Thursday, June 30, 2011

Best & Worst Introduction Videos

Today I was reading an article on Bill Simmon’s new blog Although the post seemed pretty interesting, I was distracted by a link in the article to a youtube video of the 2010-2011 Cleveland Cavs introduction video. Although that particular video is just sad and pathetic, it did get me thinking. I began to look for the best and worst introduction videos of all time. The result was a patchwork list of some of the more notorious intro videos of throughout the years. I decided to grade each of the videos based on music selection, quality of highlights, sentimentality, pump up quotient and comedy.  

Worst Videos

Houston Rockets 2009 Playoffs Intro
Music: 5
Highlights: 3
Sentimentality: 0
Pump up Quotient: 2
Comedy: 7 (unintentional)

I feel dirty rating a video poorly that starts with Chuck Hayes bashing a ball into flames, but this video is abysmal. Unless the fans are huge fantastic four fans, this video does little to pump anyone up while also not touching down on any of the Rockets great basketball potential. It doesn’t help that this squad was as boring as they come so I guess having Brett Barry spinning a fireball might have been a halfway decent idea to spice things up.

Monday, June 27, 2011

New England Renaissance Series: #12 Jake Layman

The New England Renaissance Series is an ongoing countdown of some of the best prospects in the region regardless of class. It is important not to dwell on the order of the rankings but rather on the unprecedented amount of talent the region possesses.

#12 Jake Layman (2012)
Height: 6'8    Weight:185
Hometown: Wrentham Mass
School Team: King Philip Regional
Travel Team: BABC
NERR Rank: 13     National Rank: NR

It will only be a matter of time before Jake Layman makes a huge name for himself nationally. He is a 6'8 wing/forward who can shoot, play elite defense, and dominate above the rim. Recently, Layman has begun to attract attention from a whole host of high major schools including Boston College, Texas A&M, and Providence. Here is ESPN evaluation and highlight video.

A long and athletic player, Layman has a terrific set of physical tools. He stands a legit six-foot-seven with great length and a solid frame which will eventually support a good deal of muscle mass. He is a very good athlete and gets his head on the rim between his length and leaping ability. He has good touch on his jump shot and projects as a very good three-point shooter down the road with a little refinement to his technique. He is a potentially versatile defensively who can change the game with his length on top of the press.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2000 NBA Draft: The Real Y2K

With all the talk of the 2011 NBA Draft being the worst draft since 2000, I thought it would be appropriate on the eve of the draft to take a look back at the 2000 draft and see just how stinky it actually was.

Here is a quick overview of the top 14 picks in the 2000 NBA Draft as of 2010-11:

Average Years in the League: 8.28 years, currently 6/14 are active NBA players. The average number of years in the League for the inactive players is 6.5

Average Minutes Per Game: 21.7

All-Star Appearances: 1 (Kenyon Martin)

1 Sixth-Man of the Year
(Mike Miller ), 1 NBDL MVP (Marcus Fizer)

NBA Championships: 0

NBA Finals Appearance: 2 (Kenyon Martin)

Starting 5: Kenyon Dooling, Jamal Crawford, Mike Miller, Kenyon Martin, Joel Przybilla, 6th Man; Etan Thomas
Stinkiest 5: Mateen Cleaves, Courtney Alexander, Jerome Moiso, DeMarr Johnson, Chris Mihm
Lost Ones: Stomile Swift, Marcus Fizer, Darius Miles

Interesting Facts: DeMarr Johnson was tasered outside a Denver nightclub in 2007...Marcus Fizer had 31 tattoos as of 2006...Etan Thomas released
"More Than an Athlete: Poems by Etan Thomas" in 2005 and is generally a smart and awesome guy...Jerome Moiso has played for 12 teams in 11 years since he was drafted...6/14 players drafted have suffered major lower leg injuries.
Moiso and his textbook shooting form
Sooooo, still think the 2011 draft is that bad? If the foreign players end up being studs there is no way the 2011 draft will end up being as badly as 2000. If they are stiffs, then there is a chance Derrick Williams makes 1 All-Star game, Kemba Walker gets one 6th Man of the Year Award and Kawhi Leonard is the 2015 NBDL MVP. Therefore, essentially putting it on par with 2000. In the end, I don't see it. Why? Two words: Jerome Moiso.

Draft Links!

This is such a wonderful time to be a basketball fan.  Not only is the draft the most exciting single event on the NBA calendar -- and this year's should be no different with player movement uninhibited, unlike the NFL's -- but there is a ton of great coverage from every angle.  As we wait for the RFH Final Mock to go up, here are some of my favorite reads leading up to Thursday:

  • Cate School alum and wonderful writer John Krolik breaks down the possibilities for the Cavs with the 1st and 4th picks at Cavs: The Blog.  Like the Cavs, John has settled on Kyrie Irving over Derrick Williams, if for no other reason than all things being equal, he'd take the point guard.  At 4, he has developed an affinity for Jonas Valanciunus that he makes no effort to conceal, mainly because of the 7-footer's efficiency and commitment to defense.  But he also worries that the next logical big that could be available, Enes Kanter, could have significant shortcomings on the defensive end. 

  • Get your motor running.  The Timberwolves figure to take Derrick Williams with the second pick in the draft.  He's at worst the consensus second best player in the draft, arguably the best all-around offensive player, and now he -- like Kevin Love and Wes Johnson and Michael Beasley -- will have the pleasure of playing alongside one of the most prodigious passers we have ever seen: Ricky Rubio.  Not that Rubio has done anything yet, he hasn't.  At this point he is just a rookie, a card-carrying member of Club Tril (Editor's note: no he is not. The essential component that makes Club Tril so special is the "1" in the minutes played column and the subsequent zeros).  But in addition to closure for a 2009 draft that has hung over the team like a constant fog, as Zach Harper says, Rubio will bring excitement.  They will be interesting, for sure, and that could start on Thursday.  The Wolves have the 2nd and 20th picks and assets like Beasley and Johnny Flynn to deal.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New England Renaissance Series: #13 Rene Castro

The New England Renaissance Series is an ongoing countdown of some of the best prospects in the region regardless of class. It is important not to dwell on the order of the rankings but rather on the unprecedented amount of talent the region possesses.

#13 Rene Castro (2013)
Height: 6'0    Weight:180
Hometown: Milton
School Team: Beaver Country Day
Travel Team: BABC
NERR Rank: 6    National Rank: 91

The Next Wayne Turner?
Rene Castro has been a big name in Massachusetts for a long time. He is the floor leader for a BABC team that might be the best AAU team in the country. Sometimes Castro can get lost on a team with such superior talent, but the Milton native continues his solid all around floor game no matter how intense the pressure gets. He is known for his mid range prowess, but Castro is also great off of the dribble and is a decent floor general. Here is is ESPN evaluation and highlight video.

A playmaking guard who can score the ball in a variety of different ways, Castro is a combo-guard with an aggressive mindset. He loves to shake his defender with an inside-out dribble and is capable of going by to either side and either taking it to the rim or pulling up in the mid-range area. He has great speed with the ball in his hands in the open court and can instantaneously create tempo. Physically, he has good size, great length, and an already cut and fairly strong body.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New England Renaissance Series: #14 Jarred Terrell

The New England Renaissance Series is an ongoing countdown of some of the best prospects in the region regardless of class. It is important not to dwell on the order of the rankings but rather on the unprecedented amount of talent the region possesses.

#14 Jarred Terrell (2013)
Height: 6'2    Weight:185
Hometown: Weymouth Mass
School Team: New Hampton Prep
Travel Team: Expressions Elite
NERR Rank: 7    National Rank: NR

Terell is one of the fastest rising stars in all of New England. When the new national rankings come out it would be a surprise if he doesn't make most lists. Terrell is a power guard who can create his own shot, knock down mid rang jumpers, or go to the rack all with ease. He should continue to increase his profile next year as he will move on to prep school. Here is his ESPN evaluation and highlight tape.

Terrell is a power guard with good athleticism and a strong body. He is as aggressive as he is powerful, getting after people on the defensive end and going hard to the rim offensively. He is a versatile defender who can make plays in full court pressure situations and also lock up opposing scorers in the half-court, bodying up with his upper body without fouling. Offensively, he is at his best in the open floor where he drives down hill to the rim but also has the first step to create his own shot in the half-court. His physical tools allow him to drive and finish through contact.

Rotation Guys: Uncovering the Mysteries of the 2nd Round

RFH Collective Guest Contributor Ryan Mahanna provides us with a look at the 2nd round of the NBA Draft, past and present.

Chalmers showed us a 2nd rounder can contribute on the highest of levels.

I think everyone in the basketball world has made it painfully clear that the 2011 NBA Draft is potentially an all-time stinker. All the negativity has really bummed me out. I was mildly excited that the Celtics were picking 25th in a draft where there isn't much separation between the 5th pick and the 55th pick and Boston has been successful in that position in recent history. Then Danny Ainge severely curbed my enthusiasm by pointing out the fact that players drafted 25th in the NBA draft have become rotation players 6% of the time and there was no point in sticking Doc Rivers with young players. Awesome. Considering the fact that Danny Ainge is one of the sneakiest Mormons ever, I am sure he has something up his sleeve and I think I know what it is....

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Two-for-One: What do we think now?

On Saturday afternoon I read an article on Grantland that said some things about Chris Bosh. It inspired me to write a) about Bill Simmons’ new website and b) Chris Bosh. I was ready to let loose on how the Heat’s starting velociraptor was a huge punk because when he does something good or noteworthy, he makes sure to let you know about it, but that the hard façade is thinner than an M&M’s. He’ll hit the ground, flail his arm and scream his dino-call at the slightest bit of facial contact (or not), and for that I want to give his a noogie and a wedgie and Charlie horse all at the same time. Unfortunately, I got a little distracted in the middle of writing this post, had a cocktail or three and lost my train of thought. So before I go any further, here’s what I had going a couple days ago....

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New England Renaissance Series: #15 Zach Auguste

I have spent most of my life following New England basketball. Although I have been a huge fan, it is hard to deny that New England's basketball's homegrown talent has been underwhelming at best. Boston in particular is one of the weakest cities of its kind in regards to producing NBA talent. Luckily for fans of New England Hoops, there has been a renaissance going on in the New England high school ranks. The Collective has decided to partake in this rebirth by counting down the best fifteen New England Natives in terms of talent regardless of class. When reading this countdown I urge the readers not to focus on the specific numbers given to players but rather on the overall collection of talent.

#15 Zach Auguste (2012)

Height: 6'9   Weight: 205
Hometown: Marlborough Mass
School Team: New Hampton
Travel Team: Expressions Elite
NERR Rank: 9    National Rank: NR

Auguste is one of the more debated players in the region. There is no doubt that the Marlborough native has all of the tools to be a complete player. He is extremely long, runs the floor like a deer, and has high major athleticism. This high upside is why Auguste can claim offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Providence, Boston College, and Wake Forest. The reason why he is not ranked high is because of the disparity between his talent and his productivity. Auguste struggled to adjust to increased competition at New Hampton this year. In order to continue to belong in our Renaissance series going forward Auguste will have to prove himself during next years prep season. Here is his ESPN evaluation and a highlight tape.

Auguste has an undeniably high ceiling and a ton of natural talent. He plays the game active     and alert always looking to for an opportunity to score on miss shots or his teammates penetration drop off passes. He has the bounce to make big time plays above the rim on both ends of the floor and the skill set to score points both inside and out. He runs the floor well, blocks shots, has a soft touch inside the paint, and a three-point range when his feet are set. He makes good use of a long job step to get defenders off balance and utilizes his length well in his slashing game.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Got Next: Bubba Starling

The RFH Collective loves to see who is coming up the ranks in all of our favorite sports. That is why we created the "got next" segment. This is our second player profiled. The first was Anthony Davis.
Bubba Starling is a Hero, Gentleman, and Scholar
I have a confession to make. I have not followed baseball at all since the Red Sox traded away Manny Ramirez. Fortunately, the Widdoes side of The Collective has been able to carry the MLB banner on our blog. Although I have stopped following Baseball, one story caught my eye earlier today. The story involved a young man by the Name of Bubba Starling from the Kansas City suburbs. He is slated to be a top 10 pick in the MLB draft, but what drew me to him was his throw back versatility. In a day and age where athletes specialize in a sport from an early age, Starling is a rarity. He has excelled at football, basketball, and baseball. How much did he excel? Lets take a look.