ESPN's Bottom Line - Version 2.0

Friday, June 28, 2013

LBJ Better 3-Peat... Or Else

22 seconds.  22 seconds away from tedious criticism.  22 seconds away from intense ridicule.  22 seconds away from an offseason filled with widespread media crucification.  Another offseason of questions, hypotheticals, and should-have's.  An offseason in which anyone who watched the game, DVR'd the game but didn't watch the game, watched the post game coverage, had a friend who watched the game, or had someone who was an acquaintance but not a true friend watch the game would second-guess, mock, and degrade LeBron James.  When the King leapt off the hardwood to shoot that three pointer with 22 seconds remaining, his legacy hung in the balance.  Justly, unjustly; that will be dealt with later in this piece, but with 22 seconds left, this was the cold hard truth.  Some fans would deny that a missed three would have sent them into a whirlwind of indignation, contempt, and finger-pointing directed at LeBron.  Some analysts would staunchly reject the notion that a missed trey by James would have forced jokes that LeBron needs to work with Reggie Miller, teammate Ray Allen, or even opposing wingman Danny Green on his long distance shot this summer; the same way he tirelessly worked with Hakeem Olajuwon on his post game in the summer of 2011.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

2013 NBA Mock Draft

With the NBA Draft on tomorrow night, it is time for Red Cup Sports to unveil their official mock draft. The new CBA makes it imperative to hit home-runs in the draft because of the limited financial flexibility of nearly every team in the league and the cap-friendly contracts of rookies. Last year’s draft was packed with can’t miss prospects headlined by Anthony Davis and…well… Anthony Davis. As I’m sure you’ve heard ad nauseum this draft class is WEAK on star-power. Like Michael Cera on estrogen weak. Like Mike’s Hard Lemonade with a chaser weak. This is crucial because it means the gap between the 9th best player and 29th best player in this draft is miniscule. Consequently, the draft should be unpredictable and with a surplus of trades. And despite the aforementioned lack of “star power” in this year’s crop, there is an enormous amount of depth, especially in the backcourt. The 2013 NBA Draft is going to be unpredictable, volatile, and pretty damn fun. And without further ado, I present my mock draft.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Will the Next Danny Green Please Stand Up?

Let’s play a little game, shall we? Raise your hand if you thought taking Danny Green at pick 46 in the 2009 NBA Draft was a steal. Now keep your hand raised if you knew that the Cleveland Cavaliers and not the San Antonio Fightin’ Popovichs Spurs selected him. Leave your hand up if you saw Green’s Finals outburst coming even after the San Antonio Angry Scowls Spurs RELEASED HIM SIX DAYS AFTER SIGING HIM. Of course you did. You saw him nailing three after three while playing for the Reno Bighorns and said to yourself, “Gee, this guy could definitely come close to winning the NBA Finals MVP in a few years” Alas, the Spurs agreed with you and immediately signed him and made him a starter. O wait, what’s that? They assigned him to the D-League? I bet you still saw this coming. Right? Right? Now finally, hold your hand high if you knew that he would be the single biggest difference maker against the Miami Heat in the Finals. If your hand is still up, you are either a liar or a basketball savant. But probably a liar.

The point of this activity was that nobody saw this coming. And since no one saw it coming, it is theoretically possible that other Danny Green's are lying around somewhere in the D-League or outside of this year's Draft Lottery, patiently waiting for their opportunity. Every team in the NBA had their chance at Danny Green and all of them, sans the Spurs, passed it up.  In the spirit of Danny Green, I am looking for players who are afterthoughts, yet who I believe have a useful skillset that when paired with the right coach and/or the right system could be the #MagnaCartaHolyGrail commercial of rotational players. This list is ordered from my least favorite player to my favorite player. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

In Defense of Tebow

The following stats are of seven 1st round picks, the earliest drafted in 2009, the latest in 2012. Six are currently the projected starters on the team that drafted them. The seventh is Tim Tebow. How would you rank these players in terms of who would you want to start a franchise with?

Career Starts
Completion Percentage
Yards Per Attempt
per season
Player A
Player B
Player C
Player D
Player E
 Player F 
Player G

Adjusted Net Yards/Attempt weights for touchdowns and interceptions and incorporates sacks. The research behind this reasoning can be found on Pro-Football-Reference. Here's an article explaining why ANY/A is an effective analysis metric.
QBR is calculated on ESPN. Although I don’t love the metric, and no comparison should be based solely on QBR, it is still better than QB rating, and does give some idea of a quarterback’s ability.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Best Game That Hasn't Happened Yet

Game 4 of the NBA Finals tips off at 9 EST tonight.  Been a back and forth series so far starting with the "How Did Tony Parker Not Travel And Then Have The Presence Of Mind To Make That Shot" game.  Next was the San Antonio, dare I say because the Spurs are such a well oiled franchise, choke-job game.  You know, the one where the Heat rattled off a 33-5 run en route to a commanding 21 point victory.  In game 3, though, the Spurs took back control with a 113-77 thrashing of Justin Bieber's favorite team led by a 2009 mid 2nd round draft pick (sharpshooter Danny Green) and a former Turkish basketball league leading scorer as a member of Pınar Karşıyaka (combo guard Gary Neal).