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Friday, June 20, 2014 @ 11:43am

David Blatt being the Cavaliers coach could appeal to LeBron James

By: Ron Wolfley
The more I researched David Blatt the more I thought of Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs and what they did to Miami. And I wondered if LeBron might find this kind of basketball appealing?

The rumors of LeBron returning home are picking up steam, yet everybody knows the next head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers will impact that possibility.

Pop is considered one of the best strategists in the game -- a coach that demands his team to play like a team, a coach that demands ball movement, a coach that incorporates heavy doses of the Princeton offense.

Having said this, think of what we just saw in the Finals. Think about the pinpoint detection, diagnosis and dissection of the Miami Heat defense. I think that dissection left an indelible mark on LeBron James. I could be wrong, just a theory.

David Blatt is a proponent of the Princeton offense, having played there as a point guard himself for four years. Do you think LeBron James might be attracted to something like that, knowing he is a team player and a guy that felt the weight of the world on his shoulders?

I think he would.

And I think of the Spurs as an organization. How many players do they have from overseas? How many foreign players are on their team and contributed to destroying the Heat? Is David Griffin trying to model the Cavaliers after the Spurs and, if so, do you think LeBron James would look favorably on that? Also, do you think David Blatt has a good relationship with overseas scouts, coaches and players? Say yes.

Finally, imagine LeBron's protégé, Kyrie Irving, playing like Tony Parker?

Thursday, June 19, 2014 @ 5:45pm

49ers' offense will be different?

By: Ron Wolfley

There actually was some important news that came out of the San Francisco 49ers' minicamp, according to a report on ESPN.com. No offense to Vernon Davis and Alex Boone and their contract holdouts, but Greg Roman hinted the offense has gone through a change during the offseason. Why is that important? Greg Roman is the offensive coordinator for a team that has been to three consecutive NFC championship games.

"Starting with the beginning of the offseason, we as the offensive staff, after three years here, it's time to clean out the garage type of thing," Roman said. "We went through everything we've done and really stripped it back down to its most element, basic parts and start over at square one."

Sounds like a simplification of their offense to me. Rarely will you strip it down when you've had great success on offense, unless you feel like your system and the verbiage you use is too complicated and/or convoluted.

So what is Roman getting at?

I think the 49ers might look at going with 11-personnel more often in run-down situations (1 & 10 - 2 & 1-6). Last year, with all of the issues they had at receiver, the 49ers were dead last in the league in 11-personnel in run-down situations. Number 32…

11-personnel: 1-Back, 1-TE and 3-WRs.

Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Stevie Johnson and Vernon Davis (eventually) with Frank Gore at running back and Colin Kaepernick at quarterback. Those are playmakers, baby.

I think they're going to try and get these playmakers on the field at the same time and employ the simpler is better strategy. Philosophically, very much like what Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos but running different plays and different formations with Kap at Q. The 49ers are going to play to their strengths and let the defense dictate what they do.

We'll see what Greg Roman has planned. But if I had to guess, I expect to see a ton of 11 personnel in run-down situations. It doesn't get much simpler than that.

Thursday, June 19, 2014 @ 5:45pm

49ers' offense will be different?

By: Ron Wolfley

There actually was some important news that came out of the San Francisco 49ers' minicamp, according to a report on ESPN.com. No offense to Vernon Davis and Alex Boone and their contract holdouts, but Greg Roman hinted the offense has gone through a change during the offseason. Why is that important? Greg Roman is the offensive coordinator for a team that has been to three consecutive NFC championship games.

"Starting with the beginning of the offseason, we as the offensive staff, after three years here, it's time to clean out the garage type of thing," Roman said. "We went through everything we've done and really stripped it back down to its most element, basic parts and start over at square one."

Sounds like a simplification of their offense to me. Rarely will you strip it down when you've had great success on offense, unless you feel like your system and the verbiage you use is too complicated and/or convoluted.

So what is Roman getting at?

I think the 49ers might look at going with 11-personnel more often in run-down situations (1 & 10 - 2 & 1-6). Last year, with all of the issues they had at receiver, the 49ers were dead last in the league in 11-personnel in run-down situations. Number 32…

11-personnel: 1-Back, 1-TE and 3-WRs.

Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Stevie Johnson and Vernon Davis (eventually) with Frank Gore at running back and Colin Kaepernick at quarterback. Those are playmakers, baby.

I think they're going to try and get these playmakers on the field at the same time and employ the simpler is better strategy. Philosophically, very much like what Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos but running different plays and different formations with Kap at Q. The 49ers are going to play to their strengths and let the defense dictate what they do.

We'll see what Greg Roman has planned. But if I had to guess, I expect to see a ton of 11 personnel in run-down situations. It doesn't get much simpler than that.

Thursday, June 19, 2014 @ 3:54pm

Unexpect the unexpected

By: Doug Franz
Here's a crazy opinion: the Arizona Diamondbacks are winning more than they should be.

It's crazy because everyone feels down about the D-backs, but the truth is that they're a .500 team minus April. In no way is there an implication that April should be wiped from the record books. The 9-22 record is real but Arizona is .500 ever since.

Most intelligent prognosticators pegged this team to be a .500 team, so its post-April record shouldn't be a surprise. Or should it?

Their 31-44 record is atrocious but the 22-24 mark they've complied since April isn't. The 22-24 portion has been done with a group of players that weren't supposed to be here. Matt Stites, Didi Gregorius, David Peralta, Roger Kieschnick, Mike Bolsinger, Evan Marshall, Jordan Pacheco and Chase Anderson aren't supposed to be Diamondbacks.

BayBears, Aces and Rockies are all winning games for Arizona. Unexpected players are making up almost a third of the June roster.

Chris Owings earned his way here but who predicted he'd be hitting .283 with 20 RBIs (yes, it's RBIs with an "s") and batting lead-off or second in the order while playing mostly stellar defense? Just like Owings, A. J. Pollock has far exceeded expectations, but he's out of the lineup.

As a matter of fact, the disabled list could almost field a team: LF Trumbo, CF Pollock, RF Inciarte, Chavez and Pennington on the left side of the infield, Hudson, Corbin, and Arroyo leading the rotation with Hernandez and Reynolds out of the bullpen.

All of this is happening despite Brandon McCarthy still pitching like Brandon McCarthy. Trevor Cahill has pitched below expectations despite the bar for him set in the "just-don't-be-gawd-awful" range. Don't forget, Aaron Hill has been a disappointment with his .249 average and Cody Ross just now moved off the interstate. Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero are the only players to have met expectations, albeit Goldy's are much higher and more difficult to reach.

As upset as so many Arizona fans are about the turn of events for 2014, this should be much worse. Hopefully it's a sign there's a core developing to build around since it's the unexpected players that are keeping the team afloat. Unfortunately, we've said the same thing many times before.

Thursday, June 19, 2014 @ 3:54pm

Unexpect the unexpected

By: Doug Franz
Here's a crazy opinion: the Arizona Diamondbacks are winning more than they should be.

It's crazy because everyone feels down about the D-backs, but the truth is that they're a .500 team minus April. In no way is there an implication that April should be wiped from the record books. The 9-22 record is real but Arizona is .500 ever since.

Most intelligent prognosticators pegged this team to be a .500 team, so its post-April record shouldn't be a surprise. Or should it?

Their 31-44 record is atrocious but the 22-24 mark they've complied since April isn't. The 22-24 portion has been done with a group of players that weren't supposed to be here. Matt Stites, Didi Gregorius, David Peralta, Roger Kieschnick, Mike Bolsinger, Evan Marshall, Jordan Pacheco and Chase Anderson aren't supposed to be Diamondbacks.

BayBears, Aces and Rockies are all winning games for Arizona. Unexpected players are making up almost a third of the June roster.

Chris Owings earned his way here but who predicted he'd be hitting .283 with 20 RBIs (yes, it's RBIs with an "s") and batting lead-off or second in the order while playing mostly stellar defense? Just like Owings, A. J. Pollock has far exceeded expectations, but he's out of the lineup.

As a matter of fact, the disabled list could almost field a team: LF Trumbo, CF Pollock, RF Inciarte, Chavez and Pennington on the left side of the infield, Hudson, Corbin, and Arroyo leading the rotation with Hernandez and Reynolds out of the bullpen.

All of this is happening despite Brandon McCarthy still pitching like Brandon McCarthy. Trevor Cahill has pitched below expectations despite the bar for him set in the "just-don't-be-gawd-awful" range. Don't forget, Aaron Hill has been a disappointment with his .249 average and Cody Ross just now moved off the interstate. Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero are the only players to have met expectations, albeit Goldy's are much higher and more difficult to reach.

As upset as so many Arizona fans are about the turn of events for 2014, this should be much worse. Hopefully it's a sign there's a core developing to build around since it's the unexpected players that are keeping the team afloat. Unfortunately, we've said the same thing many times before.

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