Saric Just What The Doctor Ordered – The View From Mt. Airy 8-10-16

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@MtAiryPhil

PHILADELPHIA, PA

Maybe you saw it. Maybe you didn’t.

Hey, you could have been one of the millions whose TV and attention was trained on the Olympic Air Rifle Finals. This was just a preliminary round basketball game between a Croatian team not targeted for Gold and a Spanish five we all know very well. But here in Philadelphia every eye was trained on Dario Saric, and to a lesser extent, new Sixers’ point guard Sergio Rodriguez.

It’s been two years since the 76ers’ trade on draft day of Elfrid Peyton to Orlando for the rights to Croatian forward Dario Saric as part of Sam Hinkie’s build for the future plan. He was described to Philadelphia basketball fans as one part Larry Bird, one part Dirk Nowitzki, and a little bit of Sixers all-timer Bobby Jones. Then the seemingly interminable wait began. Was he coming at all? Would he buy out that multi million dollar contract in Turkey to come in to the NBA and play for the slotted 1.3 million that comes with being the 12 pick in the draft, leaving millions on the table behind.

For two dreadful seasons, the 76ers faithful were teased as the team bottomed out, finishing the 2016 season with an abominable 10-72 record. The now rebellious 76ers’ fans began to see Saric as part and parcel of the problem, and just as much to blame for that disaster as those on the active roster, and an extension of the failure and embarrassment of the designed losing which grated horribly upon the psyche of a proud fan base as they endured record breaking losing including 27 consecutive losses that seemed to erase the memory of the franchise that was once so laden with Hall of Fame talent such as Charles Barkley, Allen Iverson, Andrew Toney, Maurice Cheeks and the legendary Doctor, Julius Winfield Erving.

The final 14 seconds versus Spain changed everything. Croatia led by a point after Saric made one of two free throws to give his side the lead. Spain sets up the final shot and it wasn’t a surprise to see them get the ball to 6-time NBA ALL STAR and 2-time NBA CHAMPION Pau Gasol. What was surprising was the anticipation, footwork and quickness of Dario Saric as he glided across the lane to reject Gasol and his jump hook at the buzzer preserving the win. Does that mean he’s NBA ready defensively or prepared to be a year one stopper? No. But it shows the intellect, instinct and desire that is coachable to the extent that you can expect Saric to be an immediately contributing rotation player. Combine that with the wealth of bigs and seeming scoring options that are currently on the young 76ers’ roster and you see the opportunities presented to Dario Saric as he embarks on his rookie season this fall. You could see it as he added 7 rebounds and 6 assists to the stat line versus Spain on an afternoon when his shot wasn’t falling (1-7 FG) for him, including a luscious no-look behind-the-back dish for a basket.

What the Doctor ordered on the last 76ers championship team was Bobby Jones. Long, lean sixth man, who left skin on every NBA hardwood and was able to run the floor, add a near double-double nightly, yet whose biggest contribution was always defensive energy and a dash of instincts and smarts that more than compensated for a big shot or flashy offense. Can Dario Saric be that player? I truly believe he can. Doc had Andrew, Moses, Mo and Bobby. Ben Simmons now has Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid, Sergio Rodriguez, Nerlens Noel, and now Dario Saric. Young and talented, with great expectations but all similarly unproven. But for one moment in Rio, Dario Saric was JUST what the Doctor ordered.
With the plethora of talent assembled in Philadelphia now, and the 76ers in possession of both the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers first round picks in the 2017 NBA draft (both lottery bound and unprotected), Dario Saric just has to be coachable, competitive, and learn the NBA game as a cog in the future of the franchise. Being Bobby Jones would be more than enough.

That’s the View from high atop Mt. Airy…….

The A-Train Rant 21.0!!

Ranting-Homer

Happy New Year one and all, it’s time for the 1st rant of 2015…

  1. Stuart Scott is Mr. SportsCenter, I can care less what you think. Not being biased either.
  2. Pau Gasol is a blessing to Chicago. Thank you Jim Buss.
  3. Jimmy Butler is not only an All-Star, he’s playing like an MVP.
  4. Stephen Curry is amazing…maybe he should be the MVP.
  5. I dislike Steve Kerr still; that Warriors team will forever be Mark Jackson’s.
  6. The Atlanta Hawks will not go to the Eastern Conference Finals this season. I don’t give a damn how good they’re doing right now.
  7. Stan Kroenke gave the NFL the finger and was straight gangster with it.
  8. The Cleveland Cavaliers added two cancers to the team after trading one of them (Dion Waiters traded, received J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert)
  9. There’s no need for a committee for the College Football Playoff, just call it the BCS College Football Playoff and let the computers decide.
  10. Oregon will win the national championship; screw you Buckeye fans.
  11. I’m cheering for the Cowboys this weekend…just like you…I can’t believe it either.
  12. I’m not watching hockey until March/April…that’s when the real fun begins just like the NBA.
  13. I feel sorry for Marvin Lewis and Jim Caldwell…only of these men will get the short end of the stick.
  14. So when does baseball season start?
  15. Dirk Nowitzki is better than Larry Bird. (Became 7th all-time leading scorer in NBA history)
  16. “BOOYAH!”
  17. “Cool as the other side of the pillow.”
  18. “I ain’t gone say nothing, but that ain’t right.”
  19. Rich Eisen is awesome. Never forget your colleague and friend. Classy move.
  20. Shoutout to every sports team that honored Stuart Scott.

MORE TO COME…I THINK. STAY TUNED.

The A-Train

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Bulls Get Consolation Prizes

pau-gasol-carlos-boozer-nba-los-angeles-lakers-chicago-bulls-850x560Since the end of their second championship run in 1998, the Chicago Bulls haven’t quite lived up to the hype of being a champion. The closest they have been to getting to the title was losing to the Miami Heat back in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, 4 games to 1.

In the span of the last 16 seasons, the Bulls seem to let big name superstars slip through their fingers and grab just “consolation prizes” through free agency.

During the seasons from 1998-2003, the Bulls have had the opportunities to lure in such players as Tracy McGrady and Tim Duncan. Both said no to Chicago. McGrady went on to Orlando and played for a slew of franchises. Duncan went on to win 4 more titles with the San Antonio Spurs. The Bulls went after free agents like Fred Hoiberg, Ron Mercer, Brad Miller, Eddie Robinson, and believe it or not…Scottie Pippen. Clearly, ALL CONSOLATION PRIZES. At the same time, those teams were horrific which included that 13-37 strike-shortened season back in 1999.

From 2003-2010, the Bulls signed 1 free agent…Ben Wallace, believe it or not, a consolation prize. Wallace, of course was the backbone of those Detroit Pistons’ teams that won 2 Eastern Conference titles and captured the 2004 NBA Finals. He signed a 4-year deal with the Bulls and never lived up to that deal, being dealt after just 1 and a half seasons with Chicago. So much for that idea.

It was very easy and widely known about the 2010 free agent class that came out (LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Carmelo, etc). Plus, Chicago already had Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah from draft picks, yet now were looking for a key free agent to add to their possible contention at a title.

As the reports and rumors were coming out that summer, the Bulls looked like they could have gained their piece. But none of the big names signed their name on a contract with Chicago. The Big 3 (as its famously known) assembled in Miami, thanks to LeBron. The Bulls however took…the man on the left of the photo, Carlos Boozer, aka yet another consolation prize.

Boozer, who was coming off a stellar year with the Utah Jazz, SEEMED like the solid piece that the Bulls needed. In his 1st season with Chicago, he helped them get to a 62-20 mark and the best record in the East. His numbers were solid but not the same as he was in Utah. He wasn’t a vital part of Chicago’s defensive scheme orchestrated by head coach Tom Thibodeau. He was a main liability, getting punked by other power forwards in the league, good AND bad. In this past season, he averaged under 14 points and 8 rebounds a night and hardly ever played in the 4th quarter of ballgames. Again, he was a defensive liability. It also didn’t help Chicago when Rose went down in back-to-back seasons. Nonetheless, Boozer was amnestied after the season and won’t be a part of the Bulls’ future.

Here we are 4 years later and Bulls’ management still can’t seem to lure a major free agent in a huge market. They even couldn’t get ‘Melo (personally I’m glad they didn’t) to play in Chicago. They went out and signed…the guy on the right side of the photo…Pau Gasol from the Lakers. AGAIN, another consolation prize. However, this one could benefit more than it could hurt. This new core could possibly win the East, thanks to LeBron again (going to Cleveland). Yet, it will definitely raise a lot of questions before training camp begins. I’m not going to ask them or answer them now. Stay tuned. Training camps and preseason will come faster than you think.

The A-Train

THE A-TRAIN RANT 3.0!!

It’s time for another great rant coming from the A-Train…you should love this one. Here we go.

  1. Josh Morgan…you are “The A-Train Rant” DUMMY OF THE WEEK, WEEK, WEEK! Hope and pray that Mike Shanahan give you the pink slip and tell you, “Today is your last day as a Redskin, please turn in your playbook.”
  2. Speaking of football, good win for the Jeff Fisher and the St. Louis Rams. Got that first win and RGIII took his first loss, also means that you shut up John Madden…at least for this week.
  3. Andrew Luck is a beast? Too soon???
  4. Good Sunday to have Cardinals at the end of it. The St. Louis baseball team beat the Dodgers keep a one game lead for the second wild card spot (may have meaning after all). Shoutout to the Arizona football team (too young to really remember the team being in St. Louis), going into Foxboro and knocking off the New England Patriots in their home opener. 1st time any team has beaten the Pats on their home field for their opener. Tom Brady still wondering, “We lost to Arizona? In our home opener?” Yeah, Tom. You did.
  5. Mizzou will be get the tar and feathers beaten off them for the next two weeks. They are about to learn what the SEC really feels like.
  6. Speaking of the SEC, one of those teams will be in the national championship, again. If not careful…it’s LSU/Bama part 2. People will hate that for life! I for one, would love it all over again. Just keep showing how flawed the NCAA system really is.
  7. After watching Peyton Manning against the Falcons, (BOLD STATEMENT TO MAKE) I think Eli Manning will be better than his brother. At least he’s got one thing on Peyton…more Super Bowls.
  8. The New Orleans Saints need some serious help. But thanks Roger, you screwed up not only them but the NFL as well with your patty cake approach to protect your precious golden-arm quarterbacks. In the illustrious words of Tia and Tamera, “GO HOME ROGER!” I know it was bad. So what!
  9. Back to the NFL, these replacement refs have got to go. I tried to support them last time and now I can’ t take it anymore. I think it was FoxSports.com columnist Jason Whitlock that said on Twitter…”the refs don’t understand the NFL philosophy.”
  10. LA Lakers center Dwight Howard had stated through “a source” on ESPN.com that he never wanted to be hated…Brother, that’s all you did was cause hate. People will hate you regardless. If you are successful or better yet, just because you are black. Yeah I said it. The race card still plays in this world that you and I live in. It’s sad, but true.
  11. Speaking of LA Lakers, Ron Artest (I refuse to call him Metta World Peace) said that he believes the Lakers can go 73-9. Hey Ron, why don’t you just say 82-0? I mean you got the right coach to do it, right? You got Phil…eh…Mike Brown to do it. Plus all those injury-plagued players on your team like Pau Gasol and hell, even Kobe Bryant. What other bums, I mean players do they have…well there is Steve Blake, Jordan Hill, and my favorites Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Looks like you got all the right pieces in place. All you have to do now is get past the Spurs and Thunder and the Miami Heat (paper champs) and you’re in. Well, that was a good dream to not see unfold. I know we have a season coming up but that damn sure won’t happen. Sorry Laker fans. Keep dreaming!
  12. Oh yes…this is a must. After watching Night of Champions I have come to the conclusion that the WWE wants CM Punk to fight The Rock at Wrestlemania. Just to give this idiot the main event he deserves. Otherwise, he’ll lose the belt at Hell In A Cell. (SIDEBAR NOTE) Good to know that Jerry Lawler is OK and released from the hospital. It would have been a sad day if it was more severe. Now lay off the ropes and just commentate.

ONE LAST THING…SHOUTOUT TO MY HOMEY Twillie Cottingham celebrating a birthday today! Make sure you follow her @MissESPN34…fellas, if  you looking for a lady who knows her sports…she’s one of them. Die-hard fan! (She’s going to hurt me for this)

I’m done. More to come soon. Hopefully a radio show soon. Stay tuned.

Please post your comments below. Greatly appreciate it. Bad comments (that will depend on how I feel) will get the boot.

The A-Train