A place for me to talk about San Francisco Bay Area sports.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

49ers Draft Alex Smith QB first in draft

As much as Aaron Rodgers would have been a great sentimental pick, I can understand the reasons why they went with Alex Smith. First, impressively, he has already graduated with a degree in Economics with a 3.75 GPA at age 20. The vast majority of players are barely motivated to get their degree period but he not only has gotten his degree but did it on an accelerated pace even with all the extracurricular activities that college football requires of the players, whether it be practices or games or preparing for games. And yet he did it in just two years.

Second, I don't know this for certain, but I've been hearing that Alex Smith is more athletic and more of physical pressence than Aaron Rodgers. The NFL has been moving in that direction for many years now for QBs so that makes sense as well. With the huge linemen bearing down on QBs, the QB has to have some size or get clobbered by the behemoths that line up as defensive ends today.

Third, as much as they doth protest, the Niners are not really a West Coast offense team. For all the talk about the new offensive coordinator's learning at the feet of Joe Montana when they were together at K.C., hello!, the most well-known practioner of that offense, Bill Walsh, just lives down the street, apparently available to talk to anyone who wants to talk football offense, and the Niners have not snapped him up to act as a consultant to the team (which would have costed them much less than it did for the Niners to tell Dennis Erickson good-bye). So it is not entirely good that Aaron Rodgers is probably the best quarterback in college running a West Coast offense, as the Niners don't really run one else they would have embraced Bill Walsh as contributor emeritus to the Niners when the new regime took over.

Intelligent, strong physically, winner (21-1 in his two years as a starter, including 12-0 last season), leader, he was accurate as well as wily as he rushed for many yards and TDs as well. As a Cal grad, I would have loved the storybook tale of drafting Aaron Rodgers, a Cal product himself, a local boy who was a big 49er's fan, but I guess it was not to be.

I have no idea myself which player will be better, I go by what I read and process. I think Aaron probably ended up in a better situation, going to Green Bay, one of the truer practioners of the West Coast offense, learning from one of the great QBs in history in Brett Favre. He may have lost $10M in the process of falling from 1st to 24th, but he should make all that back and more if he can become the next great Green Bay QB, whereas I don't know what would have happened if he went to the Niners since their West Coast offense is not as pure as Green Bay's version (and even that is not as pure as the Bill Walsh's) and the situation is so much more chaotic and up in the air. It should certainly be a smoother ride in Green Bay than here.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Warriors did it, just not the team I thought

A year ago, if someone said that the Warriors would be tied with the Lakers in wins, you would have thought they were smoking something good....

Well, they did it, they tied a team ahead of them like I was hoping during their win streak (then followed by a losing streak but ending with a winning streak), only the caught the Lakers, who went into a free fall and ended up tied with the Warriors. They couldn't even get it up enough to win either of their last two games, either one of which would have kept them above the Warriors. In fact, the second to last game was against the Warriors and they demolished them by over 20 points.

The Clippers, as I was afraid they would, ended up 3 games ahead of the Warriors.

The Warriors are looking good and looking to get better over the off-season. Chris Mullins will not be sitting on his hands like previous management, even with the way the season ended, with the Warriors one of the top teams in winning percentage. They still need a big man - Foyle doesn't cut it - and Dunleavy and Pietrus play the same position. Given that Baron has taken Pietrus under his wing, and how well Pietrus did under Baron, that suggests that Dunleavy is odd man out, even though he too played better with Baron around. Hopefully his father will give the Warriors some good players and/or draft picks to get his son.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Warrior win 8th in a roll against the Suns!

Wow, the Warriors did it again, beating the Suns in Oak-town with a thrilling run at the end of the game to win it running away. The Suns are only the best team in the conference right now, perhaps in the league. That's 8 in a row now and 10 of 11. Too bad the Hornets didn't give him up to us earlier, maybe they could have caught the Lakers. With 6 games left, they are behind the Lakers and the Clippers 3 games each. They got games against San Antonio (home), Denver (road), Minnesota (road), Portland (home), Lakers (home), and Utah (home).
  • San Antonio is ordinary on the road, 19-17. Baron Warriors are hot, Baron Warriors could win.
  • Denver is great at home, 26-10. Baron Warriors probably lose.
  • Minnesota is good at home, 22-16. Baron Warriors could win.
  • Portland lousy on road, 8-29. Baron Warriors should win.
  • Lakers lousy on road, 12-26. Baron Warriors should win.
  • Utah equally lousy on road, 8-29. Baron Warriors should win.

Looking at these, the Warriors have a chance to go 5-1, so the Lakers or Clippers only need to go 2-4 for the Warriors to tie, not impossible given how poorly both has played this season. However, the Warriors are more likely to go 4-2, meaning those teams would have to go 1-5 for them to tie, which is unlikely.

But you have to give it up to the Warriors for pushing this win streak out to 8 now and making it possible for fans to still speculate about rising that high when they could have just played out the string. Gosh, there were 20,000 in attendence for this game (19,000 capacity?!?), so apparently the good times are here again. This sets up things nicely for next year, with a number of young players like Pietrus, Biedrins and Cabarkapa are more experienced and ready to step to the next level.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Baron keeps it going!

The Warriors beat first place Seattle at home last night. 25-11 on the road Seattle. 50-23 overall Seattle. Can Baron do no wrong? Apparently not!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Amazing Baron Completely Changed the Warriors

The Warriors just beat the Jazz. No big deal since the Warriors are 11-7 since Baron Davis joined the team and 7-1 in their last eight games. However, they also posted their first five-game road winning streak since November 1978. 1978!!! There were good teams, many of them, during the Don Nelson regime (though none before or after...) but none of the achieved such a feat. Plus, this is their first win in Utah in 20 games or over 10 years ago, though these Jazz are a pale imitation of the great teams they had the previous 10 years.

The man is amazing! I thought the Warriors had some nice pieces before the trade but not enough to be winning regularly yet. But Baron has come in and changed things around and moving the team in 180 degree direction from what they were going in before.

  • Before trade, headed towards a Top 4 worse record in the league; after trade, winning at a rate that would translate into the 5th best record in the Western Conference.
  • Before trade, waning hope that the new regime of Chris Mullin and Mike Montgomery would be able to change the luck of the franchise; after trade, fans are thinking about making the playoffs next year and what the Warriors need to do to improve themselves.
  • Before trade, wondering about the players on the bench, how talented they are; after trade, Mickael Pietrus has took off, averaging over 20 point a game over the past 5 games, Mike Dunleavy got mad enough to get thrown out (and even ripped off and threw his shirt in the crowd) and has been playing as if inspired, Andris Biedrins has played well in spurts, showing why he was traded, Zarko Cabarkapa has had some breakout games, scoring over 20 points, and even Adonal Foyle has started to begin justifying his big contract that he signed in the off-season.

Not only that, but the Clippers has had an extended losing streak and the Warriors are inching closer to them. They are still pretty far away to catch and the Warriors are still unlikely to catch them, but now they are only 4.5 games away instead of the 8 games just 4 games ago. And it is not just that they are finally beating the lousy teams, though that helps. They have played well against teams that they couldn't even touch previously, like beating Sacramento, Phoenix (both on the road even!), Sacramento again, losing by 3 to Houston, losing by 4 to defending champs Detroit, Washington, and Minnesota, and losing by 6 to Detroit. They are competitive not only with the middle of the pack but have been playing the elite teams not just to a standstill but also beating them regularly as well.

The Warriors have been 7-2 since Baron took over the starting spot. The sand is not getting kicked in their face as much and, not only that, they have been taking it to a number of good teams as well. The light appears to be at the end of the long dark tunnel that we Warrior fans have travelled in since Chris Webber was traded away and the light is good.