Quidditch All-Stars: Beaters

Monday, 29 August 2011, 6:00 | Category : Other
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Quidditch Beaters, Fred and George Weasley

We are naming two Quidditch All-Star teams with real athletes based on whose skills would translate best to the four positions.  In case you missed them, here are the posts in which we named the keepers and chasers.  Jimmy made the point last week that NBA passers would be better than shooters.  So we’re replacing Ray Allen and Jimmer with Steve Nash and Deron Williams.  Nash is obviously one of the greatest PGs and passers ever.  Chris Paul is the consensus best PG in the league right now, but I’m a homer so I’m going with D-Will.  Also, Deron has set the record the Skills Challenge and is a pro at dodgeball, which should translate well.

This week we are doing Beaters, the position with the sole purpose of hitting a ball at the other team’s players to hurt them.

Beaters: “There are two Beaters on every Quidditch team, and they are the only players on the pitch who have bats. Their job is to keep the Bludgers away from their team and at the same time try and aim the Bludgers towards the opposite team. Beaters need to be well built, having considerable physical strength in their arms since they are charged with hitting the Bludgers through out the whole match.”

Beaters obviously most closely resemble batters from baseball.  It’s only logical that two of the MLB’s top sluggers, Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez, each make a team. (I would’ve considered this guy if I weren’t convinced it’s fake.)

It's not exactly a Louisville Slugger.

I haven’t found consistent numbers, but the top male tennis players in the world first serves average around 115 miles an hour, I believe.  The fastest are around 130.  They also understand angles and how to aim, which is important since they have to be able to hit the other players who are literally flying by.  Since any of the top players could hold their own, I’m going with Rafa Nadal because I’m pretty sure he recently got dumped on national TV.  Too bad for Rafa they don’t play Quidditch on clay.

I considered recruiting the Sedin twins (since red headed twins seem to have a knack for beating, but the final Beater spot goes to Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins.  To see why, go to about the 4:00 minute mark on this video.  Sure slap shots are very different than batting (or beatering for that matter), but he’s proven he can hit hard.  Plus he plays hockey so we already know he’s tough.

The All-Star teams are shaping up:

Chudley Cannons Montrose Magpies
Keeper Hope Solo Dwight Howard
Chaser Payton Manning Tom Brady
Chaser Steve Nash Deron Williams
Chaser Justin Verlander Roy Halladay
Beater Albert Pujols Adrian Gonzalez
Beater Zdeno Chara Rafael Nadal

So what do you think.  Will these guys make solid Beaters?  Who would you pick?

Fun with the NBA Trade Machine

Sunday, 28 August 2011, 18:24 | Category : NBA
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Steve Nash, Mo Williams, Phoenix Suns, L.A. ClippersAfter thinking writing about where Tayshaun could end up next season, I decided to play with the NBA Trade Machine to see what I could come up with.  I know the Pistons would really like to get some value out of him in a sign and trade.  I think I may have found a great solution that benefits not only the Pistons, but the Suns and Clippers as well in this trade.  Here’s why each team leaves this trade a winner.  (Remember, the trade machine doesn’t include draft picks or cash considerations that could be tossed in to further sweeten the trade.)

Detroit Pistons:

Trade: Prince ($11.1- but will have a new contract), Maxiell ($5- 1 year), and Gordon ($37.3- 3 years) for a total of $27.7 million owed next season.

Acquire: Kaman ($12.2- 1 year) and Vince Carter ($18.3- 1 year) for a total of $30.5 million next season.

For the small net gain of $2.8 next season, Detroit clears out space at the forward positions to make room for the young guys while getting some much needed depth at C with a former All-Star.  By paying roughly $7 mil more to Carter next season, they are able to move one of their unmovable contracts.  There’s still a logjam at SG, but they’re not any worse off with Carter than they were with Gordon.  Both acquisitions come off the books after next season, clearing lots of needed room.

Phoenix Suns:

Trade: Nash ($11.7- 1 year), Childress ($27- 4 years), Lopez ($2.9- 1 year),  and Carter ($18.3- 1 year) for a total of $38.9 owed next season.

Aquire: Williams ($17- 2 years), Maxiell ($5- 1 year), and Gordon ($37.3- 3 years) for a total of $25.1 million next season.

While this trade does involve losing Steve Nash, it will save the Suns $13.8 million next season.  They also get the satisfaction of knowing they didn’t force one of the greatest PGs ever (who still doesn’t have a championship) to waste his final years in a rebuilding project pretending to be a contender.  They also get to enjoy watching Nash throw alley-oops to Griffin for the next couple (or however many years Nash has left) years.  While overpaid, they get a capable PG to hold the reigns for a couple years while they search for and groom their PG of the future.

They no longer have to worry about buying Carter out of his contract and can erase the mistake of overpaying Childress.  In return, Phoenix gets Gordon who is capable of carrying the offense and even helping on ball handling duty.  Last, but not least, they clear the starting spot at C for Gortat while picking up an energy PF/C to come off the bench.  All in all, the Suns put themselves in much better financial position while gaining buckets full of good Karma.

L.A. Clippers:

Trade: Kaman ($12.2- 1 year) and Williams ($17- 2 years) for a total of $20.7 owed next season.

Acquire: Prince ($11.1- but will have a new contract), Nash ($11.7- 1 year), Childress ($27- 4 years), and Lopez ($2.9- 1 year) for a total of $31.7 next season (depending on Prince’s contract).

It’s no secret the Clips have wanted to get rid of Kaman, and Williams was a consolation prize for getting rid of Baron Davis.  So the only loss is that they’ll be paying $11 million more on payroll next season, but teams save room so they can sign players that’ll make them better.  They have two positions that need serious upgrade: PG and SF.  Nash and Tayshaun are just that.  With these two, the Clips automatically become a real team that can make a run in the playoffs.  It’s been a while since any team from L.A. not called the Lakers has been able to say that.  The two throw-ins won’t hurt either.

Give me a good reason how this trade doesn’t make all three teams better off.  Why shouldn’t this trade happen?  What other trades would you like to see once the next season begins?

Fit for a Prince

Thursday, 25 August 2011, 7:30 | Category : NBA
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When I heard the Heat were interested in signing Tayshaun Prince as a possible backup to LeBron, I was horrified.  Just the thought of seeing Tay-Tay suit up in the enemy’s uniform made me feel dirty.  So I examined all 30 teams to find which will be the best fit and situation for him going forward.  I divided the teams down into categories (many of which fall under multiple groups) to explain where he might or might not be able to find a home.

Contenders: Chicago, Dallas, L.A. Lakers, Miami, and Oklahoma City.

It would be ideal to be on a real contender, but each of these teams is pretty well set at SF.  Tayshaun would make a great addition for any of these teams coming off the bench.  The problem is, this is Tay’s last chance to get a decent contract, and none of the contenders are in a position to give him that (especially with a new CBA in place).  He’s also not a primary need for most of these teams.  Plus I hate the Lakers and Heat.

Too Old (Semi-Contenders): Boston and San Antonio.

Seasoned teams trying to infuse young talent before their vets completely breakdown.  Tayshaun is 31.

Set at SF: Boston, Dallas, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Philadelphia, and Portland.

Unless you consider the Knicks a contender (which I don’t), he may be willing to come off the bench there, but I’m not sure he’d fit in there anyway.  These teams are simply not in the market for him.

Middle of the Pack: Atlanta, Indiana, Memphis, and Milwaukee.

The Hawks would need to move some guys to create room in the roster and the cap.  But, he’s probably not the answer for Atlanta anyway.  He could easily slide into Battier’s role for the Grizz, which probably isn’t a bad option.  The Bucks sure could use him (depending on whether Jackson plays as a SG or SF), and he fits the defensive mentality of Coach Skiles.  But who wants to play in Milwaukee?

Rebuilding: Charlotte, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Utah, and Washington.

These teams are looking towards the future by unloading their more talented veterans for young talent and draft picks.  Even on teams that could use him, like the Jazz, need to let their young guys gain experience.

Trying to Convince a Superstar to Stay: New Jersey, New Orleans, and Orlando.

Prince is probably not enough to convince these superstars to stay.  He’d really only fit in New Jersey anyway (especially with the others committed to Ariza and Turkoglu).  Maybe if D-Will assures Tay he’ll resign if they can get someone else to join them.  I say there are too many variables.

Teams in Disarray: Houston, Phoenix, Sacramento, and Toronto.

Houston likes to collect lots of assets that don’t really fit.  Phoenix thinks it can still win just because it has Steve Nash.  The Maloofs are broke and don’t want to shell out the money.  Toronto?  Come on.  None of these situations look like promising places to commit to for the last stretch of his career.

California: Golden State, L.A.-Clippers, and Sacramento.

These three teams need an upgrade at SF, help on defense, and some veteran leadership.  Any of these stand out to you?  I already explained why Sac-Town is a mess.  The Warriors have potential, but they still need to figure out what they’re going to do with Ellis and at center long term.  The Clippers, on the other hand, have Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, and plenty of young talent.

The way I see it, there are really only three options: Bucks, Grizzlies, and Clippers.  Some people see the Bucks as the next season’s Grizzlies, but I don’t trust them.  Plus the Bucks may not even want another SF.

Tayshaun Prince, Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons, L.A. ClippersIf Tayshaun doesn’t mind coming off the bench once Gay is healthy, then Memphis will be a great option.  They’re in position to make a deep run again next season (whenever that’ll be).  The major problem is that they’ve got big money already going to a few players and still owe Gasol and new contract.  If they can work through those two issues, Tay’s got to seriously consider Memphis.

I see the Clippers as a logical fit for Tayshaun, and I’m not the first.  Not only would he be going home, but he’d be on a team of the future with a chance to make deep runs in the playoffs (especially if they find a decent PG).  Also, a sign and trade sending Chris Kaman would give the Pistons much needed depth at center before coming off the books.

When all else fails, just imagine them in the new uniform.  If it looks like they could belong in it, then it just may work.

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