Eric D’s 2012 NBA Mock Draft

First Round
1. Anthony Davis  PF
Kentucky, Freshman
2. Harrison Barnes  SF
North Carolina, Sophomore
3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist  SF
Kentucky, Freshman
4. Bradley Beal  SG
Florida, Freshman
5. Andre Drummond  C
Connecticut, Freshman
Trade (Via Nets)
Thomas Robinson  PF
Kansas, Junior
7. Perry Jones  PF
Baylor, Sophomore
8. Jared Sullinger  C
Ohio State, Sophomore
9. John Henson  PF
North Carolina, Junior
Trade (Via Timberwolves)
Damian Lillard  PG
Weber State, Junior
11. Jeremy Lamb  SG
Connecticut, Sophomore
12. Terrence Ross  SF
Washington, Sophomore
13. Dion Waiters  SG
Syracuse, Sophomore
14. Tyler Zeller  C
North Carolina, Senior
15. Royce White  PF
Iowa State, Sophomore
Trade (Via Knicks)
Quincy Miller  SF
Baylor, Freshman
17. Kendall Marshall  PG
UNC, Sophomore
Trade (Via Jazz)
Austin Rivers  SG
Duke, Sophomore
19. Terrance Jones  PF
Kentucky, Sophomore
20. Evan Fournier  SG/SF
21. Meyers Leonard  C
Illinois, Sophomore
Trade (Via Clippers)
Tony Wroten  PG/SG
Washington, Freshman
23. John Jenkins  SG
Vanderbilt, Junior
Trade (Via Lakers)
Fab Melo  C
Syracuse, Sophomore
25. Arnett Moultrie  PF
Mississippi State, Junior
26. Marquis Teague  PG
Kentucky, Freshman
27. Scott Machado  PG
Iona, Senior
28. Andrew Nicholson  PF/C
St. Bonaventure, Senior
29. Moe Harkless  SF
St. John’s, Freshman
Trade (Via Spurs)
Jeff Taylor  SF
Vanderbilt, Senior

MLB Power Rankings Week 6

If you play fantasy baseball, you know the old adage of ‘don’t pay for saves.’ This season it rings more true then anything. 15 players have lost their closer position (by injury or demotion) since January – 9 since the beginning of the season.Joey Votto and Giancarlo Stanton both hit walk-off grand slams Sunday, the first time 2 players have done that since April 10, 1998
Rk (Pv) Team Rec
1 (4) LA Dodgers 24-11 Matt Kemp hasn’t homered in a season-high 11 straight games (he had 12 HR in the first 23 games of the season), and now has some injury concerns, going on the DL for the 1st time in his career
2 (3) Texas 23-13 CF Josh Hamilton tied the franchise record with his 12th HR in the team’s first 30 games when he hit 4 dingers Wednesday – the first 4 HR game in MLB since 2003. His 18 HR in the first 34 games ties an MLB record
3 (1) Baltimore 22-14 Orioles became the 1st team in AL history to hit back-to-back-to-back HRs to start a game on Thursday.
4 (8) Atlanta 22-14 Offense is getting it done (4th in runs, 5th in BA), but the pitching is lacking (21st in ERA, 24th in BA against)
5 (5) St. Louis 20-15 RF Carlos Beltran hits 2 HR and drives in 6 runs twice in 7 days – he only had done it 3 times previously in his 14 year career
6 (7) Washington 22-13 C Wilson Ramos is out for the season with a torn ACL – how will it affect the National’s starting pitching that has been doing so well? C Sandy Leon also got hurt Monday
7 (6) Toronto 19-16 Jose Bautista’s 10 HR at Target Field (Minnesota) are the most by an opposing player, and only 4 Twins have hit more there
8 (2) Tampa Bay 21-13 Of the 8 HR SP David Price has given up to left-handed batters, 3 have been hit by the Yankee’s Robinson Cano
9 (10) NY Yankees 19-16 Andy Petitte returned to the mound Sunday, giving up 4ER on 7 Hits, walking 3 and striking out 2 in 6.1 IP to an anemic Mariner’s offense
10 (11) Oakland 19-17 SP Jarrod Parker has yet to give up more then 2 ER in his now 5 career starts since being called up this season (2.10 ERA), but has only managed 1 win
11 (9) Cleveland 19-16 Who would’ve thunk it? It’s the middle of May and the Indians are in 1st place in the AL Central
12 (12) NY Mets 20-15 Mets got their 1st sweep at Philadelphia since June of 2006
13 (15) Miami 18-17 Giancarlo Stanton hit the 3rd walk-off grand slam in Marlin’s franchise history Sunday (Dan Uggla 2008, Bobby Bonilla 1997)
14 (14) Cincinnati 18-16 1B Joey Votto became the 1st player in MLB history to finish off a 3 HR game with a walk-off grand slam
15 (16) San Francisco 18-17 After giving up 16 earned runs in his first 3 starts, Tim Lincecum has only given up 8 in his last 4
16 (18) Chicago Sox 16-19 Jake Peavy has rebounded tremendously from offseason surgery: 4-1, 1.89 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and over a 6:1 K:BB ratio
17 (17) Detroit 17-17 Prince Fielder snapped an 0-22 streak Monday, going 3-5
18 (25) Pittsburgh 17-18 Pirates rank last in the majors in runs scored with 100 scored through 35 games
19 (13) Arizona 15-21 Diamondbacks have lost 4 straight series, getting outscored 39-57
20 (21) Milwaukee 15-20 RP John Axford’s streak of 49 consecutive converted saves (4th all-time in MLB history) was snapped Friday. He hadn’t blown a save since April 18, 2011
21 (19) Seattle 16-21 The Mariners (25th in MLB in batting average) don’t have a single player batting over .300
22 (22) Philadelphia 17-19 Phillies have lost all 4 games that Cliff Lee has started so far this season, and Roy Halladay’s last 5 starts, getting outscored 27-50 in those games (13 of their runs scored came in 1 game)
23 (24) Boston 16-19 Boston’s starting pitchers’ ERA? 6.01, 2nd worst in the majors
24 (27) Kansas City 14-20 Royals average a lowly less then 5 IP per start, but have managed to win or split their last 6 series since a 12-game losing streak. The bullpen has only allowed 2 ER in the last 23.2 IP
25 (26) LA Angels 15-21 3 of Jered Weaver’s 7 career games allowing 7+ runs have come at Texas
26 (20) Colorado 12-21 Christian Friedrich is the 1st pitcher in Rockies history to record 10+ strikeouts in one of his 1st two appearances
27 (23) Houston 15-20 What a surprise 2B Jose Altuve has been – .321 BA, .366 OBP, and stellar in the field
28 (28) Chicago Cubs 15-20 Cubs got their first 1-0 win against the Braves since 1993 on Wednesday
29 (29) San Diego 12-24 The Padres have less HR as a team (15) then the Ranger’s Josh Hamilton (18)
30 (30) Minnesota 10-25 28th in runs scored + 30th in ERA = worst record in MLB

The ball is in your court, Mr. Stern

During Sunday’s Miami Heat – Indiana Pacers playoff game, ESPN interviewed Commissioner David Stern who watched the game from court-side. Stern was asked about Pacers coach Frank Vogel who called the Heat the biggest “floppers” in the league which led to a $15,000 fine.

Stern defended the fine, but expressed his agreement with the underlying policy behind Vogel’s comments. The NBA, and basketball in general, faces a major issue in flopping. Stern labeled it not even a legitimate play.

Amen! Finally, someone in the power structure of a sport admits that flopping is a serious problem which should be eliminated from the game (take cue, soccer; someone please stand up and stop the insanity on the pitch).

Flopping took center stage in one of the NBA’s best first round series between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Los Angeles Clippers. Players such as Chris Paul, Blake “Flake” Griffin, and Reggie Evans continuously flailed their limbs and landed on their asses in the seven game series.

Grizzlies’ forward Zach Randolph called the Clippers the biggest floppers in the league “by far” on the Doug Gottlieb Show on ESPN Radio (see all of his comments in the same link above). Below, you can see one example of Clippers’ superstar Chris Paul falling to the ground with minimal contact after grabbing a rebound. In another video, Reggie Evans of LA’s basketball step-child exaggerates contact after setting a screen.

Sir Flops-a-Lot Paul

And the invisible uppercut to Reggie Evans’ chin

The Clippers are not the only ones. Manu Ginobli of the San Antonio Spurs is well-known for his disgraceful flopping prowess. It’s a league-wide epidemic affecting superstars and role players. It’s out-of-control.

At one point earlier this season in a game between the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks, former NBA coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy embarked on a two minute diatribe against flopping (video below). Van Gundy’s the voice you heard at the end of the Evans’ flop clip above. He’s a well known anti-flopping advocate and an important voice in the war on embellishment.

It’s time to take a hard-line approach on flopping. It cannot be tolerated. Violators should face stiff penalties designed to strongly discourage such action and rid the disease from the game of basketball.

Referees are able to stop flopping by making the requisite calls. However, all potential incidents should be subject to post-game review by the NBA. Offenders should be fined and suspended games. If you want to play, play the right way.

For example, first time offenders, aside from in-game fouls, would be subject to a $10,000 fine and a one game suspension after a post-game review by the NBA. Secondary offenders would be subject to a $25,000 fine and a three game suspension. A player who commits a third offense must pay a $50,000 fine and miss five games. Any further violation should result in a $100,000 fine and a ten game suspension.

David Stern, it’s time for you to set a precedent. Exterminate this nasty disease from the game of basketball. It’s better for the sport, the players, and the fans. You made your feelings public, now it’s time to act on them.

MLB Power Rankings Week 5

Last Wednesday was the 1st time in MLB history that there were 3 walk-off HRs and a no-hitter. Jason Giambi and Chipper Jones became the first 40+ year olds to hit walk-off home runs on the same day – it hadn’t happened in the same SEASON since 1986. Also, in case you didn’t hear – Albert Pujols finally hit a home run Sunday. He became the 276th major league player to do so this season – congrats Albert!!! Finally living up to that contract!!
Rk (Prv) Team Rec
1 (8) Baltimore 19-10 Oriole’s bullpen ERA ranks in AL last 4 seasons: 11th, 13th, 13th, 13th. This season? 1st
2 (5) Tampa Bay 18-10 Just when the Rays get rolling, 3B Evan Longoria is out 6-8 weeks with a hamstring injury
3 (1) Texas 19-10 1B Brandon Snyder had 6 RBI vs Baltimore Monday – he had 5 RBI in 27 career games coming in
4 (2) LA Dodgers 19-10 Dodgers have outscored their opponents 26-8 this season in the 1st inning
5 (4) St. Louis 18-11 C Yadier Molina has as many steals as Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Drew Stubbs, and Coco Crisp
6 (9) Toronto 16-12 The Blue Jays are hanging in the tough AL East race, but have 18 of their next 22 games against teams with a winning record, including 8 against Tampa Bay & Texas (37-20 combined)
7 (3) Washington 18-10 LF Bryce Harper became the 4th player under 20yrs old to hit 3rd in the last 35 seasons (BJ Upton, Andruw Jones, Ken Griffey Jr)
8 (7) Atlanta 18-12 C Brian McCann is only the 4th player to ever hit a grand slam off of Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay
9 (11) Cleveland 17-11 2B Jason Kipnis had his 1st career 4 RBI game on Thursday (3-run HR, RBI triple)
10 (6) NY Yankees 14-14 After tearing his ACL in batting practice at KC, CL Mariano Rivera’s streak of 15 seasons with 20+ saves will come to an end
11 (17) Oakland 15-14 2B Brandon Inge hit his 1st HR as an Athletic Sunday, after hitting 140 of them with Detroit
12 (10) NY Mets 16-13 Streaky Mets – New York already has 5 streaks of 3+ games (winning or losing)
13 (16) Arizona 14-16 SS Cody Ransom is batting .351 with 4 HR and 12 RBI since being called up April 21st
14 (14) Cincinnati 15-13 SP Matt Latos’s 11 K’s against Pittsburgh Sunday set a new career high
15 (25) Miami 15-14 Undefeated week is a good way to jump up the rankings.  SP Carlos Zambrano gets his first shutout since 2009
16 (12) San Francisco 14-15 Getting swept at home by a Marlins team that was 1-9 on the road coming in was not the way to start the week
17 (21) Detroit 14-14 6 of Austin Jackson’s 18 career HR are leadoff HR
18 (18) Chicago Sox 13-17 1B Adam Dunn may be hitting more HRs, but he’s still striking out – in a major league-record 31 straight games
19 (13) Seattle 14-17 In games Felix Hernandez has started, the Mariners have won 4 (27 runs scored) and lost 3 (3 runs scored)
20 (15) Colorado 11-16 LF Carlos Gonzalez vs. left-handed pitching since April 24: .385BA, 1.774 OPS, 4HR
21 (19) Milwaukee 12-17 SP Yovani Gallardo has given up 21 ER in 32.2 IP so far this season
22 (22) Philadelphia 14-16 C Carlos Ruiz drove in 7 runs against the Braves Wednesday – he entered the game with 10RBI on the season
23 (24) Houston 13-16 Houston got their first series sweep since August 2011 – a span of 16 series
24 (20) Boston 12-16 SP Clay Bucholz has given up 5+ earned runs in 6 straight starts to begin the season, tying the Live-Ball Era record set in 1936. He would have to score 95 straight scoreless innings to get down to his 2010 ERA of 2.33
25 (23) Pittsburgh 12-16 P A.J. Burnett was the 1st starting pitcher to give up 12+ ER in less then 3IP since 1920
26 (27) LA Angels 13-17 So much for SP Jerad Weaver’s no-hitter igniting the offense: Angels became 1st team in MLB history to follow 2 shutout victories with 2 shutout losses
27 (26) Kansas City 9-19 RF Jeff Francouer has 29 more outfield assists then any other major league player since the start of the 2005 season
28 (30) Chicago Cubs 12-17 After only 5 career starts in 134 appearances coming into the season, Jeff Samardzija has 4 wins in 6 starts this season, with a 3.03 ERA nd 1.19 WHIP
29 (28) San Diego 10-20 The Padres already have 5 losing streaks of at least 3 games
30 (29) Minnesota 7-21 The Twins had 9 hits Wednesday through Saturday – the fewest hits over a 4-game stretch in MLB since 1900