meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life

What my musings are all about...

Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.

The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.

The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Holiday Season review of NBA, and etc

The Golden State Warriors recent success when lots of talking heads were questioning the Dubs chances, is a perfect example of how essential a healthy team is in today's fast paced league. Curry out hurt was like losing the hub of a wheel, but also some missing spokes, like Draymond and at times Livingston, Igudala, McKinnie. Now the Dubs have lost Damian Jones. Sorry to hear of his injury, but the Warriors are fine playing small ball, so I'm not as worried.

The loss of key players is Houston's fault for not recognizing how key Ariza and Mbah a Moute were to the defenisive integrity of the team, be it ever so humble. The two missing players traded away kept defense together after the initial two passes, after which Harden, Paul, and Gordon  get lost or confused. It was even worse last season when Anderson was on the court. Couldn't guard my grandmother. Now Anderson is defenseless in Phoenix.

Does the Sun's coach have a clue? This team sucks on Defense. And, I'm not sure what they're trying to accomplish on offense, do you? I really believed Ayton was going to be much more NBA ready than he is. He needs a summer and work.

A team can't possibly be as bad as the Wizards are with their personnel. Can John Wall be anything better than a bolt of lightning? This is all mental and coaching.

I take back anything I said about Doc being an overrated coach. His Clippers are tough and are making noise in the West. As early as it is, Tobias Harries is having an All-Star season. Harrell is a load. They defend aggressively. I didn't consider the Clips in the mix in my start-of-season NBA evaluation. The team chemistry has made me change my mind.

Butler has turned the 76ers into a championship caliber team. But I really question Butler's attitude and whether he might turn on his team like he did against the Twolves and the coach he owed his career to. I have a thing about loyalty, and Butler, in my mind, doesn't seem to seem to consider it important.

I didn't believe the Lakers could be competitive this year, even with Lebron, but I was mistaken. I do believe that Javale is one key, making a big difference for the Lakers, and good for him. Shaq has stopped dissing the man. Warriors could use the big fellow. But probably couldn't have paid him after last season. Sometimes these financial things are bad news.

 The Bucks' Antetetokounmpo really, really, really must develop a jump shot beyond five feet. Didn't any coach on the team tell him that's what he needed to work on during the summer. I would have had a shooting coach baby-sit the young man all summer. I would have done it. I love Greek food.

The Celtics are still my favorite to win the East. They just seem a little tougher mentally than the 76ers, Bucks, and Toronto. Hayward off the bench is working, but I'm betting in crunch-time Hayward will contribute to a essential wins.

OKC is playing extremely well, but I have never trusted Westbrook when it comes to decision making. The addition of the young German,Shroeder has added significant depth at the point. He and Westbrook actually play well together. How many teams would kill to have Adams?

The Jazz added depth they desperately needed with the addition of Korvar. The Jazz are well coached. They execute. They are solid in all areas, but their level of physicality is one rung down from the top.

Minnesota continues to be soft. Who would have thunk it with Coach Tibs at the helm. Has Wiggins improved? I don't think so. Twolves need a smart point guard desperately.

Indiana is similar to the Jazz. Lots of solid players but only one great one in Oladipo. To win a championship in the NBA these days, a team has to have at least two superior players at two different positions. Three would be even better.

Doncic is everything he was cracked up to be. His presence makes the Mavs a contender. However, I'm not a big Smith fan, but he'll suffice for the time being. Rim protector, rebounder and dunker in the paint with D'Andre Jordan. Harrison Barnes, Westly Matthews, JJ, Powell - more than enough offense now.

Did the Kings make a mistake not taking Doncic? Yes, they did, but with reservations. Bagley has a high upside, a long, fast lefty who, unlike Doncic, needs some time. Will he ever make the impact of a Doncic? I doubt it. However, if Bagley works hard, he will be an All-Star, in my opinion, so the Kings can't beat themselves up over the loss of the Slovenian, Larry Bird

The King's Fox is also the real deal. I love how he improved his three pt shooting over summer. I love players who improve themselves, work on their game. The Kings have to stay patient. Keep those young guys going and growing. One more solid draft choice. Look for the Kings to make plenty of noise next season. In the meantime, enjoy the speed as Fox races you down the court. How about this for a website title: Fear the Speed.  More evocative than Fear the Beard or Fear the Deer. Who the hell fears a deer, anyway, perhaps a stag or a moose. And a beard, how do you fear a scraggly bunch of hair. My wife says she sees critters living in Harden's Half of America's males are looking like the Wright Brothers cough drop guys. Looks like they're all living rough and doing the signs.

The Kings might consider firing the exec (alleged exec) who started talking about Coach Joeger and GM Divac having differences. Loyalty issues for me again. And upfront issues too. If you've got something to say, say it and own it.

Denver is definitely in the hunt. Big talented guy Jocic in the post. Some sharp shooting wings and backcourt. Millsap out but will be back after first of the year. Good coaching. Spoilers, but not winners, at least not yet in my opinion.

Portland at 14 and 11 for the moment. But only for the moment. Nurcic is not consistent. If he could be, that might change my opinion of team prospects. Aminu is not consistent. The Blazers are still lacking a dependable stretch three. Defense needs a tuneup as well.

Looking at the leader boards, I guess I shouldn't leave out Memphis, Charlotte, and Orlando, all playing well, but does anyone believe they'll be there at the top in April?

Etc:

Here's my idea for Kareem Hunt and guys like him who think it's okay to beat up women. Put abuser and abused in a vacant room. Tie both hands behind the abusive guy's back and give the woman a baseball bat. Then lock the door.

I've always believed a team wins championships with defense. Finally, the American people have put a good defense in place by voting in a Democratic House. Whatever trump's offense is, it will have to compete against a fired up Big D. What's going on in our country is totally crazy. Has the United States of America ever been in such a mess? Perhaps during the McCarthy period in the Fifties, but in that case we were anti-Communist and looking for American traitors at the expense of civil liberties. Now civil liberties in general are being manipulated out of existence.Were McCarthy alive today, he'd only have to look to the White House to find a Communist stooge. Yes, a Communist, Putin-loving stooge. When trump gets impeached, I suggest he go to Russia to live out his miserable life. Let's get our country back!

Amen to that, my wife says.


The Advantages of Being a World Class Athlete  by Anthony Lacavaro

In the end when the doctors circle around
Like doctors, they can find nothing wrong.

A perfect body they murmur over
And over like a prehistoric discovery,

Nothing wrong, nothing wrong except it's dead.
There will be no reason for this tragedy

Which catapults your death into the world
Of public myth: were you too good

For us, did they take you, or were you not
Of the earth to begin with and just returned.

The results of the test say nothing about it.
Though one of the doctors speaking

Out of turn, will say softly,
"One foot appears to be larger than the other."







Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Warriors Demise and etc

Mark Twain said, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." Twain could have been talking about the Golden State Warriors, who are experiencing an unexpected losing streak. Horrors! Not the Dubs, not our darling Curry led angels (with one less than angelic Draymond, but what the hey, John Milton would completely understand the need for a seraphim with a chip."

To those of you who are rubbing your little anticipatory hands in glee, relishing an NBA Finals without the Warriors, you might want to revisit the Warrior roster. If I'm not mistaken, they still have the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Curry, Thompson, KD, and Green. They still employ the wily two vets, Livingston and Iguadala. The bench is improved over last year. And, sitting in the wings, or on the bench, wearing unnecessary speckles, healing from last season's Achilles injury, Gold Medal winning center, Demarcus Cousins.

Just saying!

My biggest etc is directed against the Sacramento Bee. In some management's wisdom, they have decided not to cover late sports. It has been totally frustrating to watch a game on TV, the Kings for example, watch them win, which didn't happen much for the last few years, and have nothing in the morning paper. This morning brought my temp to a boil. Yesterday the KC Chiefs and the LA Rams played what might have been the best Monday Night Football game in recent memory and there was nothing about it in the morning sports. It was the game didn't happen. Yesterday evening the Sacramento Kings, a bunch of growing youngster super stars, upset the seasoned and perennial playoff team the OKC Thunder and there was nothing in the sports this morning. It was as if the game had never been played. There wasn't even any coverage on the their On Line Bee. How hard is that to type in a story? Shame, shame, and shame. If the newspaper is so financially strapped that they can't cover late breaking news, they should fold their tent and slip into oblivion.

Hated to see the Chiefs/Rams game end on a Mahonnes' interception. Both QBs were magnificent.

For Hank Greenwald, the wittiest sports broadcaster in the biz, here's a poem I wrote in his honor.


PLAY BY PLAY

           For Hank Greenwald (1935 – 2018)

Hank calls it:
A 20 foot shot,
that goes 15.

Fans’ laughter
lighting up the airwaves.

It’s electric,
someone says.

“If that’s what it takes,”
Hank says, “I’ve got
plenty more
where that came from.”

And he had.
And he did.

Game after game
Warriors & Giants,
his words, like
sparks,
lighting up radios.



Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Klay & Etc

The warrior's Klay Thompson's 52 point record-breaking performance against the Chicago Bulls was, often noted but not nearly enough, an example of why the warriors are such a powerful team. Scoring performances of this kind are not some new phenomena for the Dubs. The Splash Brothers have been at it for a while, and KD has joined them to make it a scoring trio. So, what makes this newsworthy again and not just another ho-hum-in-the-zone-eye-popping-three-point extravaganza? It's not the player doing the scoring, that makes these performances, as brilliant as they are, important, it is the  performance of the players on the bench. As Klay's scoring against the Bulls proceeded, the ball dropping rimless into the basket, the net flipping like a young girl's skirt, the Warrior bench was on their feet, dancing, whooping, signing the air, holding each other in a display of team unity and affection that does not exist on other NBA teams - at least not with this exuberance and heartfelt joy. There has never been a professional sports team that exemplifies team camaraderie like the Dubs. It should be emulated by athletic youth throughout this country.

Right on Dubs.

I noted this morning sports page of the Sacramento Bee that Boston winning the World Series was not a headline. In fact what would have been headlines of most papers front page twenty years ago was down at the bottom of the sports page. I am not a baseball fan, but, come on, Bee, this is the World Series. The best the sport can offer, the Mount Olympus of sluggers and pitchers and fielders, and spitters, and hand-signalers, the  worthy descendants of royal game of cricket. I was beyond grief.

Okay, so I'm being a little sarcastic.

Lowell High School where I played and became an All American, was over 50% Jewish American kids. When I started playing in the NBA in 1961, most of the teams were owned by Jewish men. The owner of the team I started for, the Philadelphia Warriors, was Eddie Gottlieb, RIP, one of the good men of our sport. Playing in the NBA put me in touch with many wonderful Jewish Americans. I do not understand anti Semitism. It is so illogical and ignorant and brutish. I have been grieving for the families of those who died in their synagogue in Pittsburgh. And I am disgusted by the divisive comments and behavior of our president. This was the perfect moment for him to be presidential, to mourn with his Jewish American citizens, to don a yarmulke, to wear it so all Americans can see, and to publicly denounce the fascist and white supremacists, to name David Duke for what he is, an anti American bigot.

But, we all know trump can not and will not do this because the raciest, and Neo Nazis and white nationalists are part of his beloved base.

I have no answer for donald trump's evil. But I offer this to think about.

trump (v.2)

"fabricate, devise" 1690's, from trump "deceive, cheat" (1510's, from Middle English trumpen (late 14c.), from Old French tromper "to deceive," of uncertain origin. Apparently from se tromper de "to mock, " from Old French tromper "to blow a trumpet." Barchet explains this as "to play the horn, alluding to quacks and mountebanks, who attracted the public by blowing a horn, and then cheated them into buying worthless products.

Consider that people whose last names are baker probably originally were bakers, and those whose names are Smith had an original family member who was a smithy or a blacksmith. It does not surprise me, then, that donald trump is a descendent of deceivers and mountebanks. The acorn does not fall far from the family tree.

Here's a poem I wrote recently about being in the zone. I dedicate it to Klay Thompson.

AUTO DA FE

   I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel. At the right
   moment I light the match.

             Mia Hamm

I remember the game. I was on fire.
Shot after shot dropped.

Someone yelled from the stands I was hot.
I yelled pass me the fucking ball.

On the next move I burned my opponent
and scored. I was like one of those birthday candles,

the ones with the flames that never go out.
The arena was filling up with smoke.

Fans were holding handkerchiefs over their noses
In the distance I could hear sirens.

I was too hot to care, I was reckless
like a kid playing with matches.

It was only a game of basketball,
but I would not recant the story of my life.

If you tried to stop me,
I’d just add more fuel to the fire.

The rest is history. 






Saturday, October 20, 2018

Baring Injuries and etc.

After the first week of the NBA season, I'm picking the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors to compete in the NBA Finals.

Duh!

Well, not exactly. Boston lost to a very tough Toronto Raptors last night.. The Warriors have won two uninspired victories. Last night's game against the Utah Jazz should have been a loss, considering their lousy first half defense, salvaged at the end by a tip in by Jonas Jerebko on a missed Durant jumper with one tick left on the clock. So, some observers might say it's not quite such a "Duh!" as to the winners of the East and West.

Except for this:

BARING INJURIES Toronto and Utah looked to me as if they were already playing at mid-season form if not exactly at playoff level. Both the Warriors and the Celts, not at all. Boston has still not incorporated Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving into their offense as Coach Steven certainly will by the first of the year or sooner. The Warriors are not nearly in sync with a number of additions to their team. Klay Thompson's three is still in China. Igoudala, a key defender and leader, is missing. And the Bigs: Looney and Jones are not where they will be at a later date [you choose the date] Looney on offense, and Jones on Defense. Looney is showing me some moves on offense I never expected. And, does anyone doubt that Klay will regain his touch? Also, a surprise to me, I'm beginning to believe Damian Jones may possibly turn into a young Tyson Chandler who led the Mavs to a NBA Championship. This belief after the first two games, requires me to take back what I said about him in my last blog. I take it back, my man, and apologize, but don't let me down!

For the time being lets not count on Cousins.

I've got to give a shout out to the Utah Jazz. I liked them a lot at the end of the last season. Based on what I saw last night, I like them better. I'm still trying to figure out how Ingles gets that three off. He must be a lot quicker than he looks. He kind of lumbers along and appears about to fall asleep. Then, he's shooting in your face. Must be the Aussie factor. And I'm betting his real age is somewhere in forties.

It's a little early to be making predictions, since I haven't seen all the teams play yet. I could be surprised.

ETC:

I'm delighted with the rebirth of the BIG MON in the NBA: Ayton in Phoenix, Bamba in Orlando, adding to the presence of versatile bigs already in the league: Joel Embid, Anthony Davis, Kristap Porzingis, Rudy Gobert, and Demarcus Cousins. It was just a matter of time, wasn't it? I wish I could add Cauley Stein but he's still missing an ingredient on both ends. Still, he is a legit 7 footer and can flat out run the court.

I've always loved this poem about a sport not much is written about in our sports pages.

Karate   by Stanley Plumly

If I could chop wood.
If I could just cut through
this furniture

the paraphernalia
of blocks
and stacks of boards,
wedged and
piled 
head-high.

If I could break the back
of a single two-by-four,

if the Japanese instructor would only
lay his little building
of bricks
in front of me,

if I could only drive nails
deep into the hard rose of the wood. 






Monday, October 15, 2018

2018/19 NBA Season Comments

Another NBA season that looks top heavy in the West, with Boston, Philly, and Toronto, easily the favorites in the East.

As a general rules, in my opinion, a team to win the NBA Championship must have at least two WOW players - Super-All Stars such as LeBron James, KD, Curry, Antetokoumpo, Paul George, James Harden, etc.

                                                      EASTERN DIVISION 

Boston Celtics: They are solid at every starting position with solid bench strength at every position. Irving and Hayward are WOW players (If Hayword is healthy) with some HALF WOW's in Jaylen Brown  Horford and emerging WOW player, Jayson Tatum.  The Celts can run, but are also patient. They can defend and rebound. Bench is strong. They have an excellent , gifted coach and appear to have all his players on the same page in terms of goals. You can't out tough them and you can't out finesse them, at least not in the East.

Philadelphia 76ers: They should be the second best team in the East, but a lot will depend on Embid's health and the development of Marquelle Fultz. Other questions, can Ben Simmons ever learn to shoot? Can JJ Redick have one more top notch shooting season after 13 years? I think the addition of Wilson Chandler will provide depth at the SF to help an great but inconsistent shooter Robert Covington. I like the coaching, but this season will test his mettle. Can the team defend as a team beyond the third pass? Joel Embid is a WOW players. Simmons is a HALF WOW, not a full WOW until he learns to shoot from middle distance and free throws. If all the stars are aligned, the 76ers could upset the Celtics. But not in a 7 game series.

Toronto Raptors: Have a point guard problem. Is Kyle Lowry a true point? Probably, but I'm not entirely convinced. He can shoot, even though streaky. Fred Vanvleet is a solid point guard, but over 80 games? Can the Raptors stretch the floor shooting threes? Lowry and CJ Miles are both streak shooters in my opinion. Danny Green is strong addition, and he can shoot deep. Green could turn into an X factor. Kawhi Leonard gives the team a WOW player. Lowry is a HALF WOW. But will Kawhi by in mentally is the question? Will he stay healthy? If he's right, the Raptors will be very tough. They are very solid at the center and power forward positions. I see lots of growth in Siakim.

Indiana:Pacers: Two huge question marks for a team I like a lot. Do they have a true starter-type point guard who can be a complete floor manager? I see Darren Collison and Cory Joseph as excellent PG backups. Perhaps Aaron Holiday? But he is a rookie and that's a lot to ask a rookie to take over the running of a team. At every other position I love this team. Oladipo is a WOW player. Myles Turner is a HALF WOW player with a caveat, which is - will he or won't he insist on being the star he can be? Or is he just a little too congenial?  I'm not sold on Doug McDermott, but he could prove me wrong. Bogdanovic will stretch the floor and Sabonis might make an All Star team one of these days. McMillan is a solid coach. Put an All Start type point guard on this team, and they go to the finals of the Eastern Division playoffs and maybe further.

Milwaukee Bucks: I'm picking the Pacers over the Bucks, but this could flip, as the Budenholtzer factor has to be assessed. Here's another team like the Pacers, with some questions at the point guard position. I've never been a Bledsoe fan. I think he makes bad decisions. Dellavadova is a true point guard, but he's slow and an inconsistent shooter. His D is top notch. The Bucks play him off the bench, and I bet most teams in the NBA would like to have a tough strong thinker like Delly coming off the bench for them. That leaves Malcolm Brogdan at the point. I like him, but not with any enthusiasm. Antetekoumpo is a WOW player. Krhis Middleton is a HALF WOW in my opinion. Zeller, Lopez, Maker are solid in the post. Can Snell at shooting guard shoot consistently? They have strong help off the bench at the power positions in Henson and Ilyasova. I think the Buck are one season and one draft choice/trade away from making some real noise.

Washington Wizards: What is it about the Wizards that I don't like? The chemistry? Wall and Beale should be dominant. Why aren't they? Was Gortat for Howard the gamble that will pay off? I doubt it. Never thought Howard ever worked hard enough at his game. Some strong young shooting forwards in Porter and Obre. Will Austen Rivers be the guy off the  bench that makes a difference?  Just too many question marks for this team to do anything but play themselves out of the first round of Eastern Division Playoffs. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't make the playoffs. If Miami can get Butler without giving up too much???

Chicago Bulls: Surprise team in the east.

                                                         WESTERN DIVISION


Golden State Warriors: Always tough for me to evaluate the Warriors objectively as I'm an ex Warrior and one of their biggest fans. So, I'll begin with the obvious - if Demarcus Cousins can recover fully from his torn Achilles tendon and play the way he did in New Orleans, the Warriors should win a fourth NBA Championship. If not, the Dubs have a problem in the post, (not sold on Jones) and may have to rely on Draymond and small ball, which is not a bad thing because Draymond is a Mr. All Around Stud. In all the other four positions, the Warriors are super solid. Cook has come along nicely and it looks as if Jacob Evans, the team's 1st round choice in June, will be a solid defender. Igudala and Livingston are a little long in the tooth, but should have enough where-with-all left for this season. I'm interested to see how Jerebko fits in to the Dubs defensively. I've always thought of him as a little soft on D. I'm a big Jordan Bell fan and am getting to be a Loony fan as his progress has been steady in defense and offense. Curry, Durant, and Klay are WOW players. Green is a HALF WOW (got to put more arc into the jumper for consistency's sake). Cousins is a WOW player. Lot's of WOW's going on. Could be a starting five with 5 All Star players. Coaching: EXCELLENT.

Houston Rockets: I thought that the Rockets would miss Ariza and Maboute, but I've changed my mind. PJ Tucker has shown me some stuff. He is definitely an X factor player. The Rockets have never had any defensive toughness, but PJ can change that. Even so, he is only one player. I still think the Rockets remain vulnerable on D: Hardin is an unwilling defender; Chris Paul, when all is said and done, is too small; Gordon is not a solid defender, and neither is Carmelo, who always looses defensive focus after the 3rd pass. .I'm a huge Capela fan. If Dwight Howard had Capela's work ethic, he be superman. Gerald Green is too flacky for my taste, and can make and has made in the past some awfully stupid moves. Ennis might turn into a strong acquisition. The Rockets will still be able to stretch the floor, so they will always be dangerous. As long as Chris Paul has a full healthy season, the Rockets are the only team I see giving the Warriors any trouble. D'Antoni is only an adequate coach in my opinion. Run and gun is easy to say.

Oklahoma Thunder: I will never be sold on a team with Westbrook running the show. Russell's problem is he's not a good point guard and he's not a good off guard. So what is he, really? A point shooter? Now what do you do with Dennis Schroeder? Is he really going to be happy coming off the bench? If OKC can figure out this problem, they'll be the 3rd best team in the west. At the forward and post positions, they are extremely strong. Steve Adams is awesome and doesn't need the ball to be successful, a HALF  WOW.  Paul George is a WOW player. Is Russell Westbrook? Not in my book, but I'll grant he's a HALF WOW. Nerlen Noel might turn out help when Adams has to rest. I like the Noel pick up - a little soft, but very long. Grant and Paterson are solid. Robinson will always play great D, but remains a shooting liability. Got to improve his free throws. Coaching has got to improve for this team to move forward. I see no strategic defensive or offensive strategy that's at all innovative. .

Denver Nuggets:  Lots of talking heads are predicting a break out year for the Nuggets, led my Nicola Jokic, a WOW player. Maybe, if Paul Milsap, a HALF WOW player, stays healthy and Isiah Thomas can find his Mojo. If those two players have strong seasons, there is enough talent that the Nuggets could upset OKC and hold off all other challengers except the Warriors and Rockets. And if I were the Warrior and Rockets, I wouldn't take the Mile High City's team too lightly. They can shoot and penetrate. Even though Plumlee is no threat offensively, he's a first-rate backup center, who'll run the floor and pick up cheap baskets. Solid if not imaginative coaching.

San Antonio Spurs: . Pop will find a way, but the loss of Kawhi was big. I've never been an Aldridge fan and Pau is getting old. Aldridge is a HALF WOW player. Who's going to run the club, now that Murrry is gone with an injury? Patty Mills? Maybe, but I like Patty coming off the bench. Who's going to stretch the floor? Derozen is a WOW player. but a middle distance shooting expert, Other than Patty Mills, where are the 3's coming from? The Spurs may turn out to be the worst three-point shooting team to ever make the playoffs.

Utah Jazz:  A well coached team, a year away, in my opinion, from contending for the finals in the West if they make the right trade and draft choice at the end of the season. Not impressed with the point guards.I don't care if he's improved, Rubio is still a poor shooter so teams can slack off. Same is true with Dante Exum. Neto is marginal off the bench. Team needs a stud at the point, then watch out. Donovan Mitchel is a WOW player. So is center Rudy Gobert a WOW. Joe Ingles always mystifies me, how does that slow dude get his shot off? Crowder and Favors will give the Jazz strength at the power spots and occasional big point production, but not consistent. Will see about the progress of O'Neele. Looks like a lot of potential. Still wondering where there's real jazz in Utah.

Los Angeles Lakers: Will make the playoffs on the back of Lebron James. Definate young stars, Ingram and Kuzma will contribute. Rondo will help, but is a flake factor, so what will he be like at the end of the season? Other flake factors: Lance Stephensen, and Mile Beasley, with these two anything can happen. Javale, I love you, but not as a starter. The more minutes you get the greater the chance of errors. Lonzo Ball looks like he's worked hard on his jumper, but I'd still slack off him if it meant stopping James, Ingram or Kuzma. I was hard on Ball last year, but I'm seeing him in a more positive light. I like hard workers, and he appears to have worked hard on the off season to improve his game. I'm a big K Caldwell Pope fan, but there is only one basketball to share. Walton is a good coach and getting better OJT. If Kawhi comes next season, the Lakers become scary.

Surprise Team: If Doncic is as good as his rep, Dallas, maybe.

General over-all not going into the 2018/19 season: There are a lot of mediocre players in the NBA, so I hope the NBA is not thinking of expansion for a while.

It's still football season, so here's a football poem I wrote recently.

JAXON    by Tom Meschery

I’ve a grandson who plays high school football.
He’s a linebacker, which means he attacks
the ball carrier, hoping to dislodge
any pig skin or weapon of mass destruction 
tucked under  the runner's arm with the intention
of harming the National Interest or ruining
the chances of his team winning the game.
Football is that kind of sport. The difference
between death and a losing season is blurred.
Why not chuck a grenade to a wide receiver
and watch him explode into the end-zone,
or take a hit from a 300 pound line-man?
Or, in the case of line-backers, volunteer
to lose their memories before they’re fifty.