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Pro Sports Wrap - Sports Personality of the Day:Patrick Marleau

And on I march with these historical player profiles, while listening to Nirvana of course. Is Dave Grohl not the best rock personality in recent history? While that would be a very entertaining topic to discuss, my "job" here is sports analysis. It's an equally fruitless activity in the eyes of the equally ignorant public, but why listen to the ignorant who have not reaped the rewards of sports? I mean, every diehard sports fan admits that they have learned a lot about life with sports as a medium. Life is like Shawn and sports are like Gus, Gus translates the incoherent nonsense Shawn says. Likewise, sports help translate the craziness and seeming randomness of everyday life. Alright, I'm gonna stop being philosophical- and not get religious- and hit up this HPP.

Before I start this post, I want to go off on another monologue (an aside would be if I was talking to myself, but I'm not Jack White). Why is Dwight Howard's nickname D12? Like, how does that make sense at all? I hate it when people make basketball player's nicknames out of their initial and jersey number. AK47 is cool, but D12 is as ludicrous as the rapper. The guys who made up this nickname are popping too many purple pills and seeing too many purple hills.

Otis Taylor may never have shown his All-Pro talent had legendary scout Lloyd Wells not spotted him and signed him on to the Chiefs. In his first full season, Taylor broke out in a big way. He was a Pro Bowler and First-Team All-Pro after hauling in eight touchdown catches for 1,297 yards and a league-leading 22.4 yards per catch. According to Pro Football Reference, his AV of 20 in 1966 was the best in the NFL

The way Otay went to the Chiefs is also interesting, because he was originally under the control of Eagles scouts. In the famous baby-sitting incident, Taylor snuck out of his hotel room and met up with Wells and the Chiefs scouts.

Len Dawson and Otis Taylor had an incredible rapport that is akin to what Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison had a few years back. At 6-3, Taylor was an incredible talent in the middle of the field and could beat you deep. Many agree that Otay revolutionized the wide receiver position and should be in the Hall of Fame. Without a doubt, however, Taylor is the best receiver in Chiefs history. He is deserving of a place in the Hall of Fame, even if he played before the AFL-NFL merger.

In 1967, his 11 touchdown catches were the highest in the league. Taylor was also a Pro Bowler in the years 1971 and 1972, as he caught seven touchdown passes with a league-high 1,110 yards in 1971. He was also a First-Team All-Pro in '71, and he wore the number 89 for the Chiefs for 11 seasons from 1965-1975.

In Super Bowl IV (the last before the merger), the Chiefs upset the Vikings 32-7 when the Vikes were supposedly the greatest team ever before that game. In that game, Otis Taylor caught a pass from Len Dawson and ran it the rest of the way for a 46 yards touchdown. He also had one of his signature stiff-arms on that highlight play.

However, Taylor was not just a great pass-catcher, he was also a formidable blocker. For a guy of his height, it's not exactly hard to see why. But more importantly, however, he was an elusive receiver who could get a ton of yards after the catch. Taylor was also athletic enough to make unheard of one-handed grabs.

"Otis made my job easy,"Len Dawson said. "If you got the pass to Otis, you knew he'd catch it."

A season after their Super Bowl victory, Otay had one of those games that a player just wishes it never happened. The Chiefs were beating their hated rivals- the Raiders- 17-14. It looked like a sure victory after Len Dawson's scramble led to a first down, but defensive end Ben Davidson pretty much jumped into Dawson's helmet while the star QB was already on the ground. As you now know, Taylor was great friends with Dawson and did what any good friend does; take action.

Needless to say, the ramifications of this incident led to an outcome that wasn't very positive from a Chiefs perspective. Taylor came at Davidson, and the benches cleared like it was a baseball game (or a Suns-Spurs game). Both penalties basically turned the first down into nothingness- under the awful rules at the time- and the Raiders would go on to register a comeback victory. What makes this worse is that the Raiders went into the playoffs, and the Chiefs were stuck at home because of a head-scratching rule that is- thankfully- not in place today.

So you can plainly see that Otis Taylor was a pretty damn good football player. I mean, he was one of the best players in football when he was playing, and he made the wide receiver position the marquee position that it is today. He was the guy who started the highlight-reel plays, and Otay is also the best wideout in Chiefs history. Taylor was slighted from the Hall of Fame, and that's because of the statistics. For his era, Taylor was as elite as a wide receiver as you can get.


6/22 Daily Rundown: A new proposal

June 22nd 2011 06:13
1. Owners giving a new proposal to players

The players will get 48 percent of the revenue, and it will never go below 46.5 percent. If the salary cap for a year is at 125 million or something like that, a team's payroll must be around that amount. That could be difficult for teams in smaller markets, but it forces owners to actually spend. There is a rookie wage scale in this proposed deal, but it isn't finalized yet. A player must have four years under his belt in order to become a UFA, and tags (such as the franchise tag) are going to be discussed in the next round of player-owner negotiations. Retired NFL players will also get benefits such as improved health care, and I am glad that is in the proposed deal.

2. Dwane Casey hired

Finally. Former Mavericks assistant coach Dwane Casey was hired by the Toronto Raptors to be their new coach. Casey was probably the best assistant coach in the league, and he is finally rewarded with his first head coaching gig. I love this guy, but I don't know if even he can change the mess in Toronto. They have the worst roster in the league, and there isn't a star on this team.

Casey is going to give his offensive players freedom, and he is going to emphasize defense. This is, after all, a defensive-minded coach on a team with absolutely no defense. Have you seen Andrea Bargnani try to play D? He's going to try to bring something to this defense and work with his players to improve their defense.

3. Jose Reyes waiting

Jose Reyes told the Mets that he doesn't want to engage in negotiations during the regular season. He wants to keep playing for the Mets, but he doesn't want any distractions hindering his performance this year. He is easily the team's best player, and he has the highest WAR in the NL. The Mets shouldn't trade him, and they should make every effort to re-sign him in the offseason. This is their star.

4. Thanks Pat

Erik Spoelstra is one of my favorite coaches in the NBA, and he's one of the best coaches out there. He is the reason why Dwayne Wade kept on improving, and he is the reason why the Heat even made it this far. Remember that whole crying episode? Spoelstra had to be Sparky Anderson, and then some. He not only had to manage three superstars with egos of their own, but he also had to coach a team with no bench.

There was a lot of speculation in the beginning of the season that Pat Riley would take the reigns and boot out Spoelstra. I said that was the stupidest thing, and that I would start raging if that ever happened. Like, why would you even consider firing one of the best young coaches in the NBA? Riley also mentored Spoelstra, and I doubt he would oust him. Riley is also content with sticking around in the background.

Well, Pat Riley said that he won't coach again and that Spoelstra is doing a great job. Thanks Pat, that made my day.

“It doesn’t mean that I don’t have the fire,” Riley said. “But we have a great young coach here and I want to support him and hope that he can grow like I did. This is just his third year.”

5. Tony Parker for lottery pick?

The San Antonio Spurs have talked to several teams with lottery picks about moving Tony Parker for one of those choices. I wouldn't do this if I were the Spurs because this is such a weak draft. I would never trade a a very good player for a pick that will probably yield a decent borderline starter in the NBA. This seems a little out of character for the Spurs, and it would be a huge mistake if they were to trade Parker for the Raptors' fifth pick- or something like that.
A new proposal

2010 NBA Finals Preview

May 31st 2011 15:15
This is a rematch that one man has relished more than anyone else. This is a shot at redemption, most likely the last one, for one of the NBA's biggest stars. This series dates back to 2006 when the Dallas Mavericks blew a 2-0 series lead against Dwayne Wade and Shaq in a series that featured an epic collapse from Dirk Nowitzki. The man who is perhaps the greatest player in Mavericks' history has took it upon himself to lead his team back to this moment. Will they get their vengeance. One thing's clear, they won't go down without a fight.

The 2006 Finals have haunted this team ever since, and the word "choker" has long been associated with the name Dirk Nowitzki. That is, until this season. The man largely blamed for what happened in 2006 and the loss to the eighth seeded Warriors in 2007. Nowitzki scored just eight points on a team that won 67 games and was considered to be one of the best teams in recent memory. That's all behind the man born in Wurzburg.

It's difficult to describe the drastic difference in Dirk's postseason play that happened this year. The shot were finally falling and the legendary work ethic was paying it's dividends on basketball's biggest stage. He and the Mavs didn't wilt when the Blazers tied the series 2-2 when the Mavs were up 2-0. It seemed like deja vu, but the Mavs showed they were a changed team and won the next two games.

The Lakers were supposed to be easily into the Finals after the Spurs were bounced out by the Grizzlies. The Lakers imploded, and the Mavs exploded on their way to a surprising sweep. The Mavs showed they were for real, and Dirk Nowitzki had the series of a lifetime. He obliterated the Thunder and had the highest true shooting percentage in a playoff game in NBA history. Dirk was brutally efficient, got to the line with ease, and turned in a performance that has skyrocketed his reputation.

The Heat's journey to this point has been well-documented, and LeBron James cemented himself as the NBA's best player after a playoff series against the Bulls that we can simply chalk up as being dominant. There really is no other word to use to describe the clutch shots, the efficiency, and the remarkable defense against the league's MVP who actually wasn't my MVP.

This is tantalizing matchup that we need to savor in. It's so captivating because of the storylines surrounding this game. It's the Big Three trying to prove the doubters and "haters"- one doubter being Mavs' owner Mark Cuban- that they are the best team in the league.

So far in the playoffs, Chris Bosh is easily the best player that Dirk Nowitzki will be guarded by. He's far more athletic than Gasol, Ibaka, and Aldridge as a defender. I think Nowitzki wins this battle though. Shawn Marion played superb defense against Durant, but LeBron isn't going to be pushed around as easily. Again, Marion is better at defending LeBron than the guys he has faced in the playoffs right now. Deng and Iguodala play good D, but they aren't as physical on the ball as Marion. But nobody can guard LeBron at this point.

The Mavs don't really have anyone to take on D-Wade either. Jason Kidd has turned into a good defensive player, but Wade is too fast and is incredible at attacking the rim. I don't see how Kidd can contain him, unless if Wade gets gassed out like he did against the Bulls. I doubt that's going to happen.

These are two unquestionably talented teams that fully deserve to be at this point. Sports are all about matchups and utilizing matchups. This series is definitely winnable for both teams, but I think the Heat have the better matchup against the Mavericks. It's going to be close considering the fact that the Mavs have the far better bench.

I've been very critical of the Heat over the season, but they really proved me wrong against the Bulls. I rarely ever pick series to go seven, but I do think these will be six hard-fought games. Want an MVP? I think Wade gets his second one against the Mavs in the Finals. He's going to rise up and show us he is the second best player in basketball behind LeBron. Yes, I just said that Wade is better than Kobe, but that's a debate for another day.
Trying to Duplicate 2006

The Minnesota Timberwolves want to get a couple of veterans in return if they were to trade the number two pick in the upcoming draft. Although their owner says otherwise, many GMs have stated that the Wolves are talking about dealing their pick. Hey, I would do the trade depending on who the veterans are. I mean, David Kahn doesn't exactly have the best draft track record out there.

Danny Ferry has been linked with a move to the Trail Blazers. The best GM in basketball could be going to one of the best front office's in basketball. If the Blazers can get Ferry, this would be a huge move. I think he gives them a really good chance to get to the next round in the playoffs, provided he has the opportunity to make some moves.

Mike Brown was an incredible coach for the Cavs, but LeBron James was the reason why he was fired. Brown was drawing up plays, and James would never run them. His immaturity frustrated his coach, and LeBron grew to hate Brown. Brown was fired for fear that LeBron would leave if Brown was kept. They got the part where James would leave right, but they didn't make a good decision in firing Brown.

There are always greener pastures for a former Coach of the Year, and this one may have hit the jackpot. The Lakers are in very serious discussions with Brown. He may be named the successor to arguably the greatest coach in NBA history on arguably the greatest franchise in NBA history. Kobe is man enough to not pull a LeBron. Brown seems to want a four year deal worth at least four million per year. That's quite a bit of cash, so I think that's the deciding factor. Rick Adelman and assistant coach Brian Shaw are two other top candidates to keep an eye on.

I am hearing that the Milwaukee Bucks want to trade Brandon Jennings. That's a really stupid idea, and they seriously undervalue him. I hope Jennings goes to a team that realizes just how good he can be when used properly. Jennings is understandably not happy with his situation in Milwaukee. He's a player who can become a star point guard in this league, and I think he's best suited to move on to a team that can help him reach his potential.
Next In Line?

2011 Pre-Draft Notes Part 2

April 27th 2011 14:20
For Part 2, I want to start off by talking about the best draft strategy. Now, this isn't a pinpoint strategy of who to take schematically and stuff like that. These are notes, not in-depth previews where I go into schemes. I may delve into schemes at some point, but I want to talk about upside guys.

In the NBA, the successful teams- like the Spurs- don't look for high-upside guys with superstar potential when they're picking in the 20s. No, they're looking for solid players that they can plug in for 15-20 minutes or so each night. I think NFL teams need to do that and value players that can come right in and do a solid job rather than those upside players that almost never pan out

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2010 PSW NBA Coach of the Year

April 22nd 2011 14:39
The Chicago Bulls have had the biggest turnaround in the NBA from last year. They were a border line playoff team in an Eastern Conference that had no depth, but they are now the best team in the NBA. So far, the Bulls are up 3-0 in the first round of the playoffs. This is all thanks to the Celtics-style half-court defense brought in by a former Celtics assistant coach.

Erik Spoelstra, Greg Popovich, and Lionel Hollins deserve recognition for also doing a great job; first-year Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau's work this season has been unmatched. The defense he brought in was modified, and Thibodeau was able to shut down top offensive teams like the Miami Heat. He frustrated LeBron James and Dwayne Wade when the Heat faced the Bulls

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2010 PSW NBA and NHL All-Stars

April 21st 2011 15:17
I have assembled both of my All-Star teams for the NHL and NBA with both league's regular seasons having ended. There are three All-Star teams (or lines for hockey) and there is a goalie for each NHL line. This has nothing to do with team value, but rather how well the player played overall.


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2010 NBA Playoffs Preview Round One

April 15th 2011 13:53

1 Bulls vs 8 Pacers

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4/2011 Shooting Guard Rankings 1-10

April 13th 2011 12:54
1. Kobe Bryant- Dwayne Wade is baring down on his neck, but Bryant is still the king of the position. He plays much better defense than Wade and is the better pure scorer and shooter.
2. Dwayne Wade- Bryant's age is the only reason why people believe Wade is the better player. If somebody is older, we shouldn't just penalize them because of age when they are still better than the younger player. Heck, it's only a difference of a couple of years. I'll put Wade at the top when he's better than Kobe; it's as simple as that.
3. Joe Johnson- Johnson is one of the most consistent scorers in the NBA, and he is solid at rebounding and passing

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No.1 vs. No. 2 Seed in NBA

April 7th 2011 14:36
The Spurs clinched the number one seed in the West after a win against Sacramento and a Lakers' loss against the Warriors. Everyone has been talking a lot about it, but I'm here to tell you that all this talk is meaningless. The title of this post is a verbal irony that almost sums up my feelings on this subject.

When you think about it, the one and two seeds are elite teams that are pretty much evenly matched. Only a few games will separate these teams, but a team's record really isn't that important come playoff time. The only advantage the number one seed has over the number two seed is that they get the home court advantage- one game- over the two seed. That one game is further devalued when you take into account that any elite team can still win games on the road

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Take a look at your standings. A .415 team, whether it be the Pacers or Bobcats, could actually make the playoffs. Yes, a team with no defensive effort and a team in rebuilding mode might actually get there. The disparity between good and bad in the Eastern Conference is so great that the Bulls have already clinched their division- which has the Pacers in it. Three teams have clinched the playoffs in the East, compared to just one- San Antonio- in the West. The Memphis Grizzlies have the 8th seed in the West, and they are a pretty good basketball team. The East is definitely playing better basketball than it has in the past couple of years collectively, but I still think that they are far behind the West. Depth Matters.

I love how Matt Bonner has the highest 3 point percentage this season. Yes, a power forward is the best three point shooter in the NBA this year. Who knew? Well, Bonner is like Nowtizki in that he is great at spreading the floor- Channing Frye is another one of those guys. They are becoming a little more used in the NBA these days, and that's a good thing for offenses. Best free throw percentage? Yeah, that's Stephen Curry. He's going to be great one day. I love that guy. He should have been rookie of the year last year. All the box score idiots looked at the stats and didn't watch how great Curry was when he played. Curry is a natural shooter- his father is Del- and he plays D, passes, attacks the rim, and can lead already at this age

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Yeah, Hoop Talk is a new thing where I'll just start talking about basketball. I'll start with some topics and work my way through the news of the day- sort of. Anyway, George Karl got a three year extension, no surprise because Karl is an icon in Denver. Nate McMillan got a two year extension. He is a great coach that manages players well, he has great strategies, and he deserved like a five year extension. McMillan is one of the best coaches in basketball, and his team plays very efficient basketball.

Kobe Bryant just topped Moses Malone for sixth on the all-time scoring list with his 26 points against the Atlanta Hawks. I called the winner- easy- but I also called the MVP- Andrew Bynum. He of the 16 points and 16 boards with 3 blocks on 8-10 shooting had a boom-roasted kind of day against Atlanta. Bynum was easily the most efficient player on the court in that game. Only Zaza Pachuila could even think about challenging him on the boards. Bynum was easily the most dominating defensive player in the game. He was impressive- as usual- in the paint

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3/8 Game Preview: Lakers and Hawks

March 8th 2011 14:19
The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off of a remarkable 99-82 shredding of the San Antonio Spurs, while the Hawks are coming off of a 92-79 loss against the Knicks. They were horrible offensively in that game, and they cannot afford to do that poorly against a far better Lakers team. The Lakers won the last meeting between these two teams, and they are the favorites heading into this game- for good reason. So let's kick back and preview the biggest matchup of tonight in the NBA.

Kirk Hinrich really gives this team a point guard that isn't a liability in defense. He is much quicker than Mike Bibby, and thus doesn't get burned by the quicker point guards out there. Derek Fisher isn't a quick PG at all, so I think Hinrich matches up pretty well against him. Hinrich is a great passer that is average in everything else. Defensively, I think Fisher doesn't really do much against him. He can hit some shots if he gets open, but that's the furthest impact I think he can have offensively in this one. Maybe Steve Blake is the man that shows up today at the point for LA. Hinrich is better than all the point guards that Los Angeles has

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3/2011 Scouting Report: Gary Neal

March 6th 2011 17:11
I recently talked about why the San Antonio Spurs are so successful, and that's because they have many players that embrace their roles on the team and do a good job of fulfilling their roles. Gary Neal is one of those guys. The undrafted rookie has proven to be a solid player on the team that is a good shooter and performs well offensively. Although he doesn't create his own shots, he isn't called upon to do so in the Spurs' offensive scheme. Creating shots for himself is not his role. He is supposed to camp out near the perimeter and hit shots from kickouts- for the most part.

Neal is average in the other facets of his game, and he isn't exactly "good" at any one thing in particular. However, Neal is a decent player that is really good on the perimeter. A knock on him is that he focuses too much on playing around the arc. When Neal is on a hot streak- like he is now- his shot is nearly unstoppable. He is shooting 41.9 from downtown as well as 44.1 from the field in general, and Neal doesn't attempt many close shots so the stats aren't skewed

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Let's open up March with a team scope. But unlike yesterday, this scope will be of an NBA team that is on pace for a record season. The Spurs have depth and star power along with coaching to become the best team in the league this season. First off, I would like to give a shoutout to Forest Bennett, a PSU fan just like me! How you doing man? Hope you enjoy this one Forest, and all you other great readers of this blog!

The Spurs just received that their star point guard is out for two to four weeks with a sore calf muscle. For most teams in the NBA, this would be crushing news. It is terrible news but having George Hill as your backup point guard softens the blow. Tony Parker is one of the three best point guards in the league at driving. He brings so much to the table for the Spurs, and his leadership is invaluable to the team. However, Hill is a good scorer in his own right that really stepped up last year when Parker was injured

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