Finding your inner KG

What do Spencer Hawes and a popular children’s story have in common?

They both feature homes (Spencer’s being his inner, self home), built of weak splinters of lumber that are easily breakable.

It’s not a well-kept secret that Spencer Hawes is not the toughest kid on the block, or in the paint.  It’s also not a secret that Hawes, though adequate offensively, has a long way to go before becoming a true ‘Man in the Middle’.  He’s soft.  He has the gooey center of a Fig Newton.  He is the type of center players like Shawn Kemp used to pry on.  He has no fortitude, no anger.  Nothing deep down that winds him so tight that he is left walking a fine line between insanity and Kevin Garnett.

In the two preseason games this year, Hawes has built a decent rapport with his teammates on the offensive end.  Sixer fans (however many there are of you left) have seemingly come to expect that.  With the young Jrue Holiday establishing himself as the next line of eccentric point guards and Evan Turner’s continual improvement on last years playoffs, the 7-6 are praying continuity pushes them to the next step of the NBA journey.

Hawes is an integral part of this continuity and an important piece to the 76ers puzzle.

With a well-rounded mid-range/shooting game for a 7-1 center, he has the tools to become a decent ‘offensive’ center in the league.  Especially with his recent development of what some experts would call a ‘post up game’. Even with a new wrinkle in Hawes’ offensive gameplan, he needs to go from the 7.2/5.7/53% (free thrown percentage) guy, to a 10/10/70% (free throw percentage) full contact, no excuses center. In the Sixers two preseason games, he has done almost that averaging 8/11/50%.

Keeping that going would be nothing but a breath of fresh Philadelphia air.

 

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The Case Against Jerry Angelo

We all have our favorite teams and with that fandom comes the occasional meathead outburst where we make over dramatic statements that we know probably shouldn’t happen.  But we can’t help it, we’re so caught up in the moment that it serves as an outlet to let out some anger and pure disappointment in our teams. I know I am guilty of this at least a dozen times a week; So and so player would look great on one of my teams (Dwight Howard), or so and so needs to go and I’ll gladly drive him to the airport (Alex Rios). With the Bears going from 7-3 to 7-7 in just one month, a lot of Bears fans want to clean house.  In with the new and strong.  Goodbye to the weak.  I wouldn’t even be opposed to ridding ourselves of the concession stand workers.

That is the definition of a meathead statement right there.

The only real person that needs to own up to the mess the Bears are currently in is Jerry Angelo. Now instead of sounding like your typical “long time listener, first time caller” radio-meathead, I have actual support to my claim that will hopefully prove Jerry Angelo’s tenure on the lakefront should come to an end.

Draft Picks: Before Angelo became the Bears’ General Manager he served as Director of Player Personnel for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; a position he held for 14 years. You would think a previous stop like that would help a person identify talent and become savvy in selecting said talent for his football team. Not Jerry Angelo!

Angelo has made 88 draft picks as the GM of the Bears and currently 22 of those draft picks are still with the team. Let me repeat that, 25% of Jerry Angelo’s draft selections are still on the roster. That means he is failing at a 75% rate.  In what industry or career path can a person keep their job if they fail 75% of the time? For a little reference, our rivals to the north have been under the control of Ted Thompson since 2005, with his 68 draft picks, 32 are still on the roster, just under half. See, I’m not expecting perfection out of draft selections but being right only 25% of the time is inexcusable. And if you want to go draft for draft with the Packers, 20 of 54 Chicago draft picks since 2005 are still on the roster; still 10% worse than the defending Super Bowl Champs and current favorites to win the Super Bowl.

The draft is the place to build depth on your roster and if any season has shown the lack of the depth on the Bears it’s been this one.

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Making the Case: Jimmer

Being from a big school in a small community of has been farmers that cop’d out and sold their land to box house developers, I bore witness to many athletes (mostly white) that seemed to have an insurmountable feel for the game of basketball.  High school studs that would be described as “country strong” and “pure bred shooters”.  Kids with more heart, hustle, and drive than most AAU stars you see today.  Strictly humble.  It’s what our coaches, fathers, and school’s preached to us.  This can be attributed to the blue-collar way of life in my town as much as it could be attributed to the type of basketball that was played.  Zero bullshit.  Maximum effort.  Not one person was bigger than the team.  If you played for the back of your jersey, you were cut.  Simple.

We weren’t fancy by any means.  Most games were low scoring affairs.  Defensive battles with a spritz of offense thrown in here and there.  We’d have more players diving into the stands than a Ron Artest mele.  Basketball was a way of life.  We even had the T-shirt’s to prove it.  We respected that.

We knew that we weren’t the most talented.  We got slapped in the face with that every season when our coach scheduled our out of conference games with some of Chicago’s best teams.  It sucked.  We got our asses handed to us for the most part, but it made us better.  It made us work harder.  It made our conference seem like poodles rather than pit bulls.

As the years went on, we began to learn that you can beat a talented team with no fundamentals or feel for an offensive and defensive game plan any day of the week; and we soon did.  But it comes with a strict price.  You have to be comfortable in your body, in your game.  You have to do one thing perfectly and compensate for the rest with hard work.  You have to be smarter.  You have to do what you have always done; never over compensating for what you can’t.

That whole motif, idea, and being is Jimmer.

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Making the Case: DeShawn Stevenson

In highschool, there was always a girl or two that were widely known for having a certain “speciality”.  For the most part they were batshit crazy and overly obnoxious.  They continuously went out of their way to insist “they didn’t care about what other people thought; they were just doing them”, and typically were the first to get a butterfly tattoo above their ass crack.  Genuinely speaking, they always had dates to the Prom and Homecoming for the after party festivities, but never a consistent Friday and Saturday night boyfriend.

As a youngster, she was naturally beautiful and CEO-smart.  People would compliment her on her attributes and she would glow, ready to take on the world.  She had all the confidence in the world and her friends and family loved her; that is until she found her “first love” cheating on her in the bathroom during study hall.

As the years wore on, it was easier playing the dumb blonde-caked-up in makeup and way-too-tight Abercrombie clothes; a definitive mask hiding her from her deepest insecurities and extreme broken heart.

To her, being a stone cold killer and a bit of a crazy/easy/beautiful highschool bombshell was easier than taking a leap of faith into society as the next great business woman.

All the potential of Meryl Streep, with the attitude of Tara Reid.

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Two Signs the Apocalpyse is Coming

Being that December 21st marks the one year countdown to the Mayan’s prediction of the End of the world, it seems necessary to write yet another post documenting why those blood thirsty, soccer inventing Indians just might be right.

With the new year right around the corner, many believers will begin preparing (if not already hiding in their underground-layer full of water bottles and Spaghetti-O’s) for behemoth meteors to start smashing into Fenway Park, dinosaurs to roam around Candle Stick, ghosts walking around Wrigley Field (actually that one might already be happening), goblins running rampant in the Staples Center, and a Lil Wayne presidential campaign (President Carter, Pr-Pr-Pr-President Carter).

But it seems there is proof outside of the political world that the world is ending.  Signs within the sporting world. Signs with disastrous meanings.

Sign #1: The Clippers are…. GOOD?!!?!?!?

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Making the Case: Eric Gordon

Lets take a quick moment to think back to the popular shows and movies of the 90’s.  A quick walk down memory lane, back to the days of proverbial characters such as Zack Morris, Samuel “Screech” Powers, Shawn Hunter, Eric Matthews, Mike and Ben Seaver.  Remember the unlikely situations (nobody lives next to their principal, NOBODY), the clothes, the hair.  Remember the innocence.  Remember the quality.

Now that you are swelling with love for Topanga and remembering your weird crush on Clarissa (who could never seem to explain why a creepy greaseball of a boy would use a ladder to enter her house, instead of the front door), can you recall the classic scene when one of our favorite characters spends the entire episode preparing for the “It finally happened” date with that shows “Kelly Kapowski”?  Do you remember how they talked about that moment to everyone from their parents, to their schoolmates, and the suave Mr. Turner’s of the world (he is still the coolest and most unbelievable English teacher known to man)? Remember how they spoke of how well it would all turn out in the end?  How this person was the one they would be with forever?

Now remember the classic plot twist where our lovable character is sitting alone in the shows version of “Chubbies” for hours, sweating while waiting for that girl to show up; only to see her walk by the window, right before the restaurant closes; eating FroYo with the shows version of Dane Cook?  Leaving him amazed and alone, having to walk back into the world; head hung in shame, wishing he didn’t have to tell everyone he originally talked to, that he was stood up.

But, just like in every TV show of the 90’s, the writers provide us with hope right before they cut to credits.  The show was not over until our character was stopped by the “somewhat dorky, but interestingly cute girl, whom he has over looked because she hasn’t come into her body yet” character.

They eventually fall in love and the end.

That was Eric Gordon with the Clippers, and the “dorky, but interestingly cute girl who hasn’t come into her body yet” is the Hornets.

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Making the Case: Rip Hamilton

The NBA is nigh my friends, I can smell it.  It is fumigating around us like Paul Pierce’s breath around an “in your face” defender.  Its storylines growing stronger like the European b-0 of Peja Stojakovic that no stick of NBA RightGuard can fix.  Its more exciting than a Stacey King called game, or a Blake Griffin dunk (put that on your Facebook wall baby!). 

Needless to say, I’m excited.  

So instead of watching the same episode of NBA GameTime four times in a row, I decided to start a reoccurring post where I will try to make a case for, or against different pieces of news from The League.

So with no further adieu, I would like to ask Rip Hamilton to come to the stand.

On my drive home tonight I listened to the local Chicago sports radio stations ponder why Dwight Howard was being a complete “cotton headed ninny muggins” (seemed festive).  Caller after caller asked, “Why wouldn’t you come play with the best point guard in the league?”, or, “Has he studied some of the best teams in the history of the league?  They all have amazing guard/big combos.”

While I agree with these comments (and went on a bit of tirade about it myself), my sometimes zealous friend, and writer for this site said something that stuck with me through the rain and Chicago traffic. 

“We don’t need him.  We got Rip, BABY!”

While I snickered at the notion that a 33-year old, 12-year veteran could push a team full of anxious and talented young stars over the edge more than the most dominant center in the NBA; I couldn’t help but begin to think about that idea…

Rip Hamilton giving Derrick and company the little push they need to get past the Heat?  Rip Hamilton??? Rip Hamilton… RIP HAMILTON!  Why couldn’t he, BABY?!

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