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Ross Geiger’s 2010-2011 NBA Rookie Disappointments

PG: N/A

There’s honestly not one point guard that you can fairly say they’ll be a draft disappointment. Considering where each of this year’s point guard prospects were selected, you got to like the potential upside they all offer.

Turner's role with the 76ers will be as awkward as that hat looks atop his head

SG: Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers

A variety of reasons land Turner in this slot: 1) He far from impressed in Orlando Summer League ball 2) While the 76ers have a fresh, new coach in Doug Collins it doesn’t change the fact that Turner will struggle finding his niche role with his team 3) If John Wall can play up to his expectation level and Turner struggles, unfortunately, unfairly he’ll be looked down upon. There’s no doubt Turner becomes a solid player in the NBA, but he’s going to be a young player that will grow with time. So from jump, Turner may be perceived as a draft disappointment.

This may in fact be the only memory of Aminu that I'll still hold at the end of the season

SF: Al-Farouq Aminu, Los Angeles Clippers

If you’re looking for this past year’s draft’s biggest disappointment look no further, Aminu can be added to the list of terrible Clippers’ draft picks. Who knows what the Clippers see in Aminu’s future as an NBA player but I can assure you he’s not worth using your 8th pick on him. His immediate role with the Clippers is limited and very well in question after bringing in Ryan Gomes and resigning Rasual Butler. Both Gomes and Butler will make it extremely difficult for Aminu to find time. Most likely Aminu becomes a guy who never gets his opportunities early on and never recovers from the lack of experience as a rookie. His best bet is to find some time in the D-League and then to go from there because he’s far from NBA ready nor is he ready to be called 8th pick worthy, regardless of draft class.

When you're picked before tons of players you probably shouldn't be, it's common practice to hug the commissioner rather than shake his hand

PF: Ekpe Udoh, Golden State Warriors

With the 6th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors select…umm who? Though you all know I cover the NBA draft extensively and clearly know who Udoh is, predictions aside, I’m shocked Warriors went this route. Maybe it makes more than perfect sense to draft Greg Monroe so instead they decided to take the risky pick in Udoh in hopes that he surprises us all. Udoh will be newly signed David Lee’s backup and will continually remain his backup until the Warriors feel he’s ready to play some minutes at center. If and when that time ever becomes a possibility is much like Udoh’s true potential, up in the air. Until Udoh shows us why he’s worthy of consideration as high as pick #6 he’ll remain a big disappointment in my book.

Ewing: "Dude, are you seriously this bad?"

C: Daniel Orton, Orlando Magic

Now I understand why he was the second-to-last pick in the first round, I understand he was given some attention being a member of the Kentucky Wildcats youth, but what I can’t grasp any understanding in deciding to take a gamble with Orton over Hassan Whiteside. Worst-case scenario for Whiteside is best case scenario for Orton, that’s how bad Orton is. I mean come on, the highlight of Orton’s Summer League in Orlando was him getting tossed for fighting with the Pacers’ Josh McRoberts. For Orton’s sake, I hope he can maybe learn a thing or two from fellow teammates Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat, but I also hope he knows how to save his money. Outside of his rookie contract, I see him finding a tough time finding a job in the league.

This is Part 5 of Ross Geiger’s 7-part Blog Series covering the NBA’s most prominent young players. Be sure to be on the lookout for Part 6 that’s coming soon! In the mean time, follow Ross Geiger on Twitter: @RossGeiger.

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Quarterfinals Day Two- July 3rd

Before getting to today’s games, let’s talk about the two outstanding games from Day One. In the first, Brazil undressed the Dutch with a simple ball up the middle and grasped an early lead. The game leveled out, but then Julio Cesar and Felipe Melo combined for the kind of gaffe you never see out of Brazil. Sneijder played a ball in, and Cesar goes to punch it, but misses it. Melo heads it backwards and it is 1-1, marking the first Brazilian own goal ever. Right then, Brazil capitulated. They didn’t have the spark anymore and just gave up. It was pretty disappointing in the sense that we expected good stuff out of a well-seasoned Brazil squad, but it will be nice to see some new blood in the finals. It was pretty well summed up by Felipe Melo’s blatant red card. They were frustrated and done. Completely unbecoming of a champion. The Dutch definitely got some breaks, but we expect better of Brazil. The Dutch face a manageable Semifinal, but have work to do if they want to win it all.

This video is worth way more than 1000 words.

Loco flipped it in in style.

In that Semifinal, the Dutch will be facing Uruguay, who escaped by the hair on their chinny chin chin. It wasn’t the most beautiful game, but the best of it came late. The troublesome Muntari put Ghana ahead with a venomous strike in the first half stoppage time, but Diego Forlan answered 10 minutes into the second half with a masterful free kick of his own. It would stay that way until the 120th minute. Ghana wins a free kick and the announcers say it will be the last action of the match. If only they knew. Ghana swings it in, and a little game of pinball breaks out in the box. The ball goes ding ding ding around hitting everything but the back of the net until it falls to a Ghanaian player who puts it higher and on frame. Luis Suarez, who was standing on the goal line covering for his exposed keeper, had no choice. He had to bat it down with his hand and get the automatic red card and give Ghana a penalty kick at the last. Weeping as he went down the tunnel, Suarez almost missed something that could cure all his tears. Gyan lined it up, prepared for glory, and schtoinked it off the top of the bar. Straight up missed it. To slightly alter a Scott Van Pelt occasionally heard on Sportscenter, “Bless his heart he must be the sickest man in the world.”

There it went. Ghana’s golden chance fell to the wayside. I can only imagine how heavy the pressure on Gyan felt as he approached the ball, and cannot even come close to imagining the feeling after it went high.

After that, as we all know, Uruguay won the penalty kicks through some good saves and a cheeky finish by Sebastian Abreu to sink Ghana. Gyan, to his credit, absolutely hammered his penalty into the upper 90, but it was all for naught. Uruguay moves on, and while they are lucky to make it with their lives, they are the official Cinderella of the World Cup thanks to their phenomenal strikers and clutch defending, not to mention a touch of magic. They will certainly be fighting an uphill battle when they face the Netherlands without Suarez, but they have made it this far and that is an achievement in itself.

Alright, now that we have that taken care of…

10:00 AM- Argentina vs. Germany

Germany's X-Factor kinda looks like an oaf. Not a good sign...

Now that Brazil is out, I am saying that the winner of the tournament comes from this game. Either Argentina’s phenomenal skill level and battle hardening from the South American qualifying takes over and takes them to the top, or Germany’s young talent continues to gel and they run Argentina off the pitch in the counter-attack. I am completely unsure who is going to win to be honest. It is hard to say after yesterday’s phenomenal games, but this match has the potential to be even more. The teams do not really like each other, Germany will be playing to show that “Argentina are classless” (paraphrasing), and Argentina’s Lionel Messi will be playing for his favorite band (Oasis) to avenge England’s loss (Story here). What more could you want? The skill level will be off the charts, the competitiveness will probably overflow at least once, and it will take a virtuoso performance out of someone to win it.

Even though South America took a hit when Brazil went out, I am going to stay with the South American trend. I think Germany can hold down Messi just enough, and Mueller and Ozil will give Argentine defenders nightmares, but I think the steady guys like Javier Mascherano combine with the fire and brimstone play of Tevez to give Argentina a famous win against the German machine. Thomas Mueller will get a goal, and Klose might add another, but I think Argentina finds a way to win it.

The only thing I would be surprised by would be Germany getting blown out. Argentina loses big some time, and both teams are very good, but Germany just will not get blown out, so on that side, they have a slight advantage. However, this pick is a complete coin flip, so don’t put a dime on it.

Argentina 3-2 Germany

Masch says "On to the Semis!"

2:30 PM- Paraguay vs. Spain

See how much we already have about the other games so far? Thank goodness for this one. Portugal was the toughest test Spain will face defensively all Cup and they were able to crack that nut. After that, no defense should be too talented for them. One might get lucky,but they will not get outclassed by any defense left in the tournament. Spain’s talent level is on another level, and anything other than a win for Spain would be a national disgrace. Paraguay is tough and has done well to make it this far, but they got the easiest group, anda one of the easier draws in the Round of 16. Spain is a different animal, and it is not an animal they are ready to deal with. Good run, Paraguay, but Spain rolls on. Expect Villa to score and Torres to disappoint.

Paraguay 0-2 Spain

A God of the Goal

June 27th Picks and USA-Ghana

The loss witll be a tough pill to swallow for Donovan. The picture is from moments after his Algerian goal.

Before we can get to the picks for today, we have to talk about Ghana’s victory over the USA. Frankly, I did not have an issue with it. Just like with any sport, it is often the team that makes thefewest mistakes that wins. Ghana did not turn the ball over in the middle of the pitch in the 5th minute, the US did. It is certainly a heartbreaking way to go out, but Gyan had been dangerous for much of the game, and it was only so long before the athletic striker wore down the defenders and sprang on the open chance to send his country onward. The US again put itself in a hole in the first half and finally paid the ultimate price for their first half half-heatedness.

It was not even a matter of unforeseen problems hurting the US. We knew about the early goal issues. We knew about the backline being the main concern defensively rather than Howard, and we knew about the offense being able to create chances. We had the right predictions, but the wrong results because Ghana’s advantages simply outweighed the US’ on this occasion. Both teams were good, but one was just more deserving. It hurts to say, but I really believe the US was 2nd best.

Now with that being said, the US was outstanding in the second half and just about took the lead on a few occasions. If not for a heavy touch by the otherwise brilliant Feilhaber, Jozy Altidore slipping, and Michael Bradley not knowing he had so much time, the US takes the win and a boatload of momentum into the quaterfinals. But none of them were able to put it in the back of the net, and with about 5 minutes remaining in regular time, the US’ chances disappeared. They went from threatening to doing nearly nothing in a snap and they did not have another realy shot at goal until they were down 2-1. You have to put it in the back of the net with all those chances to win, and we just didn’t do it today. It was a valiant effort, and they deserve all the applause in the world from US fans, but they were second best on this day. Good run, USA.

10:00 AM- Germany (1st in Group D) vs. England (2nd in Group C)

This fail is kind of like England's constant fails from the spot.

This is a tough one to pick. England was anything but impressive, but appear to have finally put their Emile Heskey obsession aside for the good of the team. Germany, on the other hand, had some young guys really step up in the Group Stages. However, Bastian Schweinsteiger is out for the match, aand he was really the guy holding the central midfield down for the Germans with Michael Ballack out. This means free reign for Gerrard and Lampard if tehy can seize control. It is an all-time great rivalry, but both sides have certainly seee more fruitful days. Germany is not quite the well-oiled machine it once was and England has yet to make the substantial sum of its parts actually be representative of the team on the field. I do not know who to pick, so I will make the standard pick when it comes to a pick of an England game and will send English fans around the globe into hysterics (the bad kind) if I ma right.

Germany 1-1 England
Germany wins PKs 4-2

2:30 PM- Argentina (1st in Group B)  vs. Mexico (2nd in Group A)

Tenacity is his middle name

Argentina is certainly the favorites here, but that does not mean Mexico cannot sneak up on them. Mexico is a very very solid attacking team that can keep enough possession to really limit Argentina’s opportunities. They are solid all the way through midfield and deadly at striker when the young guns get blazing. Mexico is not a team that should be taken lightly in this game in the least.

However, Mexico is not the sturdiest team in the back and Lionel Messi is going to give them absolute fits. He may not score, but he will carve them wide open at least once with his brilliance to create a chance for Higuain, Tevez, Aguero, Di Maria, or Milito. Coming into the tournament, we worried if Argentina would be able to find teh net and stay focused with Maradona on the sidelines, but his energy has turned into a positive thing for the team, and the goals have been flowing freely. The only concern for Argentina has been their defense’s penchant for untimely miscues like the dumb giveaway against South Korea in the group stage. I think they could give one up like that, but otherwise, I like the tenacity of Tevez in winning the ball back from Mexico’s midfield and the genius of Messi to produce a result for Argentina.

Argentina 3-1 Mexico

USA-England Recap

A 1-1 draw is a very good result for the US. They played 80 minutes of high quality football (excluding the first 10 minutes), were able to fight back and get a little bit of luck to get a big point from England. I was right on two of my predictions, but was surprisingly incorrect on another. I was right about Steven Gerrard being a complete pain for the US and he was a terror on the ball all night for the US. I was also right about Clint Dempsey claiming the US goal, though plenty of credit goes to Rob Green for an early Christmas present. However, the prediction apart from the core that was surprisingly incorrect was about Wayne Rooney. The US defense did a tremendous job after the opening goal, pestering both Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey in the middle, and Aaron Lennon on the outside. The US defense earned them that point, and while Jozy Altidore nearly gave the US a big victory, a draw is about the right result.

Let’s talk about some of the more minute details of the match with some word association.

Selecting Emile Heskey at forward was ________.

STUPEFYING. I have no clue why England went with Heskey other than Rooney being a big fan of his. If you watched the game, you saw England swinging cross after cross into the box and no one being able to really get to them. That is what Peter Crouch was born to do but he did not get in until a late substitution. Martin O’Neill, Heskey’s manager at Aston Villa, did not play Heskey the final 8 or 9 games for a reason. That reason is because he is not good. Very odd choice Capello.

Rob Green’s goal was __________.

And the US sings: GOD SAVE ROB GREEN!

HILARIOUS. Everyone in England knows that keeper is not their strong suit, but few thought it would only take one half of soccer to realize just how insecure they are at keeper. That was one of the softest goals I have seen in a while, and as a US fan, it was gut-bustingly funny. It was really a gift to the US, and we cordially thank him for it. You know “God Save the Queen”? I bet you no one in England is singing “God Save Rob Green” right about now.

The Man of the Match for the US was ___________.

A TIE BETWEEN TIME HOWARD AND STEVE CHERUNDOLO. Howard really saved that game for the US, but that is hardly a new thing for the United States fans. He was every bit of outstanding he needed to be and really deserves the award. However, I want to give a lot of credit to Steve Cherundolo. Plenty of credit goes to Carlos Bocanegra, Jay DeMerit and Oguchi Onyewu as well for their superb defense on Rooney, Heskey, Gerrard, etc. but Cherundolo was outstanding. He not only did a great job defending Aaron Lennon, but he made England’s wingers defend when he would charge up the wing. I saw him lose the ball very few times, and force England into plenty of mistakes and fouls as he attacked. That was supposed to be reversed as England’s wing was expected to give the US problems, but it was really the opposite and a lot of credit goes to Cherundolo.

Robbie Findley was ___________ up front.

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR. We thought we lost a lot of pace when we lost Charlie Davies, and we did, but we replaced a lot of it with Findley. In the second half especially, he tormented Jamie Carragher and the English defense, and really made things exciting. Between Findley and Altidore, it actually seemed like the US had a chance at goals on most of their runs. That is something that cannot be said of the US most days, AND it meant fewer boring long balls since they were working the ball so well.

Landon Donovan was _________.

SOLID. He did not get on the scoresheet, but every ball he delivered was crisp, on target and nearly resulted in goals on many of his crosses. He was clearly targeted by England, and Ashley Cole did a good job, but Donovan was still able to contribute to the team even without scoring. The sign of a good player is when he can still help his team even when the other team has done everything they can to take him away as a threat.

A draw for the US is a __________ thing.

REASSURING. I had the US losing this game and facing an uphill battle to qualify against Slovenia and Algeria. This point steadies them a little with wins more than possible in their final two games, which would even give them a shot at qualifying first in the group, though they would need some help for that. More than anything, it reassures the players that they belong at the highest levels, which is a big confidence boost, and it reassures the fans that their team is going to do all it can to get results.

5/11/10 NBA Playoff Prediction

Boston Celtics at Cleveland Cavaliers- 8 ET TNT

Unbelievable in Game 4, down right nasty stat line....

To me, each team’s success in this series isn’t rocket science. For the Celtics to win they must get a big scoring contribution from point guard Rajon Rondo. For the Cavaliers, on the other hand, well it’s clearly got to be the play of LeBron James. After Game 3, I was at a loss of words, you’re meaning to tell me it’s possible for a point guard to drop 29 points, snatch down 18 rebounds, and drop 13 assists? Numbers like that even make Jason Kidd lose his breath, Rajon Rondo was an absolute beast to say the very least! (rhyme intended)

"It's on the the next one" for LeBron & the Cavs after dropping Game 4

Now I’m not a huge fan of Rajon Rondo but it’s hard not liking what he did in Game 3, the Celtics won’t lose a single game if Rondo can play like that on a consistent basis, not to mention go down in the record books. But now the story shifts, as LeBron’s buddy-ole- pal sings, “On to the Next One”. King James is back in his throne at home for Game 5 and his team has a bad taste in their mouths after losing Game 4.

For the Cavs it’s step up time for Mo Williams, he’s been very disappointing to say the least and if you can’t score, please save yourself from getting embarrassed. I don’t care how good a point guard with the size of Rondo is, he shouldn’t be able to do what he did in Game 4. The Cavs need a big win in Game 5 to keep control of the series, but just like tonight’s opening tipoff, the series is up for grabs. I’ll take LeBron James in Game 5.

Cavaliers- 104 Celtics- 96

Three Keys to another Celtics Win

1) Hit Varejao in the Balls

2) Don’t Acknowledge Brian Scalabrine

3) And Clearly, Don’t Score for the Other Team!

Bucks Mascot Bango Restores Balance & Respect…Maybe

This past Monday during Game 4 of the Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks inside the Bradley Center, Bucks mascot, Bango, threw down one of the most risky dunk attempts I’ve ever seen. Standing on what must’ve been an 18-foot stepladder, Bango climbed to the very top. Each step higher he went, the more and more fans got up to give a standing ovation. As he finally reached the top step on the ladder, there was a mixture of cheers and breathlessness from the Bucks crowd.

After a spilt second pause on the very top step, Bango did a back flip flying directly over the rim and finishing off the stunt with a very impressive dunk on the other side of the rim on his way down. The stunt not only kept the crowd on it’s feet as the Bucks came out of the longer than normal TV timeout but it also more than made up for Bango’s embarrassing injury last season during NBA All Star Weekend in Phoenix.

Last season, Bango tore his ACL as he accidentally slipped standing on top of the back of the rim while his fellow NBA Mascots shot half court shots. Falling through the rim, Bango’s left leg got tangled up in the net causing the tear in his knee. For the rest of the Bucks 2008-2009 regular season, the Bucks decided against finding a “replacement’ Bango, instead almost comically played around with the injury. After all, it made perfect sense.

Last year Bango was added to the Bucks list of key injuries

Bango was added to all-too-famous Bucks Injury Report along with the best two Bucks players: Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut. While Redd and Bogut remained on the bench cheering on the team in suits, the Bucks mascot rolled around the arena in a wheelchair cheering the team on as well. Last year the Bucks’ team chemistry was nearly flawless in that regard.

Now let’s flashback to Game 4’s incredible dunk, unfortunately not all that much has changed as far these three Bucks figures are concerned. Michael Redd is still out, Andrew Bogut out yet again taking a gruesome fall late into the season after a very impressive all around year, and Bango…well he’s back fully healthy performing more tricks above the rim…isn’t he? Doesn’t this dunk say it all and is proof that Bango’s performance has improved just as much as this year’s playoff clinching Bucks team? Not so fast Bucks fans, I think we’ve all could have been misled.

While I’m sure it happens more often than we all would imagine, there’s a strong possibility that Bango was replaced with a stunt man for the job. The stunt man quite possibly could be the NBA mascot without a job, the Seattle Supersonics’ mascot named Sasquatch. Whether or not it was actually Sasquatch can be left up for debate, but one thing’s for certain if the NBA was a university, Bango would be expelled for plagiarism.

The set up, the dunk, and even the after dunk celebration with an array of back handsprings and cartwheels was almost the exact same. So similar, it has to make you wonder whether or not it really was Milwaukee own’s Bango that had lived up to his own team’s motto “Work Hard, Play Hard.” Did Bango put in the time and effort practicing this very risky stunt or did Bango and the Bucks simply pick up the telephone?

I’ll leave it open for you to decide. Watch the videos and let us know what you think!