Friday, May 4, 2012

The Bored Supremacy: Why The NBA Playoffs Are Putting Me To Sleep

I was hoping to wait until the end of the first round of the NBA Playoffs before writing this, but I could not hold out any longer. Normally, I watch the NBA Playoffs. Most of the time I down right enjoy the NBA Playoffs. But this year they have frankly been unwatchable. The 2012 playoffs are showing me why the NBA's ratings make the game America's fifth favorite sport (behind NFL, college football, college basketball and baseball). While I know television ratings are not everything, they can be used as a gauge for how many people want to watch the sport. 

Maybe the games will get better as the playoffs continue. Maybe there are a few elite teams and the rest are mediocre. Maybe I am just too used to basketball games that are actually entertaining. Maybe it is because the NHL playoffs have had umpteenth overtime games or games that were decided by one goal. The NBA needs to improve their playoff games before no one is watching. Let's take a look at 2012's games:

#1 San Antonio vs #8 Utah

  • San Antonio won game one 106 to 91. The Spurs also won game two 114-83. In two games, the average margin of victory is 23 points. How can the NBA expect me to watch the game when it is over by halftime?
#2 Oklahoma City vs #7 Dallas
  • This series has actually been one of the only watchable series so far but that is only because each team has made a come back in the first two games of the series. The third game was another blowout 95-79. Average margin of victory: 6.7 points
#3 Los Angeles Lakers vs #6 Denver
  • The first game was another amazing blowout while the second was a bit closer. Average margin of victory: 9.5 points. However, you have to wonder if Metta World Peace was able to play if the Lakers would be winning by more.
#4 Memphis vs #5 Los Angeles Clippers
  • This series looks deceptive because the Clippers came back from 27 down to win game one. When you take that into account, the series is not as close as it looks. This is another series that has been exciting to watch. Average margin of victory: 4 points.
#1 Chicago vs #8 Philadelphia
  • Another series that would be different if everyone was healthy. Derrick Rose gets hurt in game one and now the series may have a different outcome. Neither of the games have been that close. Game one was 103-91 and game two was 109-92. Average margin of victory: 14.5 points
#2 Miami vs #7 New York
  • Three games. Three opportunities for me to fall asleep. Miami has been in cruise control the entire time. Winning all three games. Game one was 100-67. Game two, 104-94 and game three, 87-70. Average margin of victory: 20 points.
#3 Indianapolis vs #6 Orlando
  • Again injuries are impacting another series. You have to wonder how the games would end if Dwight Howard was not out for the season. Game 1, 81-77, game 2, 93-78 and game 3, 97-74. Average margin of victory: 14 points.
#4 Atlanta vs #5 Boston 
  • This series has been closer than other games but you should expect a 4-5 series to be closer than the rest. Game 1 ended 83-74 while game 2 came to a close at 87-80. Average margin of victory: 8 points
Overall average margin of victory: 12.46 points

By now you are probably asking what all of these numbers mean and what will they be compared to? Well let's take a look at the 2012 Final Four. Now before I begin I know I am comparing a handful of games to four games, but it is an easy comparison for now. 

Semifinal #1 Kentucky vs Louisville - 69-61 - Margin of victory: 8 points
Semifinal #2 Ohio State vs Kansas - 64-62 - Margin of victory: 2 points
Championship game Kentucky vs Kansas - 67-59 - Margin of victory: 8 points

Overall average margin of victory: 6 points 

Again, this is quite a smaller sample size but I think it would be hard to find someone that would tell you the 2012 NBA Playoffs have been exciting. Sure, a game or two have been fun to watch, but outside of those, the playoffs have been boring. What is to keep me from changing the channel? I like sports because even if you do not have a team to root for you are more times than not entertained. Close games where teams go back and forth are exciting. Games where one team is up by twenty points at halftime make me want to run to watch something else. 

Ultimately, I am rooting for an Oklahoma City vs Miami Finals because I think it could yield close games but until then it is hard for me to give reasons as to why you should watch the NBA playoffs. Until the games get a little closer, 2012 will have the NBA Playoffs starring in the Bored Supremacy. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Grading The 2012 NFL Draft: NFC East

By: Ray Beamesderfer

The NFC East brought in as much talent as any division in football over the weekend, with all four teams having very solid draft. We saw Washington bring in what they hope is their next franchise quarterback, and Dallas and Philadelphia counter that with defensive players. We also saw the world champion New York Giants continue to build on their success from last year.

New York Giants: Despite picking last in every round, the Giants found great value with basically all of their players. They upgrade the runningback position with David Wilson, just weeks after losing Brandon Jacobs to San Francisco. Then they come back the next night and upgrade their wide receiver position with Rueben Randle after losing Mario Manninham to the 49ers as well. Jayron Hosely is also considered very good value in the third. The Giants get my top grade in the division simply because they strong got stronger in 2012. Grade = A

Philadelphia: Not really a surprise that the Eagles are having a good offseason, Andy Reid usually nails that part of it. After whiffing on Brandon Graham in 2010, they once again trade up for a defensive lineman this time in Fletcher Cox. He immediately will start for Philly, and give them perhaps the best pass rushing defensive line in the NFL. On Friday they decided Demeco Ryans wasn't enough at linebacker so they added Cal speedster Mychael Kendricks. If you needed anymore proof they have given up on Graham, with their next 2nd round selection they took high motor sack artist Vinny Curry. I didn't completely agree with taking Nick Foles in the 3rd, but with their recent success of grooming quarterbacks and trading them for twice as much who am I to argue? Grade = A- 

Dallas Cowboys: Jerry Jones once again made his team noticed on draft night, and traded his 2nd round selection to move up for Morris Claiborne who many consider the top defensive player in the draft. I loved the move for Dallas, and hated it for St. Louis. The rest of their draft was fairly lack luster, but the fact that they were so willing to fill the hole that cost them a bunch of games last year gives them the third highest grade in the NFC West. Grade = B-

Washington Redskins: If you're a big RG3 fan you will probably disagree with this assessment. I do think he's the second best quarterback in the class, but I just don't see him as an all pro or Superbowl winning quarterback which is clearly what the Redskins had in mind when they traded three 1st round picks, and a 2nd this year. The draft got worse in my opinion when they took quarterback Kirk Cousins with their fourth round selection. Guard Josh LeRibeus will probably find himself starting early in his career, But I feel the Redskins walked away from the 2012 draft with just one useful player in Robert Griffin, and even he was overpaid for. Grade = C

Grading The 2012 NFL Draft: AFC West

Tebow mania swept the AFC West in 2011 as the Broncos not only won the division but beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round. Tebow mania is now replaced with Manning Mania as the Broncos signed the future hall of famer this off-season. This division also features a team that did not have a draft pick until the compensatory picks of the third round in the Oakland Raiders. Let's take a look at how the AFC West did in the 2012 draft:

Denver Broncos - The Broncos traded out of the first round in order to pick up a few more picks. Then when  with their first pick in the second round they reached for defensive tackle Derek Wolfe out of Cincinnati. While Wolfe will become a starter, the Broncos passed on a number of other talented players in order to take Wolfe. With their next pick the Broncos selected Brock Osweiler out of Arizona State. Denver is hoping that sitting behind Peyton Manning will help Osweiler become a star. However, with the past injuries of Manning, Osweiler may be a starter sooner rather than later. The only other Denver pick that should impact the team is third round pick Ronnie Hillman out of San Diego State. He will be able to provide Denver with an option for screens. Grade: C+

Kansas City Chiefs - Too many Chiefs fans seemed to be angry at the direction their front office went in 2012. Instead of drafting a quarterback, Kansas City went defense early with Dontari Poe and then tried to build up their offensive lines in the second and third rounds with Jeff Allen and Donald Stephenson. It looks like Kansas City is content with Matt Cassel and want to try to protect him. The Chiefs are also smart to build the o-line because they can play on their strength which is their run game with Jamaal Charles and now Peyton Hillis. Kansas City added a few potential steals at wide receiver in Devon Wylie (4th round) and Junior Hemingway (7th round). DeQuan Menzie is another potential starter that the Chiefs were able to add in the fifth round. Overall, Kansas City had a good draft. Grade: B

Oakland Raiders - The Raiders traded away most of their draft picks for 2012. However, they were still able to add a few surprise picks. Their late third round pick Tony Bergstrom could become a starting guard for Oakland and I think a lot of teams are going to be upset that they passed on Juron Criner who was selected by the Raiders in the fifth round. Jack Crawford (5th round) could become a situational pass rusher in 2012. It is hard to discuss a lot of the Raiders picks as they only had six and none of them were before the late third round. This draft could be a complete miss for the Raiders but in the end, I think they get two starters (Bergstrom and Criner). Grade: B-

San Diego Chargers - The Chargers did a good job drafting in the early rounds of the 2012 draft. Melvin Ingram is a versatile defensive player who could start at defensive end or outside linebacker. He will most likely be the Chargers outside linebacker as they play a 3-4 defense. It looks like San Diego is hoping Kendell Reyes out of Connecticut will be the starting nose tackle to begin the season. Safety Brandon Taylor out of LSU, tight end Ladarius Green out of Louisiana-Lafayette and guard Johnnie Troutman out of Penn State could all become starters for San Diego in 2012. Green has the best potential of these three players and should flourish behind Antonio Gates in San Diego. Grade: B+