Weekend Potpourri




By Jim Hurley:

Hey, we'll let you get back to this weekend's Interleague Baseball games, the World Cup and the U.S. Open Golf goodies but we're gonna start off this Jim Sez by putting a bow on the NBA season that concluded Thursday night with the Los Angeles Lakers snagging their its second straight championship (and the club's fifth league title since 2000).

No doubt you've been hearing all those recent and somewhat silly comparisons - who is the best player in Lakers history?

Is it Kobe Bryant or Magic Johnson (and it's nice that everyone forgets Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Shaquille O'Neal and Elgin Baylor so quickly!).

As far as we're concerned, Bryant's the head-and-shoulders best player on the planet right now despite his wobbly 6-of-24 field-goal shooting performance in Game 7 but Johnson always made the players around him better and - let's be frank - you can't always say that about Kobe.

Then there's that all-time coach argument:

Phil Jackson's now copped an amazing 11 NBA titles - the first six with the Chicago Bulls (1991-92-93 and then 1996-97-98) and the last handful with the Lakers (2000-01-02 and then 2009-2010) - and yet he still gets mindless criticism from both media and hoop fans alike that claim the only reasons he has won all these titles is because he coached some of the game's all-time greats.

What, one-time Boston icon boss-man Red Auerbach coached a bunch of bums?

We'll go on record - again - to state that Jackson is the greatest coach of any/all professional sports teams and, just so we can add fodder to the arguments out there that are making the rounds, we say the top five coaches/managers all-time are as follows:

1. Phil Jackson (NBA);
2. Vince Lombardi (NFL);
3. Red Auerbach (NBA);
4. Scotty Bowman (NHL)
5. Casey Stengel (MLB).

So there! Wanna fight about it?

And now hear this:
   Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the game-day MLB winners each and every day when you either call the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else when you go online right here. Check-in times are after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday afternoon MLB games; anytime after 1 p.m. ET for all the NBA and MLB weeknight games; and, of course, anytime after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays for all the weekend sports action.


The 2010 NBA Draft will take place Thursday and there's lots of sizzling rumors right now and so let's tackle a few of 'em right here:

Let's deal with a few of college basketball's underclassmen who will be turning pro in time for the 2010-11 season and tell you that Wake Forest's Al-Farouq Aminu has become a lightning rod-type player in this upcoming NBA Draft as many folks believe the 6-foot-9, 215-pounder will be quick enough and agile enough to play small forward in the league while other NBA big-wigs believe he'll soon "fill out" and wind up as a #4 or power forward. Aminu should be a lead-pipe cinch for as far as being a lottery pick and is reported to be high on the Detroit Pistons board (pick #7) ...

One-and-done college kid Xavier Henry (Kansas) is an intriguing player in this draft as the smooth-stroking lefty has a pro-type body at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds and could be a legit three-point marksmen in the NBA but some folks are questioning his maturity level and so the current notion is that he won't go inside the top 12 picks but won't drop below #20. Henry could be a perfect fit for that NBA team needing instant offense and so keep an eye on him going to Houston with the #14 selection ...

Finally, one last underclassman to keep an eye on here is man/child Lance Stephenson (Cincinnati) who also did the one-and-done thing in college. Stephenson's a brute at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds and may be a better pro than collegian once he learns that he doesn't always have to defer to teammates. The conventional wisdom is that Stephenson and "his people" overrated this former New York City schoolboy star's value and so he might wind up slipping into Round II but something tells us an NBA playoff team will find him too attractive to pass up and maybe Atlanta at pick #24 steps in should Josh Smith  be on the move.

More NBA Draft News/Notes in the days ahead with our Mock Draft on tap next Wednesday.



Let the Baseball fan that doesn't care for Interleague Play go stuff it!

Maybe not every matchup is a "rivalry" but this weekend's tilts have more juice than usual and now - without further ado - here's the Three Best Things about this Weekend's Interleague Games:

1 - MANNY RAMIREZ IS BACK IN BOSTON ... Okay, so the media outlets 'round the league have been weighing in on this one and wouldn't it be something if the former Red Sox star turned malcontent came up a couple of times in the eighth, ninth or extra innings with the game on the line? A showdown between the Los Angeles Dodgers star and Bosox closer Jonathan Papelbon would have the Fenway Park folks in an absolute uproar.

The Red Sox & Dodgers hook up again on Sunday Night. The Jim Hurley Network is ready with a play...plus get two daytime under the radar games to build your bankroll! Click here to learn more.

2 - A SUBWAY SERIES WITH MAJOR ANGST ... It's true that some of the recent New York Mets versus New York Yankees series have been yawners but that's not the case this final weekend of spring as the Mets roared into Friday's game at Yankee Stadium having won seven in a row while the Bronx Bombers had some ongoing concerns about 3B/DH Alex Rodriguez who simply may be nagged by his groin/hip injuries all year long. If the Mets take two-of-three here, than sound the alarm that Jerry Manuel's team is "for real".

3 - GREAT PLAYERS IN GREAT-HITTING PARKS ... One of the really fun aspects of Interleague Play is that you get some of the following that we'll be seeing this weekend: Minnesota C (and defending American League MVP) getting to do some damage at Philadelphia's hitter-friendly Citizen's Bank Park; Texas DH Vladimir Guerrero attempting to get cozy all weekend long with the famed "Crawford Boxes" in Houston; and how about Milwaukee's tag-team tandem of OF Ryan Braun (10 HR) and 1B Prince Fielder (13 dingers) getting cracks at Coors Field with no sign of Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez (13-1 and not scheduled to pitch again till next week). Hey, we didn't even mention Milwaukee's home run leader OF Corey Hart (17 round-trippers)? 


Let's continue with our annual Jim Sez look at the NFL Team-By-Team camp reports. Today it's a look at the Oakland Raiders, Washington Redskins, Indianapolis Colts and the St. Louis Rams:

OAKLAND - Maybe last year's Raider Nation wanted to blame everything on since-released QB JaMarcus Russell but shouldn't a rush defense that finished next-to-last in the NFL have taken some heat of its own?

The Raiders inked free-agent DT John Henderson shortly after Jacksonville released him just days after the NFL Draft plus the AFC West squad did select two D-linemen in said draft with Lamarr Houston (Texas) and Bruce Campbell (Maryland) getting tabbed in the second and fourth round, respectively. The 2009 Raiders allowed enemy runners to average a hefty 4.5 yards a carry as Oakland yielded 24 rushing touchdowns while Tom Cable's crew scored only seven rushing scores.

WASHINGTON - The Albert Haynesworth Affair continues to bog down the Redskins this spring/summer but new head coach Mike Shanahan can't spend (waste?) all his time on this matter and so he's looking to firm up an offense with new QB Donovan McNabb heading up an attack that's sure to sport plenty of new faces. The 'Skins signed off-season free-agent deals with WRs Mike Furrey (Cleveland), Joey Galloway (Pittsburgh) and Bobby Wade (Kansas City) and all of the above are being given long looks in terms of being a top target for McNabb.

Throw rookie wide-out Terrence Austin (a seventh-round pick from UCLA) into the mix and the 'Skins pass-catching corps could have a real different feel to it what with Antwaan Randle-El released and now looking for playing time with Pittsburgh.

INDIANAPOLIS - Slow starts are never a problem with the Colts who followed up their 2006 Super Bowl win over the Chicago Bears with a sizzling 7-and-oh start the ensuing season and now there are folks anxious to see if there will be a hangover from losing Super Bowl XLIV against New Orleans this past February. Indianapolis - which started off last season at an incredible 14-0 SU (straightup) doesn't figure to overwork any of their veterans in training camp beginning next month but some players/coaches were a little unhappy that both WR Reggie Wayne and DE Robert Mathis skipped the recent OTA sessions with talk that both players are unhappy with their current contracts (note that both Wayne and Mathis have two years remaining on their current deals).

And speaking of contracts, GM Bill Polian claims the recent stalemate between the New England Patriots and mega-star QB Tom Brady doesn't have any affect whatsoever on his team's current contract negotiations with QB Peyton Manning.
ST. LOUIS - No wonder folks in/around the NFL believe the Rams do things a bit "differently" as the NFC West squad allowed RB Stephen Jackson to attend the World Cup in South Africa after excusing him from the team's final two days of OTAs following off-season back surgery. Guess the multi-hour plane ride to Africa would be fine for Jackson's rehabbing back ... wow!

Meanwhile, rookie QB Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) continues a slow-but-steady on-the-job training while admitting that he's not concerned with his own contract status. "That's why I hired an agent (Tom Condon)," said Bradford who hopes to step in right from the start and improve on last year's team stats that included 12 passing TD and 21 INTs along with Rams QB's getting sacked 44 times.

NOTE: Get MLB and NFL Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez and remember we'll have our NBA Mock Draft coming on Wednesday, June 23rd!


Today’s Hot Plays