Category Archives: General Sports

Dawgs Draft in Review: How the Class of 2015 Fits in the NFL


Another draft has come and gone, and Georgia continued to keep its strong NFL pipeline open. The Dawgs ranked #13 in draft player quality, a pretty solid ranking considering its one elite prospect has a torn ACL. The full list is here, and you’ll get a laugh at Florida ranking #4 due to the strength of its….offense…?…having six players drafted. WHO SAID WILL MUSCHAMP CAN’T COACH?!?

Todd Gurley, Rams (1st round, 10th overall): Obviously, most of the strength of this Georgia class lies in the monster RB Todd Gurley. The first first-round running back selected since 2012, Gurley’s landing spot is less than ideal. The Rams are weak on the offensive line (though strong behind Greg Robinson and Roger Saffold on the left side), and have a complete dearth of playmakers on the outside as long as Tavon Austin demonstrates a lack of receiving skills. To add insult to injury (no pun intended), the Rams play in the NFC West with strong defenses in Seattle and Arizona. Perhaps he can eat in two games against a depleted 49ers team, but who knows?

Former Auburn back Tre Mason had a pretty nice second half to his rookie season last year, but Gurley should have no problem supplanting him as the featured back. Fantasy ripoff Zac Stacy, though?

In case you missed it, Stacy’s response to the Gurley pick was swift, as he tweeted (and deleted) “YIKES”, followed by a trade request, which the Rams granted for a 7th-round pick.

FIT: D+. Gurley is going to be asked to be the workhorse here, and his career will likely be shortened by Jeff Fisher giving him the Eddie George treatment.

Chris Conley, Chiefs (3rd round, 76th overall): From a pure opportunity standpoint, Conley couldn’t have landed in a better situation. The Chiefs let Dwayne Bowe walk this offseason, and their receivers accounted for ZERO touchdowns last year. With their signing of deep threat Jeremy Maclin, there should be ample space to operate underneath for the combine wonder.

Additionally, Conley immediately becomes KC’s tallest receiver, as 6’3 journeyman Armon Binns and his 27 career catches are likely not to stick on the roster.

FIT: A-. WR was likely KC’s biggest need going into the draft, and Conley joins a 7th-rounder from Northern Illinois as new targets for Alex Smith. Only Smith’s inability to get the ball downfield keeps this from being a home run for Conley.

Ramik Wilson, Chiefs (4th round, 118th overall): The first three Georgia draftees will play their football in Missouri, which is just…odd. SEC country indeed, I suppose.

Ramik has a good chance to stick as a 3-4 inside ‘backer (where he played for his most productive Georgia year), as the Chiefs are a little light there. Derrick Johnson is a stud, and Josh Mauga had 103 tackles in his first year with the team. Depth is a major concern here, and the team’s run defense was not-so-good last year. Wilson should get a shot to move right into a reserve role and join the starting 11 if Johnson’s injury issues persist.

The fear here is that some are listing him as an outside linebacker, where he would be well behind former Dawg (and 2014 sack leader) Justin Houston, as well as aging edge rusher Tamba Hali and last year’s second-round pick, Dee Ford.

FIT: A if he stays inside, F if they see him as an edge guy. We grew to know and love Wilson as an inside ‘backer.

If he can protect the middle of the field like the following GIF (B.S. penalties aside), Wilson will be just fine.

Damian Swann, Saints (5th round, 167th overall): Again, depends on where the team sees him playing. With Keenan Lewis and former Patriot Brandon Browner entrenched as the starting corners, the versatility Swann demonstrated in one year under Jeremy Pruitt is essential to his staying power.

If he is indeed a corner in the Saints’ D, Swann will also be competing with former Florida State corner P.J. Williams, a third-round pick who many mocks saw as a late first-rounder.

Rotoworld lists Swann as a free safety, where he’s clearly behind Jarius Byrd. Career starter Kenny Phillips was signed this offseason for depth as well, but he’s been completely unable to stay healthy.

FIT: C-. Swann’s best hope for a roster spot here is as a special teamer and sub package corner. While that’s all you can really expect as a fifth rounder, the Saints have invested heavily in their secondary over the past two years. On the other hand, 81.3% of 5th rounders at least play their rookie years with the team who drafts them, so he should be in NOLA for special teams and depth in year one.

Amarlo Herrera, Colts (6th round, 207th overall): ‘Marlo is a prototypical run stuffing, old school middle linebacker who may have missed his NFL calling by 10-15 years, but he has a good chance to stick for his first few years. The Colts have been awful against the run in recent years, and a division with Houston, Jacksonville, and Tennessee means that he’s playing almost half of his schedule against teams that aren’t exactly capable of chucking all over the field and exploiting his weakness as a pass defender.

D’Quell Jackson (140 tackles) and Jerrell Freeman (93) are Indy’s inside incumbents (alliteration!). Freeman is on a 1-year RFA deal, and Jackson is entering his 9th year in the league. From a depth perspective, Herrera should be able to find some time on the field.

FIT: A-. There aren’t many better fits for one of my all-time favorites.

Among the undrafted Dawgs, C David “Boss” Andrews to New England is good, because (spoiler alert) Bill Belichick tends to get the most out of all of his players, one way or another. Ray Drew is a Dolphin, Toby Johnson a Titan, and Corey Moore a Texan.

On balance, one feels for Gurley. The rest of the Dawgs’ draftees ended up in very good situations to display their talents.

 

NBA 2015: Top Dunks


If you’re an NBA junkie like me, you stayed up way too late to watch Good Josh Smith and Good Dwight Howard decimate the Mavs. If you didn’t, well you probably missed a good bit of the NBA season as a whole. Never fear, because with the playoffs come NBA video dump time, and here are the top 10 dunks from the 2014-2015 season.

Oh, and I haven’t forgotten that Coach Budz won Coach of the Year. I’ll be bragging about my coach/my predictions once all the hardware is handed out.

Love this? Hate it? Think I’m an idiot? Don’t just curse at me under your breath, head to the Dude You Podcast iTunes page, and leave a 5-star review to make sure I know it, and have your voice heard on the air. Follow me at @dpalm66.

DYC NBA Playoffs 1st Weekend + A Big(ish) Announcemet


Hello NBA Playoffs. RIP to my sleep schedule.

Philadelphia got it’s first taste of spring this weekend, and while I did enjoy a brief taste of sunlight and fresh air, I was consumed by these here NBA Playoffs. We did the preview thing last week, but I just want to talk about 3 things I saw Saturday and Sunday that will remind everyone why this is the greatest time of year.

1. DRose Back!

And not like cautious, his knee looks okay I guess maybe, kind of back. All the way back. Sure, he’s basically made of off brand legos, and could fall apart at any moment, but for one game, he was all the way back. 23 points matched the output of his LAST full playoff game…in 2012. I hope this was a glimpse of things to come, and not a tease of what could be, since the Bulls/Cavs war is looming in round 2 and is already DVR worthy.

2. Aron Bynes – Grand Opening, Grand Closing

If you didn’t stay up to watch Spurs/Warriors last night, I can’t blame you. But, Chad and I are sadists, and we both stayed up.

Chad-Daniel

I don’t know Aron Bynes. I have nothing against Aron Bynes. I enjoyed watching Blake Griffin ball all over Aron Bynes more than I thought possible. Some will commend Mr. Bynes for having the guts to challenge these three dunks. I don’t celebrate stupidity, so I’m not one of those people.

Buster.

3. General Surprises

Beno Udrih turned into an axe murderer. Anthony Davis shook off jitters early to play a lights out second half. Both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love made statements in their first postseason games. Dwight Howard looked more than competent, showing flashes of his well documented defensive greatness. Rondo hitting threes. The NBA. It’s FANNNNNNNNNNNNTASTIC.

Enjoy these next few weeks, because once playoff basketball and hockey end, you’re left with 3 months of pretending to like a sport that builds 80% of it’s appeal on weather and day drinking. Concepts we all enjoy yes, but not essential to a successful sporting enterprise.

Announcement Time

I’m moving back to Atlanta at the end of this month, and leaving the north east forever (again). I started writing on this site because I missed talking to my friends about sports, and knew that finding a UGA focused group in Philly would be damn near impossible to find. Fortunately, Chad had just started writing here, and I demanded he introduce me to the guy who ran the place to see if he needed an extra hand on the site.

Andrew and I hit it off, we collectively launched Dude You Podcast which has peaked as a top 100 Sports and Recreation podcast on iTunes. We’ve had our growing pains, but I’m insanely proud of where the podcast stands today. At the same time, writing here rekindled not just my love of talking about sports, but for writing in general. I’ve cranked out some of the best pieces in my life over these past 2 years for this site and others, but without DYC, I’d still be someone who used to write. Now, not only am I someone who currently writes, but also someone who gets pushed to write better by Andrew, Chad and Jason. Well, maybe not Chad.

So, why should you the reader care? Actually a damn good question, in that we’re just words on a webpage or voices on a podcast to most of you.

1. More writing. I’ll be less ‘geographically isolated hermit’ this football season, much more ‘finger (or other appendage) on the pulse of fans’ which will either add a layer of understanding to my writing…or drive me to mock our own fanbase more.

2. More podcasting. There’ll be much less fighting through Skype connections, and much more barnstorming a hungover Chad’s condo and shoving a microphone in his face.

3. More fun. The whole team has plans for events this fall, and being able to be there, whether it’s for a lock in at the College Football Hall of Fame, or running audio while Chad embarrasses himself on camera, more feet on the ground of these things is always a good thing.

There you have it. While I think the title is a bit misleading, I feel that I achieved a moderate sized announcement to help cap this blog off.

Love this? Hate it? Think I’m an idiot? Don’t just curse at me under your breath, head to the Dude You Podcast iTunes page, and leave a 5-star review to make sure I know it, and have your voice heard on the air. Follow me at @dpalm66.

DYC NBA Award Season


Earlier this year, I broke down the 2/3 Awards for the NBA and talked about the biggest stories of the year so far. Well, since then, all the important stories can fall under two umbrellas: Season Ending Awards and Playoffs. I’ll be making some officially official prognostications later on today, but before we get to the business of collectively losing money, I thought it’d be nice to circle the wagons with everyone else on the site who cares about the NBA, and is just as excited as me for the Playoffs. How excited?

That excited.

With that gif shared, here are Chad and I’s picks for All-NBA Teams, and all the individual awards for the 2014-2015 NBA season.

All-NBA Teams

Every year, the Illuminati assign 126 media members vote on three All-NBA Teams, as a way to chronicle the season. And while everyone remembers the big individual awards, the All-NBA Teams have been traditionally considered the best way to get a full snap shot of the year that was. For this, we’ll be sharing Chad’s ballot, followed by my ballot, followed by me ridiculing Chad’s ballot. Fun times!

First Team

Chad: Stephen Curry G, Russell Westbrook G, LeBron James F, Anthony Davis F, LaMarcus Aldridge C

Daniel: Stephen Curry G, James Harden G, LeBron James F, Anthony Davis F, Marc Gasol C

Second Team

Chad: Chris Paul G, James Harden G, Jimmy Butler F, Al Horford F, DeMarcus Cousins C

Daniel: Chris Paul G, Russell Westbrook G, LaMarcus Aldridge F, Paul Milsap F, Tim Duncan C

Third Team

Chad: Kyrie Irving G, Klay Thompson G, Blake Griffin F, Kawhi Leonard F, Marc Gasol C

Daniel: Kyrie Irving G, John Wall G, Blake Griffin F, Kawhi Leonard F, Al Horford C

This list was sent by Chad, along with the following disclaimer:

“Palmer wouldn’t let me count James Harden as a swingman, which is a load of horsecrap, and I’m a Bane Westbrook apologist for life.”

Ahem. I didn’t let him count Harden as a wing player because he’s CLEARLY a point guard/shooting guard/only source of offense for his team, especially with the late season loss of Patrick Beverley and the non-existence of Dwight this year. No matter how blatantly we played with positions here, I had to draw a line with Harden. That said, there are 20 versions of my list where I eschew the seemingly hometown choice of Horford for the transcendent years from Boogie and DeAndre Jordan.

I left Cousins off because of inconsistency that was not of his own doing; the Kings front office is why he’s on the outside looking in. Blame them Mr. Cousins, they did this. And leaving off DeAndre Jordan is one part a middle finger to his hyperbole prone coach, and one part appreciative head nod to what Al has brought to his squad coming off injury. Besides, the Hawks went all year with no one ever scoring more than 30 points in a game, so it feels right to honor them here.

End of Season Awards

The sad part about these awards is that Chad and I agree on all of them. Either he’s getting smarter or I’m getting…Chad-ier. Either way, it makes me nervous. Like the 2/3 awards, we’re going to hand out the hardware, list the other contenders, and make cases where need be.

MVP: Stephen Curry (Runners-Up: James Harden, Chris Paul, LeBron James, Anthony Davis )

If Chad were writing this, there’s no way that Westbrook gets left of the runners-up list because he’s manically obsessed with making sure Russy gets his due respect. But the MVP race doesn’t go to a single-minded force who failed to drag his team kicking and screaming into the playoffs. It doesn’t go to the young player who saved his coach’s job (along with a good chunk of the front office) by getting his team an 8 seed (Davis). It doesn’t go to the consensus best player on the planet when he takes a two week break mid season (James). And it doesn’t go to a player who while still being the best point guard alive, kept a poorly constructed team together in the midst of losing their second best player, and armed with no bench at all (Paul).

No, the term valuable this season goes to the two most outstanding performers on two of the best teams all year. Both were integral parts of their offense, with Harden being Houston’s literal only option on the offensive side, and Curry masterminding an offensive hydra that blew teams away by a historic margin. Some would argue that Harden had the harder task carrying the Rockets’ injury plagued, poorly shooting roster to it’s final tally of 55 wins, but you risk underselling just how important Curry is to the Warriors attack.

Both stepped up in different ways defensively for their squads. You done laughing? Well finish, I’ve got more words to throw at your face. Curry found great pride in his improved ability, fitting in beautifully one an underrated defensive juggernaut. While Harden hasn’t quite had the renaissance that Curry has on the defensive end, he’s no longer the source of nearly hourly Reddit examinations of how one player can be so bad at defense. He’s still not Scottie Pippen, but considering the energy he has to expend to keep this squad in games with his scoring, I’m surprise we haven’t seen this James all year.

Both players have stand out highlights, and a case can be made for either. But I’ll be dammed if a team can finish with 67 wins, and you don’t recognize the best player on that team.

Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green (Runners-Up: Kawhi Leonard, DeAndre Jordan)

That suffocating team defense the Warriors employed that I just referenced? None of it runs without Draymond Green. None of it. He’s the anchor that makes the 67 wins possible, and he can defend 1-5 with little to no drop off. His ability to stymie true centers has allowed the Warriors to play their best brand of basketball with a smaller line up, and see absolutely no drop off in defensive efficiency. As offenses get more mature, look for other teams to mimic the switching, swarming defense Golden State employs. Related: Draymond Green is a restricted free agent this summer. Draymond Green is going to be RICH.

Rookie of the Year: Andrew Wiggins (Runners-Up: Alternate Universe Jabari Parker, Nikola Mirotic)

Any further questions?

Sixth Man of the Year: Isaiah Thomas (Runners-Up: Jamal Crawford, Lou Williams)

We agreed that getting traded mid-season because other players hated you and doing your work for the award only since February 19th would not preclude him from winning this. What? They’re our awards.

Most Improved Player of the Year: Klay Thompson (Runners-Up: Rudy Gobert, Jimmy Butler)

Three Warriors taking home hardware? Three Warriors taking home hardware. The media may not agree with us, but I’ll be interested to see what the inaugural Player’s Association Awards give us.

Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer (Runners-Up: FOH)

Ain’t even a race. He won 60 games. With the Hawks. SIXTY.

We’ll be back later today with a full first round playoff preview.

Love this? Hate it? Think I’m an idiot? Don’t just curse at me under your breath, head to the Dude You Podcast iTunes page, and leave a 5-star review to make sure I know it, and have your voice heard on the air. Follow me at @dpalm66.

 

The Untainted, Unresearched, Mostly Uninformed NCAA Tournament Preview


UKAs college basketball falls more and more out of the mainstream consciousness*, it gets harder to motivate oneself to a) follow the sport in the regular season, and b) fill out a bracket with the dedication and research, or in the timely manner, that was once en vogue.

*- A 2010 Gallup poll ranked college basketball the 8th most popular sport among Americans, down from 3rd in 1991. 

Having said that, Kentucky is your undefeated, gargantuan favorite. There are no appointment-watch one-and-done players, such as Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, and Michael Beasley from years past (DeAngelo Russell at Ohio State is the closest). There are no appointment-watch white guys a la Adam Morrison or the Jimmer.

All we have this year is a lot of parity, which hopefully leads to a lot of close games and a lot of clever “NOW ITS OFFICIALLY MARCH!!!!” comments from the announcers.

Midwest Bracket

Favorite: Since we mentioned Kentucky, why not start here? Kentucky’s roster would be the second-tallest in the NBA, only behind Portland. Forward Karl Anthony Towns is gaining momentum as the #1 pick, twin guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison were ridiculous in last year’s tourney, and its going to take a parade of 3’s and an extreme off night to beat them.

Other contenders: Well, #2 Kansas lost to Kentucky by like, 35 points earlier this season. That’s never good. The cavalcade of 3’s I mentioned that could beat Kentucky? It could come from 3-seed Notre Dame, who spreads the floor with four knockdown shooters.

Sleeper: Going with #7 Wichita State. They were undefeated in the regular season last year, and still have a lot of those players. Insert catchwords like “moxie”, “poise” or “experience” here. And Wichita/Kansas in the second round could be a lot of fun.

Super Dark Horse: #12 Buffalo? They led Kentucky AT Kentucky at the half back in December, which I realize means absolutely nothing. So whatever. Carry on.

Best NBA Talent: The real reason most of the DYC staff is here. I’ve got to go with Towns, or Anthony-Towns, as I’m not sure if the Anthony is part of his first or last name. 6’10, agile, explosive, developing face-up game, Blake Griffin potential without the gaudy college numbers to back it up (because he has talent around him).

West Bracket

Favorite: Logic would dictate I trump the #1 seed Wisconsin here, but (say it with me now) NEVER TRUST THE BIG TEN. Give me Arizona, who has the talent, length, and athleticism to challenge everyone, including the presumptive champs.

Other Contenders: With Wisconsin being one, I don’t trust a slowdown-and-threes team. #4 North Carolina could carry the momentum from a nice ACC Tourney run…or they could bow out in the first round, and neither would surprise me. Quite frankly, not a single other team strikes me as Final Four-quality (which could explain why college basketball is so down).

Sleeper: From the same template as Wichita State, VCU is the 7-seed, has recent success on its side, and has a legitimately terrifying ability to completely bury you. Next best guess? Their first round opponent, Ohio State, who just seemed to sleepwalk through this season and could turn it on.

Super Dark Horse: #14 Georgia State. Seriously. They get an underwhelming 3-seed in Baylor in the first round, and could feasibly take out Xavier or Ole Miss in the round of 32. Why not? Nobody’s reading this far anyway.

Best NBA Talent: A ton of good choices here. Arizona F Stanley Johnson and Ohio State G DeAngelo Russell are one-and-done lottery picks. There are great college talents such as Wisconsin three-balling C Frank Kaminsky, whose name you will hear a ton. I’m going sleeper here though, Arkansas F Bobby Portis, the SEC player of the year. Almost 50% on catch-and-shoot 3’s, 18 points per game in SEC play, and 6’11. And I had never heard of him til last week.

East Bracket

Favorite: All about the V-schools here. I’d take #2 Virginia if Justin Anderson had proven he was healthy, but his complete inability to play offensive basketball in the ACC tournament with his broken pinkie has me steering clear. By default, then, you have #1 Villanova.

Other Contenders: #4 Louisville has Rick Pitino and crazy person Montrezl Harrell, and plays a style that makes everyone uncomfortable (enter Pitino restaurant joke here). I have no reason to believe in #3 Oklahoma as they’re inconsistent. We’ve been beaten over the head with #5 Northern Iowa for me to say there’s no way.

Sleeper: Realistic sleeper candidates include #10 Georgia sorry it’s just not happening; maybe the winner of the 8/9 game between N.C. State and LSU? Both teams have impressive strengths and no glaring weaknesses, and both have enough athleticism to compete with Villanova.

Super Dark Horse: #11 Dayton hasn’t even qualified for the field of 64 yet, but they made a run to the Sweet 16 recently. #14 Albany could spring a first-round upset on Oklahoma.

Best NBA Talent: A little tough to lock down here. Louisville’s Harrell is the only first-rounder according to the wildly inaccurate and speculative NBADraft.net. UVA’s Anderson is a big 2, but as I said he’ll be worthless at least the first weekend, so no help there. Go Harrell and enjoy his antics.

South Bracket

Favorite: $&(@Y@&*#((! Shaping up just like their joke of a run in 2010, Duke arguably drew the biggest lightweights in the #2 (Gonzaga) and #4 (Georgetown) spots. Damnit.

Other Contenders: Gonzaga has never made it to the Elite 8, yet we keep trumpeting them as a true contender. I’m on that wait and see. #3 Iowa State made a nice run last year and *pulls out megaphone* Fred Hoiberg’s team is the most entertaining team in college basketball. Watch them play if you can. I’ll go Iowa State as legit, #5 Utah as a light sleeper.

Sleeper: #9 St. John’s. The Johnnies (I think Steve Lavin is still their coach) gave Duke 32 minutes of a game earlier this year, and could meet them again in the round of 32. With no overwhelming teams in the 4/5 pod, they could play for a shot at the Final Four potentially.

Super Dark Horse: #10 Davidson. They won an A-10 that included VCU and others (don’t ask me to name them without research).

Best NBA Talent: Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, Justice Winslow, and Tyus Jones. Okafor is a young Al Jefferson, Winslow is a poor man’s (insert crazy athletic young NBA wing), and Jones is a steady point who could top out as an offensive-minded CP3. F**k Duke.

Final Four

I guess, based on the above, that I have Kentucky/Arizona/Villanova/Duke as favorites to make the Final Four. No way in hell this happens, but in keeping with the format above, those are your best bets.

If this comes to pass, Kentucky/Arizona, in my opinion, is for the title. And Kentucky wins. And demolishes Villanova or Duke.

Let’s hope the parity shines through on the first weekend, because beyond that all we get is TruTV jokes.

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