July 2, 2012

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NBA Draft Surprises

By: Anson Whaley

The NBA Draft was held on Thursday and it was a fairly standard affair. That said, there were a few surprises from the evening that were notable.

Lack of Star Trades – With big names out there on the trading block, it almost seemed expected that an All-Star would be dealt. But Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and a few others all stayed put. Other than the trade deadline when teams are looking to improve their playoff position or dump salary, the draft is the premier time to make moves. Teams can package picks along with players to acquire a star while others can rebuild with addition draft selections. This wasn’t the case on Thursday, though, as it was a relatively quiet night in terms of trades.

With NBA stars like Dwight Howard thought to be on the trading block, the lack of blockbuster trades on draft night was surprising.

The fall of Perry Jones – Jones didn’t put up gigantic numbers for Baylor this season, but was still projected to go as high as a late lottery pick. Instead, he nearly fell out of the first round, sliding all the way to No. 28 when he was mercifully picked up by the Oklahoma City Thunder. There have been questions about Jones’ energy level and the health of one of his knees, but even taking those things into consideration, it was hard to envision him falling so far. Adding insult to injury is that Jones almost assuredly would have been a lottery pick had he left school last season. When it comes to poor draft decisions, the cautionary tales are generally about players coming out too early. But as the case of Jones proved, staying in school can actually hurt players as well.

Things go New Orleans’ way – Several mock drafts had the New Orleans Hornets landing both Kentucky standout Anthony Davis and Duke star Austin Rivers with the No. 1 and No. 10 picks respectively. With the top pick, they controlled their own destiny when it came to landing Davis. But on a night when so many things can go awry, to actually land Rivers at No. 10 was about as good as the Hornets could have hoped for. If everything works out, New Orleans has effectively rebuilt their franchise in one night with their point guard and center of the future. It’s one thing to predict how a draft will turn out ahead of time, but things often don’t work out that way. In the Hornets’ case, though, things worked out just the way they wanted.

Mo Harkless becomes Maurice Harkless – Seriously, when did this happen?

West Virginia’s Kevin Jones not selected – There are always snubs in any draft and this one was no exception. You can take your pick when it comes to players that were projected to be scooped up – Iona’s Scott Machado and Texas’ J’Covan Brown are a couple that come to mind. But I’ll go with West Virginia’s Kevin Jones as the biggest surprise. Jones was believed to be a shoo-in to be drafted and his agent said earlier in the week that he even had a guarantee from a team in the first round that promised to select him if he fell to them. Not only did that not come to pass, but Jones wasn’t even taken in the second round. He was perhaps the best player in the Big East this past season and had to be a bit surprised when he didn’t hear his name called.

Teams Forget Dion Waiters and Miles Plumlee are Dion Waiters and Miles Plumlee – Perry Jones was an example of a player who slipped farther than expected, but things couldn’t have worked out better for Waiters and Plumlee. Both were taken ahead of most projections and the picks raised more than a few eyebrows. Each is a serviceable player, but Waiters (drafted No. 4 overall) couldn’t even crack his own team’s starting rotation. Plumlee, who went No. 26 overall, also was taken a bit earlier than expected despite modest numbers of approximately seven points and seven rebounds per contest as a college senior. Both players probably fared better than they imagined.

June 27, 2012

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NBA Draft Trade Winds Blowing

By: Joe Williams

The NBA draft is just a couple days away and the trade rumors are swirling. Will Charlotte move back? Who wants to move up? Will any big names like Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol be moved? We have to wait until Thursday night to get our answers. Until then, here are a few teams I think should be talking trade in the next couple days.

Dwight Howard is a big name that could change teams before, during, or after the NBA Draft.

New Orleans Hornets

Everyone knows who the Hornets are going to take with the first pick, but when you finish the season with the worst record in the Western Conference, you are more than a player away from contending. I believe the Hornets should be on the phone looking for a team that will make them an offer they can’t refuse. New Orleans could turn the No. 1 and No. 10 picks into four or five pieces of their re-building puzzle. It won’t happen and the Hornets will be happy with their two top 10 picks.

Charlotte Bobcats

It is no secret that Michael Jordan and company are interested in dropping a couple spots and adding another pick. It makes a lot of sense for a team that had the worst winning percentage in NBA history. Whatever they do with the second pick, they better add a really good player that will be a big part of the Bobcats future.

Houston Rockets

Houston is scheduled to pick at No. 14, No. 16, and No. 18. They won’t. At least not if they are going to make a run at Dwight Howard. Houston is one of the few teams that appear willing to give up their assets to acquire Howard without the assurance of him signing a long-term deal. I say go for it. They have got to have a superstar to compete for a championship so why not take a shot and see if Howard will stay in Houston.

Boston Celtics

If the Celtics were healthy for their playoff series against the Miami Heat, there is a good chance the outcome would have been different. Does that give them hope for one more run next season, or will they finally decide to break up the big three? If they decide to give it one more shot, their two first round picks (No. 21 and 22) should be enough to acquire someone to help them now. Either by trading up or going after a proven player.

Oklahoma City

The Thunder have a tremendous young core of talented players. They should be contenders for the next several years if they can find a way keep everybody happy. They need to get deals done with James Harden, Serge Ibaka and Eric Maynor more than they need to give guaranteed money to a prospect that won’t even be part of the rotation that sees the floor. They should move the No. 28 pick for something in next year’s draft.

June 19, 2012

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NBA Mock Draft

By: Joe Williams

Oklahoma City and Miami are battling it out in the NBA Finals. Meanwhile, the rest of the league has its attention on next weeks draft. For those of you who won’t be able to watch the draft and want to know what will go down, keep reading. For the rest of you its *SPOILER ALERT* time. Continue reading at your own risk.

With two 1st round picks, who will the Celtics surround PG Rajon Rondo with for next season?

1. New Orleans Hornets – Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky
Everyone knows who is going no. 1. The biggest question going around about this pick is whether the Hornets won the lottery fair and square.

2. Charlotte Bobcats – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky
MJ begins rebuilding his team with another Michael. It worked out pretty well for Chicago in the 1984 draft.

3. Washington Wizards – Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
Robinson says he should be the first pick but any way you slice it, he’ll be going to a team with a lot of work to do.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers Bradley Beal, SG, Florida
Kyrie Irving needs a big time shooter to help spread the floor. Beal is exactly that.

5. Sacramento Kings - Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina

The Kings need a small forward that can put the ball in the basket and find a solution to their problems getting an arena deal done with the city. Barnes can help in one of those areas.

6. Portland Trail Blazers Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut
Here we go again. Drummond has got to be crossing his fingers and anything else he can find hoping that he doesn’t go to Portland considering the string of injuries that have taken out Blazer big men.

7. Golden State WarriorsPerry Jones III, PF, Baylor
The Warriors already got lucky in the lottery when this pick didn’t go to the Jazz. They push their luck and take what could be an all-or-nothing player.

8. Toronto Raptors – Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut
The Raptors could improve quickly by adding a good pick here to go along with last year’s lottery pick, Jonas Valanciunas.

9. Detroit Pistons – Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State
Buckeye fans won’t be thrilled about him going to play in Michigan.

10. New Orleans Hornets  - Damian Lillard, PG, Weber St.
The rebuilding continues with one of the nation’s most prolific scorers.

11. Portland Trail BlazersKendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina
The Blazers breathe a sigh or relief when neither Lillard or Marshall are taken in the first nine spots because they really need a point guard.

12. Milwaukee Bucks – Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina
There is a big hole to fill in the middle after the Bucks traded Andrew Bogut last season.

13. Phoenix Suns – Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse
With several free agents at the guard position, Phoenix goes with their favorite backcourt player.

14. Houston Rockets - Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois
Rockets pick up a big man who can become a defensive presence.

15. Philadelphia 76ers - Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky
After a surprising playoff run, the Sixers look to take the next step by adding a big man to help matchup with the Eastern Conference powers.

16. Houston Rockets – Terrence Ross, SG, Washington
The Rockets make NBA history as this is the first time two players named Terrence have been drafted back-to-back.

17. Dallas Mavericks - John Hensen, PF, North Carolina

Dallas gets some help for Dirk Nowitzki and takes the best available player left on the board.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves - Moe Harkless, SF, St. John’s
Timberwolves go with a replacement for the possibly leaving free agents Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph.

19. Orlando Magic – Fab Melo, C, Syracuse
New GM. New coach. Dwight Howard is probably gone. Melo can block shots and shoot free throws like Howard but lacks in the scoring department. Two out of three ain’t bad.

20. Denver Nuggets – Royce White, SF, Iowa St.
The Nuggets don’t have any major holes so they add some depth to back-up Afflalo and Gallinari.

21. Boston Celtics - Austin Rivers, SG, Duke
We know who the point guard is. Everything else is a question mark. Doc Rivers drafts one thing he knows. His son.

22. Boston Celtics – Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor

If he gets back to 100 percent healthy, he has a lot of upside.

23. Atlanta Hawks – Jeff Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt

The Hawks could be in for a lot of changes with the possible trades of Joe Johnson and Josh Smith.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers – Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi St.
Here’s an athletic player that would be another piece of the rebuilding puzzle.

25. Memphis Grizzlies - Evan Fournier, SG, France
Memphis is looking for more scoring to compete with the top teams in the Western Conference. The Frenchman can do that.

26. Indiana Pacers – Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky
The Pacers are on the rise and Teague could help out the second unit while getting to play close to home.

27. Miami Heat – Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt
The Heat struggled with the size of the Pacers. Ezeli will make them much bigger.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder – Draymond Green, SF, Michigan St.
He can do some of everything, making him a great fit for a team that isn’t lacking anything.

29. Chicago Bulls - Tony Wroten Jr., PG, Washington
The Bulls need somebody to help Derrick Rose get some rest and stay healthy.

30. Golden State Warriors – Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky
The first round ends the way it began….with a Kentucky Wildcat.

May 21, 2012

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Fathead’s NBA Draft Lottery Google+ Hangout

By: Junior

On a night when 13 NBA franchises find out where they will draft in the 2012 NBA Draft, Fathead will give you the opportunity to find your place in our “Draft”, where you can pick from our prize pool later in our Google+ Hangout.

Join us on May 30th for our NBA Draft Lottery Hangout.

During our NBA Draft Lottery Hangout, we will watch as each NBA team finds out where they will be drafting later this year. Then, during the NBA game taking place shortly after the Lottery, we will select 10 winners who will be drafting the prize of their choice later that night.

The remaining 5 selections will be wild card picks, announced while our Fathead Draft is going on. So if your name isn’t announced at the beginning of the Draft, you still have a chance to win as the Fathead Draft continues. Also, make sure you stick around, because you have to be present to make your selection.

Our Draft will get under way shortly after we finalize who will be selecting where. Then, we will unveil our Draft board, which will allow everyone to see the draft eligible prizes. Once the lottery winners have a chance to analyze which prize they want, we will put the 1st pick on notice to make their selection.

If you would like to be entered for your shot to draft a Fathead prize, simply go to our Google + Page (Here) and ask us to add you in our circle. In order for us to add you, you must have already added us in one of your own circles.

If you don’t have Google+ , you can follow along by watching the video of the Hangout so you can chat with us and see the prizes given away. We will be posting links on all of our social media sites, so make sure you check back that night so you can join in the action.

May 1, 2012

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Five 2009 NFL Draft Winners

By: Joe Williams

The NFL Draft is over so now its time for everyone to prematurely judge which teams did well and which teams blew it. That sounds like a lot of work.They say it takes three years to properly evaluate a draft, so I’ll take the easy route and look back at the 2009 NFL Draft for my winners.

Detroit Lions – When you have the first pick in the NFL Draft, you better nail it. The Lions “earned” the No. 1 pick in the draft by finishing the 2008 season at a perfect 0-16, so it’s not like they could get any worse. When they selected Matthew Stafford to be their quarterback, the team instantly got better and hasn’t stopped improving since. They only won two games in his rookie season but improved to 6-10 in 2010 and made the playoffs at 10-6 last season. Finding a franchise quarterback alone makes the Lions a winner in this draft, but they weren’t done. With their second first-round pick they added Brandon Pettigrew who has become a nice target for Stafford and De Andre Levy is a starter at linebacker.

Finding their franchise QB in the 2009 Draft makes the Lions winners.

Chicago Bears – Here’s another team that found its quarterback in 2009. The Bears didn’t have to draft a rookie to do it though. They took advantage of the problems Josh McDaniels created in Denver and turned a bunch a picks into Jay Cutler. For the first time in a long time the Bears are set for the future at the most important position on the field. Johnny Knox is a quality receiver they picked up in the 5th round.

New York Jets – Yep. You guessed it. There is a pattern here. This is the year they drafted Mark Sanchez. Whether you think Sanchez is a good quarterback or not, you can’t argue with the success the Jets have had with him on the field. Not many teams have done better than reaching two conference championship games in the last three years. In the third round New York picked up Shonn Green, who has been a big part of the running game and is now the starting running back. Sixth-rounder, Matt Slauson, is the starter at left guard. The Jets made just three picks in the 2009 NFL Draft and all three are starters.

Green Bay Packers – Anytime a team wins a Super Bowl, you can look back at its recent drafts and probably find a few key contributors. In 2009, the Packers drafted DT, B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews at linebacker, both are impact players on the defense that was part of the Packers run to their Super Bowl victory after the 2010 season. Fourth-round pick, T.J. Lang is now a starter on the offensive line as well.

Philadelphia Eagles – The Eagles were about the biggest underachieving team in the NFL last season, but don’t go blaming that on the 2009 NFL Draft. Jeremy Maclin, their first round pick, led the team with 859 yards receiving and round two pick, LeSean McCoy gained more than 1,600 yards from scrimmage and led the NFL with 20 touchdowns. He was also the MVP of my fantasy team last year. Philly also found Moise Fokou in the seventh round. Never heard of him? You’re not alone, but according to philadelphiaeagles.com, Fokou “established himself as one of the Eagles top special teams performers in his rookie season before earning a starting job in his sophomore campaign.” That’s a nice find in round seven.