review

NFL Week 12-13 (Abridged)

Esteemed ladies and gentlemen who visit this blog, we have gotten very busy very quickly. As a result, you may have noticed we have not been quite as active as normal, and that is not good. However, it is a necessary evil of not being a professional writer, so while we will do the usual NFL rundown, do not expect a 7,000 word column this week or the next few weeks. However, we are going to try something a little different this week just to mix it up in lieu of quantity. I am going to give you my gut feeling on how each team will do the rest of the year. Not looking at schedules (unless I just know about a game already), just going with how each team feels.

Jets- Losing this week will not derail their season in the least. Probably the most complete team at this point and if the entire team were to play well on the same day, it would be scary.

Patriots- Title contenders and they still remind me of the Saints a little too much. Opportunistic but weak defense, elite passing game, underrated running game. I hope they fail, but they look promising.

Dolphins- Mediority in Miami reigns once again! The only gut feeling to have about the Dolphins is that they will continue to disappoint.

Bills- Surging and fun to watch, but they just don’t have enough. Ryan Fitzpatrick has played like a Top 10 NFL QB this year. Somehow.

Steelers- They have started to dismantle parts of that spread offense I lambaste them for, but I still get that feeling that they are going to come up short. They will play the Chargers in Wild Card Week, upset the red-hot Chargers, then turn around and lay an egg the next week.

Ravens- Legitimate contenders whose defense will let them down in the playoffs. Probably against the Patriots. I could definitely see the Pats getting revenge in Foxborough from last year.

Browns- They will keep fighting and keep being about 4 pieces away from really being legitimate until the end of the year. Colt McCoy is next in line to be the QB who is a game manager that the coaches try to turn into more and it doesn’t work. It has to happen. This is Cleveland.

Bengals- Nothing doing here. Marvin Lewis, pack your knives and go. Yes, I have a gut feeling he will be on Top Chef. Maybe even Desserts. Regardless, his team is a mushy corn souffle with a maple dressing that tastes like baby food which makes Tom Colicchio vomit on Carson Palmer’s head and Padma punch Terrell Owens in the face as he makes advances.  If given the option between that and going through this season again, I think Bengals fans would choose the Top Chef scenario.

Was this enough to trigger the Super Bowl Runner-Up Curse?

Colts- Disclaimer: I am a Colts pessimist. As a fan, I always fear the worst. I think the Colts miss the playoffs. I do not like Jacksonville’s chances. I do not like the Titans chances, but the Super Bowl Runner-Up curse is lurking in the background. The offensive line has been trash, the Colts need Joseph Addai more than anyone really knew, and even the receivers have the dropsies. They could come out and kill Dallas, but something about this scenario has me very worried.

Jaguars- AFC South Winner. I don’t know how, but it is going to happen. Jack Del Rio is destined for another 5 mediocre years at the helm, and this will be enough to get them there. That or they will go back to being mediocre. I don’t know for sure, but I have a funny feeling about them.

Titans- Done. Moss is done, the offense is done, and the defense seems pretty done too. If they can beat the Jags, I will revise my position, but they have some issues going forward. A lot of them.

Texans- Doner? Is that a word? No? It is now. It is pretty much beating a dead horse at this point, but THE TEXANS FIND WAYS TO LOSE GAMES!!!!! Sorry. At least I didn’t say it was beating a dead dog after Vick beat them. Oh. I basically did by phrasing that hypothetically? Oops.

Chiefs- They will lose to the Chargers in San Diego. I am sure of that. They still have a half-game lead though and it depends on if they can win their other games to get into the playoffs. I am sensing a negative on that. Just a gut feeling.

Chargers- Classic Chargers. Late season push, sexy Super Bowl pick going into playoffs, and huge disappointment exiting playoffs. Last time, I referred to the kid who shows up really late to parties, then tears them up (in the good way) for the night only to pee his pants and remind everyone why no one likes him. One of my stranger comparisons, admittedly, but let’s just say that the Raiders are the Chargers version of chugging a couple beers to fill up that (Sepp) Blatter. Yeah, it’s a stretch. Screw you, Qatar.

Raiders- QB controversy. Do we start the guy who has been mediocre his entire career, or the guy who is mediocre in relief of mediocre quarterbacks? Or do we admit that Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski aren’t really good enough to make a real playoff push? Not a gut feeling. Fact.

Broncos- Tebow cometh too soon. Kyle Orton hath played nobly, good sires. Olde English maketh things sound more complicated. Sorry, I just really have very little to say about the.

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Eagles- Title contenders but not going to make it. Defense has too many flaws and I do not trust this Desean Jackson-Andy Reid situation. Is it so hard to imagine Desean Jackson quitting on his team? I don’t think so.

Giants- Missing the playoffs. Guarantee it.

Redskins- I have a gut feeling that they will continue to baffle me and be inconsistent. Is it me or has Shanahan sort of built a reputation for inconsistency where once he was Mr. Consistent?

Cowboys- Will they keep overcoming their flaws? Will they keep playing to the level of their competition. No and Yes. But which wins out? Week to week with this team,

Bears- NFC North Champions. They don’t deserve it, but it isn’t that impossible to believe. They have got to watch out this week even though the Lions might start Drew Stanton. With the Patriots next week, this has Trap Game written all over it. I hope I am wrong on my gut feeling on this one.

Packers- No idea if they are making the playoffs, but they sure as hell deserve to. Definitely dangerous, but McCarthy might abruptly end any playoff run.

Vikings- They can reload rather than rebuild, but it remains to be seen if they have the balls to get rid of Favre, go with Tavaris and re-invent the dead parts of their team.

Lions- To quote Mark Schlereth “This isn’t a try hard league, it is a do good league”. Lions aren’t doing well. They need Simba Stafford (just throwing that out there as a mediocre, somewhat mocking nickname) to stay healthy and to keep building. Like the Browns, only about 4 pieces away from being really good.

Falcons- NFC #1 seed. Will not lose at home. Will lose Super Bowl. You cannot convince me otherwise.

Saints- I have them and the Packers making it, but it is entirely possible that their schedule drops them below the Bucs. Very precarious position for the Champs. They really need that running game back.

Buccaneers- Step 1: Beat the Falcons. Step 2: Stay in playoff race. Step 3: Let the playoff be a microcosm of the season. Sit back, be just in it for most of the game, and win it in the 4th quarter. I would be surprised but not shocked to see them edge the Saints or Packers.

Panthers- Entering the Bills Zone of a team that is dead and starts to find its rhythm, but still sucks enough to not win.

Secretly one of teh better helmets in the NFL, though I liked the yellow more thn gold.

Rams- NFC West Champs by holding off a furious push by the 49ers. Sam Bradford for ROY and it isn’t close.

49ers- Late push not enough to makeup for season of disappointment. Frank Gore’s injury doesn’t help either.

Seahawks- If not for Qwest Field, they would lose to the Panthers this week.

Cardinals- They will continue to be a laughing matter. Something about the heat down there makes for hilarious press conferences.

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2010 F1 Grand Prix of Singapore

The 2010 F1 Grand Prix of Singapore

2010 F1 Grand Prix of Singapore – 61 Laps

By: Nick Koglin

Even as it is Formula 1’s lone night race, this was by no means a sleeper. There was plenty of pre-race drama and a healthy dose during the race as well.

The Storyline

With 5 races remaining, Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber came into this race in the midst of a considerable performance plateau albeit still leading the championship due to consistency. The remainder of the championship contenders include teammate Sebastian Vettel, McLaren’s 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton, and the fastest driver at the previous race in Italy and two-time World Champion, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. In fifth, last year’s champion and F1 pretty boy, Jenson Button of McLaren is trying to regain some of last years’ fortune.

As far as the Constructors Championship is concerned, the battle is between Red-Bull and McLaren with Ferrari lingering somewhere in the distance. The graphical breakdown of the pre-race standings looks like this:

Pos Driver Points Pos Constructor Points
1 Mark Webber 187 1 Red Bull-Renault 350
2 Lewis Hamilton 182 2 McLaren-Mercedes 347
3 Fernando Alonso 166 3 Ferrari 290
4 Jenson Button 165 4 Mercedes 158
5 Sebastian Vettel 163 5 Renault 127

Also, Singapore marks the return of Nick Heidfeld and Christian Klien to Formula One racing. Heidfeld replaces Pedro de la Rosa at BMW-Sauber and Klien jumps in the HRT chassis formerly occupied by Sakon Yamamoto.

Qualifying

Sebastian Vettel

All though Sebastian Vettel absolutely crushed the field in practice, it was Fernando Alonso who once again stole the pole. There was really nothing exceptional to note in qualifying aside from Rubens Barrichello taking his Williams-Cosworth to an exceptional 6th position. For an independent team, each race Williams has seemed to make considerable strides towards attacking the factory-backed teams.

The other notable event qualifying was the failure of Felipe Massa’s Ferrari. Several things to note here: One, Singapore has never been kind to Massa, as it likely cost him the 2008 World Championship, a result of the Crashgate Scandal involving Renault. Secondly, team orders and poor luck have resulted in a pretty difficult year for the Brazilian and on top of it all are the rumors of Massa getting replaced at the end of the year, so pressure for him is pretty high.

Massa would start from the back of the grid after replacing his engine for the 9th time this season. (If a driver chooses to replace more then 8 engines in a year, a 10-place grid penalty is instilled on said driver. However, Massa began the race from the back anyways.)

The Race

At the start, Alonso took the race straight to Vettel driving him towards the wall. From there, all bets were off as Vettel and Alonso took a dominant lead over Lewis Hamilton and the rest of the field. The start was unusually clean, but Singapore, as with many city circuits, is extremely tight and subsequently it makes passing quite difficult.  Needless to say, the safety car wound up its odometer a lot during this race, particularly in the opening stages.

The McLaren team, desperate to gain points in both championships, really looked off pace early on today. Boasting a revised aero package, one rooting for the British team would hope that the supposed increase in downforce would help out in the tight corners of Singapore. Unfortunately for McLaren, the aerodynamicists at Ferrari and Red Bull also brought out the big guns and it showed today.

In the opening laps, Webber pitted as part of a risky strategy. Meanwhile, Nick Heidfeld’s return to F1 was short exchanged blows with Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi eventually leading to a retirement. Timo Glock of crazy Richard Branson’s Virgin Racing team made a valiant effort to hold off the much faster Niko Hulkenburg, Adrian Sutil, and Felipe Massa but their far superior machinery eventually overran the garage project that is Timo Glock’s car.  (Think Monte Blanc vs. Crayola)

Lewis Hamilton

Random Notes mid-race:15 laps into the race it became clear that Jenson Button just did not possess the same outright speed that teammate Lewis Hamilton had this weekend.  On lap 21, Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi took the fight to 7-time World Champion Michael Schumacher’s defunct Mercedes; for me the jury is still out regarding Grandpa Schumacher’s return to F1.

Around lap 30 the top ten cars came in for their scheduled pit stops. The biggest loser here was Lewis Hamilton whose McLaren just could not keep the desired pace prior to the pit stop and upon his pit exit, he dropped from 3rd to 8th.

Around this time, the wheels began to come off for the independent teams (literally) as they racked up a good majority of the race’s crashes. However, it was the crash between Webber and Hamilton that certainly became the most significant incidence of the race.

Hamilton escaped uninjured, but his championship position did not fare so well. Webber somehow took no damage miraculously and continued to make the best of his risky early pitstop. At this point, 37 laps in, the race was mostly all decided. In the closing stages, Renault’s Robert Kubica took on fresh tires and made a mad dash  from 12th to 7th. Elsewhere on the track, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel kept the final moments of the race tense with a fierce exchange of fastest laps.

In the end though, it was Alonso who secured the Grand Slam (win, pole, fastest lap, most laps led) and due to the retirement of Hamilton on lap 37, moved up considerably in the Championship standings. See table:

Pos Driver Points Pos Constructor Points
1 Mark Webber 202 1 Red Bull-Renault 383
2 Fernando Alonso 191 2 McLaren-Mercedes 359
3 Lewis Hamilton 182 3 Ferrari 316
4 Sebastian Vettel 181 4 Mercedes 168
5 Jenson Button 177 5 Renault 133

Fernando Alonso

Overall, Singapore was an excellent race, providing some enticing storylines, the Hamilton crash in particular.  Alonso’s win gave the Spaniard a big boost in the championship standings but it ain’t over yet. Massa’s excellent points finish also helped give Ferrari a boost in the Manufacturer’s Championship, though it is still Red Bull’s to lose. While Hamilton’s crash may have damned his chances of winning the Driver’s Title, with 4 races remaining, nothing is out of the picture. The next race is in Japan at Suzuka, so stay tuned…

Ross Geiger’s 2010-2011 Don’t Overlook the Small Names Team

The Buzzer Beatin' Follow Through by Lester Hudson

Lester Hudson, NBA Free Agent

After having a very impressive Las Vegas Summer League showing as a member of the Washington Wizards, Lester Hudson is on the verge of making another NBA roster this season. Averaging 11.2 points,  2.8 assists, and 2.8 rebounds per contest, Hudson made sure John Wall wasn’t the only impressive Wizards point guard. In fact, Hudson played a key role during the last stretches of close games. Wizards’ Summer League Head Coach Sam Cassell turned to both Wall and Hudson as the primary ball handlers with the game on the line. In the Wizards last summer league game, Hudson took over as the Wizards elected to sit out Wall. Hudson dropped 19 points to go along with 9 assists, and delivered the dagger from  connecting on a game winning, step-back buzzer beater. That’s not a bad way to finish off a successful summer league appearance and it definitely left a lasting impression on the entire league.

SG: Dominique Jones, Dallas Mavericks

Jones has a lot to offer at the NBA level

This year’s 25th overall pick by the Mavericks showed plenty of good signs during his inaugural summer league performances. Dominique Jones went onto to average 16.6 points per game with 3.4 assists and 3.8 boards. Not only did Jones lead his team in scoring throughout their five matchups, but Jones absorbed much of the hype that was supposed to surround Mavs second-year man, Rodrigue Beaubois. By the end of summer league, the word around the press row was looking forward to watching Jones, not particularly just Beaubois as expected. Jones must improve upon his consistency from the floor, but can indeed help next year’s Mavericks team if called upon.

Rolle was on a roll producing during his time on the floor in Orlando Summer League

SF: Magnum Rolle, Indiana Pacers

While I decided to transform him into a small forward for the sake of showing love for the hungry Pacers rookie. Magnum Rolle made the best of each and every opportunity he got to show the Pacers what he has to offer and it paid off. Rolle is a guy, you’ll be hearing about for years to come. He won’t blow you away with his skill but he’ll instead do it with his hustle and energy. At 6’10 with a very long wingspan, Rolle is very versatile and can guard multiple positions. In Orlando Summer League, Rolle averaged 13.4 points, 7 boards, and 2 blocks a game. Having not played basketball until his freshman year of high school, I’d say Rolle still has a lot of room to grow as a player, especially if he continues to work as hard as he has thus far in the league.

Brackins should become CP3's new best friend on the perimeter

PF: Craig Brackins, New Orleans Hornets

Ok, so maybe Brackins isn’t really a “small name” having been a highly touted recruit coming out of Brewster Academy, but entering the league I’d say many still aren’t buying in. While I doubt Brackins ever becomes a borderline star in the NBA, I do think he’ll be a very solid, respected NBA pro in the near future. It all starts with his size and his ability to stretch the defense with his touch. Brackins is a tremendous shooter with range often times compared to LaMarcus Aldridge, but I’d argue there’s a bit of a “in his prime version of Brian Cook”. He definitely showed me a lot in his summer league games averaging 10 points and 4 rebounds. Not to mention he shot 47% from the three-point line connecting on 10-21 total attempts. While he won’t provide much in other categories his shooting consistency will find him minutes. With Chris Paul leading the charge in New Orleans, Brackins will be a perfect complimentary piece. He doesn’t clog up the lane, prefers to float around the perimeter, and can step into a shot from anywhere on the offensive end. Watch out NBA fantasy basketball, this could be your new favorite three-point specialist since you’ll be able to place him in your power forward slot.

Lawal could end up being "The Steal" of the 2010 NBA Draft Class

C: Gani Lawal, Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns getting some love? You better believe it, they got an absolute steal in this year’s draft, grabbing Gani Lawal with the 46th overall pick. Although they didn’t even have a first round pick this year, the Phoenix Suns came out of the 2010 draft as one of draft night’s winners. Much like how Eric Bledsoe played in the shadow of John Wall at Kentucky, Lawal did the same at Georgia Tech as the focus and media attention was on Derrick Favors. If one were to ask me how good Lawal could end up being? I’d surprise many with this: at the end of the day, Gani Lawal may very well be just as good, if not a better pro than Derrick Favors. Bold statement? Yes, very much so, but entirely out of the question? Absolutely not. In Las Vegas Summer League, I was not at all surprised at Lawal’s attention grabbing stat lines throughout the Suns’ five games. Lawal completed summer league averaging 15.4 points, 7.4 boards, with 1 block a game. It’s nearly impossible to predict how the Phoenix Suns handle Lawal’s rookie year and whether or not he ever gets a real chance to shine. But one thing’s for certain if Lawal continues to develop his game on the practice floor and can show the Suns coaching staff he can rebound, he’ll play. Both Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick are terrible rebounders, plus it’s also clear at this point that hustle-man and fan favorite Lou Amundson isn’t returning. Knock, Knock…Who’s there? Gani Lawal.

Last But Not Least, I Bring You The Most Exciting NBA Summer League Finish I Was In Attendance For, Which Includes 2 of the 5 Players That Made This List: Lester Hudson & Craig Brackins. Take a Look:

This is the last and final part of Ross Geiger’s 7-part Blog Series covering the NBA’s most prominent young players. Thank you for following the series and we hope you enjoyed it! Be sure to follow Ross Geiger on Twitter: @RossGeiger.

Wall & Jennings Connect on a Nasty Alley-Oop

By: Ross Geiger

Wall will be flying high in D.C. this season

The best two point guards from the past two drafts collided this week in Los Angeles, California for the Boost Mobile Elite 24 event. They’re both former participants of the Elite 24 event, where 24 of the top high school prospects regardless of class take the hardwood.

Before the event’s actual game a handful of the NBA’s brightest talent took the stage against this year’s 2010 Elite 24 players among those young NBA players that joined John Wall and Brandon Jennings included DeMar DeRozen and 2010 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans.

One of the games best highlights was a 2-on-1 fastbreak which left Jahii Carson left helpless trying to guard both Jennings and Wall running the break. Jennings delivered quite the pass and Wall finished up nicely with a 1 handed monster jam. Check it out:

Top 10 Poster-ers

By: Zach Silvernial (OTC Contributor)

The OuttaTownClowns would like to welcome Zach Silvernail to the blog, we’re happy to announce he’s the newest edition to our growing blog. Zach will primarily focus on contributing to our NCAA Basketball and NBA content on the page. Along with his well-written work, Zach has a great knowledge and high level understanding of the game at both the collegiate and pro levels of play. But don’t take us from us, follow his work on our blog and you’ll see for yourself. Without further ado, I bring you Zach’s debut post on the OTC…Enjoy!

There is nothing more exciting, and often times amusing, than watching a guy get dunked on. With so many incredible athletes now in the NBA, it’s something that seems to happen almost every game. Nothing gets a crowd going, a bench going, and most importantly a player going like taking off full speed, going body to body, and putting his you-know-what in an opponent’s face. If you’re not too familiar with the term “getting postered”, ask Shawn Bradley to describe it to you. I’m almost positive that’s what his role was throughout his stint in the NBA. Or ask guys like Stromile SwiftJames White, or Gerald Green…who only got to the NBA because of their high flying ability. But, before you escape to YouTube, allow me to present the list:

The Kobe Bryant Mini-Fro Days....

10. Kobe Bryant
I know, I know. He’s getting older now, and does a lot less high flying than he did during his mini-fro days, but he is still one of the more explosive and acrobatic players in the league. Don’t think so? Dare you to tell him otherwise.

9. Derrick Rose
Talk about a FREAK athlete. Rose is one of the most, if not the most explosive two-foot jumpers in the NBA. He might not belong in the top 10 based on his quantity of posters, but certainly for his quality and capability. Goran, what were you thinking?

One of the best dunks in All-Star Weekend's history

8. Andre Iguodala
Following in the footsteps of former Wildcat high-flyer Richard Jefferson, “Iggy” comes in at number 8. With deceptively long arms, incredible athleticism, and an underrated array of dunks (as illustrated in his dunk contest appearances)…Andre had to make the list.

7. Russell Westbrook
This guy might be my favorite one on the list. He became known for his ability as a youngster at UCLA, and has continued to humble opponents in the NBA. One of the top five quickest and fastest players in the league, he is beyond dangerous in the open floor.

6. Rudy Gay
Now the ranking becomes a little bit more difficult. It’s hard to put Rudy as low as number 6, but he has about 84 million reasons to make himself feel better. Almost impossible to stop above the rim because of his length, and probably best known for his always fully extended, and picture perfect windmill.

"Mr. Tolliver, will you sign my poster?"

5. Amar’e Stoudemire
Amare is certainly one of the most ferocious and powerful dunkers on the list. He may not always have the most “spectacular” posters, but he seems to have about a million every year. His number of dunks might go down without “Stevie” to thread the needle this year, but he’ll still manage to embarrass a few opponents and their families. Somewhere Anthony Tolliver is tweeting: “SMH”.

4. Dwayne Wade
Alright, now it’s almost impossible. Having to put maybe my favorite player at 4 was not easy, but the top 3 are too good. “DW3” is as relentless as anyone when it comes to taking the ball to the rack, and epitomizes the clique: “attacking the rim with reckless abandon”. Just ask Anderson Varejao.

3. Josh Smith
“J-Smoov” needs no introduction. Only fitting that he would play for the Hawks. Probably the only guy capable of filling out all Top 10 plays on SportsCenter in one night. He’ll pin you at one end and then catch a lob on the other. Always fun to watch.

2. Dwight Howard
Superman comes in at number 2 strictly because it happens so often. Had the list been called Most Likely To Dunk on You…Dwight would probably be number 1. Not only one of the most incredible athletes currently in the NBA, but of all time.

Back When D-Wade Was "A Witness", No Wonder He Wanted To Unite

1. LeBron James
Are you surprised? Possesses every possible attribute of a good poster-er. Size, speed, strength, quickness, jumping ability. You name it, he’s got it. Well, except for a ring.

Well, that concludes my list. But, before I go, just want to give a shout-out to the All Underrated Poster Squad: Will Bynum, Ronnie Price, Von Wafer, Shannon Brown, Dahntay Jones, Chase Budinger, Rodney Carney, Trevor Ariza.

Follow Zach on Twitter: @love4thegame3


Scottie Reynolds: Rise Like a Phoenix

By: Ross Geiger

Eighteen and a half points per game, forty percent from long range, his team’s go-to player, his school’s second all-time leading scorer, the face of his school’s basketball program, he is Scottie Reynolds. The 6’2, 190 pound point guard had a spectacular college career at Villanova, now Reynolds continues his spectacular story.

It’s starts as birth born in Huntsville, Alabama where his teenage mother gave him up for adoption. Growing up in a warm household, Reynolds was brought up well, and his upbringing carried over to the basketball court. In the state of Virginia, Reynolds is widely regarded as one of the top scorers in basketball history. As a senior at Herndon High School in Herndon, Virginia, Reynolds averaged 28.4 points per outing, dropped 4.5 assists, and was a thief snagging an 4 steals nightly.

Entering his freshmen season with the Villanova Wildcats, it didn’t take Reynolds to long to adjust and went onto to be named the 2006-2007 Big East Rookie of the Year. As just a sophomore, Reynolds led the Wildcats in scoring totaling 15.9 points per game, helping make the push to a Sweet 16 berth. During his first year as an upperclassman, Reynolds took his team to even greater heights come time for the big dance. In the Elite Eight matchup against the Pittsburgh Panthers, Reynolds known for his clutch performances drilled a game-winning bucket with 0.5 seconds remaining, which led ‘Nova to the 2009 Final Four in Detroit. As a senior, Reynolds helped his team to a 25-8 overall record, but unfortunately made an early exit as the #2 seed in the tournament. The disappointing loss to St. Mary’s in the second round not only put his dreams of winning an NCAA Championship to rest, but also held him short of becoming the Villanova’s program all-time leading scorer. Reynolds was just 21 points shy of the feat trailing only former NBA guard Kerry Kittles. But make no mistake, Reynolds received the well-deserved recognition he deserved as a senior being named to the 2010 AP All-American 1st team becoming only the fourth player in school history to do so.

After one heck of a career at Villanova, Reynolds was set on entering the 2010 NBA Draft and that’s where his story becomes even more spectacular. Reynolds, an AP All-American, surprisingly went undrafted on draft night. But please, don’t begin to feel sorry for the talented youngster; if anything this is a blessing in disguise. Though Reynolds made many of his accomplishment look easy during his high school and college days, this next step will be a bit more challenging to overcome. He’s an undersized NBA guard who many scouts question whether he’s got the capabilities to be an NBA floor general.

Reynolds entered NBA Las Vegas Summer League camp with a chip on his shoulder, out to prove the critics wrong as a member of the Phoenix Suns. In just three games (due to injury) Reynolds had some highs and some lows, yet showed enough upside that the Suns immediately offered him a training camp invite. His summer league line: 10.3 ppg on 47% field goals, 44% behind the arc, and was a perfect 100% from the charity stripe, to go along with 4.7 assists per game. In each of his three summer league games, Reynolds built upon each performance and by the his third and final game against the D-League Select team he scored 16 points and added 3 assists in limited minutes.

Best Be Sure He's Keepin' His Head High

A variety of NBA teams have extended training camp invites to Reynolds and he’s yet to make his decision. But I’ll be willing to bet, Reynolds’s story as an undrafted NBA rookie hasn’t quite ended yet in the Valley of the Sun. If and when Reynolds accepts the Suns training camp spot, I expect Reynolds to continue to grow as an NBA professional and will rise like a Phoenix as one of the most underrated NBA rookies next season. He’s in a great situation as member of the Phoenix Suns, not only can he learn from one of the best point guards the game has ever seen in Steve Nash, but his offensive game can flourish in the Suns style of play.

With the departure of Taylor Griffin (waived) this past week, I fully expect to see Scottie Reynolds a Phoenix Sun next season. From what I’ve been hearing the Phoenix Suns are very high on him and at this point I see it nearly a no-brainer that he makes the final roster. He’d most likely spend much of the year traveling back and forth between D-League and call-ups, but with Nash’s aching back always in question, you never know when he may be called upon. But if his time comes and his number is called, Scottie Reynolds will be ready to step up to the challenge that awaits as he has all his life. Making transitions look easy is something Scottie Reynolds has done his entire life, so why shall it stop now?

After all, NBA teams allowing him to go undrafted only fuels his fire. If there is one kid, one story to watch this season it may in fact be Scottie Reynolds. If there is to be another Wesley Matthews type scenario be in store this season, look no further.

Milwaukee Bucks Summer League Game 1 Points of Emphasis

By: Ross Geiger

Game 1: Dallas Mavericks: 73 Milwaukee Bucks: 72 OT

After watching the Milwaukee Bucks lose a tough one in a very exciting battle with the Dallas Mavericks in their Summer League opener, I came away with five players that are worthy of some points of emphasis.

Jackson could earn a jersey with the Bucks this season, but he won't be wearing #00, that belongs to Drew Gooden

1. Darnell Jackson: Leading all scorers with 17 points in the contest, Jackson’s NBA experience really paid dividends. Going 8-15 from the field while collecting 7 boards all came under composure. Many of the young players came into the game with debut butterflies but it was evident that Jackson’s adapted to the summer league experiences. He led by example in 25 minutes of play and played under control the entire time, only committing 2 fouls as well. It’s still very early in a long process but his Game 1 play definitely helps his case in grabbing one of the last few spots on the Bucks roster this season.

2.  Larry Sanders: Despite what many take from Sanders’ pro debut, I actually feel I saw more positives than negatives today. Yes he struggled offensively but we knew that was his biggest weakness coming in. Having only connected on 4 of his 15 shot attempts Sanders must improve upon finishing at the basket while absorbing contact, along with better shot selection. As far as the shot selection goes, that can easily improve as the games move on, he was trying to impress as any brand new top pick would in their debut. But as I mentioned there were tons of positives from this year’s 15th overall selection. Sanders is very active on both ends of the floor, alert at all times, and always attacking the glass. Those intangibles are things that will most definitely find him earning some floor time under Bucks Head Coach Scott Skiles this year. Though it’s only one game and my first look at the Bucks rookie if I were to give you an outlook on Sanders’s first year with the Bucks here’s my evaluation: He’ll play spot minutes, be a spark plug used at the end of quarters giving guys quick breathers, instant energy. A very realistic first year comparison in terms of production and play I’d say he’ll be a lot like Suns forward Lou Amundson. With that being said, he obviously carries way more potential and talent moving forward with a bright future in this league. Just be patient and give him some time to transition and adjust to the NBA level of play.

An NBA Type Talent With Off-the-Court Question Marks

3. Sean Williams: Being a guy always high on the potential of Area 51, I definitely won’t count him out on making an NBA roster this season. If he can prove (and keep) his head on straight (which is a big if) there’s no question he’s an NBA type talent. He’s long, runs the floor like gazelle, can clean up around the rim, and of course he lives up to his nickname “Area 51” protecting the paint by swatting away shots. What I liked in his first game with the Bucks was his patience, his control, and his willingness to move the ball. On top of that he impressed me with his 15 foot look that he drilled and also threw his body around a bit and took two charges. Williams has a great sense of when and when not to attempt to block a shot, he stays grounded at the right time and tends to pick the correct times to challenge a shot attempt. That feature of knowing when to block a shot could really benefit Bucks draftee Larry Sanders who doesn’t have the slightest clue when there’s a time and a place to leave his feet. Bucks fans, it’s a long shot, but don’t count out Williams on maybe earning that last roster spot. I wouldn’t bet on it, but his talent is intriguing and if there’s any organization that can help Williams change his off court habits it’s in Milwaukee. There’s no doubt the Bucks are great situation for Sean Williams future, the question is whether or not Williams is worth risking the team’s locker room atmosphere. If Xavier Henry or Paul George would have fallen to the Bucks at 15, I think Sean Williams maybe makes the team. But with Sanders on board, along with Tiny Gallon whose close with Brandon Jennings, I see Williams unfortunately not getting his second chance with the Bucks.

4. Deron Washington: A second round draft pick of the Detroit Pistons in last year’s draft, Washington’s got an idea of what summer league’s all about this year. That showed in today’s game as Washington went 4-8 from the field, hitting 1 of 2 attempts from downtown, and 2-2 from the charity stripe. His contributions helped keep the Bucks in the ballgame and he hit some big shots. Washington finished with a solid 11 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, to go along with 2 steals. With continued play like this, Washington should find himself a nice look overseas next season.

The Former Marquette Standout

5.  Dominic James: The former standout point guard from Marquette is entering his redemption year after suffering a summer league ending injury just a day or two before he was set to participate in summer league last year with the Bucks. James didn’t have a pretty game by any means but his hard nosed, full court pressure defense and his efforts in getting good looks for those around him gives him my nod for my 5th and final spot. His highlighted plays include a buzzer beating high fade away jumper to end the first quarter of play, a nice no look dish hitting Darnell Jackson after drawing too, and his hustle play in which he sprinted all the way down on the defensive end, ultimately sacrificing his body leaping over the media table on the baseline. James isn’t quite a NBA level talent, but this type of play will definitely help his chances overseas, giving him more better opportunites in the future. I’m sure we’ll see Mr. James on an NBA Summer League roster next year as well. In the end, it’s great to see the Milwaukee Bucks giving exposure to Wisconsin area players: Dominic James, Jerry Smith, and Franklin.

The Bucks look to bounce back from their overtime loss against the Dallas Mavericks tomorrow against the Memphis Grizzlies. Game time is set from 8 ET and will be televised on NBATV.

Follow Ross Geiger on Twitter: (@RossGeiger)

Ross Geiger’s NBA Mock Draft 3.0

1. Washington Wizards- John Wall, Kentucky

Oh how a year changes things.

2. Philadelphia 76ers- Evan Turner, Ohio State

3. New Jersey Nets- Wesley Johnson, Syracuse

4. Minnesota Timberwolves- Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech

5. Sacramento Kings- DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky

6. Golden State Warriors- Ekpe Udoh, Baylor

7. Detroit Pistons- Ed Davis, North Carolina

8. Los Angeles Clippers- Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest

9. Utah Jazz- Luke Babbit, Nevada

10. Indiana Pacers- Greg Monroe, Georgetown

11. New Orleans Hornets- Gordon Hayward, Butler

12. Memphis Grizzlies- Paul George, Fresno State

13. Toronto Raptors- Cole Aldrich, Kansas

14. Houston Rockets- Patrick Patterson, Kentucky

15. Milwaukee Bucks- Xavier Henry, Kansas

16. Minnesota Timberwolves- Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati

17. Chicago Bulls- Avery Bradley, Texas

18. Oklahoma City Thunder- Damian James, Texas

19. Boston Celtics- James Anderson, Oklahoma State

20. San Antonio Spurs- Craig Brackens, Iowa State

21. Oklahoma City Thunder- Kevin Seraphin, France

22. Portland Trail Blazers- Hassan Whiteside, Marshall

23. Minnesota Timberwolves- Larry Sanders, VCU

24. Atlanta Hawks- Solomon Alabi, Florida State

Kentucky is well represented in the 1st round.

25. Memphis Grizzlies- Daniel Orton, Kentucky

26. Oklahoma City Thunder- Elliot Williams, Memphis

27. New Jersey Nets- Jordan Crawford, Xavier

28. Memphis Grizzlies- Dominique Jones, South Florida

29. Orlando Magic- Devin Ebanks, West Virginia

30. Washington Wizards- Quincy Pondexter, Washington

31. New Jersey Nets- Keith “Tiny” Gallon, Oklahoma

32. Miami Heat- Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech

33. Sacramento Kings- Ryan Richards, England

34. Portland Trail Blazers- Stanley Robinson, UConn

35. Washington Wizards- Willie Warren, Oklahoma

36. Detroit Pistons- Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky

37. Milwaukee Bucks- Jarvis Varnado, Mississppi State

38. New York Knicks- Terrico White, Mississppi

39. New York Knicks- Trevor Booker, Clemson

40. Indiana Pacers- Da’Sean Butler, West Virginia

Butler was the heart of WVU, and he now goes to the city where Butler University plays ball. Coincidence??? Yes.

41. Miami Heat- Armon Johnson, Nevada

42. Miami Heat- Dexter Pittman, Texas

43. Los Angeles Lakers- Greivis Vasquez, Maryland

44. Milwaukee Bucks- Samardo Samuels, Louisville

45. Minnesota Timberwolves- Nemanja Bjelica, Serbia

46. Phoenix Suns- Thomas Heurtel- France

47. Milwaukee Bucks- Dwyane Collins, Miami

48. Miami Heat- Tibor Pleiss, Germany

Radford is also represented...

49. San Antonio Spurs- Art Parakhouski, Radford

50. Dallas Mavericks- Latavious Williams, USA (D-League)

51. Oklahoma City Thunder- Derrick Caracter, UTEP

52. Boston Celtics- Manny Harris, Michigan

53. Atlanta Hawks- Sylven Landesberg, Virginia

54. Los Angeles Clippers- Sherron Collins, Kansas

55. Utah Jazz- Jon Scheyer, Duke

56. Minnesota Timberwolves- Artem Zabelin, Russia

Looks like Kahn is going to steal Zabelin from Prokorhov

57. Indiana Pacers- Ben Uzoh, Tulsa

58. Los Angeles Lakers- Alexey Shved, Russia

59. Orlando Magic- Mikhail Torrance, Alabama

60. Phoenix Suns- Lazar Hayward, Marquette

Hey, Phoenix! DRAFT ME!!!!!!!!

Ross Geiger’s NBA Mock Draft 2.0

With the 2010 NBA Draft  just 2 weeks away, I give you my updated NBA Mock Draft 2.0. A lot has changed since my first mock draft: NBA Draft Combine was held, team scheduled workouts are underway, and player evaluations have improved. For the past two weeks, I’ve been staying up on my research of the top prospects: from their completed workouts, interested teams, to all the rumors. From everything I’ve compiled through the web, daily newspapers, magazines, and of course my own sources here’s how I feel this year’s NBA Draft will shakedown if the draft were to be held tomorrow. Enjoy!

1. Wizards- This pick is going nowhere, John Wall will be a Washington Wizard next season, I can assure you that.

Selection: John Wall, Kentucky

2. 76ers- As I mentioned in my mock draft, the 76ers aren’t 100% certain they’ll hold onto this pick. There’s definitely a possibility that the #2 pick could be sent away if I the trading partner is willing to take on Elton Brand and his long-term contract. Unless Brand is included in a deal, I see Philly keeping the pick, don’t see them involving Iguodala unless they’ll receive a high 1st round pick in return.

Selection: Evan Turner, Ohio State

3. Nets- There has been some outside interest from around the league regarding their 3rd pick in this year’s draft but as of now don’t expect any deals involving the pick to happen.

Selection:  Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech

That's Right DeMarcus, you're draft stock is rising

4. Minnesota Timberwolves- Minnesota is all but satisfied with this pick and are exploring their options on moving up as well as out of the draft with their fourth pick. With two other first round picks in this year’s draft, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get rid of the 4th pick if the right deal was on the table. The fourth pick is definitely available to all teams, if the price is right. If they don’t move the pick, I now see the Timberwolves selecting DeMarcus Cousins here at #3. Many would scratch their head to where exactly he fits in, but let’s not forget the Wolves kept surprising us last year, stocking up with point guards in each of their three first-round picks. They shipped off one of them in Ty Lawson and I see the selection of Cousins allowing them to ship off either Kevin Love or Al Jefferson (the more likely to be moved).

Selection: DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky

5. Sacramento Kings- Each year it seems like nobody has a clue what the Kings organization has up their sleeve on draft night and once again the NBA world is kept pondering their options here. What I can tell you is that the Sacramento Kings have no interest in trading this pick. The question that remains unknown is whether or not they’d select Greg Monroe over DeMarcus Cousins. While Cousins is regarded as the player with most potential, Monroe is the safe pick who reminds Sac-Town of a young Chris Webber. I see Sacramento not rolling any dice and taking the safe pick with Monroe.

Selection: Greg Monroe, Georgetown

A sign & trade deal could point Wesley Johnson in a different direction come July

6. Golden State Warriors- If Wesley Johnson falls to the Warriors here at #6, there’s no chance they’ll pass him up. But I’m going to throw you a Oakland-like Zito curve ball to ponder, could the Phoenix Suns do a sign-and-trade Amare Stoudemire to Golden State in exchange for Wesley Johnson. No truth behind this happening, but I like the proposition. Amare gets his max contract with a good fit in Golden State, while the Suns get a nice piece to move towards the future with, just saying.

Selection: Wesley Johnson, Syracuse

7. Detroit Pistons- While the Pistons have been reportedly aggressively trying to move up into the 4-5 range, I just don’t see it happening unless they strike a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. I wouldn’t have the slightest idea what the Pistons would be willing to offer and what the Timberwolves would be willing to accept but I’d say Rodney Stuckey and/or Tayshaun Prince would be included in any deal. If Detroit doesn’t deal, expect them to take Al-Farouq Aminu. He’s a young, up and coming small forward that allows them to continue to shop Tayshaun Prince who they’re more than willing to get off their hands.

Selection: Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest

8. Los Angeles Clippers-Lots of hype around the Web say the Clippers are hot on Gordon Haywood and that isn’t a surprise to me. He’s versatile, he’s a winner, and could pan out to be a great pick, even here as high as eight. I find their interest in Hayward comical because I see a lot of Mike Dunleavy in Gordon Hayward as an NBA prospect. Hayward will definitely be mentioned inside the Clippers draft room when on the clock but in the end I see them passing on him and going with Xavier Henry instead.

Selection: Xavier Henry, Kansas

9. Utah Jazz- ESPN’s Chad Ford wrote that the Utah Jazz have been high on Luke Babbit longer than most and they’ve continue to remain high on his potential. But do I really see them using their 9th pick on Babbit? Absolutely not, maybe this is just my own bias here, being that I’m not high on Babbitt as a top ten pick, but I see the Jazz going power forward. They know they’re losing Carlos Boozer this summer so why not go with a power forward with high potential to back-up the new starting power forward in Utah, Paul Millsap? I see Jerry Sloan and the Utah Jazz taking none other than Ed Davis as big with a high potential and basketball intellect.

Selection: Ed Davis, North Carolina

10. Indiana Pacers- Maybe the scenario is too perfect but if Gordon Hayward is still on the board, we all know the talk will be how in the world could Indiana pass up on him? I see them buying into the idea of selecting him for a variety of reasons. Not only will he help sell seats and be a great fit building toward the future, but it gives the Pacers the ability to unload Danny Granger. I remain high on the idea that the Timberwolves will strike out in snagging restricted free agent Rudy Gay and will elect to trade for Danny Granger. Pacers then get either Kevin Love or Al Jefferson in return which replaces departing free agent Troy Murphy (after next year) and they’re future finally gets on the right track.

Selection: Gordon Hayward, Butler

N.O. could be a perfect fit especially as Whiteside draws the Tyson Chandler comparisons

11. New Orleans Hornets- The Hornets could go any direction outside of drafting a point guard at the eleventh position. But of all their immediate needs, I see them selecting a center with this pick. With Okafor everything but impressive in his first season with the Hornets, it’d be wise that they take the opportunity to draft a big man to develop. If there was a time to do it, the time is now. This year’s draft at pick #11 offers a variety of attractive centers that could potentially blossom into stars. The three top candidates for this pick if they decide to look inside would be Cole Aldrich, Hassan Whiteside, and Daniel Orton. Though it’s pretty clear that Aldrich is the most NBA-ready center to step right in to contribute I see the Hornets drafting on overall potential and athleticism. With that being said, I see New Orleans taking Hassan Whiteside, a prospect often compared to Tyson Chandler type player around the basket. Last time I checked, Chris Paul played pretty well with the real Tyson Chandler, maybe Whiteside can tandem to do much of the same down the road. But there is some definite concern, it has been reported that Hassan Whiteside and Daniel Orton both got schooled recently by Rockets center (& former Hornet draftee) Hilton Armstrong, take it for what it’s worth. I know that hearing that kind of concerns me, but I’m still a buyer on Whiteside’s potential.

Selection: Hassan Whiteside, Marshall

12. Memphis Grizzlies- I don’t hear much drift out of the Memphis Grizzlies camp but credible sources around the league have said that the Grizzlies are set on selecting Luke Babbitt if he happens to fall into their hands at twelve. Personally, I don’t like the pick nor Babbitt as an NBA prospect, but this is the same team that drafted Hasheem Thabeet 2nd overall last year.

Selection: Luke Babbitt, Nevada

How is he not a perfect fit in Toronto if he falls to them at #13? Can he play for the Maple Leafs too?

13. Toronto Raptors- With Chris Bosh departing, drafting a power forward is a must for the Toronto Raptors this year.  Or do they? Last year Toronto signed their former first pick Andrea Bargnani to a 5 year, $50 million dollar extension. If Cole Aldrich is still on the board, I see them picking him in a heartbeat; they’d not only select the most NBA-ready talent, but add toughness at the center position. This selection is also key in allowing Bargnani to move over to the starting power forward position. Obviously losing Bosh will be a huge loss, but having the ability to take Aldrich with the 13th pick should help Raptor fans restore some sort of optimism looking towards the future.

Selection: Cole Aldrich, Kansas

14. Houston Rockets- Even after acquiring Jordan Hill near the deadline last season, the Rockets need to invest in drafting another power forward to turn too next year. I see their man being Ekpe Udoh at #14. Udoh bring the long, defensive minded power forward they’d love to have down low. Never underestimate Rockets GM Darryl Morey and his “numbers” system, Udoh might solve his math problem with what to do at the 14th pick.

Selection: Ekpe Udoh, Baylor

15. Milwaukee Bucks- If all goes as planned in this mock draft, the Bucks are left scratching their heads on what to do here with this pick. All of their favorite prospects have been taken, not one of them has slid down to them at the midway point of the draft. Even I, as someone who covers the Milwaukee Bucks am left confused on what to do here with Ed Davis, Hassan Whiteside, and Xavier Henry off the board. So I see them taking the best available player which at this point is easily Paul George. While George is labeled a small forward, I think the Bucks would experiment with placing George at the shooting guard position since it’s such a slight change as far as the Milwaukee Bucks offense is concerned. George could very well end up being a blessing in disguise for the Brew City, could it be two straight years of successful draft picks for the Milwaukee Bucks?! We’ll have to wait and see….

Selection: Paul George, Fresno State

2010 NBA Finals Game 1 Preview

Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers- 9 ET ABC

Being a man who possesses an ultimate passion for the NBA game, it’s always quite ironic that the NBA Finals begins a day or two before or after my birthday on June 4th. This year it falls just one day short of being the perfect present, but for good reason. While this NBA Finals should be an interesting one, it’s all but what I would’ve hoped for.

While I could be crazy, I truthfully believe the day my team makes the NBA Finals, the NBA will just so happen to start the series on my special day which will surely be a sign to what’s to come.

But nonetheless, this year’s NBA Finals is battle amongst two teams with a great history, the Celtics vs. the Lakers.

Can Kobe earn that first ring wearing #24?

The Lakers led behind arguably the best player in the game, Kobe Bryant. A championship season would bring Kobe his fourth ring and the all-so-important first ring without Shaquille O’Neal.

The Celtics led behind long-time team catalyst, Paul Pierce. Let “The Truth” be told, if Pierce can capture his second ring, he must go down as one of the greatest Celtics of all-time. Many might even argue that Pierce has already earned that honor, but a second ring definitely solidifies it.

Throughout this year’s playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers have been nearly unstoppable at home. For them to really give themselves a shot at winning the series, they really need to protect their home court in the opening two games of the series. The Celtics have done a great job stealing road games, swinging home court advantage their way, and then never looking back. I believe it’s the Celtics year to win it all if they’re able to take one of two in Los Angeles, sending a split series back to Boston.

Paul Pierce will continue to be the Paul Pierce we’ve come to know. Kevin Garnett will need to do a heck of a job on Pau Gasol. Ray Allen will help lead the charge in delivering the daggers from outside the perimeter, and Rajon Rondo will have his official, “OMG, Coming Out Party”.

Go Ahead: Roll Out the Red Carpet, It's Time for Rondo's Coming Out Party, Finals MVP Here He Comes

I predict that Rondo will be the difference maker in the series, he’ll tally a couple triple-doubles, and be the deciding factor that helps his Boston Celtics team take the Lakers down in 6 games. If the Celtics win the NBA Championship, then Rajon Rondo will win the Finals MVP Award.

If I’m dead wrong and the Lakers come out on top, I see the Finals MVP going to the Kobe Bryant’s running mate, Pau Gasol. But let’s get one thing straight, the Celtics realize this is their final stand as a group on the brink of claiming yet another NBA title together. Next year, regardless to their NBA Finals success, this team will be broken up. Of all the Celtics that know what’s currently at stake is Kevin Garnett. Having already neared and arguably passed his prime, Garnett’s hungry for one more ring that he’ll earn with his significant contributions. One last time for “The Big Ticket” to seriously be a big ticket on the biggest stage, if he needs any motivation, my advice to him would to be look at Rasheed Wallace. Sheed was in a similar position a few years back with the Pistons. With a much more experienced Celtics bench, I think they’ll get the job done, even if it’s on the road in Game 1.

Celtics- 101 Lakers- 95

Lakers-Celtics Rivalry Top 10 Plays