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Instant Trade Analysis: Thomas Robinson to the Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets get: PF Thomas Robinson, G/F Francisco Garcia, F Tyler Honeycutt, 2nd Round Pick (via Phoenix)
 
Sacramento Kings get: PF Patrick Patterson, C Cole Aldrich, PG Toney Douglas, $1 million
 
Phoenix Suns get: F Marcus Morris
 
The Rockets, Kings and Suns made the first deal of the NBA trade deadline week tonight, with a seven-man pact that would send 2012’s fifth overall pick Robinson to Houston. In exchange, the Kings receive Patterson and two fringe role players in Aldrich and Douglas. In an adjacent deal, the Rockets moved Marcus Morris to Phoenix (where his twin brother Markieff plays) for the price of a 2nd rounder.
 
The biggest prize in this deal is of course Robinson, a bulky power forward from Kansas that was the a high pick just eight months ago. In many pre-draft charts, many prognosticators had the former Jayhawk going anywhere from second overall to Charlotte to seventh. Regardless, Robinson was considered a blue chip prospect, who’s powerful frame and rebounding prowess would make him a borderline All-Star for years to come. Draft Express had comparisons of him from Al Horford and the offensively limited rebounding savant Reggie Evans.
 
However, unlike fellow first rounders Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond and Bradley Beal, Robinson hasn’t been able to count on consistent minutes from the Kings. This month alone, he’s played as many as 26 minutes, as little as none and everywhere in between. He’s averaged almost 5 points and 5 rebounds in 51 games this year, but truly, he’s a 21 year-old rookie  who’s trying to find his way in a franchise that’s soon to be moved with a coaching staff that hasn’t proved capable of developing young players. Robinson has been stuck on a team with mismatched parts, few ball distributors and a crowded front court rotation. It’s been far from an ideal situation for Robinson. On the flip side, one has to wonder why the Kings were so eager to give up on such a highly touted youngster after such a short amount of time.… Read more...

Bad NBA Contract of the Week: Desagana Diop

(There are bad contracts in every league. There is no sports organization in the world that hasn’t  overvalued a player, had a superstar radically lose his luster or had a veteran get injured too soon. Millions upon millions get doled out every single year so that a few guys can throw a ball around to the delight of people they never met before. Just the other day, Jonah Keri of Grantland named the worst contracts in MLB, including Barry Zito’s 1 year, $26 million dollar salary, Carl Crawford’s 5 years, $100-plus million payday and Alex Rodriguez’s massive 5 year, $118 topping them all off. But the other players on the list? Jayson Werth, Ryan Howard, John Lackey, Vernon Wells, Johan Santana, Brian Roberts and Adam Dunn. All former stars.
 
But it just seems that in the NBA, out of every sports league, seems to have the silliest contracts given to the most marginal of players. Sure, you’ll still have Gilbert Arenas on 2 year, $43 million dollar contract for a team he’s already been cut from, as well as Rudy Gay making superstar money (2 years, $34 million) to play well below that standard. However, you’ve also got guys on the fringes of NBA rotations, making $8 million dollars a year. Hell, there are guys making that much money to not play at all.

 
Which brings us here, to our first installment of Bad NBA Contract of the Week. In the vein of the highly esteemed David Shoemaker, AKA The Masked Man’s Deadspin column entitled “Dead Wrestler of the Week”, we here at MAMBINO are going to parse our way through the worst contracts the NBA has to offer. Part dedication to the great men who have swindled their way to big checks, part commemoration to GMs that should have been fired and part commentary on the ills of a capitalist society gone wrong, we’ll be here every week with a look at the L’s worst deals. We begin of course, with the great Charlotte Bobcats center, Desagana Diop.)
 
Desagana Diop
 
Contract: 6 years, $32 million
Signed by:
Dallas Mavericks
Salary this season: $7.3 million
2013 Slash Line: 0.6/2.3/0.6 in 19 games
Expires: 2013… Read more...

Dolph Ziggler: The Next One? Or the Next Disappointment?

Credit: Bleacher Report


 
Dolph Ziggler’s got it all: six feet tall, 215 lbs. of muscle with a jaw line that could crack granite. He’s the type of freak athlete that you see playing division 1 soccer or track, not wrestling in WWE. He seemingly has the full support of the company behind him, being pushed into upper echelon feuds against the likes of Randy Orton, John Cena and Chris Jericho, each of which have walked in–and out–of Wrestlemania with the championship strap. Dolph Ziggler has beaten all of those men in the previous twelve months.
 
However, everything hasn’t fallen into place: despite the main event certification from his employers, big wins over major stars and nightly placement at the top of the card, there’s something that doesn’t quite feel right–or ready–for Ziggler’s ascent to the top. Even the most fervent of Dolph fans would admit that. In the past three years, he’s seen newcomers like Sheamus, Ryback and Alberto del Rio whiz past him on the ladder of success, leaving Ziggs sucking on the heels of their boots as he self-proclaimed Show-Off mires as a second class citizen. It’s ironic that Dolph’s gimmick the last several months has been that of a Money in the Bank Ladder match winner, in which the victor must ascend a ladder and physically grasp a briefcase, beating all comers to the top in a brutal free-for-all; nothing in his actual career has resembled the type of success he had in that particular bout.… Read more...

MLB First Pitch is 47 Days Away: The Greatest Day in America

The greatest day in America every year is opening day of the Major League Baseball season.
 
This is fact.
 
It’s based on tenants of the US Constitution and the love that the Gods above have for our form of capitalism. Yesterday the batteries of this great game, the pitchers and catchers, reported. For me, the beauty of opening day starts when the flame-throwers show up to camp and start their arm-strength programs. With that, I can begin shaking off the winter and start looking forward to sweltering days spent hiding from the sun under my Dodgers hat while desperately trying to hydrate with cheap American brews.
 
This time of year is also when I like to do the most introspective thinking. I know it sounds like I’m about to get all touchy-feely with you, but bear with me a second. It’s this exact moment annually that I officially countdown my hopes and thoughts for that year’s Dodgers squad becomes forever etched in my mind.… Read more...

Welcome to the new MAMBINO

You may have noticed a lack of movement on THE GREAT MAMBINO lately. Well, here’s the result.
 
Welcome to the all-new MAMBINO, complete with a real deal Holyfield .com web address. We’ll be posting our material on here from now on, so you can go ahead and add this to your bookmarks.
 
There’s still some work to be done, so what you’re seeing here is just a beta version of the site. However, we’ve uploaded all our old posts from blogger onto .com, so you’ll be able to look back into the archives for any previously written material.
 
Also, in the coming months we’ll start to expand our look and site capabilities, but with all the same care, obnoxiousness and insight you’ve come to love on this little sports blog of ours. We simply couldn’t wait to put on our big boy pants and unleash thegreatmambino.com.
 
Thanks for sticking with us folks. We’ll be here a while.
 
MAMBINO, out.… Read more...

State of the Bronx: What to Do With A-Rod?

(Once the story broke regarding yet another story regarding Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and PEDs, I sent out the MAMBINO-signal to our two resident New York Yankees fans, El Miz and Bockerknocker. To my surprise, Mizzy sent me in the direction of his friend Vin and a thousand word rant on A-Rod, his contract and ensuing worthlessness. Too good to be left off of MAMBINO, this is Vin’s maiden post. Let’s make him feel welcome.)
 
KOBEsh: Vin–let’s establish some baseline qualifications before you go on a fullblown rant. Having watched most games of A-Rod’s Yankees career, especially the last two seasons-worth, how much do you feel he has left in the thank? A large portion of this answer has to predicated on a pretty invasive hip surgery, but regardless, what do you see as the best case scenario?
 
Vin: Regarding issue #1 i.e. how much does A-Rod have left in the tank, I think the answer is not much.
 
The number one problem for him, and this has been the case since 2008, the first year of his 10 year extension, is that he is consistently tripped up by injury. Some of these injuries have been of the nagging variety and probably have become more prevalent simply because he is getting older (2008 and 2011 are good examples). Some are much more serious and could very well be related to what now appears to be years of PED use (the hip surgeries before 2009 and 2013). Some are of the freak variety (getting hit in the hand by a King Felix fastball in 2012). But no matter how you slice it, since signing the worst contract in sports history at 10 years and $275 million, A-Rod has averaged 124 games played a season, and only 108 as a third baseman. Seemingly every spring training begins with Rodriguez talking about how he is in the best shape he’s been in in years and how this offseason was the first time in years he was able to dedicated himself fully to training for some unique reason. He was even saying that at the end of this grisly October that “this is the first time in years I will be able to train without worrying about rehabbing”. Coming into 2011 in particular, the buzz in the media was all about how he looked better than he had in years, how the spark in his bat was there again, and he did start out the season very strong… and ended up playing 99 games.
 
My point: I accepted several seasons ago that Alex Rodriguez is a 120 game a season player… or by definition not a full time player. It’s hard to have a very high ceiling when that is the reality.
 
As for his actual production while playing, even last year he was an above average starting third baseman (.783 OPS, 18 homers in 122 games). But a quick look at his stats indicates that he is already well on the gradual decline any major leaguer eventually gravitates towards. The last season that his performance was truly elite was 2007, the last time it was great was 2009.
 
So, best case scenario going forward, even before these new revelations? Well, he’s out at least half of this season best case, so you would pencil him in for maybe 65 games after he came back at the All-Star Break. I’d then give him 2 more seasons where you’re hoping he can give you 120 games played/100 at third. But to pretend he would somehow begin to improve his performance, rather than continue to decline, after another major injury and more aging would be stupid. Add in the factor that he apparently will be off the “juice,” a term I’ll use to cover all the different PEDs he’s apparently been helped by. I’… Read more...

MAMBINO on Holiday

Even the mighty MAMBINO has to take a holiday every once in a while my friends. We’ll be back the week after Thanksgiving, but will be posting sporadically over the next few days. In the meantime, check out our latest greatest hits:

Are the New York Knicks for Real?

The Asinine Banners Hanging in the Miami Heat’s Arena

Instant Trade Analysis: Mike D’Antoni to the Los Angeles Lakers

Instant Trade Analysis: Miami Trades Everyone to Toronto

2013 Free Agency Preview for the Los Angeles Dodgers

World Series Wrap-Up: A Giants Concession Speech from a Dodgers FanRead more...

Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Stories of 2012 So Far…

Here’s to a fun second half. Enjoy. 
1. Mike Trout’s arrival as a future stud has turned into Mike Trout’s arrival as a present stud. He’s got a chance of leading baseball in steals, runs, and average while missing almost a month.

2. Bryce Harper hasn’t been quite the same as Trout, but he’s been pretty good too. He has 27 extra base hits and 8 steals. Not bad for a 19-year-old.
3. Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay are a combined 5-10. Halladay will be back in less than a week. Lee has the 4th best xFIP in baseball.
4. Not one, but two somersaults from Aroldis Chapman. He also wasn’t bad when you take out the theatrics. Chapman struck out 52 in his first 29 innings while not allowing an earned run.
5. The MVP in the NL for the first half of the season was Andrew McCutchen. He has single-handedly made the Pirates a playoff caliber team when they haven’t tasted the postseason in two decades.
6. Albert’s April. Pujols had 0 home runs, 4 RBI, and a .217 average. The buy-low opportunity was there as Pujols has since turned it around.
7. Pujols is not the only guy that has turned these around this season. Francisco Liriano had an ERA over 11 in April, but got it under 3.00 in the month of June while striking out a hitter per inning.
8. Matt Kemp’s April. If we could get the car up to 88 MPH, a Pujols for Kemp swap at the end of April would be nice.
9. The Nationals rotation. Baseball’s best ERA at the break and the team needed it. Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth were hurt and ineffective for most of the first half, which pressed the promotion of Harper sooner than the organization would have liked.
10. More no hitter! Aces Matt Cain and Jered Weaverboth threw no-hitters. Cain had a perfect game. Journeyman Philip Humber also threw a perfect game and has not done almost nothing right since.
11. 37-year-old R.A. Dickey is the best pitcher in baseball and absolutely nobody saw it coming. Dickey leads the league in wins and WHIP. He’s also going to have a chance at the strikeout crown as the Mets figure out a way to have him pitch more than every fifth day in the second half.
12. Trevor Bauer’s much-anticipated call-up and unorthodox routines have resulted in downs and ups to date for fantasy owners.  
13. The Red Sox loss to the Yankees on April 21st. It’s been a hard first half of the season for the Red Sox, but no loss could summarize more than the 9-1 blown lead on April 21st. Thankfully Humber’s perfect game stole the show nationally from a historic collapse.
14. The emergence of Ernesto Frieri at the back end of the Angels bullpen. The Padres better hope that Alexi Amarista or Donn Roach develops into a decent player because if they had waited longer on Frieri they could have had multiple suitors at this point in the year.
15.  Melky Cabrera for Jonathan Sanchez was the move of the off-season. Not for the Royals.
16.  Not far behind is the Josh Reddick for Andrew Bailey swap. Reddick is on pace for 37 home runs and 15 steals. While Bailey is on pace for a 0.00 ERA. That explains why trading for Sanchez has been worse for the Royals.
17.  Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda was the anti-climatic move of the off-season. Montero has been ehh in Seattle and Pineda might throw from flat ground in September.
18.  It is still a wait-and-see, but the Nationals can’t complain about what they got in the Gio Gonzalez trade. No starter has been stingier about giving up home runs (0.35 HR/9) this season.
19. One of the more under the radar free agent signings of the off-season was Josh Willingham signing a three-year deal with the Twins. He is on pace for 36 home runs and 114 RBI.
20.  Jose BauRead more...

State of Laker Nation Playoff Recap: Right Where We Need To Be

Before we discuss the finer points of Game 2, take a collective deep breath Laker Nation. The Lakers are 2-0 heading back to Denver and have defended their home court. They led wire-to-wire both games and have never really been tested. All bets are off on the road, but we’re right where we need to be. Andrew Bynum may not have had a triple double, but he set a career playoff high with 27 points and Kobe reminded us mortals that he still has plenty left in the tank. Kobe dropped an effortless 38 points and had a LeBron-esquerun-down block that must be seen to be believed.
Let’s be clear: the Lakers did not win Game 2 looking like a grind-out Mike Brown team. They allowed Denver to shoot 44% from the field, were outrebounded 48-52 (including 30-23 at half), and failed to control the sparkplug in Ty Lawson, who scored 25 points on 17 shots and got to the rim whenever he wanted. The Lakers allowed Denver to run in transition off rebounds and even made Corey Brewer (13 points and 3 steals) look like a real NBA player. Sure, they had a few stretches where the defense tightened up, but defense was not the key to the game. They won this game playing like a Phil Jackson team of offensive savants selflessly sharing the basketball.
The Lakers only used 8 players and got a solid effort across the board. Sessions did a great job of breaking down the defense and didn’t turn the ball over. Jordan Hill had 10 rebounds again. Ebanks continued his Trevor Ariza impression with 8 rebounds and a key steal. Gasol (13 points, 10 boards, 5 assists, 2 steals/blocks) had the kind of understated game we’re all going to look back at in 10 years and wish we’d appreciated more. The Spaniard is consistently excellent, even if I still scream at him to stop screwing around and dunk the ball at least once a game.
But the star power of Kobe and Andrew just overwhelmed Denver, whose personnel strategy of substituting in waves resembles an NHL team. A game like this is why I think that an incredibly deep team without a superstar will always struggle in the playoffs. You get significantly more rest, particularly in a season like this, and can afford extended minutes for your stars. Depth is critical, don’t get me wrong, but a winning team needs a player who can consistently grind out points over the course of a game like Kobe, Dirk, or CP3. If the shot isn’t falling, they can get to the line.
Well, tonight Kobe’s shot was falling and it was a long night for the Denver contingent attempting to contain him. He hit contested jumpers, utilized pristine footwork in the post, and even threw in a Dirk one-footed fadeaway for good measure. He had 21 points on 12 shots at the half and just eviscerated whoever they put on him. Although he did resort to a little hero ball at the end, Kobe also set up Bynum for a huge And-1 and did a good job of keeping his other teammates involved as well. For his part, Bynum wasn’t the defensive presence he was in Game 1; he was an offensive force to be reckoned with. He was patient with double teams, either going baseline with a drop step or setting up an open jumpshot with a hockey assist. Bynum even had a few fast break buckets as a direct result of his hustle to get down the court, which is always a good sign.
Still, this was not a perfect game and still showed a few of the deficiencies we’ve come to expect from the Lakers: 
  • Mental Focus: While I’m hesitant to ding them here because of their stellar offensive performance and timely bouts of defense, the Lakers fell back into a number of bad habits tonight. Their stars played like stars, but they also whined like them. Kobe/Andrew both f
Read more...

NFL Draft Review

So we couldn’t make it all the way through the first round. Wanna fight about it? (No seriously, I’ve been working out!)

Here’s a recap of all of our NFL material. Thanks to TuckRule for providing some on-the-fly analysis.

Cleveland Browns trade up to select Trent Richardson
Jacksonville Jaguars trade up to select Justin Blackmon
Dallas Cowboys trade up to select Morris Claiborne
Philadelphia Eagles trade up to select Fletcher Cox
Patriots trade up to select Chandler Jones

We now return to our regularly-scheduled programming. Check back tomorrow afternoon for some NBA playoff predictions!… Read more...