Mock Draft 1.0

Adrian Peterson celebrates a touchdown. If you land him in your draft, you should celebrate too.

Adrian Peterson celebrates a touchdown. If you land him in your draft, you should celebrate too.

It’s that time of year again – Fantasy Football. For those who play, it’s a religion. For those who don’t, well I don’t really remember what it’s like, but it’s probably annoying being surrounded by people who do. Either way, I’ll be doing a series of Mock Drafts that are a little different than what you’ll see from your expert columns wherever you play. Instead of ranking players, I’m participating in random mock drafts and posting the results with my insight from round to round on whatever sticks out. Feel free to comment below with questions, comments, and insight of your own.

ESPN Standard League, 8-team draft.

I ended up with the 6th pick in this draft out of 8 teams, so near the bottom of the pack. Rough start, as most elite running backs figure to be off the board, but still good talent in the top 8. The plus side is that in a snake draft, like this one, there isn’t quite as large of a gap between picks. Note that my picks are bolded, and that I simply autopicked after the 7th round due to my internet crashing.

Round: 1
(1) Adrian Peterson RB
(2) Arian Foster RB
(3) Ray Rice RB
(4) Marshawn Lynch RB
(5) Jamaal Charles RB
(6) C.J. Spiller RB
(7) Alfred Morris RB
(8) Doug Martin RB

Thoughts:

-Whether you think Adrian Peterson repeats last year’s performance or not, he has to go number one overall here. Will he be the number one running back at the end of the year? I think so, but there’s no guaranteee. Either way, he’s a safe #1 and a star.

-Sort of surprised Arian Foster went #2. I mean, yes, it’s Arian Foster. But he’s injured and currently on the PUP list. The way I see it, the less you play in the preseason, the less you play in the regular season – he’s already hurt, and without preseason conditioning, he’ll aggravate the injuries in the first month or so of play. Take him late in the first or early in the second, but have a backup plan if you do. I’m not sold.

-WHERE is Calvin Johnson? If this were a PPR league, he’d surely go in the top 3 to 5, but either way I’m somewhat surprised. I didn’t take him because of the rate good RBs were flying off the board, but don’t take a chance in your league. If your top few RBs are gone, draft Johnson in the first, no matter the format. Remember, he broke Jerry Rice’s All-Time receiving yards record last season, and did so with broken fingers.

-I think Rice has lost a step, and unless this is a PPR league, I don’t take him so high. Just a risk for a #3 pick, in my opinion. I love Charles, but am wary of him. Was he a beast when he came back from injury last year? Yes. Do I think he’ll stay healthy? No. C.J. Spiller is primed for a HUGE year. Forget Fred Jackson. Spiller is the man in the new up tempo Buffalo offense. Not sold on Alfred Morris or Doug Martin, and think they’ll be prone to a down year now that teams had an offseason to figure them out. More of a second-round pick.

Round: 2
(9) Trent Richardson RB
(10) Aaron Rodgers QB
(11) Calvin Johnson WR
(12) Drew Brees QB
(13) Stevan Ridley RB
(14) LeSean McCoy RB
(15) A.J. Green WR
(16) Steven Jackson RB

Thoughts:

-Calvin Johnson at #11?! Robbery. Send me to jail.

– I think Richardson should be behind Morris and Martin, but I don’t think he should be ninth. Later in the second round.

-Never trust a Patriots’ RB this early, unless his name is Corey Dillon and the calendar says 2004. Maybe in a PPR, but Ridley isn’t a pass catcher. This is still Tom Brady’s offense, despite efforts (and successes) to balance the offense a bit.

-I’m biased towards McCoy. Take him higher in PPR, although beware of his concussion history coming back to note you.

– I’m tempted to put Brees ahead of Rodgers. After shattering Dan Marino’s old record of 5,084 yards with 5,476 yards in 2011, Brees followed up the campaign with 5,177 yards, which also would have broken the record, last season where the Saints weren’t very good and were without their head coach and a defense.

– Count me among those who think Steven Jackson has a career year as the #1 RB on a very good Atlanta team. Lets hope his knees can handle the carries. I think he scores at least 10 TDs

Round: 3
(17) Tom Brady QB
(18) Brandon Marshall WR
(19) Dez Bryant WR
(20) Demaryius Thomas WR
(21) Julio Jones WR
(22) Peyton Manning QB
(23) Chris Johnson RB
(24) Andre Johnson WR

-Tom Brady easily goes in the second round, and in most leagues that are 10 teams, he would. Don’t read into the hysteria about Brady losing his top 5 pass catchers from last season; it’s true, but he’ll be fine. Amendola will fill the Welker role if healthy, Rob Gronkowski will be back in the second half of the season when you need Brady most, and rookie receiver Antoine Dobson has looked phenonenal in camp. Not to mention Shane Vereen is one of Brady’s favorite RB targets since the Kevin Faulk glory days. Brady is a safe pick, and could easily go much higher than 17.

-I have unjustifiable faith in Brandon Marshall, especially when Jay Cutler throws him the ball. I think I need therapy. I’m okay with him at 18 though (he’d be higher in PPR formats), but Julio Jones needs to be ahead of him. I don’t understand how Julio Jones was taken after Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas. Anyone?

-I took Manning over Jones for two reasons: A) he’s the last “Elite” Fantasy QB (Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Manning), although I’ll tough more on that later, and B) It’s standard format and God hates WRs in Standard Leagues.

-Does anyone really have faith in Chris Johnson? This is why I hate standard leagues that praise running backs. Chris Johnson? CJ<1K?! Ugh.

-Andre Johnson at 24: Sleeper-like steal, or over-paying bust? I’m not sold either way, but he should still be a top receiver.

Round: 4
(25) Roddy White WR
(26) Frank Gore RB
(27) Matt Forte RB
(28) David Wilson RB
(29) Cam Newton QB
(30) Jimmy Graham TE
(31) Maurice Jones-Drew RB
(32) Vincent Jackson WR

– The Falcons didn’t make Roddy White their #1 receiver, don’t make him yours either.

-Frank Gore, MJD, Matt Forte, David Wilson. I trust Forte the most, but again, more so in a PPR format. Why are people jumping on the David Wilson train for the Giants? Remember Roy Helu? Oh, you drafted him as a starter? And you lost your league? Oh, okay. Glad to hear you didn’t forget. Let someone else draft David Wilson. If HE wins your league, well I’ll be damned.

-I may be Cam Newton’s biggest supporter, but with Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford, and Andrew Luck on the board, I’m hesitaant taking him this early.

Round: 5
(33) Randall Cobb WR
(34) Matt Ryan QB
(35) Larry Fitzgerald WR
(36) Wes Welker WR
(37) Marques Colston WR
(38) Victor Cruz WR
(39) Reggie Wayne WR
(40) Hakeem Nicks WR

-I don’t like Randall Cobb this high, despite what his numbers say. I’m probably wrong on this, but I’m personally not risking a pick in the 30s on one season of production. Greg Jennings is gone, but Cobb isn’t necessarily the answer.

-Remember when Larry Fitzgerald was a Top 10 pick? Remember when picking Larry FItzgerald in the Top 10 burned you every time? Sigh. So. Much. Talent. Wasted.

-Matt Ryan at 34 is the steal of the draft. I’m going on record right now saying he throws 4500+ yards, 35+ TDs, 10 or fewers picks.

-I love Welker, Colston, Cruz, Wayne, and Nicks, also think any of them could have gone higher, even in a standard league. Mix and match any 2 or 3, and you’ve got a solid  WR core on your fantasy team. I’d take Cruz first, then Welker, Wayne, Nicks, and then Colston. Don’t agree? Yell at me in the comments and we can work this out.

Round: 6
(41) Colin Kaepernick QB
(42) Dwayne Bowe WR
(43) Rob Gronkowski TE
(44) Robert Griffin III QB
(45) Darren Sproles RB
(46) DeMarco Murray RB
(47) Mike Wallace WR
(48) Reggie Bush RB

-I don’t trust Kaepernick (sue me), Sproles (too old, defenses know him/the Saints system too well), Demarco Murray (too injured) or Reggie Bush (sue me again, but he’s had one decent fantasy year ever. He’s not going to bust out now, and he’s virtually worthless outside of PPR).

-I think Mike Wallace could quickly become Ryan Tannehill’s favorite target. Everyone’s down on Wallace after years of being up on him. Now I’m up on Wallace after years of being down on him.

-Don’t take Gronk too early, but don’t let him pass you by. Get him when you can for when he comes back healthy and destroying small cities and “The Patriot Way” as we’ve grown accustomed to in recent years.

Round: 7
(49) Seahawks D/ST D/ST
(50) Jason Witten TE
(51) Matthew Stafford QB
(52) Darren McFadden RB
(53) Tony Gonzalez TE
(54) Danny Amendola WR
(55) James Jones WR
(56) Eddie Lacy RB

-Don’t take Amendola too early in Standard Leagues. Hold your ground, and snipe when appropriate. Do I think he’s a Top 10 WR this year? Yes. Can you get him in the 5th-7th rounds of your drafts? Probably. Steal him here and reap the plenty.

-Tony Gonzalez is good for 70 catches, 800 yards and 8 touchdowns if he stays healthy. He’s a third option on a good team with a great QB. He can be your TE on a championship team.

-I want to call Stafford a steal here, I do. I can’t though. He’s not quite Elite, yet. But if you drafted Calvin Johnson, he’s not a bad guy to have as well. You won’t be hurt by Stafford

Round: 8
(57) Kyle Rudolph TE
(58) Vernon Davis TE
(59) Montee Ball RB
(60) Chris Ivory RB
(61) Steve Smith WR
(62) Ryan Mathews RB
(63) 49ers D/ST D/ST
(64) Cecil Shorts WR

SO at this point I lost internet connectivity and autodrafted. My comments will be limited going forward, but comment with questions on the late rounds and I’ll happily give my opinions.

PS – I don’t trust Chris Ivory. Backup? Sure. Not a starter, if you can manage it.

-Not a terrible idea taking your defense if there isn’t a standout producer left that you need. Rank them before so you know when to strike, like this guy did with the 49ers. Also,  I’m all about the Seahawks Defense.

Round: 9
(65) Greg Olsen TE
(66) Eric Decker WR
(67) Andrew Luck QB
(68) Antonio Brown WR
(69) Lamar Miller RB
70) Jordy Nelson WR
(71) Torrey Smith WR
(72) BenJarvus Green-Ellis RB

-Luck down here is a value pick. If you still need a QB or are looking for a quality Bye Week starter/backup, take him.

-Torrey Smith is pretty much Joe Flacco’s #1 target…take that as you wish…

Round: 10
(73) Anquan Boldin WR
(74) Le’Veon Bell RB
(75) Pierre Garcon WR
(76) Ahmad Bradshaw RB
(77) DeSean Jackson WR
(78) Texans D/ST D/ST
(79) Russell Wilson QB
(80) DeAngelo Williams RB

-if Garcon stays healthy (I think he will) and RGIII gets/stays healthy (I think he will), this is a steal. Potentially a Top 10 WR at 75? I’ll happily take it.

-Same kind of applies to DeSean Jackson, Michael Vick, and the Eagles, but I’m not sold on their offense or their team. That said, he could definitely be a Top 10-15 WR if all goes well.

-Russell Wilson: I’m sold on him being a good NFL QB. Fantasy? Not quite yet. Not a bad backup, though, especially if he breaks out.

Round: 11
(81) Greg Jennings WR
(82) Tavon Austin WR
(83) Rashard Mendenhall RB
(84) Owen Daniels TE
(85) Steve Johnson WR
(86) Shane Vereen RB
(87) Miles Austin WR
(88) Antonio Gates TE

-Jennings: UBER Steal at 81 if he’s healthy. This is a Vikings team that made the Playoffs without a passing game. Now they’ve got a stud like Jennings? This only helps Peterson and Jennings. Don’t bank on him, but 81st is a steal, period.

-Shane Vereen…Patriots RB…Not a PPR League…clearly autodraft hates me

Round: 12
(89) Eli Manning QB
(90) Sidney Rice WR
(91) Vick Ballard RB
(92) Tony Romo QB
(93) Andre Brown RB
(94) T.Y. Hilton WR
(95) Johnathan Franklin RB
(96) Ben Roethlisberger QB

-Draft Eli Manning if you want to rip your hair out over dumb interceptions and lose your fantasy league

-Tony Romo: See Manning, Eli.

Ben Roethlisburger: See Romo, Tony.

Round: 13
(97) Stephen Gostkowski K
(98) Mike Williams WR
(99) Lance Moore WR
(100) Giovani Bernard RB
(101) Ryan Williams RB
(102) Kenny Britt WR
(103) Michael Vick QB
(104) Blair Walsh K

-Remember what I said about the Defense? Same goes for Kickers. Screw the “no kickers before the last round” rule. Get your guy.

-I’m not saying Michael Vick is going to “break out” but I’m also not saying Chip Kelly is going to fail. If I had actually been picking, he’d probably be my backup QB

Round: 14
(105) Justin Tucker K
(106) Brandon Myers TE
(107) Mark Ingram RB
(108) Isaiah Pead RB
(109) Emmanuel Sanders WR
(110) Denarius Moore WR
(111) Mikel Leshoure RB
(112) Golden Tate WR

-Mark Ingram: See Patriots, Running Backs for the

Round: 15
(113) Bears D/ST D/ST
(114) Chris Givens WR
(115) Josh Gordon WR
(116) Broncos D/ST D/ST
(117) Bengals D/ST D/ST
(118) Patriots D/ST D/ST
(119) Steelers D/ST D/ST
(120) Ravens D/ST D/ST

-I don’t see the Steelers D being draft worthy. Or the Bengals, for that matter. Patriots? I’ve avoided them at all costs in recent years due to their tendency to give up stupid late touchdowns in games they’ve already won. That could stop this season on an improved team with a better attitude.

Round: 16
(121) Packers D/ST D/ST
(122) Matt Bryant K
(123) Matt Prater K
(124) Phil Dawson K
(125) Randy Bullock K
(126) Josh Brown K
(127) Sebastian Janikowski K
(128) Jared Cook TE

-Mr. Irrelevant: Jared Cook. Quick Story – one of my best friends took some no name TE as the last pick in our draft a few years ago because he needed a backup and took my advice from this column and took his kicker earlier. The guy he picked with the very last pick in our draft? Just a red-headed 6-foot-6 monster named Jimmy Graham. And yeah, it was the year he broke out as a star. Always run em out, kids.

Seriously, comment below. Argue with me, please. Tell me I’m wrong. It’ll make all of us better.

Follow me on Twitter, too: @PatBradleyUSCHO

Breaking Down New Celtics Center Vitor Faverani

New Celtics center Vitor Faverani for Valencia

New Celtics center Vitor Faverani for Valencia

 

The Celtics are reportedly signing Brazilian center Vitor Faverani, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.

The 6-foot-11, 25-year-old averaged 9.3 points and 4.6 rebounds on 59% shooting in only 17 minutes of action for Valencia of the Spanish ACB, typically considered the second-best professional league in the world, in 2012-2013. Faverani doesn’t look particularly big – his muscles and arms don’t look particularly toned like most NBA players – but according to those who’ve seen him play, he’s a very strong, physical player whose athleticism drives his game. He’s rather raw in his skill set, but don’t let that mistake you: the dude can play. From my limited YouTube research, Favernani appears to be a quick finisher at the hoop, a decent ball-handler for a big man off the dribble, and sports a nifty hook shot from the left side. He also has the wherewithal to adjust his shot mid-jump and finish with both hands. In terms of defense, I’ve got nothing, though his rebounding numbers may tell the entire story. His offensive game is supposed to be his better quality. Either way, with increased minutes his numbers would, in theory, also increase.

Faverani has won a championship as professional, and also plays for the Brazilian national team. At 25, he is entering his ninth season of professional basketball.

My comparison: make a Brandon Bass/Jeff Green hybrid with a high basketball IQ, even more athleticism, and make him 7 feet tall.

Something else to note, new Hawks rookie Lucas Nogueira spoke to CSNNE.com’s Jessica Camerato on Faverani

“He’s very good,” said Nogueira. “He’s a defensive and offensive player, but I think he’s offensively better. He has a lot of moves in the post. He’s had a great  season in Spain last year. He’s strong but can jump, can run. He’s a great player.”

Faverani is set to make $6 million over the next three season in Boston.Vitor Faverani

Something else that intrigues me about this deal is what it means for rising sophomore center Fab Melo. On one hand, the two could be a perfect compliment: Melo’s defense is terrific, anchoring the defense of one of the best teams in college basketball at Syracuse University  before earning a First-Team All-Defense selection in his first season as a professional for the Celtics’ NBA D-League affiliate Maine Red Claws. Melo is a project, but a veteran like Faverani, who reigns from Melo’s home country of Brazil and has won championships overseas, may be very beneficial for the youngster.

On the other hand, Celtics brass loves Shavlik Randolph, whose option has to be picked up or revoked by August 1st. With the addition of promising rookie Kelly Olynyk, there may not be room (or money, presuming the Celtics don’t want to go over the luxury tax threshold with a rebuilding team) to keep Melo, let alone four centers, on the roster.

Danny Ainge definitely likes Melo, but he’s a project. With the addition of Faverani, it may just be time to cut him loose and let someone else reap his potential benefits.

Here’s some video of Faverani last season from Valencia:

Last Hurrah for Pierce?

Pierce trophy

 

After a thrilling Game 4 overtime victory in Boston Sunday afternoon, the Celtics survived to push their first round playoff series at least an extra game. Tonight at 7 pm, the Celtics take on the Knicks in what could very well be the final game in a Celtics uniform for Boston lifer Paul Pierce.

“The Truth” was drafted 10th overall by the Celtics in 1998 and after surviving trade requests amidst one of the worst seasons and losing streaks in NBA History, Pierce won a championship in 2008 with the Celtics and, truth is, every one thought he would retire here.

He still might, but tonight may be the last time we see his name on the back of a Boston uniform until it’s inevitably raised to the rafters.

Pierce has lost a few steps in recent years, most notably this year in his age 35 season – especially once point guard Rajon Rondo was lost for the season and Pierce was needed to shoulder the offensive loud. We love Pierce. He’s an All-Time Great Celtic. Every 20-something in New England grew up idolizing not Jordan, but Pierce. He’s the reason I even have half a fade-away in my own retired arsenal on the court, and why I’d rather tip toe through defenders than take spot up threes until the game is on the line. He says he’s not retiring yet, but it doesn’t matter. He may not be a Celtic when camp breaks in the fall.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge said last year he thought the biggest mistake the Celtics made when their original Big 3 of Larry Bird, Robert Parish, and Kevin McHale got old and their careers were winding down was not trading them while the team could still get some sort of value for them, in order to stay competitive going forward. The Celtics went from historic to laughable in a matter of months, and Ainge already has one of the worst teams in NBA history on his resume. He’s claimed he doesn’t want to do it again.

So is this the end? Experts claim Pierce has the most trade value between he and Kevin Garnett. No one really knows what KG is going to do, but he still has two years left on the contract he signed last offseason to return to Boston. Both Players wanted another shot at a title after they took the eventual champion Miami Heat to 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals. They got it this year, but injuries and age have finally completely caught up to them.

Pierce had this to say earlier today to reporters on whether or not he might get traded this offseason:

“Truthfully, I haven’t put too much thought into it. The organization is going to do what they’re going to do. It’s nothing that’s stressing me out. That’s what it is. Every year they’ve got decision to make. Those are their decisions. I leave it to them.”

When asked about retiring, Pierce assured the media he wasn’t planning on hanging up his Nike’s just yet.

“Right now it’s year-by-year. I expect to play another year next year and then evaluate after that. I always said I wanted to end my career as a Celtic. But they are the ones (with the decision). I have a year contract for next year but it’s not guaranteed so the decision’s in their hands. But whatever decision they make, maybe, if they trade me somewhere or I end up somewhere else maybe it could be a situation where I come back for a one-day deal and retire a Celtic.”

Tonight could very well be the last time we ever see Paul Pierce in a Celtics uniform. Relish it. You’re watching the best Celtic in the last 20 years, and one of the best Celtics of all time, slowly end an incredible career in Boston. You’re watching a Hall of Famer, an NBA Champion, The Truth.

Yes, the Bruins open their playoff series tonight. The Red Sox are playing the Blue Jays on NESN +. But that can wait. Pay your respects, say a prayer, and appreciate one of the best players in NBA History and one of the better Celtics on a list of historic icons before it’s too late.

Paul Pierce is The Truth.

And truth is, we’re gonna miss him.

Tom Brady’s Ego

Tom Fuckin Brady

Hey, my name’s Tom Fuckin Brady. Nice to beat you.

So, I really don’t care about the NFL Draft. I might be the only person on the planet, but it’s just not overly exciting for me, especially when two offensive tackles go with the first two picks. However, easily the funniest moment of last night’s first round came when the Jets made their first pick.

With the 9th overall selection, the Jets selected Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner – shocker, I wonder why they needed one of those – when a parody Twitter account called “Tom Brady’s Ego” tweeted the following:

TB ego, condolences

Awesome.

In 8 words, he summed up what everybody in New England was thinking. If you’re not following this guy, you should. You won’t regret it.

Why Avery Bradley Could Be Defensive Player of the Year

Avery Harden

Boston’s Avery Bradley harassing Houston All Star James Harden

The results for the NBA’s 2012-2013 Defensive Player of the Year Award came out yesterday, with Memphis Grizzlies 7-footer Marc Gasol winning the award. Gasol anchored the best defense in the NBA in Memphis, but he may not be fully deserving of the award. Don’t get me wrong, Gasol is a terrific player, but look at these numbers:

7.8 rebounds per game (ranked 23rd in the NBA), 5.5 defensive rebounds per game (27th in the NBA), 1.7 blocks per game (9th in the NBA), and 1.0 steals per game (57th in the NBA).

So, based on these statistics, the BEST Defensive player in the NBA only averages 7.8 rebounds, 2.3 of which are not categorized as “defensive”?

I’d just like to point out that Paul Pierce (dead knees and all) and Philadelphia’s Evan Turner, a shooting guard, BOTH averaged more defensive rebounds than Gasol.

PAUL PIERCE AND EVAN TURNER.

Paul Pierce can’t even jump anymore.

So, clearly, the award goes to the “best” defensive player on the best defensive team in the NBA. Cool, we knew that, sort of, although Tyson Chandler last season wouldn’t exactly fit that mold, either (although he was incredibly deserving of the award). So really I’m just confused.

My point to this, however, is not to bash Gasol – a terrific overall center who plays great defense and helped lead the Grizzlies to the Playoffs by anchoring that D.

Instead, I’d like to know how Avery Bradley, the Celtics’ overlooked combo guard, only received 5 total votes (15 points and two first place votes, overall)?

2013 DPOY Ballot

A look at the voting breakdown for Defensive Player of the Year, via ESPN Boston’s Chris Forsberg.

On the bright side, Bradley finished tied for 14th last year (also ridiculous), and this year finished directly ahead of Tyson Chandler (last year’s winner) and Dwight Howard (winner the previous three seasons). And, as ESPN Boston’s Chris Forsberg points out, the award “is a big man’s award…with Gary Payton the only real exception in the past two decades.”

Bradley, however, could very well wind up with the award some time in the next few years if he can stay healthy and his play continues the way it is now. Bradley and teammate Brandon Bass often switch off on playing an opposing team’s best player (Bass more so when it’s a much larger opponent, like a Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James, for example). Despite going head-to-head with some of the most elite players in the league, Synergy Sports, a revolutionary new sports data company, determined that Bradley’s defense was tops in the league.

With their new stat “PPP” or “Points Per Possession,” Synergy took every single play and analyzed the offensive and defensive matchups. PPP basically gives you the average number of points an opponent scores every time they touch the ball, including if they are fouled and the foul results in made free throws. After compiling all their data, they found that Avery Bradley only allowed 0.697 points per possession this season, Best in the LeagueThat means when Bradley’s collective opponents get the ball, they hardly ever score and aren’t even averaging even one point for their team. It also means that Bradley plays terrific, fundamental defense without fouling, or if he does foul it’s a good one on a player with a poor free throw percentage.

To put it in perspective, the next closest player was old friend Marquis Daniels (yes, that’s a bit surprising to me, too) at 0.707 PPP. So, yeah, Avery’s pretty good.

As the game evolves and the sports writers who vote on these prestigious awards increasingly fall into the stat-geek era, maybe we’ll see Avery Bradley get more votes. I mean, really, is Serge Ibaka really deserving of the title “third best defensive player in the NBA?” Of course not. He happens to make up for what he lacks in defensive prowess in an incredible leaping ability that somehow doesn’t help him rebound (he averaged less than Gasol) but did allow him to block 246 shots this season, good for a 3.0 blocks per game average. Anyone who doesn’t see that is an idiot.

In Avery’s corner, though, is another old friend: Tony Allen. The Grizzlies starting two guard/small forward thrives on defense and earns his paycheck because of it. He’s gotten a reputation as one of the baddest dudes in the league and finished  fifth in voting this season, just behind Chicago’s Joakim Noah.

Maybe Bradley will finally get the recognition he deserves. Or maybe, like Allen and many other great defensive guards before him, he’ll just quietly harass the league for his entire career and earn the love and respect of his hometown fans.

Either way, he’s got my vote.

12th-best Defender in NBA?

2013 DPOY Ballot

Anyone else think this is BS?

Look – I don’t have a problem with Marc Gasol winning, or even with LeBron finishing 2nd. All I’m saying is that there is no reason Avery Bradley should be in 12th place here. NBA writers: please remove head’s from asses. At this rate, Carmelo Anthony is going to win the MVP Award. If that happens, I’ll quit life. Just saying.

Ponder this for a while, and when I’ve gotten more sleep I’ll be back with some more analysis-type goodness.

Why I Love Sports: The Day The Terrorists Lost

Sports is usually our escape. Our getaway. Our sanctuary.

Monday in Boston, it was our crime scene. Just after the four hour mark of the Boston Marathon, two bombs went off at the finish line, killing at least 3 people and injuring hundreds others.

The Bruins and Celtics both canceled their games, and the Red Sox were on their way out of town. In a season where there is often 3 Boston teams playing on any given night, there were none. And that was okay. Sports took a backseat to life in our neck of the world, as we tried to piece together what had happened hours before. What followed, however, is a reminder of why we love sports in the first place. The games are our comfort, their events a distraction. We hate other teams and players so we don’t hate our own, and we rally around one cause that brings us together so passionately.

Despite the hated rivalries across professional sports that Boston maintains, sometimes events and people transcend sports. Yesterday’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon is one such instance. Several teams, athletes and news outlets have taken to different forms of media to express their sympathy and prayers to the city of Boston and all those affected by it’s rivalries. Below is a montage of just some of the outpouring of love and respect the sporting world has shown us in our time of need.

Probably the coolest, most touching gesture of them all: late Tuesday afternoon the Yankees tweeted “We stand united with Boston” with a picture

A touching display outside Yankee Stadium from typically hated rivals

A touching display outside Yankee Stadium from typically hated rivals

The team later announced that they would play “Sweet Caroline,” a song that is a staple of Fenway Park at every game, after the third inning following a moment of silence before the game. Here’s video from the Yankees Network of the stadium during the song.

Yankees fans also came out to the ballpark in support of Boston

Scenes like this were not uncommon Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium

Scenes like this were not uncommon Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium

The acts of kindness didn’t go unnoticed

Neil Diamond

thanks ny

The Yankees weren’t the only ones showing their support though. Across the NBA, NHL, and MLB, Moments of Silence were observed before most games. Across baseball, the Marlins, Cubs, Reds, A’s, Indians, Yankees and Braves all played Sweet Caroline at some point during their games. The University of South Carolina, Jackie Bradley Jr.’s old stomping grounds, played the song during their game as well. The Brewers played the theme song to “Cheers!” a  famous TV show about a Boston bar.

The Montreal Canadiens, the biggest rivals of the Boston Bruins, were one of the teams to salute Boston with a moment of silence and a Twitter shout out.

Canadiens Tweets

In Chicago at the Blackhawks game, a moment of silence was held. Right at the end, a fan somewhere yelled “we love you, Boston!” and the crowd erupted in cheers that continued straight through the National Anthem. Typically a silent event, Chicago fans decided to cheer through the powerful rendition of the Anthem just like fans were cheering at the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off.

Today’s edition of the Chicago Tribune paid tribute to Boston as well, saying “We are Chicago” with the five major Boston sports logos underneath.

The cover of the Sports section of the Chicago Tribune

The cover of the Sports section of the Chicago Tribune

In Philadelphia, Phillies closer and former Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon expressed his sorrow and disbelief over the situation. Papelbon used to live in a building right above where one of the bombs went off.

“I used to live right above where one of the bombs went off,” Papelbon said. “It’s kind of surreal. I don’t know man, it’s crazy. It’s hard to even think about.

“I lived right above Abe and Louie’s,” he said referring to a steakhouse in the area. “It’s sad, man.”

Papelbon wasn’t the only Phillie to respond to the situation. Outfielder Ben Revere wrote the words “PRAY For Boston” on a piece of tape that he placed on his glove. Then, he made the catch of the year.

A touching display from Ben Revere followed by the catch of the year

A touching display from Ben Revere followed by the catch of the year

Everyone’s support endured.

Torey Smith tweets

Ravens Wide Receiver Torey Smith

NBA superstar and Celtic arch-nemesis LeBron James

NBA superstar and Celtic arch-nemesis LeBron James

Carmelo tweet

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony

cory Schneider

Vancouver Canucks and former Boston College goalie Cory Schneider

Jets tweet

The New York Jets

MWP

Lakers Forward and longtime Celtics rival

Kobe Tweet

Lakers Superstar Kobe Bryant Tweeted out a picture from Instagram, shown below

Kobe Instagram

And then in Cleveland, a touching display of welcome and support from the city, highlighted by this card from one of  Cleveland’s little tikes.

inside dugout

from our city to yours

Will Middlebrooks, the Red Sox Third Baseman, summed it up best, shown below in an infographic from Comcast Sports Net New England

CSN Middlebrooks Tweet

The Red Sox themselves had their own tribute in the dugout, a jersey with the words “Boston Strong” and the numbers “617”, Boston’s area code, on the back.

Boston Strong Jersey

April 15th, 2013 will never be forgotten in Boston. The acts of the terrorists who planted the bombs have tragically changed our lives forever. But this week will not be remembered as the time that Boston fell.

This will be remembered as the day our city came together and saved each other.

This will be remembered as the day the good guys won.

The day the terrorists lost.

Welcome to Boston.

Sports Illustrated cover

  yanks buds

Hug those you hold dear. Don’t forget to say I love you. Never give up, never back down, and always Keep the Faith.

Pray for those who lost their lives, pray for those who were hurt, and pray for the city of Boston.

May God have mercy on us all and hold us in his graces through this difficult time.

Thanks, America. We love you too.

#BostonStrong