Tag Archives: Utah Jazz

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

Throwback Saturday Part IV

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. A little over a year ago today, Jerry Sloan (pictured above) was forced into stepping down from his position as the Head Coach of the Utah Jazz.

By Josh Kramer

So when I originally constructed the idea of “Throwback Saturdays,” I figured I would do it for a month or so.  It would be a change of pace for you all and give you some time to reflect a bit. With that being said, I feel as if this idea has been a rousing success thus far, at least from the feedback you all have given me.  Please provide further feedback in the comments section.  I have a feeling next week you may be seeing “Throwback Saturday Part V.”

Unfortunately, I did not put up a post on February 11th in either 2010 or 2011.  So I apologize for letting you all down on those particular dates.  We will just have to settle for dates very close in proximity.

One year ago (February 10, 2011)..

Sayonora Sloan

Here is a snippet from the middle of the post..

Sloan is one of the greatest offensive masterminds of our generation.  The guy has won his entire career.  He handles his business the right way.  No ridiculous off court mishaps with this guy.  Yet ownership has chosen Deron Williams as the future?

Unless you live under a rock, you probably know who Deron Williams is.  He is a 5th year All Star point guard who played college ball at Illinois.  The guy is arguably the best point guard in the League (I would currently rank him behind Rose, Rondo, and Paul in all honesty though).  Any guy that puts up 20 points and 10 assists a night is doing something right.  But it has been well documented that Williams and legendary coach Sloan have had their fair share of tussles over the past year (To finish reading the post, click this link). Continue reading

Looking ahead to NBA free agency (if and when it happens)

Photo courtesy of watchesbydesign.com. Yao Ming (pictured above) could be a potential bargain pick up for a contender when the CBA situation is eventually figured out according to our very own Nick Craddock.

By Nick Craddock

With a Thursday midnight deadline looming, NBA owners and the NBA players union appear nowhere near close to hammering out a new collective bargaining agreement that would allow for free agents to start negotiations, as regularly scheduled, on July 1.

However, whenever the 2011 free agency period does commence, there will be some talented ballers available for general managers to sign. How a new CBA affects player contracts is yet to be seen, but here is a list of this summer’s free agents who are overvalued and in line to start taking baths of Benjamins. On the other hand, potential bargain players could reap huge rewards for teams:

5 overvalued players

1. Jose Juan Barea (Dallas Mavericks): The diminutive Puerto Rican point guard won many admirers for his performances during the Mavericks’ 2011 championship run, but whether or not this former undrafted player and star from Northeastern is ready for primetime is yet to be seen. Sure, Barea sliced-and-diced the Lakers during the playoffs, but could this career bench player sustain such success for 82 games a year in a more demanding role? Regardless of my skepticism, his playoff heroics will be the most recent memory general managers have of Barea and, consequently, he will undoubtedly cash in with a hefty pay raise. Once Barea receives a bump in pay, one can only hope he will follow the path of fellow Puerto Rican Jennifer Lopez; although he used to have a little, but then a lot, he’ll remember where he came from because he’s J.J. from the block.      Continue reading

“Food for Thought 3-1-11”

Back on February 12th, Jacob Pullen (pictured above) and Kansas State appeared on their way to missing the big Dance in March. 5 games later they are back in the picture and are one of the hottest teams in America.

There is so much going on in the wide world of sports.  You got the NFL Combine, the NFL CBA soap opera, and MLB Spring Training.  It is March now though, and you all know what that means.  It is time for some Hoops Mayhem!

Here are some of the main thoughts that have been running through my head today.

When the East Returns to Prominence, so do the Chicago Bulls

-When was the last time the Eastern Conference was as good as or better than the Western Conference?  Lets go back to Michael Jordan era in Chicago.  It has been well over 10 years.  Hard to believe how fast time flies by.  Well the Eastern Conference has arrived, and appears ready to stay on top.  With the East back on a level playing field with the West, wouldn’t you know that the Windy City would have a great team for the first time since the Jordan days.  Chicago has had 2 winning seasons since Jordan helped the city rip out Utah’s heart for a 2nd consecutive year (1998).  The most wins they have had in a season is 49 back in the 06-07 campaign.  Want to know how many wins they have this year?   

Try 41 with 24 games remaining.  And this team only appears to be getting stronger as they get healthier.  Former Chicago Bull’s star Scottie Pippen has been blowing up the Twitter world with his tweets as of late.  The gist of Pippen’s message is that the Bulls are a contender and that they have the ability to bring back the title to Chicago.  Most of America thought Chicago lost big this off season in the epic “Free Agency Bonanza.”  In actuality, they won big with the pickups of Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver.  Two pieces that may have completed the puzzle.

People do not realize that this Bull’s team has gone 18 games without their best big man, Carlos Boozer, and 30 games without Joakim Noah, one of the scrappiest players in the League.  Yet they are still 3rd overall in the East, and just one game behind a Miami team that they are 2 and 0 against.  I will admit that Boston is still my pick to represent the East in the NBA Finals.  But the Bulls were my sleeper pick for a reason.  They have something that none of the other Eastern Conference contenders have.  A point guard who can do it all.

Sure the Celtics have Rajon Rondo, who is an elite PG.  But Rondo simply cannot shoot from the perimeter.  Rose can do it all.  He can fly all over the court.  He has tremendous vision.  He can score at will both by driving and shooting the jump shot.  Plus he is a leader who has a knack for hitting the big shot.  A point guard who can penetrate and shoot like Rose is capable of is nearly unstoppable.

Chicago has the perfect formula for a championship contender.  They have one superstar in Derrick Rose.  An All Star caliber big in Carlos Boozer and a possible future All Star in Joakim Noah.  A sharpshooter in Kyle Korver.  And a great talent on both ends of the floor in Luol Deng.  Maybe we should ask King James what he thinks of Mr. Deng. Each player on this team seems to know their role. Lastly, their effort level is tremendous.  They are currently 2nd in the League in both overall defense and rebounding.  Who says that guys in the NBA do not try.  Well that does not seem to be a problem in the Windy City. They could be scary come April/May and dare I say June.

Greg Jennings Who?

I am sure many of you have seen the infamous Greg Jennings YouTube video where he puts the team on his back with a broken leg.  Well Jacob Pullen has been doing his best Greg Jennings impression as of late in the College Basketball arena.  He has literally put Kansas State on his back.  And now has them sitting pretty for a tournament bid.  A little over 2 weeks ago this was far from the story in Manhattan, Kansas.

Lets rewind back to February 12th.  On this date, Kansas State lost a heartbreaker to a mediocre Colorado team and sat at 16 and 9, with a conference record of 4 and 6.  They appeared on their way to arguably the most disappointing season of any College Basketball team in the country outside of Michigan State.  These guys were highly touted preseason (ranked #3).  They had made it all the way to the Elite 8 last year.  This was not supposed to be the case.  Then something happened.  Something magical. 

The senior, Jacob Pullen, decided to put the team on his back.  First the Wildcats put a whooping on in state rival, and the number 1 team in the country at the time, Kansas.  Then the rest was history.  Kansas State has now won 5 straight games.  3 of those wins were against top 25 teams and last night’s victory over #8 ranked Texas on the road was the icing on the cake.  During this 5 game stretch, Jacob Pullen is averaging 27.2 PPG and shooting a remarkable 59% from the floor.  Want to know what is even more amazing?  He is 16 of 27 from 3 point range in this 5 game stretch.  This is also 59%.

Pullen has epitomized what a senior leader should be over these past two weeks.  I do not foresee Kansas State making a run to the Final Four this year.  But I do feel they are capable of going a few rounds deep, which is far better than not dancing at all.  Pullen has put Kansas State on his back.  The real question is how far can he lead them? I will tell you this much, I would not bet against Pullen at the end of a close game.

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 contact@thesportskraze.com.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

“Sayonora Sloan”

Jerry Sloan, the longest tenured coach in any of America's 4 major sports resigned today. Did anybody see this coming?

As the saying goes, in life, there are only two real certainties.  Death and taxes.  And in my lifetime, there has been one other certainty.  Jerry Sloan as the Head Coach of the Utah Jazz.  The guy has been patrolling the sidelines since 1988 (23 years).  He has accomplished many amazing feats during his tenure in Salt Lake. Continue reading

“Weekly Nickel”

Come next Saturday, Dick Vitale (pictured above) will be screaming at the top of his lungs with a plethora of big time matchups to cover. It should be "Totally Awesome Baby, with a capital A!"

I know there has been a brief hiatus from the typical “Weekly Nickel.”  But now it is back, and better than ever.  What a week of sports that we just had, and what a week we have ahead.  Lets jump right into the list. Continue reading

“Weekly Nickel”

One of the NBA's All Time Greatest Coaches, Jerry Sloan (pictured above), has the Jazz at the top of the West. Are the Jazz a real deal contender?

The College Football regular season is all but finished.  People got their dream BCS National Championship which will pit Auburn versus Oregon.  Also, people got to see the Steelers go to work last evening and they once again showed America that all they do is “Win, Win, Win, Win.”  So I will admit, this week will be a little weird without a full slate of College Football games.  It is the first time since early September actually.

But here is a look into the excitement in store for this upcoming week.

5.  In the NHL, the season is slightly past the quarter marker, and the League’s two best players seem to be leading their teams to an epic Eastern Conference Finals Showdown.  Tune in this week and watch Pittsburgh and Washington continue to ride their stars toward deep playoff runs.

4.  Jayson Werth has signed with the Nationals.  Lance Berkman will return to the NL Central, but this time as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Captain will remain in the Pinstripes for at least 3 more years.  And the Red Sox are on the cusp of a major deal.  Could Adrian Gonzalez land in Boston?  This will be a huge pickup for the Bo Sox and really aid in picking up their offensive production.  The million dollar question still remains though.  Where is Cliff Lee, Mr. October himself, going to end up?  Also there is a guy named Carl Crawford that can run a little bit who is available out of Tampa.

3.  College Basketball is starting to heat up as teams continue to prep for big time conference play.  There are a good few major non conference matchups.  Here is a closer look.

Tuesday:

Memphis at Kansas:  This duel between top 20 foes should be very exciting.  In this rematch of the National Title Game of a few years ago, each squad looks to make a major statement and pick up a big time non conference win.  It is a shame that Kansas Freshman phenom Josh Selby will not be eligible for this one.

Michigan State at Syracuse:  A matchup between two of College Basketball perennial forces.  Two programs that have really been at the forefront of the game for the past decade.  Also, these are two programs led by two of the best coaches in America.  Which squad will come out victorious as each not only fights for a big non conference win and to maintain their top ten ranking, but each are looking to make a statement about their conference.  This game should help in the debate about which conference is the best in America, the Big Ten, or the Big East.

Wednesday:

Notre Dame vs Kentucky:  What a game this should be.  Notre Dame has been a pleasant surprise so far and looks to maintain their undefeated record vs their first ranked opponent of the season.  Sadly for the Fighting Irish, they get to take on a Kentucky team that is coming off a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Tar Heels.  This should be a very high scoring affair between two teams that can really put the ball in the basket.

Thursday:

Butler at Xavier:  A matchup between the two top “Mid Major” programs in America.  So what if both teams are off to a slower start out of the gates than most expected.  Both teams always find a way to sneak into March, and I expect nothing different this year.  Also last year, Butler beat the Musketeers on one of the most controversial calls I have ever witnessed in my life.  Will the Muskies have lady luck on their side this time and pick up a much-needed non conference victory over a solid opponent?  The home court advantage could really help XU in this one.

Saturday:

Tennessee at Pittsburgh:  A game that pits two top 20, undefeated squads.  The Vols have looked awesome thus far and already have knocked off a top 10 Big East foe this year.  Freshman, Tobias Harris, and seasoned vet Scotty Hopson have been simply awesome in the early going.  Can Pittsburgh continue to ride their very experienced group and amazing rebounding ability to another big time non conference victory?  This game should be close from start to finish.

2.  The NBA Bus rolls on.  The Knicks are over 500 and have won 4 straight games.  Plus the team that was “too old,” San Antonio, sports the League’s best record.  It is the NBA and you got to love it.

Some of the marquee matchups for the week.

Monday:

Oklahoma City at Chicago:  Two of the League’s best teams go to war in the Windy City.  Who is a better young point guard, Russell Westbrook or Derrick Rose?  Take your pick because both guys are capable of taking over a ball game at any time.

Wednesday:

Miami at Utah:  The South Beach Show travels to Utah to take on a surprise Utah team that is really showing the power of team basketball.  Jerry Sloan is one of the League’s all time great coaches, and this year, he is putting on one of his best performances. 

Thursday:

Orlando at Portland:  Yes, I realize that Portland is under 500, but they are always dangerous.  The year is still young, and Portland could really gain some confidence in knocking off the team sporting the 2nd best record in the Eastern Conference.

Friday:

Los Angeles Lakers at Chicago:  It is always fun to watch two first place teams get together.  Neither of these teams are off to as stellar of a start as expected, but both are definite contenders in their respective conferences.  Look for Kobe to provide some fireworks in this one.

Atlanta at San Antonio:  Can the talented boys out of ATL show the “old men” of San Antonio a lesson?  San Antonio has been outstanding all season and are really a remarkable story.

Orlando at Utah:  Two of the League’s best go to battle in Salt Lake City.  This is a definite game that I would love to tune in and watch.  Could this be a possible preview of the Finals?

Saturday:

Utah at Dallas:  Both of these mainstays in the West continue to win each and every  year.  It never gets old watching two of the best and most consistent franchises in basketball go head to head.

1.  We enter Week 14 of the NFL Season.  Real football weather is here.  And all teams are getting ready for the stretch run.  Next week’s lineup features two great matchups. 

New England at Chicago:  Two of the best teams meet at Soldier Field.  I will tell you that I would much rather watch this one from the couch.  It will be bitterly cold.

Kansas City at San Diego:  The amazing AFC West race continues.  Can the Chargers rebound and pick up a must win vs KC?

So there you have events to look for regarding the sporting stratosphere for this week.  Make sure to take it all in.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze