Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2011-12 Milwaukee Bucks 1.0

Much like I did for the Green Bay Packers following the 2011 NFL Draft, here is my first look at how the 2011-12 Milwaukee Bucks following the 2011 NBA Draft:

Earl Boykins and Michael Redd are technically unrestricted free agents while Chris Douglas-Roberts (“CDR”) is a restricted free agent. The Bucks would need to tender CDR to allow them to match any offer he receives from another NBA team. Following their big three-team trade I don’t see Milwaukee Bucks general John Hammond tendering CDR, especially based on how little he played down the stretch last year for the Bucks. For the purposes of this post we are going to assume that Hammond lets Boykins, CDR, and Redd leave via free agency.

Assuming that everyone stays healthy and that there is no NBA lockout, two huge assumptions, the starting five for the 2011-12 Milwaukee Bucks should be:
- PG: Brandon Jennings
- SG: Stephen Jackson
- SF: Carlos Delfino
- PF: Drew Gooden
- C: Andrew Bogut

That leaves a bunch of combo guards as back-ups. The current pecking order is: Beno Udrih, Shaun Livingston, and Keyon Dooling. Look for Udrih to be the left-handed Luke Ridnour and Livingston to eat up Dooling’s minutes.

Much like the back-up combo guards, there are a bunch of back-up combo forwards. The current frontcourt pecking order is: Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Larry Sanders, Tobias Harris, Jon Brockman, and Jon Leuer.

Finally, as usual, the Bucks do not have a true center to back-up Andrew Bogut. Similar to the Green Bay Packers not really having a true back-up defensive tackle for B.J. Raji, the Bucks continue to put all their eggs in the Andrew Bogut basket (no pun intended) despite his checkered injury history.

I am going to wait to see how the pre-season goes but if I were Scott Skiles my five-man bench pecking order would be Udrih, Ilyasova, Mbah a Moute, Livingston, and Sanders. That leaves Brockman and Dooling along with 2011 NBA Draft picks Harris and Leuer wallowing at the end of the bench collecting pretty substantial paychecks for not actually playing in games.

With the aforementioned 14 guys on the roster that leaves one final roster spot open for the Bucks. Normally the Bucks would have the veteran bi-annual exception (don’t make another Dooling-like mistake) and the mid-level exception (don’t make another Gooden-like mistake) at their disposal but with all the labor uncertainty, who knows how the salary cap is going to shake out. With so much money committed through the 2012-13 season, look for the Bucks to spend very little guaranteed money on their 15th roster spot, especially considering the money troubles facing their owner Senator Herb Kohl.

Look for a few NBA labor related posts over the next few months. Besides that, we all better hope the NFL Owners and Players agree to a new CBA otherwise this is going to turn into a purely Milwaukee Brewers blog.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

2011 Milwaukee Bucks Draft Picks

With all the trades that usually occur during the NBA Draft it is really hard to marry pick, player, and team correctly. As a result let's focus on the spot of where guys were drafted to see how well I did with my "mock draft" of the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft. Unfortunately I only nailed the exact draft number of five picks* out of 30 in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft. Although that seems like I did a horrible, I correctly predicted 25 out of 30 players** that went in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft. Of the five guys*** that I incorrectly predicted would go in the first round, I only missed badly on one of my predictions (damn you Josh Selby...I should always remember to keep Jayhawks in their proper place) while the rest went early in the second round.

With all that out of the way, let's take a look at what Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond did after his big three-team draft day trade with the two draft picks that the Bucks had in the 2011 NBA Draft:

1st Round (19th Overall): Tobias Harris
Position: Power Forward
Age: 18
Birth date: July 15, 1992
Birthplace: Dix Hills, NY
School: Tennessee
Class: Freshman
Height: 6'8"
Weight: 223 lbs
Reach: 8'8"
Wingspan: 6'11"
ESPN Player Traits: Basketball IQ, Ball Handling, and Motor
Analysis: Welcome to the Milwaukee Bucks the love child of Marcus Haslip and Joe Alexander. May be I am overacting a little bit. This is not so much that I dislike Harris; it has more to do with the fact that I love Kenneth Faried so much. With Faried still on he board, I am salty that the Bucks passed on my reasonable 2011 NBA Draft crush. Stat heads struggle with projecting college performance to pro performance but one stat that translates is rebounding and Faried was arguably the best rebounders in college basketball last year. Harris is the youngest draft eligible guy so he will need a few years much like their 2010 first round draft pick Larry Sanders. At some point the Bucks have to stop building for the future and win now. Clearly you can see that I think John Hammond should have drafted Faried aka sane Dennis Rodman instead of Harris. As if you are not depressed already. Keep an eye on Jimmer Fredette, Klay Thompson, Alec Burks, Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Vučević, Iman Shumpert, and Chris Singleton. For John Hammond's sake I hope none of those guys turn out to be an all-star because the Bucks gave up the chance to take all the aforementioned players by trading the 10th pick for the 19th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft as a part of their big three-team draft day trade.

2nd Round (40th Overall): Jon Leuer
Position: Power Forward
Age: 22
Birth date: May 14, 1989
Birthplace: Long Lake, MN
School: Wisconsin
Class: Senior
Height: 7'0"
Weight: 223 lbs
Reach: 8'10"
Wingspan: 7'0"
ESPN Player Traits: Shooting, Basketball IQ, and Size
Analysis: Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. The Milwaukee Bucks have not had a ton of success drafting Wisconsin Badgers in the past. All four guys they previously drafted**** never played for the Bucks. In fact the only Badger to suit up for the Milwaukee Bucks is Paul Grant who has played fewer minutes in the Bradley Center for the Bucks than Jon Leuer played in the Bradley Center for the visiting Wisconsin Badgers...yikes. Since the Bucks were looking to add more guys to their already bloated front court, it is too bad that Jeremy Taylor went one pick before the Bucks took Leuer because I always thought the Bucks should target guys like him in the second round as a boom-or-bust pick. Since Taylor was not available, a few guys that I liked that were still on the board when the Bucks picked were Charles Jenkins (SG, Hofstra) and Malcolm Lee (PG, UCLA). Jenkins is a flat out scorer while Lee has a huge frame for a point guard, the anti-T.J. Ford if you will. Although I would have taken Jenkins over Leuer, I really like the Leuer pick. I hope I am wrong but I think Leuer aka the American Ersan Ilyasova will be a better pro than Harris.

The Bucks roster looks dramatically differently than it did a week ago following the big draft day trade and the 2011 NBA Draft. Check back on Wednesday for my thoughts on the updated roster.

* = Kyrie Irving (PG, Duke) went 1st, Derrick Williams (PF, Arizona) went 2nd, Enes Kanter (C, Kentucky) went 3rd, Jan Vesely (SF, Czech Republic) went 6th, and Donatas Motiejunas (PF, Lithuania) went 20th.

** = I missed on Nolan Smith (PG, Duke) went 21st, JaJuan Johnson (PF, Purdue) went 27th, Norris Cole (PG, Cleveland State) went 28th, Cory Joseph (PG, Texas) went 29th, and Jimmy Butler (SF, Marquette) went 30th.

*** = Josh Selby (PG/SG, Kansas) predicted 21st went 49th, Tyler Honeycutt (SF, UCLA) predicted 26th went 35th, Justin Harper (PF, Richmond) predicted 27th went 32nd, Davis Bertans (SF, Slovenia) predicted 29th went 42nd, and Kyle Singler (SF, Duke) predicted 30th went 33rd.

**** = Joe Franklin in 1968, John Schell in 1969, J.J. Weber in 1987, and Rashard Griffith in 1995.

Friday, June 24, 2011

2011 NBA Draft Day Trade for Milwaukee Bucks

Although I am going to post my traditional Sunday Funday post where I give my thoughts on the Milwaukee Bucks' 2011 NBA Draft, I had to do a special Wednesday What Happened post to dissect the big draft day trade between the Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Bobcats, and Sacramento Kings.

After running a fiscally tight ship for his first few years as general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks, John Hammond painted himself in a corner last summer when he traded for Corey Maggette, signed John Salmons to a ludicrous contract extension, and signed Drew Gooden to the mid-level exception. After seeing those pieces not work well together last year, Hammond decided to make a big trade. Here is the breakdown of the deal:

Milwaukee Bucks* get:
- Stephen Jackson (SG/SF)
- Beno Udrih (PG/SG)
- Shaun Livingston (PG)
- 19th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft: Tobias Harris (SF/PF)

Charlotte Bobcats** get:
- Corey Maggette (SF)
- 7th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft: Bismark Biyambo (PF)

"Sacramento"*** Kings get:
- John Salmons (SG)
- 10th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft: Jimmer Freddette (PG/SG)

At first blush this looks like a salary dump by the Milwaukee Bucks. According to HoopsHype the Bucks shipped off $45,346,207**** in long-term money committed to Maggette and Salmons while they took on $37,862,500***** in long-term money committed to Livingston, Udrih, and Jackson. At the very least Herb Kohl saved $7,483,707 million in the trade by not giving up very much in the process.

The pieces that the Bucks added fit their team much better than the ones they gave up in the trade. Stephen Jackson has proven to be a temperamental guy in the past (one of the main guys involved in The Malice at the Palace) but he is a flat out scorer that the Bucks desperately need. Udrih is a similar player to Luke Ridnour, a key contributor to the 2009-10 Milwaukee Bucks playoff run. Shaun Livingston is one of the greatest players that never was because injuries really derailed his once promising career. It has been a sad fall from being the 4th player drafted in the 2004 NBA Draft to here but Livingston will only be 26 years old the next time the Bucks take the court so there is still time for Livingston to resurrect his career.

Juxtapose that with the guys that the Bucks gave up in the trade. Maggette never fit the system in Milwaukee and has been a locker room cancer at every one of his NBA stops. Salmons never regained his 2009-10 form after getting hurt going into the 2010-11 season. As a result the Bucks really didn't give up a ton to get the players they got. Furthermore they free up money for the 2013-14 season when there will most likely be a hard cap in the NBA.

I see two problems with the deal. One, if John Hammond just signed Luke Ridnour to the four-year, $16 million contract****** that the Minnesota Timberwolves signed him to last off-season, the Bucks would have been just fine. The Bucks could have let Salmons leave via free agency and never traded for Corey Maggette.

Second, moving down from the 10th pick to the 19th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft the Bucks gave up a chance to get a bunch of guys they had an interest in drafting. I will leave my thoughts on the decision to take Tobias Harris instead of Kenneth Faried for my Sunday Funday post about the 2011 NBA Draft for the Milwaukee Bucks but needless to say this trade would get more support from me if the Bucks made a better pick at 19.

Still the Bucks look like the winner in the trade because they added better pieces. The Bobcats come a close second in the trade because moving from 19th to 7th in the 2011 NBA Draft allowed them to draft my draft crush Bismark Biyambo...the next coming of Serge Ibaka. Unfortunately they had to give up Jackson for Maggette to move up. For the sake of Biyambo please put Maggette's locker as far away from his as possible MJ. Finally the Kings are in huge financial trouble yet they took on long-term money in the trade while moving down in the draft. Normally that would not be a big deal because to move from the 7th pick to the 10th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft because it is considered one of the weakest drafts in years but somehow Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight slipped to 8th in the draft. As a result the Kings lost out on their chance to add Knight so they were forced to deprive the Utah Jazz of The Jimmer.

Long story short, after watching the aforementioned pieces play together last season Hammond decided to shuffle the deck again in hopes of limiting the damage, albeit damage of his own doing. Hammond better hope that the guys that went from 10th to 18th******* in the 2011 NBA Draft never turn into superstars because that will be the achilles heel of the trade if Tobias Harris turns out to be a flop.

* = Traded away Corey Maggette, John Salmons, and the 10th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft

** = Traded away Stephen Jackson, Livingston, and the 19th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft

*** = You notice I put Sacramento in quotes because their bankrupt owners tried to move out of Sacramento but couldn't pull it off...good guys. Anyhow they traded away Beno Udrih and the 7th overall pick in the draft.

**** = Corey Maggette is owed $21,186,207 ($10,262,069 in 2011-12 and $10,924,138 in 2012-13) and John Salmons is owed $24,160,000 ($8,500,000 in 2011-12, $8,080,000 in 2012-13, $7,580,000 in 2013-14, and $7,000,000 team option in 2014-15 that would push the value of the contract to $31,160,000 but I didn't include that because there is a 1% chance that the Kings will pick up that team option for the 2014-15 season).

***** = Shaun Livingston is owed $3,500,000 in 2011-12 with a team option for $3,500,000 for 2012-13; Beno Udrih is owed $15,042,500 ($7,232,500 in 2011-12 and $7,810,000 player option for 2012-13), Stephen Jackson is owed $19,320,000 ($9,260,000 for 2011-12 and $10,060,000 for 2012-13).

****** = $4,000,000 for 2010-11, $3,680,000 for 2011-12, $4,000,000 for 2012-13, and $4,320,000 for 2013-14.

******* = Jimmer Fredette (PG/SG), Klay Thompson (SG/SF), Alec Burks (SG), Markieff Morris (PF), Marcus Morris (PF), Kawhi Leonard (SF), Nikola Vučević (PF), Iman Shumpert (PG/SG), and Chris Singleton (PF).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

2011 First Round NBA Mock Draft

Undoubtedly there will be a ton of trades deeming this "mock" draft essentially useless but I want to get on record what I think each general manager should do with each pick:

#1) Cleveland Cavaliers - Kyrie Irving (PG, Duke, 6'4", 191 lbs, 19 years old)

#2) Minnesota Timberwolves - Derrick Williams (PF, Arizona, 6'9", 248 lbs, 20 years old)

#3) Utah Jazz - Enes Kanter (C, Kentucky, 6'11", 259 lbs, 19 years old)

#4) Cleveland Cavaliers - Bismack Biyombo (PF, Congo, 6'9", 243 lbs, 18 years old)

#5) Toronto Raptors - Brandon Knight (PG, Kentucky, 6'4", 177 lbs, 19 years old)

#6) Washington Wizards - Jan Vesely (SF, Czech Republic, 6'11", 240 lbs, 21 years old)

#7) Sacramento Kings - Kemba Walker (PG, UConn, 6'1", 184 lbs, 21 years old)

#8) Detroit Pistons - Tristan Thompson (PF, Texas, 6'9", 227 lbs, 20 years old)

#9) Charlotte Bobcats - Kawhi Leonard (SF, San Diego State, 6'7", 228 lbs, 19 years old)

#10) Milwaukee Bucks - Jonas Valanciunas (C, Lithuania, 6'11", 240 lbs, 19 years old)

#11) Golden State Warriors - Kenneth Faried (PF, Morehead State, 6'8", 225 lbs, 21 years old)

#12) Utah Jazz - Jimmer Fredette (PG/SG, BYU, 6'3", 196 lbs, 22 years old)

#13) Phoenix Suns - Klay Thompson (SG, Washington State, 6'7", 206 lbs, 21 years old)

#14) Houston Rockets - Chris Singleton (PF, Florida State, 6'9", 230 lbs, 21 years old)

#15) Indiana Pacers - Marcus Morris (PF, Kansas, 6'9", 230 lbs, 21 years old)

#16) Philadelphia 76ers - Alec Burks (SG, Colorado, 6'6", 193 lbs, 19 years old)

#17) New York Knicks - Jordan Hamilton (SF, Texas, 6'9", 228 lbs, 20 years old)

#18) Washington Wizards - Marshon Brooks (SG, Providence, 6'5", 195 lbs, 22 years old)

#19) Charlotte Bobcats - Markieff Morris (PF, Kansas, 6'9", 241 lbs, 21 years old)

#20) Minnesota Timberwolves - Donatas Motiejunas (PF, Lithuania, 7'0", 220 lbs, 20 years old)

#21) Portland Trail Blazers - Josh Selby (PG/SG, Kansas, 6'3", 195 lbs, 20 years old)

#22) Denver Nuggets - Nikola Vucevic (C, USC, 7'0", 260 lbs, 20 years old)

#23) Houston Rockets - Tobias Harris (SF, Tennessee, 6'8", 223 lbs, 18 years old)

#24) Oklahoma City Thunder - Nikola Mirotic (PF, Spain, 6'10", 225 lbs, 20 years old)

#25) Boston Celtics - Reggie Jackson (PG, Boston College, 6'3", 208 lbs, 21 years old)

#26) Dallas Mavericks - Tyler Honeycutt (SF, UCLA, 6'8", 187 lbs, 20 years old)

#27) New Jersey Nets - Justin Harper (PF, Richmond, 6'9", 228 lbs, 21 years old)

#28) Chicago Bulls - Iman Shumpert (PG/SG, Georgia Tech, 6'5", 222 lbs, 20 years old)

#29) San Antonio Spurs - Davis Bertans (SF, Slovenia, 6'10, 210 lbs, 18 years old)

#30) Chicago Bulls - Kyle Singler (SF, Duke, 6'9", 228 lbs, 23 years old)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2011 NBA Draft First Round Preview for John Hammond

It is 99% guaranteed that Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams will be the first two picks of the 2011 NBA Draft. After that, anything is possible. My draft crushes that will most likely be gone when the Bucks pick in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft are Bismack Biyombo and Tristan Thompson. Both Biyombo and Thompson look like the ideal power forward the Bucks have been searching for since Vin Baker drank his way out of small feat with how much Cheeseheads like to booze.

Players that will most likely be available when the Bucks pick in the first round are:

Kenneth Faried (PF, Morehead State, 6'8", 225 lbs, 21 years old): Rich Man's Ben Wallace 2.0 is my reasonable draft crush of the 2011 NBA Draft. Faried may never make an all-star team but he will do all the dirty work that the Bucks hope Larry Sanders and Drew Gooden will do at some point.

Klay Thompson (SG, Washington State, 6'7", 206 lbs, 21 years old): The big bodied scorer the Bucks were hoping that John Salmons would continue to be looks like the boom/bust prospect that teams love to take in the lottery ahead of a known commodity with a lower ceiling like Faried.

Alec Burks (SG, Colorado, 6'6", 193 lbs, 19 years old): Much like the aforementioned Thompson, Burks is an interesting shooting guard prospect that could help the Bucks put the ball in the basket...something they struggled to do last season.

Marcus Morris (PF, Kansas, 6'9", 230 lbs, 21 years old): Please do not take Marcus, he looks like just another version of Sanders and Gooden.

Markieff Morris (PF, Kansas, 6'9", 241 lbs, 21 years old): See discussion of his brother above, I feel the same way.

There are a ton of other prospects that are in play for the Bucks when they pick in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft but the aforementioned guys look like the most likely players that John Hammond and company are honing in on. Check back tomorrow for my 2011 First Round NBA Mock Draft.

Friday, June 17, 2011

2011 Milwaukee Brewers Draft Picks

As you will see below the 2011 MLB Draft is the draft of the pitchers, catchers, shortstops and center fielders for the Milwaukee Brewers. All told the Brewers selected: 24 pitchers (17 RHP and 7 LHP), 8 catchers, 6 shortstops, 6 center fielders, 2 first baseman, 2 third baseman, 1 second basemen, 1 right fielder, and 1 other outfielder. Irrespective of position, the Brewers took 30 college players and 21 high school players.

The information in parenthesis for each player is: position, side they hit from/arm they throw with, school, height, weight, and date of birth. Here are the 51 players the Milwaukee Brewers selected in the 2011 MLB Draft with some of my comments mixed in about each player:

1st Round (12th): Taylor Jungmann (RHP, R/R, Texas, 6’6”, 220 lbs, 12/18/1989): Let’s hope this power arm out of Texas is not as much of an a-hole as another former right handed power arm out of Texas that is currently being prosecuted by the federal government. Yes, I am talking about Rodger Clemens.

1st Round (15th): Jed Bradley (LHP, L/L, Georgia Tech, 6’4”, 224 lbs, 6/12/1990): The Brewer have this pick as a result of not signing their 2010 first round pick, Dylan Covey (RHP), because they learned after drafting Covey that he has Type 1 diabetes. Bradley is more of a nibbler than a power arm. After missing on pitchers in the first round the last two years Eric Arnett (2009) and Dylan Covey (2010), the Brewers would be ecstatic if either Jungmann or Bradley pitch in a meaningful major league game by 2013.

2nd Round (70th): Jorge Lopez (RHP, R/R, Caguas Military Academy, 6’4”, 165 lbs, 2/10/1993): Not sure if there is any track record for taking skinny guys out of Puerto Rico but it looks like we are about to find out.

3rd Round (100th): Andrew Gagnon (RHP, R/R, Cal State Long Beach, 6’4”, 190 lbs, 6/26/1990): Clearly the Brewers were trying to re-stock their farm system with pitchers after they traded away most of their top minor league pitchers (Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi) in the Zack Greinke trade.

4th Round (131st): Nicholas Ramirez (1B, L/L, Cal State Fullerton, 6’3”, 225 lbs, 8/1/1989): With the impending loss of Prince Fielder after the season the Brewers would love to be able to plug in a guy like Ramirez right away in 2012 but unfortunately the MLB Draft is not like the NBA Draft or NFL Draft. Most players taken early in the NBA Draft and the NFL Draft are expected to play right but in the baseball most players taken in the 2011 MLB Draft will be lucky to see time in the big leagues in 2013. One final thing on Ramirez, he went 16 for 16 in save opportunities last year so if he struggles at the plate he can always try pitching.

5th Round (161st): Michael Reed (CF, R/R, Leander HS in TX, 6’0”, 190 lbs, 11/18/1992): I guess you take the best player available but the Brewers have needs at shortstop especially since they have a fair amount of young talent in center fielder at the major league level (Nyjer Morgan and Carlos Gomez) and the minor league level (Erik Komatsu and Kentrail Davis). Much like Ramirez, Reed can pitch too.

6th Round (191st): Danny Keller (RHP, R/R, Newbury Park HS in CA, 6’5”, 190 lbs, 6/30/1992): After a brief run of drafting non-pitchers that can still pitch, the Brewers got back on the tall pitcher draft train. For those scoring at home the Brewers used five of their first seven picks on pitchers that are at least 6’4” or taller. Their other two pickers were position players that pitched part-time last year.

7th Round (221st): David Goforth (RHP, R/R, Ole Miss, 5’11”, 180 lbs, 10/11/1988): Hopefully for Goforth’s sake the Brewers don’t take a picture of their top pitchers drafted in the 2011 MLB Draft because everyone besides Goforth is a tall drink of water. Despite being short, Goforth has a power arm that hopefully will continue to improve as he settles in as a relief pitcher in the minor leagues.

8th Round (251st): Dustin Houle (C, R/R, Brookswood Secondary School in Canada, 6’1”, 205 lbs, 11/9/1993): The last time the Brewers drafted a Canadian catcher (Brett Lawrie) they turned him into a starting major league pitcher (Shaun Marcum). Granted the Brewers used a much higher pick on Lawrie than Houle but they hail from the same school and with the sudden depth the Brewers have at catcher, this is the type of luxury pick that makes sense to me because for my money you can never have too many catchers. Furthermore Houle is the youngest player in the draft so the Brewers can take their time letting him develop.

9th Round (281st): Malcolm Dowell (CF, R/R, La Grange HS in GA, 5’11”, 185 lbs, 4/21/1993): I see themes emerging in the draft, the Brewers want talk pitchers and short center fielders.

10th Round (311th): Mike Strong (LHP, L/L, Oklahoma State, 6’0”, 175 lbs, 11/17/1988): Unfortunately Strong’s last name does not translate to his play on the field because he has a below average fastball.

11th Round (341st): Thomas Toledo (RHP, R/R, Florida, 6’3”, 190 lbs, 12/13/1988): Sometimes players should take the money and run. Toledo was taken in the third round coming out of high school but he decided to go to Florida instead where he struggled with injuries. Toledo joins the Brewers as a boom-or-bust pick.

12th Round (371st): Andrew Cain (OF, R/R, UNC Wilmington, 6’6”, 220 lbs, 3/24/1990): Are we looking at the next Corey Hart? Probably not, but as the Brewers have shown throughout the draft so far, you can’t teach size so you might as well take the tallest guy possible.

13th Round (401st): Mallex Smith (CF, L/R, Richards HS in FL, 5’9”, 155 lbs, 5/6/1993): Forget what I just said, the Brewers took another short center fielder.

14th Round (431st): Jacob Barnes (RHP, R/R, Fla. Gulf Coast U., 6’2”, 230 lbs, 4/14/1990): Since I have never seen Barnes pitch I will go with the low hanging fruit, Barnes seems a tad on a heavy side at 230 pounds. Hopefully with the horrible meals Barnes will eat in the minors he might be able to drop a few pounds.

15th Round (461st): Andrew Moye (RHP, R/R, Georgia Southern, 6’5”, 180 lbs, 9/11/1987): If Moye shows any ability early he should be on the fast track to the big leagues because of his frame and age.

16th Round (491st): Carlos Rodon (LHP, L/L, Holly Springs HS in NC, 6’2”, 12/10/1992): There were rumors that the Brewers considered taking Rodon much earlier if he would sign for slot but apparently Rodon wants to go to college unless he is offered a ton of money over slot. Looks like Rodon won’t sign with the Brewers. May be I am missing something but why did the Brewers draft him at all then?

17th Round (521st): Mario Amaral (C, R/R, Ronald Reagan HS in FL, 6’1”, 10/14/1993): After taking a Canadian catcher the Brewers decided to add an American catcher, as I said above, you can never have too many catchers.

18th Round (551st): Christopher McFarland (SS, R/R, Lufkin HS in TX, 6’0”, 200 lbs, 11/24/1992): Finally the Brewers took a shortstop. After trading away Alcides Escobar as a part of the Zack Greinke trade the Brewers needed to add depth at shortstop higher in the draft.

19th Round (581st): Renaldo Jenkins (SS, R/R, Whitewater HS in GA, 6’0”, 190 lbs, 3/1/1993): Taking shortstops back-to-back still doesn’t make up for waiting so long to take a shortstop.

20th Round (611th): Brandon Williamson (RHP, R/R, Dallas Baptist U., 6’3”, 180 lbs 4/22/1989): I guess this pick was all part of God’s plan.

21st Round (641st): Mike Nemeth (1B, L/R, UConn, 6’1”, 200 lbs, 4/4/1989): A very accomplished defensive first baseman with power seems like a great person to add this late in the draft.

22nd Round (671st): Dennis Jones (CF, R/R, Jefferson Davis HS in AL, 6’3”, 185 lbs, 9/4/1992): So far the Brewers have taken smallish center fielders but they changed course with Jones by drafting a taller guy. Hopefully Jones has some wheels to go along with his big frame.

23rd Round (701st): Benjamin McMahan (C, R/R, Florida, 6’0”, 201 lbs, 10/14/1989): After adding two high school catchers earlier in the draft the Brewers added a more experienced catcher to help balance out the draft class.

24th Round (731st): Michael Palazzone (RHP, R/R, Georgia, 6’2”, 190 lbs, 5/6/1989): I hate to be juvenile but Palazzone sounds like a type of Italian pastry that is huge in Italy but hasn’t quite caught on in the United States yet.

25th Round (761st): Parker Berberet (C, R/R, Oregon State, 6’4”, 205 lbs, 10/20/1989): It will be interesting to see whether this big body behind the plate will hold up or whether Berberet will have to play another position.

26th Round (791st): Josh Smith (LHP, L/L, Wichita State, 6’3”, 194 lbs, 10/11/1989): Although it is a long shot, hopefully this Josh Smith can have as good of a career as pitcher as the Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith has had in the NBA.

27th Round (821st): Chad Thompson (RHP, R/R, Orange Coast College, 6’8”, 210 lbs, 2/6/1991): You can’t teach height but you hopefully can teach how to throw strikes again because all the scouting reports say that Thompson has struggled with control since having Tommy John surgery.

28th Round (851st): BreShon Kimbell (C, R/R, Mesquite HS in TX, 6’1”, 210 lbs, 11/6/1992): This draft is quickly turning into the up the middle draft. Unless you are a catcher, pitcher or center fielder you better look for another team.

29th Round (881st): David Lucroy (RHP, R/R, Umatilla HS in FL, 6’2”, 202 lbs, 9/3/1992): Another pick, another player up the middle of the field. It would be pretty cool to have a family pitcher/catcher combo since David is the brother of starting big-league Brewer catcher Jonathan.

30th Round (911th): Trent Boras (3B, L/R, Junipero Serra Catholic HS in CA, 5’11”, 170 lbs, 6/26/1992): It took 31 picks to add a guy to play third base. Hopefully Trent Boras’ dad is not Scott Boras otherwise he is going to ride the Brewers to overpay his son since he is the devil reincarnated as a baseball agent.

31st Round (941st): Sean Albury (RHP, R/R, Nova Southeastern University, 5’11”, 180 lbs, 3/24/1989): Another pick, another pitcher, let’s keep the train moving.

32nd Round (971st): Alfredo Rodriguez (SS, R/R, Maryland, 6’0”, 175 lbs, 5/26/1990): This has to be possibly the strongest name that the Brewers have taken so far. No matter how much people hate the A-Rod that currently plays for the New York Yankees, if this A-Rod is 10% of that A-Rod the Brewers would be ecstatic.

33rd Round (1001st): Steven Okert (LHP, L/L, Grayson County College in TX, 6’3”, 210 lbs, 7/9/1991): We are officially in the quadruple digits for draft picks now so the odds of anyone from here on out actually playing for the Milwaukee Brewers is so minimal that I am moving to rapid fire mode from here on out.

34th Round (1031st): Adam Weisenburger (C, R/R, Miami U, 5’10”, 185 lbs, 12/13/1988): Can’t argue with taking a guy from big time college program. Hopefully Weisenburger becomes the Hebrew Hammer II with Ryan Braun being the original Hebrew Hammer (or Hebrewer depending on your nickname taste) from the University of Miami.

35th Round (1061st): Doug Elliot (C, R/R, UConn, 6’2”, 210 lbs, 8/31/1988): Bookend catchers in the 33rd and 34th round have the Brewers creeping toward the double digits for catchers taken in the 2011 MLB Draft.

36th Round (1091st): Mitchell Conner (RHP, R/R, Elon U, 6’3”, 210 lbs, 7/26/1989): Not too sure if he can pitch but he has two strong first names so that is a start.

37th Round (1121st): Casey Medlen (RHP, R/R, North Florida, 6’0”, 155 lbs, 8/4/1989): Some people live to eat (Prince Fielder) and some people eat to live (Mallex Smith and Casey Medlen).

38th Round (1151st): Chad Pierce (RHP, R/R, UWM, 6’1”, 215 lbs, 11/20/1987): I love taking a guy from UWM, keep it in the family. Ironically Pierce lives in Milwaukee and got drafted by a team based in Milwaukee but will have to move out of town to player in the minor leagues.

39th Round (1181st): Elliot Glynn (LHP, L/L, UConn, 6’1”, 160 lbs, 1/13/1989): Whoever is the area scout for UConn must be one persuasive fella because the Brewers selected three guys out of UConn with their first 40 picks.

40th Round (1211th): Kenton Aldridge (C, L/R, Glenwood HS in AL, 6’2”, 180 lbs, 7/20/1992): Throws righty and bats lefty, good combo for the last catcher taken by the Brewers.

41st Round (1241st): Jalen Harris (3B, R/R, Lambrick Park SS, 6’2”, 210 lbs, 7/7/1992): Nothing to add here so let’s just keep the train rolling.

42nd Round (1271st): Caleb Whalen (SS, R/R, Union HS in WA, 6’2”, 180 lbs, 10/19/1992): All I hear is Larry King saying “Union High School Washington, your on.”

43rd Round (1301st): Clinton Wilson (RHP, R/R, Navarro Junior College in TX, 6’0”, 215 lbs, 4/12/1992): The stars are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.

44th Round (1331st): Steven Adam (CF, L/L, Ecole Secondaire L'Esser, 5’11”, 170 lbs, 5/20/1993): Despite taking what feels like a dozen center fielders already this is the first one that hits and throws lefty.

45th Round (1361st): Adrian Williams (SS, R/R, UCLA, 6’0”, 175 lbs, 1/3/1991): I like taking guys from big school like UCLA. The only thing I wonder is how a guy goes from playing for a big-time college team in Los Angeles to riding buses from small town to small town to play double-headers.

46th Round (1391st): Ahmad Christian (SS, S/R, Trinity Christian Academy in FL, 6’0”, 190 lbs, 11/23/1993): It took 47 picks for the Brewers to finally grab a switcher hitter, seems like they should have nabbed one earlier though.

47th Round (1421st): Jecid Tarazona (CF, R/R, North Broward Prep HS in FL, 6’3”, 195 lbs, 9/12/1993): Finally the draft of the center fielder is over. It feels like the Brewers took about 75 center fielders in their first 48 picks right?

48th Round (1451st): Michael Francisco (LHP, R/L, Villanova, 6’4”, 224 lbs, 8/4/1988): I visited Villanova when deciding where to go to college and the highlight of the trip was a cheese steak from Pat’s. Needless to say I didn’t go to Villanova.

49th Round (1481st): David Elmore (2B, R/R, Yale, 5’7”, 175 lbs, 9/9/1988): The Professor of the draft out of Yale keeps the Cheesehead teams streak of drafting an Elmore alive. First the Packers took Ricky and now the Brewers took David. The ball is in your court (no pun intended) Bucks, you better take an Elmore to keep the streak alive.

50th Round (1511th): Matthew Franco (RF, L/L, St. Thomas Aquinas HS in FL, 6’1”, 200 lbs, 12/9/1992): Mr. Irrelevant finally puts an end to the 2011 MLB Draft for the Milwaukee Brewers. Hopefully Matthew puts in a better performance than James did hosting the 2011 Oscars.

Thanks for sticking around to hear my rambling and random thoughts on the 2011 MLB Draft for the Milwaukee Brewers. Check back over the next few weeks for coverage on the actual 2011 Milwaukee Brewers.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2011 NBA Draft Second Round Preview for John Hammond

Milwaukee Bucks general manager only has one pick in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft at this point so he better make it count after going 0 for 3 in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft. Here is a look at some of the guys that John Hammond and company should consider drafting in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft:

Charles Jenkins (SG, Hofstra, 6'3", 220 lbs, 22 years old): There are some very interesting advanced stats that Luke Winn of explained much better than I can for why Jenkins should go much earlier in the draft. Needless to say the Bucks could use a true scorer like Jenkins.

Malcolm Lee (PG, UCLA, 6'6", 198 lbs, 21 years old): The body on Lee alone makes him intriguing. Plus adding a true point guard behind Brandon Jennings would help Jennings be more effective.

Shelvin Mack (PG/SG, Butler, 6'3", 209 lbs, 21 years old): I have a soft spot in my heart for Mack despite how much he torched UWM throughout his career. The Bucks could use a combo guard of the future to help lessen the burden on Brandon Jennings going forward.

Jimmy Butler (SF, Marquette, 6'8", 222 lbs, 21 years old): This looks like a sentimental pick but the Michael Oher of the 2011 NBA Draft is riding the wave of Wes Matthews and Lazar Hayward up draft boards. My guess is that Butler will not even be on the board when the Bucks pick in the second round unless they trade up.

Jon Leuer (PF, Wisconsin, 6'11", 223 lbs, 21 years old): The American Ersan Ilyasova could step in and contribute right away. There is a chance that Ilyasova will leave via free agency after next season so the Bucks not only hedge the loss of Ilyasova but add one of the most skilled shooters for big men in the entire 2011 NBA Draft.

Jeremy Tyler (PF/C, Japan, 6'11", 262 lbs, 20 years old): Much like Brandon Jennings, Tyler passed on playing in college to play professionally overseas. Unfortunately Tyler had a few unsuccessful seasons in Israel and Japan so his draft stock has plummeted. Picking a guy like Tyler is the sort of boom-or-bust move I support the Bucks doing in the second round.

Keith Benson (PF/C, Oakland, 6'11", 217 lbs, 22 years old): A bit of a reach but there aren't a ton of guys like Benson in the 2011 NBA Draft and with the health issues that have plagued Andrew Bogut the last few years the Bucks could certainly uses a real back-up center.

Check back next Wednesday for my look at the potential first round picks for the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Buzz Williams Contract Extension

Buzz Williams finally got a chance to be a head coach at the University of New Orleans for the 2006-07 season after working as an assistant coach for more than 15 years*. In what can only be characterized as a lackluster campaign, Williams compiled a 14–17 record including a 7–9 record in the lowly Sun Belt Conference in his first season as head coach of the University of New Orleans for the 2006-07 season. Instead of sticking around for a second season as the head coach of the University of New Orleans, Williams left to be an assistant for the Marquette Warriors under head coach Tom Crean.

Most observers questioned why Williams would leave a head coaching position for an assistant coaching position at the time although a fair argument could be made that being an assistant coach at Marquette is a better job than being a head coach at the University of New Orleans. That debate was not necessary less than a year later because following the 2007-08 season, despite the Hoosiers men's basketball program being hampered by NCAA sanctions thanks to the NCAA violating text messaging prowess of current Milwaukee Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson, Tom Crean packed up his sun tanning beds and moved them south to coach the Indiana Hoosiers. I have said it a millions times already so for the 1,000,001th time: Tom Crean is a fool for leaving Marquette for Indiana.

Instead of staying at a stable program (Marquette) where Crean could have milked his 2003 NCAA Final Four appearance (really more of a testament to Dwayne Wade, Travis Diener, Steve Novak, and Robert Jackson than Crean though in my book) for another decade, Crean left for a formerly famous program (Indiana) that has less scholarships available thanks to the aforementioned NCAA sanctions. Crean looks to have one of the best recruiting classes heading into the 2011-12 season but we all know that doesn't always translate into wins. Let me take it one step further. If I was a betting man, I would say Crean not only has a shorter tenure at Indiana than Williams but Crean will earn less money from Indiana than Williams will earn from Marquette.

With Crean tanning in Indiana, Marquette named Buzz Williams their 16th head coach**. Williams has put together quite an impressive resume since taking over as head coach of the Warriors for the 2008-09 season. Williams and the Warriors made three straight NCAA Tournament appearances: got to the second round in 2009***, lost in the first round in 2010****, and made the Sweet Sixteen in 2011****. All told Williams is 69-37 overall, 32-22 in the Big East, and 3-3 in the NCAA Tournament as head coach of the Marquette Warriors.

Williams already earned millions of dollars in just the three years in charge of the Warriors. Based on tax returns filed by Marquette University (through June 30, 2011), Williams earned $2,800,347 in 2009 thanks in large-part to a one-time $1,987,203 bonus. Furthermore Team Buzz Williams, a limited partnership that Williams runs, paid Williams an additional $397,500 in 2009. Williams most likely runs his speaking engagements and basketball camps through Team Buzz Williams. All told, Williams made $3,197,847 in 2009 alone. As a point of comparison, Marquette woman's basketball coach Terri Mitchell earned $417,985 in 2009.

There are differing numbers as to what Williams earned in 2010. According to USA Today, Williams only earned $876,282 in 2010 while other sources claim that Williams earned $1.6 million in 2010 as a part of a six-year rollover contract.

Recently Arkansas and Oklahoma showed interest in hiring Williams. Much like Crean leaving Marquette for Indiana, it would have made no sense for Williams to leave for either of those programs, especially since Oklahoma is still in hot water thank to Kalvin Sampson's texting prowess there before he left to commit similar violations at Indiana. Luckily for Williams, interest form Arkansas and Oklahoma allowed him to negotiate another raise. Marquette added an undisclosed number of years (presumably more than six years though) at roughly $2 million a year on a rolling basis. It is unclear what buyout was added to the new deal (presumably more than $3 million).

Although I have not read the actual contract, if it were my money, I would not have offered Williams the extension. Ask Notre Dame how they feel about the gargantuan extension they gave Charlie Weis. The only thing that makes sense about the contract is that it contains rolling salaries with a buyout provision. As long as the buyout is not too large, at least Marquette is able to move on for less than the full value of the contract if Williams struggles over the next few seasons.

For all those naysayers that said Williams should have stayed at the University of New Orleans, Williams is laughing all the way to the bank. The 38-year old Buzz Williams is already a very rich man and is on the cusp of being even richer if he fulfills the rest of his contract. Plus college coaches always need at least six years remaining on their contract to appease recruits so Williams will be offered raises and extensions every few years to make sure he is locked up for at least six years into the future until he leaves Marquette.

College basketball and football coaching salaries are skyrocketing much like CEO compensation. Buzz Williams is going to make somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5 million for the 2011-12 season to coach a college basketball team. Obviously that is what the market will bear so good for Buzz but shame on college athletic departments in general. Once one coach gets a nice bump in compensation, every other school has to fall in line. I am not advocating that coaches shouldn't get paid well but at some point the raises and extensions spin out of control. At this point it seems like the extension given to Buzz Williams is just another example of how these raises and extensions have done exactly that, spun out of control.

* = Navarro College (1990–92), Oklahoma City University (1992-94), University of Texas at Arlington (1994-98), Texas A&M University–Kingsville (1998-99), Northwestern State University (1999–00), Colorado State University (2000–04), and Texas A&M University (2004–06).

** = Ralph Risch (1916–17), John J. Ryan (1918–20), Frank Murray (1920–29), Cord Lipe (1929–30), Bill Chandler (1930–51), Tex Winter (1951–53), Jack Nagle (1953–58), Eddie Hickey (1958–64), Al McGuire (1964–77), Hank Raymonds (1977–83), Rick Majerus (1983–86), Bob Dukiet (1986–89), Kevin O'Neill (1989–94), Mike Deane (1994–99), and Tom Crean (1999–08).

*** = 6th seeded Marquette beat 11th seeded Utah State 58-57 and 6th seeded Marquette lost to 3rd seeded Missouri 83-79

**** = 6th seeded Marquette lost to 11th seeded Washington 80-78

***** = 11th seeded Marquette beat 6th seeded Xavier 66-55, 11th seeded Marquette beat 3rd seeded Syracuse 66-62, and 11th seeded Marquette lost to 2nd seeded University of North Carolina 81-63.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Steve Stricker won the 2011 Memorial Tournament

Cheesehead native Steve Stricker had one of the most impressive stretches of golf spanning two rounds of a PGA Tour event in recent years early on at the 2011 Memorial, Jack Nicklaus' annual golf tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

Stricker started his second round on the back nine so he completed his second round on the front nine on Friday. Sticker's 17th hole of the day but actually the 8th hole of the course was a Par-3, 185-yard hole. Stricker hit a perfect shot to pull off one the hardest things in golf, a hole-in-one. Check out the video, hilarious call by the announcer.

That ace was just the beginning of something special. When Stricker teed it up on Saturday on the front nine he eagled the 2nd hole (a Par-4) by chipping in and the 5th hole (a Par-5) by canning a nice putt. Those three eagles gave Stricker three eagles in a seven hole stretch and put him 9-under for a 10 hole stretch spanning the end of his second round into his third round (scorecard).

Stricker led the Memorial Tournament by four strokes at the turn (nine holes to play) and looked like he was going to cruise to victory at Jack Nickalus' signature PGA Tour event. Unfortunately the tournament was halted due to a weather delay for two and a half hours. The lengthy weather delay seemed to help the field more than Stricker because when play resumed, Stricker's lead started to rapidly dwindle.

Stricker lead by three strokes with five holes to play. After bogeying the 15th hole (a Par-5), he only lead by two strokes with three holes to play. With such a small lead, Stricker scrambled the rest of the way. Consecutive sandy pars on the 16th and 17th hole, thanks to draining putts of 15 and 7 feet respectively, gave Stricker a two shot lead heading into the 18th hole. Stricker kept the wheels on the wagon just long enough to finish with a two-putt bogey to hold off Matt Kuchar and Brandt Jobe to win the 2011 Memorial by one stroke.

Stricker owned the front nine (20-under par) but struggled on the back nine (4-over par) all four days of the tournament. If Stricker only played the front nine he would have lapped the field but in golf tournaments you have to play all 18 holes all four days. Thanks in large part to being one the of best putters on the PGA Tour, Stricker managed to hang on to win.

Stricker pocketed a hefty $1.1 million for winning the 2011 Memorial, which put him over $30 million in career PGA Tour winnings. Money aside, winning The Memorial gave Stricker his 10th career PGA Tour win and helped him become the 4th ranked player in the world. That means that Stricker is currently the highest ranked American in the world for the first time in his career.

Despite a weather delay and lengthy par putts down the stretch, Stricker hung on to win the 2011 Memorial at Murfield Village. If you want to know why Stricker is arguably the most liked player on the PGA Tour, despite rooting for the Bears instead of the Packers, the highlight of the day for Stricker was shaking Jack Nicklaus' hand coming off the 18th green. People always talk about how money corrupts athletes but Steve Stricker is living proof that there are still a few good guys left in professional sports.