By Josh Kramer
Saturday Night Bust
NBA All-Star Saturday Night was one for the ages this year. And not in a good way. Your three-winners of the main competitions were Tony Parker, Kevin Love, and Jeremy Evans. Though the vast majority are well aware of whom Parker and Love are, how many of you actually knew who the guy that “some” people call the “Human Pogo Stick” was before Saturday?
Let me take this from the top. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge, aka the Point Guard Challenge, is always a vastly entertaining event. Just as a side note though, how about the show Allan Houston put on during the Haier Shooting Stars Competition? Houston legitimately looks like he could still play in the NBA at a high level. Back to the Taco Bells Skills Challenge though. This year featured stars such as Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, and John Wall. How many of you expected “Old-Man Parker” of the “Grandpa-Age” Spurs to take home the title? Remember, this is the same Tony Parker who finished dead last in this competition in both 2003 and 2009. Go figure that arguably the 4th or 5th best point guard in the group takes home the hardware.
Then there was the three-point contest. Without question, Kevin Love is having a magical season in Minnesota. He really is bringing back memories of the very early Kevin Garnett years, in which Minnesota provided little to no supporting cast. Love hit 29 total 3’s during his lone season at UCLA. Then during his rookies season in the NBA, he attempted a total of 0.2 shots from downtown a game, making a horrific 10.5% of them. Three years later, he is the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest champion? Is this real life? Yes, I realize that Love has developed into a very solid perimeter shooter. On the year, he is shooting nearly 35% from long-range, and attempts 4.4 shots from beyond the arc a game. But Kevin Love by no means is Dirk Nowitzki, a player who has never shot below 40% from the three-point line in his career, and twice has shot over 50%. Love is a 6 foot 10, 260 pound bruiser that currently averages 14 rebounds a game. Does this really sound like the type of player that should be winning the three-point contest?
Finally, the grand finale was by far the worst part of a horrific evening. A dunk contest that featured four participants with a grand total of 62 dunks between them on the season. And to put this number into perspective, Blake Griffin had 93 slams on the year by himself heading into this weekend. Now I am by no means going to lie and say that some of the dunks were not highly impressive. Jeremy Evans two-ball slam was neat. And Chase Budinger’s homage to Cedric Ceballos via the blindfolded jam was fun. But this contest by no means had the wow-factor that many expect from the Sprite Slam Jam. No Blake Griffin jumping over a Kia. No “Vinsanity (yes Vinsanity, not Linsanity).” And of course no crazy free-throw line leaps. But in the end, a guy that truly nobody outside of Salt Lake City or Western Kentucky had ever heard of took home the crown. A player who average 1.7 points per game this year (good for 12th on the under 500 Jazz). Let’s be honest, how many Jazz fans have even heard of this former WKU Hilltopper that sits at the end of their bench (5.6 minutes per game)? At least the game was somewhat entertaining on Sunday though. But in no way could the game entirely make up for what was a lost NBA All-Star Saturday Night. I have a feeling that not too many people will remember this past Saturday, unless there is a “Not Top 10” on SportsCenter for NBA All-Star Saturday Nights.
Braun should be gone
So the title above is a bit of an exaggeration. But honestly, do any of you believe that Ryan Braun is clean and should not sit out the first 50 games of the 2012 season? Yes, even Milwaukee fans should be nodding their heads. Braun caught the MLB on a loophole. Some inexperienced drug-tester failed to follow protocol. But none of this explains Braun’s out-of-this world 20 to 1 testosterone level. I will be the first guy to say that I am a major Ryan Braun fan. The guy is an outstanding player. But just because a guy can play does not mean that they are above League rules. Until a reason for the absurd testosterone level is given, Ryan Braun should be gone, at least for the first 50 games of 2012.
The Good Life
Yesterday, Washington Nationals 3rd baseman Ryan Zimmerman signed a six year contract extension worth 100 million dollars. That is a lot of paper for a guy who has played in over 150 games just three times in his seven year MLB career. A guy that has a sub .300 career batting average, has only hit over 30 home runs one time, and drove in over 100 runs twice. Now I definitely think Ryan Zimmerman is a very solid player, considering he has already made an All-Star team and won a Gold Glove Award. He is potentially a great player in time. But a 100 million dollar over six years kind of guy, aka 16.667 mill per year guy? No. At least not yet.
I could rock some Adidas
14 years and 250 million dollars to market a clothing line? Derrick Rose is not only a great player and the reigning MVP, but now a very stylish man. Feel free to tell Adidas that I would be more than willing to sign a 14 year 1 million dollar deal with them if they would like. Rose is receiving nearly 18 million a year to wear and market an already solid clothing line. Not too shabby if you ask me.
RG III is a freak, but Andrew Luck is for me
As has been the case for a good few months now, Robert Griffin III ( ) and Andrew Luck have stolen the show once again. This time at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. And sure other guys have put on outstanding demonstrations, but RGIII showed his amazing wide receiver like speed (fastest 40 time for a QB since 2006), while Andrew Luck proved that he can run a very respectable 40 (4.67) as well. Oh, and Luck can out jump Cam Newton. I have already been riding on the front seat of the “Luck Bus” for a good two years now. And though the vertical leap and 40-time aren’t the end all be all in terms of evaluating quarterbacks, Luck’s athletic demonstration this past weekend has me, NFL fans across the nation, and all 32 NFL owners salivating even more now.
Just some “Food for Thought.”
Let me hear your thoughts though. Please comment below with any questions or insights that you may have or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.