Saturday, April 30, 2011

04/30 (Mallett and Memphis) Quickie

Two big stories I'm thinking about this morning: The Pats drafting Ryan Mallett and the 8th-seeded Grizzlies ousting the top-seeded Spurs in 6 games.

Pats draft Mallett: My favorite part about this is the whiplash from the experts (or "experts") who had been dogging Mallett for months.

Simply by being picked by Bill Belichick and the Patriots, he is validated -- even if he will do no more than serve as trade-bait a few seasons from now, like Matt Cassel. Flipping a 3rd-round pick into a 1st- or 2nd-rounder is a huge success for a team with a Hall of Fame incumbent QB who isn't going anywhere for a half-decade or more.

But I just love the idea of "He sucks... he sucks... he sucks... -- oh, wait: the Patriots drafted him? BRILLIANT MOVE!"

The Grizzlies bounce out the Spurs
: An 8-seed drumming out a 1-seed in 6 games is unprecedented in NBA history, doing one better the celebrated Warriors series win over the Mavs a couple years ago. These Grizz are totally likeable, if afterthoughts during the regular season to the casual fan; they are now the bandwagon team. That they are playing last year's bandwagon team -- the Thunder -- in the conference semifinals is a hipster fan's dream. It is the greatest moment in Grizzlies franchise history -- a history that hasn't been all that notable.

Get smart reactions to the Grizzlies and Mallett, along with all the other big storylines of a relatively quiet Saturday in sports, from Quickish. Please stop by!

-- D.S.

Friday, April 29, 2011

04/29 (Draft Hangover) Quickie

You can/should check out Quickish to quickly catch up on everything that happened in last night's NFL Draft, but here is a super-handy page that has all the best commentary from each pick, listed chronologically from No. 1 to 32.

A special shout-out to the sports folks out there who got up early this a.m. and had the wherewithal to tweet about the wedding, with a specifically sports slant. You can mock it all you want, but approximately 250 times the number of people watched that than watched the first round of the draft last night, which a non-fan would probably say: "So you spent your night in front of the TV watching large people in suits wait for their name to get called, then parade on a stage, all while serenaded by TV analysis that ranged from the overly enthusiastic to the staggeringly banal?"

The answer is: OH YES.

I happen to enjoy the draft, both the NFL and NBA varieties. Here are a few things from last night that stood out for me:

*Roger Goodell was booed, deservedly so. And he took it in stride, to his credit. Frankly, the brief public humiliation probably did more to help his cause than if he avoided it, because it was a form of catharsis for fans that increases their tolerance for him and the league. It was a necessary step, and I think he knew it.

*Cam Newton was booed, too. Beyond that, there was a few minutes where he mattered, then it was on to all the rest of the picks. The draft was defined less by Newton at No. 1 than by the flurry of QBs taken in the Top 12...

*Jake Locker to the Titans at No. 8? Yikes, what a reach. He feels like Vince Young 2.0. Blaine Gabbert at No. 10 in a trade-up by the Jaguars? You know how I'm going to feel about this: The Jaguars' original sin was not drafting Tim Tebow a year ago. And the Vikings drafting Christian Ponder was a total reach. (Do you think they feel like chumps for panicking before seeing Andy Dalton -- who doesn't seem all that different from Ponder -- could be had at the top of the 2nd round?)

*Prince Amukamara's family won the night. Von Miller's tears at No. 2 were another highlight. Special merit award to Mark Ingram for his spontaneous tears when Suzy Kolber read the email to him from his dad, who is in prison.

*I never tire of watching the Pats play chess while everyone else plays checkers. And with the top pick of the 2nd round, think they aren't fielding incredible offers from teams trying to move up?

*The biggest winners of the first round? The Saints got a great defensive player (Cam Jordan) and an RB to replace Reggie Bush (Mark Ingram). The Browns got a ton of draft picks from the Falcons for Julio Jones. But my biggest winner was the Lions, who drafted Nick Fairley to team with Ndamukong Suh -- they will be better and they will be so watchable. Lions fans have to be thrilled.

*Early pick for 2011 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: AJ Green. (Defensive Rookie of the Year: Patrick Peterson.)

Keep up at Quickish with more draft reactions all morning and into the afternoon, along with all the other big topics.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

04/28 (Drafty) Quickie

The most interesting storyline of the 2011 NFL Draft -- the reason it is absolutely must-see, even if this season you are inclined to skip it (perhaps for the Lakers-Hornets game on at the same time) -- is because this is when Roger Goodell meets the fans, the boisterous fans of the NFL Draft, in primetime on national TV.

And how those fans react -- likely with boos -- will be the most powerful symbol of where the league stands with this lockout, even more powerful than the "STAY DENIED" from last night from Judge Susan Nelson.

Yes, whether the Panthers take Cam Newton will be interesting. Yes, the other picks of the 1st round -- particularly the number of QBs (and perhaps trades to get QBs) -- will be interesting, in their own way.

But the real drama this year is between Commissioner and his fans.

(Can't you picture some toady whispering to the Commish: "Sir, they're not saying 'Boo!' They're saying 'Gooooo!-dell.'")


Spurs shock Grizzlies, everyone else: The Spurs were done. Manu's toe was on the line, the 3 became a 2 and the Spurs were finished, a 1-seed humiliated in 5 games in one of the most shocking results in NBA Playoffs history. And then: Gary Neal. Amazing.

Will Cam Newton go No. 1 overall? Yes. And I really hope that his career lives up to that selection. I think he has the talent. I have no questions about his character. As with Tebow a year ago, what will make or break Newton's career is the willingness of the Panthers coach staff to reject NFL strategic orthodoxy and build a new offense around the talents of their new QB.

Heat close out Sixers: All that matters is that it sets up the Miami-Boston conference semifinal showdown that is the apex of the playoffs this year -- it is more important/interesting than the Finals themselves (unless it is, say, Lakers-Heat). I'll say Celtics in 5.

Thunder close out Nuggets: Now that they're both bounced out, it would be fun for the Nuggets and Knicks to have an exhibition 7-game series, wouldn't it? Maybe on off nights during the conference finals?

Bruins dispatch Habs in Game 7 OT: That series absolutely lived up to all the pre-series expectations. Exceeded them, actually. How often does that happen?

Roger McDowell: He should be fired. Period. It goes beyond the worst judgment for a coach and representative of the team and league and goes to the idea that this is just a bad guy. The Braves can find a pitching coach that is just as good as McDowell -- without the bigoted baggage.

-- D.S.

04/27 (Game 7) Quickie

There is something particularly special about the late-April/early-May Tuesday night where you find yourself up past midnight when you damn well know you should be asleep.

And yet you are watching a NHL Playoff Game 7 (or NBA Playoff Game 7) on the West Coast that started at 10:30 ET and looks to be ending... well, who-knows-when?

But that's kind of the point.

It is a moment of allegiance to no team -- not even to any particular sport. But to sports themselves.

There was all this chatter last night about whether "real" fans should have been watching the NHL or the NBA.

None of this is ever zero-sum -- that goes from "What game are you watching?" to what column are you reading to what sites you visit to... well, anything.

The only thing that is zero-sum is the game itself. And, as we saw last night, that's just perfect.


Kobe has a "moment": The dunk on Okafor, yes, but leading the Lakers past the Hornets in the way we assumed they would all along.

Canucks vanquish Blackhawks in 7: Given that Chicago was sitting on a Stanley Cup, it was hard not to pull for the utterly desperate fans in Vancouver.

Tonight: Canadiens-Bruins Game 7. Why can the NHL put a Game 6 and Game 7 -- in different cities, no less -- on back-to-back nights, but the NBA needs to give the Heat three full days between games?

NFL Draft: 36 hours to go. Evaluating the leading scuttlebutt: Will the Panthers take Cam Newton No. 1 overall, despite the howls of doubters? Yes. Will the Redskins trade up to get Blaine Gabbert? Yes. Will TCU's Andy Dalton go in the Top 10? No. Top 15? Yes. Will the Steelers be able to trade up to get the other Pouncey? No.

NFL Lockout: What a clusterf--- for the owners. That said, I still contend that the p.r. battle is the bright shiny object that really has nothing to do with anything UNLESS part of Susan Nelson's decision incorporating the fans was driven by the overwhelmingly anti-owners stance of most in the media. (I don't disagree with that analysis, but the more interesting thing is if it is having a cumulative effect on the only constituent who matters: The judge.)

Really awesome day on tap for Quickish. Pop by!

-- D.S.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

04/26 (Grizzly) Quickie

Pop over to Quickish to keep up with all the best commentary on the biggest topics: the NBA Playoffs, the NHL Playoffs, the NFL lockout, the NFL Draft, Jim Tressel and more.

*Grizzlies stunning Spurs: It's not a question of jumping on the Grizzlies bandwagon. The question is: How could you NOT jump on the Grizzlies bandwagon?

*NFL Lockout: I just like to envision the awkwardness as players all head to their team facilities, and the coaches awkwardly have to give them the silent treatment, per NFL orders.

*NHL Playoffs: Canucks-Blackhawks Game 7 is a must-see. Chicago is the defending champs -- and conference 8-seed. Vancouver had the best regular-season in the conference; they started the series up 3 games to 0, then the Blackhawks won the next three. Now, the finale is in Vancouver where the atmosphere will be desperate. Amazing.

*Jim Tressel: When Kirk Herbstreit is abandoning Tressel, you know it's over. I appreciate that Herbie went national with his stunning sentiment, but I also suspect that he wouldn't have done it without knowing which way the wind was blowing; he wants to be on the right side of history here, and it must have been stunning for Tressel to hear it. Still: To his credit to say it.

With Tressel, it's "when," not "if" he is going to get fired. Just as it is "when" not "if" Urban Meyer will be brought in to replace him. Aside from Florida, there are probably three jobs in the country worthy of Meyer: Ohio State, Notre Dame and Texas. He doesn't want the latter; the Irish are untouchable until Brian Kelly is mediocre for a few more years. But Ohio State could be available exactly when Meyer feels refreshed and ready to come back to his home state's team, the team he grew up rooting for. It's a perfect fit -- and an inevitable one.

*Should the Knicks re-sign Chauncey Billups? Absolutely. Because, contrary to Carmelo's sentiments, it isn't about winning 50 games in the regular season. It's winning 4 or 8 or 12 or 16 in the postseason. For the Knicks, winning 4 is a good start; winning 8 is overachieving. Keeping Billups gives you the best chance of either.

-- D.S.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Little Help for Quickish?

After a slight delay, we have rolled out the kind of social sharing functionality on Quickish that fits a product that is constantly recommending awesome stuff.

Now, you can very easily share Quickish tips on both Facebook and Twitter. Just look for the button beneath the post you want to share and click -- if it's Twitter, we give you the room to add your own comment to the link.

Anyway, before I get too aggressive promoting the functionality to the world, I would really appreciate it if you would give it a try -- head over to Quickish, scan the stream to find something you think is worth sharing, and pass along through your preferred network. It should take you less than a half-minute.

Let me know if you encounter any bugs or the functionality doesn't work the way you want it to. Just ping me at dan-[at]-quickish-[dot]-com. I really appreciate it. And I hope you find it useful.

-- D.S.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Monday 04/25 (Busy) Quickie

Read my take on the Knicks getting swept below.

I love how everyone is so fired up for the Celtics-Heat series. I agree: It's going to be more hyped than any series in the 2011 NBA Playoffs, including the Finals.

But what happens when the Celtics win in 4 or 5? Because that's what will happen. This has been the Heat's fate since the night of The Decision.

And so the question is what will be more interminable: The week before the series actually starts... or the discussion of how awesome the series will be when the reality is that it's Boston in a walk?


Chris Paul upends the Lakers: CP3's performance in the playoffs so far is a great reminder that naming "All-NBA" or "MVP" before the Playoffs start is so misguided. For now, hard to think of a more MVP-worthy player than Paul.

NHL: Canucks choke away Game 6, punctuated by benching starting goalie Roberto Luongo to start, then putting him in for the 3rd period and OT, only to watch him let the game-winning, series-tying goal go by, forcing a once-improbable Game 7 on Tuesday with the defending champs, winners of 3 straight and undoubtedly thinking about destiny.

NBA: Heat tripped up by the Sixers. The Sixers are better than most folks think. Then again, the Heat aren't as good as most folks think. Is it a viable thing that the Heat have to put (at least) one more game's worth of mileage on the tires while the Celtics get to relax?

MLB: Roy Halladay fans 14. That is all. Oh, and the Red Sox swept the Angels. The slow start is a distant memory, aside from its crippling impact on Boston's spot in the standings. But give it another 90 games to shake itself out.

NFL Draft: I'm totally excited about the Draft -- I suspect that it will do much better with fans than the haters are saying. It's a break from the labor posturing; it's "real" football (if only on paper/on a podium). So many great storylines. I'm still saying Cam Newton No. 1 to Carolina.

- D.S.

Knicks Swept Out by Boston

Keep up with the NBA Playoffs and all the best takes on all the big topics at

Really now: Did anyone really think the Knicks would beat the Celtics in this series? If you had to pick between "Knicks win series" and "Knicks swept," you'd take the latter every time.

Oh, maybe you thought the Knicks could swipe a game or two -- make it interesting. And in Games 1 and 2, they did. Games 3 and 4, back in New York, they were not nearly as good, as if they knew they had no chance. In Game 3, they truly believed it; in Game 4, at least they figured out it was worth putting up a fight.

The Knicks get graded on a curve, for some reason. (No, it's a fairly obvious reason: It's New York. It's the Knicks. It's Carmelo + Amare + Spike + MSG + Media Market.)

But I have a hard time imagining this team ever being a true contender -- by that I mean very simply: A team that has a legitimate chance of winning the NBA title.

Knicks fans shouldn't be offended by that -- in any given year in the NBA, about 3-4 teams MAX get that designation.

If you aren't winning the title, you better be relevant. And this season, the Knicks became relevant. But they are closer to the Nets than the Celtics when it comes to being a contender.

Perhaps if the Knicks were entirely healthy -- Amare totally healthy, Billups able to play -- the series would have been very different. Maybe they win a game. Maybe two. But not four.

"But not four."

That feels like it is the Knicks' lot in 2011, Year 1 of the Carmelo-Will-Save-Us campaign. And 2012 -- the Celtics feel like they have one more in 'em, not to mention the Bulls and Heat. In 2013 and 2014, the C's are done, but the Bulls and Heat (and Thunder and whoever snags Dwight Howard -- the Nets???) are going to be much better than the Knicks.

Oh, maybe the Knicks get to the point where they earn a top 4 seed in the East during the regular season, then win four to get to the conference semis. But can anyone see them winning four to get past that?

The relevance of the Knicks in the 2011 NBA Playoffs is foreshadowing. So is getting bounced.

-- D.S.

04/24 (Easter) Quickie

Just got back from the neighborhood Easter egg hunt (all kids welcome), and as I watched a horde of kids find the hundreds of plastic eggs within about 90 seconds -- half the kids hadn't even entered the playground yet -- I wonder where the parents are.

At a minimum, tell your kid they get to find 3 eggs (like we did) and the rest are for everyone else. I saw some kids walking around with a basket with at least 12 eggs, and I wanted to yell at the parents to get over themselves (and their kids). Ridiculous.

Anyhow, if you're celebrating, a happy Easter to you and your family. I hope it's a nice one. Let's get to it:

*Brandon Roy. My goodness. Watch the two video clips in this stream, and check out the reactions.

*Bruins top Habs in 2OT: Also totally dramatic. Finally, a home team wins in this series. Still not sure the Canadiens don't have them right where they want them.

*Zach Randolph and the Grizzlies shock the Spurs -- again! Z-Bo has long been underrated; he hasn't helped his cause by being a bit of a odd one. But this series is reinventing his image.

*The Capitals close out the Rangers in 5: What a change of pace -- that the Caps close out a series early... hell, that they don't choke away an early series lead at all. New mindset there.

*Today: The Heat will sweep the Sixers and the Celtics will sweep the Knicks, giving us a full week to consider a Heat-Celtics semifinals in the East starting next week.

-- D.S.