesome addition in Chicago, it would get him a chance at actually being on a playoff team…which he has yet to see in his (now) 6 seasons in Minnesota. Another funny possibility would be Blake Griffin. This is a business. Loyalty is so gone. That’s why I respect Timmy D and Kobe.

But back to the subject at hand…freeing of cap space to lock in a key free agent…the Bulls did that so well back in the 2010 free agent sweepstakes. It was so well that they went and got…Carlos Boozer. Yes, Carlos Boozer. He was the guy that was mentioned earlier in this blog. The Bulls couldn’t nab LeBron, they couldn’t get Dwyane Wade…the hometown guy, Chris Bosh or even Amar’e Stoudemire, not to mention Rudy Gay or David Lee. They got Boozer for 5 seasons, $75 million. The Sporting News couldn’t have said this any better, “Boozer, who has performed well below his deal for years, is set to make $16.8 million next season and does not fit the Bulls’ defensive approach, which has led him to spend time on the bench in clutch moments.” This was a guy who was an all-star with the Utah Jazz and averaged 20 points and right at 10 rebounds a game, and never looked like the same player back in Utah. His defense was just horrendous. Allowing smaller players, other power forwards, even slower players to outplay him. Not to mention the numbers are atrocious. This man TRICKED John Paxson, Gar Forman and Jerry Reinsdorf. Where is Jerry Krause when you need him? I see why they put the amnesty clause on him. No way you put that salary on this team.

As a Bulls fan, I can stomach this season. But I can’t say the same for the crowds that once sold out the United Center. For right now, those are gone. Yet, they have great young talent in Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. Rookie Tony Snell is starting to get more in to the mix off the bench and hopefully Mike Dunleavy can fill the void that Kyle Korver left. Korver doesn’t fit the Thibodeau book of defense. But that efficient shooting is missed greatly. Didn’t necessarily get a good upgrade in Dunleavy. He’s decent but not a plus. At this rate, it looks like the Bulls are going to be revamped in a similar fashion the way the Portland Trailblazers and Golden State Warriors have done to get back into the playoff mix. If the Bulls don’t make the playoffs it won’t be a surprise. This team looked doomed after the Rose injury. The biggest questions will be…Can D. Rose be a solid player again? Can the Bulls lure a GOOD free agent? Can they become a contender again? Only time will tell. But for now, Bulls fans, you’ll just have to let this season go. But hey Chicago, we’ll be ready when you are.

A-Train