Tag Archives: Lamar Odom

Throwback Saturday Part XVII

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The Reds were in desperate need of a top of the rotation guy last year at this time. Johnny Cueto (pictured above) seems to have things under control.

By Josh Kramer

Welcome to the 17th edition of “Throwback Saturdays.”  This is likely the last one at least for the foreseeable future.  But let’s go back in time and see just how accurate I was with my insights.  What was happening on May 12, 2011?  How about on May 12, 2010?

One year ago..

#1 Starter:  Please Stand Up

Here is a snippet..

The Cincinnati Reds are no longer a sub 500 team or a ball club that strives to win as many as they lose.  They also are not one of those small market teams that will as they say,  ”get them next year.”  One of those “teams of the future.” The Reds are a franchise that has developed the “win now” mentality that their ownership, the Castellini Family, and their General Manager, Mr. Walt Jocketty thrive on.  And I for one love the direction that this franchise is heading.  Who doesn’t love a team with ownership who cares about winning first?

July 31st is the MLB Trade Deadline.  If the Reds want to make a deep run come playoff time, they must pick up a top of the rotation starter.  A number 1 guy.  One of those pitchers that other teams cringe at the thought of facing.  Currently the Reds are in a good spot.  They are sporting a record of 20-17 and are within one game of the top spot in the NL Central.  This team has a dynamic offense, a great fielding percentage, and a winner’s mentality in the locker room.  There is only one glaring weakness.  And that once again is at the top of the rotation.

Now this team is very good.  I do think they are capable of making the playoffs with the squad they have.  But there is a difference between making the playoffs and winning in the playoffs.  Do the Reds want to take that next step from “good to great?”  I think they do.  All I do know is Edinson Volquez is not cutting the mustard as a top of rotation starter.  And to be blunt, nobody else in the rotation is either (To finish reading this post, click this link). Continue reading

Food for Thought 4-10-2012

Photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com. The last time the Yankees began a season 0 and 3 was 1998. One of the key cogs to that team which ended up winning the World Series was Tino Martinez (pictured above).

By Josh Kramer

Panic has struck the entire East Coast.  God forbid the Red Sox and Yankees both got swept in their opening series.  For just the second time in MLB history (1966 was the other), the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have started the year 0 and 3 (now both are 1 and 3).  This happens almost every year where a high-profile team stumbles out of the gate.  Last year, Boston was beside itself when the “Fenway All-Stars” started out the year 0 and 6.  They ended up winning 90 games and missing the playoffs due to the modern-day version of the Boston Massacre and one of the wildest final nights in the history of the baseball.  Back in 2009, both New York and Boston were relegated to the cellar in the AL East after six games.  We all know who ended up hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy that Fall (Boston made the playoffs as well). Continue reading

Food for Thought 12-13-2011

Photo courtesy of sportsillustrated.cnn.com. UK lost for the first time this season on Saturday. Still there is no reason for John Calipari (pictured above) and Big Blue Nation to panic by any means.

By Josh Kramer

The past few days in sports have been anything but ordinary.  In fact, it has been an extraordinary past few days in regards to sports, just the way we like it.  Here are the items that have caught my attention.

Have no fear, UK is here

-Any of you that know me personally are well aware that I am not the biggest advocate of the Big Blue Nation (University of Kentucky).  By no means am I a guy that you will find at Rupp Arena for a showdown on a Saturday afternoon.  But I will admit one thing; this year’s version of the “Calipari All Stars” is the real deal.  Yes, I realize it is ironic that I am talking about this team following their first loss of the year.  A heartbreaking defeat at the hands of an Indiana program that finally appears to be back from the dead. Continue reading

“Food for Thought 5-10-11″

Phil Jackson (pictured above) was not smiling on Sunday. Could Sunday's lopsided loss to Dallas be the last game the 11 time champion ever coaches?

Playoffs, MLB action, playoffs, and more playoffs.  The sporting world has been defined by playoff action the past couple of weeks and will continue to be for another couple of weeks.  Here is a look into the main things that have been on my mind.

The Great Laker Wall has Crumbled Continue reading

“NBA Awards”

 
 

Many have Chicago Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau (pictured above) tabbed as the NBA's Coach of the Year. Our very own Grant Freking is one of those people.

Grant Freking is a Lantern (OSU Newspaper) sports writer. Ology magazine managing editor. OSU football featured columnist for Bleacher Report. High school football reporter for Newark Advocate.  You can follow him on Twitter @GrantFreking.

MVP: Derrick Rose

A case, and a strong one at that, can be made for Dwight Howard. My main problem with that is I don’t believe Howard gives it everything he has on every night. How can the leader of a team, let alone the MVP of the NBA, not be stuck in overdrive every night? Rose’s effort and commitment will never be questioned.

Coach of the Year: Tom Thibodeau

He got a quiet point guard, a big-contract power forward, a mercurial center and a bench full of both young pups and old dogs to play as a unit and more importantly, morph into the league’s best defensive team. And they won the East. A golf clap for Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is in order. Continue reading

“An Authoritative Sunday”

Many are sleeping on LA to repeat as NBA Champions. But can you really doubt these guys?

Many have frequently said that there is no elite team this year in College Basketball.  There are many very good teams, but no simply dominant team.  In the NBA, many people are sleeping on the 2 time defending champs.  The word on the street is that a new NBA Champion will be crowned this year.  Well I hate to say it.  None of these statements are true in my eyes. Continue reading

“Food for Thought”

It is almost a foregone conclusion that Carmelo Anthony (pictured above) will not be wearing a Nugget's jersey at this time next year. Could he be wearing a Laker's jersey?

It is yet another jam-packed Tuesday in the sporting world. And all of you know what that means. Lets jump into another round of “Food for Thought.”

Here are some of the major headlines today.

Melo to LA? Continue reading

“Food for Thought 2-1-11″

Yesterday, Troy Polamalu (left) edged out Clay Matthews (right) for the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year Award by 2 votes. Come Sunday they will be going head to head for the Super Bowl Title. The real question though is who has the better hair?

It is another Tuesday in the sporting world, which can only mean one thing.  Lets jump into a another “Food for Thought.”  These are hot topics that have been discussed or at least running through my head all day.

Who has the better hair? Continue reading

“MVP of Christmas Day?”

Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant (pictured above), wowed a national audience today with a 44 point performance. Is this guy in the same elite class as Kobe Bryant and Lebron James?

Christmas is always one of the most special days of the year.  A day of giving.  A day of reflection.  A day of family time.  But it is also always a day of big time NBA basketball.  And this year had the makings of being one of the all time greatest Christmas Days of NBA Action.  So the games did not exactly pan out to be as close and exciting as expected.  There were some big time performances though.

Some of the League’s main MVP candidates put their talents on display for the whole world to see.  In the early game, the Knicks sported their traditional “festive (green)” Christmas jerseys.  They put on a show and brought home a victory for the jam-packed Madison Square Garden crowd.  Two of the League’s top MVP candidates took part in this one. 

Derrick Rose

Rose almost willed his “Noahless” team to victory by filling up the stat sheet.  He had 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists.  It was quite the performance.  Sadly though, he put up 28 shots and committed 7 turnovers.  It was an impressive performance.  And the 22-year-old out of Memphis continues to wow me with his improvement each time I see him.  But I give him a C+ on the day.  This is due to the fact that not only did his team lose, but he committed nearly as many turnovers as assists, and he shot well below 50 percent from the floor.

Amare Stoudemire

This guy is definitely in the discussion to take home the MVP hardware at this point in the season.  He is absolutely lighting up the stat sheet.  Today was no different as he put up yet another double/double.  20 points to go with 10 boards and a Knick’s victory is a solid day.  He did not exactly wow the crowd with his lowest scoring effort in some time, but he did do enough to lead his team to another victory.  I give him a B on the day.  An above average performance, but no wow factor.

Game two was a very hotly anticipated matchup.  It pitted two teams that have duked it out for the East the past couple of years.  Though neither of these teams have a sure-fire MVP candidate, they demonstrate the importance of team basketball as well as anybody.

Kevin Garnett

KG is not the force that we all once knew.  The guy can still play defense as well as any guy in the League though, and today he showed some of his old school offensive prowess.  Garnett shot a very efficient 10 of 14 from the floor and finished with 22 points.  7 above his regular season average.  I give the guy a B+ for the day’s work.  He played above average, but his team lost for the first time in 14 games.

Brandon Bass

How many of you had heard of this guy before today’s game?  If you were not a Magic fan, you probably had no idea who this kid out of LSU was.  Boy did he show up to play today.  Bass shot 8 of 15 from the floor and finished with 21 points to go with 9 boards.  Bass averages just 11 points and 5 boards a game.  This kid had the best game of his career.  He was a main reason why Orlando picked up their biggest victory of the season.  I give the kid an A for the day.

Game 3 was the most anticipated game of the entire season thus far in my eyes.  All of the talk around the NBA has centered on the Miami Heat since July.  The Lakers are the two-time defending champs yet nobody has been talking about them.  This matchup featured the likes of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Chris Bosh, and Lamar Odom.  Sadly, this game was way overhyped.  LA forgot that they had a basketball game today.  They did the same thing last Christmas in a showdown with Cleveland.  Did it affect the final outcome?

Lebron James

I will admit that I am not the biggest fan of the “King.”  But the guy really played an outstanding game today.  Plus he kept his composure while a pesky Ron Artest did everything he could to throw him off.  James went 8 of 14 from the floor and shot an amazing 5 of 6 from 3 point range.  Who says LBJ cannot shoot from the perimeter?  Plus James ended up with the first triple/double every recorded on Christmas Day. Nobody can fill the full stat sheet like the King.  27 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, and 4 steals.  Give me a break.  Plus his team won on the road by 16.  I give the guy an A+.

Kobe Bryant

It is very hard to choose a most valuable player for LA on this day.  Nobody brought their A game, much less their B game.  But Kobe has been the rock of this franchise for some time now.  And he did have the best numbers on the day.  Bryant finished with 17 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds.  He really never got a rhythm going though.  Could it have been Miami’s outstanding defensive effort?  Could it have been the lack of production from his supporting cast?  Whatever it was, I give Kobe a D- on the day.  Do not take this game as an indicator of things to come though.  The Lakers know how to win when they need to.  Today was an off day.  It also could serve as a wake up call.

The 4th game of the day was another big time matchup.  A Nuggets team that has been around the block versus a young and very talented Oklahoma City Thunder team.  Plus this was probably the last Christmas that fans would get to watch Carmelo in a Nuggets uniform.  Sadly, Carmelo did not play.

Chauncey Billups

This guy has been one of the best big game players in the NBA for over a decade now.  He just always comes to play when he is put on the big stage.  Well today was no different.  The former Piston’s star finished with 30 points, on 10 of 16 shooting.  Plus he was a perfect 7 of 7 from the charity stripe.  The guy did everything in his power to give his injury riddled team a chance to win.  It just was not in the cards tonight.  I will give him a B+.

Kevin Durant

This guy may be the best player in the NBA now.  After watching Kobe, Lebron, and Kevin Durant today, it is hard to not consider this guy in the same elite class.  The guy has become the face of this franchise that is all the sudden looking like a contender.  44 points on 14 of 20 shooting?  Absolutely outrageous.  This guy is leading the League in scoring for a reason.  He is the leader of the most exciting team to watch in the NBA.  Today he just continued to do what he has been doing all year.  I give the guy an A+.

Recap

To conclude my thoughts on the first 4 games today, Kevin Durant is my MVP.  With Lebron James in a very close second.  If you have not gotten to watch Durant play a full game this year, tune in next time they are on national television.  He has hit that elite level and is a joy to watch.  Lastly, I will state that the Heat put on the best overall team performance this afternoon.  I know that the Magic’s win over Boston was huge, but they did not exude dominance the way that the South Beach boys did.  Miami looked awesome.  And believe me, ABC Sports Analyst Jeff Van Gundy will make sure you know it.  This guy hated the Heat 10 years ago.  What happened?  LA will be fine though.  They will work out the kinks just like they have in past years.  I still have the Lakers winning the title.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“USA All the Way”

Kevin Durant is looking to lead a young Team USA squad to it's first FIBA World Championship since 1994.

Team USA continues to roll and show the world that even without our cream of the crop superstars, we can still be dominant.  And many are probably saying, hold your horses.  It has only been two games.  The team has not played any of the major threats yet.  And when they did play a tough competitor, they squeeked out a win by the smallest of margins (86 to 85 exhibition win over Spain).

Now I will admit, I had my doubts about this team when I heard that Kobe, Lebron, Melo, Dwyane, nor Dwight Howard would be playing.  And frankly, I still do.  But this team little by little is starting to put my mind at ease.  They are young.  Full of speed.  Boasting with athleticism.  Long at every position. They have some great shooters.  And they are being led by Coach K, who all he knows how to do is Win, Win, Win.

I realize, this team still has three more pool play games before they even advance into the real tournament play.  Can Kevin Durant and the boys take care of business against Brazil, Iran, and Tunisia?  You better believe it.  But the real questions start to arise when this team has to take on teams like Greece, Spain, and Argentina.

Well have no fear, Kevin Durant is here.  This guy is the real deal.  He is a shooting star that is still only 21 years old.  He has quickly developed into one of the top all around players in the NBA, and possibly the best all around scorer.  The kid has length, athleticism, and a pretty stroke.  No team in this entire tournament, much less probably in the NBA, can really check this guy.  Not to mention he has players like Derrick Rose, the human fast break himself to dribble drive and free him up. 

I mean take a look at the US starting lineup.  A major strength that top teams in the NBA have as of late is great length at every position.  Durant is 6 foot 9 and long.  Iguodala is 6 foot 6 with phenomenal athleticism.  Lamar Odom is 6 foot 10 and reminiscent to a tree.  Plus our backcourt of Derrick Rose and Chauncey Billups are both 6 foot 3 guys who can really get up and down the floor. 

I will admit when Coach K picked this team, I did not understand why guys like OJ Mayo or Rajon Rondo did not make the squad.  But now after seeing this team play, I am seeing the logic.  He has a great chemistry going with this squad with a group of guys who really complement each other well.  This has been a problem for US teams in the past, who have not been able to capture the FIBA World Championships since 1994.

Talent is not everything.  Sure it helps, but it will not win you a major title by itself.  Coaching, discipline, and overall team chemistry are what will take you to that Championship level.  This team appears to have it all.

Look for Team USA to go all the way and bring back the FIBA World Championship to the United States for the first time in 16 years.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze