Thursday, February 27, 2014

CBB to NBA Player Comparisons: Russ Smith

There are a couple pro players who remind me of Russ Smith, including Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings.  However, the comparison that I think is most accurate is Nuggets guard Nate Robinson. Both Smith and Robinson are very small, at 6'0'' and 5'9'' respectively, but make up for it with their incredible acceleration, quickness, and jumping ability.  Also, they have a unique talent in creating shots for themselves (and knocking these shots down) as well as making creative plays around rim amongst players that often have a full foot on them.  Additionally, despite their poor size, Smith and Robinson both manage to chip in on the boards, and they are also fairly good passers and dribblers at the point guard position.  Perhaps what is most similar between these two players is their knack for converting in clutch situations and their undeniable swagger.  People will say that because of his short frame, Russ Smith does not have a whole lot of potential as a NBA player, but players of this mold have actually been fairly successful in the NBA, with the pinnacle of short-player success in the NBA having been reached by Allen Iverson in the early 2000's.  It will certainly enthuse Russ Smith that scouts have recently been pointing out this interesting similarity that Smith shares with Iverson, but I'm going to stick with the Nate Robinson comparison until I see a little bit more.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

CBB to NBA Player Comparisons: Casey Prather

Casey Prather might be the most humble, hard-working player in all of college basketball this year, not to mention that he is an extremely talented player at the small forward position.  These characteristics alone suggest to me that Prather is very similar to Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.  Neither Prather nor Leonard make any noise off the court, with press conferences that are so perfectly unexciting due to their quiet natures.  However, on the court, the story is different, as both players are game changers on offense and defense.  In terms of offense, both rely on their incredible slashing ability to put points up on the board, but they are also no stranger to knocking down outside shots. Defensively, they are extremely hard workers and have very quick hands, which leads to tons of fast break points. Coming out of college, Leonard was drafted with the 15th overall pick, with the expectation being that he would develop into a solid role player.  Leonard has far surpassed that mark, and is now perhaps the most important player on the Spurs.  Likewise, last year for the Gators, Casey Prather averaged just 6.2 points per game and 3.7 rebounds per game, but this season he has emerged as the star player for a talented Florida team, averaging 14.8 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game.  These drastic improvements in Leonard and Prather's game speak to their unrivaled work ethic and dedication.  Any team that takes a chance on Prather will certainly be getting a hard worker who could eventually develop into a star.

CBB to NBA Player Comparisons: Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson is a superb college player but he projects as a fairly average player at the pro level because he is severely undersized at the shooting guard position, but does not have the necessary skill set to play point guard either.  Thus, I think Johnson's most relevant NBA comparison is Celtics combo-guard Avery Bradley.  Bradley's deficiencies are very similar to those of Johnson, as they both are shorter than 6'3'' (most shooting guards tend to be around 6'5'' or taller) and neither are effective enough at managing the game or passing to play the point guard position.  Despite these downfalls, they both have incredible defensive work rates and can knock down jump shots with relative consistency. Also, they tend to be fantastically exciting and powerful finishers around the rim, regardless of their short stature.  Though he probably won't turn into a star at the next level, any team that drafts Johnson will be getting an intense role player with the characteristics of a lesser Avery Bradley.

An Ode to the BCS

O, sweetly supreme arbitrator of justice,
Our universe will never be the same

Never more!
At the whim of computers that some pretend to understand
                                                   (nobody alas, does)
ESPN would hold, vaguely, that the system made sense.
And we few, we happy few, drank the koolaid.

That fine spirit! We drank deeply and happily, oh so willingly,
At the well of entirely arbitrary college football championships.
I for one would always remain loyal,
"It's a good game anyways."

And it always was, friend.
Treasured BCS, you gave us so many moments.
Time immemorial will remember Vince Young and a Longhorn upset,
and who could forget Boise St. over Oklahoma?

For that was, in my heart, the appeal you held so deeply
Chance, or dare I say fate,
Bound to give us a game for the ages, regardless of the complaints.

Those whiners! I will miss their noise
(our noise, and here I beg forgiveness)
The perennial flurry of outrage,
Melodramatic calls for your untimely demise,
Or the overhaul of

"A good game, yes" they say, "but not the best."
Come now, such arguments would make sense.
Not allowed in our world, BCS.
On that premise did you thrive!

To whom, now do we turn to center ourselves around?
Who else could mete out justice so fittingly,
Yes, so justly as you?
I answer, with a heart that weighs
"Really easy, a four team playoff."
In fact, many a system would lend itself to replacing you.

But no! BCS, not the point.
I will miss you eternally.
About what do we now complain?
From where to derive the perfect source of frustration, mingled of course with excitement
A strange mixture, that one, ephemeral and timeless,
Hugely flawed and perfect.

I raise my glass (join me now, friends)
To 15 strong years
BCS, yours was a run for the ages.
May you rest peacefully in God's great college football heaven,
To be finally replaced by a system that works.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

CBB to NBA Player Comparisons: Gary Harris

Gary Harris is a polished scorer who can light up the basket from every spot on the court.  This simultaneous ability to knock down threes and finish around the rim reminds me of Suns shooting guard Gerald Green.  Both Green and Harris have great strokes from outside and midrange, while they also have the athleticism to make highlight-reel plays when they are slashing to the hoop.  Outside of this offensive production, though, neither of them really dominate in other parts of the game.  They both are mediocre rebounders and passers, while they play average defense.  They are, however, solid locker room leaders with high basketball IQ's.  Thus, though any team that drafts Harris won't be investing in a guy who will impact every aspect of the game, they will be getting a guy who can but the ball in the basket with consistency, make dynamic plays around the rim, and be a solid locker room presence. Those characteristics are exactly what Gerald Green has brought to every NBA team that he has played for.

CBB to NBA Player Comparisons: Aaron Gordon

Arizona power forward Aaron Gordon holds an eery resemblance to Clippers forward Blake Griffin. First off, they share incredible similarities in terms of look, as they are both ripped and stand around 6'9''.  Outside of that, their play styles are also remarkably similar, as they both have endless arsenals of explosive and powerful moves to the basket that often end up on SportsCenter highlight reels.  Both Griffin and Gordon have tremendous athleticism but are still working on polishing their outside game. They are also fantastic defenders, with long arms and quick feet that allow them to influence shots in the lane and stay with their man on the perimeter.  Gordon has as high a ceiling as anybody in this draft class not named Joel Embiid or Andrew Wiggins, so it would not be surprising to see a lottery team take a chance on him, as he has the tools to become a franchise player like Blake Griffin in the future.

Monday, February 24, 2014

CBB to NBA Player Comparisons: Shabazz Napier

For me, the NBA player most reminiscent of Shabazz Napier is Oklahoma City Thunder guard Derek Fisher.  Napier does not have great athleticism or size (only 6'2'' wingspan), but if there is one thing that he does have, it is the ability to make outside shots, especially when the game is on the line.  Fisher has this same ability, and showcased it most prominently in his years with the Lakers, when he hit clutch shot after clutch shot in the 2009 and 2010 seasons when the Lakers won the title.  Napier is developing as a passer and has actually become a decent rebounder too, while Fisher's passing and rebounding are both solid facets of his game.  Meanwhile, both are below-average defenders due to their smaller frames.  Because of his average athleticism and poor size, Napier has been labeled as a low-ceiling draftee, but if a team is looking for a clutch role player like Derek Fisher late in the draft, Napier might just be their man.

CBB to NBA Player Comparisons: Doug McDermott

Doug McDermott's best pro comparison is without a doubt Dirk Nowitzki.  Both are jump-shooting power forwards, with fantastic range and solid rebounding ability.  The characteristic that they share that sets them both apart from the pack is their unique ability to create shots for themselves.  Their ability to create shots is inspired by their brilliantly inventive array of shot types.  From one-footed fade-aways to leaning floaters, these two never seem to be denied a shooting opportunity and their shots nearly always seem to find the bottom of the net.  Additionally, neither of them have great athleticism, but thy manage to still be productive rebounders with good instincts and technique.  McDermott will go down as one of the best players in college basketball history, and I think that whichever team takes him near the middle or end of the first round may be getting a gem of a player.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

NFL Combine Day 1 Recap

The NFL Combine is now underway, where NFL teams are able to shop for some of college football's best players in order to enhance their depth chart. The biggest names in college football, including Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, and Jadeveon Clowney, all are looking to prove themselves in front of NFL scouts, which is why the NFL Combine is so important. here are notable story lines from Day 1.

Greg Robinson, an offensive tackle from Auburn, put on a show at the combine, particularly with his spectacular 40-yard dash time. Weighing in at 332 pounds, it is incredible that Robinson was able to run the 40 yards in 4.92 seconds, a time that ranked second among offensive linemen. Greg Robinson is already one of the nation's top prospects, but his incredible time may even propel him ahead of fellow offensive linemen Jake Matthews on the draft boards.

Taylor Lewan had the best 40 yard dash time of any offensive linemen, which is extremely important for him considering that he is behind offensive linemen Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews on most draft boards. Lewan weighs 23 pounds less than Greg Robinson, which goes to show how impressive Robinson's performance was. Lewan's performance was very good, but not quite enough to dethrone Robinson and Matthews as the top offensive linemen in this draft class.

Cyrus Kouandijo was the biggest loser from Day 1 in the NFL Combine. Seeing that Kouandijo is an extremely talented player coming out of Alabama, scouts were expecting him to post incredible numbers. Instead, Kouandijo failed a number of club physicals at the combine due to his long-term knee issues, and also posted mediocre to above average numbers for an offensive tackle. His disappointing combine will hurt his draft stock even more, especially after his poor performance in the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Game Recap: (1) Syracuse vs. (5) Duke

The big storyline of this game will likely be how Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was ejected with just ten seconds left to seal the win for Duke, but that should not be the case.  The game was an amazing one and tightly contested from start to finish.  Syracuse big men Jerami Grant and C.J. Fair were fantastic all game long, while Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood spearheaded the Duke attack.  Parker was undeniably the player of the game, but if C.J. Fair's potentially game-tying, acrobatic layup had not been disallowed due to a suspect charging call, he could have made a case for the honors himself.  The aspect of the game that will have everyone talking was the charge call.  At that point, Duke was leading 60 to 58, and Syracuse needed a basket, as there was little time left.  Fair drove baseline, and was met by Duke's Rodney Hood, who appeared to have arrived a tad bit late.  According to NCAA rules, the player who is taking the charge must be in position and stationary before the offensive player begins his motion upwards towards the basket.  It is not clear that Hood got there in time, but the technical fouls on Boeheim that followed can not be disputed.  His actions were absolutely deserving of the technicals, which is unfortunate because it will likely overshadow the game itself.  Syracuse's major downfall came in their outside shooting and the play of their two guards, Tyler Ennis and Trevor Cooney.  They shot a combined 3 for 18, which is hugely due to the intense and aggressive defensive play of Duke guards Rasheed Sulaiman and Tyler Thornton.  I hope that when we look back on this game, we won't be talking about the actions of Jim Boeheim or the uncertainty of the charge call, but rather the incredible offensive and defensive performance put on by Duke.

MLB Position Rankings: Third Base

Unlike many of the other positions, third base looks to be very deep in 2014. Does this mean you should wait until later rounds to snatch up a third baseman? Not necessarily. What it does mean is that there's some great value to be found in later rounds as well as the star power that you'd expect to find in the early rounds. Here are our rankings for 3B in 2014. (NOTE- Miguel Cabrera is not included as he is expected to shift back to 1B for the Tigers)

Sleepers- Will Middlebrooks, Nolan Arenado, Matt Dominguez

10- Pedro Alvarez- PIT
Alvarez is a classic one trick pony- he can hit for power, but that's about it. Much like an Adam Dunn, Alvarez will be a cheap source of power but will really hurt your fantasy team in just about every other category.

9- Brett Lawrie- TOR
Brett Lawrie is the perfect "post-hype sleeper" candidate. Just a few years ago he was touted as the one of the best prospects in the MLB but after a few disappointing seasons, many seem to have given up on Lawrie. The intangibles are still there, and 2014 could be the season that Lawrie finally puts it all together.

8- Kyle Seager- SEA
With the exception of Mariners fans, Seagar benefit more than anyone from the Mariners offseason spending. The addition of Robinson Cano to the lineup should not only take a little pressure off Seager, it should also increase his run total and RBIs. Expect a nice increase in production from Seager's 2013 numbers of .260/22/70.

7- Matt Carpenter- STL
Though Carpenter played mostly at 2B in 2013, he will most likely make the shift to 3B in 2014. Carpenter doesn't possess great power of speed, but he hits for average and scores tons of runs in a stacked Cardinals lineup. His .359 BABIP from last year should regress, but Carpenter is a great player to target if you don't want to draft a third baseman in the early rounds.

6- Ryan Zimmerman- WAS
Zimmerman is certainly one of the most talented third baseman in the league, but injuries have plagued nearly every one of his seasons in the MLB. Despite only averaging 133 games per season, Zimmerman has been a near lock for a .275 BA with 25 homers and 85 runs. Expect similar production for this season, but not much more.

5- Manny Machado- BAL
Machado's knee injury from late 2013 should be a slight concern for owners, but not a huge one. Machado is one of the most talented young players in the league and prior to his injury, he had only missed a total of 6 INNINGS of baseball in 212 career games. Should Machado make the opening day lineup, he would probably leap frog Josh Donaldson and David Wright to become the 3rd best third baseman in the league.

4- Josh Donaldson- OAK
2013 was Donaldson's breakout year as he hit .301 with 24 home runs with 93 RBIs. His batting average is a slight anomaly from his career averages so there is a small concern that it could drop a bit, nevertheless Donaldson is a talented player who should be targeted in the early rounds of your drafts.

3- David Wright- NYM
At this point in his career, you know what to expect from Wright. He will hit above .300 and will be a threat for 20/20 while driving in a good amount of runs and scoring them as well. His age could be a factor in the upcoming years but for 2014, Wright should produce like he has in the past.

2- Evan Longoria- TAM
Despite injuries that plagued him earlier in his career, Longoria finally stayed healthy in 2013 and his numbers reflect that. Longoria batted .269, par with his career average, while hitting 32 homers and driving in 88 runs. The Rays lineup was a bit disappointing in 2013 but should rebound in 2014 and with it expect an increase in RBIs for Longoria. Anything after the first or second round and Longoria should be considered a total steal.

1- Adrian Beltre- TEX
Well, did you expect anything else? Beltre has averaged a .312/33/100 batting line over the past three seasons and is the only 3rd baseman over that period to hit over .275 with 25 homers in each of those seasons. Yes, his age could start to become a concern in the coming years, but for 2014 Beltre should produce just like he has in previous years.

Game Recap: (7) Cincinnati vs. (11) Louisville

Cincinnati managed to contain Louisville's Russ Smith for 39 minutes and 58 seconds, but all Smith needed was those two remaining seconds to put his stamp on this game.  I suggested before the game that the Smith vs. Kilpatrick matchup was one to keep an eye on, and Kilpatrick held up his end of the bargain, finishing the game with 28 points and 6 rebounds.  Meanwhile, Smith struggled for the most part, shooting 3 for 10 on the game for just 10 points, but the only contribution from Russ that people will remember was his beautiful jumper to give Louisville the lead with just two seconds left.  In all honesty, the game probably came down to supporting casts around these two superstars.  While Louisville's big man Montrez Harrell put up 21 points and 10 rebounds to support Russ Smith, Cincinnati lacked any sort of support around Kilpatrick, with the next highest scorer after him only recording eight points.  This is a tough loss for Cincinnati, as they fought back so valiantly after being down fairly big late in the second half, but Louisville probably deserved the win.

2014 NBA Trade Deadline Review

The trade deadline has come and gone in the NBA, and despite the lack of a major star being dealt, such as Rajon Rondo, many teams still managed to improve either for this season or for the future. Here are the major deals of deadline and grades for the teams that made them:

Trade #1

Indiana Pacers Acquire:
Evan Turner, G/F
Lavoy Allen, F

Philadelphia 76ers Acquire:
Danny Granger, F

This was quite a shock for Pacers fans, as little as two years ago Danny Granger was the franchise. But after his year-long injury in 2012-13, he has been replaced by Paul George as the star of the Pacers. Now, he was expected to be a major role player as a sixth man for the Pacers as they hope to forge deep into the playoffs, and at 30 years old, has been a mentor and leader to many of the younger guys on the team. Turner, on the other hand, would most likely leave via free agency after this season, so the Sixers were hoping to get something for him before then. However, they seemed to have realized there was not a big market for him, so decided to settle for making their team even worse for the stretch run, in hopes of landing the #1 overall pick. The accomplished just that, while the Pacers added a guy who can score in volumes when needed, is more explosive than the much older Granger, and is a versatile player for a team with not much depth off the bench. It is a risk for Indiana though, because Turner had the tendency to disappear with Philly, even when the go-to-guy there. They have to hope Turner can play much more consistently down the stretch for them than he has throughout his career with the Sixers.

Pacers Grade: B
Sixers Grade: B+

Trade #2

Brooklyn Nets Acquire:
Marcus Thornton, G

Sacramento Kings Acquire:
Jason Terry, G
Reggie Evans, F

At only 26 years old, Marcus Thornton is a huge upgrade at backup guard over Jason Terry for the Nets. A tandem of Thornton and Kirilenko off the bench could be dynamic for a Brooklyn team rising in the standings and hoping to make a deep playoff run. Thornton is only averaging 8.3 PPG this year, but his career total is 13.5, and that fall off has to do with his diminished role with the Kings since they drafted Ben McLemore. With a new opportunity and a talented team around him his explosiveness could return quickly. Jason Terry has been a huge disappointment, only scoring 4.5 per game. The Nets thought they could be getting a "JET" off the bench when they got him in the deal with Pierce and Garnett, but as the Nets struggled out of the gate, so did he, except as they improved he didn't. The Nets made a good decision to make an upgrade at a vital position, and they only needed to give up Reggie Evans, who has been terrible in terms of offensive production off the bench (2.7 PPG) and only average in terms of rebounding (5.0 RPG). The Kings received pretty much just made themselves worse with this trade, which could help them in their lottery standing, but is completely contradictory to the trade they made earlier this year for Rudy Gay. The Kings are a troubled franchise, and it only got worse with this trade, while the Nets took a low risk opportunity to improve their bench that has disappointed the entire year.
Nets Grade: A-
Kings Grade: C+

Trade #3

Cleveland Cavaliers Acquire:
Spencer Hawes, C

Philadelphia 76ers Acquire:
Henry Sims, C
Earl Clark, F
2 Second-Round Draft Picks

Spencer Hawes has been having a break-out season, with 12.9 PPG and 8.6 RPG, but apparently the Sixers did not feel he would factor into their future plans. To me it is surprising, because he is versatile and can shoot from the outside, that they could not get a 1st round pick for him. However, they decided to settle for 2 second-rounders, which is a solid haul for a player that everyone seems to underrate, except they will probably not make much out of those picks or the players they got as well. They true purpose for this deal was, like the Evan Turner trade, to get worse and have a better chance at the #1 pick. The Cavs, on the other hand, find themselves in the thick of the playoff race in an incredibly weak Eastern Conference, so adding a player like Hawes off the bench might make them advance a bit farther into the playoffs. However, there is little to no chance that they make it past the Pacers or Heat, so they are likely a second round exit or even earlier. That is not good for the Cavs franchise, and where the Atlanta Hawks have been for the past few years: stuck in the middle. They have to bank on the development on their young players and free agency going forward.

Cavs Grade: B+
Sixers Grade: B

Trade #4

Washington Wizards Acquire:
Andre Miller, G

Denver Nuggets Acquire:
Jan Vesely, F

Philadelphia 76ers Acquire:
Eric Maynor, G
2 Second-Round Draft Picks

The Wizards are in the same position as the Cavs, so they could make a run at the playoffs but are no way good enough to get past the first or maybe the second round. In Miller they acquire an older backup point guard who could instill valuable experience onto the young Wizards roster come playoff time, especially John Wall and Bradley Beal. He has been a disappointment this year, with only 5.9 PPG and 3.3 APG, but this is really more of a depth move for the Wizards with the chance of playing much better with more playing time. The Sixers just keep raking in the draft picks, and could eventually package a bunch together to make things happen with all the picks they have the next few years. They gave up nothing to get the Wizards what they wanted, and got 2 picks out of the deal. The Nuggets wanted to dump Miller's salary, and since he hasn't played well anyway, they gave up little to get a little less plus some cap relief. This deal didn't do much for them, the Wizards gave up a fair amount to get a solid backup, and the Sixers gave up almost nothing to add to their major stock of draft picks. Philly has been very active in trades the last few days, and this is one of them that brings in much more in returns than they gave up.

Wizards Grade: B+
Nuggets Grade: B
Sixers Grade: A

Now, there were certainly other deals this trade deadline, but these four are likely to make the largest impacts going forward for all the teams involved. Of course, all of the big-time rumors never panned out, but it was a little surprising to not see the Boston Celtics make any trades, considering position where they many talented players that don't fit well together, and are looking stockpile picks for the future. The Sixers had a very good deadline, perhaps in the same fashion as the Celtics would have liked to, and seem to be the winners of deadline day at this point. They got rid of salary, gained picks, and got worse, which, in this season of tank-a-palooza, is crucial since they, like so many other teams, have the goal of getting the #1 pick.

College Basketball Games to Watch: February 22nd

(1) Syracuse vs. (5) Duke - If you don't plan on watching this game you need to rethink your day. Ever since Syracuse joined the ACC back in the offseason, this is the game that we've been waiting for. The first matchup between these two certainly did not fail to disappoint, with Syracuse winning 91 to 89 in overtime.  Duke will likely be wanting revenge after that loss back in February, and they come right off a heartbreaking loss against North Carolina.  Similarly, Syracuse come off a heartbreaking loss of their own, having just been defeat for the first time this season by lowly Boston College.  All I can hope for is that we get to see a little more of Duke star Jabari Parker, who fouled out in the last meeting between these two.

(6) San Diego State vs. New Mexico - These two teams are top of the Mountain West and there is nobody else really close.  The next best team after San Diego State, who are 12-1, and New Mexico, who are 11-2, is UNLV, who are just 8-5 in the conference.  Thus, this game will certainly decide the winner of the Mountain West, but it also has huge tournament implications for New Mexico.  As a fringe team, they are still looking for their first win and what better a way than against conference rival San Diego State.  The game also won't be lacking in scoring excitement, as New Mexico's in-out combo of Cameron Bairstow and Kendall Williams is sure to to light up the score board, while San Diego State's Xavier Thames can put up points in a big way too.

(7) Cincinnati vs. (11) Louisville - Outside of the obvious fact that this game could decide the winner of the American Conference, I am interested to watch the matchup between superstar guards Sean Kilpatrick for Cincinnati and Russ Smith for Louisville.  Kilpatrick is averaging 20.2 points per game, while Russ Smith is averaging 17.8 points per game.  In the first meeting between these two, Sean Kilpatrick put up 28 points as Cincinnati fought back to win by three.  Meanwhile, Russ Smith did not have an efficient game, and ended up with just 16 points on 6 for 15 shooting.  Louisville will be out to get revenge in this hugely significant game between the two teams at the top of the American Conference.

(8) Kansas vs. (19) Texas - Much like the other three games, this matchup is likely to decide the fate of the Big 12, with Kansas having a two game cushion over Texas at the top of the conference.  More than that, though, this game represents a chance for revenge for Kansas, who were beaten by 12 by Texas.  That was back when Texas were in incredible form, as they miraculously won four games in a row against ranked opponents.  Now, Texas have cooled off a fair bit, loosing two of their last four. Certainly, Kansas will look at this as a great chance for revenge against their conference rivals, while Texas will look to get back to winning ways against ranked teams.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Jim Harbaugh Nearly Traded to Cleveland Browns

Earlier this evening, a story broke on Pro Football Talk that the Cleveland Browns were having serious discussions with the San Francisco 49ers regarding a trade involving coach Jim Harbaugh. For a franchise that has not won a Super Bowl, Jim Harbaugh would have been a perfect addition to the coaching staff in Cleveland, instead of Cleveland's recent hiring of Mike Pettine, the former defensive coordinator for Buffalo. In return for trading away Harbaugh, the San Francisco 49ers would have likely received several draft picks from the Browns. In his first three seasons with the 49ers, Harbaugh has taken the 49ers to three straight NFC Championship Games, as well as one Super Bowl. On the other hand, the Browns finished 2013 at 4-12, and have not made the playoffs since 2002.  For now, however, Jim Harbaugh will remain in San Francisco.

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Pre-Combine

1. Houston Texans: QB Teddy Bridgewater: Throughout the college football season, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater seemed like the clear first overall pick, even when he was no longer a part of the Heisman race. Now, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles are both becoming legitimate contenders for the first overall pick in the upcoming draft. The NFL Combine will be a clear sign of who will be drafted by the Texans this year, but as of right now, Teddy Bridgewater remains the favorite.

2. St. Louis Rams: OT Jake Matthews: The offensive line is not a major problem for the St. Louis Rams, and I would think that the Rams will trade this pick away seeing that they will likely stick with quarterback Sam Bradford, therefore are in no need of drafting a quarterback. If they were to keep this pick, an improved offensive line would be a good idea in order to protect the healing quarterback.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Blake Bortles: Blake Bortles is quickly rocketing up mock draft boards, and may be giving Teddy Bridgewater a run for his money as the first overall pick. Bortles' size, standing at 6'4", 230 pounds, is comparable to that of Colts' quarterback Andrew Luck. Not only can Bortles throw the ball (163.4 passer rating in 2013), but he rushed for 15 touchdowns while at UCF.

4. Cleveland Browns: QB Johnny Manziel: Looking at Johnny Manziel's passing statistics, it is obvious that Manziel had a better year passing the ball. Manziel had career highs this past season in completions (300), completion percentage (69.9), passing yards (4,114), touchdowns (37), and passer rating (172.9). The Browns are a mess, and Brandon Weeden has made it clear that he wants out of Cleveland. In the words of Johnny Manziel, "If something happens, and it's the Cleveland Browns, I'm going to pour my heart out for the Dawg Pound and try to win a Super Bowl for Cleveland."

5. Oakland Raiders: DE Jadeveon Clowney: Clowney is bound to have an excellent performance in the combine, and his well-rounded numbers are sure to attract an abundance of NFL teams; however, his draft stock has fallen since the start of the season due to a relatively disappointing year in 2013. His three sacks in 2013 is a huge drop-off from his spectacular sophomore season in 2012. Clowney's inconsistency may even drop him out of the top 5 considering all of the talented quarterbacks.

6. Atlanta Falcons: OLB Khalil Mack: Khalil Mack is coming out of a small school, where he recorded 10.5 sacks with 100 combined tackles in 2013. His most important accomplishment in 2013 was the 9 tackles with 2.5 sacks in the season opener against Ohio State. The Atlanta Falcons ranked 29th in the league in defensive sacks, so a skilled pass rusher is an absolute must for the Falcons.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Greg Robinson: Throughout Auburn's incredible run in the 2013 season, offensive tackle Greg Robinson gained a lot of attention, especially by creating excellent holes for star running back Tre Mason. Standing at 6'5" and 320 pounds, Greg Robinson shut down some of the best defensive players in college football, which is why Robinson will be one of the first offensive linemen to be drafted in this year's draft.

8. Minnesota Vikings: WR Sammy Watkins: Last year, the Minnesota Vikings signed Greg Jennings to a 5 year deal, but in his first season with the Vikings, he recorded just 804 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. Greg Jennings is on the wrong side of 30, so in order to take pressure off of Adrian Peterson and the running game, Sammy Watkins would be the best option for Minnesota.
9. Buffalo Bills: OT Taylor Lewan: Buffalo's offensive line allowed 48 sacks in 2013, which ranked 28th overall in the league. Offensive tackle Erik Pears will be 32 at the start of next season, and his contract will expire in 2015. Meanwhile, Taylor Lewan is a large, powerful offensive tackle who played four years at Michigan, and was named to two All American teams. Most importantly, Lewan won back to back Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year Awards, which is awarded to the best offensive lineman in the Big Ten.

10. Detroit Lions: DE/OLB Anthony Barr: Detroit's front seven sure has plenty of talent, and yet they  ranked 28th overall in terms of sacks. Detroit's outside linebackers have combined for 2 career sacks, even though both have played for 5 seasons. Anthony Barr is the most talented linebacker in this year's draft, but he is talented enough to play defensive end as well. In two seasons at UCLA, Barr recorded 23.5 sacks, which is why the Detroit Lions need to draft him in order to improve the pass rush.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

CBB to NBA Player Comparisons: Tyler Ennis

Offensively, Ennis is a fantastic leader, great passer, and incredible finisher around the rim, especially for someone his size.  On the defensive end of the court, though, Ennis lacks elite size and may struggle to transition from the Syracuse zone to a NBA man-to-man system.  When taking in all of these characteristics, the pro player that Ennis most reminds me of is Spurs point guard Tony Parker.  First off, both Parker and Ennis are primarily pass first point guards with great attitudes and leadership abilities.  Also, nobody in the college game is able to perform a floater quite like Tyler Ennis, while Parker's floater is thought of as one of the best in the NBA.  In terms of negatives, neither of them are outstanding on-ball defenders and they are both have relatively small frames, even for point guards. Ennis is shooting up draft boards at the moment and it is easy to see why; much like Parker, he has an NBA ready mind and is a bona fide winner.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

CBB to NBA Player Comparisons: Marcus Smart

When scouts talk about Marcus Smart, the one thing that they say over and over is that he has got the "x-factor" or the "clutch gene."  The only suitable pro comparison that I see for him is another combo guard who has ice in his veins when the game is on the line - Miami Heat shooting guard Dwayne Wade.  Critics will say that Smart's recent altercation with a fan shows bad character and poor intangibles, but the feeling around college basketball is that Smart is actually a good guy with a team attitude, who is a very smart player and a leader on the court.  Wade, too, is renowned for his unselfishness and leadership ability.  Meanwhile, the similarities in position and play style are also abundant, as both Wade and Smart are combo guards with an explosive ability to get to the rim and make clutch outside shots when the game is on the line.  Additionally, they both have fantastic defensive instincts and are solid passers of the ball on offense.  Perhaps Smart is not quit as talented as Dwayne Wade, but he certainly has the attitude and skills to make a fairly solid impact in the pros.

CBB to NBA Player Comparisons: Julius Randle

Randle, with his polished offensive game and unstoppable rebounding ability, reminds me of Warriors power forward David Lee.  Randle and Lee both have above-average jump shots for big men, can get it done offensively on the inside, and have strong frames that make them impossible to get around on the boards.  Another similarity is their natural athleticism, which allows them to run in transition and make powerful plays around the rim.  Despite their athleticism, though, they are both sub-par on the defensive end of the floor and their lack of elite wingspans limits their potential at the NBA level.  Randle will likely be a high draft pick because he is one of the more NBA-ready players in this year's class, but it remains to be seen whether his less-than-subtle flaws will be exposed when he makes it to the pros. Lee has been able to succeed without being an incredible defender or having an outstanding wingspan, so maybe Randle will be able to do the same.

Worst Tattoos in the NBA, Past and Present: #16 & #15

20.  Stephon Marbury

19.  Matt Barnes

18.  Allen Iverson

17.  Reggie Miller

16/15.  Kobe Bryant/LeBron James

        Double the wait comes with double the reward. These two players both warrant one spot, because although their tattoos are not too plentiful or outlandish, but they both have a signature tattoo that can be classified as ridiculous. Obviously, Kobe and LeBron are two of the best players in this generation, and are up there in terms of greatest ever. They also huge egos. To be fair, it is probably impossible to be so famous and so rich as those two are and to not have a pretty big ego, but that is why guys like Tim Duncan, who don't flaunt their greatness, are so respected. But I mean, look at their tattoos.
        First of all is Kobe's "Vanessa" tattoo, with his wife's hair and outline of her upper body under, yes, a halo. Then there is a crown above Vanessa, but it is unclear if it goes with the tattoo below, saying that his wife is a queen, or if it is supposed to stand alone to let the entire world know that he is king. Whichever it is, I think everybody would be better served if he wore long sleeve shirts and so we couldn't see his right arm.
        Now for LeBron, who at least has his covered up most of the time. But when you look at it, it doesn't even matter where it is. Just the fact that he has "CHOSEN 1" across his back is bad enough. Not to mention that it looks like LeBron's tattoo artist just ran out of room at the end of "CHOSEN" so just threw in the "1" instead of "ONE." LeBron's tattoo did result in some humor though, when Anderson Varejao (back when LeBron was in Cleveland) put "CHOSEN 2" on his back.
        All in all, these two have egos that, whether or not they ever diminish (doubtful, of course), will live on forever in their tattoos, which warrants them these spots on this list.

Queen Vanessa or King Kobe?
An Eternal Ego
I bet LeBrown is Scowling Inside

Friday, February 14, 2014

College Basketball Player of the Year Rankings

1. Jabari Parker, Duke
With his recent 29 point, 16 rebound outing against Boston College, Parker vaulted himself to the top of these rankings.  Outside of the game against Syracuse when he fouled out, Parker has dominated as of late, with four double-doubles in his last six games.  Though he certainly deserves this spot, he has been awarded it partly due to the recent loss of Creighton's Doug McDermott to lowly St. Johns.

2. Doug McDermott, Creighton
McDermott's numbers are outrageous.  25.3 points per game and 7 rebounds per game is an incredible stat line in college basketball, but his stock takes a hit because he plays in a fairly weak Big East field.  Creighton has had a fantastic season nonetheless, and they will need to keep it up if they want McDermott to win the player of the year award.

3. Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
Ennis doesn't have great stats like McDermott (11.9 points per game and 5.6 assists per game) and he is not quite top-5 draft material like Jabari Parker but he still in the race for the player of the year award because he does everything that does not show up on the stats sheet.  He is the on-court leader of first ranked Syracuse, and, as evidenced in his recent heroics against Pittsburgh, he absolutely has the clutch gene.  There is no doubt in my mind that if Syracuse continue their wonderful season, Ennis will remain in the player of the year conversation.

4. Shabazz Napier, Connecticut
Everybody knew that Shabazz Napier could score, but nobody thought that Napier would fill up the other parts of the box score like he has done this year.  With an incredibly well-rounded stat line of 17.3 points per game, 5.9 rebounds per game, and 5.3 assists for game, Napier has done it all this year for a tournament-bound Connecticut team.

5. Nick Johnson, Arizona
Much like Ennis, Johnson does not have an outrageous stat line and is not set to be an extremely high pick in the draft, but he has done all the little things right and has been the leader of the second best team in the country.  15.9 points per game and 3.6 rebounds per game is certainly not a bad line, but it also doesn't stand out.  However, Johnson is one of the best on-ball defenders and his incredible consistency and drive cannot be understated.

Others Considered:
Nik Stauskas, Michigan - Has incredible stats but has not played well enough in the last few games, leading to two recent surprise losses for Michigan.
Deandre Kane/Melvin Ejim, Iowa State - Truth be told, they seem to be ruining each other's player of the year chances, as they are having to share points and rebounds.
Julius Randle, Kentucky - After a blistering start to the season, Randle has been severely underwhelming as of late.
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State - The recent suspension will certainly hurt his player of the year credentials.
Keith Appling/Gary Harris/Adreian Payne, Michigan State - Appling, Harris, and Payne are having to share stats and the injuries won't help them either.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Worst Tattoos in the NBA, Past and Present: #17

20.  Stephon Marbury

19.  Matt Barnes

18.  Allen Iverson

17.  Reggie Miller

Reggie Miller was obviously a great player, and one of only a few players to have played for the same team for his entire career. Miller played 17 seasons for the Pacers. Incredible. At first glance, you would never expect him to have any tattoos, let alone one in the oddest of places that makes absolutely no sense. There is only one picture of Reggie Miller, because he only has one tattoo (well, let's hope he only has one). Therefore, his one tattoo must be pretty awful in order to make it onto this. Oh, it is. It sort of looks like he tried to fashion his belly button as the face of a lion, with pretty large mane around it. Or maybe he wanted a permanent bellybutton ring that someone goes around the actual bellybutton. No matter what what his plan was, to get a tattoo as awkward and terrible as the one he has (and to flaunt in the way he seems to be doing in the picture), Reggie Miller has to be either out of his mind, or the loser of a bet. Whichever the answer is, I feel for the guy. That is one nasty tattoo.

No Comment.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Worst Tattoos in the NBA, Past and Present: #18

20.  Stephon Marbury

19.  Matt Barnes

18.  Allen Iverson:

Allen Iverson was a great NBA player, averaging over 26 points per game over his entire career. That is pretty amazing, but Iverson's greatness on the court came with a huge ego off the court. His tattoos exemplify his personality amazingly, for example the one on his back that says "FAME" with subtext of "F@#!? All My Enemies." The thing is, he was probably completely serious when he decided to get that one. Another prime example of Iverson's egotism is the blatant "MONEY BAGZ" on the back of his left hand. He wants people to see it. He loves the attention. Just look at his face, which is the same in every picture. Allen Iverson has tried to build his reputation as a tough guy, but it is, frankly, hard to take the guy seriously because his tattoos are a joke (just look at the other pictures!).

Allen Iverson Looking Real Cool
Iverson Deep in Though - About Bagz of Money

Allen Iverson's Clever Acronym
Iverson Trying to Copy the Face of the Skull on His Arm

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Worst Tattoos in the NBA, Past and Present: #19

20.  Stephon Marbury

19.  Matt Barnes:

Since Matt Barnes entered the NBA in 2003, he has played for 9 teams. He has occasionally been effective off the bench, but has been mostly known for his "character issues" and uncontrollable temper. Well, just from looking at his face in the last picture, you can tell that he might not be the most constructive member of a locker room, maybe playing a part in his inability to stick with one team. However, I would not be surprised if all 9 teams just got sick of his tattoos. The praying hands with the word "Believe" smack on the side of his neck. The conspicuous Rolling Stones tongue tattoo in full blown color that the entire world can see every time he takes a shot. The numerous angels on his front, random quotes fill in every open space. These all combine to make a pretty bad collage of tattoos for Barnes. But maybe the most scary part, once again judging by his face in the last picture, is the many many more tattoos he is likely to get.
The Rolling Stones
Praying Hands
Matt Barnes Before With a Lot of Tattoos - But He Would Add More
Matt Barnes Adding More

Monday, February 10, 2014

Worst Tattoos in the NBA, Past and Present: #20

Welcome to the first installment of "Worst Tattoos in the NBA." First of all, there are so many bad ones, that it was really hard to come up with this list, especially its order. Nevertheless, a new post each day will contain another player(s) and his/their horrendous tattoos. A link to each of the previous posts will be provided as well. I hope you all enjoy cringing at these tattoos and criticizing my rankings!

20.  Stephon Marbury:

Marbury played for five franchises in the Timberwolves, Nets, Suns, Knicks, and Celtics, but was most known, especially later in his career, for the half-star tattoo smack on the side of his fully-bald head. To be honest, it looks horrendous, but he probably likes having people stare and gawk at his head wherever he goes. Marbury also appears to be sporting some type of ribbon or chain wrapped around his left arm. Unless he was going for the ex-convict look (which is entirely possible), he might experience second thoughts on that one sooner rather than later. To top it off, he has his own name written on his right shoulder, some Chinese characters and the word "CHINA" on that same left arm that is in bondage from the chains, and some other words in pictures filling out his arms and neck. All in all, Marbury's tattoos are not the worst in the NBA, but they are still pretty bad.

His Chinese Right Arm in Bondage
The Infamous Demented Star

His Tattoos in Action
Marbury Looking Thrilled with all his Tattoos

Saturday, February 8, 2014

MLB Position Rankings: First Base

2014 looks to be a deep year for many positions, but 1B is not one of them. Traditionally a position filled with elite hitters, the quality of talent at first base drops off alarmingly quickly. That being said, there is some good value to be found in the talent pool. Here are the top 10 rankings for first base in 2014. Make sure to check back soon for second base rankings!

Sleeper Picks- Jose Abreu, Ryan Howard, Logan Morrison, Brandon Moss

10- Eric Hosmer
After Hosmer's 2011 rookie campaign, scouts and owners alike were salivating over Hosmer's talent and potential as a hitter. Fast forward 3 years and Hosmer has been unable to replicate the power he showed at the plate during his first season. 2014 will be a pivotal year for Hosmer but we predict that he will continue to put up the mediocre numbers that he did last year.

9- Adrian Gonzalez
Gonzalez is perhaps one of the safest picks in the top 10 for first baseman but he also has one of the lowest upsides. Gonzalez has most likely seen his best years pass, but that doesn't mean he can't still contribute at the plate. He won't hit 40 homers like he did in 2009 but hitting in the cleanup spot for the stacked Dodgers will ensure another solid season for Gonzo.

8- Buster Posey
Yes, Posey plays predominantly as a catcher, but he has 1B eligibility in ESPN fantasy so for the sake of this blog, we will include him in the 1b rankings. Posey had a solid 2013 season in which he hit .294 with 15 home runs and we think he will only improve upon those numbers in 2014.

7- Edwin Encarnacion
Encarnacion is a very interesting player to watch in 2014 and beyond. He seemingly broke out in 2012 out of nowhere and continued his success in 2013 with 36 homers. A closer look at his peripherals, however, suggest that Encarnacion's elite numbers have been the result of luck (and maybe some banned substances?) Be careful with Encarnacion in 2014. 

6- Chris Davis
Davis hit more home runs in 2013 than he had hit in his 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons combined. He's a good first baseman and power hitter, but he's not as good as his 2013 numbers looked. Look for Davis to be a major regression candidate this season.

5- Freddie Freeman
Freeman has a very good 2013 year for the Braves at first base. He finally showed the patience at the plate that scouts had been looking for which helped boost his average to a very impressive .319. What should benefit Freeman most in 2014, however, is the resurgence of the Braves lineup. The Upton brothers both have a lot of room to grow from last season and if they finally start producing like they can, Freeman will benefit greatly in the form of increased runs and RBIs.

4- Prince Fielder
Fielder is another player who has already seen his prime pass but will still contribute in 2014. Something around .280 with 25 homers and 95 RBIs seems realistic for the first baseman's first season with the Rangers.

3- Joey Votto
Votto is about a safe of a pick as you can get in the first round and should be top 5 pick in every league this season. While owners might get slightly frustrated by his lack of RBIs, Votto should continue to hit for power while scoring runs and maintaining a batting average over .300. What else can you ask from your first baseman?

2- Paul Goldschmidt
Goldschmidt had a great 2013 season and finished in the top 5 for ESPN's player rater. He's still only 26 years old and is one of the only first baseman who can contribute in the steals category as well as the power category. Goldschmidt should be a top 5 pick in every league in 2014.

1- Miguel Cabrera
After the departure of Prince Fielder, Cabrera should regain his 1B eligibility just a few weeks into the 2014 season. When he does, he will be far and away the best first baseman in the league. 

College Basketball Games to Watch: February 8th

(7) Cincinnati vs. SMU - The AAC is having a fantastic season, with four top-25 teams right now. However, SMU will likely be less than pleased that they continue to be left out despite already having beaten two AAC teams that are ranked - UConn and Memphis.  SMU also have just as impressive conference and overall records as these two teams.  What else do SMU have to do to have their name included in the top-25?  Well, a victory against 7th ranked Cincinnati would not hurt.  Cincinnati, who defeated SMU back on new years day by eight, have won their last fifteen behind a brilliant season from Sean Kilpatrick, who is averaging an impressive 19.7 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game. This game will surely be a highly contested one, as SMU will look to add to their tournament chances with a win against a very talented Cincinnati team.

West Virginia vs. (8) Kansas - Here we have another conference matchup between a top-10 team and a team that has tournament aspirations.  Coming off of a huge overtime win against 21st ranked Oklahoma as well as two more big wins against Kansas State and Baylor, West Virginia has a chance to boost their resume today against Kansas.  The Big 12 is having an incredible season, so West Virginia are going to need to up their game if they want to make the tournament, and what better way than a big win against an eighth ranked Kansas.

(10) Michigan vs. (17) Iowa - Michigan and Iowa are two of the top three teams in the Big Ten along with Michigan State.  Iowa, who have already upset a formerly third ranked Ohio State team, will be on the upset trail again against Michigan.  Meanwhile, Michigan have had several upsets of their own in recent weeks, including against then third ranked Wisconsin and just two games later against the next team taking up the third spot in the rankings, Michigan State.  These two teams that tend to play well in big games should create an entertaining matchup as they both look to stay near the top of the Big 10.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

CBB to NBA Player Comparisons: Dante Exum

Exum's skill set is perfectly reminiscent of Philadelphia 76ers point guard Michael Carter-Williams. Both of them, standing at 6'6", create huge mismatches at the point guard position.  What they gain in height, they certainly don't loose in speed, as they are both incredibly quick.  The combination of quickness and size makes both Carter-Williams and Exum unstoppable when driving to the basket. However, when they are forced to sit outside and shoot jumpers, they can both be quite inconsistent. Carter-Williams' jumper was supposed to be horrible when he was drafted by the 76ers, but it has been slightly better than we expected, which can be attributed to MCW's great work ethic.  Exum is also said to have a great work ethic, and teams will hope that he can improve his jumper during the offseason. Additionally, Carter-Williams and Exum are both dynamic on the defensive end of the floor, making steals and disrupting passing lanes with their large frames.  Lastly, the largest part of both Carter-Williams' and Exum's game is their ability to create for teammates.  With incredible court vision and size, Exum, much like MCW, should be able to fill up the box score when he arrives in the NBA.

Top 5 College Football Recruits of 2014

As almost everyone in the college football world settles in to hibernate for 7 months, those happy few who remain desperately interested in the sport must find more obscure sources of entertainment. (see: ode to the BCS)  For many of us, this means turning our attention to the at times murky world of college football recruitment. These young men, after all, are the future. They are what we will be watching next year, the auspicious or even those freshmen who will immediately make an impact. Here are some of the latter crowd, in fact a brief look at the 5 best recruits in this year's class.

Leonard Fournette: RB, 95 (ESPN grade), bound for LSU. This guy will make a difference, obviously. It's exciting to think of a running back as the best player in the country, and most people think he will live up to the hype, even against SEC defenses. The extent of his impact as a freshman remains to be seen, but LSU sure thinks he'll play, and play well.
Ok so that's a man, not a high schooler, and he looks
ready to help LSU win. 
Jabrill Peppers: CB, 95, Michigan. I've heard many a great name, both in the professional and collegiate game. This is up there, I have to say. Michigan is happy to have this guy in their secondary, obviously, but more importantly, what a name. "Hi, I'm Jabrill. Jabrill Peppers." I can't crown it the best, but this is one of the top names I've heard in a while.
Michigan has "signed its big fish" in Peppers,
the second best player in the country  
Cameron Robinson: OT, 95, Alabama. As if the Crimson Tide needed help in their running game… (They don't, they really don't.) But they are definitely getting it in the 330 lb. Robinson. SEC football just got a little bit bigger.

Myles Garret: DE, 95, headed for Texas A&M. We always hear about how a great defensive end is worth almost anything, and can completely change a team. Well we know the defense down in college station needs help, as last year Manziel would do things like drop 42 on Alabama's defense and they would still lose. By the end of the season, the entire defensive unit was, as one analyst put it so poignantly, "floating belly up. Completely." So they need help, and they are getting it in Garret.
Garret will be a big improvement on a defense that bad.
Also, he's worth a google. They all are, but he's jacked
like a Greek god. 
Andrew Brown: DT, 94, Virginia. Virginia is the latest school in the ACC to, out of nowhere it seems, suddenly field a more than respectable football team. They have one of the best recruiting classes in the country this year, and a large part of that is the 300 lb. Brown. Between him and the tenth ranked Quin Blanding, (S), they head up definitely one of the most promising classes in recent memory for the Cavaliers. This means the ACC is improving, if we didn't know that already. (FSU of course, Miami, Clemson, Duke, BC even…)  A stronger conference will be great for college football.
300 lbs. of five star commit, headed to,
 incredibly, an ACC school

CBB to NBA Player Comparisons: Andrew Wiggins

For a while now, people have been throwing around the idea that Wiggins is the next Lebron James, but I don't see it.  Wiggins reminds me a lot more of Paul George than Lebron.  It starts with stature; Wiggins and George are wiry and would have difficulty matching up at the center or power forward position.  Both Wiggins and George weigh in at under 220 pounds, while Lebron comes in at 249 pounds.  The added body mass allows Lebron to hold his own at the center or power forward positions, as we have seen him do over the years with the Heat and Cavs.  Additionally, when George came into the league, his jump shot was still a work in progress.  Wiggins jump shot is also a work in progress, but one skill that neither he nor George is lacking is the ability to drive to the basket and make exciting plays around the rim. Certainly, when Wiggins enters the NBA next year, he will be one of the most athletically gifted players in the league, while Paul George has already cemented his status as one of the athletic gems of the NBA.  The potential is through the roof for both of these young superstars.

Best Photos From Super Bowl XLVIII