Here’s How You Actually Address Golf’s Problems

Yesterday, I wrote about the recent efforts to save golf. It has a growth problem right now, and it is a sport for the old and/or those who can afford it. The proposal gaining the most traction is a 15-inch cup, nearly quadrupling the current 4.25 inch cup. Widening the cup would certainly speed the game up and make it easier. And two of the biggest gripes of beginner and/or casual golfers is that the game is too hard and too slow. The bigger hole is a bit gimmicky, but there’s something to be said for instituting different forms of golf. PGA of America President Ted Bishop makes a good point:

“Call it whatever you want, but we’ve got to get past this notion that unless you’re playing nine or 18 holes, with 4¼-inch holes, it’s not golf. This is a form of the sport, just like playing H-O-R-S-E on the backyard hoop is a form of basketball.”

Golf purists, myself one of them, fret over the 15-inch cup as the future of golf. But it makes sense if you think about it as an easier, more fun alternative for those who don’t play frequently. Playing on the bigger cups with some friends who have hardly ever played golf makes sense. Or if you simply don’t have time to slog through a four or five hour round. That way, there is a happy medium between tedious time spent on the driving range and spending a couple hours playing nine or eighteen holes. With the bigger cups as a possibility, you could get out on the course and practice swing thoughts, without the demoralizing ‘one step forward, three steps back’ feeling that often accompanies swing changes. Continue reading

What does the Future hold for the Thunder and Bulls?

After the short-handed Thunder and Bulls both lost their respective series in five games, it’s unclear where they’re headed. Even with the return of Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook, the Bulls and Thunder will need to make moves if they plan on being real title contenders next season. While getting healthy will be the main way the Bulls and Thunder improve next season, they still need to make moves, even with their minimal cap room and late draft picks.

Durant had no help as soon as Westbrook went down.
Durant had no help as soon as Westbrook went down.

Thunder
Coming off of a disappointing second round exit, the Thunder may believe a healthy Russell Westbrook will bring them back to the Finals, but seeing the series against the Grizzlies, it’s clear that the Thunder have some more work to do. With Westbrook, the Thunder will surely be the favorite to come out of the West, but it’s now clear that the Thunder are a very average team without him. Serge Ibaka, the guy Sam Presti decided to pay instead of James Harden, has proven to be a 13 and 8 guy who looks like he’s already hit his ceiling. Ibaka is only 23, but his failure to step up in Westbrook’s absence is just another reminder that the Thunder absolutely made the wrong choice picking him over James Harden.

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Who would you build an NBA Franchise around?

Here’s the situation: you’re an NBA GM and you’re trying to draft from entire pool of NBA players to make your team as successful as possible. This obviously slightly rates how players are valued. Would you rather select Kobe Bryant at age 34 with a $30 million salary coming off of a torn achilles, or 24 year old James Harden, set to make $15 million next year? Would you rather have Dwyane Wade at age 31, making nearly $19 million, or 20 year old Kyrie Irving who’s still on his rookie deal? Further, would you rather have Russell Westbrook or Derrick Rose, coming off a torn ACL? Age, contract size, injury history, and potential all factor into your decision. Position matters too. Point guard is a very deep position, but center is not. But as the Heat showed us last season, small ball can work fine. If you have Lebron James, at least.

Running a successful NBA franchise isn’t easy. Well, it might be, but we’ll never know, when teams are run by people like this. After all, only nine different franchises have the title in the past 32 years. Going into each season, there’s usually only 3 or 4 teams that have a realistic shot at winning the title. Underdogs stand little chance when they have to beat a team four times out of seven. Usually the better team will advance in the playoffs. The league today is very top heavy– so much, that LeBron recently advocated contracting the league. The league wouldn’t be so uneven if not for teams habitually overpaying bad players (looking at you, Wizards), teams having to deal with whining superstars (sorry, Magic), and teams trading all their young assets for injured players (we know how you feel, 76ers). That’s why the size of contract, character of the player, and the injury history are all important in deciding who to build an NBA franchise around. Without further ado…

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Which Lottery team in the West has the brightest future?

7. Phoenix Suns
As much as I wanted to put the Kings in the cellar, I just couldn’t do it. The Suns are that bad. Take a look at the Suns roster and you won’t find any egregiously bad contracts, but you also won’t find a single player worth building around. Goran Dragic has quietly had a very solid season, ranking 15th out of point guards who play at least 30 minutes per game in PER. Notably he’s ahead of players like Damian Lillard and Ricky Rubio this year in PER. Past the 26 year old point guard though, the Suns are stuck with mediocre perimeter players like Shannon Brown, Mike Beasley, and Jared Dudley, and Wes Johnson.

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Which Lottery team in the East has the brightest future?

7. Charlotte Bobcats
Dallas Mavericks v Charlotte Bobcats
It’s hard to ever get excited about the Bobcats. They don’t have any true superstar to build around, they hardly have any cap room this summer, and the upcoming draft class is extremely weak. Not all is lost for the NBA’s worst team though. The Bobcats do have improving Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Bismack Biyombo to build around. Plus, as Chad Ford suggested, a weak draft may be Charlotte’s best friend. Charlotte certainly won’t be a playoff team, even with the addition of a top pick in the draft. Drafting a guy like Nerlens Noel, with his ACL tear wouldn’t be a bad plan, as they could let Noel take his time rehabbing, not having to worry about playing him. Then presumably after another terrible season, the Bobcats would be able to add another top 5 pick in 2014. Oh and by the way, the 2014 draft should be loaded, according to scouts who can’t wait until Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker get to the league. For the Bobcats, building around a Kemba, MKG, Nerlens, and a 2014 top 5 pick would be ideal. Also, to speed up the process, the ‘Cats will gain nearly $20million in cap space after this year when Ben Gordon and DeSagana Diop come off the books. While the Bobcats have a few pieces for the future, it’s just hard to get too excited about a team that is making 60-loss seasons a habit.

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