Who’s your go-to guy? Part 2

Yesterday we established that Tony Parker, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Rudy Gay, Ty Lawson, Dirk Nowitzki and Al Jefferson were the go-to guys for their Western Conference team. What that really means is that there are only five, maybe six teams that have legitimate go-to guys in the Western Conference. Jefferson, Lawson and maybe even Gay aren’t consistent enough at this point in their careers to be trusted game in and game out as the guy to take the game-winning shot.

Maybe the Eastern Conference will fair better.

1. Chicago Bulls: 48-16

Go-to guy: Derrick Rose

This is a no brainer as Rose is the reigning MVP and only legitimate all-star on the roster. Chicago’s playoff run solely depends upon him.

2. Miami Heat: 46-18

Go-to guy: LeBron James

Dwayne Wade is right at his heels though. In fact he may be the better clutch guy of the two, but LeBron is having one of the best NBA seasons of all time. But this debate isn’t over and will probably go on late into the playoffs.

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison.

3. Indiana Pacers: 41-23

Go-to guy: Danny Granger (by default)

Indiana is in the same position as the Grizzlies. They have a well balanced team but no superstar. Granger is the next tier of NBA player. He’s in the same category as Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay and even Joe Johnson. He’s a very good player but probably not capable of being the go-to guy for the playoffs.

4. Boston Celtics: 37-27

Go-to guy: Paul Pierce

It has to be Pierce. Rondo may be the best player in the team but he can’t hit jumpers consistently enough to fill that role yet, KG hasn’t been that guy for at least three years, and Ray Allen isn’t even a starter anymore. Pierce has at least one more playoff run in him and I think the Celtics can make some serious noise with #34 leading them in the final minutes.

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison.

5. Atlanta Hawks: 38-26

Go-to guy: Josh Smith

This was a tough call between Smith and Joe Johnson but if you look at the numbers Smith outproduces Johnson in almost every category. Smith is not just capable of taking over on the offensive end but the defensive end as well. Smith is eighth in the league in blocks per game and 18th in steals per game.

6. Orlando Magic: 36-28

Go-to guy: Ryan Anderson

With Dwight out it leaves Anderson as the go-to guy for the struggling Magic. He’s capable of putting up big numbers as evident by his 26 point 16 rebound game last week against the 76ers, but he’s not your typical closer.

7. New York Knicks: 34-30

Go-to guy: Carmelo Anthony

Averaging 31 points in the month of April shows just how important this guy is to the Knicks. With Jeremy Lin and Amare Stoudemire vacant from the lineup Anthony took over and kept his team afloat in the Eastern Conference. Anthony has been just plain scary for defenders and could be a headache for the Knicks’ first round opponent.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Britt.

8. Philadelphia 76ers: 33-30

Go-to guy: Lou Williams

The 76ers have free fell in the last few weeks and looked to be in danger of missing the playoffs for a while. The lack of a go-to guy has certainly hurt them this season but Williams has done his best to contribute late in games. The interesting thing about the leading scorer for the 76ers is that he hasn’t started a game all year. This shows the impact that Williams can have in limited minutes.

There are really only four legitimate go-to guys on this list. Rose, James, Pierce and Anthony are some of the best in the game today, Granger and Smith are tweeners at best, and Anderson and Williams just can’t cut it. So when the game’s online look for the Bulls, Heat, Celtics and Knicks to be a good position compared to the other four teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

That’s a wrap

As the end of the school year approaches it’s time to reflect on social media class. I can honestly say it was unlike any other class I had ever taken because we would spend a whole day doing something like learning how to use Google +. That was by far the best thing about the class; it was unique. It wasn’t just textbook reading and lectures is was interacting with the very tools that the class was about. It was a break from the norm and sometimes you need that. Every class seems to blend together and has the same style and format. It was enjoyable to be able to mix it up a little bit. There was literally nothing that I didn’t like about this class. Maybe the blogs but it did help me get my summer internship so I can’t be overly critical.

I learned things that will actually apply to my future career. It’s great to take history and religion courses but they won’t help me in my profession. Social media is impacting almost every profession right now and especially the journalism industry. Everything that I learned is applicable down the line.

I now see social media as more than just a way to connect with friends. It is also a free advertising tool, a community outreach tool and a customer service tool. Businesses are using social media in a variety of ways and it’s important to know that Facebook and Twitter are not just fads, they are business tools that can help large corporations and small businesses alike.

The single most valuable lesson that I learned this semester is to think before you tweet. The same can be said for posting on Facebook but especially Twitter since the Library of Congress is archiving every tweet ever sent. You never know when something you said 10 years ago can come back and haunt you. So do yourself a favor and don’t drink and tweet.

Photo courtesy of Baranskyi Vyacheslav.

Who’s your go-to guy? Part 1

Michael Wilbon’s recent column on the shaky standing the Chicago Bulls are in after a few bad losses down the stretch, brings to light one very important thing for NBA teams; you’ve got to have a go-to guy. The Bulls’ go-to guy is obviously Derrick Rose, but after facing injury all season Rose has played in only two-thirds of his team’s total games. So when the Bulls (who have the best record in the league) hosted the Wizards (who have the second worst record in the NBA) it should have resulted in a blowout victory for the Bulls, if Rose was healthy. Unfortunately for Chicago, Rose missed the game and saw his team lose to Washington.

The Bulls lineup without Rose was still very solid. They had Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Richard Hamilton and Creighton’s own Kyle Korver, but without a go-to guy the Bulls faltered down the stretch. Rose’s replacement C.J. Watson did have seven points in the last 97 seconds, but he also missed the game-tying three point shot as time expired. The Bulls still had a more talented team than the Wizards but they had no leader. They didn’t have a guy who could take over the game and will his team to victory.

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison.

This is why it is essential to have a go-to guy. So with the NBA playoffs just around the corner I thought I’d break down the go-to guys for every NBA playoff team this year. Today’s blog will start with the Western Conference and tomorrow look for the Eastern Conference.

So here is the top eight team’s in the West’s current record and go-to guy.

1. San Antonio Spurs: 47-16

Go-to guy: Tony Parker

I know a lot of people will argue that Tim Duncan is the go-to guy. They would have been right three years ago, hell maybe even last season, but this is Tony Parker’s team now. He leads the team in points, assists and minutes played. Timmy is still a top three player on the team but if the Spurs want to bring home another championship they need Parker to be on all cylinders.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder: 46-18

Go-to guy: Kevin Durant

Whether Russell Westbrook likes it or not this is the only way they will win close games down the stretch. Westbrook is just too in consistent to be the go-to guy. He went 3-22 against the Lakers on Sunday and that is a big reason why they lost. Durant needs to be more aggressive in his role as the closer and demand the ball. Otherwise the Thunder could be looking at an early exit.

3. Los Angeles Lakers: 41-24

Go-to guy: Kobe Bryant

No surprise here. Event though Bryant is getting up in years, he is still the heart and soul of this team. Without him the team looks stagnant on offense. If Kobe’s healthy, this team is scary in the playoffs.

4. Los Angeles Clippers: 40-24

Go-to guy: Chris Paul

You could have gone Blake Griffin on this one, but you would have been wrong. Paul is so much scarier with the ball in his hands. Blake is great at making thunderous dunks but Paul knows how to win games. Leading the team in minutes, assists and steals helps his status as the go-to guy in lob city.

5. Memphis Grizzlies: 39-25

Go-to guy: Rudy Gay

The Grizzlies have a solid team all the way around with no real superstars. Gay is the closest thing they have to one though. He’s dangerous with the ball and if I was coach Lionel Hollins and the game came down to one shot, I’d have Gay take it every time.

6. Denver Nuggets: 36-28

Go-to guy: Ty Lawson

The Nuggets are another team without a superstar; for now. Lawson has been playing at a different level this year now that he doesn’t have to split time with Raymond Felton. If he keeps it up he could be a perennial all-star.

7. Dallas Mavericks: 36-29

Go-to guy: Lamar Odom…. Completely joking. Dirk Nowitzki.

Nowitzki is the defending NBA Finals MVP and having another stellar season. Few players are as dangerous down the stretch as him. He might be one of the game’s best closers ever.

8. Utah Jazz: 34-30

Go-to guy: Al Jefferson

Jefferson edges out Paul Millsap as the default go-to guy here because I just couldn’t bring myself to write down Gordon Hayward or Devin Harris. Jefferson is a very nice player who is certain to give you at last 18 points and nine rebounds per season but he’s just not at the level as Dirk, Chris Paul or even Rudy Gay.

Part 2 can read tomorrow at 8 p.m.

Exploring NASCAR

I never thought I’d be devoting an entire blog entry to this particular sport, but after attending the STP 400 at the Kansas Speedway, I’ve decided to explore the world of NASCAR.

I consider my self a big sports fan. I follow the MLB, NFL, NBA and PGA. I’ve even been known to watch tennis and bowling from time to time. The one sporting event that I had never watched all the way through, however, was NASCAR. I appreciate the sport but watching a stock car turn left for 400 miles just didn’t appeal to me.

But when I came across free tickets to the STP 400 I thought I would take a chance and check out the event. I arrived at the event with my dad, who is a huge NASCAR fan by the way, and I was instantly amazed. Outside the speedway was probably 100 or more vendors and exhibits for fans to check out before the race. Every car maker I had ever heard of had an exhibit showcasing their cars. I could have spent hours outside the event just checking out the cars, but we decided that it would be a good idea to go inside the stadium.

About an hour and a half before the start of the race there was a concert put on by Kenny Wayne Shepherd, who is a pretty notable rock and blues artist. The concert was great and about 60 minutes after it the race started. I have to say after watching the race I have a new appreciation for NASCAR. They use drafting and tire changes to gain an advantage over other cars. They have to keep track of fuel down to a single digit miles. It is more than just turning left for 267 laps; it’s all about strategy and precision.

In all it was a pretty awesome way to spend a Sunday. The biggest thing I took away from the day though is that, between the car show, concert and race, NASCAR knows how to put together a great event.

Photo courtesy of Parker Anderson.

Increasing social media knowledge

Over the past three months I have added a Google + account, signed up for Pinterest and taken my tweeting to a whole other level. Since the beginning of my social media class I have come to fully understand how important social media is. My increase in social media knowledge starts with a embarrassing admission however. A few months ago, outside of Facebook and Twitter, I didn’t see what all the fuss about social media was. I understood that it was a good place to go waste time, but I didn’t understand all the business implications it involved as well. I thought that if you have multiple social media accounts you were ahead of the game. Now I understand that if you don’t have multiple social media accounts you are far behind in the game.

Whether it is how the Nebraska Humane Society uses social media to get animals adopted or how an adventure photographer uses it to help her improve her career, social media changes lives. A good example of good things coming from social media would be my recent job hiring. Starting this week I will be blogging for the Creighton College of Business. It obviously helped that I had strong writing skills but what they were truly looking for was someone who knew their way around blogs and social media. Before my social media class I was not nearly as comfortable with sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and WordPress. But now I got an internship using just those sites.

Knowing your way social media is crucial for a lot of jobs, as I am finding out. You can’t just be a good writer anymore. You have to be a good promoter as well. There are so many different mediums out there that you have to grab people’s attention. The best way to do this is social media. It’s a way to promote who you are and what you are good at. You might even get a job out of it.

Photo courtesy of Brian Hawkins.

Sports biggest Twitter fails

If there are two things that people love it’s sports and Twitter fails. When you combine the two then it becomes viral gold. Every time an athlete sticks his or her foot in their mouth for everyone to read about, it gets passed around the internet more times than a collection plate at church. Complex.com compiled a list of the top 100 biggest Twitter fails in sports history earlier this year. They ranged from jabs at officiating to violent tweets that resulted in a police report being filed. And so after looking through all 100 tweets I thought I would give my top 10 favorite (excluding the inappropriate ones).

10. Who: Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
Offending Tweet: @RayRice27: “Just got pulled over for my tints Smh but gave the office a autograph for his son and he let me go”
Date: 11/8/2010
Consequence: Apologized for bribing a cop.

9. Who: Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards
Offending Tweet: @agentzeroshow: “i wake up this morning and seen i was the new JOHN WAYNE..lmao media is too funny”
Date: 1/1/2010
Consequence: Eventually suspended for making the finger gun reference after players were found to have had real guns in the locker room.

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison.

8. WhoOnward State and CBS Sports
Offending Tweet: @Onward_State: “Our sources can now confirm: Joseph Vincent Paterno has passed away tonight at the age of 85.”
Date: 1/21/2012
Consequence: Apologized and the resignation of their managing editor occurred after it was found out that Paterno hadn’t passed away yet.

7. Who: Chris Bosh, Miami Heat
Offending Tweet: @chrisbosh: “Been wanting to ask. Where should I go next season and why?”
Date: 4/30/2010
Consequence: Eventually chose the Miami Heat but doesn’t look good when you need your twitter followers to make up your mind for you.

6. Who: Mo Williams, Cleveland Cavaliers
Offending Tweet: @mogotti2: “Pls don’t trade me, I’m not read to go. I’m begging. My work ain’t done yet. I’m on both knees….pls. I’m serious”
Date: 6/23/2010
Consequence: Embarrassment. Traded to Clippers, but not because of tweet.

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison.

5. Who: Yuri Wright, high school football player at Don Bosco Prep
Offending Tweet: @YuriWright3: “Yo my pops just drove by and splash some jewish lady with mad water….”
Date: 11/18/2011
Consequence: Expelled and had all three scholarship offers revoked.

4. Who: Courtney Fortson, University of Arkansas basketball player
Offending Tweet: @Cfortson4: “Im gettin it at workouts like a dude who doesnt understand the word no from a drunk girl lol.”
Date: 9/11/2009
Consequence: Suspended. At the same time he sent his tweet some of his teammates were being accused of rape.

3. Who: Bernard Berrian, Minnesota Vikings
Offending Tweet: @B_Twice: “@johnkriesel Anytime u wanna watch the film with me. Not just one game but all of them…and if not sit down n shut up!!”
Date: 10/2/2011
Consequence: Looked like an idiot when he learned the man he tweeted at lost both legs in the Iraq War.

Photo courtesy of Rick Burtzel.

2. Who: Jaz Reynolds, University of Oklahoma football player
Offending Tweet: @Jaz_R16: “Hey everyone in Austin, tx…….kill yourself #evillaugh”
Date: 9/28/2010
Consequence: Suspended because one day earlier a school shooting at the University of Texas occurred.

1. Who: Jaz Reynolds, University of Oklahoma football player
Offending Tweet: “Everyone in austin, tx disregard that last tweet….y’all will mess around n do it lmao.”
Date: 9/29/2010
Consequence: Became the least classy person in the history of college sports.

The changing landscape of news

The days of picking up the newspaper to get caught up on current events is long gone. Very rarely do I see something in the newspaper that I didn’t find out on the internet the night before. With a number of newspapers going bankrupt and overall readership declining, people are getting their news from a variety of new sources. As the Pew Center report on the state of news media suggests, social media, tablets and mobile have replaced the traditional way of getting news.

I haven’t picked up a newspaper, besides “The Creightonian” in months. I either go online to news sites or get information off of social media. Getting news online allows me to stay more up-to-date than if I depended on a newspaper. Not to mention that every article in a newspaper is also published online. I expect this trend, not just for myself but for everyone, to expand in the future. I think there will always be some print newspapers but the strong majority of people will consume news exclusively online.

The reason for this is simple; online is where the money is at. Newspapers and news sites make money off of advertising. With more people flocking online for news, the news sites can charge more for advertising. And since so much money is made with online advertising, sites are willing to invest more money to make online news reading easier and a better experience. This will in turn keep people coming back and even create new patrons. Once this process starts it is hard to stop it. The future of news is here and we are already enjoying it.

The biggest thing that professionals need to do in order to effectively keep up with these changes is to get to know the product. There are so many different social media sites out there and you need to be familiar with most, if not all of them. By embracing the technological advances of the 21st century and becoming an online user yourself, you will know what works best for that audience. By knowing what works best for them, you can be prepared in adjusting your job to fit those needs.

 

Photo courtesy of Mike Licht.