Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Is Kiper a Fraud?

Mel Kiper, above, is one of the many draft experts floating around every year about this time making big bucks by attempting to read the minds of the 32 teams in the NFL. Is he as good as ESPN builds him up to be?

Slate doesn’t think so

His Web site offers this ambiguous claim: "Mel's in-depth knowledge … has enabled him to accurately predict as much as 80 percent of first-round draft selections." Translation: At some point in the last two decades, 80 percent of the players Kiper thought would be drafted in the first round were drafted in the first round—never mind by what team or with which pick. Last year, Kiper didn't quite match that mark, but he still correctly predicted 77 percent of "first-round draft selections."

But when you look at his mock draft on a pick-by-pick basis—i.e., how he matched specific players with specific teams or, at least, specific picks—Kiper's batting average slipped to a dismal 29 percent. A few picks weren't even close. Three players he thought would be first-rounders fell more than 30 picks, and one, Georgia Tech wide receiver Dez White, fell 47 picks. Mel thought these players deserved to be first-round picks. The problem is, no NFL team agreed. It's Kiper's recurring fault: He substitutes his own rankings, which carry little weight, for in-depth reporting. And because he attempts only to understand the draft on his own terms, he doesn't understand it at all.

Big Changes in the NFL Television scene ….

With deals already made with CBS, Fox and DirecTV, the N.F.L. will receive $3.7 billion annually starting in 2006, up from the $2.4 billion it receives on average from its current television contracts, which expire after this season. The longest deal was made with ESPN, for eight years. No decision has been made about whether ESPN will keep its announcing team of Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann and Paul Maguire, or bring over the ABC team of Al Michaels and John Madden. Both networks are owned by the Walt Disney Company.

"I'm still digesting this," said Mr. Michaels, whose contract at ABC expires after the 2005-6 National Basketball Association season. "All I know is that there will be no letdown this year."

Under the new contracts, Monday night games will start at 8:40 p.m. Eastern, and the Sunday night games will start at 8:15 p.m.

Auburn Running Backs will make history

Williams and Brown are expected to be among the first 10 names called in the draft, unprecedented since the first combined AFL-NFL draft in 1967. Two running backs from the same school have shared first-round status only three times during that span and none since 1987, when Texas A&M's Roger Vick and Rod Bernstine were chosen late in the opening round.

Brown is expected to once again play second fiddle -- only not to Williams. He's expected to be the second overall pick by the Miami Dolphins.

Yep, Auburn's No. 2 tailback could be the NFL's No. 2 pick.

The NBA Western Conference Playoff Match-ups are set:
#4 Dallas vs. #5 Houston

#2 San Antonio vs. #7 Denver

#1 Phoenix vs. #8 Memphis

#3 Seattle vs. #6 Sacramento

Cowboys debating the feared “trade down” , but remember, the trade down last year seemed to work pretty well…

Reevo on Chan Ho Park sparing us to death last night

A’s 8, Rangers 5

Juan Dominguez demoted

Happiness is: Reading Peter King’s MMQB

Feature on Big Dirk ….

London Marathoner answers nature’s call during race

Comedy bit featuring Jules Winfield and Chris Chelios

Mike Tyson featured in Russian Chick’s Music Video

And now, some E-Mail:

My Intention is to talk Dirk for MVP. The reason I chose you as a release to my frustration, is because I find you as my sports-conscience, which is a gay way of saying I value your sports opinions.

It bugs me that all the national sports pundits that plague my tele are so quick to proclaim Dirk as having an MVP year, yet none are willing to give him the nod for MVP.Today Hubie Brown(abc) didn't even have him as a top five candidate(Ray Allen over Dirk...good god). Instead Nash is the new media darling. Of course the reason is his impact on the Suns, my argument is that a handful of guys would have that same impact. Billups, Bibby, Kidd, hell even Boykins would have that team on the right track. So Nash leads the league in assists, if he did that two yrs ago, or at any point with the Mavs would the outcry be so great...I think not. And can you really be an MVP if the team you left gets better in your absense ???

So that leaves the only other candidate...Shaq(If Dans Cavs didn't collapse, Lebron would be legit). I wont bore you(as if you weren't already) with numbers. I'm sure you can look them up, but I will say Dirk is the ONLY player to finish in top ten in both rebs and pts per game this year. One of only five players currently in the NBA to ever do that, 3 of which won MVP. So we are back to value or importance. Take Dirk off this team, and I think they are worse than Phoenix last year (Stoudamire, Marion, Johnson, and Richardson), or the Lakers are this year who still have Odom and...oh yeah Kobe. Plus, If I'm not mistaken didn't the Heat have an exciting playoff run last year. Sure Shaq is dominate and there is no other player like him in the league, but name me another player on Dirks level who can do what he does.

I just think that when you have two players of equal or close importance, shouldn't the nod go to the player having the best year. This year more than ever with all the injuries, new players, new coweches(love avery), loss of best buddy, who has been more valuable than Dirk ???

50 + wins in five years, only constant in those five years has been Dirk, hasn't he payed his dues?

Thanks for your time,


First, let's get one thing straight: Hubie Brown is a buffoon-

Now, on to MVP-

I think Dirk has had a year that normally would get strong consideration, save for two things:

1) He is playing in a year when Shaq switched teams, the team he left went from the NBA Finals to Out of the playoffs- The team he joined went from being mediocre to great-

2) He is playing on a team that has never won its division since he has been there- I understand that it is not easy to beat the Spurs, but to get the national respect that he deserves, he at least needs to win his division-

As goofy as it is for Hubie to not list him in his Top 5, I still cannot sell Dirk-for-MVP over Shaq. I think Dirk and Nash have a good argument for 2nd place, but Shaq is the MVP in my world.



Anonymous said...

What's really crazy about Shaq is not the Heats record (Wade would have won them 50 this year anyway), but what happened to the Lakers. Especially since Norm proclaimed last year after the trade that "Lamar Odom is every bit as good as Dirk". So they loose only Shaq, keep Kobe, add "Dirk" and a bunch of nice roleplayers and they can't keep up with the Clippers.

Jared in Irving said...

Why do people consistently leave out the other important person the Lakers lost this off-season - Phil Jacks. The Lakers had both Shaq and Koby for several years before sniffing an NBA trophy, and who's arrival coinscided with their first? Phil Jackson. So the Lakers lost both and are terrible. The Heat went from average to above average. They are in NO way great. They are 2-6 against the Mavs, Suns, Spurs and Sonics. They are 18-12 against the West, and 39-11 against the East. These are not the numbers of a great team.

Keith said...

Wow, my e-mail made a sports blog...what skills I possess!
After further consideration, I don't think that winning a division should be required. With the lopsided talent in some divisions it is much harder to win this division then say the Eastern conf atlantic division. Doesn't the Mavs success in the playoffs superseed a useless division title. Lets not forget, the Mavs were a Dirk knee injury away from finals just two years ago.

I just can't see giving Shaq the nod because the lakers suck, no Dirk and over the course of a year the Mavs are looking lottery. Dirk has payed his NBA dues, gotten better every year except last(although check out what he did in the playoffs), his team has remained one of the premier teams in the entire league for five years now amidst a revolving door of players and other chaos, player of the month twice...I wanna see my boy get his !!!

He is the only guy doing the things he does...sounds like MVP to me...by the way if Nash wins, worse MVP ever!!!

meredith said...

Shaq is the MVP...no question. Though it is a bit disappointing that Allen Iverson is never mentioned in these MVP talks. The Sixers will finish 6th or 7th in the East, but without AI, they're the worst team in the conference, easily. Plus, he's about to become the 4th player in NBA history to win 4 scoring titles.

keith said...

I think that phrase "Shaq is MVP, no question" drives me absolutely freakin nuts!!! There is considerable question, more than any other year over who should be MVP. I think Jared hit the nail on the head, there is more to the demise of the Lakers than just Shaq leaving. A.I. is another good choice who should merit serious consideration, but Dirk does more on the court at both ends and in general then Iverson

Anonymous said...

AI would definitely be worthy this year, but how weird would it be if we had a German pope AND a German NBA MVP? I say let's find out.

Mark D. said...

Sorry Bob but you are wrong to say look what the Mavs and Lakers have done this year without Nash and Shaq in your MVP vote. Shaq is a fine choice and I am split between him and Nash, but look what the Mavs added. Terry, Damp, Stack, Van Horn, Harris, hell even Henderson has made an impact. The Lakers lost Shaq, got no real replacements,(
Terry is much closer to Nash's level than Mihm is to Shaq's) and have been in coaching turmoil all year.

The Suns went from 29 wins wins to best record in the NBA(62 wins). The Heat went from 42 wins(2nd in there division)to 57 wins.

Anyway, Shaq is a fine choice, but I think it is bad judgement to use what there old teams are doing this year in the equation. There have been too many changes to effectivly compare it.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Mav's fan, but if (or as I believe, when) Houston wins in 6, then what? Back to the free agent merry-go-round again?

big smooth said...

I'm gonna have to agree with Keith. I think he makes an excellent point that's never really been talked about regarding Nash. His old team did get better without him, and there is no doubt that a handful of solid point guards could help those guys in Phoenix. Phoenix has some great young players, especially in Stoudemire, who are getting better and better each year. This year just happened to be their break out season. Why is the national media so big on Phoenix? When Dallas was popping 110 a game, all people talked about was the fact they couldn't play defense. I love watching Nash play but I think he's is getting a little too much credit in my mind and probably wouldn't even be a top 10 candidate for MVP if he was still playing here in Dallas.

Dirk last year was also held back because of Antoine Walker, who took alot of his scoring ability away. With Dirk's improved play on the defensive end, there is no question that he is the reason the Mavs are where they are right now. San Antonio has better talent around Duncan with Ginobili and Parker, so yes, it is hard to beat them in the standings. Besides, when did winning division titles became a requirement to win an MVP.

Shaq is great and he's always going to be a no brainer to be in contention. However, the Mavs are nothing without Dirk, and the Heat have another star in Wade. Also, the Heat would not be a top 4 team in the West with the way they've played against Western Conference teams this year. I think Shaq's probably got the strongest case after Dirk.

I don't see why Iverson should get much credit when his team is barely getting in. You can make the same argument about several teams being the worst without a certain guy. Where would the Cavs be without LeBron. You have to be on an elite team to be mentioned, and the Sixers are no where near that.

Jared in Irving said...

BTW, the Lakers also lost Gary Payton, Karl Malone and Derick Fisher. Where do people get off saying "all the Lakers lost was Shaq"? And I almost always agree with Bob, but he's buying into the national hype and not doing any research.

meredith said...

"but Dirk does more on the court at both ends and in general then Iverson"

Uh, Keith? I beg to differ. Iverson is the leading scorer in the league this season (30.9 per game to Dirk's 26.3). He's also averaging 8 assists per game, whereas Dirk is averaging 3.1. And you want to talk about the other end of the court? Iverson is second in the league averaging 2.42 steals per game. Dirk? He's got 1.26 (28th in the NBA). Dirk has more blocks and rebounds, obviously, than AI. I don't know that I'd say Dirk is better at both ends of the court...

"You have to be on an elite team to be mentioned, and the Sixers are no where near that."

I agree, Mark. I didn't say he should WIN the award, but I think his name should be mentioned. He deserves that. Also, I think hypocracy is fun, and I seem to remember a bunch of Dallas sports fans being pretty excited when A-Rod when the MVP award here.

keith said...

Sure A.I. has more assists, and steals.Dirk has more blocks and rebounds. Although, combine steals and blocks:A.I.-2.52,Shaq-2.79,Dirk-2.86. My point about both ends of the court, while A.I. can pick your pockets, he can also become a defensive liability because of his size. I think A.I. is great, and always should be considered for MVP. But, more often than not when A.I. is forced to take over (which is often) its always at the offensive end. Nowhere on the court is Dirk a liability. Everybody remembers that houston game where Dirk had 53 pts, but don't remember his 16 boards, 3 steals, and 4 blocks. I know its not Iverson's fault he's only 5'11, but he is still only 5'11 which does limit what he can do on the court, where as Dirk is seemingly...limitless

I just think that Dirk is such a sigular entity, who is finally putting up awesome "all-around" numbers...I mean we haven't even mentioned the fact that he is the greatest shooting 7 footer ever in the history of ever.

keith said...

I meant "singular entity"...not sigular...

Sturminator said...

Overall, I don't disagree with many of the points that have been made. But in defense of Shaq, I would be willing to admit his affect on the league his entire career as a factor. Every team he has played on has been an instant championship contender by his mere presence. Now he only won when joined by Phil (and Kobe), but he has so dominated the competition for so long, that to compare him to anyone else in this league besides perhaps Duncan is just incongruent. Dirk or Nash or AI could all be candidates in the "MVP amongst those other players", but not anywhere close to the effect of Shaquille.

Jared in Irving said...

All that you said was true about the Shaq of three years ago. It's simply not true anymore. The Heat had a good run in the playoffs last year, and Dwayne deveoped into a star this year. The Heat gained Shaq and improved to an above average team. They would not be elite in the West, and I expect the Suns, Spurs or Mavs to beat them in the Finals.

keith said...

Ohhh Sturmy sturm sturm, I agree with Jared. Shaq has been the face of this league since MJ retired, and has carried the crown well. But we are talking about this year, there is no need to give a lifeime achievement MVP...he has already won MVP's. I don't see why MVP requirements have become so convoluted, this guy left this team, now this team is good and that team is bad...UUUGGGHHH!!! Tired head...

Why can't we just give it to the guy on a good team who is having the best year. Again, when you factor in every possible offensive and defensive stat I don't see anyone else (except Lebron)having the same kind of year.

Talk about importance, Cuban gets alot of credit for turning this franchise around, but I think we all know that if Dirk didn't become Dirk...well can anyone say Radisav Curcic(spare Mav on '92 team that won 11 games)