"Love" the shorts.

Love for Love

I do not know if the Kevin McHale of our generation is an accurate analogy, but it works for me. Kevin Love has assumed the role when he first came into the league. His strengths were he was tough, hard-nosed, and un-athletic. Since McHale’s days the league has had many of these guys, but thankfully the shorts have gotten longer. Images of Will Purdue, Brian Reeves, Shawn Bradley and Greg Ostertag are running through my mind thinking about the stereotype.

Yet Wednesday night Love set a new NBA record. In 52 straight games Love has scored at least 10 points and rebounds. This is just an unbelievable record to me, almost on the same level as DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak. Night in and out, Love is the only star on the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves team (they are the first team eliminated from playoff contention, not Cleveland). However, each night he is able to gobble up boards and points. And he is not sliding by in obtaining these stats; 36 of the 52 games Love grabbed more than 15 boards, seven of the games he had a 20/20. Think these stats are not impressive? Nine of his first 16 games (not included in the streak) he had a double-double, including a 31-point and rebound performance against the Knicks. That feat had not been done since 1982 (Moses Malone).

Love is breaking the stereotype. He is giving suburban kids hope that they can make it to the NBA (I sometimes forget that Love is 6’10). No longer can we call him a great player simply because he is white. Love has crossed over this year into a top 10 player. Since entering the league in 2008, Love has improved his stats from 11 points and nine rebounds as a rookie, to 20 points and 15 rebounds per games this year.

Even though he isn’t on my team, I find myself rooting for him. You don’t hear reports of him crying, or you don’t see him all over TV promoting this and that. Love’s only focus right now is improving basketball for the Timberwolves and I like it. Congratulations to KLOVE on breaking a great record.
NBA Trade Deadline Winners and Losers:
What a crazy trade deadline, like Charlie Sheen, it seemed like a new surprise sprung up every five minutes. Some were good; others made me scratch my head (Perkins to OKC). There were winners and losers, but after all the dust settles the same teams that were favored to win the title in December are still the favorite. For the casual fan here are the key winners and losers from last week trades:
Duh, Winners
Knicks and Nets:
The Knicks got the man they have wanted since Lebron decided to go to Miami. Adding ‘Melo to the lineup solidifies that the Knicks will be a top five team in the east for the next 6-7 years and do not under estimate the Knicks picking up Chauncy Billups. Did the Knicks over pay? Yes, they did but I look at it this way, if you had the chance to go out with a model or movie star wouldn’t you go out of your price range to impress her?
The Nets completely shocked the media by pulling off the trade for Deron Williams. What Utah got in return; two first round picks (2011, 2012) and two players (unproven Derrick Favors and Devin Harris). Nice trade for the Nets to acquire a top five point guard and a new face to the team.
OKC adding depth at center:
Welcome Oklahoma City to the serious discussions for NBA west contenders. All season this has been my pick to overtake the Lakers and with adding Kendrick Perkins from Boston, the Thunder now has the size inside to compete with L.A. and San Antonio. The Perkins trade blew me away, I know he has been injury prone the last few years, but when he is on the floor he is the best low post defender in the league.
Memphis and Portland:
Both of these teams are trying to make a playoff push and fighting for playoff seeding. Memphis’s acquisition of Shane Battier isn’t going to set the league on fire, but adding more depth and leadership to this young team shows Memphis is building for the near future.
Portland had the steal of the draft by picking up Gerald Wallace. Portland currently the seventh seed now has an additional perimeter player and made themselves a tough out when the playoffs begins.
Boston and Charlotte:
All Boston did was weaken its frontcourt and give more confidence to the other top teams in the east that this is their year. Perkins, when healthy, was the defensive anchor for the Celtics. Now the staring center will be either Nenad Kristic or Shaq.
The Bobcats move are just sad and should be seen as a cry that the leads needs to look at contraction. The bobcats are battling for the eight seed and its second trip to the playoffs, yet they trade their best player?
Baron Davis:
What a career the Baron has had. Let’s go back a few years after forcing his way out of the Hornets organization, where he spent his first six years, Davis lands at Golden State. He led the high octane Warrior offense for four years and a few nice playoff series wins, however, in 2008 he joined the Clippers and that is where everything went crazy.  As his owner said “He was fat and out of shape” for three years his numbers dropped, but the Blake Griffin came along and Davis started to play like he did in New Orleans and Golden State. Plus he was the mini-me sidekick in this past dunk contest. Davis was finally starting to play for his hometown like we thought he could. Then is the traded to Cleveland? You have to feel bad for the guy who seemed to finally get his role with the Clips. The lesson on this trade; when you are a lottery pick and paid a ton of cash, then demanding a trade after feuding with a coach (twice), don’t be surprised to land in a dump (Cleveland).
 Too much March Madness?

Bracketology, bubble teams, bubble buster, Cinderella’s, Sweet 16, Final Four, the big dance -- these are all terms that the greatest sports spectacle, March Madness, has brought us. For years, the NCAA and television have put on a great show for a solid month showcasing the top college players and teams. This year the tournament is being overhauled, expanding from 65 teams to 68 and forming a new Final Four tournament during the first week. Basically only an extra two days of games will be shown, but that is not the big change.

For years only one network has showcased all the games; the only exception was the play-in game. This year CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV (never heard of it) will air all the college games in its entirety. I have to admit, this is a big commitment to ask. CBS has done an amazing job of creating what the NFL used to create the Red Zone channel. All you had to do was turn it on CBS then Greg Gumbel and Clark Kellogg would walk us through the day’s games and then selecting the most compelling to watch. When a close game had 10 minutes left, you knew they would change over so we could enjoy every upset and buzzer beater March Madness had to offer.

This year, however, I will have to revert back to my college football Tourette syndrome. You know what I am talking about. It's 2:30 Saturday afternoon, and you are racing between commercial breaks to catch all the networks' big games. March Madness offered me a chance to be lazy and enjoy all the games. I’m not saying that this is bad; it's just change, which for most of us we don’t like at first. And finally can someone tell me about the channel TruTV? Now all I have to do is start preparing my 200 brackets that I know I will lose.
King of the all-star games

Who does a better marketing job showcasing its players better than the NBA? Think about it: David Stern and company puts on a three-night event with no competition from other networks and multiple networks televise the event. What other sport can do this?

As big as the NFL is, for some reason they just do not get what makes all-star weekend great. Major League Baseball seems to get it, but for some reason doesn’t want to make the commitment that the NBA does. What exactly am I talking about? Not only showcasing the league's elite talent, but also the youth with the rookie verses sophomore game, or the skills competition that ends with the re-energized dunk contest. And why is it that the NBA can create a buzz with its celebrity game? I know MLB has its softball game, but I do not want to see MC Hammer and some former players. The NBA had Justin Beiber! Though I don’t get all the hype for him, I see the marketing move to get him.

The NFL’s problem is they are not committed to showcase its players like the NBA. Why not have a semi-strong man competition matching defensive and offensive linemen? I don’t want to see how far a quarterback can throw a ball; that is the equivalent of watching the home run derby. It's cool for five minutes but that is it. Or what if you had receivers try to catch the most acrobatically, organizing it the same way you do with the dunk contest. Just a thought.

The key to this is not to put all the focus on the game (I’m looking at you, baseball). Nobody cares about the game. NOBODY! Adding emphasis on the game by rewarding the winner with this or that is insane. Baseball needs to use the mid-summer classic to showcase its talent and try to continue to separate from the PED era. Also I would love to see a skills competition such as throw out, in which outfielders must throw balls to home plate (I keep thinking of those Fred McGriff instructional videos, where the outfielder makes the throw into the trash can). Something like that. We need to get away from the “chicks dig the long ball” stereotype. Also, why does MLB not have the equivalent of rookies verses sophomores game?

As it stands now, the NBA is the king of the all-star venues right now. How great was the dunk contest? Or how cool was the hardwood floor? The game itself had great storylines and plays, such as Kobe pulling a “Kobe” (ball hog). How cool was it for all four Celtics to play at the same time? The others leagues cannot come close to the story lines created from this game.