2015 Dirk’s Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game

I made it to Dirk’s Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game for the first time.  It was perfect baseball weather, not only for the players but also for the crowd.  I loved every moment of it and I have a few suggestions, which will make this event even more memorable next year.

1) There should be equal baseball talent on both sides.  This year, the away Blue Sox team was overly-dominant and competitive.  The beloved White Sox team lost the game by the 2nd innings.  Evenly matched teams and a close ballgame would have kept the crowd in it till the end.

2) The game was sold out this year, so maybe next year, the game can be played at the Texas Rangers Ball Park in Arlington.  This will help raise more money for the good cause as the ball park in Arlington has larger seating capacity.

3) Adding a concert and letting some local bands play after the game or before the game will be a great way to give exposure to local talent and the crowd will also be entertained.

I took a lot of pictures and videos, but these are some of my favorite sights and sounds of the game.

1) Dirk takes a swing at a pitch

2) Michael Young waiting his turn at bat

3) Dez Bryant in action

4) Coach Carlisle walked away today with Dez’s patented “X” mark

5) Coach Carlisle testing his drumming skills

6) Steve Nash had a great game (Wish he retired a MAV)

7) Devin Harris showing off his baseball skills

8) Nick Van Exel warming up

nick van exel 1

For video clips to the game, please visit my twitter page @raj_manjrekar

Undervalued players in the 1st round of 2015 NBA Draft

I think of value of a player in terms of how he fits with the team who drafted him, where he could have been drafted, his projected minutes and contributions to the team in the upcoming rookie year. 

In the 1st round of the 2015 NBA Draft, the following players are undervalued

1) Justice Winslow ( Picked # 10 by Miami Heat)

  • NBA game resembles: Michael Beasley and Ron Artest
  • Teams picking in top 10 didnt do “justice” to Winslow’s talent. He could have been picked in top 5
  • NBA ready physique.  Tough defender and can guard various positions.  Attacking on offense
  • Can finish at the rim with either hand.  Deadly in open court on fast-breaks.
  • Needs to improve his free-throw shooting.  Only a sub par 61%.  
  • On an injury-plagued Miami Heat team, he should receiving playing time to develop his game.

2) Sam Dekker ( Picked # 18 by Houston Rockets)

  • NBA game resembles: Keith Van Horn and Jamal Crawford
  • He is the most undervalued player in the first round.  He could have been picked in top 10.
  • He can do it all on offense.  He can beat you off the dribble.   He can post you up and score in the paint.  Moves very well without the ball. Excellent shooter.  Helps to spread the floor.  
  • He needs to bulk up to be able to play 82 games and playoff games during the NBA season as Rockets will make a deep run in the playoffs.  He needs to improve on defense.
  • In his rookie year, he will get minutes off the bench backing up Trevor Ariza and Josh Smith at the 2 and 3 spot.  He will be part of a very deep Rockets bench and can provide instant offense off the bench.

3) Ronde Hollis Jefferson ( Picked # 23 by Brooklyn Nets)

  • NBA game resembles: Scottie Pippen and Shawn Marion
  • He can guard just about any position on the floor.  He plays lock-down defense.  He does a great job of switching on defense and keeping his defensive assignment in front of him. He wrecks havoc on defense
  • He is a one dimensional player right now coming out of college and needs to learn NBA style offenses.  He needs to improve as a shooter.  He is excellent at scoring in the paint.  He rebounds the ball well.
  • He knows his limitations and does not attempt too many 3 pointers.  Plays within his strengths. 
  • His defense will get him minutes off the bench.  He needs to develop his game when he gets the opportunity to be on the floor.

4) Tyus Jones ( Picked # 24 by Minnesota Timberwolves)

  • NBA game resembles: Kyle Lowry and Darren Collison
  • He is a winner.  He has won at every level.  He was one of the main reasons why Duke won the national championship.  He has a pedigree of winning and that trend will continue in the NBA
  • He is an all round player on offense and defense.  He is listed at 6’1″, if he was 6’3″ or taller, he would have been the first PG selected in this draft.  Lack of size is his only weakness.
  • He is a much improved shooter.  He sees the floor well.  He sets up his teammates.  He displays high- level leadership qualities.  Tyus is a clutch player.  He scored when Duke needed buckets or came up with a key defensive stop in an important possession.
  • He should replace Ricky Rubio as the starting point guard by end of the season.

Undervalued players in the 2nd round of 2015 NBA Draft

I think of value of a player in terms of how he fits with the team who drafted him, where he could have been drafted, his projected minutes and contributions to the team in the upcoming rookie year

In the 2nd round of the 2015 NBA Draft, a few players caught my eye as being undervalued:

1) Montrezl Harrell ( Pick 32 to Houston Rockets)

  • NBA game resembles: Kenneth Farried and Ben Wallace
  • Tireless motor, does not give up on a play, constantly hustling to the ball
  • Defensive beast, excellent rebounder, good shot-blocker, lives in the paint
  • Needs work on offense.  Jump-shooting and free-throw shooting can improve
  • Played 3 years under Rick Pitino.  Well-coached in fundamentals of the game.
  • Can play 3,4 and sometimes the 5 position.  Bit undersized for the 5 position, but wingspan and his aggressive style of play more than compensates for lack of size.
  • Will be instant energy off the bench and back up Josh Smith, Motiejunas and Dwight Howard

2) Richaun Holmes ( Pick 37 to Philadelphia 76ers)

  • NBA game resembles: Joe Johnson and Tracy McGrady
  • He is listed at 6′ 10″ and plays power forward, but has the game of a shooting guard.
  • Very smooth player.  Glides on offense. Makes good cuts to the baskets for open layups and dunks.  Good rebounder 
  • Excellent midrange and 3 point shooter.
  • Noel, Okafor, Holmes, Wroten and Isiah Canaan should be the starting 5 for the 76ers. This lineup can win them some games.

3) Josh Richardson ( Pick 40 to Miami Heat)

  • NBA game resembles: Kentavious Caldwell Pope and OJ Mayo
  • He is a prototypical shooting guard at 6’6″.  Explosive athlete.
  • Refined offensive game.  Excellent shooter. Creates offense
  • Wade’s health will create opportunities for Richardson to start.  Richardson will have to wait his turn for a couple of years to get consistent minutes as a starter.

4) Joseph Young ( Pick 43 to Indiana Pacers)

  • NBA game resembles: Chris Paul and Damian Lillard
  • He is the ” Most undervalued” player in this draft.  He should have been a lottery pick but slid to mid 2nd round.  He has the “IT” factor.
  • He has a complete offensive game.  One of the best shooters in the draft, and can create offense off the dribble and setup his teammates for easy buckets.
  • Pacers currently have a logjam at the guard position, but his talent will outshine the other players.  He should be the starting PG of the Pacers heading into the playoffs this season.
  • He can be in contention for “Rookie of the year” depending on minutes played.