Tag Archives: Dwight Howard

Thunder youth movement

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. With yesterday’s Serge Ibaka contract extension, the Oklahoma City Thunder youth movement continues.

By Josh Kramer

Most of the attention regarding the Western Conference this off-season has been focused on the newly revamped Los Angeles Lakers.  Rightfully so.  In adding two-time MVP Steve Nash and the best center in the NBA, it appears Kobe has the pieces in place to nab #6.  But who won the Western Conference championship last year though?  Who went to the Western Conference finals the year before? Oh yeah, that team out of Oklahoma City.  With yesterday’s four-year contract extension of 22-year-old swat team captain Serge Ibaka, the youth movement continues on in OKC.

In this day and age defined by free agency, blockbuster deals, and unhappy players, core groups rarely stay together for an extended period of time.  Oklahoma City is looking to defy the odds and build a dynasty out of a group of guys that they drafted, molded, and groomed. Continue reading

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Remember Us? Don’t Count out the Chicago Bulls in 2012-2013

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The Bulls have become an afterthought due to Derrick Rose’s injury, but with Tom Thibodeau (pictured above) running the show, don’t count Chicago out just yet.

By Wesley Kaminsky

In the wake of Dwight Howard going to the Lakers, Andrew Bynum going to the Sixers, and Joe Johnson going to the Nets, the 2012-2013 Chicago Bulls lie somewhere in the desert.

This is the team that had the best record in the NBA over the past two seasons and lost their superstar Derrick Rose to a torn ACL in the first round of the playoffs last season.

This is the team that was the biggest threat to Miami in the Eastern Conference before that injury.

Yeah, that team. Remember them? It seems like a lifetime ago in which they were championship contenders. Continue reading

Food for Thought 8-14-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Aroldis Chapman (pictured above) is looking to become the first relief pitcher to win a Cy Young since 2003 and perhaps the first Cincinnati Reds pitcher ever to win the prestigious award.

By Josh Kramer

The Reds may be the oldest team in professional baseball history (established in 1869), but there is one thing this proud franchise has never done.  No Cincinnati pitcher has ever claimed the Cy Young Award.  Just to put that into perspective, the Diamondbacks (established in 1998) have sported five winners of the prestigious award for the best pitcher in their respective League.  I know there is a still a month and a half left in the regular season, but a pair of serious Cy Young candidates currently reside in Cincinnati.  I will give you a hint.  One is a starter, while the other is a relief pitcher.  Despite the absence of star Joey Votto, the Reds have somehow managed to go a remarkable 19 and 8.  So much for staying afloat and playing .500 ball with the all-world Votto sidelined.

Sure plenty of players have stepped up in the absence of the MLB’s best all-around hitter (such as Ryan Ludwick and Brandon Phillips), but two players have been getting the job done all year.  Johnny Cueto has not only proven himself to be a formidable number one starter, but he has also proven to be arguably the best pitcher in the National League.  Cueto currently is tied for the NL lead with 15 wins and ranks third in ERA (2.45).  Make sure to note that the two pitchers with better ERA’s than Cueto in the present have 10 wins and 9 wins respectively (Vogelsong and Zimmermann)  Then there is the Cuban Missile.  Outside of one short-lived rough patch just before the All-Star break, Aroldis Chapman has been the most dominant pitcher in baseball. Chapman has been simply unhittable as of late going a remarkable 22 straight appearances without allowing a run.  Also, in 51.2 innings against National League foes, Chapman has surrendered one earned run.  Lastly he has given up just 25 hits.  Really think about those statistics.  Could we be on the verge of the first relief-pitcher to take home the Cy Young Award since Eric Gagne in 2003?  Or perhaps the first Reds Cy Young Award winner ever? Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 8-13-2012

Photo courtesty of zimbio.com. Dwight Howard (pictured above) is the latest great big man to suit up for the Los Angeles Lakers.

By Josh Kramer

Happy Monday to you all.  It wasn’t easy, but Team USA went all the way and handled Spain late in the fourthAbby Wambach and Co. handled business.  Tiger Woods, well you know the drill (at least Rory was good).  And Andrew Luck demonstrated that it wasn’t “luck” that he was drafted number one in his professional debut.  Last week was a great one, but this week should be fun in its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  Marcos Ambrose came out victorious in a wild race at the Glen.  The countdown to the Chase is down to four.  There are just four more races before the big boys battle it out for the Cup.  This Sunday, the gang heads to Michigan International Speedway as Kyle Busch looks to defend his crown at the Pure Michigan 400.

4.  The history is well-documented:  George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal.  Add Dwight Howard to the list.  I am not sure how the Lake Show pulled this blockbuster deal off, but Kobe Bryant’s chances at number six improved immensely when Superman signed with Jack Nicholson’s favorite team.  Watching Team USA bring home gold at the Olympics was exciting, but the prospects of a LeBron/Kobe finals matchup has me even more excited.  It may only be August, but the 2012/2013 NBA seasons is shaping up to be a memorable.  Plus, the “Dwight Howard Soap Opera” has finally come to a close. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 7-30-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Many are wondering if Silas Redd (pictured above #25) will return to Penn State next season or take his talents out West to USC.

By Josh Kramer

Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony was at least unique, which was one of the things he was going for.  Even the Queen almost cracked a smile.  All eyes in the sporting world are focused on London, as they should be.  But let’s not forget about the rest of the sporting world.  Last week was fun, but this week is sure to be great in its own right.

5.  The “Dwight Howard Soap Opera” continues.  At least now, most NBA fans can focus their attention on Team USA’ s quest for gold in London.  The Howard reality television series has definitely dragged on far too long, but it is still a big story.  Wherever Howard lands, that team is very likely going to be an instant contender.

4.  The world continues to keep an eye on “Happy” Valley in the wake of the harsh NCAA sanctions.  How will the program actually respond outside of saying the right things at press conferences?  How will the new administration ensure nothing like this ever happens in the future at Penn State? What players will stay? What players will go?  Keep a special eye on star running back Silas Redd.  It appears Lane Kiffin is working hard to add a final piece to a USC team poised to make a run at the National Championship. Continue reading

Food for Thought 7-17-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Ben Sheets (pictured above) started his first Major League game in nearly two years on Sunday. It looked as if he had never left.

By Josh Kramer

Holy Sheets.  Ben Sheets is back.  After a nearly two-year hiatus between Major League starts, Ben Sheets proved that he isn’t done yet.  If I were the Washington Nationals, I would take note.  With Ben Sheets back, Atlanta not only is a wild-card contender, but they are a pennant contender.  Ben Sheets learned the number one rule that applies to all pitchers at a young age and never forgot it.  This rule is the secret to being a successful pitcher.

Throw strikes.

Did you forget when Sheets had a 116/11 strikeout-to-walk ratio back in 2006?  Or his 264/32 mark in 2004?  Guy could paint the corners in a similar fashion to Greg Maddux in the mid-90s while bringing the heat.  These days, the velocity is not going to be the same as it once was for Sheets.  Do not expect to see any 98 mph gas like the good old days.  But do expect to see the ball paint the corners and keep hitters off-balance.

With Beachy still out, the timing could not be better.  In order to compete with the Nationals, Hudson and Hanson desperately need the help of another quality starter.  Ben Sheets is only 33-years-0ld.  Despite all of the injuries and other various setbacks, Sheets could be Atlanta’s ticket back to the playoffs.  In addition, he could very well turn into the MLB’s comeback player of the year.  I know this much.  Sheets will be a hard guy to root against. Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 7-16-2012

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. The “Dwight Howard (pictured above) Soap Opera” continues. Most people just want it to be over with at this point.

By Josh Kramer

Baseball’s second half has begun with a bang.  NBA free agency continues at a rapid pace.  The “Freeh Report” has turned a legend into a monster officially.  And guess what?  Things are only going to get better.  Last week was one that will be remembered for a long time, but this week will fun its own right.  Here are the events to keep an eye on.

5.  All eyes will remain focused on the no longer “Happy” Valley.  The Freeh Report has shaken up the entire college football stratosphere.  Paterno’s legacy has been forever tarnished and his role in the horrific incidents are no longer in question.  The real question now is what will be the punishment doled out to Penn State’s football program?  Are we on the verge of witnessing college football’s first death penalty in over 25 years?

4.  Start your engines, and take a deep breath.  For the first and only time until mid-November, the NASCAR Sprint Cup series takes a break this weekend.  After Kasey Kahne stole the show in New Hampshire, everyone is looking to thrust themselves into the top ten of the standings during the course of the next seven races.  Either you are in or you or out for the CHASE.  As of now, Kahne and Carl Edwards are fighting to move up just a couple of spots by the end of the day on September 8th.

3.  The NBA free agency frenzy, has been just that, an absolute frenzy.  Nobody has any clue what is going to happen next in the “Dwight Howard Soap Opera.”  I for one do not really care at this point. Continue reading