Mail Time! Answering Your QuestionsI will engage in a weekly throwdown with Kevin Cacabelos in an attempt to show the world how much smarter, better looking and wittier I am than he. It should be quite easy.
Who will end up having a better career in Seattle… Matt Flynn or Vin Baker? – Matt A.
KC: I almost picked Matt Flynn without looking up Vin Baker’s actual stats from his time in Seattle. As bad as Baker was, he did average 19 points and 8 rebounds in his first season in Seattle. Those numbers aren’t bad at all, and compare well to the Shawn Kemp’s line of 18.7 points and 10 rebounds per game the season before. After his first season, his scoring dipped a bit, but for his four other seasons in Seattle, he never averaged less 12 points and five rebounds per game. Granted, 12 points and five rebounds isn’t anything to write home about, but Vin Baker was only bad in Sonics fans’ heads because he was a four-time all-star coming in and he was replacing Shawn Kemp. Even if Baker kept up his double-double averages I don’t think Sonics fans would consider him an adequate replacement for Kemp.
As for Flynn? If the Seahawks make the playoffs while Flynn is here, his career will be better than Baker’s. Flynn is lucky when compared to Baker’s case. He’s replacing Tarvaris Jackson and not Shawn Kemp. As a result, our expectations as fans are low. Will the Seahawks make the playoffs? Right now I say yes. Especially since the 49ers will most likely lose Alex Smith.
Brian: I can pick Matt Flynn without looking up Vin Baker’s stats because I know something vital about Vin Baker. He loves cheeseburgers. Not thin McDonald’s cheeseburgers either. I am talking about giant, three patties, multiple cheeses, bacon topped cheeseburgers. He loves them so much that he went from an All-Star averaging 21 points and 10 boards per game (for two straight seasons after a 17 and 10 year) and playing 41 fricking minutes per game to a fat, slobby ghost of a player who as Kevin says put up 12 and 5. He got fat. So fat he couldn’t do anything anymore. So fat he ate the old Vin Baker.
Matt Flynn just got out of a lockout last year. He didn’t eat himself to Fat Flynn. He even is in better shape than when he came out of college. It does help that Flynn replaces Tarvaris Jackson and not a Shawn Kemp type, but Vin Baker averaged 12 and 5. The reason people got pissed about Vin Baker is that he AVERAGED 12 and 5. Ersan Ilyasova averages 12 and 8. Roy Hibbert averages 12 and 9. You can’t be that bad, no matter who you replace. We don’t know about Matt Flynn. Will he lead the Hawks to the playoffs? I don’t know. I guess he has a QB rating higher than Tarvaris. I guess he will have more than 14 TD passes. I guess he is the answer. But we just don’t know. The good news? He doesn’t seem to love cheeseburgers the way that Vin did.
Regarding Husky Basketball: is Lorenzo actually a top tier coach or is he just a top tier recruiter?
… Obviously this question came from Jon… – Annie and Jon G.
KC: To be a top tier coach, you must be a top-tier recruiter, these two characteristics are not mutually exclusively traits. Now, if we’re talking top-tier in-game strategiest, I think Romar is not as strong. The Huskies have choked away numerous big games and always seem a step-behind the nation’s top ranked teams. But a few breaks here and there, and Romar’s team is in the final four in 2006 and maybe in the elite eight last season. Do you question the coaching abilities of a coach who gets his team to the final four? No. Making the tournament six of the past nine seasons requires coaching. You can’t simply roll the ball out there and expect players to perform at a high level.
Brian: I wouldn’t characterize Romar as a top tier recruiter. I think some people miss that fact that Romar is a good recruiter, but he isn’t competing with the best in the country. For example, Roy Williams has brought in 7 five star players to North Carolina since the Class of 2008 (Zeller, Henson, Barnes, McAdoo, etc). Romar brought in two in that time – Abdul Gaddy and Tony Wroten. Both are local players that were good for Romar to get, but we can’t say that he is competing nationally at the top tier level. The top tier recruiters at this stage of the game are Calipari, Coach K, Williams, Self, Crean, and Sean Miller. There are probably a few more to add, but Romar isn’t in that list.
(Now the Class of 2013 could vault Romar to that list as he is in on Jabari Parker who is 1st in the nation and five stars, Aaron Gordon – 4th in nation and five stars and Jabari Bird who is 14th in the nation and five stars).
In terms of coaching, Romar does an excellent job getting his team to play hard and get after it on defense. He teaches a motion offense which means the team usually gets better as the year goes on as the build chemistry with each other. (This often frustrates fans who resort to “Romar isn’t a good Xs and Os coach”. This isn’t true necessarily. This comment comes mostly from ignorance by fans who don’t understand motion offense). Yet this season, Romar’s team has disappointed. Does Wroten play hard? Does he defend anyone? The answers are no and no. Wroten has set the tone for the team which resorts to a 2-3 zone and defensive pressure that is more protective than aggressive (watch where they pick up their men and how they passively switch ball screens this season). I expect a high intensity, defensively focused team next year, but this year the Huskies have disappointed and it starts with Romar’s handling of Tony Wroten.
Is David Estrada the answer up front? – Luis A.
Brian: In short, no. This is funny because I spent all of the first Sounders game telling Luis how good David Estrada is and how he was going to score that game. Three goals later, he was named MLS Player of the Week. Scoring a hat trick in your first start ain’t too shabby. But he isn’t the answer. The Sounders need Eddie Johnson (or I still think Steve Zakauni healthy could play up front) are better options and more polished players. Estrada though will be the perfect super sub.
His technical ability is far beyond Roger Levesque and he has the work ethic of Mike Fucito, so he will be fun to watch. Now with four goals in two games, it seems crazy to take him off the field but ultimately the team will be better when Johnson starts and Estrada is the super sub.
Why didn’t Peyton Manning even want to talk to us? – Adam H.
Brian: See my post on locationalism (http://waitforitseattle.com/2012/03/08/so-peyton-manning/). While it is a word that I made up, it is absolutely true. Pete Carroll said that Manning called him initially, yet Manning wouldn’t entertain a meeting even with John Schneider on a Seahawks plane stalking Peyton in Denver.
Well, John Clayton of ESPN confirmed my thoughts. He said on 710 ESPN that Manning just wouldn’t consider Seattle because we are up here in the corner of the country and that was it. No football reasons, no coaching reasons – just plain old locationalism.
Worst pick you made in your bracket? — via Anthony D.
KC: I picked Cal to advance to the Sweet 16 — and I listed them as a sleeper in my campus newspaper. The Pac-12/west-coast bias unconsciously informed this pick, and as a result I received several text messages from my friends informing me of my failure. Let’s hope Kentucky wins the championship to help redeem me.
Brian: Missouri in the Final 4. I watched Missouri play in the Big 12 tournament and jumped on board that bandwagon. I ignored my instincts while told me that they wouldn’t make it far because they rely too much on shooting the 3. I ignored my thoughts which said, “what the hell has Frank Haith ever done?” I got caught up in the bracket itself. I didn’t think Michigan State could make it. Same thing with Marquette. Louisville? No way. So I went with Missouri. Once they lost to Norfolk State, my bracket was done. Although the fact that Kevin picked Cal makes me feel better.
Would the WCC have a stronger RPI if Seattle U replaced Santa Clara in the WCC? –via Michael K.
Brian: This question isn’t funny. Seattle U has a RPI of 279. Santa Clara’s is 294. I can’t talk about this anymore.
KC: I’d like to take this time to make a shout out to LMU basketball for its record-setting season. Not only did the Lions pull off three victories over ranked opponents (including Saint Mary’s), LMU also had its first 20 win season since the legendary 1989-1990 squad. Head coach Max Good was also named WCC coach of the year. Tournament berth next year? I’m counting on it.
Brian: You didn’t even answer the question Kevin. No one cares about your school.
KC to Brian: In your time as a Seattle sports fan, what is the most heartbreaking moment you’ve witnessed?
Brian: This question isn’t even a close race – it is when the Sonics were sold to Clay Bennett. Not even when they actually left, but when they were sold. I remember watching the press conference and knowing that they were gone. I tried to convince myself, as did others, that they would somehow stay over the next year or so, but it was a done deal. My heart sank when I saw the sale of the team.
The amount of memories shattered in that sale were too hard to fathom. I loved Nate McMillan in the 4th grade to the point that I wore his number and learned to play point guard. Then I moved on to Gary Payton. The days of Payton and Kemp provided so much joy in my middle school and high school years. Even the momentary joy of Kevin Durant was dashed in one press conference. Everything gone because of greed, lack of foresight by the city and mayor, and incompetency of many.
The Sonics didn’t just leave town. I feel like they stole part of my childhood.
KC: The Sonics leaving is No. 1 in my book too. The second-most heart breaking moment I witnessed? Washington’s choking in their Sweet 16 game against UConn in 2006. Up by four points after two made Justin Dentmon free-throws, UConn’s Marcus Williams drove to the basket and converted on a layup while also being fouled by Mike Jensen — Williams made the free-throw. Still up 80-79 with 10 seconds left, Brandon Roy was fouled and made both free-throw giving UW an 82-79 lead. However, Rashad Anderson decided to make a three-pointer and send the game into overtime. The rest is history. Win this game against UConn and only George Mason stands in your way to a final fourth berth. Ugh.
Brian to KC: What would you rather do for the rest of your life – Tebow every time you enter a room or Antoine Walker shimmy every time you leave a bathroom?
KC: Though Tebowing increases my chances of going to heaven, Antoine Walker shimmying increases my chances of picking up women. At this point of my life, I’ll take the latter. Feel free to judge me.
Brian: Tebowing will be a fad. Shimmying like Antoine Walker lasts a lifetime. (For those who haven’t read this piece on Antoine, it is worth your time: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1195981/index.htm).
You can read Kevin’s stuff at SB Nation (http://seattle.sbnation.com/authors/kevin-cacabelos) or follow him on Twitter @KevinCacabelos. Kevin gave up Seatown Sports recently to focus more on this mailbag.