Thursday, June 25, 2009

Jordan Hill to my hometown Knicks

Looks like Blake Griffin lite to me. Not a bad pick, but they really do need a back up point (among many, many other changes). On the plus side, a conservative black chalk pinstripe with an understated paisley tie. Classy.

Terence Williams and Gerald Henderson are my instant impact picks, I think.

One Plane vs. Two Plane? Not quite.

Jim Hardy made a big impact with his one plane/two plane golf theory, but I (and others) believe that it is inaccurate. The difference between the two "types" of swings that I've seen are not based on whether or not the club is above the shoulder plane (a rather arbitrary line), but rather how the club is released through impact, and by extension, how the shoulders and hips rotate through impact.

The easiest way to see this distinction is to view the swing down the target line. At some point during the through swing, after impact, the club should be pointing roughly at the target. There are, however, two very different ways to accomplish this.

Below, at 0:17 is Tiger Woods "shaking hands with the target".

Compare to Anthony Kim, at 0:10.

Tiger has his right arm completely extended towards the target and away from his body on the follow through. Anthony Kim, in comparison, has already brought the club so far left and around his body (as opposed to up and away from his body) that it's already hidden from view by the time his right arm extends through to the target.

I believe in TGM (The Golfing Machine) terms, this is referred to as swinging on the TSP (turned shoulder plane) vs. the elbow plane through the impact area. For those who have an interest in what those mean, Brian Manzella's forums and Richie3jack's blog are good places to learn the basics.

This article has a great comparison of Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods from face on which shows the difference between the two "types" of swings.

Blake Griffin at the Draft

Well dressed. Black 2 button (i think), purple shirt, patterned black tie... and it actually fit. Ricky Rubio also gets props for a classic navy number. Hasheem Thabeet, on the other hand, looked a bit like the tin man.

Busy Day in the NBA

Busy day in the NBA- the key moves being VC to Orlando, Courtney Lee to NJ, Shaq to the Cavs, Wallace/Pavlovic to the Suns, RJ to the Spurs, Fabricio Oberto to the Pistons, Miller/Foye to Washington. Whew.

I tend to enjoy the more technical side of sports, and therefore often find myself interested in rather obscure topics and situations. Of these trades, the two teams I find myself most interested in are Washington and New Jersey, especially New Jersey.

The Washington Wizards, with the (fingers crossed) return of a healthy Gilbert Arenas are sure to be video game favorites next year, whether your poison is Live or 2k. Their multitalented offensive line up actually reminds me more of Manchester United's attack (offensive total football?) than anything in basketball.

Their starting lineup, if I was their coach:
1) Gilbert Arenas
2) Nick Young
3) Caron Butler
4) Mike Miller
5) Antawn Jamison

Obviously, a very weak team defensively but one that should do surprisingly well on the boards, as 1-5 will all be doing their share. In addition, all 5 are willing and extremely able passers and 3 point shooters. Randy Foye and Arenas' inadequacies as point guards should be covered up by Mike Miller's floor leadership and vision. Think Golden State Warriors, except with a chance to win every night, against ANYONE. In addition, with good coaching they'll be able to execute in the half court too. Probably an 8th seed at best, but if they get into the playoffs they'll be fun to watch.

The New Jersey Nets are going to be the polar opposite of the Wizards. In Devin Harris, Courtney Lee they have two of the best perimeter defenders in the league. Hassell, and to a lesser extent Lee, are offensive liabilities however, and the same can be said of Brook Lopez. With Yi Jianlin, Bobby Simmons, and the newly acquired Skip to my Lou rounding out the core of the team, the Nets look very young and limited offensively.

What they do have on their side is youth and speed, and lots of it. Devin Harris is possibly the fastest player in the league with the ball in his hands- and without. Courtney Lee is no slouch either, and Jarvis Hayes is an able finisher on the break as are Yi Jianlin and Bobby Simmons (former Most Improved Player on the clippers). Brook Lopez has shown that he's in great shape, and should be able to outrun most big men in the league.

What this boils down to is that the Nets are going to be like the Celtics lite- great defense leading to fast breaks, but with a faster pace overall. Unfortunately, as is, the Nets look like a sub .500 team. What makes them interesting however, is they seem to be one or two players from becoming a VERY good team, but if that's going to happen they're going to have to establish a strong defensive identity early in the season.

Shaq traded to the Lebronia LeBron's!

Two of the biggest single-name (also made-up name) superstars and the two most physically dominating players to ever play the game are on the verge of teaming up.

Like the article says, this trade is essentially an admission of previous trading mistakes. For Marion (one of the hottest trade commodities in the league at the time), they got a great, aging player who simply did not fit their system, who they're now trading to save money.

Luckily, with the continuing emergence of Amare Stoudemire (assuming he can avoid further injury), the Suns actually have an interesting team. Sasha Pavlovic is a very solid wing player who should fit very well into the Suns system. He can shoot the 3, run the floor, slash to the basket, and play some (SOME) defense. He also seems like a smart player, as in his limited time on the floor he seems to be in the right spots, never looks lost and avoids careless mistakes. I wouldn't be surprised to see him playing 15-20 minutes a game scoring 10-15 ppg right off the bat. If he shows improved defense and ability to handle the ball, he may become a sort of Joe Johnson lite. Of course, point guard skills may be a lot to ask for from a player who hasn't seen the floor much in his career, but he has shown flashes of solid decision making ability.

I fully expect Ben Wallace to retire, unless the Suns ask him to play. Considering his recent performances, I seriously doubt that's going to happen.

As for the Akron Lebrons- woops, the Cleveland Cavaliers- the sheer physical domination of Shaq and Lebron all over the floor make this a very scary team. However, their Championship hopes lie squarely on the shoulders of a guy who never even gets off the bench.

Mike Brown.

For all the talent the Cavs have, they have a rather curious mix of players. They lack the kind of smart, veteran player who a coach can trust to control the tempo of the game and keep the team level headed when Lebron is off the floor. Players like James Posey, Tayshaun Prince, Shane Battier would be perfect. Guards like Aaron Brooks and Leandro Barbosa are also great at controlling the tempo off the bench, and the faster pace they bring to the game usually helps bench players get easy baskets, greatly increasing their effectiveness later in the game. Instead, however, they have Varejao, West, and Joe Smith off the bench- solid players, but ones who simply cannot operate without a superstar on the floor. Delonte West is the only one of these players with the potential to become the guy they need, but his lack of a consistent jump shoot limits his ability to get to the basket at the moment. If he works hard over the summer, West could be the 6th man that the Cavs need to bring a Championship to Lebronia- I mean Cleveland.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Adam Scott- swing changes?

I'm not sure about what I'm seeing, but it seems as though Adam Scotti s making swing changes. He seems to be bending more at the waist and less at the neck, which allows him to better center the ball in his field of vision. In addition, his plane seems a bit flatter with an earlier and smoother release of the right side, as opposed to his older swing with a more carefully timed, delayed release.

JB Holmes' Putting Stroke

It's looking FAR better then I've ever seen it. A smooth, full turn through the ball with no manipulation as opposed to the stabby hit he had in the past. If the results have improved as much as the appearance, Holmes may suddenly find himself contending on a lot more courses.

Rocco Mediate's Preshot Routine

Anyone notice it? It seems as though he set up VERY open with his shoulders, hips, and feet while he aligns his club, similar to the way Jack Nicklaus opened his putting stance to get a good view of the line. Then, after his clubface is aligned, he goes ahead and squares up his shoulders and drops his right foot back to close his hips and feet.

Maybe not a bad routine for those of us who struggle with open alignment. This way, you can aim as you feel comfortable, and then set yourself square to the target.

By the way

WOW Mike Weir, wow. His shoulders look weirdly open but apparently it's working pretty well for him.

What might these be?


The tickets to the final round of the US Open, hopefully. Otherwise I'll be watching the conclusion from home like everyone else.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

With Brian Gay leading this past Sunday

"Is that the Gay factor or the Tiger factor?"
Peter Kostis

"Is that the what, Peter?"
Ian Baker-Finch

Friday, June 12, 2009

Something good is just about to happen

"No, I never have been miserable. I keep thinking that day to day something good is just about to happen."

-Pete Carroll, Head Coach, USC Trojans

Wiser words have never been spoken.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Who's excited for Real Madrid in FIFA 2010?

It'll probably take some time for Ronaldo and Kaka to learn how to play together. For more instant gratification...who can imagine Real Madrid in next years FIFA game? Near cheating, I imagine. Domination the likes of which we haven't seen since Tecmo Bo!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dwight Howard Showing Signs

For what might be the first time I've ever seen, at 1:25 left in the first of Game 2 of the finals, Dwight Howard has made a good, quick, aggressive move to the basket going THROUGH the defender quickly before the help could arrive.

As I've discussed with my friend Leo, we agree that one of the biggest weaknesses in Dwight's offensive game was the inability to make a strong move to the basket without pausing to gather his feet. This was worryingly apparent in the Boston series, where Kendrick Perkin's bulk kept Dwight from being able to gather his feet the way he likes to. Even more worrisome, a picture on ESPN heading an article about the Finals showed Howard looking oddly diminutive against the Perkins-sized Andrew Bynum.

However, this move gives me hope. Perhaps he has turned a corner in his game. If so, I expect this series to go MUCH longer than the first game would indicate. While I was initially anticipating a 5 or 6 game series concluding in (yet another) a Laker Championship, I'm now thinking more of a 6 or 7 game series, with a possible Magic victory if Howard keeps displaying improved footwork.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Memorial Skins Game

Today, I learned that Tiger Woods is still pretty good at this golf business. On the other hand, he says "brah".


Looks like a low cut and a low draw to me. Beautiful rotation of the hips and shoulders with an aggressive weight transfer. Look at how delofted the "club" is in the freeframe preview of the 2nd vid.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Golf Gal's Blog!

By the way, I've been watching Big Break: Prince Edward Island, a reality show competition for 100,000 dollars with aspiring professionals. I've seen a few episodes of previous seasons, but none have really caught more than a passing interest from me.

This year, however, I caught the first episode and got hooked. The first challenge, a 3 foot putt to go to elimination as SOON as the players showed up set the tone. Infuriating and entertaining characters abounded also.

Lucky for me, I found golfgal's blog, where she interviews players and gets their unedited input after the shows air. Great stuff! I especially enjoyed Brian Skatell's interviews, where you come to realize yes, he really is that crazy, but no, he's not nearly the ass that the Golf Channel makes him out to be. He's like that guy who's equal parts endearing-crazy and infuriating-crazy, except the producers have edited out the endearing parts for the sake of creating a villain.

A quote from Derek (who, by the way, hit an amazing shot today- 2 shots from 120 yards, balls ended up TOUCHING) about a text from Brian: "Before the show he sent me text. "Yeah, I'm opening up a night club named 'pure'". Dude has a sense of humor.

Sad to see him go.

Just a few ideas, feedback welcome

So I was thinking about removing the paintfill on my new irons. Here are some quick mock ups. Tell me what you think!







Does anyone else...

think it's only a matter of time till we start seeing reports of a career ending amputation for Lamar Odom? $77 dollars worth of candy on game day! He must bleed maple syrup.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Everyone Should See This

It's a shame there's no Dwight puppet.

The Importance of a Neutral Grip

I, like many golfers, used to have a strong and slowly migrated to a neutral one. Along the way, I found out a couple of rarely mentioned facts which have firmly convinced me that a neutral grip is generally superior to a stronger one. Not that you can't hit great shots with a strong grip, but those with a weaker grip will still have certain advantages.

There are the well known benefits, such as being able to work the ball more easily and the ability to hit higher shots. A couple of benefits, however, seem to have flown mostly under the radar.

A weaker grip allows you to more easily set up with your forearms and shoulders on the proper plane, so you can turn on the proper plane. A stronger grip requires some more contortion to get thing aligned.

In addition, it allows you to more easily set the clubface open at address- a technique both Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus used. The purpose, however, is not necessarily to promote fade. Since the clubface is rotating throughout its arc, a clubhead set BEHIND the ball should be open, in order to allow it to square up as it closes traveling through the ball. This is important to actually align the face correctly, but also because it gives you a clear visual cue that you can fire through the ball without shutting down the face. For many players, a square face at address will make them feel as if they have to "hold" the face square through impact, instead of allowing it to release through.

Finally, possible the most important reason. A sufficiently weak right hand grip (which some combined with a stronger left, a la David Duval) will allow you, in concert with a proper turn back, to set the club on the pad at the base of your right index finger when you reach the top of the backswing- otherwise known as pressure point #3, in TGM lingo.

Richie3jack's blog has some good diagrams of PP#3, as well as a lot of good info on TGM.

So, why is this pressure point so important to set at the top? Because this is where you apply the power! By putting the club in a position that loads up this point, you can start applying power through the ball from the very top of the swing.

This was the beauty of Mr. Hogan's swing. By setting the club on the same plane it would travel through the hitting area at the top of the backswing, and setting its weight squarely on top of the most powerful part of his right hand, he can simply hit as hard through the ball. The face will rotate naturally through the application of power through this point without manipulation, and sufficiently weak grip will also allow you to hit freely without worrying about a hook.