The trade finalized today by the Cav’s, T’Wolves, and 76er’s has league shifting implications. Even better every team involved obtained what they wanted. It can be said there was no losers.
The Cav’s traded for Kevin Love by giving up Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennet to the T’Wolves and sending a first rounder via Miami to Philly. The deal can be seen as immediately vaulting the Cavs into the drivers seat in the East. Le’bron may have been going home but he has arguably a better team than in Miami. The two things I love is that Lebron is no longer going to have to guard centers ever. He has Varejo, Thompson, and Love in the front court to ease the body usage down low. Also unlike in Miami Lebron has a legit PG to play with. Thats no disrespect to Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole but Kyrie is a much better player. The Cav’s now posses limitless potential on offense. Their only problem will be on defense and buckling down on that side of the ball. Even with losing huge potential in the long run with Wiggins and Bennent the Cav’s are an instant legit contender.
Minnesota now has huge potential with the trade. Wiggins like Jabari Parker seems on board to build with the teams they play for and this could turn out well for the NBA in the long run. The T’Wolves already have Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, and Nikola Pekovic on their roster. Now add in Zach LaVine, Thaddeus Young, Wiggins, and Bennett that is a solid looking team in a few years if everyone pans out. Even really a team with that kind of talent could compete for a championship with that kind of talent. It may seem unrealstic but the possibility is there. The talent is there it all comes down to development and team building. The group of players could be a scary one in a few years.
How can we forget the 76er’s who seem to know exactly what they are doing. They traded away their best player for Luc Mbah a Moute, Alexey Shved, and another all important 1st round draft pick. Moute can help Joel Embiid transition to the NBA as both are from Cameroon and the 1st rounder is key. The 76ers have tanked so hard and have acquired a wealth of young talent. With two first rounders next year and one looking to be a top three pick the 76ers are setting themselves up to turn the corner starting in 2016. With a group of high draft picks the 76ers can become a force to be reckon with if everyone pans out and that could be the case.
The trade at the end of the day seems to benefit every team in the ways they wanted/needed. The T’Wolves needed to get something for Love and they got exactly what they wanted. The Cav’s are going to compete for years to come at a very high level. The 76ers got worse which for some reason means they got better? Only time will tell.
Johnny Football should be the starting quarterback of the Browns without any question. He performed better in the preseason stats compared to Brian Hoyer. But even deeper than stats is common sense.
Hoyer is a five-year veteran while Manziel is rookie. Hoyer might have played good in the limited time he was the starter last year but it wasn’t a large enough sample size for some. Matt Flynn had one great game for the Packers and signed a huge deal with the Seahawks only to be beaten out by rookie Russell Wilson.
The upside is too much with Manziel to not start him. Continue reading
I thought why not better to talk some NBA. Football is in full swing but before you know it basketball will be right upon us. Lets look at three teams right now for this upcoming season with the most to prove.
#3) New York Knicks
2012-2013 season- 54-28 2nd in Eastern Conference. Lost in Conference Semi’s to Indiana Pacers.
For most teams last season would have been a great step in the right direction. Too bad Carmelo Anthony doesn’t have a great track record in the playoffs. He’s never been to the Conference finals and his window of being the big dog is closing. With the highest payed front court in NBA history how can you not make it to the finals. They add a former #1 pick in Andrea Bargnani to this front court that has more talent than any front court in the leauge right now. One problem is that Melo has thrived at the 4 spot and that would mean four starting caliber players would have to share two spots. Possibly Melo can play the 3 more this year and then the paint would be very much clogged up. This could be solved if the Knicks can hit 3’s this year very efficiently. But bottom line Melo. You need to bring this team to the Eastern Conference finals or this was a waste. In my opinion they wont make it there. The Heat will end up there against either the Nets, Bulls, or Pacers. Melo will be looking to either team up with Lebron next summer or any superstar in the same boat as him.
#2) Brooklyn Nets
2012-2013 season 49-33 4th in Eastern Conference. Lost in 1st round to Chicago Bulls.
A few off seasons ago the New Jersey Nets were in shambles until Mikhail Prokhorov bought the team. The Russian Billionaire has showed he isn’t afraid to spend money. He payed for half of the new one billion dollar Barclays Center that is the house of the renamed Brooklyn Nets. Slowly but steadily the Nets made improvement and now they find themselves in Title or bust town right now. They traded for Deron Williams, signed Joe Johnson and drafted Brook Lopez to make the building pieces of a winning team. The team around them had an early exit in this years playoffs but now this team has to win because of what they have done. The Celtics decided to blow up their team and this might be an understatement. The Nets acquired Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry (which people seem to forget but last time i checked is a 38% 3 point shooter for his career and has made the 4th most 3’s of all time and was an influential part of the 2011 Mavericks run to the title). That was just for everyone that forgets the Nets got 3 Celtics not two future hall of famers but probably 3. These three guys can flat out ball still even though they are getting “old”. I still trust them and say that a starting line up of Deron Williams at the 1, Joe Johnson at the 2, Paul Pierce at the 3, KG at the 4 and Lopez at the 5 is the best starting five in the league hands down. Now lets look at the bench that already has Terry but has pieces there like rebounding machine Reggie Evans, versatile big man Andrey Blatche and a promising looking rookie Mason Plumlee. Oh wait there happens to be a Russian Gem the Nets also got Andrei Kirilenko (AK47). How the Nets got this guy for the bargain they did we don’t know. He can really be a game changer coming off the bench and really can be a catalyst for the team. With all these moves made by the Nets it really is win now time. Not even win now, these moves were made to win a championship or bust.
#1 Houston Rockets
2012-2013 season 45-37 8th in Western Conference. Lost in 1st round to Oklahoma City Thunder
Two years ago the Rockets missed the playoffs by two games in the shortened season by the lockout. Then right before last season started the Thunder shocked the basketball world by trading James Harden to the Rockets. The Rockets also signed Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik and drafted Chandler Parsons to make a good foundation. They gave the Thunder a little fight but the Rockets clearly needed more to contend with the best. Dwight Howard had a forgettable season in L.A. and with this being his third team in three years the pressure on him to win is enormous. He is paired with a great young and athletic shooting guard in Harden and they have nice 3 point shooting around them but they really are going to rely on the backs on Harden and Howard. Now people might look at the Nets to be in more pressure to win but the Nets don’t have one of the most scrutinized players in the league on their team. Yes, Dwight Howard is an amazing player and I would love to build a team around him just with all the media pressure he has to win now. He has a great head coach in Kevin McHale and pretty much another coach in arguably the greatest big man in NBA history Hakeem Olajuwon. These are two great people to work with and this team should benefit. The Rockets at least this year need to make the Western Conference finals. The Spurs are a year older but will be good that is a given. The Thunder are very unpredictable this year and the Clippers are the same in my opinion. The West will be a dog fight but I see the second coming of Shaq and Kobe (i know that is a lot of praise) but it can happen. Don’t be surprised Dwight but you really have to win and I believe you can.
Loser: Dallas Mavericks: Since winning the finals Dallas has struggled. J.J. Barea and Jason Kidd left and Tyson Chandler was traded away. Dirk is an aging superstar and can’t exactly carry the load anymore. So Mark Cuban does what he does and has all the money he wants to spend waiting to be used. The Mavs tried to lure Dwight Howard in and this did not work out for them. He decided to go where the opportunity to win now would be more realistic then waiting for next summer and trying to get a Lebron or Carmelo to team up with them. The next big man on the market was former all star Andrew Buynum and the Mavs again missed. He decided on Cleveland. So they got left with Samuel Delenbear. He isn’t a bad big man just he isn’t the huge prize that they were hoping for. They picked up Jose Calderon, Devin Harris, and Monta Ellis to crowd up the backcourt. The Mavs could have went money saving for next offseason when they could possibly reach out for a Chris Bosh kind of player but they won’t. It’s not really their moves that make them the losers its just how they keep striking out on big names lately.
Winner: Cleveland Cavaliers. A team with a bright and rising start Kyrie Irving with fellow 2 guard Dion Waiters has the best young backcourt in the league. And with all this young talent already there what was better than getting the #1 overall pick in the draft. The stayed away from Nerlens Noel which looks to be a good choice. Why take a already hurt undersized big man? Oh wait the Cavilers did that with picking up Andrew Buynum(who is not undersized) for a 2 year 24 million dollar deal. But only 6 million in the first year is guaranteed. So it is a very low risk but high reward for the Cavs. Add another returning big man Anderson Varejao who’s coming off a blod clot in his long that made his miss the rest of last season but has been averaging 14 and 14 per game before the clot. Thats a solid center tandem. Back to the #1 overall pick and the draft. The Cavs suprised many people by taking Anthony Bennett. Yet this move makes some sense. Bennett averaged 16PPG and 8RPG in college but a even bigger contribution was his 37.5% from 3 point range. This can help stretch the court and give Buynum and Varejao more space on the inside and even take out the opposing 4 of the paint sometimes and give Irving and Waiters a lot of driving space. Earl Clark is also a nice pick up for the front court and can provide some stability up there and quality minutes off the bench or even starting if need be. In 23 minutes last year he scored 7PPG and had 5RPG. Thats a good backup big man. Add Jarrett Jack to the mix coming over from Golden State in free agency to give much needed veteran guard to mentor the young tandem of Waiters and Irving and give scoring off the bench. This could be one of the most underrated pickups of the off-season. The Cav’s are not a top 4 seed which would be The Heat, Nets, Pacers, Bulls but they could challenge the Knicks and Pistons for the 5th spot.
Now with the first half of the season over let’s have a little review and preview on my two favorites for the finals. The Heat came right out of the gates gunning for their title they want. The Thunder are on fire and shows signs of the Heat.
Let’s start with the Heat. With the big 3 they were expected to win the title last year. They fell a lite short of that but this year is different. They have Mario Chalmers playing great ball and Norris Cole is playing as well as most rookies this year. The one thing the Heat do better than any other team is run and gun and play defense. Lebron has the identity of this team to be defense first and then run and gun for points. That’s why they lead the league with 103.74 points a game. And with Chris Bosh playing like the third piece this team is on its way to its first title.
Now the Thunder. With Perkins playing center position on this team I like their size now. Ibaka is one of the best power forwards in the game I think. He plays great defense which is what they need. One of the best scorers in the league is Durant. He can shot from distance. Run the break. Drive and most importantly shot free throws. James Harden is a great compliment and can play with anyone in the league and is a great offensive player. The key to their puzzle is Russell Westbrook. If can pass the ball efficiently and not shot too much like he did in last years playoffs the Thunder will be set. I like them to meet up with the Heat in the finals.
There are a few interesting stories arising this offseason in the NFL. First and for most is what is my favorite team the Indianapolis Colts going to do with Peyton Manning. They hold the #1 pick in the 2012 draft. Let’s look at what they can do.
The Colts showed a lot of holes this year. An aging offensive line and a defense built to play with the lead and having no size. But we all found out who the MVP of the league was… Peyton Manning! He won over 100 regular season games, two AFC titles and one super bowl title with this type of a team. He never had much of a defense and the offense showed it needed Manning very badly.
Every one is all over Luck as being the answer to rebuilding this team. Time will tell to see how he does in the NFL. The Colts missed last year to get Cam Newton. I don’t know if Luck will be everything every one hopes but I hope he can do more than what everyone thinks he can do.
The Colts could also trade the #1 pick is what I would do. I think they can trade down and get an anchor for their defensive line or offensive line. And I see Manning able to be affective for a few more years he has the determination to do it. They can get a few more draft picks and then see what happens with those picks and the free agent market and work from there. And if worse comes to worse they can always draft Matt Barkley next year. He can be a great NFL QB I think. The Colts in the coming weeks will have big desecsions to make. I don’t know if they will make the right ones but time will tell. All we know is it will be a rocky few years for the Colts in the steps at rebuilding.
Randy Moss has also expressed interest in making a return to the NFL. He is one of the top five receivers of all time in my mind. Imagine him and Manning hooking up for one season in Indy or if Manning leaves and they go to another team and hook up. It could be a deadly combination because when Moss was on in his prime he was the best deep threat.
It will be an interesting few weeks and a lot of it surrounds the Colts. Peyton Manning and Randy Moss two of the greatest players their eras and arguably all time are in two different situations. Manning coming off an all season injury and Moss coming out of retirement maybe. It could be a very cool thing if this happens but time will tell as always.
The 2012 NBA all star game will be held in Orlando this year. It will pit the Western Conference all stars versus the Eastern Conference all stars.
Last years game was won by the west and the MVP going to home town Kobe Bryant in L.A. Blake Griffen won a close dunk contest with an okay dunk over the hood of a Kia car.
The rookie-sophomore game and the skills competition always draw some attention too.
One of this years headlines will be Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic. He has rumors surrounding him about him wanting out of Orlando. Possible destinations point to the Lakers of Los Angeles as a top choice.
Chris Paul already got out of a bad situation in New Orleans earlier this year. The Magic had been in the finals a few years ago against the Lakers and lost.
This could be Howard’s last stand for the people of Orlando in his need for more players around as in Lebron’s case before he left Clevland for Miami and the big 3.
Alright, enough about stuff not to do with playing basketball lets get to the festivities.
The dunk contest should be fun and entertaining like usual. Just the dunk creativity needs to pick up a bit but I can see why players are running out of ideas. And the 3 point contest is always fun.
The rookie-sophomore game will be exciting again. The skills competition is an okay event it does not draw much attention from me. But the main attraction is the game itself.
The east will be led by starters Rose, Wade, James, Melo, and Howard. The west will be led by starters Girffen, Kobe, CP3, Bynum, and Durant.
I like Howard as the MVP. Durant will lead scoring at 45 points. And Lebron will repeat a triple double as he did last year.
I do like the east to win this year. It will be a high scoring game and a lot of fun. It is by far the best all star festivities of any sport and blows away the pro bowl and the competitions always add to the fun and just make it that much better.