Friday, March 8, 2013

The Friday Five: Derrick Rose, Kentucky Basketball, Steven Jackson, Nate Diaz and Knicks Dilemma

TGIF!  Time to get the weekend started with some quick sports thoughts to carry you through the weekend:

Derrick Rose says he is not ready even though doctors give him the "OK"

Some people are criticizing Chicago Bulls MVP Guard Derrick Rose for saying he isnt "mentally ready" to return.  Yes, he has been running in scrimmages with his team and, yes, the team doctors say his knee looks "great", but Rose is saying "no, not yet".  Rose has stated that when he can dunk off his left knee thats when he is ready to play again.
I do not blame Derrick for not rushing himself back.  I myself have had knee injuries and know it takes time to get over the injury mentally.  Physical rehab only gets a person so far, the next step is to mentally step out.  The Bulls dont want Rose sprinting down court on a fast break and him stoping or second guess himself because he wonders "what happens if I jump and I come down on the wrong angle and my knee buckles?" 

That mental barrier is something Rose must overcome before returning to NBA game action.  He has been a tough player during his basketball career in the NBA and college.  For explosive athletes like Rose, knee injuries mess with you head because you feel "vulnerable" and "weak" when you are use to feeling "tough" and "strong".  Give him time, he will atleast be back next season.  Worst case scenario he comes back before he is completely ready and gets hurt, again.

“I’m so disappointed in the job I’ve done with this team" - Head Coach John Calipari, Kentucky Men;s Basketball Coach

A record of 20-10 is nothing to be ashamed of but since the injury to Nerlens Noel, who tore his ACL on February 12th, this team has a record of 3-4 and are at risk of possibly not making it back to the NCAA Tournament.  Some of the "experts" claimed this group of freshman recruited by Calipari was one of his best recruiting classes.  Yet, they lose one player, all of a sudden they are struggling to win games!

I have to respect Coach Calipari for taking the blame on himself.  He has in the past had a way of getting his players to play up to their talent and potential.  This season, even before Noel got injured, they still had lost games they should have won (Alabama and Texas A&M).  This idea that kids can go to college for a year, be a winning team, then go pro is a bad idea for the college basketball game and brand.  The sad part is the mess at Kentucky wont stem the tide of "One-And-Done" kids using college as a stepping ladder to the pros, but it may hurt Calipari's brand when recruiting new kids.  Some will say "That National Title team didnt win because of their coach but because those kids were just that good together."  Even coaches need to grow and evolve, may Calipari needs to do self-evaluation and I think he is capable of doing so.

Steven Jackson: "Im a starter, not a backup"

The former Rams Running Back has opted out of his contract and wants to go play somewhere to be a starter.  The Rams had him share playing time with Daryl Richardson in 2012.

I admire Jackson for coming out and saying what he is looking for.  I also respect Jackson for not demanding money but wanting playing time.  Jackson wants to win a title and he believes he can help a team win that title.  He has rushed for atleast 1,000 yards for eight straight seasons, including 2012.  He also has caught a minimum of 38 passes for the last eight years also, showing he is not a one dementional player.  Also, in his favor is the fact he is a big running back at 6'3" unlike some guys that are "aging" runners who are smaller guys.  I could see a guy like Jackson being a starter for teams like the Packers, Cowboys, Steelers, and Colts in 2013.

Nick Diaz Goes off during UFC Media Call

For those who do not follow Mixed martial Arts, the UFC is the top MMA organization in the world and before their Pay-Per-View events they have media conference calls.  UFC 158's Main Event next weekend is a major clash of personalities and fighting styles: UFC Welterweight Champion George St. Pierre versus former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz.  St. Pierre, an excellent wrestler, athlete, and striker, will face Diaz, an excellent boxer and black belt in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu.  Diaz was suppose to fight St. Pierre in 2011 but Diaz's "unprofessional" behavior led UFC President Dana White to remove Diaz from the fight.

Now Diaz gets his second chance at the champ and during the media conference call Diaz let all the world who was listening know how he feels about everything and anything.  He claimed he feels disrespected, said that he respects George but dislikes his "fake ****", said he deserves to fight St. Pierre, and he went off on every subject he was allowed to talk about.  Nick was so unpredictable and "real" instead of "polished" that George called him a "uneducated fool" which caused Nick to go off even more because those "be fightin' words".

The old saying is "styles make fights".  This is what is missing from the boxing world, two guys who are elite fighters who have contrasting personalities and fighting styles.  I suggest you listen to the audio from the media conference call here for full impact and some comedic entertainment:

New York Knicks Almost Beat the OKC Thunder....without Carmelo Anthony

The New York Knicks came down to the wire against the Oklahoma City Thunder and almost won at the final buzzer.  All without Carmelo Anthony.  Anthony, who is out with an injury, is considered the best player on the Knicks.  But Anthony is a great scorer who does not facilitate to make his teammates better or bring out the best in their games.

So the question now is are the Knicks better off unloading Anthony?  Well the numbers say that the Knicks are better with Carmello, as without him they only win 44.4 percent of their games.  The real problem with the Knicks isnt that Carmelo is a scorer, its that he does have the teammates around him to help make his team great.

When Anthony was at Syracuse University he had two talented players with him and they won a NCAA National title.  One of those player is someone Anthony has never had in the NBA: a clutch Point Guard who is a leader, James McNamara.  Anthony has Jason Kidd with the Knicks, but Kidd is near the end of his career and cant do what he use to do.  Anthony played with Andre Miller in Denver, but Miller isnt a scorer.  So the Knicks management needs to take one of two directions: put better complimentary talent around Anthony, not players who are getting older and who play same style as him or trade Anthony and rebuild the team.  Decisions must be made, especially since the Knicks are not making it to the NBA Finals this season.

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