Thursday, September 25, 2008

Kings need to plan for future

With NBA training camps starting in a matter of days, it’s time to look at what’s in store for the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings made some big moves this off-season, sending their most talented player, Ron Artest, and 2008 draft picks Sean Singletary and Patrick Ewing, Jr., to Houston. In return, the Kings get Bobby Jackson, rookie Donte Greene and a first-round pick in 2009.

Point guard Beno Udrih was signed to a 5-year contract extension, and the team added depth at this position by signing Bobby Brown out of Cal State-Fullerton.

Sacramento drafted 6’11" forward-center Jason Thompson out of Rider. Thompson averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds his senior year at Rider, according to the Kings’ website.

It’s safe to say the Kings are in the midst of their "rebuilding" stage. They are young, with seven players on the roster having played three seasons or less.

Head coach Reggie Theus must realize this team, as constructed, are not contenders. There is no need to play the veterans extended minutes. The young guys like Thompson, Spencer Hawes, Donte Greene and Shelden Williams need a chance to play. This is part of the rebuilding process.

I was a fan of the Artest trade. I loved Artest while he was a King but it was time to move on. They weren’t in a position to win a championship when he was here, and I like the potential that Greene has.

Jackson, who played for Sacramento from 2001-2005, is a fan-favorite. But, at the age of 35, he doesn’t have much gas left in the tank. If Brown does in fact make the team, I would rather see him get some playing time.

I want to see Kevin Martin take control late in games and establish himself as the true leader of this team. His scoring should increase with Artest gone.

What kind of team will the Kings be? They’re not a defensive team. They were one of the worst defensive teams last season, giving up 104.8 points a game, and losing their best perimeter defender won’t help. On the flip side, they were eighth in the league in scoring, at 102.5 per game.

If I’m Theus, I let these guys run. With the Western conference being as stacked as it is, they will struggle to win 40 games let alone make the playoffs. Might as well have fun with it. The way this team is constructed, they are better suited to play fast.
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Howard's actions hurt himself, league's image

Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Howard is in hot water again.
Recently a YouTube video surfaced showing Howard at a charity flag football game back in July. In the background, the Star Spangled Banner was playing, and Howard is quoted as saying, "The Star Spangled Banner is going on. I don’t even celebrate this (expletive). I’m black."

This is just the latest controversy surrounding the troubled Howard. According to ESPN, in July Howard was arrested and charged with speeding, careless and reckless driving and speed competition in North Carolina.

Earlier in the year, Howard admitted he occasionally smokes marijuana, and also threw a birthday party for himself after a playoff loss, according to ESPN.

This irresponsible behavior is a big black-eye to the NBA. It won’t drive any hardcore fans away, but it is this type of nonsense that loses the casual fan. This isn’t good, especially considering the corrupted referee scandal occurred earlier this year.

Now, I understand he has freedom of speech, and can say, essentially, whatever he wants to. But as a public figure, you have to be held accountable for your actions and words. Particularly when you’re on camera. In this day and age, all it takes is a couple minutes for (almost) anything to be uploaded on the Internet, where it can yield hundreds, thousands, even millions of hits.

What bothers me the most with his comments is the last part, when he says, "I’m black." It seems like he is making an ignorant generalization that African-Americans don’t "celebrate" the Star Spangled Banner.

Howard, when his head is on straight, is one of the top talents in the NBA. He was an all-star in 2007, when the Mavericks had the best record in the league at 67-15.

It’s going to be interesting on November 1st, when the Dallas Mavericks play their first road game at Minnesota vs. the Timberwolves. Don’t expect opposing crowds to go easy on him this season.
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Al Davis puts pride before his team

The Oakland Raiders franchise has many issues under the surface and soon it will all fall apart, if it hasn’t already. Al Davis has a problem with his head coach yet again. Lane Kiffin is in his second year of coaching the Raiders and is being told to hand in his resignation. He’s being told to resign instead of Davis firing him because then Davis wouldn’t have to pay him the rest of his contract, which amounts to $4 million, and can hire a new head coach. But, Kiffin like any smart person wants to get paid what he’s promised in the contract and told Davis that the only way he can get rid of Kiffin is if he fires him. Then Davis will just write him a check and hire a new head coach to be Davis’ new pet for another year.

But, Davis is very prideful and would rather ruin Kiffin’s life and possibly his career before he’ll pay him a dime for not coaching. So, instead of thinking about his team that he is responsible for and hire a new coach he decides to make Kiffin’s life hell and won’t give in. Meanwhile, Kiffin doesn’t care because either way he’ll get paid since he won’t quit. He won’t have much incentive to work hard if Davis decides to stick to his guns and not fire him because Kiffin knows his contract won’t be renewed anyways. But, if Davis finally cracks then Kiffin gets paid the rest of his contract and gets to go to a better team like John Gruden did with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

What’s even worse is Davis’ little minions public relations director Mike Taylor and senior executive John Herrera are backing Davis and trying to make Kiffin quit. According to reports, Herrera took an column that hated on Kiffin and distributed to the press room in Alameda. Taylor is doing the same thing and is not supporting Kiffin whatsoever.

How does this look to the players of the team? These players are supposedly playing their hearts out on the field for a coach that could care less and an owner that cares more about money than a good team. It’s a surprise the team beat the Kansas City Chiefs with all this drama going on. And who is going to support a coach that no one liked in the first place except for Davis. Besides, all this started because Kiffin wanted to get rid of Ryan and now everyone seems to be turning on him.

The Oakland Raiders Franchise needs a smack in the face, or a kick in the butt will do too. That way it’ll wake up someone to see the real reason this fight is still even going on. It’s because Davis is so prideful that he won’t back down and his team is feeling the percussions of it. Davis needs to get rid of Kiffin as soon as possible if he wants his team to have an even small chance at the Wildcard spot this season. He’s the one that chose Kiffin in the first place and should be the one to pay for his mistakes, literally.

Raiders’ fans please speak up for your confused organization and tell them to get their heads out of their butts because your franchise is starting to smell. Someone has to have a heart for this team and actually care about it, but who will stick up for it?
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday Sept. 14 football recap

Sunday football on Sept. 14 had some close games and some blow outs, but all-in-all it was a very exciting day for most fans.

It’s been a long time since both of the bay area teams, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers, both won a game. And the New England Patriots are still going strong after losing quarterback Tom Brady to a season ending injury, but New York Jets quarterback Brett Favre needs to get his act together if he wants to stay out of retirement. Another great game to watch was San Diego Chargers’ loss over Denver Broncos. Lastly, Tampa Bay Buccaneers must be mentioned for its victory over the Atlanta Falcons. For more game recaps, visit

The Raiders: This game was a little dull because they were playing the Kansas City Chiefs, which isn’t the best team this year. An example of how bad the Chiefs are this season is that during the game, they had to use three quarterbacks and ended with quarterback Tyler Thigpen, who helped put the Chiefs on the board. But, the Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski kicked his 56-yard field goal for a team-record and the players dominated the field for once. Hopefully the Raiders can keep us this strong drive for the next game against the Buffalo Bills.

The 49ers: This was an amazing game to watch because it was such a close game all the way until the end. J.T. O’Sullivan showed that there is hope for the 49ers to have a decent quarterback on the team because last year none of the quarterbacks were good enough. For example, this is the first quarterback to throw for over 300 yards since 2002. The 49ers were tied with the Seattle Seahawks 30-30 when kicker Joe Nedney missed the winning field goal for San Francisco. But, there still was a chance for victory in overtime, which the team proved after finally making a field goal to end the game with 33-30 victory over the Seahawks. The only thing this quarterback needs to work on as well as the line is pass protection and getting rid of the ball because O’Sullivan was sacked 12 times in the game, which could’ve injured him.

The Patriots: The new quarterback for this team Matt Cassel started for the first time in his career since high school. But, with a talented team of players backing him, he led the team to victory over the Jets 19-10. The Patriots played a clean game for once with no turnovers and no penalties. But, a talented team can only take a rookie quarterback so far until he needs to find his own skills to get him through. This team will probably go far because of the players, but will not have a repeat of last year of being undefeated, especially with the Dallas Cowboys on its tail. Many people were cheering for Favre and hope he does well this season because of the ruckus he made over coming out of retirement. After this loss, he will need to prove himself even more to his fans in order to keep the fans loyalty.

The Broncos: This game was exhilarating, especially with the fumble that wasn’t called. Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler threw the ball, but it slipped out of his hands and into the defenders hands. This was supposed to be a fumble, but the official blew the whistle and called the play dead. The Broncos bounced back with a touchdown making the game tied. But, Coach Mike Shanahan decided to end the game there with a 2-point conversion that was successful. Running back Darren Sproles from the Broncos made an amazing play by returning a kickoff for 103 yards. And Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall came so close to Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens record of 20 catches in a game, but made a franchise record of 18 catches for 166 yards.

The Buccaneers: This team plowed over the Falcons with a 24-9 victory. Although Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback Jeff Garcia was injured, quarterback Brian Griese stepped it up and got in the zone to pull off this win over the teams’ division rival. Garcia might want to stay on the injured list for a while and give Griese a chance to pick up this team and bring it to the playoffs. Buccaneers running back Earnest Graham helped solidify this victory with a 68-yard touchdown run.

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