Denver is Mecca for Stephen Jackson

October 24, 2009 at 12:53 pm | Posted in nba, warriors | Leave a comment
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chris andersen Pictures, Images and Photos k mart m ug.jpghttp://kandjsports.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/stephen_jackson_tattoo.jpg?w=127&h=185

The Denver Nuggets have an 8 million dollar trade exception which expires Nov. 3, meaning they can trade for a high-priced player and give up only draft picks in return. With their veteran roster, they  definitely need to strike now, so its unlikely they’ll let it expire. Their GM believes that captain Chauncey Billups can handle any chemistry problems that might arise with a newcomer. Don’t be surprised if this all adds up to Stack Jack going to Denver.

It could mean a championship.  Carmelo started showing signs, or at least hints, of being a winner last year. Chris Andersen is beyond whacky, but who plays harder or scarier? Ty Lawson will be one of the top three rookies in the NBA– he went for 29 in 26 minutes against the Lakers– and at some point will team with Chauncey in one of the best all-around coach-on-the-floor backcourts. O.K., Kenyon Martin and Nene are whack jobs, but Martin plays hard and Nene can’t help but do some god things with that body.

For Jackson, Denver is mecca, a true chance to dethrone Kobe and the Lakers, and he will be highly motivated. Stephen Jackson, Chris Andersen, and Kenyon Martin might belong in the cuckoo’s nest, but Denver, with Dr. Billups in charge, could serve as a most interesting half-way house. I’d definitely be watching, and so would Kobe and his boys.

Jack trade talk around the blogosphere…

ESPN’s True Hoop (Oct. 23) :

The Cavs, though, don’t want to surrender Zydrunas Ilgauskas in a prospective deal because they want to keep all the size they can muster to throw at Boston, Orlando and the defending champs from L.A.

Nuggets general manager Mark Warkentien, meanwhile, reminded folks this week that the front-office team in Denver is not afraid to swing big with Chauncey Billups in place to police any chemistry risks in the locker room, telling the Denver Post: “If we get stuck, Big Bertha’s coming out.” The Nuggets, though, have also made it clear through a very measured summer of offseason tweaking that they are in no rush to take on any extra long-term money, which would suggest that Denver’s $8.7 million trade exception from the Billups-for-Allen Iverson swap will quietly expire Nov. 3.

Sources say that Dallas, already two-deep at versatile forward with Shawn Marion and Josh Howard, has informed the Warriors that they have “no interest” in adding Jackson to that mix despite Jackson’s publicly stated wish to go to Cleveland, New York or one of the three Texas teams.

ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher reported on the aforementioned roundtable show that San Antonio has a level of interest in reuniting with Jackson as well, but that possibility — while something that the Spurs have undoubtedly weighed after Jackson helped them win a championship in 2003 — has likewise been downplayed this week as “remote.”

The only other team we’ve heard mentioned as a potential Jackson chaser is Charlotte, although we’re obliged to note that the Bobcats weren’t on Jackson’s original wish list and don’t exactly seem like his kind of team.

A commenter said this:

I think Jackson would be a good fit for Miami. They have a desperate need for a SF, and GS wants a big/expiring contract, so why not trade Haslem and a draft pick to the Warriors for Jackson? Warriors get a big and expiring contract, and Miami gets the starting SF they are looking for.

from denver post

S-Jax acquisition unlikely.

There has been some buzz around the NBA that Denver is interested in Golden State’s Stephen Jackson, but an NBA source said there haven’t been any significant conversations about acquiring the forward.

Even if Denver wanted him, he would be difficult to acquire. The trade exception is now at $7.4 million, which is less than Jackson’s $7.6 contract, so Denver couldn’t use the exception to get Jackson.

From the Cleveland Plains Dealer, Oct. 27: http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2009/10/the_latest_james_rules_may_mak.html
You have not heard the last of the Stephen Jackson trade rumors involving the Cavs.
According to sources, the Cavs do have an interest in Jackson and have had some internal discussions about trading for him. He is a quality perimeter defender and has championship experience with the San Antonio Spurs. With strong team leaders and Mike Brown, who is close to Jackson and coached him in two different stops, there is a belief the Cavs could harness his good qualities and suppress his bad ones that he’s been showing in an effort to get out of Golden State.
However, right now there is no trade that works between the Cavs and Warriors. Golden State wants a big man, as they should because they need one. The Cavs don’t want to give one up. For the time being, expect the Cavs to track the developments and watch out things play out both in Cleveland and in the Bay Area. One issue that may not be a huge hang-up is Jackson’s contract, which has three years after this one. That is a red flag to many teams but the Cavs may be willing to swallow it under certain conditions. Stay tuned.

Hmmm…DeJuan Blair is pretty tough, isn’t he?

October 12, 2009 at 11:18 pm | Posted in nba, Uncategorized, warriors | Leave a comment
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I wonder if the Golden State Warriors could use a MAN who, in his first NBA action, had 19 boards in 22 minutes, then followed that up with 28 points in 26 minutes in his second night of action. A man who dominated Hasheem Thabeet in college, even threw him over his shoulder, literatlly (see video).

A man as wide as he is tall. A man about whom Spurs teammate Antonio McDyess said:

“He listens and he’s a good guy. He’s different that way than a lot of young guys that come in the league. Plus, he’s a beast. A lot of teams need to kick themselves in the butt. He’s a heck of a player.”

The beasts name is DeJuan Blair. He was taken by the Spurs with the 37th pick in the draft. Yes, 37 comes in the middle of the second round, give-away territory. Greg Poppovich, who has McDyess, Ratliff, and, umm.., the Big Fundamental, had a crazy idea that such a beast might help out, that big strong guys who can throw Hasheem Thabeet over their shoulder are important to NBA teams. That DeJuan Blair might be worth a mid-second-round pick (I can just see Popovich’s smug smile as he watches Blair dominate).

The Warriors have three big men who barely reach 200 pounds with their high-tops on and get pushed around by every team in the league. Stephen Curry had just fallen in their laps, which was fantastic, but meant that they weren’t getting Amari Stoudemire. DeJuan Blair kept falling, and falling, and yet the Warriors brass couldn’t quite come up with the imagination or energy to obtain a second round pick. Were they drunk already, overjoyed about the Curry pick? Did they think Marco Bellinelli was too important to give up for, say, a pick in the 30-37 range?

They weren’t the only team that snoozed on this one–just about the whole league passed on Blair, a bad knees report gone viral being the culprit. But every other team has their Paul Millsap, except the wimpy kid Warriors. How could they not go get DeJuan Blair?

Can’t Touch This! Crabtree Signs

October 7, 2009 at 5:34 pm | Posted in 49ers | 4 Comments

With the help of M.C. Hammer, Michael Crabtree has signed, and the 49ers are now true title contenders. The dealMC_Hammer_-_Greatest_Hits_Front-1_S.jpg image by saharachintha was hammered out in a  session between noon yesterday and 4 am this morning.

This will not be a lost year, as happened with JeMarcus Russell of the Raiders when he signed late. The transition to the NFL is tough for a receiver, but the learning curve is nothing like that of a quarterback. And Russell has proven that his first year failure might be related more to his true ability than his holdout.

If you really want to see this in a positive light, take into account that Crabtree is coming off foot surgery and this holdout gave him some extra time to recover. He may also be fresher near the end of the season than he might have been, something quite important for a rookie.

Singletary announced that Crabtree won’t play this sunday, and the Niners have a bye the next week. So the fireworks will begin in Houston October 25. I expect two touchdowns. As Singletary said in the press conference today:

What we saw on the film in college, let it be on the film in the pros. It’s as simple as that.

Kawakami has the entire transcript of the interview if you’d like to see it.

The Kids Deserve Better than Brian Sabean

September 19, 2009 at 4:25 pm | Posted in Giants | 4 Comments
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Chronicle writer Henry Schulman says prospects look good for a re-sign of GM Brian Sabean. If Sabean is re-signed, he will waste the grand opportunity presented by the young stable of arms, just as he wasted the prime years of the greatest hitter in baseball history.

Ten years from now, historians will look back on Sabean’s tenure and scratch their heads at the fact that he couldn’t win a championship with Barry Bonds, even in the year the man hit 74 homeruns in a pitcher’s park. With a player like that, you have to go for championships, then re-tool and save money after he’s gone. The Giants kept the payroll steady throughout, and blowing their chance to pair Bonds and Vladimir Guerrero is only the most popular example of missed opportunity. Sabean brought Jeff Kent to the Giants, but since then his  moves have been not only awful, but bizarre and illogical. Of course hindsight is 20/20 and injuries can curtail even the smartest baseball moves. But Sabean’s moves lead to head scratching even if you leave out the abysmal returns on investment that have actually occured.

Bill Neukom: do not repeat history! Find someone with the brains and boldness to give the greatest pitching staff in baseball what they need to win. And if Sabean and the businessmen around you have clouded your memory, here’s a run-down of Sabean’s latest gaffes:

Barry Zito, 2009 Salary:18.5 Million

Zito’s record the four years prior to coming to the Giants: 14-12, 11-11, 14-13, 16-10. For a winning team, the A’s, that hit.  Sabean analyzed these medoicre stats and awarded him the highest contract, ever. If you look at the numbers, Zito has performed about as good as one could expect: mediocre. Head. Scratch.

Randy Winn, 2009 Salary: 9.6 Million

Randy Winn came over near the end of 2005 and batted .359 overall with 14 homers and 26 RBIs in only 58 games. Apparently this short tryout in meaningless fall games had a profound effect on Sabean’s evaluation:

“I thought the ballclub was really energized and had a different look when we acquired him,” said Giants general manager Brian Sabean. “To get a switch-hitter [who is] a leadoff hitter with a lot of dimensions — power, speed — [and] the ability to play the outfield as he does is really a godsend to the organization. [article]

Unfortunately, what Sabean neglected to mention, or perhaps even analyze, was that Winn’s  .680 slugging percentage during the short stretch was over 200 points higher than his best full season of .461, and 250 points higher than his second best. And Winn was no up and coming player: Sabean had seven years of evidence to look at. Instead, he based Winn’s salary on a late-season hot streak.

As a leadoff man, Winn is serviceable, with a decent but still mediocre .345 career on-base percentage. Of course the Giants don’t use him there, instead inserting him in the middle of the order where his .419 career slugging percentage make him one of the least productive players in the baseball  (As of today, he ranks 41st out of 45 right fielders in slugging percentage). Head. Scratch.

Dave Roberts, 2009 Salary:: 6.5 Millon

Yes, Dave is still on the payroll, big-time. This time Sabean was fooled by  a 2005 world series stolen base followed by a career year in San Diego, where Roberts had career highs of a .293 average and .363 on-base percentage. But let’s give Sabean a break and venture back to 2006: go as with Winn, Sabean might have been a servicable lead-off man and center fielder, and though he was older, one wouldn’t have expected the injuries that did occur. So, O.K., but then you take into account that Sabean has just spent 9+ million a year on another powerless outfielder, Winn, and Barry Bonds is near retirement. This is where the head-scratching begins: How do you possibly decide you need to overspend on a second powerless outfielder with little up-side?

Aaron Rowand, 2009 Salary, 9.6 Million.

This time Sabean is fooled by Rowand’s career year with Philadelphia in 2007, a year in which he had 27 homers, 89 RBIs and a .309 batting average. He ignores the fact that Rowand’s previous three years had produced: 24 homers  and 69 RBI, 13 homers  and 69 RBI, and 12 homers  and 47 RBI, respectively. Note that Rowand attained these less than Ruthian numbers  while playing in hitter’s parks and averaging over 500 at-bats a year.

The RBI totals are especially disconcerting, given the players he was batting behind. If Sabean had cared to look, Baseball Prospectus would have shown tha in 2007, his best year by far, Rowand batted in just 12.4% of the runners who were on base, good for 11th on the Phillies. One slot behind the great Wes Helms.

Here’s what a huge Phillie and Rowand fan said about the Giant’s signing of Rowand:

Despite all the stats mentioned above about Rowand’s fantastic 2007, I personally think that the Giants grossly overpaid for a career .286 hitter who is on the wrong side of 30 years old.

Here’s what a Phillie fan said about Rowand’s gold glove:

J-Roll’s award is long overdue, but I think Rowand’s is a joke. He’s a solid outfielder, but not a gold glover. Heck, our best CF plays RF. I know he only had 2 errors, but how many times have you seen him take poor routes to balls or flat out misplaying them; they don’t count as errors.

Now I apologize for using quotes from random bloggers, but anyone who has watched as the slow-footed Rowand manned centerfield flanked by the fleeter-footed Winn, Torres, Schierholz, and even Velez know exactly what this dude is saying.

Go back even further, and you read this from a Whitesox fan arguing with another who thought Rowand should have won the Gold Glove:

Instead of trying to change his appearance to get a gold glove, I suggest aaron Rowand stop taking diving swings at sliders low and away.

Apparently our friends from the South Side see things a bit clearer than Brian Sabean.

Like with Zito and Winn, the return on investment for Rowand has met expectations: his 13 and 70 last year and his 15 and 62 this year are exactly what a statistician would predict based on the past, and probably higher given the dimensions of AT&T.

Edgar Renteria: 2009 Salary, 9 Million

Though he had slipped to .270 with 10 homers last year, Edgar hit .330 with 12 homers in 2007, so its reasonable that Sabean would have expected more this year, maybe .290 with double-digits in homers. Worth 9 million? Not in the buyer’s market that existed, especially given that he has clearly lost a least one step and maybe two.

But what really makes the Renteria move a head scratcher, in terms of analyzing Sabean’s decision-making process, is that it was made at a time when he should have been despartely searching for a power hitter or two. If you’re the Cardinals and need to get over the hump by upgrading at shortstop. Renteria for 9 million is an overpay, but its not unreasonable. But if you’re the Giants, and you hit 94 homers the previous year, 17 less than the second-worst team in the majors, signing Edgar Renteria for $9 million is plain crazy.

And for Renteria-money look who was available: Adam Dunn who had hit 40 homers for, ummm, five straight years, and Raul Ibanez, who’s averaged 24 over the past four? Head. Scratch.

Giants owner Bill Neukom needs to get away from Larry Baer and the other suits and find some baseball people to talk to. Take a look at the decisions that Sabean has made, and realize they’ve turned out poorly, not because of bad luck but because they were illogical at the time they were made. Fire Sabean, and keep your scouts.

Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathon Sanchez, and Madison Bumgarner are awaiting your decision.

Beauty and the Beast as Giants Beat Rockies

September 16, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Giants still in the race in September, a beautiful night at AT&T, and…

Eugenio Velez hits a monster shot to right-center, absolutely destroying the ball, Dexter Fowler on his horse, a young man in hopeless pursuit, too young to give up on it, then somehow making up ground, out-running the baseball and reaching out to 1954 for a ball that had no business being caught, or for that matter landing within the confines of a ballpark. The un-Vic Wertz like Eugenio already half-way to third throws his head back in disbelief, his dismay fleeting as he remembers the Giants still lead 10-2 in the 9th…

Bengie Molina’s bat flying in to the stands on a mighty strike three swing, the mad scurry of a few white people in the rich seats behind Larry Baer, a woman holding both hands on her head as if she’d been hit, a sigh of relief when its apparent she was only terrified and not decapitated….Bengie walking head down to the dugout, not even a peek at the near-death scene. I stare wide-eyed in disbelief at Tim Fin next to me, who’s watching the same surreal scene. “Bengie’s all about Bengie,” he says, and he’s right.

Bumgarner on the mound tonight!

September 8, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Posted in Giants | 6 Comments
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http://caimages.collectors.com/psaimages/2350/15113382/07bcBumgarnerPSA10.jpg

Bumgarner card just went up in value

In a bold, brilliant move, Bruce Bochy just announced that Madison Bumgarner will start tonight in place of the injured Tim Lincecum. The good news is that its Lincecum’s back, not his arm. The fun news is that the 20 year old Bumgarner just got out of high school two years ago, and now he’s taking the mound in a pennant-race at AT&T.

For you older readers, let’s hope Bumgarner takes the majors by storm like the 19 year-old Dwight Gooden in 1984.

Thanks to John Shea and Henry Schulman, along with loyal readers Sal and Minerva for the scoop.

And thanks to the Giants for the fun! Go Madison and Go U-RIBE!

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_iFZ3pYoTmWc/SmNAeohWohI/AAAAAAAAAPM/b3R0-1adRQA/s400/84fleer-gooden.jpg

Another Wasted Gem

September 3, 2009 at 6:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Giants lose 2-1 to the Phillies. Another amazing Lincecum effort is wasted.

Memo-72x72Memo to Bruce Bochy:

Under the following conditions:

  • late innings
  • 1-1 game
  • no outs
  • runner at second
  • .250 hitter with no power
  • Lincecum pitching

Bunt.

Memo-72x72Memo to Bengie Molina:

Under the following conditions:

  • 9th inning
  • 3-1 count
  • pitch in the dirt

Don’t swing.

Memo-72x72Memo to Brian Sabean:

Under the following conditions:

  • no power
  • no speed
  • poor on-base average

Don’t sign a guy.

Lincecum vs. Pedro Martinez

September 3, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Posted in Giants | Leave a comment

It’s September 3. Tim Lincecum is pitching in a heated penant race against one of the greatest pitchers of all time, against the only player in history with whom comparison makes any sense. Buster Posey, the phenom, is leaning over the rails, taking it in, ready to pinch hit. Life is good.

On Brad Penny, Jim Thome, and Buster Posey

September 1, 2009 at 11:05 pm | Posted in Giants | 5 Comments
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If you’re not the Yankees, you have to go for it when you get a chance. Right when your young players ripen, before you have to open the bank. For the Giants, that time is now. The signing of Brad Penny is nice, but they could and should have done more, including bringing up Buster Posey.

The Giants came in second-place with the Penny signing, whose a bit worse than  John Garland, signed by the Dodgers, but who should out-pitch the Rockies pickup, Jose Contreras.

Penny speaks his mind

Penny up: Went 16-4 in 2007 with a 3.03 ERA. Hates the Dodgers.
Penny down: 6-9 and 7-8 in 2008 and 2009, and has had problems in the clubhouse

Garland up: Won 60 games the previous four seasons and went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two postseason starts for the White Sox in 2005.  He pitched 7 innings of shutout ball his last time out.
Garland down: 8-11, 4.29 this year.

Contreras up: Helped WhiteSox win a world series in ’05
Contreras down: Hasn’t had an ERA under 4.27 since that ’05 season, around 5.5 this year.

Penny chose SF because of the spaciousness of AT&T Park and what that might do to his ERA and chances for a new contract. He also may want to stick it to the Dodgers, given the bad blood before he left there a couple of years ago. As reported in the 3-Dot Lounge, Dodgers third-base coach Larry Bowa had this to say about Penny:

Bowa dissed Penny

“You mean the same guy who was never on time, out of shape and has one complete game? He has more stuff to worry about than me. He has to worry about getting people out. He was never on time, never helped the kids out. You go right down the line, everybody who was on the DL watched the games. But not him. He was out of there. Put that on the f—ing dot-com.”

Don’t be surprised if Penny pitches extra hard against his former team. Or makes an errant pick-off move to third.

Bench Additions

The Dodgers signed future hall-of-famer Jim Thome, who has hit 23 homers in just 345 at-bats this year. GM Coletti and Thome were both careful not to ruffle the feathers of youngster James Loney, saying Thome will only play first in an emergency. Me thinks, however, that James Loney’s .274 average and paltry 9 homers might just be that “emergency”. Even if he can’t play first, Thome and Juan Pierre still form a devestating one-two punch off the bench.

The Giants responded by activating Rich Aurelia. Bringing up Buster Posey would have been a far superior move.  He’s hitting .328 with 18 hr and 62 walks in his 422 minor league at-bats this year. I know, I’ve heard the old baseball adage about bringing a kid along slowly so he doesn’t get his feelings hurt. But Posey is 22, not 19, and he’s had success at every level, including three years of all-world college play.

The most important consideration is the position Posey plays. Molina is hurting and also happens to be the slowest major leaguer ever. Whiteside is playing great defense but can’t hit. A third catcher would be huge late in games, and the Giants happen to have one that, um, almost won the triple crown of college baseball!

Sabean, why don’t you call the kid and ask him if he’d like to take the chance? See if  if he’s worried about being scarred for life if he strikes out a few times. I’ll tell you this– if we need some big hits late in the season or in the playoffs, I’ll take my chances with Posey over Aureilia any day of the week.

Stephen Jack– Leave Your Heart in San Francisco

August 31, 2009 at 4:47 am | Posted in warriors | 1 Comment
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To Don Nelson and Stephen Jackson:

Stop drifting. Circle the wagons. You both are incredibly talented but tragically flawed. It is time to make a stand with this team, this year. The only way it can happen is for both of you to do some serious soul searching and stop listening to your egos (or Al Harrington for Christ’s sake). You have the ingredients right here to not only be madly entertaining, but to win. Its time to look each other in the eye, remember that Dalls twinkle, and stay together for the kids.

Stephen:

Tim Duncan once called you the “ultimate teammate.”   Warrior fans scratched their heads over that one, given how you’d been depicted. But they soon realized that the Big Fundamental was right, that you are something special. Your play inspires even us ordinary people to be better “teammates” in our ordinary lives.

But though you have the heart, Jack, you don’t have an elite offensive game like your old running-mate Baron Davis. Baron breaks down a defender as well as anyone, providing wide open jumpers for his teammates. Even when Baron misses driving shots, the defenders he draws lead to easy tip slams for the Andres Biedrens of the world.

Jack, you’re not that. You’re a mediocre shooter, you make too many turnovers and you don’t really finish well.  You’re really best-suited as a third  option, albeit one with brass oxnards. If something special is to happen in Oak Town this year, you have to realize this: You are the “ultimate teammate” only if you accept your role as a third option offensive player.

This is a tough one for any player with pride, and you have plenty. The year the Warriors beat the Mavericks in the playoffs, it took you a half-year to cede the rights to the #2 role to Monte Ellis. Monte shot 60% for a month before you, and  Davis, accepted him as the number two. When you did, the team soared, and you feasted on the open looks and the ample scraps left by Monte and Baron. You were at your best.

With Baron’s departure and Monte’s injury, you were pushed again into an ill-suited role. Don Nelson must shoulder much of the blame for this. He not only played you to exhaustion, with 40+ minutes the norm in any close game, he also allowed you to flail in an offensive go-to role. Did he ask too much of you or did you try to do too much? Probably a bit of both.

What matters is this: With the ’09 Warriors you can be greater by being less. With Monte back, Anthony Randolph’s emergence,  the one-on-one prowess of Corey Maggette, and the drop from heaven named Stephen Curry, you don’t need to carry the offensive load. Play 35 minutes and be fresh at crunch time.  Let your scoring average drop to 15 and your turnovers to 1. All you need to do is lead these men into battle and, of course, guard the other team’s best player. Be Bruce Bowen. With major benefits.

Nellie is too old to corral you– look how he screwed it up with Mickael Pietrus and Al Harrington. Unlike those guys, he gave you too much leash last year. You have to come up with that on your own. Fortunately, you have the intelligence and the contractual security, unlike Mickael and Al, to be who you are, not who you wish you were.

Yes, Nellie is a pain in the ass. But remember that he’s intelligent enough to get you, and you’re one complicated dude. Not all the wives out there are so smart.

Nellie:

Your openness is a breath of fresh air. Hearing you say on the radio that Mickael Pietrus isn’t a very good player, or that Al Harrington is a lousy rebounder, is madly entertaining. But no matter how true, and how delicious it is to hear such remarks by the COACH, and no matter how much joy you get in saying them, the remarks aren’t effective. These guys are humans with huge egos. Your openness hurts them and hurts the team, and as you get older you seem to care about this less and less. I don’t think you’ve lost a step in terms of measuring talent or game strategy, but you are losing your emotional intelligence.

You have a great team lined up, potentially sensational.  Stop trying to be unique in every way. Defense might be boring to you, but it wins games. Stop being so damn entertaining, and so wonderfully open about your player’s shortcomings. Lay off the sauce for a year. Go get the championship you deserve, no excuses.

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