Saturday, January 21, 2017

Who Wants The Eighth Seed In The Western Conference?

            The NBA's Western Conference for the 2016-2017 season can be divided up into tiers: You got the "elites" (that would be Golden State, San Antonio, and Houston), the "greats" (Clippers and Jazz), the "goods" (Grizzlies and Thunder), and the "terribles" (everyone else). The Western Conference landscape is quite different from its Eastern Conference brethren (Cleveland's the only Eastern Conference team worthy of being considered "elite"), but it doesn't have a good team suitable for the eighth seed in its conference. In other words, a team will likely win the Western Conference's eighth seed merely by default.
            Let's take some time to consider the candidates for who'll get blown out and likely swept by Golden State in the first round. Portland has one of the best (if not the best) backcourts in the NBA, but offer nothing else. The Sacramento Kings rely on a bipolar Demarcus Cousins as their superstar. The Timberwolves were supposed to be kind of like the Jazz and emerge as a good team thanks to Tom Thibodeau becoming their head coach, but have sputtered while lacking a deep bench. The Pelicans are relying on Anthony Davis to win all of their games instead of giving him some quality assistance. The Nuggets can score, but can't defend. Finally, the Suns, Lakers, and Mavericks are all too painful to watch.
            So which one of these "terribles" will emerge for a chance to get whipped like a government mule by the Warriors in the first round? Portland has the best chance to get ahead based on their backcourt alone, but they'll need a defensive specialist to come in and help them. Denver will need some defensive help as well. New Orleans needs to find another player for Anthony Davis to help out (maybe take a flier on Reggie Jackson or Ricky Rubio before they get traded?). They should just look at scoring help so that Davis doesn't have to do all the work. Either that or just get Buddy Hield more playing time. I don't know. Just get Anthony Davis some help for once and make it snappy. Minnesota could use a veteran on the team to help with the younger players, i.e. Jason Terry. The Kings need to either find a veteran who can mentor Cousins and calm him down or shop him. As for the Suns, Lakers, and Mavericks, just compete for lottery balls. Your seasons are already lost, so it's best if you rebuild for the future.
            Again, it probably won't matter who makes it out of the first round because the Warriors have too much talent (most of it offensively) for any of these aforementioned teams to handle. Still, we live in an age where handing out participation trophies is the norm and we feel the need to hand out awards to mediocre teams for making a tournament only to get obliterated by a much stronger opponent. Anyways, may the best "terrible" win!


Friday, January 20, 2017

How Did Russell Westbrook Get Screwed Out Of A Starting Spot In The All-Star Game?

            How does a player who's threatening to become the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62 to average a triple-double in a season get left off the starting line-up for the Western All-Stars? That is the dilemma that Russell Westbrook is facing after getting rejected from the starting line-up in the 2017 All-Star Game.
            The Oklahoma City point guard's stat line for the 2016-2017 season consists of this: 30.6 PPG, 10.6 RPG, and 10.4 APG. That's a stat line that deserves recognition for the NBA MVP, especially since he's the only superstar on a Thunder team that just lost Kevin Durant over the summer. Ironically enough, Durant is a starter for the Western Conference whereas Westbrook will be riding the pine to start.
            There's no doubt that Westbrook will get in the All-Star Game; averaging a triple-double in a season is a hard feat to accomplish. However, how did Westbrook not get in the starting line-up with the season he's having? Stephen Curry is a popular choice and a recognizable face among NBA fans. However, he's not having the type of season Westbrook's having; 24.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 6.1 APG aren't great numbers compared to Westbrook's. In fact, you can say that none of the Western Conference starters have the stat lines that Westbrook has this season. Just take a look at what the Western Conference All-Stars are averaging this season:

  • Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs: 25.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 3.1 APG
  • Curry: 24.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 6.1 APG
  • Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors: 26.2 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 4.7 APG
  • James Harden, Houston Rockets: 28.9 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 11.6 APG
  • Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans: 28.8 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 2.2 APG
            James Harden is the closest guy you have who can touch Russell Westbrook's triple-double average this season. The rest of the starters don't really come close. 
            Does the fan vote issue reinforce the idea that fans can't make sound decisions regarding the NBA All-Star Game? Adam Silver and the NBA tried to remedy the situation by appointing players and the media to chip in to the voting process with 25% each having an influence. However, it backfired immensely, leaving Westbrook out of the All-Star starting line-up.
            By the way, let this sink in if you need another reason for Westbrook to be a starter for the Western Conference. 





Photo Courtesy of NutsAndBoltsSports

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Championship Picks!!

           Last week was an interesting week regarding picks. The difference between a win and a loss was determined by an Aaron Rodgers pass and a holding penalty on a two-point conversion. How will this week shake out?

Green Bay vs. Atlanta: Aaron Rodgers proved once again that he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, beating the Cowboys with little time left in the game. On the flip side, the Falcons have the best offense in the NFL and are stellar at home. However, considering that Atlanta's defense is a lot worse than Dallas's defense, Rodgers and the Pack should make fairly easy pickings of the Falcons.
Packers 38, Falcons 24
Pittsburgh vs. New England: Everyone will be glued to this game due to the pre-game drama stemming from Mike Tomlin and Antonio Brown. How fired up will the Patriots be after seeing the video from Brown and Tomlin's speech? Ben Roethlisberger, LeVeon Bell, and Brown will test the Patriots defensively. But the Patriots will still be overwhelming for the Steelers thanks to Bill Belichick's 'game-planning' along with Brady and crew. Patriots 30, Steelers 21

Record: 6-2

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Watching The Australian Open Right Now

            It's such a surreal experience seeing a sporting event go on after 1 AM (excluding overtime games). But with the Australian Open being one of the four "majors" of tennis, it's quite an awesome experience to watch on television. It's dark outside and I should be sleeping, but I'm watching a tennis player from Luxemborg with the last name of Muller take on an American named Thomas Fritz. That game is switching between that and a Brit named Heather Watson versus an Australian named Heather Stosur. It looks like it's hot down there. I wonder, are there any wild animals that make their way onto the tennis courts in Australia? I wonder how Serena Williams is doing in this tournament so far? As I look up the result, I find that she just beat someone named Belinda Bencic in straight sets. Awesome. I hope it isn't too hot for the players down there. Not there's anything wrong with having a lot of heat. It sure beats having a frigid temperature right now (which is what I'm experiencing right now). It looks like I'm not getting a lot of sleep tonight.

Photo Courtesy of PIOP.com

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A "Farewell" To Chris Berman

            Recently, longtime ESPN anchor Chris Berman stepped down from his role as ESPN's head NFL host. His career goes "BACK-BACK-BACK-BACK" to the 1970s, when ESPN originated in Bristol, Connecticut. However, that doesn't mean he's retiring from the gig altogether; he will get to call events like the Home Run Derby and the Masters. Anyways, here's a look at some of Chris Berman's finest moments and images. "DEUX DEUX DEUX!"


Friday, January 13, 2017

The Winner Of The Chargers Relocating To Los Angeles? San Diego.

            If you want a summary of what the Chargers have been for the past few years, this is it. This tweet is a microcosm of the various failures that have happened under owner Dean Spanos's watch. I mean, this is the ONLY NFL team this season to lose to the lowly Cleveland Browns. In a tough AFC West division, they limped to a 5-11 season. Therefore, there really isn't a whole lot for the city of San Diego to fret about in spite of having 56 years of San Diego football halted.
            For starters, the Chargers are relocating to a 27,000-capacity soccer stadium in Carson, California. Granted, this is a temporary home and Qualcomm Stadium was getting outdated. However, the StubHub Center is barely bigger than the United Center in Chicago and the Rose Bowl would've been a better option. By the way, give fellow LA-newbie Stan Kroenke credit. At least he put his team in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which seats 93,000 and is legendary (don't forget Kroenke's paying for his own new stadium in Inglewood). Dean Spanos doesn't seem to get the whole relocation matter.
            Another reason why San Diego emerged as a winner in this ordeal is the fact that the voters rejected a measure that would've geared taxpayer money towards a new NFL stadium in November. For years, the Chargers organization has tried to convince the city to publicly pay for a new NFL stadium. Some of their ways included trying to get the city to raise their hotel bed tax. This was opposed by hotel outliers within the city because it would hurt their business. If you're wondering why this is significant, consider this. Nevada just approved $750 million worth of public funding for an NFL stadium that casino mogul Sheldon Adelson wants to build. The Ilitch family's "Little Caesar Arena" in Detroit is near completion and is built on taxpayer money. The trend of publicly funded stadiums is a disturbing one, especially when billionaires are crying "welfare" when they have the money to build the stadium themselves.
            Besides, Los Angeles is getting another shitty NFL team when it already has one. The Rams moving to Los Angeles was a great idea since it would bring back interest to a sport that a market hadn't seen for a couple decades. While the Rams are a dumpster fire to watch on the field, it had the feel of an expansion team arriving to town. Now? It's just overkill. Granted, people will likely fill the tiny stadium known as StubHub Center. However, Dean Spanos and the Chargers better turn things around quickly before the new stadium in Inglewood's built. Otherwise, it'll be similar to what the San Francisco 49ers are experiencing right now: No fans coming to a new stadium to see a piss-poor product.
            What I expect to happen down the road is a couple things. One, expect organizations to try and get their stadiums built in the suburban areas (like the Atlanta Braves did), most likely using taxpayer money. There will be some less populated areas who will be willing to give this a nudge instead of the big cities themselves. Two, expect organizations like the Chargers to straight up leave when the cities and its citizens stand up to this "corporate welfare". Cities like St. Louis are starting to hit back at the billionaires and teams are starting to flee. The cities are tired of having to take many years to pay off a stadium.
            As for why the city of San Diego wins in the end of this debacle? This reason is the cherry on top. Imagine if the Tampa Bay Lightning relocated to Los Angeles and one of the interns had to think up a logo on the fly. You'd get something like this:



Thursday, January 12, 2017

Postseason Picks Part Deux

            So the postseason has been boring for the NFL so far. Here's hoping that the match-ups are a lot better and closer than they were last week.

Houston vs. New England: Honestly, this should be a pushover for New England. The Patriots beat the Texans pretty badly in their regular season match-up... with their third-string QB. How many points will the Pats rack up here? New England 42, Houston 3
Seattle vs. Atlanta: Last week, the Seahawks faced a Lions team that was horrific at stopping the run. Defensively, Atlanta's no better. However, the Seahawks secondary will have their hands full, especially without Earl Thomas. In week six, the Falcons racked up 310 passing yards against Seattle. However, a good chunk of those came in the third quarter (along with a good chunk of the points). This game could be a shootout. Seattle 41, Atlanta 39
Pittsburgh vs. Kansas City: This game will come down to whether Ben Roethlisberger shows up or not. He's currently injured, but he says it's no big deal. Historically, the Steelers are good against the Chiefs in the playoffs. I'm banking on this trend to continue. Pittsburgh 24, Kansas City 21
Green Bay vs. Dallas: This game also has the makings of a shootout in place. However, the Packers haven't faced an offense (or an offensive line) as dynamic as the Cowboys'. The Packers' edge rushers may have a hard time getting around to Dak Prescott all game. Dallas 30, Green Bay 19

Postseason Record: 4-0