Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Case For Futbol, Really!

Yes, I agree that LynchyRightNow.Com is not the normal house for soccer conversation. No, I'm not a fan of the United States pathetic attempt at professional soccer otherwise known as the MLS or a fan of the English Premier League, nor would I follow any of them at any time. I agree that while soccer may be the most popular sport in the world, it's not even top five in this country. We don't follow Cristiano Ronaldo or Kaka, we follow the likes of LeBron, Peyton, Albert, Tiger, and Sidney.

However, watching Brazil v. USA on Sunday afternoon got me thinking that maybe I've been missing something. Even though it wasn't the World Cup, Olympics, or any other event that we really should care about, if the Americans had toppled Brazil in the FIFA Confederations Cup it would have meant something.

Here's why . . .

1. We're better, it's about asserting it. Yea you know what? I might not give a damn if David Beckham signs with the Galaxy or if the Revolution beat D.C. United, but when it comes to laying the stars and stripes on Brazil, Spain, Germany, or Italy, yes I'm all in. The Americans making it to the Confederations Cup finals and doing so by toppling global powerhouse Spain, puts them not only on the map but forces the world to take notice. A victory over Brazil would have pushed that envelope even further, but maybe the U.S. has other plans. Maybe the World Cup and revisiting South Africa in 2010 is exactly where they will announce their assertion. Assertion is more than just the team with the most expensive threads from the country that defines greatness, assertion as the worlds premier soccer playground. For those who doubt that the American soccer team wants this more than anything, they have this for you: Upon their disappointing 3-2 loss to Brazil 27-year old Landon Donovan had this to say "we're at the point where we don't want respect, we want to win." Sounds like they are prepared to not only act the part, but be the part.

2. Lance Armstrong dominated global cycling, Tiger Woods dominates the golf, and Michael Phelps just clearly dominated swimming. Don't we think it's about time that we take yet another title on yet another global stage? Yes, our basketball players are better than anywhere on the world, but we invented that. No hockey isn't as important, this isn't thirty years ago and we're not in the midst of a cold war. This is today in 2009 with a 2010 World Cup approaching us, it's time you see the United States capture that title and run with it. I'll go one step further, if the United States can win the World Cup, it'll be more satisfying than the 04' Red Sox and more of an upset than the Miracle On Ice. In South Africa the Americans don't come in as a classic underdog, they don't come in as a team with no shot looking to get a little respect. The Americans come in as the runner-up in the Confederations Cup who had the mighty Brazilians on the ropes down 2-0 before relinquishing a lead and ultimately losing the contest. They come in as a team with more to prove than just "happy to be there," but happy and willing to do what it takes to win. This is America baby, we don't like a second place finish.

Notice the theme? I'm probably never going to be a soccer fan but when it comes to international play, I'd cheer for just about anything. Beating a bunch of South Americans, Spaniards, and Germans? Yes, I'm all in and can't wait to see it happen. (Just remind me when it is, this is new to me.)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wake Up!

A night after baffling Braves hitters and in his 17th major league season, 415 career starts later, and on the cusp of becoming the pitcher with the most starts in Boston Red Sox club history, Tim Wakefield if finally getting his due.

Months prior to his 43rd birthday and Tim Wakefield has notched his major league leading 10th victory. More victories than teammate Josh Beckett, Mets ace Johan Santana, and three more wins than any pitcher in the Bronx. His Red Sox are leading the American League in wins, and yes Tim Wakefield is just as much a reason as anything else that they are. As far as this season goes, Wakefield has been nothing short of dominant. Now this Red Sox knuckleballer is never going to have an earned run average south of 3.00, in fact he has only done so in three seasons of his 17-year career, but Wake has potential to baffle hitters on almost any night. In 2009, Wakefield has allowed 3 or fewer runs in 9 of his 15 starts. To go even further, his Boston Red Sox have only lost 3 games in the same 15 that Wake has taken the mound. Victories against the Mets, Yankees, Tigers, and Rays, all teams Boston could see in the postseason. While Red Sox aces Jon Lester and Josh Beckett got off to somewhat of a slow start before turning it around as of late, and the obvious struggles of Daisuke Matsuzaka, it was Tim Wakefield who has carried the Red Sox rotation through much of the first half and continues to hold his own.

Over his long career Tim Wakefield has seen it all. From the 2003 ALCS in which he allowed that infamous Aaron Boone homerun that ended both the Red Sox season and the career of Grady Little in Boston to the breaking of said curse just 11 months later. Tim Wakefield has been part of a rotation that has included such stars as Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, and currently ace Josh Beckett. Wakefield has been left off playoff rosters, been moved to the bullpen, and never a complaint. Never a contract dispute that I can remember, never a "C" stapled to his jersey, never a steroid rumour (knock on wood), and unfortunately never an All-Star appearance, until this season. Red Sox fans have watched the likes of Garciaparra, Nixon, Vaughn, Ramirez, Pedro, and Boggs all leave in the same time that Tim Wakefield has been stepping over the white lines. Through 382 starts with the Boston Red Sox and 11 seasons of double-digit victories, Tim Wakefield has been a staple of the Boston Red Sox. He's been part of teams that couldn't get out of their own way and he's been part of teams that ran through everything in their way. When American League All-Star manager and current Rays manager, Joe Maddon, fills out his roster and adds Tim Wakefield to that roster it'll be the tribute which Wake has always deserved.

Upon Tim Wakefield's most recent 1-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves and tying a club record for games started, Tim Wakefield had this to say, "It’s pretty cool to win a 1-0 game. I’ve been on the opposite end of those quite a bit. Kind of nice to be on the right side." Nuff said.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Keep It Real Friday: The Draft

The NBA Draft, the preeminent draft in the sports universe. A night with at least one guy wearing a ridiculous bow tie, Dicky V via satellite, and a panoramic lens to catch 6'7" hoops stars shaking hands with 5'5" commissioner David Stern for a photo op. Folks, life doesn't' get much better than this.

As a tribute to last night I'm prepared to deliver KEEP IT REAL FRIDAY in NBA draft style, moonwalking on my desk like Michael Jackson (had to do it) let's get after it!

BOOM! The Spurs are not done their run just yet. For everyone who thought that Tim Duncan and the Spurs didn't have gas left in the tank after the Spurs less than memorable departure from the postseason, think again. San Antonio has fully reloaded less than a month after the season ended. First, the Spurs went out and got both athletic and dangerous. 20 point per game scorer, Richard Jefferson, creates a more versatile starting five and covers the Spurs in case of injury to either Ginobli or Parker, depth they were missing from last season. For the first time in his career Jefferson is playing with a legit big man inside, this should free up his game and allow him to make a bigger impact. In the draft, they seriously got what they needed and did it in the second round. Hurricane Jack McClinton gives them a forceful sharp shooter. McClinton has deadly range and gives the Spurs a 3-point threat off the bench. Major similarities with Celtic back up Eddie House, and you saw how Boston made sure they kept him around after their 17th World Championship was captured. DeJuan Blair going in the second round was a shock to many, and it's not shocking that he didn't get past San Antonio at #37, he gives them depth off the bench and can develop into a fine NBA big man. Finally, having had pretty good success with their current French born point guard the Spurs were sure to add yet another French born point guard in Nando De Colo. This Spurs teams can make me shut off my NFL SUNDAY TICKET in November and turn on some hoops. San Antonio doesn't re-build, they just reload, KEEP IT REAL!

I'll say it, god damn I like these Nets. With each move the Nets have made, they get more exciting to watch. This probably doesn't result in wins and a playoff spot, but I like them. With current NBA All-Star guard, Devin Harris exploding onto the scene in 2009 the Nets were looking to give him some young hungry talent to work with. Out with disgruntled Vince Carter, in with postseason rookie standout Courtney Lee. Courtney Lee comes off a season in which he turned into the steal of the 2008 draft and finds himself playing with Devin Harris in the garden state, maybe not an ideal state but he's playing with a true scoring guard. Lee is getting off better shots and has played noticeably well in this past postseason, experience which no one has on that Nets team. Drafting Terrance Williams at #11 is a jackpot if you ask me, the Louisville 2-guard has exceptional talent and is the most personable guy in this draft class. Williams has a versatile game both defensively and offensively, not to mention the amount of energy he'll bring to this Nets team. Comparing yourself to Ron Artest isn't always a good thing, but if Williams plays like Artest does on the court, this is going to get very interesting. With Harris, Williams and Courtney Lee, the Nets remind me of that Hawk squad that almost knocked off the Celtics in 2008. Keep your eye on New Jersey, this team is my sexy pick of 2010! I'll be checking both my NFL SUNDAY TICKET SCHEDULE & the New Jersey Nets schedule! KEEP IT REAL!

Ricky Rubio won't be a Timberwolve for long, bank on it. Let me get this straight, Rubio made it clear he doesn't want any part of Minnesota and they still picked him? Then they followed that up by drafting Jonny Flynn, further pissing off Ricky Rubio. The Timberwolves showed up in New York with two hats and put them on two guys who play the same spot? Are we sure that Kevin McHale still isn't in charge? Has he actually left the building or is he still in the back of that war room wearing a disguise and shouting out draft picks? No seriously. A year after basically dumping O.J. Mayo for Kevin Love the T-Wolves follow it up with this head scratcher. Ricky Rubio doesn't know how good Al Jefferson is and at this rate he will never find out. The Timberwolves are going to lose out that selection when Rubio heads back to Spain when other guys they could have used were on the board a.k.a. Steph Curry. With Jonny Flynn and Steph Curry the Timberwolves would have had their back court for the future and would have looked dangerous, now they are just going to look like fools. Furthermore, Wayne Ellington won't be as effective in the NBA as people think. The Timberwolves will never get to see Ricky Rubio in action and for a team that had four picks in the first round, they did about as bad as anyone could do. Kevin McHale is still lingering and this team is oddly constructed, there is a reason I don't mind paying for NFL SUNDAY TICKET PRICE and would never pay for a t-wolves ticket.KEEP IT REAL!


Danny Granger is slamming his head into a wall right now. Looks like Larry Bird has officially gone off the deep end in Indiana, a state where he could once do nothing wrong. The "what the f*&%" moment of draft night 2009 happened at pick #13. With fantastic small forward from Louisville, Earl Clark still on the board and the Indiana Pacers desperately needing a running mate for Danny Granger they passed. Instead of a player like Earl Clark or Sam Young from Pittsburgh, the Pacers select Tyler Hansbrough, who won't be able to be Tyler Hansbrough from Chapel Hill in The League. Hansbrough's game DOES NOT TRANSLATE for the 19,000th time. Oh, and may I remind everyone that he was projected as a mid to late round selection, couldn't they have moved back if they really wanted him? Was he REALLY going to get taken before 20? Doesn't this team already have their max on white guys who can't play in the NBA but were studs in college? Troy Murphy, Josh McRoberts, Mike Dunleavy, and now they pick up Tyler Hansbrough? It's time we put a freeze on hiring retired NBA hall of famers as GM's, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Kevin McHale, great NBA players, terrible GM's, and I haven't even mentioned Isiah Thomas. So Danny Granger have fun with these great hustle guys and wake me when they get you a running mate. LARRY OUT, KEEP IT REAL!

That wraps up another successful NBA draft season, and I'll leave you with a final message from our 2009 NBA draft party:

"It's 3:30 in the morning, still drinking, another NBA draft in the books, fantastic!"

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NBA Draft Mode

Like ridiculous motor vehicles turning into laser shooting robots in Transformers, LynchyRightNow and The Right Now Podcast is ridiculously evolving into NBA draft mode, well continuing in NBA draft mode is more like it.

The fans have been actively writing in questions about the NBA draft and what to expect on Thursday night, so we're going to please them and give them what they need . . . . (a wind bag blogging about his obsession with sports) WILL DO!

You, a diehard Celtics fan and clear fan of point guard Rajon Rondo, what is going on with every rumour surrounding trading this break out player and attempting to snatch a rookie guard like Flynn, Evans, and even Rubio? -Mike, New York

Too smart for their own good. That's it. It isn't Rondo's play or the fact that he is going to cost the Celtics major dollars in another year, it's their stubbornness. Maybe Rondo is tough to coach, and maybe he's even somewhat of a diva in the locker room, it's worth it. Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and OF COURSE Kevin Garnett are on the back 9 of their career with few holes left to play. Rondo however, has barely tee'd off. In a year or two Rajon Rondo is going to be the player that lures a knock-down jump shooter to Boston, or brings in one of those big-time free agents next summer, not PP or KG. He's one of the top 3 point guards in the game today, if your not a homer, he's top 5. Premier court vision, long range on defense, and oh yes, he slapped the Bulls down on his own. To play Devil's Advocate if you can't pay Rajon and you feel you can get better than him, you take the chance when you have gas remaining in the tank of Pierce and Garnett. You take the chance if you feel getting big to beat Orlando is the better position to be in. If you could get a premier guard prospect, you go 1 way: 6'7" Playmaker, Tyreke Evans. Evans knows how to battle and came from the book of John Calipari, Derrick Rose is doing alright, right? But he's the only one you make a play for, because he's the only one your selling to the legions of Banner 17 wearing fans, bank on it.

Bigger bust? Huskies, Hasheem Thabeet or Sun Devil, James Harden? - Ricky, Denver

James Harden. You can't teach the size that Thabeet possesses. I'm all set with a player compared to Delonte West and Cuttino Mobley. I don't buy that Harden is the best 2-guard in this draft, Steph Curry and Gerald Henderson would still be available. Before we smash on Hasheem Thabeet and bring up guys like Greg Oden, slow down. Thabeet has only been playing hoops since he was 15, that's 7 years people. Furthermore, who cares if he's soft right now coaching can fix that. If Hasheem Thabeet can average four blocks a game and rip down boards in the pros, then he's doing his job. If your the Cavaliers and just watched Dwight Howard have his way with you, aren't you wondering what can you possibly do to combat that? Hasheem Thabeet blocking shots and occupying space is the answer. Before Lionel Hollins locks in on fellow Sun Devil James Harden, you better think twice about Hasheem Thabeet because with O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay, you've got enough offense. Thabeet is the #2, like it or not.

Can Steph Curry be the King of New York? Or is he just holding the crown while LeBron plays out the string? -Ray, Bronx

This is it. THE KNOCK-DOWN SHOOTER. You know why we love Ray Allen in Boston? You know why we feel comfortable down 6 with 32 seconds remaining? Because a shooter like Ray Allen can end this before you can say WOW! Stephen Curry is the next Ray Allen and in New York, Steph Curry would be on a whole separate level of greatness. Curry plays with Ray Allen like ice in his veins, smooth and confident with every shot. If your a Knick fan you hoping that Minnesota and Golden State ignore what Stephen Curry can be, your hoping that Steph Curry is the piece that lures LeBron to New York, and NO that rumour isn't dead. Curry is the most interesting pick in this draft and has been for some time. In three seasons at Davidson, after being passed over by both North Carolina and Duke (located in the same state) Stephen Curry has increased his scoring and feared no one in doing so. Asked to play the point, no problem. Asked to play the two, no problem. the Knicks would be hitting draft gold if they could attach Steph Curry to Madison Square, but he won't be there. Sorry!

Who are sleeping on Lynchy? There has to be one player in this draft who everyone is sleeping on, right?!? - Billy, Milwaukee

Yes, and even though we've revealed in The Right Now Podcast someone better Carolina point guard, Ty Lawson. There is no reason that Ty Lawson can't make an impact on draft day. Lawson has championship pedigree, start talking about him. plays injured and with a motor that has no quit, face it, another Carolina kid is just as impressive as advertised. Ty Lawson is more accomplished than any point guard in this draft, and that shouldn't go ignored. For everything you want to put on Flynn, Rubio, and Evans, Ty Lawson is more of a sure thing than any of them will be. Lawson is 21, older than each of his fellow point guards previously mentioned, and more of a mature basketball player with a better court IQ. The Carolina point guard is the only one of the four to have won anything, and knows what it takes to get it done. For all the upside of a 6'7" Tyreke Evans and an unpolished look of 19-year old Ricky Rubio, Ty Lawson might just be the far and away best bet, don't be stunned when someone else knows it before you.

Come on, admit it. There is buzz around Tar Heel Tyler Hansbrough. We know you won't come forward but at least give the guy his due. -Anthony, Myrtle Beach

*$&%&#@$!&*(%, happy? That was me yelling obscenities about you and your notion that I would acknowledge Tyler Hansbrough as having "buzz"! I won't do it, I've put my eggs in a similar basket (UConn's Jeff Adrien) and you can't take that away from me. Maybe hustling got you a good name in the college game, but in the NBA all it does is get you smack down. I'm a competitive guy, and if you threw a jersey on me I'd try really hard too, so NO that doesn't make Tyler Hansbrough "special." Look, some guys are just very good in college and that's all they're going to get, wa, wa, wa . . keep crying! Get a good jump shot, post game, and bring the thunder to a couple guys who matter then we'll revisit your NBA success, till then? FORGETTABOUTIT!

Your focused on the draft, we get that. What is the most interesting thing about the 2009 NBA Draft for you as a fan? - Rich, Baltimore

How does Baltimore a.k.a. Charm City not have an NBA team? That puzzles me. You give the Wizards to Washington and the Nets to New Jersey, yet Charm City looks like it's ugly step child, ugh! MOVING ON! Rich, I'm most excited about the possibilities. O.J. Mayo ending up on Memphis. Kevin Durant exploding in OKC. Darko being taken over Carmelo. That's what I'm excited for. Being proven wrong about Glen Davis and being proven right about J.J. Reddick. Finding the guys with the A+ skill set, showing the guys without it. The NBA draft provides one thing no other draft provides, A THURSDAY NIGHT WITH THE FOUNDERS! HaHa. Richy, stay tuned and get excited, when your wife tells you to set the table tell her where your headed. TV Land and the NBA Draft, tell her you've got a duty to full fill. It's the NBA Draft, where out of your mind happens!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Episode 11: The Right Now Podcast

You've said you appreciate the stream of conscious approach to the Right Now Podcast and we deliver in spades this week. We're talking about DUI manslaughter, Donte Stallworth and Leonard Little, plus we'll discuss Sammy Sosa, steroids in MLB and most importantly heavyweight boxing.

You can download this on iTunes, search Right Now Podcast.

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Comments, questions rightnowpodcast@gmail.com

Thank You!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Our Fav. Five

The NBA Draft doesn't come with as much fan fare as its' NFL counterpart. For starters, it's held just two weeks after the complete of the previous season. We haven't even had time to breath before an entire crop of new talent is pumped into the NBA. The trades are a bit more often, a bit more complex, and a whole lot more boring. However, it's a draft and like women with big . . .eyes, I'm always interested. In T-Mobile fashion, here are our "Fav. Five" of the 2009 NBA draft. (This won't include consensus #1, Blake Griffin)

Let's get after it!

(5) Jeff Adrien, PF Connecticut This Husky won't be a first round selection, and yes we love him. For all the words we've been forced to eat, our remarks around the potential career of current Celtic, Glen Davis, had to be the toughest. Davis was an undersized big man in the college game, lacked a consistent jump shot, and for all intents and purposes, should have been a non-factor in the NBA. Fortunately for him, he has become a dynamic role player for the aging Celtics and continues to improve his game from night to night. While smaller than the 6-9 Davis, Jeff Adrien brings that thunder ability to the position of power forward. A double-double machine at UConn, Adrien found ways to dominate in the paint while playing in a tough conference. In the NBA, his 240lb. frame will do wonders for him physically. Like Davis, Adrien doesn't have the ability to maneuver himself into a small forwards role and will have to develop a reliable outside shot, similar to what Glen Davis sunk the Magic with. I like Adrien for what he's known for best, his hustle and scrappy play. For someone whose 5'10" and 175 lbs. scrappy doesn't count, but for someone with six more inches and nearly 70 pounds more of muscle, scrappy results in rebounds, loose balls, and added possessions. He has work to do, quickness, that shot we discussed, and the ability to face the basket in the post, but Jeff Adrien is used to playing undersized, he'll do more than you expect. Ideal landing spot: Utah

(4) Sam Young, SF Pittsburgh Some players are just better than experts think, Sam Young is one of those players. The explosive senior year of Sam Young launched him on to the national stage. The 6'6" small forward has a mean outside shot with outstanding defensive ability, your in between guy who will be asked to cover the leagues elite, similiar to that of Magic star rookie, Courtney Lee. Sam Young is currently projected to come off the board in the late selections of round 1, but as far as athletes go it's hard to see him slipping past mid-first round. One of the more dangerous players in this years NCAA tournament, Sam Young can score from a variety of areas on the court. Attacking the basket, behind the arc, and he even has a smooth mid-range shot. Young being 24 years old helps him out more than we think, he's a more mature rookie and should be able to adjust his game to the pro level very quickly. If he's asked to extend himself on the defensive end, he can do that. If he's asked to man up on quality players, he can do that. If left open, Sam Young can develop into a knock-down shooter. For a player who expects to be drafted by a cusp team, Sam Young could play the role that Courtney Lee played just a year after being selected in the later portion of round 1. Ideal landing spot: Dallas

(3) Tyreke Evans, PG Memphis Any player who was allowed to focus on just hoops and not school (act like Memphis required he studied) for the last year, I'm all about. Evans is the hands down most explosive point guard in this draft, put me on record. However, he isn't the best point guard and I'd argue he isn't in the top three. Let's get the bad right out of the way, his jump shot, it needs work and that can get better as his career goes forward. Back to the good. Evans is a take control point guard, he'll score first and pass second, he'll work his way to the free throw line and doesn't mind heading into traffic. His ball handling skills are fantastic and if you haven't seen them, you will soon. Evans is a top 15 draft pick, no bones about it. The issue with Evans is he needs work, his play will have to become more orthodox and he'll need to look to pass if his jump shot isn't where it needs to be. If our high-water mark for point guards his Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, and Deron Williams, Tyreke Evans has to develop some things they possess. Fantastic outside shot (CP3), outstanding court vision (Williams), and the ability to drop your jaw every time down the court (Rajon), those are the things Evans game needs to develop into. He's this good and only 20-years old, teams at the top are going to decide if he has what it takes, before he's off the board. Ideal landing spot: New York

(2) Gerald Henderson, SG Duke I love ACC basketball, so there was no way you were going to get out of this without hearing me prop up at least one ACC stud. Without a better shot, Henderson will be a perfect defensive tool for teams looking to add role players who can both defend and score. DraftNet puts Henderson in a Latrell Sprewell mold, I'm not that kind. However, I do think that Henderson plays with that level of intensity that brings his best talents to the forefront, athleticism, quickness, and strength. As far as athletes go, Henderson is among the top in this draft. The thing I love most about his play is his ability to attack the hoop, something not many Duke players have had recently. We shouldn't leave out Henderson's size, he's a generous 6'5" and only 215 lbs., without a jump shot can Henderson get his points in the NBA? We'll find out. Teams missing a slasher type who can score and take charge of a second team or even start need a player like Henderson. All that physical ability needs to be reigned in at times to play in a more team setting, but as high in the draft as we think he's going, the team may not mind him attempting to take over a game. Ideal landing spot: Minnesota

(1) Ricky Rubio, PG DKV Joventut (Spain) We're not stretching with a 19-year old foreign born point guard. Yes, the chips are in the center of the table when drafting such a young player with relatively limited exposure. Like in poker, you can only win what you put in the middle, and this point guard is worth every chip you put in. Ricky Rubio has played against the best the world has to offer, the 2008 summer Olympic games. Ricky Rubio has played with some of the worlds best, namely Pau Gasol. If your looking for proof just look him up on YouTube, if your looking to take my word for it, he'll instantly be a top 5 passer in the league within 3 years, BANK IT. Rubio's non-stop style of play can be seen at both ends of the floor, his head is constantly up and rarely do you see a player with court vision like Rubio has. From his defensive prowess to his decision making skills, I wouldn't be shocked if heavy hitters tried moving up in this draft if Rubio slips. Here's the final call on Rubio, if he is the next Steve Nash, the next throw his team on his back and win two consecutive MVP's, do you take the risk on passing him in a thin draft? Of course not. Ricky Rubio is the most elite point guard in this draft and I'd take him VERY high, without caution. Ideal landing spot: Golden State

I'm no genius (at least I only claim not to be) but these five players could make heavy impacts on their team over the next few seasons and I'd be somewhat surprised if they all missed. NBA Draft, where over hype happens.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fine, Because I Should

Now almost three full days since Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles hoisted their 15th NBA title, I'm breaking my silence. With a twist . . . (we're too close to the beast that is the NBA draft for me to leave it entirely out, enjoy.)

Crown him god damn it. 3 NBA Titles as co-star, 1-NBA Most Valuable Player (2008), 11x NBA All-Star, Olympic Gold Medal, an NBA Finals MVP, and now, 1 shiny NBA Title in the post-Shaq era of his career. Bean Bryant is and has been the greatest thing since Michael Jordan, it's time we take away that title and call him what he is now, in the conversation. In the conversation with Michael, Larry, Magic, Oscar, Bill, and anyone else you want to throw in, that is where Kobe Bryant has landed himself in his 13th NBA season. Yes, Kobe isn't exactly the most liked player that Magic was or the global icon that Michael still is, but on the hardwood? He's just as good. I don't feel as happy for him as I felt for Paul Pierce when he got his, I'm not looking forward to his every game as I was after Dwyane Wade won his, and in his favor, I don't hate him liked I hated the champion Detroit Pistons, but Kobe has a spot all his own. That spot is called Validation. He didn't need it from me, but he needed it for history. Crown him god damn it, it's about time.

Not so fast with Phil, come on. If we're going by championships, sure Phil Jackson is the best coach in NBA history. Don't give me that and Kobe aren't just great players, they are THE great players in basketball history. As far as straight up basketball coaching goes, I'd take any list of collegiate basketball minds, Coach K, Pitino, Wooden, Knight, Dean Smith, it could really go "every great coach has great players" speech, I've heard that. I could argue that Michael on and on. However, in the NBA all we have to measure greatness by, is rings. Michael's six, Russell's eleven, and now Phil's ten, that's how we measure. The truth is the NBA is more about managing talent than drawing up plays, at the end of the day who managed more talent better than Phil Jackson? Michael's demanding play, Scottie's attitude, Rodman's antics, Shaq v. Kobe, and Kobe v. Himself, Phil Jackson managed stars better than any coach in the history of the game, and that is how he should be remembered. From the Jordan Years through the Shaq/Kobe Lakers and now back to the top, Phil Jackson is the NBA's greatest talent manager. The one who invented the victory cigar is the greatest coach, truth be told.

That's what you get, when you don't fix it. I guess I liked it better when we were fixing The NBA Finals. I was pissed when Orlando beat the Celtics and elated when they beat the Cavaliers, now I'm just bored. Call me a Monday morning quarterback, but didn't we all want to see LeBron v. Kobe? Now we know why. Guy who wants to say "well, the Magic could have been up 3-1 heading into game 5 if they'd just hit this shot or that shot" needs to smarten up. They got embarrassed in 2 of their 4 losses in The Finals, when I say embarrassed I mean embarrassed like the Lakers were in game 6 @ Boston last season. When arm-chair coach understands you don't push Jameer Nelson back into the lineup and your own head coach doesn't, we have problems. When you have no plan to cover Kobe after having an entire season to develop a plan, your in trouble. Time to realize and apologize, I should have pushed for Kobe v. LeBron much more, I should have known Orlando wouldn't get past game 5, at the end of the day we just wasted a fantastic season on that NBA Finals, great. With that said, can we get Kobe v. LeBron in 2010? Before Kobe enters the decline and LeBron is living in the Big Apple, can we see Kobe v. LeBron for a title? Please?

The playoffs has impacted the NBA draft, bank on it. The rise of Dwight Howard and subsequent success of Orlando has made an impact on the East, your about to see it. If your the Boston Celtics you understand that the injury to Kevin Garnett really hurt your front court. While Kendrick Perkins played Howard better than anyone in the postseason, it's not enough. Judging by the way Orlando handled LeBron and the Cavs, clearly the Cavaliers must get bigger and more physical. As the Lakers realized their need to get tougher after Boston's shut down defense exploded on them in the '08 Finals, the Cavaliers and those same Celtics understand their need to get bigger inside. For Boston, mega deals could send Ray Allen out of Beantown and bring in a deeper front line for the Celtics who plan on making another deep run in the coming season. If the Cavaliers are truely planning on bringing Shaq to Cleveland, the most likely reason isn't for his scoring but for his ability to take up space and alter shot attempts, something they really lacked against Howard & Orlando. Expect one of these two to make noise prior to draft day, for they know the window is closing shut and their best shot may be past them.

That's how the draft talk you'll get for now. For more talk on the NBA and the NBA Draft check out The Right Now Podcast and you can also find us on Twitter. Now excuse me while I go cry about the Lakers winning another gold ball.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Keep It Real: The Digital Takeover

Another segment of Keep It Real Friday is coming at you . . . BOOM! We're talking sluggers who use the juice, the Kobe chronicles, David Stern and the NCAA, and of course I couldn't leave out the Yanks 8th straight loss to a team in Boston. You guessed it, time to KEEP IT REAL!

Let's get after it . . .

Raul don't blame the blogger, blame your fellow sluggers. I'm not saying the blogger was correct in questioning the validity of the major leagues leading home run hitter Raul Ibanez, but the question CAN and will be asked. The Phillies power threat has just drilled his 21st homer of the season, a season which is only 57 games in for Raul Ibanez. Throughout his 13-year career Ibanez has passed or matched that feat only five other times and that was while playing in far more games. Yes Raul is now playing in a more hitter friendly ballpark, and yes he is being protected by the bat of Ryan Howard, but aren't we right to question major power surges given the times we live in? Haven't the fans or bloggers at least been granted that right given the events which have unfolded around our favorite sluggers? I'm not asking for Raul to bend over and give us a sample of any and every bodily fluid so we can accurately test for a band substance, I'm just asking him to slow down before he tears into suspicion with this vitriol. Don't blame me for asking that question Raul, blame your fellow power hitters like Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, and not limited to but including Manny Ramirez. The failed drug tests, the BALCO Laboratories investigation, multiple New York Times best selling books, this is why we've earned the right to ask questions, and this is what Raul will have to get used to if he plans on attacking the records of those same players. You may not like it but the bottom line is where there is smoke, there has often been fire. KEEP IT REAL!

Let the coronation begin, the Magic were doomed from jump. Kobe Bryant will raise another banner into those L.A. rafters, that you can bank on. However, at LynchyRightNow we're openly admitting we should have called this series alot sooner than post game 4. Not because Kobe or Phil wanted another ring more than the Orlando Magic, but because they are just better than the Magic. At no point in this series was Orlando "in control," between Stan Van Gundy attempting to inject Jameer Nelson into a roster he hadn't participated in since February, to the Magic never getting in a consistent shooting rhythm, the Lakers were just too much. From Pau Gasol and his double-double performance in game 4 to Orlando's Rashard Lewis shooting 2 of 10 from the floor, the Magic are d-o-n-e. The most boring NBA Finals in years will soon be over and these NBA Playoffs will be known as the year Kobe got lucky, lucky Kevin Garnett got injured in March, and lucky the Cleveland LeBrons decided to fold up prior to the Eastern Conference Finals. As for Stan Van Gundy, your Magic have won their last 7 games when point guard Rafer Alston plays 30+ minutes or more, and lost their last 5 when he plays less than 30 minutes. I see it, why can't you? Keep It Real!

Wake up in the morning and ask yourself, could it get worse? The Yankees had already lost two straight in this series and seven on total on the season. All night they had struggled and gone scoreless off of Boston starter Brad Penny. The seventh inning comes around and they are down 0-1 before they rally to score three runs in the top half of the inning off of reliever Manny Delcarmen. Bottom half of the seventh goes well, Yankee ace C.C. Sabathia has only allowed a homerun and barely any other hits the entire game. Then, the Red Sox touch Sabathia for 4 runs in the bottom half of the frame to take a 4-3 lead. Victory looked likely, however through the rain the New York Yankees continue their season long slump against the Red Sox and fall to two games back of the division lead, that's got to hurt. More so, your ace throws a great game and when he falters the bullpen is no where to be found, the bigger problem. By the time Jonathan Papelbon had stormed in from the bullpen en route to his 16th save, this one was over and the Yankees were on the bus back to the Bronx after yet another embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Boston Red Sox. Maybe it isn't in their heads and this is just a game to them, but at what point does pride take over and the Yanks pull one of these games out? It better happen soon because as the way it looks right now, the World Series goes through Beantown. KEEP IT REAL!


As for the coaches? Nothing. So, Tim Floyd willingly steps down as head coach of the men's basketball program at Southern California amidst allegations of NCAA violations surrounding his one-and-done star, O.J. Mayo. Months after John Calipari ditches Memphis for his new digs in Lexington, the Tigers are in it for NCAA rules violations. A loss job in one case, a new job in another, but what about the schools and the players who play for those schools? They may suffer infraction penalties such as wins being vacated and scholarships being lost, but other than a firing or a "stepping down" in Floyd's case, what else can happen? Nothing. NBA commissioner David Stern enforces a one-year rule for high school seniors prior to their eligibility to enter the NBA draft and who suffers? Not him. The college game, recruits know they'll be taking classes for just one semester, at that point what are coaches left to do, bid for the high school player? Exactly. Rather than inspecting the process and putting bans on a program which other players belong to and may be doing it "the right way" why don't we step in and fine these coaches and work something out with the NBA? The collegiate basketball system has become so flawed when it comes to recruits and it is only a matter of time where it changes the game for good. I saw Blue Chips, the system needs to be changed, KEEP IT REAL!

Thanks for reading Keep It Real Friday, for more LynchyRightNow action you can check out The Right Now Podcast and also find us on Twitter, Thanks again and as always! If you don't know, now you know.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Just Better, Flat Out

It's time we stop calling this a rivalry right? 7-0 this season, treating the Yanks like whipping boys, it's scary how good the Red Sox have looked in this rivalry. No talking NBA Finals, no talking Stanley Cup Finals, we've locked in on Sox v. Yanks and the best rivalry in sports. (stop it Duke and Carolina fans)

As currently constructed, this version of the Boston Red Sox may be better than we've seen over their current run which has resulted in four trips to the ALCS and two trips to the World Series. Be prepared for it to only get better.

Here's Why:

Tim Wakefield is as dominant as we've seen. While both of Boston's expected aces Josh Beckett and Jon Lester have turned it on as of late, it was Tim Wakefield holding the Red Sox staff together through the first month and a half of this season during their struggles. In 9 of Wake's 12 starts he's managed his way through at least six innings and through seven innings four times. Some wouldn't dare use the word "consistent" to describe Tim Wakefield and the knuckleball, but in 2009 that is exactly what it's been. After notching his 8th win of the season last night (which gives him the second highest win total in the majors), it's hard to argue that Wake isn't going to continue his success. With Beckett and Lester hitting their stride, Tim Wakefield approaching 10 wins before the All-Star break, can you argue that there is a better staff of starting pitchers in the majors? Maybe that is why the Red Sox boast the best record in the American League and have just dropped the Bronx Bombers for the seventh straight time.

Ellsbury is setting the table. One of the major questions surrounding the Sox prior to the start of the season, would Jacoby Ellsbury turn it around after his less than stellar 2008? Would Ellsbury be able to get on base for reigning American League MVP Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis? The answer, yes. You know about Ellsbury stealing home plate on the national stage that is Sunday Night Baseball, but what you might not have realized is that Ellsbury is in the midst of having his best year in his short career. Ellsbury is currently ranked among the American Leagues best in both batting average and hits. Gone is the player who hit just 155 hits in 145 games last season, in his the player whose already approaching 80 hits in just his first 50 games this season. The leadoff hitter in the Sox lineup is more important than ever, with hitters like Youkilis and Pedroia batting behind him, that leadoff guy is bound to get driven in and give the Sox the best chance to win. Ellsbury seems to have brought his hitting up to par with his base running, anyone who knows these Red Sox know that if Ellsbury can not only get on base but also get in scoring position, it's scary how successful the top of their lineup can get. Pssssssttttt, Jacoby has 23 steals, good for second most in the majors.

The pen is scary deep, and they'll only get better. Yes, Jonathan Papelbon hasn't looked as dominant as we remember, 128 saves over four seasons will do that to a closer. Fortunately for the Sox, the rest of the pen that Theo Epstein has constructed couldn't be pitching better. Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen, Takashi Saito, and Ramon Ramirez are pulling together the best pen in the majors, bar none. Okajima has fanned 29 batters in just 26 innings, including three k's last night when the Yankees had the go ahead at the dish. Manny Delcarmen has allowed just three earned runs in 25 innings pitched, that'd be an earned run average of 1.07, filthy. In Saito's last ten outings he's allowed just one run scored off of him, shutting down hitters to the tune of 19 k's. Despite the two bombs Ramon Ramirez gave up last night, he's been the horse of the stable in 2009. Pitching more innings than any of the horses in the Sox pen, Ramirez has an earned run average south of 2.00 and a WHIP south of 1.00, it's scary that this is the guy they got in exchange for Coco Crisp. With flame throwing minor leaguer Daniel Bard joining the bullpen full time at some point this season, (11 major league innings, 10 k's) the Sox bullpen is bound to get only better.

Ramirez who? Bay's contract year, just want they needed. Outfielder Jason Bay is making it very easy for us to forget about the star slugger who is currently suspended for the use of a banned substance. Jason Bay is leading the major leagues in runs batted in, he's tied for 9th in long balls, and is a top 25 guy in on-base percentage. These are the places we used to see Manny Ramirez, and in his contract year Jason Bay is performing just like the slugger we used to have, oh and he comes to the ball park to play EVERY SINGLE DAY, without drama. With the lack of production from David Ortiz, their power slugging DH, it is Jason Bay who has picked up the pace to carry the Red Sox to a division lead. It's shocking to any Sox fan that without Big Papi being Big Papi and Manny no longer being a Red Sox, the Sox are still in the top 5 in total bases and homers among major league teams. Jason Bay is the outfielder Epstein and the front office have always wanted, as a fan, I vote for this form of a power hitting corner outfielder, less stress same results. (I also like when my corner outfielders are suspended for suspected PED use, that helps)

Kevin Youkilis is the best hitter in the American League, prove me wrong. It continues to amaze me at how under talked about Kevin Youkilis is. Mark Teixeira leads the American League in All-Star voting among first baseman, teammate Dustin Pedroia won the 2008 American League MVP, and Jason Bay is the most talked about Red Sox hitter in 2009. I'm going to say it for once, KEVIN YOUKILIS, is the best hitter in the American League, he's a better defensive first baseman than Mark Teixeira, and he probably got robbed of the 2008 American League MVP, DONE. Youkilis is second in the AL in batting average (.350), the Sox first baseman has the best on-base percentage in the entire major leagues (.472), and he's second in the AL in slugging percentage, all numbers that matter, Youk is there. Maybe Teixeira has zero errors this season and Youk has only one, but give him an entire season in the American League East, then we'll talk. Youkilis 2-run homer last night gave the Sox the cushion they needed to drop the Yanks, never mentioned in game recaps. Kevin Youkilis is one of the most underrated players in this league and we can keep it that way, just don't be shocked when he wins a batting title.

The 2009 Boston Red Sox may not have the best record in the majors, however as they've treated the New York Yankees this season . . . It's hard to argue they aren't embarrassing the pinstripes. Believe That.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Keep It Real Friday: Kobe Chronicles

After watching 'Bean Bryant in game 1 of the NBA Finals, I'm convinced he's THE BEST PLAYER OF THIS DECADE, 'nuff said. That is how we are starting out this current installment of Keep It Real Friday.

K.I.R.F. (Keep It Real Friday)

Let us be honest when we talk about Kobe Bryant: Can't stand the guy, but he's the best basketball player since Michael Jordan. Last night was the first time in several years that I realized how hungry Kobe really is, how much this really means to him, and how much the title CHAMPION fits Kobe Bryant. You can say what you want about the L.A. Lakers, and most of it is true. They play soft, their bench is overrated, and they seem to have a let down at times, all true. As far as Kobe goes, none of those things apply. Somewhere around the beginning of the second half of game 1, Kobe Bryant came alive, he realized the Magic were beatable and the red glazed over his eyes, ring four is a more than a possibility. As the Lakers routed the Magic in game 1, Kobe Bryant poured in 40 points proving a point to all who were watching, Kobe's great and your about to see how great. If the 30 ppg. in the postseason average wasn't enough, Kobe is proving how hungry he is, the emotion after every trip down the floor, the tearing off the ref's head, Kobe Bryant is making you get it as well as he does, he's bar none the best the NBA has to offer, for now. KEEP IT REAL!

Speaking of unlikeable greatness, the Big Unit just recorded his 300th win. Oh he'll be the last to do it for sometime now, to the point where we can't even figure out whose the most likely candidate to repeat the task. Maybe C.C. but he'll have health issues, Doc Hallday is too old and he's only in his early thirties, so to put it bluntly, the Big Unit is the last of his kind. Randy Johnson has trailblazed through the major leagues over the past 22 seasons. His first wins coming north of the border in Montreal and his latest in the bay of San Francisco, while Randy Johnson has never been the most likable guy his feats are tough to match. Johnson's best stretch of his career came between 1998 through 2002, he was crowned a champion in Arizona and won 100 of his 300 wins during that stretch. Playing shadow to the mystique of Curt Schilling, spending time with the Griffey and A-Rod show in Seattle, and how could we forget his time in the Bronx (34-19), Randy Johnson certaintly has played a full career, that we can attest to. The bottom line is, Johnson is a dieing breed. Between the growth of the bullpens roll in major league baseball and longevity of a players career in decline, it may be tougher than we think for a pitcher to rack up 300 wins, as for Randy, the man won 18 or more games seven times in his career, you find me the guy who will duplicate that. KEEP IT REAL!

Let's close this out with someone we like, Belmont Stakes favorite Mine That Bird. The horse that had no shot at Churchill Downs, the horse that got ditched in Pimlico, and the horse that should win over a dying crowd of horse racing fans like myself, let's get behind Mine That Bird. A sport (call it that if you will) that we only witness for a limited time over the continuing sports year has all the expecations and let downs of any professional sport. We have our favorites, every horse expected to be the next best thing come the triple crown season kicking off in Kentucky. You have the teams we fall in love with, teams like the Nuggets and Magic headed to Pimlico. Then you have the teams who are there in the end, the Lakers or my favorite, Mine That Bird. While Mine That Bird won't have any say about Calvin Borel hoping back on him after ditching him in Maryland, if this horse wins the race I hope everyone points their finger at the beast and not the rider because Bird is the one we should be praising. If Kobe and the Lakers win, I won't look toward Phil Jackson, Kobe is the one that got you there and so is Mine That Bird. KEEP IT REAL!

Diamond Thoughts

With action on the ice and the hardwood coming to a peak, I've purposely placed baseball talk on the proverbial back burner, that is until now. . .

The return of base stealing couldn't be more exciting. First Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury nabbed home plate then Philadelphia's Jayson Werth played copy cat and grabbed home as well, those were the eye catchers. Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford (33 Steals) taking 6 bags, only the 4th player since 1900 to do so in a single game. Now it is time to pay attention to whose on first and who'll be on second. No longer is Angles manager Mike Scioscia the only guy in the majors willing to push the issue with men on base. Coupled with the decline of the power hitting (due to enhanced PED testing) and traditionally power laden lineups being injected with speed guys (pun totally intended) the major leagues elite slugging teams have become threats on the base path. Texas Rangers are 4th in the majors in stolen bases, leading the AL West. Red Sox and Yankees are 8th and 9th, tied for 1st in the AL East. Philadelphia is 6th, leading the National League East. The Mets and their lineup of sluggers, 3rd in the league in stolen bases. Joe Madden and Mike Scioscia have had the playbook first, but now the entire league has caught on and giving baseball the excitement it needs. Judging by the reaction of the fans, chicks love the long ball, and swiping home.

The Yankees are reasserting themselves. If losing 5-straight to the rival Red Sox was their low water mark, then pulling themselves up and going 16-5 from May 13th till today would be the high water mark thus far. 1st baseman Mark Teixeira has been on a tear since his slow start in April. From May 1st through the end of the month the slugger drilled 13 homeruns and drove in 34, reminding all of baseball why he was one of the hottest commodities of the offseason. Coupled with the turn around of Teixeira's bat, the arrival of Alex Rodriguez and his 7 homers with 21 RBI's in just 25 games, the games most feared offense may be reasserting themselves in Big Apple fashion. It may be hard to argue that a fresh A.J. Burnett and C.C. Sabathia along with veteran Andy Pettitte is no worse than the third best staff in the American League, folks that puts you in the playoffs. The team which once had the look of doom around them sitting behind both Boston and Toronto in their own division now has a record second to none in the American League. Funny how things change like that.

You can have Greinke and Santana, I'm taking Doc. I'm comfortable letting you know that Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in the major leagues, prove me wrong. The major leagues leader in both wins and innings pitched through two months is Roy Halladay. In six starts in the month of May, Halladay was 4-2 with an earned run average south of two. Those games weren't against soft opponents either, statement games against the Yankees, Angels, and White Sox, reminded the American League of who their most feared pitcher is. It's possible Halladay would be front and center if he played stateside, but he's got some ideas on how to make us talk about him. June 2nd, the Jays right hander goes 9 innings in a 6-4 victory over the visiting Angels, walking just one batter and striking out 14. The Denver born Halladay pitches in a division that includes such horses as Beckett and Sabathia, and he's the one batters like Pedroia, Youkilis, Rodriguez, and Teixeira fear most. The Jays won't be around much past this June, but keep your eye on Roy Halladay, the true Cy Young. The same pitcher that had over 200 k's and 20 wins in 2008 is aiming to turn in another dominating performance this season, just cross your fingers and hope you meet the Jays when Doc isn't staring down at you.

Try to map out the A.L. Central, I can't. That Cleveland team was supposed to put up a better fight than they did in 2008, finishing 81-81 just a year after they pushed around the Yankees in the 2007 postseason. Well they haven't and currently are 10 games under .500 and 10 more losses away from a fire sale, if they aren't there already. That Kansas City team that came out looking good lead by the Cy Young candidate, Zack Greinke, the proceeded to lose their last seven games and ho hum they'll finish in the cellar. The Twins win three, lose two, win two, lose three. Then all of a sudden they'll make a playoff push just weeks before the season ends. How about the Twins be the best team in the Central from wire to wire, no really just try it. The White Sox 3-year World Series hangover is getting old, Ozzie's act is getting old, and if you like cheering for a team in the middle, the South Siders are your team. Finally we hit the resurgent Detroit Tigers, aside from their recent tail kicking at the hands of the Boston Red Sox, the Tigers have looked great. Justin Verlander is looking like the guy we saw win 35 games combined in '06 & '07. However, the Tigers don't have the starting pitching like other top dogs in the American League, and furthermore what questions should be asked of a team who gets handled by a fellow division leader on their own field like the Tigers just did? If a team out of this division plans on making some noise, I think we have to wait and see where they'll come from, because I could see the Indians rip off 15-straight wins and surprise, they are back. (Safe bet is on the slow and steady Twins, just a hunch.)

Could the Rangers really pull away? The 3 and 1/2 game lead that the Texas Rangers have built in the American League West may be slightly misleading. Seattle and Oakland have more problems that a math book, the Rangers are 10-3 against them so far this season. However, against division leaders New York, Boston, and Detroit, the Rangers are just 2-10. To put it bluntly, the Rangers don't have the pitching to let them carry this string out, especially in a division that includes the Angels who are just now finally getting healthy. After coming off a three game set against the Yanks, the Rangers head to Boston then get Toronto, the Dodgers, and Astros, we'll see how well they pull this off and if they are still in first. If you want a good read on how they have carried it to this point, behind Michael Young (hitting .338) and Nelson Cruz (16 homers, 41 rbi) the Rangers offense has survived without injured star Josh Hamilton whose played in only 35 games hitting .240. The Rangers don't have one thing the other division leaders have, an ace. While Kevin Milwood and Brandon McCarthy are formidable big league starters, a veteran in Milwood's case, they don't have a Josh Beckett, a Justin Verlander, a C.C. Sabathia, and that'll be the downfall of this club. In short, the Rangers will stick around for a little bit, but don't expect a division title.

. . . If you've noticed the absence of National League discussion, it was intended. Four of five N.L. west teams are .500 or worse, talking Cardinals and Brewers is interesting to no one, and the east is as predicted; Phillies, Mets, Braves, Marlins, and the lowly Nats. Mid-summer classic is just two months away and by then we'll have kissed the cup and hoisted the Larry O'Brien raised, all eyes back on baseball.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Episode 9: The Right Now Podcast

The Right Now Crew is back with a brand new PODCAST. If you don't pull the new episode directly off the site you can check us out on iTunes, search Right Now Podcast. During episode #9 we've discussed everything from the NBA Finals to baseballs 300 wins club, and of course the rise of the New York Yankees.

As always, you can catch us on TWITTER

Thoughts, comments, and suggestions on the podcast hit us on rightnowpodcast@gmail.com

Stay between the yellow lines . . .

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

With June, Comes The Finals

Inside Shaq's Nightmare, The Day Nike Called Hedo, and the obvious Disney World v. Disneyland. The Orlando Magic and L.A. Lakers are about to tip-off in the most unappealing Finals since Spurs v. Knicks circa 1999. As basketball fans, we would have loved Kobe v. LeBron and to tell you the truth I would have settled for a tough bang around Denver v. Orlando series. Unfortunately, more Kobe doing awkward press conferences and more of Ron Jeremy post game interviews, WHERE AMAZING HAPPENS!

All things considered, the fans of LynchyRightNow had some pretty good questions regarding The Finals and all things hoops:

Got a stance on LeBron refusing handshakes and opting for the team bus? The least the guy could have done was hit the press conference for the media, right?
-Dan, Chicago

I debated to hold off on this one till Keep It Real Friday, but in the interest of devoting more time to teams still alive, I'ma get after it right now. A wise man once said "Heavy is the head that holds the crown," if your going to be the "King" then you've got to BE THE KING, good times and in bad. Put the Michael comparisons to bed folks, the coronation won't take place in '09, as for LeBron willing his band of misfits to the title, woahhhhhhhh not so fast. I don't care that LeBron is still very young, nor do I care about shaking hands with the people who just ended your season, but to leave your teammates and coach to fend off the wolves while you sulk on the team bus, come on I think you've waived your rights when you put on the Big Apple Nikes and tell the world to WITNESS. Final thought time, 2003 ALCS Tim Wakefield gives up a series over, curse continuing, walk-off homerun in the house that Ruth built, that's a tough night. Getting knocked out of Eastern Conference Finals in just your 6th season, that's a bump in the road. Get over it LeBron, you have a long way to go to reach His Airness.

This really is Shaq's worst nightmare. His nemesis is back in The Finals for the second time without him. As luck would have it, they're playing against his former coaches team, the same former coach who he berated in a gibberish rant earlier this season. So which one of Shaq's nightmares comes true?
-Jeff, Houston

I'm not giving you the winner just yet. However, for Shaquille O'Neal, the Lakers winning a title can't feel good. The Lakers ownership choose Kobe over Shaq, winning a title will prove that they were right. Kobe Bryant is overdue, he may not be able to drop the Celtics, he may not be liked by close to anyone, but all in all Kobe Bryant is a fantastic talent and has proved his skills, a title cements that. For Shaq, anything he says at this point has just become obnoxious if it hasn't already. They'll be no rapping in night clubs if Kobe puts on another ring, just more buzzing in your ear from a player who is clearly over the hill.

Jim Henson called, he wants his LeBron puppet back.
-Barry, Tampa Bay

True, next time include a question. As for the Nike executives who approved launching the Kobe v. LeBron campaign prior to it being locked in, serves you right. Now I know that I've been a huge fan of conspiracies in the past, but as far as 2009 goes, no conspiracy here. Let me paint you a little picture here: Nike is to the NBA as New Era is to the MLB, it's their signature for Christ sake. If this was a fix job, LeBron and Kobe wouldn't be playing each other ONLY on the golf course. If this was a fix job, Hedo Turkoglu wouldn't be playing catalyst in the NBA Finals. If this was a fix, the most commercially viable player in the league wouldn't be watching at home. The King James puppet is back in the closet while Nike is scrambling for a replacement, ouch.

Quick question, do we like Kobe Bryant if he pulls on that elusive post-Shaq championship ring?
-Andy, San Diego

Can't do it, sorry. Listen, this is America and in this country we do guilty till proven innocent, it's the way it is. After Colorado, Kobe will never appeal as much to the masses as he once did. Under Phil Jackson, how does another ring make Kobe the main story? Jackson will be the best modern day coach of all time and Kobe's just that guy with a bad rep. putting another ring on. No amount of Kobe Bryant rings or documentaries are going to make us feel one way toward him or another, if we think he's real then we'll let you know, till then keep trying.

What are you most excited about with these Finals?
-Rick, Massachusetts

The masses that don't normally watch may tune in for a couple minutes here and there, if they get to watch Dwight Howard become the most dominant big man in the league, then this was worth it. If not for the dunk contests during All-Star Weekend, Dwight Howard is just another NBA center. This Finals should make him a national name and no longer force him to play third fiddle on a t-mobile fav 5 commercial. No one can stop Dwight Howard, they can only hope to contain him and the Lakers and their soft big men are going to experience that in the flesh. That's what I can't wait for.

If your Magic guard Rafer Alston, aren't you a little pissed off about all the talk surrounding injured guard Jameer Nelson making a come back in this series?
-Reggie, Queens

Nelson was an all-star when he suffered his season ending injury earlier this season, but Alston is the point guard who has had some very big games in these playoffs. A combined 44 points for Alston in games 3 & 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. 21 points and 10 assists in Game 7 of the first round matchup with Philly. Alston will be the starter make no bones about it, he won't be playing in Orlando given that he has proven he can start and make an impact in this league. Jameer Nelson isn't Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, or Deron Williams, so in my mind if he plays or not isn't as big of an impact, especially when he'll have rust on him. We need to give Alston some credit, he's come up huge in these playoffs and I'm not confident that the Magic would be here had he not produced the way he has.

Who on the Magic is expected to play Kobe Stopper?
-Jerry, Indiana

First off, there is no such thing as "Kobe Stopper." The fewest amount of points he scored in a game this postseason, 15 and that night he had 7 boards and 5 assists and oh yes, the Lakers won. However, the lane gets shut down by the defensive player of the year, Dwight Howard. Howard changes shots, forces Bryant to get his points in other places, which he can do by the way. In the last series against Denver, Bryant had as many as 3 games which he shot 50% or better, he's getting into his groove and it can get scary. The Magic won't be in awe, they've got players who can attempt to contain him. Guards Mickael Pietrus and Courtney Lee will be given the task of slowing Kobe down. These players can cover Kobe all over the floor, but it'll take a performance like the one they displayed on James in the last series. Stopping Kobe is an impossibility, and at times so is slowing him down.

Obama picked the Lakers, will you?
-James, New Hampshire

Ugh, Yes I will. As much as I'd like to see the Lakers lose, Kobe Bean Bryant is about to explode his team to a championship. When the chips have been stacked against the Lakers, they've risen to the occasion time after time this season. Beating Boston and Cleveland earlier this season on a road trip, getting the best from Houston, and then laying the wood on Denver over the final two games of the Western Conference Finals gives the Lakers that same look we expected from them earlier this season. With that being said, Lakers in 6. Tell Shaq how that tastes.