Thursday, January 18, 2018

The 45 Most Important Players to the Chicago Bulls Dynasty - #29 Robert Parish

Robert Parish
Career wise, Robert Parish has a pretty strong argument to be the third best player that played for this Bulls team. He's not Jordan or Pippen, but I have a hard time taking anybody else over The Chief. The guy played for 21 years, is the all time NBA leader in games played, made nine All-Star teams, won four NBA Titles, and was a no brainer Hall of Famer. He also wore 00 as his number which is definitely the coolest number for a player to have. Parish had one hell of a career.

But his contributions to the Bulls, although admirable, do not put him in the upper tier of players in that 90s Dynasty. Parish joined the Bulls during his final NBA season for the 1996-97 season. Not surprisingly, he would have career lows in just about every statistical category. Of course this is understandable for a man who was 43 years old at the time. He still managed to play in 43 games and even got three starts. He also had a number of highlights like this buzzer beating dunk.

Or the time he got 5 rebounds in 15 seconds?

And finally, my personal favorite, only because YouTube is a damn treasure trove of random NBA highlights, here is a game where Parish scored four points against the Charlotte Hornets. It appears to be completely meaningless which only makes me love it more.

In the playoffs, he provided veteran leadership, although mostly from the bench as he got in just two games during the second round of the playoffs and did not play thereafter. It would still be enough for him to become the oldest player in NBA history to win an NBA Championship.

The Chief's career will never be defined by his time with the Chicago Bulls. What he did earlier in his career, primarily with the Celtics, was enough for him to be named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. His longevity is unmatched, and even at age 40, he was putting up nearly 12 points per game. He will go down as an all-time great; I just hope this ranking on the Bulls Dynasty list doesn't stain his legacy.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The 2018 XFL Mock Draft - Offensive Tackles

In anticipation of Vince McMahon bringing the fun back to football (more concussions, woohoo!), Lukewarm Jonah and I went back and forth to do an XFL Draft. Instead of breaking this down round by round, we are going to go by position groups. Today, we start the big nasties off with the guys outside at offensive tackle..

Offensive Tackle
Jonah: Ryan Clady, Branden Albert, Jake Long, Collin Buchanan, Bryce Harris, Bobby Hart

Joe: Michael Oher, Gabe Carimi, Tervel Dlagnev

Joe: Obviously, the ideal player for my team is Michael Oher. Not only was he an excellent college football player, but he is the subject of The Blind Side which is a book I thoroughly enjoyed and a movie I have never seen (because I’m a fancy book boy). He became a first-team All-American at Ole Miss and had a decent NFL career after that. He’ll be a good offensive tackle for this league, but the story is his biggest selling point.

Our next tackle is Gabe Carimi who was a first-team All-American at Wisconsin before being a really bad player for the Chicago Bears. He also claimed the nickname “The Jewish Hammer.” He said “The Hebrew Hammer” was already taken, since that is also already taken on our team by Mark Weisman. In other leagues, we would have to be politically correct, but in the XFL, we can blatantly exploit that Jewish people control all of the money and Hollywood, meaning my team will be raking in the cash.

Finally, we have my second wildcard pick. Tervel Dlagnev has no notable football experience, but he is an American Freestyle wrestler who won two World Bronze medals. He is only 6’2”, 265 pounds, which may seem like an issue, but with his feet and the ability to use his hands, he can be put outside in the XFL. Considering Stephen Neal had a similar background and it led to a ten-year career in the NFL, I’m pretty sure Dlagnev can handle the XFL.

Jonah: Joe can love his receiving corps, I’ll take my offensive line against at least half of the NFL.  Man I took a lot of tackles, but you need that strong offensive line if you want to be successful isn’t that right last year’s Vikings and this year’s Seahawks?  I also took a lot of tackles because my big name picks are older and/or injured so I’m not sure if they’re reliable.

Ryan Clady is a pro bowl NFL tackle if he’s healthy.  That’s been a big if for him in recent years, but the talent is undeniable.  If he can play for even a year, he’ll shut down every single defensive end in the league, Bryant McKinnie college style.

Branden Albert is in the same boat as Clady.  Pro Bowler in the NFL, but recently injured.  He can also play guard, so it’s nice to have that versatility.  He seems healthy enough to play as he had tryouts this year, so if he and Clady are in the lineup, my quarterback is staying clean and my running game is gaining yards.

Jake Long was the number one overall pick in 2008 and lived up to the pick.  His problem, like the other two tackles, is age and injuries.  He was healthy enough to play and start last year, so I think he’s still got a season or two left in him.  At worst, he’s a very valuable backup with incredible knowledge of the game.  If all three were healthy and Albert moved to guard, my offensive line would be better than a lot of the NFL.

With the questionable health of the three big name tackles, I felt I needed to be realistic and get some guys I knew would be able to play.  Collin Buchanan was a rookie this year who was with the Saints.  He left the team, but who wouldn’t leave those cheaters?  He’s young, healthy and talented.

Bryce Harris has bounced around the NFL but is only 28.  He’s started a few times and played in multiple games.  There’s not a lot exciting about Harris, but he’s young enough and has NFL experience.  Important insurance to have on the team.

Finally there’s Bobby Hart who may or may not have graduated from the Hart Dungeon.  He’s an offensive tackle so there’s not a ton to talk about, but he started 20 games in the NFL and he’s only 23.  He can clearly play, so I’ll take him especially if the famous tackles need to go on IR.

Joe: Jonah, I say this with nothing but love, but you’re insane if you think your offensive line would be better than half of the ones in the NFL. We haven’t gotten to your interior offensive linemen yet, but spoiler alert, they aren’t going to knock anybody’s socks off. Ryan Clady is admittedly still a good offensive lineman when healthy. Unfortunately, if he makes it through four games, I think it would be considered a greater miracle than anything Jesus did during his lifetime.

Brandon Albert is maybe an average offensive lineman at this point as he greatly dropped off last year, and as you said, he can’t stay healthy either. Jake Long hasn’t been good for five years, and he hasn’t been competent for three. Buchanan, Harris, and Hart are three offensive tackles, so congratulations on that.

Even with all of that trash talk, your tackles are definitely better than mine as tackle is likely my weakest position. Still, none of your tackles have competed in the Olympics, so that is a giant red flag.

Jonah: Clady can still play, Albert is an average offensive lineman in the NFL, that’s the point, he will stand out in the XFL.  Jake Long looked good last year when he was healthy playing for the Vikings, and my other guys were good enough to start in the NFL which again means they’re great in the XFL.  Oher is a good pick and can probably still go and Camari is probably good enough as well.  Having your only backup tackle be a guy who has never played football is a bold strategy, not one I agree with but bold.  

Joe: Jonah, you’ve got a lot of positivity about offensive linemen that nobody else shares. Not even I am that confident in Carimi, although you care so little for the man that you spelled it Camari. I might have to pick up this Camari guy. As for Tervel Dlagnev being my backup, I’m gonna go on chasing waterfalls. You can stick to the rivers and streams that you’re used to.

Next time, we hit up the true OGs, Offensive Guards.

In case you missed it:

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The 45 Most Important Players to the Chicago Bulls Dynasty - #30 James Edwards

James Edwards
James Edwards made me feel like a bad NBA fan. Edwards may be the Bulls ideal third center. They loved super experienced guys at the end of their careers who could just provide veteran leadership off the court as they knew their on the court contributions probably weren't going to blow anyone away. What should blow you away is James Edwards played 19 seasons in the NBA. He was primarily a starter for his first 14 years in the league, because James Edwards was pretty damn awesome.

After starting his career in 1977, he joined up with the Bulls before his final season in 1995-96. Unfortunately, before I can get into his Bulls tenure, I have to address the elephant in the room. James Edwards was also a part of the Bad Boy Pistons. Due to the Pistons rule on this list, he must rank as low as justifiably possible. But he was probably the least offensive player on those teams, so I can at least be somewhat objective on Edwards' contributions.

For the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, Edwards played in just 28 games and failed to crack 100 points on the season. But he was a third center so not a whole lot was expected of him. The Bulls had a tendency to bring in grizzled veteran big men just to Michael Jordan wouldn't immediately try to bury them and ruin their confidence. With a player that had been around as long as Edwards, there was already some respect built in between him and Jordan, so even though I'm sure Jordan talked shit to him; it wasn't nearly as bad as he was to some other teammates.

His highlight during the regular season was probably a February 2nd game against the team that originally drafted him, the Los Angeles Lakers, where he played 23 minutes, put up 12 points (shooting 67% from the field), 3 rebounds, an assist, and a steal. Starting Center, Luc Longley, was unable to play during this game, and Edwards stepped up to provide some points off the bench.

Edwards also played in six playoff games, but his most notable contribution was a one trillion in an overtime loss in Game 3 against the Knicks. Outside of that, he just played some garbage time in games that were already decided.

But Edwards is a 3-time NBA Champion, although two of those should have asterisks since he was part of the Pistons. He spent most of his time being a key contributor, although he always fell short of All-Star status. Still, the guy played 19 seasons in the NBA, and you really can't find much information about what he is up to today. Considering how many of the players from the era turned out, that can probably be counted as a success.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

The 2018 XFL Mock Draft - Tight Ends

In anticipation of Vince McMahon bringing the fun back to football (more concussions, woohoo!), Lukewarm Jonah and I went back and forth to do an XFL Draft. Instead of breaking this down round by round, we are going to go by position groups. Today, we move on to the big pass catchers with tight ends.

Tight Ends
Jonah: Bucky Hodges, Ladarius Green

Joe: Henry Krieger-Coble, Jace Amaro, Tyrus Thomas

Joe: I had wildly varying strategies with my picks here. First off, I went with a guy who would just be reliable and play well in Henry Krieger-Coble. He is a former Iowa Hawkeye who has bounced around active rosters and practice squads since leaving college. But all Iowa does is produce competent tight ends and competency might make him an MVP candidate in the XFL.

After that, I went with the super productive college player who couldn’t do jack shit in the NFL with Jace Amaro. Considering the space that my receiving corps will be able to create, Amaro should be a threat as a tight end that is split out into the slot to make catches across the middle of the field.

Finally, I went with my first wildcard pick of the draft and selected former Chicago Bull, Tyrus Thomas. Tyrus Thomas, by all accounts, was a bust in the NBA, but just because he wasn’t a great NBA player does not mean that he cannot make a great XFL player. Think about all of the great former basketball players who learned the tight end position. Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham have nothing on the athleticism of Tyrus Thomas. Sure, he’s going to need to add some bulk, but once he does, he will basically be an unstoppable force as he’s 6’10” and can jump through the roof. Can he catch? Not sure, but we’ll figure that part out later. Right now, just give me the freak athlete.

Jonah: I had one guy high on my list for tight end and that is Bucky Hodges. Bucky Hodges was a highly touted tight end going into this year’s draft.  He fell to the Vikings in the 6th round, way later than he was projected.  He’s basically a big athletic receiver and he looked great in the preseason.  He got injured and was waived, put on the Panthers practice squad and then cut.  The guy could be a Jimmy Graham type deep receiving threat so I’ll take him and watch him abuse linebackers and safeties in the XFL.

Ladarius Green has shown that he’s a playmaker in the NFL.  He failed a physical at the start of the year, but obviously he’s fine.  He’s only 27 and he’ll pass an XFL physical and he wants to play football.  Hopefully either he or Hodges can block and I probably should have taken a big blocker of a tight end, but this is the XFL you don’t come to see people block you come to see guys make big plays.

Joe: All I can say is that I don’t have anything to say about your tight ends selections.

Jonah: Well I’ve heard of Jace Amaro so there’s that.  I have also heard of Tyrus Thomas from his basketball playing days, so maybe you found another Antonio Gates or Jimmy Graham diamond in the rough who knows?  Your first tight end is from Iowa so I assume he’s a big white guy who can block so there’s that.

Joe: Yep, you nailed it. Outside of Tyrus Thomas finally fulfilling his athletic potential as a split wide tight end, it’s not a very exciting position, so what better way to follow that than to move to the offensive line and “tackle” the offensive tackles. I know you are salivating with anticipation about getting to read about the big nasties.

In case you missed it:

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The 2018 XFL Mock Draft - Wide Receivers

In anticipation of Vince McMahon bringing the fun back to football (more concussions, woohoo!), Lukewarm Jonah and I went back and forth to do an XFL Draft. Admittedly, both Jonah and I did minimal research before the draft and did all of our analysis during the draft. This meant that there was little rhyme or reason to any picks past the first two rounds. So instead of breaking this down round by round, we are going to go by position groups. We also only did a two-team league, because I cannot imagine finding enough nerds to have a 12 or 16 team league. We did do a whole 53-man roster, so you could imagine these guys being spread around across the league. Today, we continue this series with the wide receivers.

Wide Receivers
Jonah: Victor Cruz, Moritz Bohringer, Speedy Noil, Corey Brown, Jared Abbrederis

Joe: Justin Blackmon, Calvin Johnson, Vincent Jackson, Dorial Green-Beckham, Anquan Boldin, Riley Cooper

Joe: This is where my team truly owns as this is by far my strongest position group. One of the reasons we did not display our results as a draft was because I remembered Calvin Johnson in like the 20th round, so draft status did not quite match up with talent. But it’s pretty safe to say that Calvin Johnson is the most talented player at any position in this entire draft and immediately makes my passing game unstoppable as my quarterbacks aren’t good, but they are good at gunning the ball down the field and hoping for the best. With Calvin Johnson, their hopes have been answered.

Then I pair him up with Justin Blackmon, one of the most talented receivers of the past ten years. I’m counting on the XFL not being as strict on drug use, and Blackmon can flat out play, even if he hasn’t touched a football for years. 

Along with my superstars, I added reliable veterans in Vincent Jackson and Anquan Boldin. Vincent Jackson fits my quarterbacks well as he made a career out of snagging deep balls out of the air no matter who was covering him. Boldin is the opposite as he is going to be my possession receiver. Let’s face it, Boldin is a guy who could be a productive NFL player for ten more years as he knows how to get open, no matter how slow he might become. He’s an ideal safety valve for my quarterbacks.

Then I took my high potential pick with Dorial Green-Beckham, who was the #1 recruit out of high school in the class of 2012. He had two good years at Missouri before being dismissed from the team, spent a year with Oklahoma without playing, and then went to the NFL Draft where he never caught on with the Titans or Eagles. He recently got arrested for drunk driving, so I think the stability of the XFL is exactly what he needs to get his career back on the right track.

Finally, I took Riley Cooper, whose past racism will likely make him a fan favorite in this league.

Jonah: Joe’s receivers have more name value than mine, but I’ll show you mine are actually better and definitely have more potential.  Calvin Johnson could come back next year and get eight figures, so he’s a little spendy even if he wants to play.  DGB was on my list and is a great pick.  However, Victor Cruz is only a few years removed from being the most exciting receiver in the NFL.  If he can stay healthy he would be almost unstoppable.  I also love Joe’s pick of Justin Blackmon, I honestly think the two of them would be fighting it out for best receiver while putting up video game numbers.

Mortiz Boehringer is a name that’s probably not recognizable unless you’re a giant football/draft nerd.  He’s the first and only European player to be drafted in the NFL and learned about American football while watching Randy Moss.  Boehringer is 6’4” and ran a 4.43 40.  He’s a physical marvel, but raw.  He’s like Matt Jones without the drug use and 1st round status.  The NFL isn’t getting European interest, so having Boehringer on the team will help our numbers as well as the fact that he’s an unbelievable prospect.

When you do a 7 round mock draft you research a lot of prospects.  Two of my most interesting players going into the draft were Tarik Cohen and Speedy Noil.  Cohen worked out while Noil is still a free agent.  He’s 5’11” and an absolute freak of an athlete.  He was the top athlete prospect in his recruiting class and the top Nike SPARQ score holder that year as well.  He’s got off the field concerns, but nothing too awful, just seems like kind of a knucklehead.  Plus this is the XFL, who cares about being an idiot off the field if you had the best vertical and broad jump of anyone at the combine?

Corey Brown is a guy nicknamed “Philly” which I always found confusing while he was playing in Carolina.  He was a decent receiver in Carolina, their number 2 or 3 guy.  He had a decent three year career there, nothing spectacular but he was close to 500 yards two years ago.  He’s a young guy, but with three years of decent NFL experience he should thrive in the XFL.

Jared Abbrederis was always a guy I thought was eventually going to break out in the NFL, but never got the opportunity.  He showed flashes of brilliance when he did get chances, but never had an extended opportunity.  He’s got good size, speed and hands.  He’s a solid receiver with three years of NFL experience.  He’s a valuable asset.

Joe: Jonah, Jonah, Jonah, Victor Cruz? Victor Cruz is your shining star? He wasn’t good enough to make the Chicago Bears this year. As a Vikings fan, I know you are not going to dispute that the Bears had the worst receiving corps in the entire NFL, and when the Bears had to cut down their roster, they couldn’t find a spot for your great beacon of hope, Victor Cruz. Get out of here with that weak ass shit.

Jonah: Joe, Joe, Joe, you telling me that the Chicago Bears talent evaluators didn’t think Victor Cruz still had it is the best endorsement you could give.  Maybe the Browns front office took a look at him too and didn’t think he was good.  It was a few years ago because he’s been hampered by injuries but he was unstoppable.  Now your receivers look great, that’s true, but like I mentioned I don’t think Megatron is coming back and even if he is it’s for a minimum of 10 million.  You do have the fact that playing in the XFL is less demeaning than playing for the Detroit Lions working for you, but I don’t think he wants to play football.  Justin Blackmon is a star and Josh Gordon proved that you can take a few years off football and come back and play so he will dominate.  I’ve always been a big Vincent Jackson fan, he was underrated during his NFL career but he’s getting up there in years and Anquan Boldin is old as hell.  I wanted to pick DGB so I can’t say anything about him but good pick.  Cooper is a racist so the fans might like him, but he’s going to have some interesting times in the locker room.

Joe: Victor Cruz not only failed to make the Bears, but nobody else even bothered to bring him in. His former team, the New York Giants, lost an entire roster full of receivers, but when Cruz told them he was available, they just texted back “New phone, who dis.” 

But that’s it for today. Next time, we’ll continue with each of our team’s tight ends.

In case you missed it:
Running Backs

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Watch Iowa vs. Oklahoma State Wrestling on Sunday

On Sunday, January 14 at 4:00 PM EST, plant your ass on the couch, turn on your TV, flip to BTN, and watch the greatest sporting event of the weekend. The two most-storied programs in college wrestling will square off as Oklahoma State comes to Iowa City to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes. Although it is unlikely that either team ends up on top of the podium at the end of the NCAA Tournament, they both have top-5 talent on their rosters. It's lining up to be a very close dual, so let's break it down to see how the good guys can beat the Cowboys this weekend.

125 - Spencer Lee vs. Nick Piccininni
This is the best match of the meet. Spencer Lee is the most exciting wrestler Iowa has had since Brent Metcalf, and he's the first true freshman to start for Iowa under Tom Brands (technically, there were two others but both took a year off between high school and starting their college careers). He convinced Iowa to pull his redshirt a couple weeks ago when he tech falled a top-10 wrestler at 125. Spencer Lee has ridiculous offense, and he is immediately a national title contender.

Piccininni is already disliked by the Hawkeyes as he got into a bit of a skirmish with last year's starter, Thomas Gilman, who then challenged him to a street fight. Piccininni is currently ranked third in the nation, and Spencer Lee is currently ranked 11th since he just took over the starting spot. Even though Piccininni has the advantage in ranking (sixth), that's going to change after this week. The guy repeatedly got handled by Gilman last year, and his luck isn't going to change with Spencer Lee in the lineup. It'd be crazy to pick anything more than a decision, but considering that Lee is going to have a packed Carver Hawkeye Arena cheering him on, I'll be a little crazy and predict a major decision for Lee.

Iowa 4-0

133 - Paul Glynn vs. Kaid Brock
Iowa may need those bonus points, because the next two matches are very unlikely to go in their favor. Paul Glynn is unranked and still battling for the starting job with Phil Laux, but I don't think it matters a ton against Kaid Brock. Brock is currently ranked fifth, but that's about as low as I could see him finishing at the NCAA Tournament; he's pretty dang good. This isn't going to be fun for Iowa, but I'll have a little faith and hope that Glynn can hold him to major decision.

Tied 4-4

141 - Carter Happel vs. Dean Heil
It's the same story at 141. Happel has seemed to take over the 141 spot from Vince Turk, but he's not a big time talent. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State has two-time defending National Champion, Dean Heil, on their side. Heil has already lost twice this year, but they were both in super close matches to top notch guys. He's not losing here, but Heil usually doesn't pour the points on, so he'll likely be held to a decision.

Oklahoma State 7-4

149 - Brandon Sorensen vs. Boo Lewallen
Sorensen is the clear number two at the 149 weight class, but he kind of resembles Dean Heil in that he does not get bonus points as often as you would expect from a guy of his caliber. Boo Lewallen is still battling teammate Geo Martinez for the starting spot, but he did beat him a few weeks ago when they squared off so he is the likely starter. He's currently the 13th best guy at the weight which isn't good enough to get an upset, but he should keep it close. Sorensen by decision.

Tied 7-7

157 - Michael Kemerer vs. Jonce Blaylock
The same thing that was said about Sorensen can be said about Kemerer, except the part about not scoring a ton of points, as Kemerer has been tearing through his competition this year. He's only had two matches that weren't either a pin or technical fall, and I expect him to do the same in this match as Blaylock is nothing special. I think Kemerer wins and wins big. KemDawg by fall.

Iowa 13-7

165 - Alex Marinelli vs. Chandler Rogers
This is probably the second best match in the dual. Chandler Rogers is ranked 7th while Marinelli is at 11th. But Marinelli is undefeated and seems to have improved from last year. He won the Midlands and now has two wins over Richie Lewis who is a borderline top-10 wrestler. Those rankings don't do either guy enough justice as 165 is absolutely stacked this year. This is a match that Marinelli needs to prove himself, and if he puts a high pace on, I think he can edge Rogers out with a decision.

Iowa 16-7

174 - Joey Gunther vs. Jacobe Smith
Joey Gunther is a guy who slightly outside of the top-20, and Jacobe Smith is ranked 12th. Neither guy is a world beater, but Smith is definitely the favorite. It won't be a beatdown, but it also won't be a win for Iowa. Smith by decision.

Iowa 16-10

184 - Mitch Bowman vs. Keegan Moore
This is probably the least exciting matchup of the dual. Moore just cracked the rankings at #19, so I give him the advantage by decision.

HOWEVER, there are rumblings that Pat Downey might be making his Hawkeye debut this weekend. If that's the case, change this to a major decision for the good guys, but I'll believe it when I see it, so we'll plan for Bowman for now. 

Iowa 16-13

197 - Cash Wilcke vs. Preston Weigel
Cash Wilcke has gotten in the habit of exceeding my expectations. He literally came from out of nowhere, as he was a last minute injury replacement, to make the Round of 12 at the NCAA Tournament. Then he has gone out and beaten everyone he has faced. He's had a lot of close matches, but the guy keeps finding ways to win. He's now ranked fifth in the nation but faces his toughest test in Preston Weigel who is currently ranked third in the nation. I'm going to continue to underestimate Wilcke and pick Weigel to take this one by decision. Hopefully I'm proven wrong again.

Tied 16-16

Heavyweight - Sam Stoll vs. Derek White
A healthy Sam Stoll is not somebody you want to have to go up against if you are a heavyweight not named Kyle Snyder. Stoll has been taking care of business with plenty of pins, and he finally got his first marquee victory when he beat #4 ranked wrestler, Tanner Hall in the Midlands Finals. Derek White is currently ranked 11th, but Sam Stoll going to put a beating on him. He probably won't get big points, but he won't need them as Stoll hasn't given up a takedown yet this year. Stoll gets the win for himself and for the team, as Iowa takes the dual.

Iowa 19-16

As you can see, I have Iowa coming out on top, but I have each team winning five matches. If bonus points go the wrong way, Oklahoma State could definitely steal this one. There are probably five matches where it wouldn't be shocking to see the result go the other way, but Iowa also has the Pat Downey factor, as if he wrestles, I think Iowa wins comfortably. Either way, ignore whatever crummy football game is on, and tune to BTN, because this is going to have twice the action with none of the CTE. I can't wait.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The 45 Most Important Players to the Chicago Bulls Dynasty - #31 John Salley

John Salley
Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu (deep breath) uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck John Salley. I wanted to put John Salley last. He was a part of the "Bad Boy" Pistons teams, and therefore is my sworn enemy. You may think that Dennis Rodman would also fit this bill, but Rodman transcended those teams and became an entity unto himself. But John Salley sucks ass. Unfortunately, I had to put him this high, because despite limited action for the Bulls, he did actually play during the playoffs for a Bulls championship team.

In the 1995-96 season, John Salley's career was winding down. He was a long ways away from the Bad Boy Pistons, and he was even a couple years away from being a valuable member of the Heat. Instead, he was a member of the Toronto Raptors, the third to last pick in the expansion draft that brought two Canadian teams to the NBA.

Even on that expansion Raptors team, he struggled to make an impact and negotiated a buyout of his contract in February of 1996. The Bulls waited over a month before signing him to a 10-day contract, which I assume was mostly as a joke to troll Pistons fans. Then, he did well enough for the Bulls to sign him to another 10-day contract. Much like his Pistons days, he didn't do a whole lot in the box score, but he showed great aptitude at fouling people as he would average 7.2 fouls per 36 minutes. The Bulls figured the safest spot for him was on their team, so they kept him around for the rest of the season.

In the playoffs, it was more of the same. He specialized in garbage minutes. He scored 14 points while shooting 28% from the free throw line but did manage a whopping 25 fouls. I tried to find a video of his time with the Bulls, but every video I saw showed his stupid face, and I didn't want to subject anybody to that.

He would retire after the 1995-96 season, and the only notable thing that he did after that point was act as a consultant on a single episode of Millionaire Matchmaker. No shocker that his consulting did not lead to anyone finding love.

tl;dr John Salley's only useful skill are fouls, whether it be on the basketball court or fouling up others' opportunities at love. And the Pistons still suck.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The 2018 XFL Mock Draft - Running Backs

In anticipation of Vince McMahon bringing the fun back to football (more concussions, woohoo!), Lukewarm Jonah and I went back and forth to do an XFL Draft. Admittedly, both Jonah and I did minimal research before the draft and did all of our analysis during the draft. This meant that there was little rhyme or reason to any picks past the first two rounds. So instead of breaking this down round by round, we are going to go by position groups. We also only did a two-team league, because I cannot imagine finding enough nerds to have a 12 or 16 team league. We did do a whole 53-man roster, so you could imagine these guys being spread around across the league. Today, we continue our list with the running backs.

Running Backs
Jonah: Denard Robinson, DeAngelo Williams, Barry Sanders Jr.

Joe: Reggie Bush, Trent Richardson, CJ Spiller
Fullback: LenDale White, Mark Weisman

Joe: A common theme with my team is college studs. I want pedigree over relevant talent today. Also, I figured if you were good in college that you would probably be good in this league since the talent level probably won’t be much better than a Power-5 conference. I have three top-10 draft picks at running back, so I feel pretty dang good about that.

Reggie Bush and CJ Spiller were both not only recently on NFL rosters, but they have great name recognition that will surely get people to tune in. We top it off with Trent Richardson who still believes he is going to get that gold jacket. Could he one day make the XFL Hall of Fame? Hell yeah, he could, and that’s why I’m happy he’s on my side.

Where Jonah ignored the fullback position, I embraced it. Sure, spread offenses like to score points, but our viewing audience is going to want smash mouth football, and that’s exactly what they are going to get. I started with LenDale White, a man who once bragged about losing 30 pounds by cutting patron out of his diet. This is the kind of attitude we need to be a success in the XFL.

For the other fullback position, I went with a less known name in Mark Weisman. Weisman was a walk-on at Iowa who somehow overcame the odds to become the starting running back. He was slow and white and universally loved as even I own a “Weisman For Heisman” shirt. I wanted an Iowa running back on the team and it came down to him and Brandon Wegher. Wegher definitely has the talent advantage, but Weisman has the nickname of the Hebrew Hammer, so we are going to make bank on those jersey sales.

Jonah: Even though I only have three, I love my running backs and I have more in mind in case changes need to be made or injuries happen.  Dri Archer is still out there and a favorite of mine, I just thought he was too similar to other running backs on my team to be a real difference.  Denard Robinson has name recognition from his electrifying college days as well as actually having multiple good games running the ball in the NFL.  He’s also going to be great for a bunch of trick plays as he was a quarterback in college, and his first official NFL position was “Weapon.”  He’s relatively young and has fresh legs, I’d imagine he can still do great things, especially against XFL competition.

Deangelo Williams had a pretty productive season filling in for Leveon Bell last year, so I’m not sure why he didn’t play this year, but that’s my team’s gain.  He’s up there in years, but had plenty in the tank when he had to start due to Bell’s suspension.  He’s my team’s between the tackles runner who can also catch the ball out of the backfield. 

Barry Sanders Jr. is Barry Sanders’ son, do I need to say more?  He showed flashes of brilliance at Stanford and at Oklahoma State both on the offense and special teams.  He’s probably my returner, but I’d love to see what he could do.  He would have been a rookie this season so he’s very young and boy does he have name recognition.

Joe: I definitely like your first two picks. Denard is a fine running back who isn’t over the hill yet, although if you ever saw Denard actually throw a ball in college, you might reconsider the trick play plan. DeAngelo might be over the hill, but his hill was much higher than most. As someone who added a few late career backs on his own roster, I can’t fault you for giving Williams a shot. As for Barry Sanders Jr. showing flashes of brilliance, I’m not sure if clapping for Christian McCaffery qualifies as brilliance, but to each their own I suppose.

Jonah: Sanders made some big plays, I mean he didn’t get much of a chance playing behind McCaffery but I’d take a flier on him especially with his genetics, I mean I’d still take a flier on Barry Sanders Sr. if I thought he would play.  Your running back picks were very good.  Bush would do well against a lower level of competition just like he did in college and maybe Richardson could find it again, but I think he’s done.  However, he brings great name value, college fans will still want to see him play.  CJ Spiller is a fun all around back, and I think he’s better than Richardson and probably Bush at this point.  Fullbacks are boring, they’re important but boring and no one needs two fullbacks when most NFL rosters have zero.  I do applaud reuniting Bush and White so we can remember the glory days of USC.

Joe: You would have been better off taking Barry Sanders Sr. And your talk of fullbacks just shows your West Coast Bias. Many people (me, Kirk Ferentz) think fullback is possibly the most important position on a football team. The only downside is that XFL fantasy players are going to be pissed when my fullbacks are definitely going to vulture touchdowns near the goal line. But the true fans are going to love my goal line package. I call them WW3 (White, Weisman, RG3), and the merchandise is going to be LIT.

But that’s all for today. Next time, we will continue with the glory boys out at wide receiver.

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