Tag Archives: Phoenix Suns

Number One

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Steve Nash (pictured above) is joining forces with Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles. Will he capture his first ring?

By Josh Kramer

9,916 assists.  Eight All-Star Games.  Two MVP’s.  And it all comes down to this.  The man who made the 50-40-90 term (50% from the field, 40% from three-point range, 90% from the free throw line) relevant is going for the only number that matters.  One.  As in “one” championship.  Just ask the “King” what that feels like.

In a shocking twist of events, Steve Nash was shipped off in a sign and trade to the Lakers yesterday to join forces with Kobe Bryant.  Go figure.  Heading into this offseason, it seemed unless the Lakers won the “Dwight Howard Sweepstakes (Soap Opera),” Kobe Bryant’s pursuit of number six would be all for not.  Now winning the “Dwight Howard Sweepstakes” might just be a cherry on top.  Kobe is coming for Jordan’s six. Continue reading

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

Weekly Nickel 4-23-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Not too many people knew who Philip Humber (pictured above) was heading into Saturday. After tossing the 21st perfect game in MLB history, Humber has become a household name.

By Josh Kramer

Saying last week was a great one in sports would be an understatement.  Philip Humber became a household name when he tossed a perfect game on Saturday.  Rafael Nadal finally conquered his Djokovic fears in taking home his eighth consecutive Monte Carlo title on Sunday.  And the NHL playoffs have not been too shabby in their own right.  Want to know the best part?  This week should be even better than last.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Rafael Nadal seems to have regained his “swagger.”  Or at least he temporarily slayed his Djokovic fears in Monte Carlo.  Next stop, Barcelona.  It is no secret that Rafael Nadal, a six-time French Open Champion, is God-like on the clay.  This is his time of year.  A little over a month from now Roland Garros will be the place to be.  Make sure to enjoy the Barcelona stop of the clay-court season this week.

4.  How many of you knew who Philip Humber was last week at this time?  Be honest.  I bet almost all of you know who he is now.  Humber deserves it.  He appears to be a real class act both on and off the field. Continue reading

“Rondo Adds A New Dimension”

Rajon Rondo (pictured above) has been one of the League's elite PGs for a few years now. This year, he has not only shown that he can really play, but he has demonstrated great toughness.

I will admit that I was one of those guys who never thought Rajon Rondo would amount to much in the NBA.  I thought he was a solid college player out of Kentucky that was making a large mistake in leaving school early.  Another one of those guys who was pressing the issue to early and would ultimately prevent himself from reaching his full potential.  Rondo is a guy who has been told why he won’t be good enough for his entire life.  He was too small.  He was too skinny.  He could not shoot well enough.  Rajon is one of those guys who uses it as fuel to the fire.  There is no moping for the All Star who lacks an outside shot of any kind. 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

“The Real Terrific Trifecta”

Could these two bitter rivals on the court and good friends off the court land in New York City next season?

Just when we thought the aftershock of “The Decision” was over. Today started murmurs about the possible departures of Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony from their current teams, to the Big Apple. New York would truly be the city that never slept if this happened. The Knicks have been craving a winner for the better part of a decade. A once proud franchise has really been at a standstill or a steady tread downward for 10 plus years now. Well that could all end in the very near future if the General Manager for the New York Knickerbockers (Donnie Walsh) puts on a David Blaine act. And a guy can dream right? I mean how far-fetched did most think it would be to see Lebron James and Chris Bosh join Wade in Miami?

In the words of the famous Disney Movie, “Angel’s In the Outfield,” “It could happen.”  So without even looking at the actual logistics and possibility of this momentous move, today, lets just dream big and look into if this actually happened. First of all the effect it would have would be amazing. Because these 3 players actually would have the pieces to gel. They are not just 3 random superstars. You take the best point guard in the game in CP3. Put him with the best small forward in the game outside of “King” James, Carmelo Anthony, and add in the highlight reel that is power forward Amare Stoudemire? You better believe that you have a great mix of guys that could really play together.

Amare was acquired by New York to bring other big names with him.  Stoudemire failed in a big way in July at helping acquire big name talent with him.  Well July is over and it is August now. Carmelo is an East Coast guy who thrived at Syracuse. And CP3 wants to play on a winner and even hinted at this trifecta heading to NYC at Melo’s wedding. The consequences for the East would be mind-blowing. The old Knicks vs Heat rivalry would be renewed. And probably more exciting than ever.

This would probably even lead to the power shifting in the NBA from the West to the East. In the East, you would now have the Celtics, the Magic, the Knicks, and the Heat as 4 very strong teams.  Not to mention a 5th very solid team in Chicago. The West would be left with the Lakers, the Mavericks, and the very young Oklahoma City Thunder. The Nuggets would never be the same without Melo. The Hornets were not a contender anyways. The Jazz loss of Boozer hurts.  The Trailblazers are always a major question mark due to injuries. The Spurs are becoming old and decrepit. This move would honestly lead to many believing in the East as the superior conference for the first time since the days of his “Airness.”

And I will say this. On paper, Lebron, Wade, and Bosh are the more skilled trio according to most.  Not to mention that Pat Riley is surrounding them with a decent supporting cast considering his lack of funds. But I will state that the New York trio would have a far better chemistry and would have a better shot at bringing home the title in my eyes.

The NBA game has had a reawakening at the point guard position.  Look at the contending teams from last year.  The  Celtics, the Magic, the Lakers, the Nuggets, the Mavericks, and the Suns and I could go on.  Want to know what they all had in common?  A big time point guard with playoff experience.  I mean think about it.  These teams had Rajon Rondo, Jameer Nelson, Derek Fisher, Chauncey Billups, Jason Kidd, and Steve Nash.  Do the Miami Heat have a real legitimate point guard next year?  I guess Wade could do it.  But I would rather have Chris Paul running my offense.

So could this second terrific trio be formed, and would it be the “Real Terrific Trifecta?”

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Shalom Amare Stoudemire”

 A lot of growth has been seen this summer in former Phoenix Sun’s star Amare Stoudemire.  And I am not just talking about the obvious growth  he has made.  Sure the man continues to get older and more mature.  Big whoop, we all continue to get older, and some of us more mature.  Also there has been great growth financially.  I mean the guy did just ink a 5 year deal worth roughly 100 million dollars.  I wish we could all grow financially like that with one signature. But there has also been great cultural growth. 

There is much more than brawn and grit when trying to understand New York Knick's star, Amare Stoudemire.

Many are unaware, but NBA star Amare Stoudemire has been in Israel for the better part of the past month.  He claims to have Jewish roots on his mother’s side and is in the Holy Land to develop a better understanding of his Jewish heritage and the religion in general.  Amare has taken in all the sites.  Now I will admit, when I first saw that Amare was heading to Israel on my twitter account, I laughed a little.  He said he was going there to develop a better cultural understanding of Judaism and his roots.  It sounded like an excuse for a vacation to me.  But after watching a recent interview with Stoudemire taken in Israel, he really is getting the whole experience in the Jewish Homeland.

Check out the interview at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQPJ1Ujo7_U

The man even was able to speak a little Hebrew.  And I promise you, growing up in a Jewish household for the past 21 years, Amare spoke more Hebrew in this interview than the vast majority of us can speak.  He was familiar with some of the major Jewish holidays.  And said that he would go without bread during Passover and do his best to fast on Yom Kippur.  The man shed himself in a light, that I did not think was possible from following his career and exploits over the years.  There is much more to Amare than what meets the eye.

Now my question after seeing all this was, has Amare been working hard on his game this off-season?  I mean he is entering probably the most important year of his career.  New York is the most difficult city to be a professional athlete in the world.  The fans have swallowed up and spit out many a former superstar.  Amare just signed a huge payday.  The expectations have no ceiling from the fans.  And he failed in bringing a fellow superstar with him to the Big Apple, which was the original hope when the team signed him.  So he already failed the fans once before even stepping foot on the floor.  But in all seriousness, fans are going to expect him to come out and lead their team back to at least making the playoffs.  Has he been working on his game?  Has he been getting in tip-top shape?  From the sounds of this interview, he has been on a historical and cultural journey.  His basketball game has been put on the back-burner.  Amare has taken somewhat of a basketball hiatus.

Sure New York has one of the largest Jewish populations in the world.  But most of these people want Amare to perform well for the Knicks.  Sadly, they do not care if he is a cultured person who understands their religion.  All I have to say is, Stoudemire’s cultured nature has thoroughly impressed me.  But I also do not live in New York.  Fans will be impressed when the Knicks start winning games behind 20 and 10 performances from Stoudemire every night.

Well at least Amare can help his star power by speaking some Hebrew at local synagogues and demonstrating his knowledge and understanding of the Hebrew Nation.

But if I were Amare, I would say Shalom to Israel and come home soon.  It is time to work on your true calling son.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Awake a Sleeping Giant”

Journeyman Al Harrington joins the 5th different team of his 12 year career and will do his best to mend the wounds of injuries to Kenyon Martin and Chris "Birdman" Anderson in Utah.

This NBA offseason has been dominated by the Eastern Conference.  Other than the return of Dirk in Dallas, it has really been the East Show.  Well that appears to be changing.  As this amazing summer continues to get hotter, the West seems to finally be arriving at the party fashionably late with some big moves. 

The Denver Nuggets have agreed in principle to a deal with 12 year journeyman Al Harrington.  Now why is this such a big move?  Well the Nuggets are a franchise that has been near the top of the West for the past few years, but never been able to take it to the next level.  In addition, Harrington is a consistent 15 and 5 guy who can help the Nuggets cope with the injuries to the Birdman (Chris Anderson) and Kmart (Kenyon Martin).  He provides another low post presence that will help give these guys some more time to heal so there is no need to rush the recovery.

 Other than the Lake Show, the Wild Wild West appears wide open at this time.  The Mavericks will be good again, though they really wanted Harrington.  The Thunder have improved by picking up more young talent like Daequan Cook, but still are in need of a real post presence.  The Suns are fading with the loss of Amare Stoudemire.  And things could be getting worse in the Phoenix desert.  Portland is always a wildcard in the respect that they are very dangerous when healthy.  Then lastly, the Spurs are always a threat, but seem to be aging to the end of the Duncan era.

There was also another big move made yesterday though that will make another team a  contender in the West.  The Utah Jazz picked up stud big man, Al Jefferson, for Kosta Koufos and some future first round draft picks.  This was a great move by the Jazz, who were in need of filling some of the void left by Carlos Boozer’s departure to Chicago.  Now some of the pressure is diverted off star point guard Deron Williams and the team has another scoring option.  The Jazz are extremely well coached by Jerry Sloan, and really will be able to utilize Jefferson in the half court.  Sloan has always been one of the most overlooked and underrated coaches in my eyes for the better part of 2 decades.  Most teams in the West can really get out and run.  It is much fewer and farther between to find teams that can play an effective half court offense especially during crunch time.  This pick up will further improve the solid half court game the Jazz already possess.

So there you have it.  The West is finally making moves.  Though the Lakers are still the team to beat without question, teams like the Nuggets and Jazz are making moves to improve and challenge LA.

The West has finally awoken. Eastern Conference beware.

Strap in for the Wild Wild West in the 2010-2011 season.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze