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BY Couchsideshow.com staff
In this week’s episode, co-hosts Wade McMillin and Craig Paul unveil Couch Side’s official Super Bowl preview, dish out NFL postseason awards, and discuss Tiger Woods’ early season dominance and the latest baseball blockbuster trade. Also, Keith Van Horn is recognized as part of our new mini segment, honoring athletes who correspond with our episode number,
Delightfully, my quams with the NBA All-Star rosters are at a minimum this season (compared to past seasons). With a few minor exceptions, I think they got it almost right this year.
The starters are set in stone and while it’s typical for some fans act outright delusional and warrant restricted access to All-Star voting, there’s nothing us realistic fans can do to change it. Besides, other than Kevin Garnett, I’m actually fine with the ten starters. Normally I could rant all day about the flaws with fan voting, but I’ll leave it alone while the going is good for this season.
Even though the reserves (announced Thursday night) were in decent shape, there are always exceptions. Coaches of the NBA, you did alright, but there’s always an opportunity for improvement. Let’s discuss.
What They Did Right
Jrue Holiday. Of all the All-Star selections, the Jrue Holiday one pick is my favorite. There is no secret to how I feel about the Holiday All-Star scenario. With the guard situation in the East, he deserves to go over Deron Williams, over Brandon Jennings and even despite their better record, he certainly deserves to go over J.R. Smith. If you want the full rant, check the list posted above. Even though he’s already been named, I’ll slide in that he posted a career-high 35 points earlier tonight.
- Paul George. I was extremely happy to see the coaches select George to his first All-Star appearance in the Eastern Conference. Sitting at 26-18 (only 4 games out of 1st) someone had to represent the Pacers in this game right? With the absence of Roy Hibbert, who’s having an abomination of a season, George has stepped up big time to lead Indiana back after a disappointing start to the season. David West certainly warrants some consideration, but George has put together the complete package or scoring, rebounding and defense (he even averages 3.7 assists per contest). Logging a heavy 36.7 minutes per game, I personally thought George was a no-brainer. I’m glad the coaches felt the same way. (more…)
BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com blogger
The biggest takeaway I’m getting from the Justin Upton trade is this: If you don’t project enough outward and possibly a superficial appearance of playing hard and gritty, you aren’t qualified to play for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s examine the trade at hand. Arizona dealt 25-year Justin Upton (career .278/.357./475 hitter) and 3B Chris Johnson (.276/.315/.430) for a year of useful utility player Martin Prado (.295/.345/.435), pitcher Randall Delgado (3.95 ERA), and minor leaguers Nick Ahmed SS, Brandon Drury 3B, Zeke Spruill P.
This appears to be the final straw in the Kevin Towers path of roster destruction. Three important players from the recent 2011 NL West winning squad (Upton, Chris Young, Ryan Roberts) have since been traded for what some would say is 50 cents on the dollar. Young was used to get shortstop Cliff Pennington, but then Towers decided he needed roughly 50 more of those, so he used their 2011 #1 pick Trevor Bauer to land Didi Gregorious from Cincinnati in a three-way deal. Veteran grit machines Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald are under contract for 2013, so you have a logjam of light hitting, good defending middle infielders.
So what is the ultimate endgame here? Their star power-hitting right fielder is gone, which would suggest that catcher Miguel Montero and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and outfielders Jason Kubel and Cody Ross will now received the brunt of the pressure in the middle of the lineup. That’s fine I guess, but they aren’t perennial MVP candidates.
Fox sports insider Ken Rosenthal offered some insight on the motivation for this trade.
“The problem is that he didn’t play with a high level of energy,” said the former teammate, who spoke on the condition that he would not be identified. “What I think they want is guys who play with the speed, energy and intensity of the Oregon football team — all out, all the time. (more…)
WrestleMania season is upon us, and all the biggest players are stepping up their game. The Rock has come back, CM Punk has held onto the belt for over 400 days now, and John Cena has declared (for the umpteenth time) that his time is now.
But the first stop on the road to WrestleMania is the Royal Rumble, an event highlighted by its 30-man over-the-top-rope battle royal. The prize? A main event slot in the “Grand Daddy of ‘em All.” Sit back, relax, and enjoy two writers’ predictions of the Royal Rumble card, and tune in next week for a retrospective review of our experience at the Rumble. Yes, we’re going, and no Wade, we will not make a Couch Side sign.
United States Championship: Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. The Miz
• Matt: The Miz once again finds himself in pursuit of the U.S. Title, but this time, he faces what is perhaps his toughest test to date in the form of Antonio Cesaro. Ever since becoming a good guy, The Miz has floundered. That all changed on the 20th anniversary of Monday Night RAW, when he teamed up with WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair to lay the verbal (and physical) smackdown on Cesaro. Not only that, but Flair bestowed on Miz the figure-four-leg-lock, a move he has yet to fully master. Still, an endorsement from Flair and a new finisher may have people thinking Miz has turned a corner, but I feel the rut will live on for the “Awesome One.” Cesaro is just too over right now as a bad guy (and an excellent worker to boot) to lose his belt. While I don’t expect his title reign to last much longer, I don’t think that loss will come at the hands of the Miz.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
• Brett: If you remember our previous post on the WWE, you will remember that I predicted that Antonio Cesaro will be the next big star that the company produces. His momentum has slowed down a bit since then, but he still carries that US Championship with dignity, power, and sophistication. Nobody that has challenged him for the belt, which he has held since SummerSlam, has been able to dethrone him and his claim saying that “no American can beat him” seems to have a solid base. That streak will live on this Sunday as I believe The Miz will fall victim to the “Swiss Sensation.” This was a match that was randomly thrown together and is based off a segment involving the two and WWE Hall of Famer and wrestling legend Ric Flair on Monday Night Raw’s 20th Anniversary show a few weeks ago. I guess that WWE just needed to fill something for part of their free pre-show. I fully expect Cesaro to reign supreme once more in another title defense, and do it with ease.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro (more…)
Players or coaches are generally sad to see a coach go when he’s fired. There’s always someone within the organization that marks this as a happy occasion. The Phoenix Suns recently fired Alvin Gentry from his post and I’m sure that there were some sad to see him go. Former Suns guard and current Los Angeles Laker, Steve Nash is glad that Gentry was set free.
Nash and Gentry got along well and reached the Western Conference finals back in 2010. The franchise has gone in a different direction since then and haven’t been a threat to make the playoffs since the run they had two years ago. Nash was traded prior to the start of the season and says it’s actually a good thing that the Suns fired Gentry.
“Obviously, I’m sad for Alvin (Gentry), but in some ways maybe this is a good thing for him,” Lakers guard Steve Nash said after practice Friday. Nash was coached the last four years by Gentry, reaching the Western Conference Finals together against Los Angeles in 2010. “He’s a great coach, a really good coach and any club would be lucky to have him as a coach, that’s for sure. He’ll land on his feet for sure because he can really do a good job.”
“I think the writing’s been on the wall,” Nash said. “It looks like it to me … They wouldn’t extend his contract. They just gave him the year to kind of play it out. It looked like they wanted to get their own guy in there.”
That statement is more of an indictment of the Suns’ franchise and their decision making. The team that is currently constructed has no chance to win right now or anytime in the near future.
I kind of feel sorry for Gentry, since he seems to be a good guy, he always get stuck coaching bad teams.
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BY Couchsideshow.com staff
Couch Side’s usual trio of Wade McMillin Craig, Paul and Sean Schoonover take on sports topics including, the AFC and NFC Championship, the best All-Star festivities in sports and MLK Day in this week’s show. Click below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side Podcast:
With the Major League Baseball offseason almost drawing to a close, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton is once again drawing a lot of interest.
As teams scramble for that last addition to feel comfortable with their opening day rosters, Upton seems to be quite the commodity. We’ve already seen what was pretty much a done deal between the Seattle Mariners and D-Backs to send Upton to the Northwest, but the budding superstar invoked his no-trade clause. Arizona general manager Kevin Towers is obviously willing to trade his prized bat and to his credit, he almost got a deal done that would’ve solidified his pitching staff with young arms for years to come.
However, Upton struck the deal down, leaving Towers looking for a new direction. Perhaps the Atlanta Braves? Earlier this offseason, Towers proposed a deal to Braves General Manager Frank Wren that would’ve sent Upton to Atlanta for defensive whiz Andrelton Simmons and maybe a pitching prospect. The price was too high for the Braves as they see Simmons’ glove as the next big thing in baseball. Rightfully so, Wren turned down the deal, yet recent trade talks between Atlanta and Arizona have heated up. (more…)
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BY Couchsideshow.com staff
Regular Co-Host Craig Paul is back this week as he and Wade McMillin discuss the NFL playoffs, shakeups in the Top 25 of the men’s NCAA basketball poll, Lance Armstrong’s confession, the Sacramento Kings possibly moving to Seattle and giant opening-day payrolls in baseball. Click below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side podcast!
Colin Kaepernick watched Alex Smith lead the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC Championship Game last season.
This year Kaepernick is the man and Smith is the understudy. During Saturday’s record-setting playoff performance against the Green Bay Packers, we all saw that a star was born.
Lets look at how it all came together.
1. His confidence grows weekly
When some guys get their shot as the lead-dog they die on the vine like overexposed grapes. Unlike Minnesota’s Joe Webb, Kaepernick has made the most of every opportunity that he has been given. He is a special talent that can do a lot of great things.
When Alex Smith went down with a concussion and ultimately lost his job to the second-year man out of Nevada, the offense was quietly divided. One of the most important pieces of that unit Vernon Davis, was as assertive as he could afford to be in supporting Smith. To quell what could have been a diplomatic nightmare, Kaepernick earned the trust of his teammates by stepping up and distributing just a little more swagger with each passing week.
Skill players such as running backs and especially wideouts want to get on the ship that is being flown by the guy that performs like he is the man. If Cam Newton is Superman, Kaepernick might just be Rick Flair.
He’s now out-dueled both Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. It’s these marquee wins that fuel his personal ability to understand that he is a gamer.
2. He has developed a Bond with Michael Crabtree
The world has been patiently waiting for Michael Crabtree to stand up and live up to the superstar hype that he had when he was drafted in 2009. (more…)
BY JORDAN WHEELER, Couchsideshow.com blogger
NBA Power Rankings (week 12) are organized with this week’s ranking, the team and last week’s ranking in parenthesis.
- Oklahoma City Thunder (3) – Oklahoma is back on top of west with the best record in the NBA. They sit at 28-8, they went 3-1 this week with a bad loss to Washington. But even with that loss on a buzzer beater, they clearly are the best team in the association.
- L.A. Clippers (1) – The Clippers are the only other team with less than 10 losses, their record is 28-9. They had an easy week with only two games and still managed to loose at home against the Magic who had lost 10 straight games at the time.
- San Antonio Spurs (2) – Although the Spurs went 1-2 with a bad loss to New Orleans and a tough loss to Memphis, I still believe they are the third best team in the West.
- Indiana Pacers (3) – The Pacers are definitely playing the best basketball in the East right now. They are 8-2 their last 10 games which is way better than Miami or New York. New York is 4-6 and Miami is 5-5.
- Miami Heat (2) – The Heat are the best team in the East, but like I said last week their season has been a disappointment so far. They have a tough schedule this week with three west coast road games.
- New York Knicks (1) – New York had a rough week losing to Boston, Indiana, and Chicago. They did beat New Orleans on Sunday, but who cares really. They will be fine. I think they just have some adjusting to do to make STAT effective.
The Milwaukee Bucks do not get a lot of nationally televised games, despite a young roster filled with a lot of potential stars.
Everyone knows about Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis because they can score, as they take a ton of shots each night. A guy that is really starting to break out of his shell and will soon become a household name is Larry Sanders. I chose Sanders as my “Get To Know Him” because I feel that he is not getting the respect he deserves around the country for his outstanding all around play. It’s very clear that the average basketball fan doesn’t know about him because he’s only owned in 70% of Yahoo fantasy leagues. He’s now in his third year out of Virginia Commonwealth but is finally starting and getting close to 25 minutes per night.
Raise your hand if you saw Sanders ranking 46th across eight categories thanks to 8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, and 54 percent shooting. Sanders leads the NBA in blocks per game, ahead of last year’s leader Serge Ibaka and three-time DPOY Dwight Howard. – NBA.com
Larry Sanders has great size at 6’11, 235 lbs and is extremely athletic. I bet at the time most Milwaukee Buck fans were a little shocked when the Bucks selected him 15th overall in the 2010 draft, but are now seeing why the organization selected him so early. In his rookie campaign Sanders played in a total of 60 games, getting 12 starts, only seeing 14.5 minutes per game. In those 14.5 minutes Sanders was averaging over a block a game. Last season Sanders actually saw his minutes decrease slightly getting 12.4 minutes per game but once again he was averaging 1.5 blocks in those limited minutes. (more…)
BY WADE MCMILLIN & BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com bloggers
When the Baseball Writer’s Association received a chance to throw a shutout against this year’s Hall of Fame candidates, the pencil pushers couldn’t pass up the chance.
For just the second time in the past 40 years, a player won’t be enshrined at Cooperstown. At first reaction, Major League Baseball fans probably scratched their heads at the rare occasion. After all, many of them probably don’t remember the last time the MLB didn’t have an annual Hall of Fame Induction. It’s been more than a decade since Hall of Fame voters didn’t grant a player’s golden ticket to walk through the pearly gates of Cooperstown. So why this year? Why now? Well it seems like the baseball’s steroid era is carrying some serious weight on the prestine voters of the MLB’s highest honer.
Instead of thinking that a guy just deserves his day in the sun, voters now have to second guess themselves about whether or not that particular player used performance enhancing drugs. It looks like there won’t be any free passes or thoughts that a player’s stats and skills are simply good enough. Instead, the foreseeable future of MLB Hall of Fame voting will have a dark cloud lingering, filled with creams, needles and lies. However, there’s no doubt that some players deserving of the honor, never once though about gaining that edge. Those are the baseball players who should get their shot. It’s sad to think that some won’t just because their name is listed alongside the likes of Barry Bonds, Rodger Clemens and Sammy Sosa.
As disheartening and backwards as the situation seems, it will most likely be the way Hall of Fame voters look at each player new to the ballot. Plenty of players deserved their shot this year, but were denied the chance undoubtedly because of some of the other tarnished names on the ballot. This is just the beginning baseball fans. In the future, expect crowded ballots and these old, tired voters to leave your guy off their list. Here’s a look at some of this year’s snubs and a clear case of why they either should’ve made it into the Hall of Fame on Wednesday or why they should soon.
Pre-steroid era (Brandon J. Smith)
• Jack Morris, Detroit Tigers: I’m not a Jack Morris supporter, and it has nothing to do with feelings or emotions concerning his candidacy, but rather the factual results that don’t put him in an elite category of pitching. No matter how you slice it, a 3.90 ERA with a 1.78 strikeout-to-walk ratio just doesn’t do it for me. If he gets elected however it won’t bother me personally, just the writers who have to twist and bend history to make a case for him will. That being said, where does Morris go from here? He up from 66% to 67% of the vote this year and has one chance left before he’s off the ballot. Will there be a final surge from the voters to get a sympathy vote when Maddux, Glavine, and Frank Thomas join the fray next year, or will he get pushed back with all the others? I think he’ll get pushed back, although it would be hilarious to have him inducted on the same day as Greg freaking Maddux. (more…)
BY AL BRUCE, Feedcrossing.com syndication
We already knew that Mark Cuban didn’t take the Mavericks’ 2006 NBA Finals loss to the Heat very well, but now we’re learning that the loss almost cost the NBA one of its best personalities.
SlamOnline.com (via Fort-Worth Star Telegram) reports that Cuban was so upset about the officiating in that series, that he considered selling the franchise that he had purchased from Ross Perot just six years earlier. ”We put out feelers,” Cuban said. ”I was really questioning the integrity of the game. After 2006, I was probably ready to sell. But I took some time off.” Cuban went on to say that he now wants his kids to own the team one day.
I certainly understand Cuban’s beef with the officiating after that Finals series, but I think the Sacramento Kings got the business much worse than Dallas in Sacramento’s 2002 Western Conference Finals Series against the Lakers. I have long recognized the legitimacy of the perception held by some that the NBA is rigged to favor big-market teams, so with that understanding I don’t think that a series that featured two big markets (Dallas and Miami) is the kind of series that would be ripe for a conspiracy theory the way that Sacramento-L.A. was. (more…)
BY Couchsideshow.com staff
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After a nice Christmas/New Year’s break, the Couch Side Podcast crew is back! Tune in to this week’s episode for the common fan’s opinion of the NFL playoffs and NFL coaching searches. In Quick Snippets, co-hosts Wade McMillin and Sean Schoonover discuss the end of the NHL lockout and Javier Vazquez’s possible return to Major League Baseball. Click below to start streaming, downloading or subscribing to the Couch Side Podcast:
BY JORDAN WHEELER, Couchsideshow.com blogger
NBA Power Rankings (week 11) are organized with this week’s ranking, the team and last week’s ranking in parenthesis.
1. L.A. Clippers (2) – I have Lob City at the top spot this week because they never got their credit for winning 17 straight games before losing to Denver on Tuesday. They went undefeated in the month of December. The Clippers have arguably the best bench in the league, they have just two games this week, which I believe they should win. Prediction Clippers and Thunder in the Western Conference Finals.
2. San Antonio Spurs (3) – The Spurs had themselves a nice seven game winning streak that ended in New York on Thursday, they have two tough games this week against the Lakers and the Grizzlies.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (1) – I moved the Thunder down to the third spot this week because of their loss to Brooklyn on Wednesday. The game was in Oklahoma, and the way Brooklyn was struggling at the time, there is no way the Thunder should have lost that game.
1. New York Knicks (1) – The Knicks stay at the top of the East at least for one more week. They have a better road record than Miami who sits just 1 game above .500, and they have won two in a row while snapping San Antonio’s 7 game winning streak.
2. Miami Heat (2) – I am definitely disappointed in the Heat. They are 7-6 on the road. I say they are simply lucky so far to be able to play a lot of games at home. If they had the Nuggets schedule no way they are sitting at 22-9.
3. Indiana Pacers (8) – Indiana moves up to the third spot. They are 7-3 which is tied for the best 10 game record. They only allow 89.8 points per games which is second in the league only to Memphis. I see this transitioning well to playoffs, and maybe their defense could be their ticket to the Eastern Conference finals.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 14,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals