Saturday, June 30, 2007

Nuggets falling; crystal ball; Knoxville truth

The Nuggets took a big hit on draft night when Portland landed Greg Oden and other parts to go with Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. If it doesn't materialize this season it will in a year from now when the Trail Blazers will pass Denver for years in the Northwest division standings.

Utah, with Deron Williams running the point, Carlos Boozer banging inside and an array of other complimentary parts will also keep the Jazz playing at a higher level than Denver.

The Sonics, for now, even with the additions of Kevin Durant and Jeff Green still have no interior defense or solid backcourt play and are not the Nuggets equal.

Minnesota is not going to rise up either.

So the Nuggets are now only the third best team in the Northwest and no better than the seventh-best team in the Western Conference, no matter how many in the media that believe they can be a power. Denver could even fall as far as ninth in the conference playoff race.

Crystal ball

The WSN can see it coming -- Kobe Bryant will get his wish to be traded.

No way he's going to call off the dogs on owner Jerry Buss' cajones on this one. Bryant will make life so miserable that Buss tells general manager Mitch Kupchak to schedule surgery with another team to remove the growing cancer that Bryant is becoming.

Want more?

Bryant will end up more miserable in his new digs and won't, repeat, won't win another title.

Things like this just happen. If you have to believe in something, believe this money statement.

No more titles!

Kobe is a player to remember but a dog of a person sort of like a San Francisco outfielder we all know. How about Bryant and Barry Bonds start making buddy movies as Chump and Hump.

Who are those boys

The Rockies look more like the Bad News Bears or the Royals every day. How does a team go 19-27, then 20-7, and now 0-8? Manager Clint Hurdle is going to end up getting whacked for such inconsistent play but he's not the hack on the mound each game. The pitching coach is not to blame either. It's the actors, the bad ones, who are listed on the roster as arms.

Jeff Francis gets a passing grade as does Aaron Cook. Rodrigo Lopez has been a surprise. In the bullpen, there have been some quality performances but overall, this group of pitchers is a joke. The Rockies will wait for Greg Reynolds to arrive but he's the only one even close as a starter to being major league ready and he alone will not turn the car around.

Only in Knoxville

So tell me how yet another Phil Fulmer football player can get in legal hot water, this time for the entrepreneurship of selling crack cocaine, and yet the coach keeps his job?

Fulmer is John Gotti all over again -- the Teflon Don. Win a national championship, win a lot of games and fill Neyland Stadium and you can near-annually have players getting handcuffed and photographed and the school administration still loves you and fails to worry about the image of the institution.

From 2005-06, 15 Vols were either arrested or cited for behavior unbecoming a solid citizen. But I guess Tennessee's colors are orange. Maybe the shade should be changed from creamsicle to jump suit orange.

Suppose for a moment, if you will, how long such similar behavior would be tolerated in Fort Collins, Colorado Springs or Boulder. Would Sonny Lubick, Troy Calhoun or Dan Hawkins be anything more than spoiled meat?

Hawkins should ask for refund

CU needs a home-run threat at running back. Thomas Perez was highly thought of but busted out academically. P.T. Gates was marketed as the next Reggie Bush but he too looks to be an academic fraud.

So who else, legitimately, can challenge pocket back Hugh Charles?

Opportunity has been created for a bunch of unknowns. The rest of the roster should smell blood in the water and seize the day and become someone.

Ram on the rise

CSU, it says here, has offensive talent that could really step forward in 2007.

We've mentioned running back Kyle Bell, tight end Kory Sperry and quarterback Caleb Hanie but how about receiver Damon Morton, who went from four catches to 48 and from 101 yards in receptions to 722?

Morton had eight quality games a season ago. If he can even out his performance and take his game to greater heights, say to 55 catches for 1,000 yards then the Rams are going to have the outside threat to complement Sperry underneath and Bell blasting through defenders in the running game.

Quarterback looking for love

Cade Cooper, a junior college standout at Snow College in Utah, is transferring from BYU. Any quarterback-hungry schools can start their sales pitches now. Remember, Snow once produced former Oklahoma standout Josh Heupel.

Final Salvos

Maybe it's just the WSN party punch getting to me but I'm truly jonesing for some Broncos training camp action. Come on now, it's been a little too long to ask one to wait for some more football.

We can close the season on the Rockies any day now. You wanna cry "uncle" or shall I?

So honestly, did Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd really think the pitching he put together was going to fool the National League for more than a couple of months?

Barry Bonds is now at number 750 and counting and wow, if that is not one large, pretty number. Give the man credit -- bombs of all sorts can be going off around him, whether they be steroid allegations or ex-mistresses coming out the woodwork to whack him, he never stops focusing on being a dangerous hitter, even at an age when most players are retired. Bonds is truly a freak show but he is also a special talent that has been thoroughly committed to producing greatness and for that, I have to salute him.

Quick, amigos, would you trade Nene for Yi Jianlian, the Milwaukee Bucks cranky draft pick?

Carmelo Anthony for Kobe Bryant?

What about Todd Helton, Joe Koshansky and Ian Stewart for Rangers big bat Mark Teixiera?

Javon Walker for Randy Moss?

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