About Sean Adams

Sean is an expert radio and television guest and commentator covering the national perspective and the history of college football. Currently a columnist covering the University of Texas athletics for ESPN.com and HornsNation, Sean is also a contributor to Longhorn Network.

First Round in the Books

The Texans selected a playmaker in DeAndre Hopkins

The Texans selected a playmaker in DeAndre Hopkins

When a team takes a guy in the first round of the NFL draft they are looking at season impact players. The Bills took Florida State’s quarterback E.J. Manual and he might be the only player taken in the first round that is not expected to make his team better in 2013.

When you couple moves that have already been made in the off-season through free agency and what was done in the first round there are a few teams that are worth the price of admission and that I cannot wait to watch in the fall.

Houston Texans

I have to be honest; I was the cynical guy about the Houston Texans. I mused that Gary Kubiak was going to go defense and ignore his offense relying too much on his quarterback and on his mind.

I am so happy that I was wrong. The Texans grabbing Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins is enough to get me in a seat in 2013. Andre Johnson needed a weapon to play across from him and Hopkins has the speed, ball skills and attitude to be exactly what the Texans need to pull defenders away from the line of scrimmage to open up running lanes for Arian Foster.

They had other needs to fill but getting help for the passing game will make the entire offense happy.

Cleveland Browns

Let’s be honest; they are a hot greasy mess on offense besides having a good running back but the defense is better and got better in the off season and in the first round of the draft.

They got Paul Kruger in free agency from the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens and in the first round of the NFL draft they got Barkevious Mingo from LSU. Those two on the outside of the 3 – 4 defense they plan on running is a very good set up.

By the way if you think I don’t Barkevious Mingo can handle the tough fans in Cleveland, he has a brother named Hughtavious. That fact alone has to tell you that he has thick skin. Those two kids must have caught hell growing up for those names.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings needed a lot of help and mortgaged the lion’s share of their draft to get three picks in the back half of the first round. The fact that Sharrif Floyd fell to them at the 23rd pick provides great value and could be the best value pick of any team in the first round.

They needed help in the defensive backfield and got it in Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes at pick number 25. He is a big bodied DB and in a division with the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions that size is a premium.

They rounded out the first round at pick 29 with the risky pick in Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. He has a huge upside because of his athleticism but also is raw as a receiver and has a lot of work to do in route running and being a polished receiver.

The Viking needed help and they made the commitment in the first round and probably won the day. I’m ready to see all three of these teams play as all three will be better in 2013 than they were in 2012.

 

Spurs Swan Song?

The Spurs big 3

The Spurs big 3

This basketball counts and every game you see will be the best basketball you’ve seen all year.

82 games can stretch out a season and even stretch out a style of play. The NBA really forms into shape during this time of year because now everything matters.

There will be defense, there will be passion and the rest times are over. Players will play harder and coaches will coach harder but the theatre will be off the hook.

 

Best opening series – Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets

Being an Oakland native I grew up with the most apathetic fan base in the NBA. Golden State was the franchise that other players went through on their way to greatness.

They have had short periods of success including 1990 when Run TMC was the high-scoring trio of basketball teammates consisting of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin.

Golden State was coached by Denver’s current head coach George Karl for a short time and most Warrior fans wish George Karl had never left.

Both teams are really fun to watch and will fill up the scoop in high scoring action. These teams will trade punches and I fully expect this series to go six or seven games.

The series could hinge on the fact that in early April, it was announced that small forward Danilo Gallinari sustained an ACL injury and would be gone for the year. He averaged 16 points and 5 rebounds per game before his injury and Denver does not have a replacement for that scoring.

 

Best storyline – Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets

How’s this for drama?

James Hardin plays against his former team in the first round of the playoffs. Hardin was the Thunder’s 3rd leading scorer in 2011/2012 at almost 17 points per game but could not get paid a max contract with star power on the roster like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

While everyone in Houston is happy with Hardin’s almost 26 points per game for the Rockets he has made everyone better around him.

Oklahoma City has moved on like a steamroller but Hardin was worth a lot more than his 17 points per game last year. He was Mr. Big Shot and Mr. Clutch.

Can he be Mr. Big Shot and Mr. Clutch when it matters most? I’ll be in the arena for at least one of these games. They love each other in the media but nobody will want to win more than each of those guys individually.

 

Last go around – San Antonio Spurs

Think back to the movie ‘Major League’ when Tom Berringer, Wesley Snipes and Charlie Sheen’s roles are in the restaurant and they toast to “One last good year in the sun”.

That is the San Antonio Spurs right now. They may have the best game day coach in the NBA in Gregg Popovich but their age has shown the last three years late in the season.

Popovich has rested his team, brought in young firepower but the meat of the Spurs will still come from Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.

While Duncan has been a rock star of a basketball player in 2012/2013 Ginobili and Parker can’t walk over a crack in the sidewalk without getting hurt.

Sure the Lakers do not have Kobe Bryant but they are gaining momentum and player better down the stretch. The spurs seem to be going in the wrong direction. I’m staying with the Spurs right now but if Parker is limited or doesn’t play, all bets are off and this series could go either way.

Rangers Reporting for Duty

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(Surprize, AZ) — The Texas Rangers will be one of the most fascinating stories of the 2013 MLB season. I was so happy to be able to spend four days out in Surprise, AZ., during the Texas Rangers Spring Training.

The Rangers won the American League Pennant two years in a row and looked to be in good shape last season before the bottom fell out at the tail end of the season.

They have the best farm system in all of baseball, but to steal the quote from former football coach Jon Gruden, “It’s one thing to be young and talented. It’s a whole other thing to be good.” They are one of the most talented organizations in baseball but are not the same team at the Major League level in 2013.

They lost a ton of leadership in Michael Young, Mike Napoli and Josh Hamilton — though one could argue that Hamilton’s leadership and effectiveness might have been headed the other way in the last year. The increased role of GM Jon Daniels and the elevation of others in the Rangers organization appear to signal a youth movement that may not have room for Nolan Ryan. If Ryan were to leave the organization, what effect would it have on the clubhouse?

The first thing to understand is that expectations have not changed for the Texas Rangers as an organization. Ron Washington in no uncertain terms made it clear that the expectations have not changed.

A few things make the start of the season so important for the Rangers. They have to play every team in the American League West 19 times. The defending division winner Oakland A’s are a better team, as are the Angels. Nobody can expect the Angels to start as slow as they did in 2012. While I believe everyone thinks the Rangers are better than the Seattle Mariners, they still have King Felix and most chalk his starts as almost unwinnable.

Elvis Andrus signing autographs

That is what makes the Rangers a must-see for the first few weeks of the season… if you can get in the stadium. The Rangers, because of the lack of established leadership, must start the year strong because they may not have the leadership to bring them back from a tough start.

April 5 – 7 – at home against the Los Angeles Angels

April 8 – 10 – at home against the Tampa Bay Rays

April 19 – 21 – at home against the Seattle Mariners

April 22 – 24 – In Anaheim against the Angels

Yes, the MLB season is 162 games long but the Rangers will go a long way towards determining the trajectory of their club during the first month of the season. Questions like whether they have a 5th starter in the rotation will be answered within the first month. Do they have the leadership in the clubhouse? Do they have the clutch hitting to challenge in the West? Can Ian Kinsler start the year well and stay that way? Does Ron Washington have the right strings in the right places to win in 2013?

The questions won’t all be answered but I won’t be able to take my eyes off the first month of the 2013 season for the Texas Rangers because it will say so much.

Spurs, Heat, Thunder and… Pacers??

If there is one sport that I go hot and cold on it is the National Basketball Association. The NBA has a few seasons rolled into one. With 70% of the season gone, now we will see some serious basketball with real defense and a desire to win as slotting begins to take place for the playoffs.

The San Antonio Spurs are the Association’s best team right now with the best record followed closely by the defending champion Miami Heat. If those two teams are playing the best coming into the home stretch for the 2012/2013 season the team closest to them has to be the Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers just got their best player Danny Granger back from injury and they are trying to play him into shape. While they are being given a lot of national love they are an anomaly of a team. They win 82% of their home games while winning 42% of their road games. While they have played a lot better as of late even on the road, they play in the east and will eventually have to knock off the Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat.

I don’t believe that I’m out of bounds with the statement that everyone is trying to put together a formula to beat the Miami Heat four times over the course of two weeks. With the Miami Heat having home court advantage, the Pacers 42% road win percentage comes into play.

As much as David Stern and the NBA would like you to think the NBA playoffs are wide open and any one of the eight teams from each conference that makes the playoffs could win the championship, nothing could be further from the truth.

The chase for Miami has three contenders from the west. There is the talented and high octane scoring machine (even without James Harden) in the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Los Angeles Clippers than have been historically the doormats of the NBA and the San Antonio Spurs that have a great mix of skilled veterans with experience and young energy. If there is a team that could challenge outside of that group (and you can open-hand slap me for this later) is will be the other team from Los Angeles in the Lakers. They have the talent, lack the coaching, developing the chemistry and have the Black Mamba (Kobe Bryant) as the front man.

The eastern conference goes through Miami and with all due respect to the Indiana Pacers and even the New York Knicks, the team that will threaten to beat the Heat four times in two weeks will not come from the East.

The Miami Heat are Goliath right now and while the Spurs, Thunder and Clippers could all put together a formula to see if they are David the road will be anything but easy.

Shaquille O’Neal’s words from his Lakers days still hold true for Lebron, Dwayne and Chris, “We the champions until we ain’t the champions no more.”

We might have to get used to that sentence.

Larger Than Life

always tell people to go to professional or college sporting event especially if they can get close to the players. The average size of a man is 5’11” and you will quickly discover at most sporting events that there is very little average about big time athletes.

 

A trip to the University of Texas, Alabama, the Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs and even the Dallas Stars will give you a real perspective on the size and speed of the athletes we look at on television.

Yao Ming and JJ Watt

Yao Ming and JJ Watt

The debate between Michael Jordan and Lebron James is as much useless as it is silly but it is still fun. The world had never seen a player like Michael Jordan but has never seen an athlete with the size, strength and speed of Lebron James.

JJ Watt is one of the most fierce and best players in the NFL. I spoke with him on Radio Row the week before the Super Bowl in New Orleans and he is a big man. Again he is one of the most feared players on the defensive line in the NFL. Look at him next to former Houston Rocket Yao Ming. He is dwarfed. It looks like Yao’s head is twice as big as JJ Watt’s.

Get yourself to a game and get the perspective on just how large the athletes we see on television really all in real life.

I’m not a small guy and it amazes me