My First Auction Draft – Grade My Team

Notes:

  • Dynasty League! This was our first draft and we’re keeping 8 each year.
  • Full point PPR.
  • 12 Teams.
  • $200 budget.
  • I picked two kickers to spite someone, not because I wanted either of them.


Players I got that I was actively targeting: Evans, Crowder, Kelce, and Hill.

Big Ben for $1, despite being 35, is a steal since he’ll put up numbers this year and I like Wentz for the future.

I’m nervous about Gurley and Anderson but there’s upside there.

I’d have changed a few things if I could do it again, but auction drafts are fun and would be open to doing all drafts as auctions as it’s a more level playing field.

2017 T&F World Champs Story Lines

The 2017 Track and Field World Championships start today (day-by-day schedule here). Here are some things to look out for.

Bolt’s Final Run

Usain Bolt will presumably retire after this year. He’s undeniably the greatest sprinter of all time and has been the face of the sport for the last 10 years. He’s looking to cap off his nearly perfect career with victories in the 100m and 200m.

My Take – Bolt will win both races despite looking vulnerable and the media will be totally gaga about how amazing he is. I’m convinced Bolt has been doping for at least 9 years, but so are most of the others, so what do I care. The sport loses a great star, but maybe its for the better.


Semenya Attempts the Double

The biggest media story may well be Caster Semenya competing in both the 800m and 1500m. She’s been subject of a lot of controversy, and if she somehow pulls off this historic double, it will increase the drama & discussion behind the “transgender / intersex athletes place in athletics” conversation.

My Take – Caster Semenya should not be allowed to compete against women for all the reasons outlined in this post. I don’t think she’ll pull off the double, as rounds are tough, and she may not even win 1 gold as the 1500m is first.


Will the Mo-Show Continue?

Mo Farah looks to continue his ridiculous streak of 4 consecutive sweeps in the 5000m and 10,000m at international championships. We’ll see if anyone in the field pushes the pace against the 34 year old or if they’re content to let Mo kick to gold yet again.

My Take – I am so sick of Mo Farah, but I’m even more sick of his competitors doing the same thing over and over again. Someone, for the love of god, push the freakin’ pace. Yes, he’ll still probably win, but at least you can say you TRIED.


How Many Medalists Will Eventually Test Positive?

It’s in London, Coe’s backyard, so one of two things will happen:

  • He’ll want to catch anyone who’d dare cheat while the event is in his country.
  • He won’t want to catch anyone because it makes him look bad.

Doping is always a headline and a big name or two could potentially go down here. However, because it’s in London, Mo won’t be busted.


Which Americans Can Win Gold in Distance Events? (not a story line many care about)

Men

Jager in the Steeple is hands down our best shot. I give him 50/50 to win.
Chelimo could actually upset Mo in the 5000m. I’d love to see him run 13:00 in a front-running effort and just burn the kick out of Mo.
Centro has like a 2% chance of doing what he did in Rio.
Brazier is a total wild card in the 800 but I like Amos then Korir as favorites.
We have no chance in the 10k.

Women

All eyes on Ajee after that 1:55. With Semenya doubling, she’s got a shot!
Jenny finishing top 5 would be a great performance. No medal and definitely no gold.
Coburn in the steeple is similar to Jenny in the 1500.
The 5000 and 10000 are just too loaded. If Huddle or anyone else gets top 5, that’s a big win.

Allen Iverson Losing Ground

Allen Iverson is one of Philly’s ‘untouchables‘. He’s loved in every corner of the city.

On the court he was a superstar and off the court he was a cultural icon. The swag, the cornrows, the 6’0, and obviously the Jordan crossover. Kids growing up in the late ’90s and early ’00s wanted to be Iverson.

I loved Allen Iverson. He’s why basketball is my favorite sport. He was a flawed superstar, but he was OUR flawed superstar. In fact, we embraced him because of his flaws.


But at what point do we, the fans of Philadelphia, start to hold Allen accountable?

His no-show at Sunday’s Big 3 game in Dallas (which he’s been suspended for) is just the most recent example of poor behavior. He had no excuse, just that he’s sorry. He has a long list of worse behavior over the years.

When does he go from the greatest thing that ever happened to us and can do no wrong, to us acknowledging his greatness, but not giving him a pass for all the shitty things he does? When do his bad acts begin to overshadow his play?

Pete Rose has been all over the news this week. Once a Philly great (sorta), Pete is now hated by Philly fans (that’s another discussion).

Allen Iverson has done nothing close to what Rose has, but it does show that falls from grace happen. He’s is still clinging to his untouchable status, but I fear that may change not too far down the road.

Ranking the Non-Major Sports

7. NASCAR

I assume they’re listening to country when they drive.

I just don’t get it. I could see the EVENT being awesome, just getting hammered all day outside in the sun with 100,000 other people.

But the sport itself never made sense to me. Why are the races so long? It’s not like track where you ‘train’ for sprints vs. distance right? Are the first 200 laps NOT boring to someone gets it?

I don’t begrudge those who enjoy it, I just don’t get it at all.

6. Boxing

Unfortunately the most marketed thing in the sport right now.

I follow loosely, know the big names, and have a decent understanding of the sport, but wouldn’t go out of my way to watch a fight (though I’ll probably watch McGregor / Mayweather like all the other sheep).

Boxing has been outdone in a marketing sense by the UFC, and frankly, who knows how much longer it has in the main stream light.

5. T&F

Being at a track meet is awesome (if you’re competing), but even I understand that it’s not the greatest sport to watch on TV. In fact, if you aren’t competing / don’t follow the sport, track & field is definitely the worst on this list.

When Usain Bolt retires, which is coming soon, track and field will have close to zero mass appeal beyond the hardcore track fans. I’m not worried, because I don’t think the sport needs to be popular among normal people for it to survive, but it is a bit discouraging.

4. MMA / UFC

Dana White, head of the UFC. Who’s the head of boxing?

A sport that’s been on the rise for years. Similar to boxing, I follow loosely, know the big names, and have a decent understanding. However, it’s just more entertaining and has done a better job of marketing itself.

My only (small) issue with MMA is the sort of barbaric nature. If I was a parent, this would be one of the last sports I’d want my kid to get into.

3. Soccer

Stars

The stars are marketable and the rivalries between the teams are intense and very real. It’s the most watched sport in the world for a reason, and its popularity in America has been growing.

There will be a LOT of buzz for the 2018 World Cup in the US.

Also, if you bet the over every time, it makes every game exciting no matter what.

2. Tennis

Marry me

I’ve written about my love for Federer before, and he truly exemplifies a STAR. Him winning Wimbledon two weeks ago was the best thing that could’ve happened to Tennis. Some will say having the “big four” win almost every Major is bad, and to some extent I agree, but STARS drive ratings.

I might even give tennis a try just because of him.

1. Golf

Posting up on a Sunday afternoon watching the final round is a great way to spend a Sunday. Again, a sport that needs stars, but fortunately, it has them. Golf was most recently at its peak when Tiger was dominating.

No one is at Tiger’s level yet, but with Spieth winning his third major, Rory looking good, Dustin Johnson being a wild card stud with a smokin’ hot wife, etc. etc. there are plenty of worthy stars that make golf worth watching.

Additionally, every round of the tournament matters. A stroke on Thursday is worth the same as a stroke on Sunday. All four days of a major are worth watching which is rare for any sport.


For what it’s worth, I’d rank golf, tennis, and soccer as #3, #4, and #5 on the overall sports rankings list.

My Ranking of the Four Major Sports

4. NHL

Hockey is NOT the worst of these four sports. Brookes will cringe at this, but baseball is the worst in my opinion. Hockey is like a combo of soccer and basketball. You have the every-goal-counts asset combined with the up-tempo pace of basketball which is great.

The simple reason that hockey is #4 is exposure. Kids play soccer, basketball, baseball, etc. all the time, but very few play hockey. Its unfamiliarity in the States is why it will always be sort of a niche sport. I never played hockey and therefore don’t identify with the sport and don’t know all of the rules, but I don’t doubt that if I played, I’d be a die hard Flyers fan.

3. MLB

Laura and I went the Phillies game a few Sunday’s ago and it was great. Going down to the ball park for a beer and hot dog is a pretty good way to spend a Sunday afternoon in July.

However, here are four problems with baseball:

  • It’s too slow. It’s why it has the oldest average fan of all the four major sports.
  • It lacks star power. If the Phillies added Bryce Harper before the season started, they’d still have 0% chance at the playoffs. Lebron turns whatever team he’s on into a playoff team. Some may say this is a good thing, but stars drive ratings.
  • There are too many games. Whoop-dee-do, we went 20-0 to start the season. Only 140 more games to go!
  • The unwritten rules are STUPID. You can’t bat flip, you can’t jog too slow when you hit a home run, you have to hit a guy with a 95mph fast ball for something he did 5 years ago. The baseball snobs will say “That’s just how the game is played” and that casual fans don’t get it. Newsflash, dumb shit like this is driving people away from your sport.

The sport is fading in popularity. I don’t know how to save it, but as the target market, I can’t think of much that would make me want to watch.

2. NFL

The NFL literally owns a day of the week for half the year. I see two things that set the NFL apart:

  • Every. Game. Matters. It cannot be understated how important this is. EVERY Sunday matters in Philadelphia. Even when your team is  3-7, there’s a chance you go on a run and sneak into the playoffs.
  • Fantasy Sports. Obviously fantasy isn’t exclusive to football, but it’s way more manageable than the other sports. Casual fans can play since there’s only one set of games a week. NBA / MLB fantasy get overwhelming for the casual fan.

From September – February I, along with millions of others, am basically keeping up to date with every single thing that’s going on in the NFL.

My only real issue with the NFL / football is A) I don’t understand the Xs and Os well enough and B) the concussions / health stuff is a real issue and could have a big impact in the coming decades.

1. NBA

The NBA is #1 for me because I played basketball growing up. I can understand everything much better than football. I’m not an NBA analyst by any means, but I can actually see the game in a way that I can’t with the other sports.

Other reasons include:

The NBA has STARS; These people are larger than life in their cities in a way that football players aren’t. Free agency makes it easier for stars to move around. It has swag, meaning kids idolize these players differently than other athletes. The games are high energy, and the athleticism you see on a night-to-night basis is unreal.

I cannot understate how excited I am for this upcoming Sixers season. Even when the Sixers sucked I still followed the NBA very closely, but basketball is finally back in Philadelphia and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Predicting the Sixers ’17 – ’18 Season

Health

This, more than anything, will determine the success of the Sixers this year. If Embiid can play 60+ games, and Simmons / Saric / Covington / Redick have no major injuries, this team has a lot of potential in the East.

Additions

JJ Redick – A 1 year, $23 million deal is a major overpay, but for a team with a ton of cap space and in desperate need of a shooter, this is a good move.

Markelle Fultz – Looked good in his Summer League Debut and should be a much needed reliable scoring option.

Vegas / the Eastern Conference

With most major free agents going to the West, the Sixers odds of making the playoffs / winning a playoff series increased dramatically.

Vegas ranks the East in the following order:

  • Cleveland (100% ahead of the Sixers IMO)
  • Boston (100% ahead of the Sixers)
  • Washington (80-90% ahead of the Sixers)
  • Milwaukee (60-70% ahead of the Sixers)
  • Toronto (60-70% ahead of the Sixers)
  • Philadelphia

My Prediction

Assuming this team is healthy, I’d put the O/U at 44 wins.

The East is so bad that a genuine ‘bold‘ prediction would be “The Sixers host a playoff series”. You could make that statement and people wouldn’t look at you like you were crazy.

As a slightly biased observer, my predictions are:

  • 46 – 36
  • #5 seed
  • Ben Simmons is voted Rookie of the Year
  • Joel Embiid makes the All Star Team
  • Brett Brown is a Coach of the Year Finalist

Book it. Here’s some Joel Embiid for those who live under a rock.

Deadass thought I took a dribble but it doesn’t matter.. They say “Travels” are not called in the league… #TheProcess

A post shared by Joel “The Process” Embiid (@joelembiid) on

Tonight’s NBA Draft and Dan D’Antoni on Basketball Analytics

With the NBA draft coming tonight, this rant by Dan D’Antoni from late 2016 seems fitting. This is why a player like Jahlil Okafor has close to zero value in today’s NBA.

I’ll dedicate another post to the Sixers upcoming season but here are my quick thoughts on the draft & off season

  • I think LA will and should take Lonzo.
  • If LA gets Paul George I’ll be upset because their pick will probably convey to the Sixers next year as a late lottery pick.
  • De’Aaron Fox will be a disappointment.
  • The Knicks won’t trade Kristaps Porzingis.
  • If the Celtics add Gordon Hayward and whoever they take at #3, they’ll still only be the second best team in the East next year.
  • I’m pumped the Sixers moved up for Fultz (and at such a low price).
  • The Sixers, will MAKE THE PLAYOFFS THIS YEAR

Well Done, Kevin Durant

“Kevin Durant is a wimp for joining the Warriors. He was up 3-1 against them last year and lost, then joined them just to chase a ring. He should’ve been loyal and stayed in OKC! He had to go to another team with better players to win because he just couldn’t get it done being the guy.”


Kevin Durant is the second best player on the planet, and he wants to win an NBA championship. He has the following options:

Option A) Stay with the team you’ve been on for NINE years, which has only made the finals once and they lost convincingly, that shows no sign that anything major will change to get over the hump.
Option B) Go to a better team with better players and win a championship.

Why do people fault Durant so much for leaving?

It’s an emotional response, not a logical response.

“He’s not the star anymore.” He shot 54% from the field this year, the best of his career, and averaged 25 points. He’s getting better shots and playing with a better team.

Why would any sane person stay in OKC? He gave that city almost a decade of amazing basketball. He did everything he could to bring them a Championship, but sometimes you need to recognize when enough is enough.

He was an absolutely stud in game 1 last night, one of the most exciting players to watch in the league.

For Kevin Durant, basketball is about winning. At 28, he’s probably got 5 great years left. He went 0/9 in OKC. I blame him 0% for going to the Warriors, and I’ll be happy to see him finally win one.

NBA Finals 2017 – Cavs vs. Warriors

The Vegas line for the series is Warriors -260.

You mean to tell me a team with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, a host of good 3 point shooters, and LEBRON JAMES is going into any series as a ~2.5/1 underdog?

I don’t like Lebron, and I won’t root for him in this series, but I’m not blind to how great he is (second greatest ever for now!).

But with a line like that, I am a HAMMERING the Warriors. -150 to -200 I’d think is reasonable, but -260? That’s way too good of odds for the Cavs. Vegas knows something is up.

Warriors in 4. Maybe 5 in case they want to win on their home court.