Cody Thompson NFL Draft

Cody Thompson hopes hard work can push him to the NFL

The Mid-American Conference, better known as the MAC, has been gaining respect in the college football world. The latest big win the conference got was last Saturday when Northern Illinois won at Nebraska 21-17. Ohio State and Wisconsin now are the only Big Ten teams not to go down to a MAC team this century.

The conference is also putting out more NFL talent. Former Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis was just drafted fifth overall by the Tennessee Titans in this year’s NFL Draft. Khalil Mack (Buffalo), Eric Fisher (Central Michigan), Joe Staley (Central Michigan) and Ben Roethlisberger (Miami) are all MAC products that were drafted in the first round. Other MAC talent includes Antonio Brown (Central Michigan), Julian Edelman (Kent State) and Doug Free (Northern Illinois).

One other MAC product is looking to get to the NFL. Toledo Rockets wide receiver Cody Thompson could very well be the next top NFL product to come from the MAC.

Thompson is currently leading the conference with 391 receiving yards and four touchdown catches. Last year he set the school record for receiving yards in a season with 1,269. He’s helped the Rockets to a 3-0 start to the season and they are heading to Miami for a big test with the Hurricanes. Things are looking bright for Thompson and the Rockets.

Thompson thinks the MAC is starting to get more recognition for their hard-working style of football.

“I definitely think the MAC is getting more respect,” Thompson said in an interview with The Game Haus. “I’ve always had respect for the MAC. It’s a great conference; competitive, hard-nosed gritty football. Everybody is going to give you their best day in and day out no matter what the team is.”

Early years and recruiting

Thompson started his high school football at Huron High School off with a bang. As a sophomore, he finished the year with 48 catches for 865 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Then things changed up a bit. Thompson’s quarterback graduated and the team was looking for a replacement. Thompson’s coach decided to move him to quarterback and see what he could do.

Cody Thompson NFL Draft

The Rockets were the only Division I offer Thompson got, and he has not disappointed. (Photo by Andy Morrison/The Toledo Blade)

Thompson didn’t disappoint. In his first year at quarterback he threw for 1,574 passing yards and 22 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,001 yards and 14 more touchdowns. He followed up his senior year with even better numbers, throwing for 1,883 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushing for 1,139 yards and 22 more scores.

Thompson had fun playing quarterback, but his heart has always been at the receiver position.

“I enjoyed quarterback, but I knew I had a passion and love for receiver,” Thompson said. “So when it came to the recruiting process I went to all my camps and everything as a receiver or an athlete. Then when I got the opportunity at Toledo, I moved to receiver. I was excited to get back to receiver.”

Thompson said switching back to receiver wasn’t a problem despite playing two years of quarterback. He said the upperclassmen on the team helped make the transition easier.

“It was pretty smooth and I’m happy with it,” he said. “I love the position I’m at now and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

When it came to recruiting, Thompson didn’t get that much attention from the Division I scene. Toledo was the only offer Thompson received. Head coach Matt Campbell (currently at Iowa State) liked what he saw in Thompson and offered him a spot on the team.

Thompson said joining the Rockets has been his greatest football-related memory to date.

“I was beyond happy and excited and kind of at a loss for words,” Thompson said. “At that moment I knew they gave me a shot and I was going to take it and commit here, and that’s what I did and I ran with it.”

Rocket life

Thompson started off slow as most freshmen do. He caught just four passes for 34 yards in his first year as a Rocket. Most of his snaps came on special teams. It wasn’t until his sophomore year that he started to make an impact on offense.

Cody Thompson NFL Draft

Thompson has been a playmaker since he first got a shot as a sophomore. (Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images)

In his sophomore season, Thompson led the Rockets in receiving yards with 825 on 37 catches, five being touchdowns. Toledo finished 10-2 that season with big wins over No. 18 Arkansas, Iowa State and No. 24 Temple in the Boca Raton Bowl. Thompson had four catches for 119 yards and a touchdown in the bowl game.

Thompson continued to get better in his junior year. The Rockets finished 9-4, although they lost in the Media Camellia Bowl against Appalachian State. But Thompson’s numbers got even better. Thompson got a school-record 1,269 receiving yards off of 64 catches and scored 11 touchdowns.

Thompson is in his senior year now and dominating the field so far. He leads the MAC conference in yards (391) and touchdown catches (four). Thompson and the Rockets have a big test Saturday against the Miami Hurricanes, who are currently ranked 14th. You can catch that game on the ACC network to watch Thompson showcase his skills.

NFL Draft

Thompson’s hard work is paying off and has captured the attention of sites like Sports Illustrated. He was also put on the NCAA’s Biletnikoff Award watch list at the beginning of the season.

Thompson now has a legit shot at the NFL. The MAC’s leading receivers for the last decade have all had stints in the NFL. Some sites like Hero Sports think Thompson could get picked as high as the third round. Depending on how well Thompson plays this season, it could be even higher.

Thompson believes NFL teams will like his intelligence and work ethic.

Cody Thompson NFL Draft

Thompson has gained college football’s attention with his hard work, intelligence and talent. (Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images)

“I’m still a pretty smart football player when it comes to football IQ, understanding the game coverages and defenses and how we gameplan and study and why we’re doing certain things,” Thompson said. “I also think I’m pretty good at tracking the ball, blocking on the perimeter, really just being a hard-nosed gritty person.”

Thompson also understands that his game has room for improvement. He believes every player has aspects of their game that can get better.

For me that is a quicker burst off the line, creating more separation at the top of my route, really every aspect of my game has room to improve on,” he said. 

Thompson’s former teammate Kareem Hunt has been the latest product from the MAC to make noise in the NFL. Hunt has already set the record for most yards from scrimmage by a player in their first game. Thompson said watching Hunt has served as motivation for him to get better and get to the next level.

It’s been amazing,” Thompson said. “Something I know he’s dreamed of his entire life and now he’s got the opportunity to do it. He’s really taken it and ran with it. What he’s done so far is just a testament to the player he is and the person he is.”

The NFL is also something Thompson has dreamed about. Right now he is focussed on working hard and finishing his time at Toledo strong.

Playing in the NFL has been a dream of mine since I was little and couldn’t even pick up a football,” Thompson said. “Ultimate goal right now is to win a championship and have the best possible senior year I can and this team can. I want to chase that with everything I have and make the most out of every opportunity.”

Thompson has been working hard his whole life to get where he is and doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. Any team that gives him a shot in the NFL won’t regret it. Thompson is the type of player that goes 100 miles an hour at all times and isn’t going to let anybody get an edge on him.

I’m always going to play and practice and compete as if i’m fighting for my spot still,” Thompson said. “I don’t think I’ve lost any complacency. It’s something that will get you beat or get your job taken from you. I don’t want to be complacent with anything.”

 

 

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Cleveland Indians winning streak

A look at the Cleveland Indians’ historic winning streak

In case you have been living under a rock for the past three weeks, the Cleveland Indians have been the hottest team in baseball with a historic winning streak.

On Wednesday, the Indians won their 21st straight game, breaking the Oakland Athletics’ American League record of 20 straight wins and tying the Chicago Cubs record of 21. Last season the Tribe set a franchise record with 14 straight wins and are looking better than ever this year.

During the streak, the Indians have been putting up video game numbers. They have dominated their opponents with incredible pitching and hitting. They have made it a point to strike first and not look back.

Let’s take a look at some of the numbers behind the Indians’ historic streak.

Lights out pitching

It all starts with pitching on the Indians. They lead all of baseball in ERA, strikeouts, complete games and shutouts, while also throwing the fewest walks.

The pitching has been even more dominant during these last 21 games. The Tribe have posted a 1.67 ERA (1.70 by starters), 193 strikeouts and just 36 walks.

The pitching staff has also posted seven shutouts, which is just as many or more than 18 teams have thrown all season. As stated before, the Indians lead the MLB with 19 shutouts. The Dodgers come in second at 14.

The starting rotation has been outstanding and are led by their ace and Cy Young candidate Corey Kluber. Kluber has pitched in four games during the streak and has gone 4-0 with 35 strikeouts and just two walks in 32 innings pitched. Kluber on the season has a record of 16-4 (tied for most wins in AL) with 243 strikeouts (second) and a 2.44 ERA (first).

Cleveland Indians winning streak

Carlos Carrasco has been one of the Indians’ dominant pitchers during this streak. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Carlos Carrasco has also been dominant during this stretch. Carrasco has gone 3-0 with a 0.62 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 29 innings pitched.

Trevor Bauer, who was on the mound when the Indians started this streak, has also been impressive, going 4-0 with a 3.38 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 24 innings pitched.

Mike Clevinger has also gotten in on the fun. In his four starts during the streak, he has gone 4-0 with a 0.38 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 23.2 innings pitched.

Cody Allen and the bullpen have also been fantastic closing games out. Allen has picked up six saves and a win in 10 appearances. He has also thrown 13 strikeouts and allowed zero runs off of five hits.

It all starts and ends with the Indians’ pitching. When you are allowing under two runs every nine innings, the bats don’t have to do too much damage. That hasn’t stopped the Indians from putting up runs on the scoreboard though.

Big bats

The Tribe has not been wasting the good pitching they have gotten. They have been contributing plenty on the offensive end as well with a team batting average of .305.

The Indians have been blowing out their opponents with a run differential over 100. The Tribe has outscored their opponents 139-35 over these 21. They have also only trailed in four of the 189 innings they have played. They have been taking the lead early in the game as they have scored first in 19 of the 21 wins. They have also outscored opponents 68-13 in the first three innings.

It all starts with Francisco Lindor. The switch-hitting shortstop and leadoff man has hit .370 and leads the Indians in hits (30), runs (19), home runs (nine) and RBIs (19). Lindor also hit his 30th home run of the season on Tuesday, which is the most by a shortstop 23 years or younger since Alex Rodriguez hit 42 during the 1999 season as a 23-year-old.

Cleveland Indians winning streak

Jose Ramirez has been proving his case for American League MVP. (Photo by Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports)

Lindor made league and team history with the mark. He joined Hal Trosky and Manny Ramirez as the only players 23 years old or younger to hit 30-plus homers in Indians history. It also tied Jimmy Rollins and Jose Valentin for the most home runs by a switch-hitting shortstop in baseball history.

Speaking of home runs, the Indians have hit 41 home runs during this streak, opposed to 35 runs allowed by the pitching staff. You read that right. 41 home runs hit and 35 runs allowed in 21 games.

Lindor isn’t the only one hitting with fire power. Edwin Encarnacion has hit five homers in this stretch and 34 on the season. Carlos Santana has also hit five of his 23 homers during this streak. Jay Bruce has only hit two during the streak while missing eight games, but also has 34 on the year.

Jose Ramirez has hit eight during the streak and 26 total. Ramirez has been quietly putting up an MVP-caliber season with a .309 batting average, 73 RBIs, 48 doubles and 80 extra-base hits.

Comparison to the A’s and Cubs

How does the Tribe stack up against the last team to win 20-straight games?

Through 20, the Indians posted a 1.60 ERA, .942 OPS and a 102 run differential. The A’s posted a 2.65 ERA, .885 OPS and a 76 run differential.

The A’s went on to finish their season with a 103-59 record and won the AL West. However, they lost the division series to the Minnesota Twins 3-2.

The Chicago Cubs won 21 straight games back in 1935. They finished the year with a 100-54 record, but lost in the World Series to the Detroit Tigers 4-2.

The New York Giants have the record for most straight games without a loss. They won 26 games and had a tie after the 12th win back in 1916. They finished fourth place in the National League that year.

All these teams got hot during the regular season, but couldn’t translate it to a World Series trophy. Even the Los Angeles Dodgers, who started this season off hot, have lost 16 of their last 18 games. They went from a 91-36 record to a 93-52 record. It is still impressive, but they have gone incredibly cold.

Cleveland Indians winning streak

Ryan Merritt has been one of the many Indians to step up and perform when needed. (Photo by Getty Images)

Another impressive thing to note about the Indians’ streak is that they have won all these games without stars like Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis, Andrew Miller and Danny Salazar. Brantley hasn’t played since Aug. 8 due to an ankle injury. Kipnis has been out since Aug. 23 after reaggrivating a hamstring injury. Miller hasn’t pitched since Aug. 21 due to a knee injury. Salazar returned last week after missing 17 games due to an elbow injury, but only for limited action. The team said he will be coming out of the bullpen the rest of the season.

Rookie center fielder Bradley Zimmer also went down this week with a hand injury and could miss the rest of the season.

Despite all these injuries, the Indians have had many young players step up. Yandy Diaz, Giovanny Urshela, Greg Allen, Erik Gonzalez and Ryan Merritt have all stepped up when needed and helped the Indians continue their elite play.

The Indians are also chasing home field advantage for the World Series as this is the first season in a while in which the winner of the All-Star Game does not get home field advantage. It will be determined by record, and the Indians are currently 3.5 games behind the Dodgers for home field advantage.

The Indians of course are playing for something bigger than a winning streak or even home field advantage. They are looking for redemption after losing the World Series to the Cubs last year after having a 3-1 lead.

It is a long season. A lot can happen in a 21-game stretch. Teams enjoy hot and cold spurts. Will the Indians continue to stay hot? Only time will tell.

 

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Jose Ramirez MVP

Where is the love for Jose Ramirez?

The MLB’s regular season is less than a month away from coming to a close. Since it is almost over, it is becoming more clear which players are in the running for the league’s most prestigious awards.

For example, take the American League MVP race. Jose Altuve seems to be in the lead and for good reason. The Astros’ second baseman is leading the league with a .351 batting average and 7.3 WAR. He has also hit 21 home runs and 72 RBIs.

Other players in MVP talk have been Aaron Judge, Jonathan Schoop and Mike Trout. Judge sure looked like he was going to win MVP along with rookie of the year at the all-star break. The Yankees’ outfielder was hitting .329 with 30 home runs and 66 RBIs. Since the break, he has hit just .183 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs. Judge’s hot start was still enough to keep him second in home runs though.

Trout missed over a month due to an injury or else he would be a more serious candidate. In 93 games, Trout has hit .324 with 27 home runs and 61 RBIs. With all that lost time, he most likely won’t be winning his third MVP award.

Schoop is new to the scene with a breakout year in Baltimore. The Orioles’ second baseman is hitting .306 with 31 home runs and ranks second in RBIs with 102.

Judge’s cold streak and Trout’s lost time will most likely keep them from winning. So why are they still in the MVP talk? MLB.com released an article a few days ago with who they felt was in the MVP race. The article mentioned Altuve, Judge and Trout, but more surprisingly Chris Sale and Corey Kluber. Sale and Kluber have been duking it out for the Cy Young, but have not really been mentioned in MVP talk. Pitchers also rarely win the MVP.

Someone is missing

There is one guy that nobody has been talking about that should be getting some consideration. That man is Cleveland infielder Jose Ramirez.

Jose Ramirez MVP

Ramirez was just named player of the week. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Ramirez has been hot at the plate recently. He was just named American League Player of the Week ending Sept. 3 after hitting .538 (14-26) with 11 extra-base hits and a 1.308 slugging percentage. It was the second time this season Ramirez has been player of the week.

He also made history with a 5-5 performance with two homers and three doubles. It made him the first switch-hitter to hit five extra-base hits in a game and the 13th player in history to do so.

I’m not saying Ramirez should win over Altuve. Altuve’s numbers are just too good. What I’m saying is Ramirez has had too good of a season to go unnoticed.

Ramirez’s stats

Ramirez is fifth in batting average at .309 and also has 25 home runs and 69 RBIs. Those numbers may not scream out like Altuve’s batting average or Judge’s home runs, but lets dig deeper into Ramirez’s season.

Ramirez leads the American League in extra-base hits with 78, 11 ahead of second-place Justin Upton and 14 ahead of Schoop. Ramirez also leads in total bases with 296, six ahead of second-place Altuve and seven ahead of Schoop. Ramirez is also leading in doubles with 47, which is 11 ahead of sixth-place Altuve.

Let’s talk about those doubles for a little bit. Ramirez could become only the seventh player in history to hit 60 doubles in a season. That is a feat that hasn’t been done since 1936 when Joe Medwick and and Charlie Gehringer both did it in the same season.

Ramirez is also second in triples with six. He’s also not an easy out as he has the seventh-fewest strikeouts with just 64. Judge is tied for the lead at 182 and Schoop struck out 123 times. Ramirez is also has a .564 slugging percentage, which ranks second behind Judge at .570.

In total hits, Ramirez is fifth with 162 behind fourth-place Schoop (163) and first-place Altuve (183). He is also fourth in runs scored with 93 behind third-place Altuve (95) and Judge, who is the leader (102). 

All the candidates are excellent defenders too, all with fielding percentages over .970.

Where is the love?

So why hasn’t Ramirez gotten more love? That is the real question.

Judge’s cold stretch and Trout’s injury will most likely keep them out, so why are they still being talked about?

Trout has won the award before and is an established star. Judge burst on the scene at the end of last year and captured the MLB’s audience with his hot start. He’s most likely going to be the next Yankee great.

Ramirez, as well as Schoop, are new to stardom. Schoop’s career highs before this year were a .279 batting average, 25 home runs and 82 RBIs. He’s exceeded all of those numbers in this season and also made his first all-star game.

Jose Ramirez MVP

Ramirez has been a big part of the Indians’ hot streak. (Photo by John Kuntz, cleveland.com)

Ramirez also made his first all-star appearance this season, and for good reason. At the break, he was hitting .332 with 17 home runs and 48 RBIs. Ramirez has continued to step up in Cleveland and contribute while some of the team’s biggest stars like Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis have gone down with injuries.

Another reason Ramirez may not be getting the credit he deserves is because of the way he is marketed in Cleveland. Baseball fans know the Indians by guys like Corey Kluber, Andrew Miller and Francisco Lindor. Kluber has won a Cy Young and is always competing for one. Miller made a name for himself last year as one of the league’s best setup men and demonstrated it in the postseason. Lindor is a two-time all-star and great defensive asset to the team.

Miller has struggled with injuries lately and Lindor has had a down year by his standards. Somehow Ramirez’s production has gotten buried amongst the city’s other stars. Perhaps the Cavaliers’ stars like LeBron James and the attention of the Kyrie Irving trade have also kept Ramirez out of the headlines.

Make no mistake, Jose Ramirez is a baller. While his core numbers may not compete with Jose Altuve’s, he has still produced tremendously and should be in the MVP talk with Altuve and maybe Schoop. Judge and Trout should not be in the talk due the the circumstances previously discussed.

Start following Ramirez now, because you are going to see plenty of him in the postseason as Cleveland has been the hottest team in the American League and are well on their way to contend for another World Series appearance. 

Oh, and he is only 24 years old, so there is plenty more to come from Ramirez in the future.

 

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Can Davis and Cousins lead the Pelicans to the postseason?

When the Pelicans initially made the blockbuster trade that brought All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans, the playoffs became a big topic of discussion.

New Orleans was 11th in the West at the time with a 23-34 record. Surely the All-Star duo of Anthony Davis and Cousins would push the Pelicans into the playoffs, right?

Not quite. The Pelicans only moved up one spot in the conference standings after the trade and finished with a 34-48 record. They only went 11-14 after Cousins arrived.

It is crazy looking back at the playoff talk. The Pelicans were supposed to reach the eighth seed and challenge the Golden State Warriors with the mismatches their frontcourt had created. How would Golden State’s backcourt deal with this obstacle?

Anthony Davis DeMarcus Cousins

The addition of Cousins did not go as planned last season. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

The question we should have been asking ourselves is how are these slow-paced big men going to deal with the tempo Golden State plays at? Yes, the Pelicans no doubt have the best frontcourt in the NBA. However, they still lacked production from the rest of the roster and had some team chemistry issues.

They got 52 points, 24 rebounds and three blocks per game from the dynamic duo, but didn’t get much from the rest of the team.

Jrue Holiday is a former All-Star, but put up a mediocre 15 points and seven assists last season as the Pelicans’ starting point guard.

The next highest scorer on the team was Jordan Crawford at 14 per game.

As a team, the Pelicans scored 104.3 points per game (18th) and allowed 106.4 (17th). With Cousins on the roster, they scored 106.5 and allowed 106.3 per game.

Besides the fact that those numbers are below average, Cousins did not seem to do too much for the team.

Davis and Cousins’ resumes

What has Cousins done in his seven seasons in the league? He’s a three-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA team member and has averaged a career 21.2 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. Something is missing though, and that is a playoff appearance.

Now I know Cousins has not had much to work with as far as teammates go in his career, but the most games the Kings ever won with him on the roster was 33.

The same can be said about Davis. He is a four-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA team member and has averaged 22.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks over his five NBA seasons. Davis has led New Orleans to one postseason appearance when they finished 45-37 in a very competitive Western Conference and were then swept by the eventual NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Other than that, Davis has only helped the Pelicans reach 34 wins in a season.

However, like Cousins, he also has not had much talent surrounding him. During the year they went to the postseason he had Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday as his supporting cast. It is by far the most talent Davis or Cousins has had around themselves.

Their circumstances are similar and have been difficult, but could Davis and/or Cousins just not have it in them?

Davis and Cousins are a whole lot of star power to be going 11-14 and missing the playoffs. The fact that they have one postseason birth in 12 years of combined experience is also interesting to think about. The fact that so many teams in the Western Conference boosted their talent is not going to make things any easier for the Pelicans.

The Warriors, Rockets and Spurs seem to be a lock for the top three seeds. The Thunder, Timberwolves and Nuggets will most likely finish four through six. That leaves teams like the Trail Blazers, Clippers, Grizzlies and Pelicans will be battling for the last two seeds.

How the Pelicans have improved

What has New Orleans done to get better? They resigned Holiday to a five-year contract and also added veteran Rajon Rondo. Rondo is by no means the player he used to be, but he did average almost 12 points and 12 assists per game two seasons ago when he was with Cousins in Sacramento. He assisted Cousins 237 times, which is the most he has had to one player in a season according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Anthony Davis DeMarcus Cousins

Davis and Cousins have been working out this summer in hopes of improving their team chemistry. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Davis and Cousins have also been working out together with a focus on team chemistry. The Pelicans definitely were not all on the same page considering their record after Cousins arrived. Davis told local reporters that chemistry is the biggest thing the former Kentucky Wildcats have been working on.

“He knows the things that I like to do, I know the things he likes to do, where he likes to score from, where I like to score from,” Davis said. “We know that we’re going to be two big focal points on every team’s scouting report, so we just wanted to get together and work out together and just figure out things we like to do.”

What if they can’t?

Will these moves be enough to push the Pelicans into the playoffs? They sure ought to.

If Davis and Cousins can’t gel together, that is going to be a big problem. Holiday and Rondo are also need to contribute and figure out how to get Davis and Cousins opportunities.

I’m not the type of guy to knock a player for never winning the Finals or even if they never play in the Finals. However, if Davis and Cousins can’t work together and lead this team to a postseason birth, that is a problem and going to put a damper on their legacy should they continue to miss the playoffs.

 

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Mayweather vs. McGregor preview: Who has the edge?

The biggest fight in history is finally going down Saturday night. Undefeated boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. will take of the UFC’s top fighter Conor McGregor.

The fight is finally upon us after so much talk and preparation. Arguments can be made for why both fighters can win.

Fans everywhere are excited for this matchup. The fight is currently second all time in StubHub sales. The only event that tops it is Mayweather’s fight against Manny Pacquiao.

Let’s take a look at each of these guys and preview how the fight could go down.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is arguably the best ever. There is a reason he is 49-0 in his career. The dude can fight.

He has generated over $1 billion over his career, earning him the nickname “money.” He has been fighting for over 20 years. He knows what he is doing.

Mayweather vs McGregor preview

Floyd Mayweather Jr. looks to get his 50th victory and retire undefeated. (Photo by Mark J Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

Mayweather does not seem too worried about McGregor, even with the change to smaller 8 oz. gloves. Mayweather is probably banking on McGregor getting very few hits on him due to his defensive fighting style.

Mayweather has also not trained as hard as he has for opponents like Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez. This speaks to the amount of respect Mayweather has for McGregor. Perhaps he is fine with 8 oz. gloves for the fight so McGregor can’t make any excuses should Mayweather earn his 50th victory.

Honestly, why should Mayweather fear McGregor? Yes, McGregor is younger and also a dominant fighter in his sport, but Mayweather has been doing this for 20 years.

“Everything in boxing that can be done, I’ve done it, a thousand times,” Mayweather said at Wednesday night’s press conference. “I was born a fighter and I’ll die a fighter. I have the skills.”

Make no mistake, Mayweather does know how to hit. Twenty-six of his 49 victories have been by knockout. It is not as high of a percentage as McGregor (86 percent), but it is still over half his fights. He just hasn’t won by knockout in six years.

Conor McGregor

So how does McGregor plan on beating Mayweather? He believes his training speaks for itself.

“You see the work I’ve put in, I’ve taken this very seriously,” McGregor said. “I will go out and perform. I will go out and outbox this man at his own game.”

Mayweather vs McGregor preview

Can Conor McGregor win against boxing’s best in his first match? (Photo by Getty Images)

There has been plenty of video showing McGregor’s training. He has had a lot of work to do and a lot of ground to cover. Like Mayweather said, he has done it all when it comes to boxing. McGregor has just been trying to learn how to box.

McGregor does not boast an undefeated record like Mayweather, but 21-3 is nothing to be upset about either.

McGregor has earned his victories as an MMA fighter. He is referred to by UFC president Dana White as a knockout artist due to the fact most of his victories have been knockouts.

Another thing McGregor has working for him is age. He is 11 years younger than Mayweather and fought three times last year. Mayweather has been enjoying retirement and hasn’t been in the ring in almost two years.

McGregor’s attacking style earns him a lot of knockouts, but it also takes energy to fight like that.

The UFC fights a maximum of five rounds, each lasting a maximum of five minutes. Boxing fights a maximum of 12 rounds, each lasting three minutes. The only five-round fight McGregor has been in was his victory over Nate Diaz last year. Most of his fights have been one or two rounds.

Mayweather, on the other hand, has not fought less than 12 rounds since 2011 when he knocked out Victor Ortiz. Based on that, it would appear Mayweather has greater endurance than McGregor.

This also may have to do with Mayweather’s defensive fighting style. He is arguably the greatest defensive fighter ever and is known for always being on the move in the ring. He does not wear himself down by throwing punches.

Who will win?

Who does Vegas think is going to win? As of now, Mayweather is a -400 favorite. McGregor sits as a +300 underdog. Originally, Mayweather opened as a -2,250 favorite with McGregor being +950.

What kind of result can we expect to get? Everybody is saying this fight will end in a knockout. Who wins by knockout has continued to be debated.

McGregor wins by knockouts, so if he wins, it will most likely be a knockout. Mayweather’s team has stated that they plan to win the fight by knockout. It is uncharacteristic of Mayweather to fight offensively, but that is the strategy he has going in.

Also, how well will McGregor do as a boxer just throwing punches? He definitely has a big task ahead of him going up against the undefeated Mayweather in his first boxing match.

McGregor is used to fighting with smaller gloves in the UFC. It will be newer to Floyd, but with smaller gloves, both guys will be able to swing faster.

Prediction: Mayweather by decision

I’m going with the experienced Mayweather in this fight, but not by knockout.

I don’t doubt McGregor’s boxing skills. However, I do have a hard time believing he can beat boxing’s best in his first match. I also don’t think it will end in a knockout due to history. Mayweather wins by defense, not by attacking. If an opportunity to knockout McGregor presents itself, maybe he takes it. Mayweather most likely has some rust he’ll have to shake off since he hasn’t fought in two years.

If the fight goes to decision, regardless of who looked better, I believe the judges will choose Mayweather. Remember, they are fighting in his hometown and why would they give Mayweather his first loss ever on a decision?

If McGregor wants to win, he is going to have to knock Mayweather out, but I think Mayweather is just too defensively-talented to let that happen.

 

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should the the nfl eliminate preseason

Why the NFL needs preseason

NFL preseason is well underway now. The top rookies are starting to make a name for themselves, quarterback battles are beginning to show who should be starting and injuries are also beginning to appear.

Perhaps the most noteworthy injury to date was the ankle sprain suffered by Odell Beckham Jr. in the Giants’ Monday night loss to the Browns.

On the play, Beckham jumped in the air to make a first-down catch. When he was in the air, Browns defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun hit Beckham in the legs when he went up for the catch. You could tell Beckham was frustrated after the play based on his reaction to flipping the ball and crouching down in pain.

NFL needs preseason

Odell Beckham Jr. got lucky after a scary play, but other players haven’t. (Photo by Getty Images)

Giants fans and fantasy owners everywhere rejoiced after finding out he only suffered an ankle sprain and not any significant leg injury or concussion.

I am not going to debate whether or not the hit by Boddy-Calhoun was clean or dirty, although I do think it is a valid question to ask if they can’t hit high or low, where are they supposed to hit?

I am also not going to debate whether or not Odell Beckham Jr. is a diva and his reaction was just him trying to draw a lot of attention to himself. Other analysts can debate that.

What I want to talk about is based on a scary play like this, should the NFL eliminate its preseason entirely?

Injuries happen all the time in preseason. Some happen to star players and some to third-string linemen. Some injuries knock these guys out for a short amount of time, a week at the most maybe. But others have suffered much longer time off, including season-ending injuries.

Beckham isn’t the only big name to get injured this preseason. Seahawks left tackle George Fant suffered a torn ACL in his right knee and will miss the entire season. Seattle was counting on Fant, who started 10 games last season, to help elevate their line play.

Bengals starting safety Shawn Williams also dislocated his right elbow this preseason. It will not require surgery, but he will miss four to six weeks.

With injuries like these, why should the NFL have a preseason? The players don’t really get paid for it. The owners don’t need the extra money preseason can generate since they are already filthy rich. Why risk a star player like Beckham’s health?

The purpose of preseason

Let’s remember what the preseason is for.

We know how good the stars are, so it is not really for them. Preseason can help the starters get back in the swing of things. It gets them playing in full pads against other talent around the league. It also usually lasts for a quarter, more or less.

NFL needs preseason

Preseason gives players like Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer an opportunity to show what he can do. (Photo by Ron Schwane/AP Images)

The main reason for preseason is to evaluate your backups. Some teams have legit battles at different positions. The Browns are one of those teams that have a quarterback battle. Will it be Brock Osweiler or DeShone Kizer? The preseason can help coaches see how well these guys can play in a game situation.

There are also other battles within the depth chart. It gives free agents an opportunity to get game snaps with their new team in a new system. New coaches also get the benefit of seeing their new team on the field and if their strategy is working. Rookies also get a taste of the NFL action so they aren’t just thrown in on week 1.

With all the changes that occur in an NFL roster from year to year, preseason is an opportunity for teams to enter the season more smoothly. It gives current players an opportunity to shake the rust off and new players an opportunity to learn and transition.

Preparation can help eliminate injuries

As crazy as this sounds, the preseason can also help prevent injuries along the way. Workouts, training camp and preseason are all in place to get the players back in shape and ready to go for the actual season. The MLB does this with spring training and the NBA also does this with summer league and their own preseason.

Let’s flashback to the 2011 NFL lockout. During this time, players did not get the preparation they needed due to the lockout. There was a boost in injuries during the start of the season.

There were 10 players who suffered ruptures to their achilles tendon before the first preseason game even was played. At the time, an average of eight achilles ruptures occurred in a full season.

Lions rookie running back Mikel Lashoure missed his whole season due to a ruptured achilles. Panthers linebacker Jon Beason only played in one game that season due to the same injury. Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles also went down due to torn knee ligaments.

Now not all of these injuries happened in preseason, but the principle still remains. If you do not prepare, you are only going to hurt yourself. Preseason helps players get in rhythm for the actual season.

Conclusion

Teams benefit from the preseason a lot.

Financially, they each host two games. Die-hard fans go to these games after not watching football since last winter. They are eager to get their fix after such a long wait. These games also get on TV, bringing in more money and publicity for the league.

Based on all of this, the NFL won’t be eliminating preseason anytime soon. Teams and players just benefit from it too much. If players are worried about injuries, maybe they should just play limited time like Tom Brady.

Honestly, if injuries are such a big concern, why even play football? Injuries don’t stop after preseason. They continue on. You never know what is going to happen on the football field.

 

Featured Image by AP Photo/Ron Schwane

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biggest moves nba offseason

Most impactful moves from the NBA offseason

NBA free agency is just about in the books. There are still a few unsigned players on the market like Nerlens Noel and Ty Lawson, but for the most part all the biggest names are signed.

Some teams majorly improved their roster and playoff chances. Others sat back and watched it happen.

Today we will look at which teams made the most impactful signings. What I mean by impactful is how much better their additions and losses make them.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota is not messing around this offseason. They have gone out and signed Jamal Crawford, Taj Gibson and Jeff Teague. Their biggest move was trading for Jimmy Butler. These guys will join Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins for a scary roster.

To acquire Butler, they had to give away Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn. However, Butler and the other free agent signings have made this roster a playoff team. They could easily finish as a fourth or fifth seed in the competitive Western Conference after finishing 13th this past season.

Minnesota is by far the most improved team in the NBA. Just wait until Towns and Wiggins reach their full potential.

Houston Rockets

impactful moves nba offseason

The Houston Rockets now have the most talented backcourt in the NBA with James Harden and Chris Paul. (Photo by SEAN M. HAFFEY / GETTY IMAGES)

The Rockets went out and grabbed Chris Paul and Luc Mbah a Moute from the Clippers. However, they had to give up key contributors like Patrick Beverly, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams to get them.

The team now has a roster that features James Harden, Eric Gordon, Chris Paul, Ryan Anderson, Trevor Ariza, Clint Capela, Mbah a Moute and Nene. If Paul stays healthy, they won’t miss Beverly and Williams too much.

On paper, it looks like the Rockets have clinched the No. 2 seed in the West. If they can add another player this offseason they will for sure have it. Their backcourt of Harden and Paul is going to be impossible to stop.

Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles did not really make a bunch of big signings, but they were involved in one of the biggest trades this offseason. They have also gone through a lot of changes in their roster and for that reason are included in this list of most impactful offseason moves.

To recap, they added Patrick Beverly, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams, and Danilo Gallinari. They also lost Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick, Raymond Felton, Luc Mbah a Moute and Paul Pierce.

The Clippers will more than likely struggle to make the postseason after losing Paul. However, they added a bunch of key role players. The star power is not really there, but I could see them finishing with the seventh or eighth seed despite their losses.

Oklahoma City Thunder

impactful moves nba offseason

Paul George will take a lot of pressure off Russell Westbrook. (Photo from SLAM Online)

Oklahoma City is looking like a threat again.

Their trade for Paul George gives Russell Westbrook a star teammate to work with. Now Westbrook will not have to do all the work himself, and the Thunder now look like a potential fourth or fifth seed in the West.

They lost Victor Oladipo and Taj Gibson this offseason, but the addition of George makes them too good to worry about those losses.

OKC needs to do everything they can to keep Westbrook and George together in the next offseason. For now, lets see how this duo performs.

Denver Nuggets

A lot of people think Denver can make the playoffs now with the addition of Paul Millsap to their young roster.

The team has a lot of young talent with Jamal Murray, Emmanuel Mudiay, Nikola Jokic, Wil Barton and Kenneth Faried. They also added promising guard Trey Lyles to the roster. Millsap is a veteran these young guns can learn from and do great things with.

After missing the playoffs by one game last season, the Nuggets are now a playoff team, possibly a fifth or sixth seed in the west.

Boston Celtics

impactful moves nba offseason

Brad Stevens and Gordon Hayward are reunited again. (Photo from Butler Athletics)

The Celtics made a lot of great moves this offseason. They added one of Brad Stevens’ former players at Butler with Gordon Hayward and also acquired Marcus Morris. They also added Jayson Tatum in the draft with their third overall pick.

The team did lose Avery Bradley in the trade for Morris though. They also lost Kelly Olynyk, another one of their role players.

However, the additions make Boston look like they can keep the top seed in the Eastern Conference this season. Of course that all depends on what the Cavs do with Kyrie Irving and how much Cleveland actually cares about their performance in the regular season.

 

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NBA Draft picks by school

Which school is really putting out the most NBA talent?

This new draft class is full of high expectations and has been called the most stacked class since 2003. It is full of exciting players like Markelle Fultz, Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, Lonzo Ball and De’Aaron Fox. Most of these top picks all came from dominating schools with the exception of Fultz, who won just nine games at Washington last season.

Tatum is from Duke. Fox is from Kentucky. These schools have been putting out a lot of draft picks the last several drafts. Kentucky has had 26 players drafted since 2011. Duke has had 19. These schools put out a lot of prospects, but how are those prospects doing? Let’s take a closer look at how the players drafted from 2011-15 are doing.

I decided not to include the 2016 draft because those players have just experienced one season and still have a lot of work to do and potential to grow. The 2017 draft hasn’t played an NBA game yet. I started back in 2011 because those guys have all played six years and it creates a nice-sized pool of players to look at. Here is what I found.

Kentucky

Out of the 26 players drafted from 2011-15, only three of them have been successful. Those players are Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker.

NBA Draft picks by school

Anthony Davis is dominating the NBA, but Michael Kidd-Gilchrist hasn’t exactly panned out as the No. 2 pick in the draft. (Photo from BoomsBeat)

Davis and Towns were both first overall picks while Booker was a 13th pick. Davis is known as one of the top players in the league today. In his five seasons with New Orleans, he has been selected to four All-Star games, two All-NBA teams and two All-Defensive teams. He has also averaged 22.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game over that stretch.

Towns has had a hot start to his career. The 2016 Rookie of the Year has averaged 21.7 points 11.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in his first two seasons with the Timberwolves. Booker’s future is also looking bright as he averaged 22.1 points per game in his second season.

Players that just did not live up to the hype include Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Julius Randle and James Young. For the amount of players they put in the draft and that one-and-done culture, you’d expect Kentucky to have more stars in the NBA.

Duke

Duke really only has Kyrie Irving and possibly Jabari Parker if it weren’t for his injuries. Irving was a No. 1 pick and Parker was a second pick.

Irving got to work right away in Cleveland, winning Rookie of the Year and hitting the game-winning shot in the 2016 NBA Finals to help the Cavs beat Golden State. He also has been named to four All-Star games and one All-NBA team while averaging 21.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game.

Parker played just 25 games during his rookie season, but bounced back his sophomore season with 76. He then only played in 51 games this past year. Injuries have bothered the 22-year-old forward.

When he has played, he has averaged 15.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He just finished his best season statistically with 20.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Hopefully for the Bucks, Parker does not become an injury prone and can help Giannis Antetokounmpo take the Bucks to a deep postseason run.

Notable Duke flops include Austin Rivers, Miles and Mason Plumlee and Kyle Singler.

Kansas

Kansas always been a good basketball program and has put out two stars in the 2014 draft with Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid.

NBA Draft picks by school

Andrew Wiggins has proven he can score in the NBA, but Joel Embiid is still trying to prove he can stay healthy. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Wiggins is developing into a good scorer with the Timberwolves. He won 2015 Rookie of the Year and has also averaged 20.4 points per game over three seasons.

Embiid played great in the 31 games he was able to this past season. He didn’t get to play until this past year due to injuries and was again halted by an injury. If he can ever stay healthy, look out for this man.

Kansas has had other stars in the past like Thomas Robinson and Ben McLemore that did not pan out, but Kansas is not known as an NBA factory like Kentucky and Duke either.

North Carolina

The Tar Heels dominate college hoops, but haven’t put out a star in the NBA in years. Harrison Barnes is the best player they have put out between 2011-15. Barnes still has an empty NBA resume with the exception of his title he won with Golden State. However, this past season as a top offensive option in Dallas, he averaged 19.1 points and five rebounds per game.

Tony Bradley Jr. is the first one-and-done player the Tar Heels have put out in over a decade. Brandon Wright was the last player before Bradley and his NBA career was below average. Hopefully for the Jazz, Bradley’s career is more eventful than Wright’s.

Summary

Other stars from this draft period include Kemba Walker from UConn, Kawhi Leonard from San Diego State, Jimmy Butler from Marquette and Isaiah Thomas from Washington. And that was just from 2011.

The point is just because all these schools like Duke and Kentucky are making noise with their recruiting doesn’t mean that will translate to NBA stardom. NBA talent comes from everywhere. Stars can come from little schools or big schools.

This statement may seem obvious, but the media can really make it look like Kentucky and Duke are the NCAA’s NBA factories. By the amount of draft picks, it surely looks like they should be. But when it comes to NBA talent, that is a different story.

 

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Kyrie Irving

Ego will kill Kyrie Irving

Imagine being the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft to one of the worst teams in the NBA. You immediately become the star of the franchise due to the lack of talent around you. The fans love and praise you for your hard work and have high hopes you will be one of the league’s best someday.

Imagine suffering through disappointing season after disappointing season. Missing the playoffs is the norm. Losing is an everyday occurrence and any win is celebrated like a Finals victory. You give it your all but it is just not enough.

Imagine one offseason your team finally does something about it. The league’s best player decides to come back home in hopes of bringing a title to his city. Following that signing, the team makes a trade for one of the best forwards in the game. Your team is now a big 3 and you guys are going to be going places. Anything short of the Finals would now be a disappointment.

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie is risking never playing in the Finals again so he can be the star of a team. (Photo by Brett Davis-USA TODAY)

Imagine making the Finals three straight years. You get to the first one only to get injured in the first game and are forced to watch your team lose from the bench.

Then the next year you are back healthy and ready to go. You hit the go-ahead shot in Game 7 over the league’s first unanimous MVP to defeat the greatest regular season team in history.

Then the next year you return, but your opponent is back with the addition of one of the league’s top two players. You flat-out dominate on the offensive end, but they are invincible and take back the title.

Imagine having little enough competition in your conference that a Finals appearance is pretty much guaranteed for a fourth straight season. You are in the prime of your career and have played in more Finals than some of the league’s great point guards before you like Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and John Stockton. What could be better?

Apparently playing in the Finals alongside the league’s best player is no longer enough for Kyrie Irving. From what reports are saying, he would rather throw all that away so he can be the best player on a team that has no shot at going to the Finals at all and maybe not even the playoffs.

Ego kills great teams

Kyrie’s ego has gotten too big. Ego is one of the biggest enemies known to successful teams. Being unwilling to accept your role on the team and getting selfish not only hurts your team, but yourself as well.

Kyrie Irving

The Cavs are almost guaranteed to make the Finals for the fourth straight year, and Irving still does not want to play in Cleveland. (Photo by Kyle Terada, USA TODAY)

Kyrie Irving, are you sure you want to throw away the once-in-a-lifetime situation you are in right now just so you can be the guy to score the most points? Are you satisfied with one title and three appearances? Are you sure that you no longer want your game to be elevated by one of the greatest of all time? I hope you know what you are doing.

Some of the top teams in today’s game have little to no ego issues at all. Look at the San Antonio Spurs. I bet you can’t tell me the last time that team missed the playoffs. Of course part of the reason for that is because the Spurs always have great players. They have had the likes of David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard and the list goes on.

When you watch the Spurs play, there really is not any ego involved. They play as a team. As stated before, the Spurs always have multiple great players on their team. However, none of them are concerned about who gets the most spotlight. Those guys play to win and also as a team. They have stuck together for so long because they have learned to play with each other and coexist.

Look at the Golden State Warriors. That is a team that like the Spurs, was mostly built through the draft. They share the ball well. It is a different guy each night that stands out.

After Kevin Durant signed, a lot of analysts and fans thought ego might get in the way of Golden State’s success. Surely Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green wouldn’t be able to play alongside each other and be okay with not being the main focus right? So far ego has not been a problem in Golden State. They are focused on one thing: winning.

The Cavs have been the opposite. There seems to be drama in Cleveland more so than the other top contenders. Irving is just the latest of it all. Owner Dan Gilbert does not seem to have the competitive drive that the rest of the NBA contenders do.

Cleveland won the title in 2016 in an upset over Golden State. Surely you’d think the team would be hungry for more right? If they are, they really aren’t acting like it.

Gilbert let general manager David Griffin go. He failed to make a trade for Paul George or Jimmy Butler and will most likely fail at a trade for Carmelo Anthony. They have done little to make the team better. Jeff Green and Jose Calderon are not going to help the Cavs beat Golden State.

Is Kyrie done in Cleveland?

Now with Irving requesting a trade, could this be the end for Cleveland? Maybe not. Kobe Bryant also requested a trade back when he was playing. Sometimes players get frustrated. Irving’s frustration may just blow over.

But then again, Kobe was in a completely different situation than Irving. He was the top player on his team and ever since Shaquille O’Neal left L.A. after not getting along with Bryant, the team struggled. Kobe had Smush Parker and Kwame Brown helping him out and it was not working. He wanted to go to a winning situation.

Irving already is in one. Not many players would want to leave a team who has made the Finals three straight years to go to a team that won’t.

Only time will tell if the Cavs can get it together and if Kyrie Irving can coexist with LeBron James in Cleveland. If he ends up following through with this trade request, he may never play in the Finals again. He must be pretty confident that he can lead a team. But with the situation and talent that surrounds the NBA, Irving is going to have a very difficult time doing that.

 

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NBA summer league

Stop making a big deal about NBA Summer League

NBA fans are still continuing to find ways to get their fix of NBA action despite the fact the league is in its offseason.

There have been many big storylines so far. There has been a lot of noise made in free agency with signings like Gordon Hayward moving to the Boston Celtics. There have been many big trades like Chris Paul to the Rockets and Paul George to the Thunder. There have also been big extensions like James Harden’s new deal.

All the big contenders are looking to improve and give the Warriors and Cavaliers a run for their money.

The 2017 NBA Draft also drew a lot of attention. This new class of rookies is expected to be the most talented since the 2003 class that consisted of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Names like Markelle Fultz, Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson and Lonzo Ball are expected to dominate the league for years to come.

Speaking of Lonzo Ball, he has also continued to stay in the league’s headlines since the draft. This is nothing new for the former UCLA point guard as his father Lavar has said plenty of insane comments about his son to put him in the spotlight.

However, Lonzo has been in the headlines recently not because of things his dad has said, but because of the numbers he is putting up in the NBA’s Summer League. He has already put up a triple-double and been looking like the star his dad claims he will be. There has even been talk about what type of shoes he performs best in. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Summer league means nothing

This is not a “hate on Lonzo Ball” article. I love the guy. I like his attitude and his style of play. He’s a good kid with a lot of potential.

What this article is really about is the summer league. NBA fans are so hungry for action that they are sitting around watching rookies and players from the D-League duke it out in what is basically a scrimmage.

Baseball junkies do this with spring training. NFL junkies do this with the preseason. They have waited so long to see their favorite sport in action that they are willing to watch scrimmages between backups and guys that are fighting for a spot on the team.

I’m also not hating on fans that watch spring training games or preseason football. You do you. What I am trying to point out is that you can’t make any assumptions or predictions based on what you see in preseason.

NBA summer league

Lonzo Ball has been looking like the player his dad says he is, but it is still just summer league. (Image by Getty Images)

In preseason sports, the starters hardly play. The backups dominate and sometimes fight for starting roles. There are undrafted players who are just hoping to earn a spot on the team. The competition is there since they are fighting for spots on the team, but the talent and skill sets aren’t.

The NBA’s Summer League is no exception. This is an opportunity for rookies from this year’s class to learn the NBA’s style of play. It is their chance to work with their coaches and learn about the offensive and defensive schemes.

It is also an opportunity for guys from the D-League to come up and show what they can do. There are also a handful of undrafted players fighting for a spot on the team, or at least a D-League roster.

This is the competition Lonzo Ball is playing. He is facing other guys he played against in college, guys that will hardly play in the NBA and guys that may never play in the NBA.

If Ball is even a tenth as good as his dad claims he is, then he surely should be dominating this competition. Shouldn’t he be able to handle the likes of Kay Felder? There is no LeBron James to face, no Steph Curry to worry about, no Russell Westbrook to guard and no James Harden to slow down. I also don’t hear anybody making noise about Bryn Forbes averaging 26 points per game for the Spurs.

Conclusion

Keep in mind what the summer league is all about. You can’t make any conclusions on rookies like Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum or even Ball. They aren’t playing any competition yet.

Why then does ESPN keep putting Ball’s stats in their top stories? I don’t know. My guess is because LaVar has captured the media’s attention and they are always going to continue to report on him, even when it is something as meaningless as summer league.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be going around bragging about the 40 points I put up in an intramural basketball game I played in at college. That is basically what preseason sports stats are like, especially summer league when no stars or even starters or sixth men can be found. So let’s cool it on the hype over Ball and wait and see what the kid does once the real competition comes his way.

 

Featured image retrieved from Sporting News

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