Wednesday, June 4, 2003
Spur of the Moment; Pick the Nets
First, if you havenít had a chance to read my thoughts and research on the greatest hitters in baseball history, please do so. I have received some great e-mails from a number of you with your thoughts, and I really appreciate it!
But, as promised, today, I will be discussing the New Jersey Nets/San Antonio Spurs series. After a five day layoff, the Finals will finally begin tonight on ABC. Clearly the Spurs are the favorites. Any Western Conference team has to be the big favorite in the Finals series. However, I am going to do my best to tell you why the Nets will shock the world and win the NBA Championship.
Here are some matchups with my pick for who has the advantage.
Jason Kidd vs. Tony Parker - The best point guard in the game today vs potentially the best point guard of tomorrow (or 2 years from now). The 20 year old Parker has his hands full. Kidd is going to get his points, assists and rebounds. But, I do think this is the key matchup. I think that if Tony Parker remains aggressive offensively, he can beat Kidd with his quickness and create shots for himself and others. If he can do that, and average 16 points and 8 assists for the series, he can neutralize Kidd. I think he will. Advantage NETS +2.
Kerry Kittles vs. Bruce Bowen - This matchup shouldnít produce a lot of points, but in any game where one of these players scores more than 15 points, that will be a major contribution. Bowen is known for his defense, but also led the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage this year. Kittles can slash, but in a set offense, Bowen wonít let him do much. Kittles will have to get his points on the break. Advantage - SPURS +1.
Richard Jefferson vs. Stephen Jackson - I donít see this one being much of a matchup. Richard Jefferson in a landslide. I think he could have a huge series. Heís not just a dunker! Jackson isnít bad, but I just donít see him contributing a lot. I also think this means that we will see a lot of Manu Ginobili in this role, which will give the Spurs a better chance. Advantage NETS +4.
Kenyon Martin vs. Tim Duncan - Honestly, I donít see these guys guarding each other too frequently. I see maybe Aaron Williams and Rodney Rogers defending Duncan, and I see Malik Rose spending a lot of time on Martin. Both will score their points. But, I believe that Duncan is the best player in the league. Advantage SPURS +2.
Jason Collins vs. David Robinson - Mr. Robinson is playing his last series of games, so itíd be a lovely story for him to go out a champion. But, it isnít real frequent that he contributed a lot. Collins is the same type of player for the Nets. Do some of the little things. Donít make mistakes. Wonít really have a bearing on the series. Advantage - NONE.
Bench (Guards) - Lucious Harris vs. Speedy Claxton, Steve Kerr - Harris plays plenty of minutes, probably more than Claxton and Kerr put together. Kerr showed he can come off the bench at any time and knock down big shots, effectively making this matchup equal as well. Advantage - NONE.
Bench (Forwards/Centers) - Rodney Rogers, Aaron Williams vs. Malik Rose, Kevin Willis, Ginobili - I will give a slight advantage to the Spurs because I think Ginibili will be a big factor. Rose is going to play against Martin a lot. Williams will play Duncan a lot. Points may not truly measure the impact these other players will have. Advantage - SPURS +1.
Final Score -
I know itíll be close, and I know that the Spurs are tough. I mean, their end of the bench, rarely see the court guys are Steve Smith and Danny Ferry.
So, my prediction - Nets in 6 games!
1.) Will Byron Scott be the next coach of the LA Lakers after Phil Jackson retires after the 2003-04 season? My guess, Yes!
2.) Will Dikembe Mutumbo get to play in this series? I bet he plays at least 10 minutesÖ TOTAL. Unless the Nets feel it would be advantageous to really slow down the game, he serves very little purpose to them.
TWINS THOUGHTS -
I actually like inter-league play. I think itís exciting to get to see different teams once in a while. And, I would think for the players it would be fun to see as well. Attendance certainly does rise during inter-league games. My only negative thought about the whole thing is that it truly isnít fair. The Twins do alright with it because their ďNatural RivalĒ is the Milwaukee Brewers. Oaklandís ďNatural RivalĒ is the San Francisco Giants, which simply means they play two three game series against that team. Oakland could be in the race with the Seattle Mariners. The team the Mariners get to play twice, their ďNatural RivalĒ is the San Diego Padres, currently one of the worst teams in baseball! If there were a way to work out the schedule to at least make it fair within the divisions, I would be completely fine with it!
To last nightís game. A 9:15 start. Thatís tough to stay up for nine innings, but again, Iím a dork, so I can do it! The Twins started out with 5 early doubles to take a 3-0 lead. Joe Mays was actually fairly effective! He gave up a run, then another to make it 3-2. But, the Twins counter with a run to make it 4-2. Then Mays gave up a run to make it 4-3. Then, the big blow of the game. With a runner on, Doug Mientkiewicz was given the green-light to swing on 3-0. It worked! He drilled a shot that one-hopped into McCovey Cove giving the Twins the 6-3 lead.
Oh yeah, I forgot, the Giants first runÖ it came on a Joe Mays hanging curveball to Barry Bonds. Home run #
As big a play as that was, it may be dwarfed by what LaTroy Hawkins did in the Bottom of the 7th! With that 6-3 lead, Johan Santana was brought in. But, a hit, an error, a walk and just 1out his night was complete, and Hawkins was brought in to face Rich Aurilia with the bases loaded and Barry Bonds on deck. The Hawk got ahead 0-2, and Aurilia proceeded to foul off about 37 (slight exaggeration) pitches until finally Hawkins got Aurilia to hit another grounder to Corey Koskie, who flipped it to Luis Rivas at 2B, who then relayed the ball to Mientkiewicz to complete the 5-4-3 Double Play and preserve the 3 run lead, leaving Bonds to lead off the 8th inning. THAT was the big play of the game.
And, Eddie Guardado struck out Ray Durham to close out the 6-3 win! Great win!
The Twins selected Matt Moses, a high school 3B, with the 21st overall pick.
The rest of their day 1 picks, with the overall draft position:
21 - Matt Moses - 3B - High School
58 - Timothy Baker - RHP - Oklahoma St.
88 - John Woodard - 1B - High School
118 - David Shinskie - RHP - High School
148 - Brandon McArthur - SS - High School
178 - Errol Simonitsch - LHP - Gonzaga
208 - Christopher Schutt - RHP - Cornell
238 - Brandon McConnell - RHP - High School
268 - Kevin Culpepper - LHP - Georgia Southern
298 - Christopher Marini - LHP - Glendale CC
328 - Ryan Schroyer - RHP - Arizona St.
358 - Steven Duguay - RHP - Gulf Coast CC
388 - David Winfree - 1B - High School
418 - Jimmy Speigner - RHP - Auburn
448 - William Shields - RHP - Gulf Coast CC
478 - Michael Rogers - LHP - High School
508 - Daniel Vais - RHP - Seward County CC
538 - Eli Tintor - C- Hibbing High School
568 - Jon Uhl - RHP - South Florida
598 - Gregory Najac - C - No School
More Drafting tomorrow!!! Thatís just the first 20 roundsÖ there are 50 rounds!
For those who have read Moneyball (and I am just more than half done with it, then forgot it after a visit to my parentís place), it is interesting to see how the Oakland Aís drafted today. They made 20 picks, all college players including Luke Appert, the Gophers Second Baseman in the 6th round. Maybe more interesting is that all 20 picks were 4 year college players, no junior-eligible selections.
One final note on the draft, in the 3rd round, the Colorado Rockies selected LHP Aaron Marsden from Grand Forks, ND, and the University of Nebraska.
One name to watch in the draft tomorrow is Bill Mauer, the RHP from Concordia College in St. Paul. He is, of course, the middle sibling of Jake Mauer and 2001 #1 pick Joe Mauer. Watch the Twins take him in about Round 18 and assign him to Ft. Myers! OK, heíll start in the Gulf Coast League, but itíd be a good signing for them!
Have a great Wednesday!
Back to Archives Home