Why Kyrie Irving’s message to the Cavs makes sense

Just when you thought the NBA offseason was done, Kyrie Irving shocked the basketball world. As you might have heard, this past Friday, Irving requested a trade from the Cavs, in hopes to find a bigger role. Apparently, Irving would like to play in a situation where he is more of the guy, and not just LeBron James’ sidekick.

Kyrie is tired of playing Robin to LeBron James’ Batman, and has voiced that Minnesota, New York, Miami or San Antonio would be his preferred destinations.

So why does leaving a team coming off three straight Finals appearances make sense? Well, when you play with LeBron, and are on pace to be one of the best scoring point guards this game has ever seen, leaving is actually the most intelligent option.

HOW LEBRON PLAYED A ROLE IN KYRIE’S DECISION

Of course, everyone is so quick to say that LeBron is a problem everywhere he goes, and that he is the reason for Kyrie wanting out. If going to seven straight Finals is an issue, then please sign me up.

The relationship between James and Irving is not the problem (cavaliersnation.com)

LeBron’s past is what influenced Kyrie to take his talents elsewhere, not his relationship with James. James set a precedent back in 2010 when he originally left the Cavs to play for the Miami Heat. After four straight Finals appearances, he then showed again just how powerful the best players in the world can be by going back home to Cleveland.

These past few years, Kyrie has realized a few things. Number one, the Cavs didn’t get any better and showed no signs of doing anything to defeat the Warriors. Number two, the Cavs ownership has built the team under “win now” circumstances, which has destroyed the Cavaliers future. Instead of holding onto Andrew Wiggins, they demanded they get Kevin Love. After winning the championship, the Cavs gave horrible contracts to Tristan Thompson and JR Smith.

Quite frankly, LeBron has already delivered on his promise, which was to bring a championship to Cleveland. James continues to pride himself on never losing leverage, which is why he is yet to commit long term to the Cavaliers. This is not about the relationship between LeBron and Kyrie, but instead, about players looking ahead and realizing what the future will reveal.

How Cleveland’s antics forced Kyrie into this situation

Barring injury, the Warriors will again be NBA champions. You really think a 33-year-old James will want stick around in Cleveland after back-to-back Finals losses? Especially in a city that no free agent wants to even take a look at? Say what you want, but there is absolutely no chance LeBron stays with a team of veterans, and an ownership who refused to make moves to help defeat Golden State. In my mind, James will end up with the Lakers or Sixers, two young talented teams who James can lead into the playoffs.

Knowing LeBron’s past decisions and the fact that Cleveland is not a draw for top free agents, why in the world would Kyrie want to continue to play for the Cavs? If LeBron leaves, he would be stuck with a team of veterans with bad contracts.

Some people might wonder why Irving wouldn’t just play this season out and get one more swing at the Warriors. Irving, who has two seasons left until he can opt out of his deal, realizes how hard it is to get traded when you only have one season left on your contract. Just ask Paul George.

Teams either need a long term commitment, or pray that they can sell the player on their future plans. With two years left, Irving is already drawing interest from over a dozen teams. Speaking of George, the Cavaliers’ talks with him and Jimmy Butler are what most likely sparked Irving’s decision to want to play elsewhere.

The final straw

The final straw for Kyrie was when he found out that he was mentioned in trade talks for Jimmy Butler and Paul George. Why would he want to stay with a franchise that tried to trade him this summer? Do the Cavs actually think either of those players gives them a better chance than Kyrie, who has outplayed Steph over the past two Finals?

All this madness explains exactly why Kyrie Irving would want out of Cleveland. The team didn’t any better, LeBron will most likely leave after this year and they even tried to trade him. Yes, the same 25-year-old who made one of the biggest shots in NBA Finals history.

Now that the Kyrie era in Cleveland appears over, let’s take a look at just how good this kid is.

THE BEST SCORING POINT GUARD OF ALL TIME?

Possibly the greatest NBA Finals shot (NBA.com)

Only three guards, before their age 25 season have scored more than Irving: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Stephon Marbury, who Irving has already passed in win shares. Yes, Kyrie ranks fourth all time in scoring, for guards, before their age 25 season. He is on pace to be the best scoring point guard ever, and is extremely efficient.

For three out of his first five seasons, Irving averaged at least 21 points/5 assists/3 rebounds on 45 percent shooting or better. The only point guards with more seasons of those numbers are Jerry West, Steph Curry and Magic Johnson.

It’s scary because we probably haven’t even seen the best version of this guy.

His postseason numbers are what really sets him apart. At only 25, Kyrie already has two postseasons of averaging at least 25 points /4 assists on 46 percent shooting from the field, and 87 percent from the line. No other point guard has done this more than once, and the only other player to accomplish this more than Irving was Larry Bird, who did it four times during his Hall of Fame career.

Is his playoff success just during the early rounds? Of course not. While only playing in two Finals, Irving already has three games with at least 30 points/3 assists /3 rebounds on 55 percent shooting or better, which is most ever by a point guard.

PLAYERS WITH NBA FINALS GAMES WITH AT LEAST 30/3/3 ON 55% SHOOTING OR BETTER

PLAYER  # OF GAMES
MICHAEL JORDAN 7
SHAQUILLE O’NEIL 7
LEBRON JAMES 5
KEVIN DURANT 4
DWAYNE WADE 4
KYRIE IRVING 3

 

Kyrie is also the only player in NBA Finals history to score at least 40 points on 70 percent shooting or better.

Like his decision or not, Kyrie Irving is going to go down as the best scoring point guard of all time. With already one ring on his hand, Irving has put himself in the conversation for best point guard ever. While eclipsing Magic will be hard, Irving could easily solidify himself as number two.

Where will Irving end up? (weartesters.com)

When all is set and done, Irving, barring injury, could easily put up more points than any other true point guard. With one championship already, he will go down ahead of Steve Nash and John Stockton, two players who were unable to win a title.

All he is chasing is Isiah Thomas, not the one who is the worst defender in the league, but the Pistons’ star who won two titles, and Steph Curry, who Irving can dominate.

If Irving can win at least one MVP, and get back to being a champion, watch out.

Maybe the Cavaliers should have thought about how good he is, rather than shopping him around for players who wouldn’t help get them by Golden State. Maybe they should have focused more on the future, but then again, there is a reason why the 2016-17 NBA championship was their first in franchise history.

 

Featured image by gospelherald.com

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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.

 

Featured image by Jason Miller/Getty Images

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The new look C’s: Boston Celtics 2018 Preview

As the NBA offseason cycles through, many basketball fans find it hard not to talk about the upcoming Boston Celtics. From trading rising star Avery Bradley and trading the first overall pick, we have just begun on the changes that Danny Ainge and his organization have made.

Gordon Hayward signs with the c’s

Gordon Hayward was one of the biggest free agents available this offseason, and had offers from Miami, Utah and of course, Boston.

Hayward poses in All Star Game gear (purpleandblues.com)

However, Boston had something that stood out more than their past legends, Larry Bird, Bill Russell and a franchise with 17 total NBA championships: Head coach Brad Stevens. For those who don’t know the reasoning behind Stevens, Gordon Hayward played for Brad Stevens at Butler University, where Stevens coached in the past.

Right away, that boosted the Celtics’ chances of capturing yet another NBA All-Star.

Days later, Gordon Hayward officially signed with Boston on a four-year, $127,829,970 contract, doubling his recent contract of four years, $62,965,420 with the Utah Jazz.

The only downside of signing the recent All-Star is dealing with the nonexistent cap space. Boston needed to free cap space to sign Hayward to his full contract, which led to Boston trading away Avery Bradley, a beloved player in the eyes of Boston fans.

Boston traded Bradley to the Detroit Pistons, receiving Marcus Morris. Many are against this trade, but don’t forget the fact that Bradley is a free agent next season, who inevitably will ask for more money. This is something the Celtics cannot afford after the signing of Gordon Hayward.

third overall pick: jayson tatum. sf (duke)

The Celtics drafted Jayson Tatum with the third overall pick in the draft.

Tatum poses with the Celtics Front Office (boston.cbslocal.com)

Arguably the best man in this year’s draft, Jayson Tatum will bring his talents to Boston this upcoming season, bringing nothing but excitement to the organization and fans.

At Duke, Jayson Tatum recorded a total of 488 points, averaging 16.8 points per game as well as 7.3 rebounds per game, and shot nearly 50 percent on field goals in his single season with the Blue Devils. Tatum was ranked No. 3 in the 2016 ESPN Top 100 going into Duke University.

By the looks of the media, it seems like Tatum has already built chemistry with this Celtics roster, especially with Jaylen Brown who was a third overall pick in the NBA Draft two drafts ago. The two stars have referred to themselves as “7/11, always open” indicating their jersey numbers and the fact that they both hold great abilities to create openness on the court and sinking any shot.

Jayson Tatum will be a great attribute to this particular Celtics team. Whatever role Stevens gives him, Tatum will exceed.

depth

In addition to Gordon Hayward and rookie Jayson Tatum, the Celtics welcome Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes to the team, as well as key new players like Shane Larkin, Semi Ojeleye and Ante Zizic.

The Celtics made big moves to create a roster that embarks on winning a NBA championship.

Celtics coach, Brad Stevens (bostonglobe.com)

According to ABC News, Celtics president Danny Ainge said “I feel like our team is in better position than last year.”

Not to mention that the Celtics were NBA Eastern Conference finalists last season. The C’s look to change that to NBA East Champions, and even NBA Champions. With these added players, this goal is fully achievable.

How will this be done? Last season, the Celtics finshed 27th out of 30 teams in total rebounds, yet still managed to win the Eastern Conference regular season title. Simply, the Celtics needed more big men.

After one offseason, they have introduced a 6-8 forward in Jayson Tatum, a 7-foot center in Ante Zizic, a 6-10 center inn Aron Baynes and a 6-9 forward in Marcus Morris. These are all solid players with great height.

Mix this height with stars like Isaiah Thomas, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, and you have a team with full potential to raise Boston’s 18th NBA Championship.

Brad Stevens will have a full roster with complete talent this upcoming season. With the new arrivals and established stars, the Celtics are trending up for next season.

 

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Summer League Stars: statistics mean nothing until they play poorly

Playing well in the summer league is expected for most first-round draft picks. They are the top talents competing and therefore should put up star numbers. When stars underperform against less competitive talent than the players they will see in the regular season, it raises red flags.

Many first-round picks who were expected to dominate summer league scuffled. Even though it is “just summer league”, the talent is only going to get better and more competitive moving forward. The sample size in summer league is only a few games, but who’s to say that the regular season statistics get better?

Here’s a couple players who caused some concern after their summer league performances.

Lottery pick:

Summer League

Zach Collins, Photo Courtesy of Hoop Habits.

Many were surprised to see Zach Collins taken as high in the draft as he was. Regardless of where he was selected, he underperformed even for a late first-rounder.

Collins only played in three games this summer but averaged 6.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in just over 23 minutes of game play. He shot 26.1 percent and went just 6-for-23 from the field overall.

Coming out of Gonzaga, he was valued for spreading the floor and shooting 47.6 percent from three, but has sputtered and has been missing those same opportunities this summer.

The good news is Collins will be one of the few lottery picks who plays better as a deferred option. At Gonzaga, he played just 19.3 minutes per game, and although the potential was high, it was clear he wasn’t going to be a team’s number one option.

Collins will increase his productivity and will shine as a rim protector for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Late First Round

Summer League

Tyler Lydon, Photo Courtesy of NBA.com.

Lydon has struggled the most of anyone this summer. In 121 summer league minutes, Lydon had just 12 points and shot just 4-for-20.

Lydon does almost all his work with under two dribbles, whether it’s in the post or from the perimeter. He works off of other people because he struggles to create shots for himself.

One statistic that is alarming is that Lydon shot 2-for-15 from three. As a strong catch and shoot threat, for Lydon to shoot just 13 percent from three is not promising.

Moving Forward

Summer league isn’t judgement day, and there’s still plenty of time for players to save themselves from being a bust.

With players just beginning to adjust to the NBA style of play, hiccups are expected. At the same time, almost every star in the last two NBA Drafts has performed which sets the precedent for others to put up star numbers.

All NBA fans enjoy speculating about the players they see in summer league, yet some of the players in the league aren’t even 19 years old yet. There is still time for almost every player to grow into the players that NBA teams believe they will be.

Summer league statistics don’t mean a thing when the regular season starts, but thus far, a few players have yet to live up to their draft slot.

 

Featured Photo Courtesy of NBA.com.

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It’s on the Haus: Carmelo Anthony, Red Sox release Pablo Sandoval, Bartolo Colon could retire and most popular NFL jerseys

It’s on the Haus is a daily installment of sports news from the past day. Rather than waiting an entire hour to see the big news on a television program or come to multiple stories on multiple websites to get your sports fix, It’s on the Haus gives you the biggest sports happenings all in one place. You may feel guilty for reading this concise article that gives you everything you need to know, but don’t worry, It’s on the Haus. The SEO focus keyphrase for your viewing pleasure: Carmelo Anthony Red Sox release Pablo Sandoval Bartolo Colon retire

Yesterday’s edition: J.D. Martinez trade, Carlos Correa on the shelf, Julian Edelman has one less #hater and Kyrie’s incredibly low 2K rating

Carmelo Anthony just wants to be loved

The struggle is real for Carmelo Anthony. His boisterous contract has disrupted a New York Knicks franchise that already is dealing with turbulence which has caused the $32 million man to be surrounded by trade rumors.

Carmelo Anthony Red Sox release Pablo Sandoval Bartolo Colon retire

No one will take the plunge with Carmelo Anthony, and he is sad. (Photo: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports).

Cleveland confessed its love to Melo, but the love wasn’t enough as no trade was made. The Rockets have also admitted Melo makes their heart go pitter-patter, but there’s still been no deal.

If there’s anything Carmelo Anthony knows better than any of us, it’s that actions speak louder than words. Sure, some franchises say they want Anthony, but no one has followed through yet.

That all could change as yet another party is interested in Anthony’s services. Trail Blazers’ guards Damien Lillard and CJ McCollum are vying for the small forward’s talents, and it’s clear Anthony will not be playing with New York to open the season.

Rumors mean basically nothing this offseason. We heard the Rockets were on the “2-yard line” in a trade for Anthony, but it appears that has fallen through. Just because some Trail Blazers players want Anthony means nothing, because every team wants Anthony.

No one loves Carmelo enough to trade for him, and that’s just a shame. I truly hope Anthony’s psyche won’t take too much of a hit during this time.

Boston Red Sox dump a panda

Pablo Sandoval (better known as Kung Fu Panda) was officially released by the Boston Red Sox yesterday. Sandoval hit .212 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in just 32 games with the Red Sox this season.

Carmelo Anthony Red Sox release Pablo Sandoval Bartolo Colon retire

Boston isn’t the only thing giving up on Sandoval this season (see: his belt). Photo: Jim Davis/The Boston Globe

This is really only news because of how good Sandoval was with San Francisco. He peaked early in his career, with his best season in terms of WAR (6.1) coming in 2011.

Sandoval was good, but then he got fat.

Boston asked him to lose weight upon arrival in 2015, and Sandoval did, for at least a little while. However, all good things must come to an end, and Kung Fu Panda got chubby again.

The Giants plan on signing Sandoval to a minor league contract, so if this really is the last time we see Sandoval in a major league uniform, we might as well remember him at his peak.

Big Bart may call it quits

Carmelo Anthony Red Sox release Pablo Sandoval Bartolo Colon retire

Big Sexy is a walking masterpiece of art (Photo: Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports).

While yesterday’s article focused on #haters, today’s article is apparently all about extra-large MLB players.

Bartolo Colon was released by the Atlanta Braves on July 6, and the Minnesota Twins nabbed him three days later. Colon threw just four innings of mediocre baseball in his debut with the Twins, and now Big Bart is mulling retirement.

Colon is 44 years old and nearing the end of the road in his time in the MLB. It looks like Colon may call it quits before MLB teams can decide his fate for him, so who can get mad at him for that?

I’ve always been a big fan of Big Sexy. He’s brought life to every stadium he’s pitched in an unconventional way. His clumsiness at the plate has been well-documented. Colon has kinda sucked this year, but I sure hope his time in the MLB isn’t over.

I propose Colon do his best to pitch for every single team in the MLB before retirement. He’s already played for 10 teams, and there’s almost enough time to pitch for a different team every fifth day before the season ends. Big Sexy may have bigger (ha, see what I did there) things to worry about, but I hope he’ll at least consider my proposition.

A report on who gets their jersey bought the most

NFLshop.com released this fancy graphic yesterday that displayed each state’s highest-purchased jersey. Marshawn Lynch has dominated sales on the west coast, while apparently the state of Ohio has a secret Greg Olsen fan club that I’m unaware of.

It’s no surprise to see Lynch leading sales in many states thanks to his coming out of retirement. The biggest shock on this list is the fact that the state that I reside in, Ohio, is apparently full of Greg Olsen lovers.

Now, I’ve gushed over Olsen plenty in my life. His durability and charisma is charming. However, I have never once seen a person in my state wearing a Greg Olsen jersey. Now, I don’t get out much, but still.

This is also completely random. My guess for Ohio’s most-purchased jersey would be A.J. Green. If it’s not a Bengal, it certainly not a Brown, so it’d have to be one of the more popular players in the league. From there, my thought process trends towards either Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers.

But Greg Olsen? How many of our fun-loving but heaven help us clueless mothers could name Tom Brady? Probably most if they live in a house that watches sports like mine. However, there’s no way near as many mothers (or people in general) have heard of Greg Olsen.

There has to be a conspiracy here, and I’m using my interns to launch an in-depth investigation. This is my promise to you: We will get to the bottom of this conspiracy that I’m dubbing #OlsenJerseyInOhio-Gate.

 

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It’s on the Haus: J.D. Martinez traded, Carlos Correa injury, Julian Edelman has one less hater and Kyrie’s 2K rating

It’s on the Haus is a daily installment of sports news from the past day. Rather than waiting an entire hour to see the big news on a television program or come to multiple stories on multiple websites to get your sports fix, It’s on the Haus gives you the biggest sports happenings all in one place. You may feel guilty for reading this concise article that gives you everything you need to know, but don’t worry, It’s on the Haus. The SEO focus keyphrase for your viewing pleasure: J.D. Martinez trade Carlos Correa injury Julian Edelman Kyrie Irving

Yesterday’s edition: Zeke was wildin’, players react to Panthers GM firing, NBA Summer League sucks, Jeremy Lin to be drug tested

J.D. Martinez shipped to Arizona

Yesterday evening, the Detroit Tigers traded outfielder J.D. Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks for three prospects. The most notable prospect the Tigers picked up is Dawel Lugo, the fourth-best prospect in Arizona’s farm system.

Lugo is a 22-year-old prospect who’s currently playing at the Double-A level. He’s amassed seven dingers and 43 RBIs with a .282 batting average.

Martinez didn’t play his first game of the season until May 12, but he’s produced like the All-Star he is since he’s season debut. In 57 games, he’s hit .305 with 16 home runs and 39 RBIs.

Martinez is the first Tiger to be traded from the Motor City, with more players expected to be given away. This newest Diamondback is #blessed, as he’s now a member of one of the brightest franchises in the MLB, and no longer a member of an upside-down trash truck that crashed into Lake Erie.

Carlos Correa is latest loss the Astros have suffered

J.D. Martinez trade Carlos Correa injury Julian Edelman Kyrie Irving

Carlos Correa will be absent from the best team in the AL for up to two months (Photo: AP).

The Houston Astros placed All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa on the disabled list yesterday due to a torn ligament in his thumb. Correa injured it on a swing in the Astros’ 9-7 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Monday. Correa is expected to be out for 6-8 weeks and will go under the knife, but a surgery date has not been set.

The 2015 AL Rookie of the Year is hitting .320 with 20 home runs and 67 RBIs this season, all good for at least second-best in the MLB among shortstops. Correa also has the second-best offensive WAR in the MLB at 4.74, only trailing his teammate Jose Altuve.

The Astros have clearly had strokes of bad luck in the past couple days. Not only do they lose Correa, but Carlos Beltran’s glove was also laid to rest two days ago. Beltran hasn’t played in the field since May, so Brian McCann and George Springer led a memorial service for the team’s fallen friend.

Beltran is hitting .235 this season with 12 home runs and 37 RBIs and has only played nine games in the field compared to 66 games at designated hitter. With the loss of Correa and Beltran’s glove, Houston may only get 100 wins rather than the 108 wins they’re on pace for.

Godspeed to the entire organization during this tough season.

julian Edelman has one less hater

It’s no secret that Julian Edelman has had to battle various obstacles on his journey to becoming one of the most well-respected wide receivers in the NFL. Coming from a small school in Kent State, playing quarterback in college, being a seventh-round draft pick and moving to full-time wide receiver in the NFL all added up to him being a longshot for success in the NFL.

Apparently his English prof from the College of San Mateo (CA) was one of the many #haters Edelman has had over his career.

I find it quite odd that this prof didn’t believe in Edelman’s dream, yet still had the audacity to call Edelman by his nickname, Jules. I mean, where does this guy get off thinking he can smash the dreams of the NFL’s most squirrely player yet send him a small note to apologize. Mind you, this isn’t even a hand-written note. Again, where does this guy get off?

We all know that Edelman is part of a system offense led by a system quarterback in Tom Brady, and that’s a fact (oh, sarcasm doesn’t translate over text, you say?). But nevertheless, Edelman’s numbers have surpassed even the most optimistic expectations, and for that, Edelman deserves all the kudos in the world, I guess.

Kyrie Irving’s 2K rating is just disrespectful

J.D. Martinez trade Carlos Correa injury Julian Edelman kyrie irving

Kyrie Irving is a baller and everyone expect for 2K knows it (Photo: bleacherreport.com).

The #haters have been having a rough go of it lately. Not only did I beat the haters by getting an Instagram account, but even Julian Edelman’s haters are suffering.

However, we live on a spinning sphere that no one truly understands, and each day we live here, we are hurled toward another great awakening that pushes our spineless world one step closer to forgetting that The Office is the greatest phenomenon to ever happen to us.

Kyrie Irving, NBA 2K18’s cover athlete, was given a 90 overall rating for 2K’s newest edition. Despite our best efforts, the haters are alive and well, folks.

Irving is the freaking cover athlete. Did 2K really think it’s OK to give Irving, the undisputed greatest all-around point guard in the NBA (undisputed by me, at least), a rating that’s only four points better than Devin Booker, or God help me Joel freaking Embiid? That’s super cute, but if Irving were to go one-on-one with Booker, Irving would win 21-2. This is an abomination.

I don’t care if 2K names Gilbert Arenas the cover athlete for next year’s game. Whoever gets the nod should be rated at least a 94. Kyrie deserves at least a 96, and he is well aware of it.

If NBA Live didn’t suck, I wouldn’t be throwing my money at 2K for yet another year for this tomfoolery. Mark my words: 2K will rue the day for this mistake, and there’s no denying that.

 

Feature image: Tom Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images

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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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Caleb Swanigan NBA Summer League: Progressing to NBA big man

Caleb Swanigan is a rookie out of Purdue University. Swanigan is a 6-foot-10, 250-pound traditional big man. He is the 26th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and yet still seems to be undervalued.

Swanigan has been dominating the less desired competition in the NBA Summer League. He is proving that he can adapt his game to the current NBA style.

As a traditional big, Swanigan has been working to extend his consistent range past the three-point line. As Swanigan continues to improve his game, the NBA will find out just how good the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year is.

NBA Summer League

Caleb Swanigan NBA Summer League

Caleb Swanigan working in the post. Photo Courtesy of Lohud.com.

Obviously summer league statistics don’t tell too much of a story, but Caleb Swanigan has been dominating regardless. In his five games this summer, Swanigan is averaging 14.6 points and 10.6 rebounds in 29 minutes per game. He has three double-doubles and is shooting 42.6 percent from the field.

Swanigan has grabbed the second-most rebounds of any player this summer and has complemented Zach Collins very well when Collins has been on the floor. Swanigan has proven that he can beat you in many different ways both this summer and in his two years at Purdue.

Since his freshman year of college, Swanigan has been trying to get himself more NBA ready. Swanigan shot just 29.2 percent from three on 72 attempts his freshman season at Purdue. In his sophomore season, he followed that by shooting 44.7 percent on 85 attempts from the 3-point line.

Showing how quickly and well he adapted to the talent in the Big Ten, Swanigan turned in some big time numbers in his sophomore season.

In a league where big men are shifting to being more versatile and perimeter oriented, Swanigan is showing just how much of an all-around threat he can be.

Portland Trail Blazers Tandem

Caleb Swanigan NBA Summer League

Caleb Swanigan, Photo Courtesy of NBA.com.

The Trail Blazers drafted two big men in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft. Both big men have different games that work well together.

Swanigan is a primarily low post threat, with an ability to pick and pop and make a mid-range jumper. Collins is a good passer, also with the ability to step out and hit a mid-range jumper. Both can rebound the ball well and have high energy. Collins protects the rim very well with his size and long arms.

With the Trail Blazers’ guards as good as they are, having two big men develop could make them perennial playoff contenders. Swanigan has been improving and adapting nearly every year he has played basketball and with the NBA waiting for him, there is a lot of time to prove how good he really is.

 

Featured Image Courtesy of NBA.com.

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Top five NBA Summer League players

The NBA Summer League is a time for players to prepare for the speed of an NBA game. In years past, some of the best statistical summer league stars did not translate their games to the NBA.

Some of the most impressive players of the 2017 NBA Summer League are not who many thought they would be. This summer league is filled with lots of depth and future NBA stars.

Here are the top five players who have turned heads in this year’s NBA Summer League.

Bryn Forbes

top five NBA Summer League players

Bryn Forbes, Photo Courtesy of News Locker.

Somewhat of an expected star in this year’s summer league is Bryn Forbes. Forbes is an undrafted second-year player out of Michigan State.

Forbes is a member of the San Antonio Spurs’ summer league team and has blossomed into a very lethal scorer.

In the summer league, Forbes is averaging 23.7 points per game, while shooting 43.6 percent from the field. Bryn is also grabbing three rebounds and dishing out three assists per game.

He was a known 3-point sniper out of college, and he has added an off-dribble game and has become even more difficult to guard.

Forbes is not a stranger to shining in the summer league, being that he shined almost as bright as a rookie in last year’s preseason.

Forbes could make the step into being a consistent rotation player for the San Antonio Spurs and Gregg Popovich.

Donovan Mitchell

top five NBA Summer League players

Donovan Mitchell, Photo Courtesy of Purple and Blues.

Mitchell is the 13th overall pick and has had possibly the best summer league of anyone so far. The extremely athletic guard has impacted the game in many different ways.

In the games this summer, Mitchell is averaging 26.4 points on 39.6 percent shooting. Donovan is averaging 2.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists a game.

Mitchell has been more offensive-minded after developing his game in his two years at Louisville.

He also has the summer league-high this year with 37 points. In that same game he also had eight steals to show how complete of a player he is.

He has also nearly doubled his point totals in each of his last three years of basketball.

Mitchell is the definition of a player with a high ceiling. He seems to be just scratching the surface of the things that he can do for the Utah Jazz.

Jayson Tatum:

top five NBA Summer League players

Jayson Tatum, Photo Courtesy of Chowder and Champions.

Tatum is the No. 3 pick in the 2017 draft. Tatum has lived up to his summer league hype, by both scoring and ball handling for the Boston Celtics.

In the summer, Tatum is averaging 18.2 points on 44.6 percent shooting. Jayson is also grabbing 8.8 rebounds and has 1.5 assists a game.

Tatum has done a little bit of everything for the Celtics. He has made some big shots in the fourth quarter and has also shown he can score off the dribble.

He also has shown that he is a very good rebounding small forward, which is the Celtics’ biggest problem.

Tatum will have to adjust to an off-ball game when the regular season starts, due to Isaiah Thomas, but for right now he is showing that he has a more complete game than people thought.

Dakari Johnson

top five NBA Summer League players

Dakari Johnson, Photo Courtesy of Mash Media.

Johnson is in his third NBA season. Dakari was the 48th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and a former Kentucky Wildcat.

Dakari was a very proven D-league (now G-league) player, turning in an All-Star campaign in 2017.

Johnson is a very physical post player who scores almost all his points around the rim.

No stranger to the summer league, Johnson has 18.5 points on 56.9 percent shooting in four games. He also has 5.5 boards and 1.8 assists per game.

Although Johnson is not rebounding as well this summer as he typically does, he is showing that he can dominate the paint and could help be a rotation big man for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Bam Adebayo:

top five NBA Summer League players

Bam Adebayo, Photo Courtesy of Heat Zone.

Adebayo is the 14th overall pick in the 2017 draft. Bam is a 20-year-old former Kentucky Wildcat that can really protect the rim.

After not having many plays drawn up for him at Kentucky, Bam is trying to prove himself as an offensive weapon.

This summer he is averaging 16.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists for the Miami Heat.

One of his weaknesses is his free throw shooting and his foul trouble.

Bam is a strong defensive presence and can really provide value standing alongside Hassan Whiteside for the Miami Heat.

Bonus: Okaro White

White is out of Florida State and is complimenting Bam on the Miami Heat summer league team. Okaro is a very good shooter who can stretch the floor.

He is averaging 19 points on 37.7 percent shooting. He averages 8 rebounds and 1.8 assists a game this summer.

As the league shifts to the more athletic big man that can guard pick and rolls and shoot the three, Okaro White’s stock is continuing to rise.

 

As the NBA regular season is approaching, players are searching to make rosters in the summer league. Some of the players who have impressed the most may not translate into stardom when they start playing against the serious talent.

In a league where players are trying to adapt to the speed and skill of the next level, these six players have impressed the most so far in the 2017 NBA Summer League.

 

Featured Photo Courtesy of NBA.com

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Why Big Baller Brand will be a Major Success

Following the worst game of his life and a slip up in the Big Baller Brand shoes, Lonzo Ball was heavily critiqued on social media, most notably by WNBA star Elena Delle Donne.

After receiving heavy backlash for the tweet, Delle Donne responded with how she likes Lonzo and would never root against him, but she is not a fan of the shoes. Is Delle Donne right? Should Lonzo have just followed the path of previous prospects and signed with a major shoe company? In most cases I would say yes, but when your father is a marketing genius, the Big Baller Brand makes perfect sense.

The Dude can play

A night after his disappointing debut, Lonzo Ball showed Laker Nation why he was selected second overall. On Saturday night, in front of the first-ever sold out crowd in Las Vegas Summer League history, Ball messed around and got a triple double. Unfortunately, his 11 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists were not good enough for a Lakers win, as Boston picked up their second victory of the summer, winning 86-81.

Ol’ Triple Double Zo face! (BleacherReport)

Although Zo did not shoot particularly well, his flashy passes and playmaking abilities brought back memories of a young Magic Johnson. If you watched Saturday night’s contest, you realized a few things.

One, Lonzo Ball can play, and can dominate the game without scoring. Two, he is extremely entertaining to watch with his no-look passes and up-tempo style. Thirdly, the crowd went bananas whenever Lonzo did something even remotely cool with the ball.

Reminder: This was a game played on July 8, and means absolutely nothing, but fans still filled out the arena to see the face of BBB.

All in all, if you can play, and you’re on a big-market team like the Lakers, you will have no problem selling your own signature shoe. But why the high price?

There’s a reason for the $495 price tag on the ZO2’s

Right now, the five best-selling signature shoes are Lebron’s, Kyrie’s, Curry’s, KD’s and Harden’s. At retail price, none of these kicks costs more than $200, so why did the Ball family choose $495? One reason: You cannot go and get them in stores. Only a certain amount of ZO2’s were created. You cannot go into your local mall and grab a pair, which provides logic to the high price.

Some people might laugh at the lofty price, but for some reason, sneaker consumers are more attracted to the rarer, more expensive shoe. Marylouise Caldwell, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Sydney, explains that “People gravitate towards this kind of thing when they don’t have an affinity to more traditional tribes, such as professional groups, to give them status.” People become attached to a brand that is seen as high status throughout their peers.

Just take a look at outspoken music legend, and reality TV star, Kanye West. People line up for days to get their hands on Yeezy Boost 350’s. Like the ZO2’s, only a certain amount of Yeezy’s are made and released to the public. They will sell at stores for $260, and later on the internet for close to $2,000.

Why do people spend this type of money on shoes? To keep it simple, “It’s a way of proving they are a global citizen with their finger on the pulse”, Caldwell said. Because of its rareness, and meaning, people will flock to the ZO2’s, just like they do with the Yeezy’s. In fact, Kanye West and Lonzo’s father, LaVar, have more in common than you think.

LAVAR “THE GODFATHER OF BBB” BALL

The creator of Big Baller Brand, LaVar is arguably the most outspoken man in sports. Some may think he is absurd and disrespectful, mostly because he told FS1’s Kristine Leahy to “stay in yo lane” when she asked LaVar about shoe sales. But is there some weird intelligence behind this crazy man?

The more he talks, the more well-known he becomes. Love him or hate him, LaVar has gained insane popularity for himself, and his family, by talking crazy. All three of his sons (Lonzo, LiAngelo, LaMelo) have over one million followers on Instagram. LaVar was recently compared to the Kardashian’s after inking a reality TV show. You don’t just accidentally get compared to the most notable family in America. LaVar is playing all the pieces right, even from a business standpoint.

ZO2: SHO’TIME (sneakerfiles.com)

Using pre-orders to test the market is an intelligent strategy because it gives the brand a look at how many shoes they will need to produce, rather than committing to a high number to manufacture. Also, the shoes will not be available until around November. Lisa Delpy Neirotti, a professor at George Washington University, explains that “cutting pre-orders long before their November ship date allows the brand to control how much they must invest.”

All publicity is good publicity, and LaVar has made the most of the free marketing that he gets. He has given BBB an identity, which is crucial for a start-up company. You are not a big baller unless you rep the ZO2’s and BBB gear.

In a recent article with SLAM Online, LaVar took more of an inspirational approach to explaining the reasoning behind the BBB. He explained how the Ball family “just wants to inspire people and show them that there’s a different lane you can travel in. It’s OK to step out and do it another way. Only a select few will do it, but folks will start creating their own brands, like we’ve done with BBB, and more and more families will begin feeling comfortable with betting on themselves.”

LaVar and the Ball family are setting a precedent for upcoming prospects.

Of course, they have to “Ball”

The biggest factor in the company’s future, is Lonzo. If he plays well and makes the Lakers relevant again, the shoes will do great, and inspire upcoming athletes to go in their own direction.

(slamonline.com)

The other two B’s, LiAngelo, and LaMelo Ball, are following in the footsteps of Lonzo. LiAngelo, who this past year led all of California in high school scoring, is headed off to UCLA as a three-star recruit. “Gelo” is seen as the least talented in the trio of brothers but you may have heard of some other three-star recruits like Paul George, Steph Curry, and 2016-17 NBA MVP, Russell Westbrook.

The youngest, LaMelo, is currently the No. 1 point guard for the class of 2019.

A lot of pieces have to fall in place, but one thing is for sure: The Ball’s are entertaining and have the attention of millions.

Anytime someone does something new, people tend to freak out and react in a negative way. They said flicking a switch to activate light was crazy. They said putting wheels on metal and flying it in the sky was crazy. They said random people picking you up and dropping you off at destinations was crazy.

Creating your own brand, along with a $495 signature shoe before stepping on the court might be crazy, but it might also represent the future of the shoe business.

 

Featured image by Big Baller Brand

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