meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” Meschery's Musings of Sports, Literature, and Life Meschery's Musings on Sports, Literature and Life: 2015-01-11

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, January 12, 2015

NBA Review for the New Year

Looks as if Boston gave the Grizzles a New Year's present in Jeff Green, a very capable, border line All Star stretch forward/with power skills. For Dyshawn Prince? Definitely an upgrade. It gives the Griz fire power from angles they never had before. If Green pays off, and I can't imagine he won't, the Griz are going far in the playoffs. With the addition of Green, they're damn solid at every position, starter and backup. And they board and play tough D.

Rajon Rando make the Mavs a better team, not immediately but come March, watch out. They still might be a little thin off the bench come playoffs when things get nasty.

If Waiters can play some D, he' ll help the Thunder, but some intangible is missing from that team. It's not energy (a word I hate), perhaps a coherent offensive and defensive game plan. In my opinion, the team needs to incorporate some big-men-points into their offense (Adams and Ibaka). From my own experience as a player, it gets old if you're told to go out there and play D and grab rebounds and not have any touches. The Thunder needs to retool their philosophy.

Boy, was I wrong about the CAVS. But I'm not giving up on them. I watched them last night get absolutely whipped by the Kings, a team that is struggling to figure things out themselves, and I thought, they looked like a boat without a rudder, just going around any which way. I see no pattern, defensively or offensively. When James comes back, that will help, but its going to take a position by position overhaul to turn the season around. JR Smith? Really? Mosgov and Shumpert can help, but not without a plan.

Talk about being strong at every position, starters and off the benchers, the Golden State Warriors have got it covered. If all players are healthy, the Warriors bring five players of the bench that could be starters on at least four teams in the NBA whose names I'll not mention.

ERGO: To survive deep into the playoffs and/or to win the Championship, it is my belief a team must be solid at all positions ten players deep. There are other requirements, but personnel is a must. That means that bench players are not a huge drop-off from your starters.

Therein lies the problem for the Blazers, an excellent starting five (with Lopez), then a dramatic drop-off.
A team that could surprise in the first round like last year, but I doubt it.

The Clippers are 7 players strong. Not enough to take them too far into the playoffs. They may make it riding on their Four Horsemen: Paul, Griffen, Crawford, and Jordan. (If only Jordan could create a little offense?) Is Reddick or Barnes the fifth horseman? Maybe, maybe? Bench does not instill any confidence. A three point shooting backup center?

I'm a big Bulls fan, simply because I love teams that play tenacious and smart defense, but they too are thin off the bench. Butler, Gasol, Noah, Rose, Hinrich, Gibson, Brooks (meteoric right now, but capable of fizzling) and Mirotic. I've never been a Dunleavy fan. 

One has to believe that Pop has a strategy, so I'm predicting the Spurs will finish strong. Whether they win the Championship again, I think depends on getting all their players healthy by April. If that happens, the team is deep enough to do the job.

As much as I admire the Hawks, their bench is not dependable. Schroder is fine player but still a work in progress. Sefolosha can't produce any offense, and Antic is inconsistent. Inconsistency the rest of the way down the bench.

The Phoenix Suns is an interesting, go, go, go team. Mile D'Antoni would be proud of this offense. They're very deep. Their first round draft choice, Len, is starting to look like the real deal, so if he continues to grow as a player (able to produce some offense and block shots) and Plumlee can be a productive backup, that is cause some mayhem in the paint on D, the Suns with the firepower and speed they have could surprise the West.

The Wizards are also deep, but they can't quite match up player for player against some of the elite teams in the West. However, if a few of their players, like Seraphim, Butler, and Porter overachieve, they could win in the East. You have to have post strength to win in the playoff, and they do. Note, I didn't say height, but strength.

What is it about the Houston Rockets that doesn't quite measure up to Champions? On paper, they have 9 players that should be solid, but upon careful examination, are not. Smith is undependable and I'm not sure how smart. Pnikalau is inconsistent, Brewer runs hot and cold, So does Terry at his age. Harden doesn't play much D. Howard, given his physical talent, often under-produces. Beverly looks like a point guard, but really isn't. He should be coming off the bench. Montejunas is going to be an excellent power forward one of these days, but the Rockets miss Jones. Now, if the Mavs had signed Rondo??? With Beverly off the bench???? Oh, well, water under the Dallas Bridge.

If DeMar DeRozan returns, which it appears he will by February, the Toronto Raptors. With DeRozan back, the Raptors have seven excellent players. I worry about their bench and maybe shouldn't. For some reason, although he's playing well, I don't trust James Johnson's game. The same for Patrick Patterson, roaming too far away from the hoop where he could be of more use. Landry Fields is a question mark. What happened to his NY Knicks' game? And Hansbrough is a loose cannon. So, if my idea that you need solid at all positions both starter and benchers, I can't see the Raptors this year. Maybe next year if they can get their rookies Coboclo and Nogueira in some kind of shape. 

Anyone a horse racing fan? If you are, here's a sad poem about the sport of kings that made me think about athletes who play for the love of their sport, even though they know they're not going to be rewarded financially, who just keep trudging on, giving it their all. The poem was written by Ron Koertge.

A Jockey 

named Kovacs went down
at Pomona yesterday.
He was riding something
that was born to hold
one piece of paper
to another.

The crowd loves to hate
accidents and everybody
wanted to know who Ted 
Kovacs was. Like the
next winner, it was
a mystery.

This, then, is to set 
the record straight:
Ted Kovacs makes 14
thousand a year when
things go right.

His wife keeps a 
scrapbook that shows
the day he tripled,
the $9,000.00 Exacta
where he was second,
and all the times he
was in intensive care.

When he almost didn't make it,
the article ran to nearly
20 lines.