Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras Mailbag

Jeremy Lin: the next Nash or Rondo or someone else? - Garret M., Boston, MA

A whole lotta hype around Jeremy Lin. In your opinion is he the real deal? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit: businessinsider.com
Figured I'd answer both of these questions together. Is Jeremy Lin a legitimate NBA point guard? Absolutely. Is he among the Top 5 point guards in the league? No. At least, not right now. The name that draws the most realistic comparisons with Lin is probably Steve Nash. While Nash is a much better shooter, Lin's game is similar and their styles of play are both ideal for a Mike D'Antoni offense. In 4 years with D'Antoni in Phoenix, Nash led the league in assists three times, won two MVPs, made 4 all star teams, won 3 Pacific Division Titles and twice made it to the Conference Finals. I'm not suggesting that Lin is going to be a future NBA MVP, but if he ends up somewhere in the 16 points 8 assists per game range (over his last 10 games he's averaged 24.6 and 9.2), that'll be enough to keep him in the league for a long time. The one real knock on his game right now is the turnovers (so far he has a 9 turnover game, two 8 turnover games, a 7 turnover game, and three 6 turnover games), so he's going to need to clean that up. But you have to assume that some of that will improve with experience so at this point I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Is La Liga the most lopsided league in Europe, or am I crazy? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit: football-soccernews.blogspot.com
With Barcelona and Real Madrid as dominant as they are, there's certainly an argument that that's the case, but I'm going to throw another league out there instead: The Scottish Premier League. Glasgow clubs Rangers and Celtic have combined for 96 titles in league history while no other team has ever won more than four. The two teams have combined to win the last 26 titles in Scotland and Celtic appears to be pretty much a lock to win the league again this year. Since the Premier League was founded prior to the 1998-99 season, there's only been one time where Celtic and Rangers didn't both finish in the top 2 (Hearts finished second in 2005-06), and even then Rangers still finished in third. There's a similar disparity in Spain with Real Madrid and Barcelona combining for 52 league titles while no other team has reached double digits, but the gap in Scotland between the haves and have nots is much greater.

Was that the first time a team managed to score THREE own goals in a game? I'm speaking of Brighton and Hove of course - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com
Actually, no. In 2002 in Madagascar's THB Champions League, AS Adema defeated SOE Antananarivo by a score of 149–0 when SOE scored 149 own goals in protest of a referee's decision. AS Adema did not get possession of the ball at any point between the 1st and 149th goals. Other than that, three seems to be about the maximum highlighted (or lowlighted) by Stan van den Buys scoring a negative hat trick in 1995 while playing for Belgian team Germinal Ekeren. Van den Buys was responsible for all 3 of Anderlecht's goals in a 3-2 loss.

With John Terry projected to be out for 6 weeks after knee surgery, what does this mean for Chelsea's Champions League hopes? - Cory L., Raceland, LA
Photo Credit: soccerplay.net
After today's 3-1 loss to Napoli, it probably doesn't matter. The reality is that Chelsea hasn't been playing good football following their win over Manchester City in mid-December. They've won just two Premier League matches in 10 tries, and recently failed to beat Birmingham at home in the 5th Round of the FA Cup. So the reality is Chelsea getting blown out by Napoli today shouldn't come as much of a surprise. What The Blues needs to be concerned about is the fact that they're currently in 5th place in the Premier League which means a spot in the 2012-13 Champions League is in serious jeopardy. Terry's absence will hurt them, but ultimately Chelsea needs to get more out of strikers Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba who have combined to score just 5 goals this season. Just two seasons ago those two combined to find the back of the net 47 times.

Special thanks to all those who wrote in this week. Got a question for the mailbag? Email us at smittysports.blogspot@hotmail.com.

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