Coach Swap 2012

The LA Clippers and Orlando Magic are in quite the predicament, they are both playoff caliber teams, with coaching conundrums.

The Situations

The LA Clippers;

The LA Clippers were just swept by the Spurs, now in their defense, they were in a position they’re not quite use to… The second round of the playoffs. Now most people would be content with this finish, but the Clippers have the talent to make a title run, the thing that is holding them back is their coach, Vinny Del Negro. VDN is a great players coach, but lacks the ability to teach core fundamental basketball, this will greatly affect the Clippers. “Lob City” doesn’t win championships, fundamental basketball does, the Spurs are living breathing proof of this. So if the Clippers wanna win an NBA championship, they gotta get rid of VDN and bring in a coach prepared to coach the fundamentals of basketball.

Orlando Mgic

As of today the Magic fired their coach Stan Van Gundy, SVG was fired after a long marital spout with all star/diva centre Dwight Howard. This past season Howard had been taking in the sites of all the potential teams he’d like to play for and ridiculed his coach the entire time. This led to a lot of tension and a few awkward interviews. Howard and SVG never seemed to get along, probably because Howard is a laid back guy who wants a laid back coach. SVG on the other hand is an old school basketball coach who likes to play fundamental basketball (you can see where there might be a clash). All this tension and so forth led to the ultimate firing of SVD, even though Howard will probably leave during the Offseason anyway.

The Proposal;

Although you can’t actually trade coaches per say, plus SVD just got canned. I propose a coach switch, where SVD would coach the Clippers and VDN would coach the Magic. SVD could teach that fundamental basketball I was preaching and turn the Clippers from just a highlight reel to a real contender. WHile SVD would be contending for championships, VDN could be cheering up a bummed out Dwight Howard. VDN is a players coach and exactly the type of coach Howard would want if he were to ever stay in Orlando.

-McFultz

NBA Playoffs Round 1

The shortened NBA season has ended and the playoffs are upon us, so it’s time for me to make my picks.

Eastern Conference

1. Chicago Bulls vs 8. Philadelphia 76ers

Pick: Bulls Vernon Smells pick: Bulls

 I don’t think theres much debate in this game. The Bulls are the heavy favorite and will win. I can see the 76ers winning 1 or 2 games but without Allen “We talkin’ bout’ practice” Iverson, the Bulls should take this series pretty easily.

2. Miami Heat vs 7. NY Knicks

Pick: Heat Vernon Smells Pick: Heat

The knickerbockers had a great finish to the season that put them in the playoffs. They were able to get to a 7th seed and are looking to make a mark in the playoffs and avoid and early exit. The problem for them is that they’re playing the Miami Heat (whom I believe will win it all). The Heat will win this series 4-2. the reason they’ll win is because Lebron is going to have the greatest playoffs of his career, he is just gonna go out and completely dominate. Plus with a missing Jeremy Lin, the Knicks will once again be faced with PG problem throughout the playoffs

3. Indiana Pacers vs 6. Orlando Magic

Pick: Pacers Vernon Smells Pick: Magic

The Magic recently lost star center Dwight Howard, and this will prove to be a critical blow. Howard is one of the best centers in the NBA but for the rest of these playoffs he will be resting on his couch in LA watching his team play. The Pacers are also a team that has been looked over due to their “boring” play style. But they are a team who should not be looked over and will be looking to make a deep run this year. I see the Pacers winning 4-1. Paul George is serious, watch out for him to be a superstar in years to come

4. Celtics vs 5. Hawks

Pick: Celtics Vernon Smells Pick: Hawks

You’d think the Celtics would finally turn over due to their old age, but one again the Celtics are in the playoffs. i think this will be the last year for the original big 3, so they know whats at stake. the Celtics should be able to take the Hawks. I have very little faith in the Hawks actually winning the series but I think they’ll give the Celtics a run for their money due to their young and agile play. They remind me of an Eastern Conference version of Lob City. The Celtics will take this series 4-3

Western Conference 

1. Sacramento Spurs vs 8. Utah Jazz

Pick: Spurs Vernon Smells Pick: Spurs

The Spurs are not looking for a first round exit like last years playoffs, luckily for them they aren’t playing the Grizzlies again. The Spurs will win this series, the Jazz are a young team and still learning the ropes so these playoffs will be a good learning experience, but thats it. The Spurs will take this series 4-1

2. Oklahoma City Thunder vs 7. Dallas Mavericks

Pick: OKC Vernon Smells pick: OKC

 The Thunder have this series in the bag. Dallas looks old, Dirk is not looking like the Dirk of old (which really affected my fantasy team, in which Vernon Smells won with an undefeated season). The Thunder will dominate this series and hopefully it will be in this series where Westbrook learns to dish the ball to star player Kevin Durant. The Thunder will take this series 4-0.

3. LA Lakers vs  6. Denver Nuggets

Pick: Nuggets Vernon Smells Pick: Lakers

This is my first upset pick of the playoffs and it could be completely wrong. I think the main reason I chose the Nuggets is that I just can’t stand Kobe and the Lakers. I do think the lack of a PG on the Lakers will affect them and that Kobe is going to see that he really can’t do it all by himself. The Nuggets have been a great team all year and they think they could really pull this upset off. I see the Nuggets taking this series 4-3

4. Memphis Grizzlies vs 5. LA Clippers

Pick: Grizzlies Vernon Smells Pick: Clippers

I have the Grizzlies going to play the Heat in the NBA finals, so they must beat the Clippers. Both these two teams were in my original bandwagon article and after last seasons victory over the Spurs, I knew the Grizzlies were a team to be reckoned with. Although the Clippers are the most exciting team to watch they lack defense and basketball fundamentals, many attribute this to VDN who refuses to teach them more than how to just dunk the ball and do alley-oops. I see the Grizzlies winning this series 4-2.

Check in after the first round to see how my picks played out.

 

-McFultz

30 Teams In 30 Days-Houston Astros

Soooooo Astros’ fans… How’s it going? Now I want you all to leave your dark pits of despair and look out at the sun. It’s a new day Astros’ fans, the sun is shinning, the birds are chirping and were less then a week away from the baseball season starting. This gives you all time to stock up on non perishable foods, so that you can survive another long year in your “despair pits”. Let’s recap on your abysmal season.
Houston Astros
Record: 56-106
Finish: Last NL Central
Playoffs: Let’s not taunt them
Top Hitter: Carlos Lee, 18 HR, 94 RBI, .275 AVG
Top Pitcher: Wandy Rodriguez, 11-11, 3.49 ERA, 166 SO
Important Offseason Acquisitions: Jed Lowrie, Jack Cust, Chris Snyder, Kyle Weiland
Important Offseason Losses: Mark Melancon, Clint Barmes 

The Astros had a terrible season last year and I mean terrible. To make matters worse, they hardly added anything during the offseason, granted they didn’t lose all that much either. The Astros will have a better record this season, but that really isn’t saying much. Looking into the Astros’ future they at least have the #1 pick in this coming draft. The Astros’ will be moving to AL West next year, which in a sense can be even more bad news for them. By going to the AL West their gonna have to play in the same division with the Rangers (whom have lost in the world series, two years in a row) and the Los Angeles Angels who recently acquired a certain first basemen named Albert Pujols, that same Pujols who hit 37 HRs and 99 RBI’s as well became the third player in MLB history to hit 3 HRs in a  single playoff game. Now enough about teams with future Hall of Famers and winning records. The Astros’ won’t make the playoffs and they won’t be good. They won’t even be decent, but there’s a solid chance they won’t the worst team this season. I mean there still is the Orioles. So Astros’ fans, as you prepare for your long alcohol and fast food induced coma, think of the finer things in your life, like how YOUR Houston Texans, whom made the playoffs for the first time in their horrid 9 year history. With that I bid you adieu and remember vegetables and fruits can be your friends.
Prediction
Record: 66-96 (Could be worse)
Finish: Last NL Central (The last time you can ever be last in the NL Central)
Playoffs: Maybe in 2017?
Top Hitter: Carlos Lee 22 HR, 97 RBI, .279 AVG
Top Pitcher: Wandy Rodriguez, 13-11, 3.45 ERA, 173 SO
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-McFultz

30 Teams In 30 Days-Arizona Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks  had quite the season last year, making it to the NLDS, only to lose the Milwaukee Brewers. Now, the Diamondbacks are back in action and looking to reclaim their NL West crown. But before we get to the present, let’s look back at last season.
Arizona Diamondbacks
Record: 94-68
Finish: 1st NL West
Playoff: Eliminated in NLDS
Top Hitter: Miguel Montero, 18 HR, 86 RBI, .282 AVG
Top Pitcher: Ian Kennedy, 21-4, 3.49 ERA, 198 SO
Important Offseason Acquisitions:  Trevor Cahill, Takashi Saito, Jason Kubel  Important Offseason Losses: Jarrod Parker, Jason Marquis, Xavier Nady, Zach Duke 

The Diamondbacks haven’t missed a step since last season. I have high hopes for this season and will have to retract my sentiments on the Dodgers Season this year. http://criticsfromthecouch.com/?p=390. The Diamondbacks have to be the favourite for the NL West, they’ve haven’t lost anyone pivotal pieces and have added to their rotation. The Diamondbacks also added Josan Kubel to their outfield. A great trade for the Diamondbacks was Jarrod Parker for Trevor Cahill, Parker was to try out for the starting rotation this year but with the acquisition of Cahill, they now have a legitimate starter. Diamondback fans should be excited this season with an infield that played great last season along with a good starting rotation they have to be the #1 favourite in the NL West.

Prediction
Record: 96-66
Finish: 1st NL West
Playoffs: Eliminated in NLCS
Top Pitcher: Ian Kennedy, 18-9, 3.45 ERA, 200 SO
Top Hitter: Miguel Montero, 20 HR, 90 RBI, .279 AVG
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-McFultz

30 Teams In 30 Days- San Diego Padres

My dear San Dieagons, San Diegites, San Diegans (Anchorman reference) or whatever you call yourselves, I can’t say I bring good news. Last season your Padres finished last in the NL West, and I don’t expect much improvement. So let’s see how your Padres finished last season.
San Diego Padres
Record: 71-91
Finish: Last in AL West
Playoffs: N/A
Top Pitcher: Aaron Hang, 14-9, 3.64 ERA, 124 SO
Top Hitter: Camerin Maybin, 9 HR, 44 RBI, .264 AVG, 40 SB
Manager: Bud Black
Offseason Acquisitions: Houston Street, John Baker, Ryan Kelly, Cory Burns
Offseason Losses: Aaron Hang, Ryan Ludwick (Both of their top players),  Pedro Hernandez, Wade LeBlanc, Nick Schmidt

Los Padres are not looking too shabby this season. They finished last in their division last season, and I can’t see them improving beyond that. With the Giants, Diamondbacks and Dodgers all either improving, or relatively staying the same, the Padres don’t have a great chance. Their pitching and batting is still sub par and I can’t see their record improving.  The Padres are in a division that is filled with teams that are all going to be competing for a playoff spot. The NL West may easily become the most competitive division in the MLB. With this all being said the Padres are not looking like they stand a chance. This once was a team that was a late season collapse away from making the playoffs. For the people of San Diego, at least you have the Chargers…. HA! I feel as if I should send you all my condolences, first Manning to Denver and now your stuck in one of the best divisions in the NL.

Prediction
Record: 69-93
Finish: Last in AL West
Playoff:N/A
Top Hitter: Carlos Quentin .249 AVG, 29 HR, 91 RBI
Top Pitcher: Cory Luebke 10-11, 3.23 ERA, 184 SO
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-McFultz

Peyton Manning To Denver And What Does This Mean For The Rest Of The NFL

As of today, former Colts QB, Peyton Manning will be a Denver Bronco, now for Denver this means the obvious, they’re getting a future hall of famer QB who will give them the best shot to go to a Super Bowl. Now obviously there is some doubt with his neck, but I think it’s fair to believe that all is right with Mr. Manning. Now seeing as Denver could make it to the second round of the NFL playoffs with the Messiah Tim Tebow, theres no doubt in anybody’s mind that they could make the playoffs with Manning. Denver’s defense on average gave up 19 points per game last year, there’s no doubt in my mind that Manning could put up more.

Now for the more interesting topic, what happens to the other teams that were in the mix?

The San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers are in a strange predicament. They were the surprise of the NFL season, making it all the way to NFC championship game. This in turn, took away the “bust” label on Alex Smith, but now Alex Smith is a free agent and seems to think he deserves more, so although the 49ers have signed receivers Mario Manningham and Randy Moss, they now have no QB to throw them the ball.

The Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals will leave this sweepstakes unscalled pretty much. Last season they traded for Eagles QB Kevin Kolb, granted he didn’t do “squat”, but maybe this season it will be different. They also still have all-pro wideout Larry Fitzgerald.

The Tennessee Titans

The Titans gave it a good go trying to sign Manning. They pulled the “you played here in college” card, but that didn’t work. So now for the Titans are stuckwith another aging QB (Matt Hasslebeck), although young QB, Jake Locker didn’t look half bad last year. 2010-2011 NFL Rushing leader, Chris Johnson had a lack lustre year in the 2011-12 season. If Johnson can improve they could give the now Mario Williams-less Texans a run for their money.

The Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins are definitely in a panic mode. They finished with a record of 6-10 (not too bad considering they started off 0-7), unfortunately, since they were able to win those 6 games, they now sit in the 8th position when it comes to the draft. The Dolphins are QBless as Chad Henne singed with Jags and Matt Flynn signed with the seahawks, so all signs point to the fact that Miami will try to draft Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill.

However, there is a subplot to the Miami situation. Seeing as Denver now has Manning, they will try to trade Tebow, and with the Jags already getting Henne, some believe Miami will trade for Tebow, seeing as he’s Florida’s favourite son.

The Tebow Situation

As previously mentioned Tebow could go to Miami. Now another team I could see him going to is San Fran, With receivers like Manningham and Moss, Tebow could just launch the ball up to them. Not to mention, a Frank Gore and Tim Tebow backfield could be lethal. Also we can’t forget that former QB Jim Harbaugh is there coach, so he could show Tebow a thing or two.

The Jaguars have been rumoured to be in the mix still, but I don’t see why the Jaguars would sign Henne and then trade for Tebow. The Patriots have also been in the mix, which I surprisingly understand. Now, the Patriots aren’t going to be trading Tom Brady or anything, but Belichick is an innovator, so he would try to find a way to fit Tebow in.

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-McFultz

 

30 Teams In 30-Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers had a pretty solid season last year. Their starting pitcher won the NL pitching triple crown and their star batter won the NL MVP award. Now there is one certain problem, they don’t have an owner and are ran by the MLB, sooooo they could become the New Orleans Hornets of the MLB.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 82-79
Finish: 82-79
Playoffs: N/A
Top Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw (NL Pitching Triple Crown) 21-5, 2.28 ERA, 248 SO
Top Hitter: Matt Kemp (NL MVP) .324 AVG, 39 HR, 129 RBI
Manager: Don Mattingly
Important Acquisitions: Adam Kennedy, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, Jerry Hairston. Jr
Important Losses: Casey Blake, John Garland, Hong-Chih Kuo, Jamie Hoffmann

I have reason to believe the Dodgers are going to be a contender throughout the whole season. Their biggest loss would be relief pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo (who had the longest tenure for the Dodgers). The Dodgers just 3 years ago, made it to the playoffs and can still be in contention. With Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, they are surely to give any team a run for their money. Now to clinch the NL West they will have to beat the reigning division title winner, Arizona Diamondbacks and the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants. I do think they could do this, there’s no reason to believe that Kemp and Kershaw won’t be able to produce. An interesting backstory is the fact that the Dodgers don’t have an owner. The team is currently owned by the league, so there is some fear of uncertainty. They could implode and become the NO Hornets of the MLB. People interested in purchasing the team consist of Magic Johnson and Mark Cuban

Prediction
Record: 90-72
Finish: First NL West
Playoffs: Eliminated in NLDS
Top Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw 19-7, 2.40 ERA, 248 SO
Top Hitter: Matt Kemp, .314 AVG, 32 HR, 120 RBI
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-McFultz

 

The Beauty Inside The Madness

Besides the Super Bowl, March Madness has always been my second favourite sporting event. It has all the drama, a sports fan could want. It’s here where we see the magic in sports and the true passion. A few minutes ago Phil Pressey, of the 3rd ranked Missouri Tigers, (whom I had winning it all in my bracket) missed a game winning 3 pointer and fell victim to 15 seed Norfolk State. Norfolk State has now cemented itself in sports history by being the fifth 15 seed to ever beat a 2nd seed. It’s here that we see the magic in sports, and why every year millions of us tune in to watch March Madness. In March Madness there isn’t just one winner there are several. There is the team that actually wins the tournament and then there are the winners in the teams that upset the heavy favourites the VCU’s, Norfolk States’ and the Davidson’s of the world. These teams, help us as people believe, they show us that anything can happen and that even the little guy can win. We’ve all heard the story of David and Goliath, but time after time we see the Goliaths win in the real world. So when we do see something like this happen it’s relieving and heart warming. Seeing the father of Norfolk States’ forward Kyle O’Quinn jump up and down and get all giddy in the rafters, made me forget about my bracket and actually cheer for Norfolk State. How could anyone cheer against them? In all the Madness that is March Madness, it’s times like these where we see the beauty and the passion in sports. Even if Norfolk State was too lose 100-39 in there next game, all they would remember, and all the world would remember is how on March 16th they upset the number 3 school in the Nation. So with that I say congratulations Norfolk State, you are the true winners of March Madness.
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-McFultz

30 Teams In 30 Days- Minnesota Twins

Oh, the Minnesota Twins, the little wholesome team with the hometown hero and the Canadian boy. They had so much promise, but all that could go wrong, did go wrong. So let’s check out their horrendous season last year.
Minnesota Twins
Record: 63-99
Finished: 5th in AL Central
Playoffs: N/A
Top Pitcher: Scott Baker 9-8, 3.14 ERA, 123 SO
Top Hitter: Michael Cuddyer .284 AVG, 20 HR, 70 RBI
Manager: Ron Gardenhire
Important Acquisitions: Daniel Rams, Ryde Rodriguez, Chris Collabelo, Brad Thompson, Jason Marquis, Joel Zumaya, Josh Willingham
Important Losses: Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Jose Mijares, Joe Nathan and Matt Tolbert

Last season was a rough one for Twins fans, both of their star players, Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer were plagued with injuries and ailments which led them to combine for just 7 Homeruns all year. Yes you read that right 7! Mauer was under a lot of scrutiny for this, as if he wasn’t really trying. This angered me because the man was injured, and he’s a Minnesota native who decided to stay in Minnesota instead of going to a team like the Dark Lord New York Yankees. I believe that both Morneau and Mauer will have comeback seasons. The Twins did lose their best offensive player from a year agom Michael Cuddyer this could be a problem if the aforementioned Mauer and Morneau are unable to produce. During the off-season the Twins signed a lot of pitchers, this was probably a good idea, seeing as only one of their pitchers had a winning record last season. The Twins had an abysmal season last year, but don’t worry Twins fans, I see a huge improvement. I don’t think they will have a winning record or make the playoffs, but at least this team will be a fairly competitive team and give you all a false sense of hope.
Prediction
Record: 78-84
Finish: 3rd in AL Central
Playoffs: N/A
Top Pitcher: Scott Baker 10-8, 3.19 ERA, 138 SO
Top Hitter: Joe Mauer .312 AVG, 19 HR, 89 RBI
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-McFultz

 

The 2016 Super Bowl Champions… The St. Louis Rams and Peyton Manning Watch Day 2

In the last hour the St. Louis Rams cemented them selves as the 2016 Super Bowl champions. The Rams traded the 2nd overall pick to the Washington Redskins for three first round picks and a second round pick. The Dallas Cowboys-Minnesota trade has been considered the greatest trade in NFL history, as it led to the Cowboys dominance in the 90s. For now, at least until we see how these picks pan out, it shall remain a close second.

The Rams have been lacking a receiving core that their former first overall pick QB Sam bradford could throw too. Well now with the 6th overall pick, the Rams may be able to select OK ST WR Justin Blackmon. Bradford and Blackmon could prove to be a lethal combination. As well, with 4 first round picks in the next two years, the Rams will be able to add as much depth as a team could possibly need.

Now on the Redskins front, the ‘Skins have now shown that they intend to draft Baylor QB Robert Griffin the 3rd. Although this could prove to be a great pick, the trade doesn’t make a lot of sense. Let’s say Griffin proves to be everything we thought he could be and more, who will he pass the ball to? Who will block for him? Who will play defense on the ‘Skins? Even with a great QB, you still need a great team to win a Super Bowl and you can’t have a great team without draft picks. If free agency is all you needed then the ‘Skins would have been a contender for the last 10 years.

From the beginning St Louis has been trying to shop this pick and the only possible team to make the trade was the Washington Redskins. The asking price was too high for any other team and the ‘Skins Owner, Dan Snyder has been known to make insane moves (i.e Albert Haynesworth’s 100 million dollar contract…).

Peyton Manning Watch Day 2

As of today QB Peyton Manning is talking to the Denver Broncos. This is the first of plenty of teams that the future hall of fame QB will talk to. Now a lot of people seem to think that Manning could end up there and with the ‘Skins, who were already a long shot and have now all but dropped out, the Broncos have moved into 4th place in a lot of peoples minds. I can’t see Manning signing with the Broncos. Manning is a future hall of famer why would he want to sign with a team that already has a famous QB in John Elway, Manning doesn’t want to compete with that legend. Now many people say that the trade would end Tim Tebow’s career but really it would only improve his career. Manning could teach Tebow the way of the QB or they could trade him to the Jaguars, who have been rumoured to be shopping for the Floridian legend. The Broncos aren’t stable enough for Manning, John Fox has not proven to be a great Coach, granted he made the Super Bowl with the Panthers, but since then all his teams have been failures. I still see Manning either going to the Cards, Fins or Jets.
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-McFultz