Danica Patrick finishes 8th at Daytona 500

By: Richie Boswell -Daytona Beach, FL

Danica Patrick came in with a lot of hype and a lot of new NASCAR fans and let me tell you, she delivered on all cylinders. Regardless if she finished 8th, she still finished in the top 10 at Daytona, which is the best finish by any women to race the 500. Danica is something to watch this entire NASCAR season as she tries to show the sports world that she can dominate a firmly male dominated sport.

Danica impressed me in Daytona today as she never got rattled even when she fell behind. She always picked herself back up and got herself in contention. Danica was the 2nd women to lead a green flagged lap at any NASCAR event in history as well as the best finish at Daytona by any women and of course was the first women to take the pole position at any race. Despite struggling a little bit out of the pit, she really held her own and had a very solid race.

Now, Danica can be a bigger threat if she took some more risks by trying to pass and really getting herself out there, but eventually with time and a little bit more experience this issue will be resolved. Lets be honest, Danica had so many positives in this race that I, who really didn’t watch NASCAR in the past, got on pins and needles during the race and eventually gained a fan in NASCAR. Danica has to be so proud of herself and take this momentum into Phoenix next week, which by the way is her hometown.

Danica’s keys for next week in Phoenix:
1. Keep that steady pace, like she did today

As long as she manages herself and her car with ease and just keeps control under pressure, I guarantee she will keep the contention in Phoenix and a possible checkered flag.

2. Be more assertive and aggressive

She needs to get comfortable, breathe, and take those chances when feel needed. She needs to come out of the pit with aggression and the thought process of victory running through the mind. She has the ability and most definitely has the car to get the job done.

3. She is a winner

Danica is a winner! Just by watching her today at Daytona, she has all the tools to pull out a victory. She has to want it and as I said in the 2nd key, she just needs to solidify her presence by being more aggressive.

All these keys to winning are obvious and all I can really top this headline off with is, I hope she wins eventually and I will be pulling for her in the future in every race along with the many new fans she has attracted to NASCAR. Not only does NASCAR and the media need Danica, but I need you as fan, along with all the other fans that praise you now. I hope this is the start for a great year and career for Danica and most importantly, a women in a male dominated sport.
Go Danica!

Rockets trade Patterson for Robinson

By: Richie Boswell

The Houston Rockets got the first trade of what could be a trade deadline full of new destinations for NBA players. While this particular trade doesn’t jump off the map for anyone to care, it does in fact set a stepping stone where other players could land. Rumors swirled that Josh Smith, who is the big prize in these trade deadline talks, could quite possibly end up in Houston due to the pieces and young talent Houston acquired over the summer. With the trade for Thomas Robinson, it has eliminated the all fact that Houston will go after Josh Smith before the deadline.

Who got who exactly? Here is the trade between Houston, Sacramento, and Phoenix.

Houston receives:
PF Thomas Robinson
SG Francisco Garcia
SF Tyler Honeycutt

Sacramento receives:
PF Patrick Patterson
PG Toney Douglas
C Cole Aldrich

Phoenix receives:
PF Marcus Morris

I personally feel it is too early to tell who has won this trade. Patrick Patterson is clearly the best player coming out of this trade. However, Thomas Robinson is a rookie and the 5th overall pick in the first round of the the most recent draft back in June. It’s tough to say who really won this trade because it is not like Patrick Patterson is a bad player, I think it was because Houston needed to amp up on defense.

For Phoenix, they got Marcus Morris, which is funny because his twin brother Markieff Morris, plays for them. Marcus played well off the bench in Houston and I felt was sort of a minor blow to that bench, but that’s okay because Marcus has a way better opportunity to start with a struggling, practically starting over Phoenix Suns team. He could quite possibly be better in Phoenix, so it works out for him, just like for Thomas Robinson in Houston.

The problem with Sacramento’s situation is they got two expendable players in Toney Douglas and Cole Aldrich, who are in their final year of their contract. Patrick Patterson has the remaining of this year and next year on his contract. Sacramento made very little cap space in the trade. They only received about 4 million dollars in cap space. Sacramento fans and writers have not taken the news of Thomas Robinson’s departure well as the Kings have just inherited two almost expiring contracts and Patrick Patterson, and the 4 million dollars in cap space that really can’t be a huge impact in free agency.

For Houston, this can be really good or really bad depending on how Thomas Robinson plays. Houston received Francisco Garcia, who has a 6.1 million dollar contract and is a minor beat down on Houston’s cap space. However, Garcia, who has depleted in his performance over the last 2 or 3 years can be released at the end of the season due to the team option that is on his contract. That’s 6.1 million dollars in extra cap space for Houston if they choose to release him, which is a good thing because Houston already has a lot of cap space to work with. Look for Houston to release Garcia and possibly continue to work in developing Tyler Honeycutt, however the trade is based around Robinson for Houston.

Thomas Robinson will finally get the starting nods he has always wanted. In Sacramento, coach Keith Smart never really used him. Well, now that he is in Houston and Patrick Patterson is gone, it leaves the window wide open for Robinson. Robinson should be a good player and he is a big step in the right direction on the defensive side of the ball. Houston ranks 29th in defense, so this should be a more improved defense. Also, Houston is getting younger talent and has actually done really well in picking up the right set of young talent this year. Houston is the youngest team in the NBA and are in for a very bright future. They are already one of the highest scoring teams in the league, they just need to get better on defense.

To tell you who won this trade is too soon. We need to see by the end of the season or even by next year who really came out on top with this trade. I can tell you though, Houston won the battle with the cap space because they already have a lot of cap space and if they choose to drop Garcia, which by all eyes is a no-brainier, they would open up more cap space. Houston already had the cap space to sign a big name free agent in the summer. By adding more space, they obviously have more money to deal out. Look for Houston to get a big name over the summer to complete what could possibly be a serious NBA championship contender.

Happy Birthday Charles Barkley!

Charles Barkley turns 50 today and is one of the most well known NBA figures of the past. We all know Barkley as that loud mouth, get in your face, always arguing type of NBA player. His nicknames consisted of “Chuck”, “Sir Charles”, and “The Round Mound of Rebound” because he dominated on the boards as a power forward. He is known as one of the best power forwards in the NBA of all time. So lets remember Charles Barkley on his special day today by looking back at his impact on the NBA and life playing basketball.

Charles Barkley grew up in Leeds, Alabama and went to Leeds High School. At Leeds High as a junior, he didn’t make it on the varsity basketball team standing at 5’10 and weighing 220 and was pegged as a reserve. However, over the summer, Barkley shot up to 6’4 entering his senior year and earned a starting position on varsity. He averaged 19.1 points a game, while also grabbing an astounding 17.9 rebounds a game and led his team to a 26-3 record on route to the Alabama state semi-finals. Despite the abilities that Barkley could show on the court, no colleges seemed interested until the semi-final game when he made one of the best and most highly recruited players in the country in Bobby Lee Hurt, look like chump meat when he threw down 26 points on him.

Despite being overweight, Barkley was still recruited by Auburn University. Barkley excelled in the SEC leading in the rebound category in all three years he attended Auburn. “Chuck” became a very big crowd suction cup by bringing in sell out crowds to Auburn due to his massive dunking and morale-killing blocked shots. Of course lets not forget the rebounding ability that he possessed in all three years. Barkley is now part of Auburn’s All-Century team and has had No. 34 jersey retired.

“Sir Charles” was drafted 5th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1984 NBA draft that included now Hall of Fame players in Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, and John Stockton. Barkley joined a team of veterans that included “Dr. J”, Maurice Cheeks, and Moses Malone. They had just taken the 1983 NBA title and Barkley had to establish himself amongst future Hall of Famers. Upon arriving in Philly, Barkley learned to control his weight and conditioned himself before every game like a proper NBA player would. He made it on the All Rookie team his first year in the NBA.

By his second year, Charles was already the leading rebounder on his team and averaged 20 points a game. He saved his best for the playoffs that year when he rounded out 25 points a game and 15.8 rebounds a game, however despite all that, Barkley’s Sixers were defeated 4-3 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Eventually, Barkley became the Sixer’s franchise player when “Dr. J” retired, but in 1991 when he got involved with fan and attempted to spit on him, it ended up landing on a little girl, which ended up being the last straw with the Sixers. This is that rough and dirty Barkley we knew him back when and know him now.

Barkley was traded to the Suns, which became his ultimate resting ground through his “prime” years. He averaged 25.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, and a career high 5.1 assists per game in 1992-1993 season. His efforts landed him the MVP award that year and eventually was part of the world-wide known 1992 “Dream Team”. Due to his huge injury history late in his Suns career, Barkley only played 4 seasons with Suns and the Suns eventually traded him to the Houston Rockets.

As a Houston Rocket, signs of the huge injury problems plagued him throughout the years and was not as effective as the years in Philly or Phoenix. The one game Barkley showed to fans as his old self was when he recorded an incredible 33 rebounds, however injuries plagued him and he only managed to play 53 games in the 95-96 season. Barkley never truly got his game back to what he once was as injuries continued to plague him, but when healthy that dirty, tasteless, and selfish player continued to be viewed on the court. In 2000, Barkley retired after an amazing 16 year career that ended nothing more than mediocre.

For some people, Barkley will be viewed as one of the best players in the NBA. Others will see a dirty, and selfish player that walked the court day in and day out. I view him as one of best players in the league, however I also see that dirty, ejected-filled resume that he has piled up as a player through those 16 years. Whatever your stance is on Barkley, he still made it to the Hall of Fame and by statistics is one of the best power forwards in the NBA. So Happy 50th Birthday Chuck, I hope you have as good of 50th birthday as Michael Jordan


By: Richie Boswell

LeBron James will never be like Mike

Tis’ another season where LeBron James is over excelling his competition. It has been literally unfair this season to the ones who have the pleasure of guarding LeBron. I mean look at his stats this season. He leads every category on his team except for blocks and although he doesn’t lead any categories in the NBA, he makes up for that in his astonishing skills.

LeBron averages 27 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block a game this season. To this point, you ponder to yourself that these are some prodigious stats. So why is LeBron not better than MJ? Well because through LeBron’s 9 season career thus far, he has averaged 27.6 points a game, which is not even good enough to top Jordan’s rookie season average at 28.2 points. Through Jordan’s career he averaged 30.1 points, 2.3 steals, 83.5 percent from the free throw line, and 49.7 percent from the field a game.

Micheal Jordan has had to many years where he has scored an insurmountable amount of points. When I look at Jordan’s third season, which was his best season in terms of points. Jordan averaged 37.1 points a game, which by any standards would be almost impossible to beat. Jordan averaged 30+ plus points a game in 8 of the 15 seasons he played, while LeBron has only 3 thus far. Jordan is better in free throw percentage, steals, and field goal percentage, while LeBron leads in assists, rebounds, and blocks. All of LeBron’s leading categories are nice, but only 1 puts points on the board.

Field goal percentage and free throw percentage always lead to points and if good at it, which Jordan clearly was, I see no huge evidence that would promote LeBron to being better than Jordan. Also, steals can be very key because they usually lead to fast breaks, which usually leads to points as well. Micheal has a huge edge in a lot of statistics that lead to scoring, but it’s not like Micheal is that far behind in the other categories, such as rebounding or assists.

LeBron is almost 30 years old and has still possibly 10 more years left in the bag until quits are probably going to be called. This leaves plenty of time to try and catch Jordan. I mean heck even when Micheal Jordan made the surprise return to the NBA 10 years ago, when he played for the Washington Wizards for two seasons at the ages of 38 through 40. He still managed to stack those numbers up that only an abundance of players now a days could only dream of having. So whats going to happen to LeBron? I think he still is going to put up great numbers through his final years of play and will still make the competition look vulnerable.

However, once LeBron reaches 30, I predict a steady decline in numbers, maybe a jump up or two, but that’s it. So I don’t believe LeBron will ever catch Micheal Jordan, which leaves Jordan as the greatest player ever and he still will be no matter what, even if LeBron continues at his pace.

By: Richie Boswell

All stats are provided by ESPN

Should the Houston Rockets grab Josh Smith?

Atlanta has made it known that Josh Smith is out on the trade market and certain teams are listening. The Rockets, Clippers, and Spurs seem to be wanting the 6’9 27 year-old power forward. So where should Atlanta drop Josh Smith off? If they’re truly interested in pulling that move off, my speculation is the Houston Rockets would be a big fit because Houston lacks in the position and have the surrounding pieces to give Atlanta.

Houston should let Josh Smith go into free agency because giving a guy like Marcus Morris, who is on an upswing right now, and has been killing it from three point land lately to the Atlanta Hawks would be a mistake. Then to include another player like Toney Douglas or Carlos Delfino would further jeopardize the depth Houston is building. Houston is the youngest team in the NBA and they have one of the highest scoring offenses in the league and that’s not only because the starters are stepping up, it’s because the bench has also been stepping up.

On the other end of the spectrum, Josh Smith is one of the best defenders in the NBA and Houston would love to have one. Houston ranks 29th in defense. Their offense is so spectacular and ran so well by James Harden that they don’t miss a beat, but on the defensive side they look lost and can’t defend anybody even despite the effort that I see from Omer Asik. Houston would pile up more victories if their defense was just a little better and that’s why adding Josh Smith would be a plus. Omer Asik is the best defender on the team and I can see clearly he’s trying, but everybody else including starting forward Patrick Patterson lack defense. Patrick Patterson is good on the offensive side of the ball and makes some great baskets when Houston needs them most, but all that doesn’t matter unless Houston steps up on the other side of the ball.

My final verdict:
I think they should get Josh Smith, but in free agency. This is Josh Smith’s last year under contract, so get him in the summer. Its not worth trading the talent Houston has to Atlanta or any other team. Houston needs to be patient and wait. Houston has enough money to sign another star player, so sign him over the summer that way zero depth would be eliminated.

By: Richie Boswell