Is Chris Sale’s Season Equivalent to Pedros 1999 Season?


Chris Sale reached a milestone on Wednesday night against the Baltimore Orioles that hasn’t been done since the great Pedro Matinez in 1999. He secured his 300th strikeout against Ryan Flaherty in the bottom of the eighth with two outs, on a practically unhittable slider that just caught the inside corner.

All season long many reporters, and fans have been comparing Sale’s season to Pedro Martinez’s record breaking season in 1999.  Well for anyone who has made that comparision or even thinks that the two are even in the same atmosphere, you need to get your eyes checked. 

What Pedro did in 1999 was the greatest single season pitching perfomance in MLB history, and while l didn’t witness it live, I’ve seen almost every single one of his starts on tape, and let me tell you something: Sale looks pedestrian incomparison.

Now don’t get me wrong Sale has been excellent this season, and without him who knows were the Red Sox would be. But he has had his struggles against quality opponents and has been inconsistent at times. Let’s break down the two seasons side by side for anyone who has their doubts.

For starters Pedro Martinzez pitched in the height of the steroid era, were your no-name second basemen was hitting 30-35 homers. Yet Pedro still had a 2.07 ERA and a record of 23-4. When Pedro was on the mound that year you knew he was going to dominate every single game. 

While there is  definitely some steroids in the modern day game and juiced balls, its nothing close to what was going on in 1999. Sale has a 2.75 ERA and a 17-7 record which is nothing to sneeze at but considering the circumstances, Pedro blows him out of the water.

The 300 strikeouts is the biggest sticking point in the argument however. Baseball is having a record setting year for homeruns and strikeouts.  Currently there are twelve pitchers with 200 plus strikeouts, and five pitchers with 190+ strikeouts, so there is a potential to have seventeen 200 strikeout pitchers this year. In 1999 Martinez led the A.L. with 300 strikeouts, the next closest pitcher was Chuck Finley with 200.

So that kind of dampens the value of the 300 for Sale. But I digress, to further my point in 1999 Pedro was the most dominant pitcher in the game and it wasn’t even close. Martinez led the league in WAR that year with a ridiculous 9.7, Chris Sale has a 6.1 WAR which isn’t even the best among pitchers.

Now that we have covered all of the stats that dismiss this argument, let’s go a little more conventional. Let’s use the eyeball test. 

Sale has looked hittable this year and while he is a freak he doesn’t have what Martinez had in 1999. Now that’s not a slight on Sale rather it should tell you how damn filthy Martinez was that year. Martinez was the closest thing you’ll ever witness to an unhittable pitcher. He wasn’t a thrower like some players, rather he was a pitcher. The surgical approach he took every single game just picking apart each batter, making them look like bat boys was absolutely marvelous to witness.

Comparing anyone to Martinez in 1999 is unfair, so while Sale has been excellent this year, he isn’t on the same level that Pedro was.

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Three Up and Three Down from Patriots 36-20 beatdown of the Saints

Sep 17, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones (31) breaks up a pass intended by New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandon Coleman (16) in the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Patriots won, 36-20. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Now that’s what I was expecting to see out of the Patriots last week. After calling out the new guys on his team for lack of energy, Tom Brady followed up his harsh words by having the best first quarter of his career at age 40.

Granted the Saints are absolutely putrid on defense, but it was still nice to see the Patriots execute even against a bad team. 

Here are the players who stood out and the ones who were lackluster to say the least.

First Star: Tom Brady

Tom Brady was surgical in the first half on Sunday. The Patriots needed someone to step up and take leadership of this team. Brady did that and more, he finished the day with 447 yards, theee touchdowns, and a quarterback rating of 139.6. The most impressive play of the day however was not a physical play, but rather a mental play.

On a 3rd and 9 play with 21 seconds left in the first half, Brady scrambled up the middle for seven yards before being tackled in bounds. Immediatly afterwards he popped up and initiated the “mayday signal” and it took a total of 13 seconds for the field goal unit to get onto the field lineup and convert to close out the half. 

The awareness and execution by Brady to immediately get the entire team, including himself off the field after being tackled was something to behold.

Second Star: Deatrich Wise Jr.

Deatrich Wise was a major factor on Sunday, and that should have Patriots fans ecstatic. Wise finished the day with one sack, and two tackles, and was consistently bothering Brees all day long.

Wise coming out of college was believed to have a high ceiling, but he was a major injury concern. Wise at 6-5 and 274 lbs, has a dominant figure and has great strength and awareness of the snap. Most young players with that kind of length and height tend to keep their pad level too high and get pushed around. 

As noted by Belichick earlier this season, Wise doesn’t seem to have that problem and is consistently able to get under offensive linemans shoulder pads and collapse the pocket.

The Patriots biggest concern heading into this year was young talent on defense. With the emergence of Wise this week, along with Adam Butler, and Jonathan Jones, the Patriots all of the sudden have some potential players. Wise could be key down the stretch if he is able to continue to improve.

Third Star: Jonathan Jones

Jonathan Jones was a surpise emergence (at least for me) this week and really played brilliant against a diminished but still solid Saints offense.

Jones finished the day with two pass breakups, including one in the endzone where his perfect positioning and technique allowed him to pry the ball out of the hands Ted Ginn Jr. 

Later on in the game in a very similar fashion Jones broke up a pass intended for Brandon Coleman, were once again at the very last second he reached up and got his hand on the pall to break up a pass that would’ve gone for a big gain.

The awareness of Jones to wait until the ball had contacted both players hands before getting his body on them is a perfect example of being 100% focused on every play. Rightfully so, jones has received a lot of attention this week.

With Butler seemingly being in the dog house we could be seeing another case where Belichick sees something that the rest of us are missing.

First Down: Malcolm Butler

It seemed like the Patriots wanted to get a message out to both Butler and the public. They certainly did by starting Eric Rowe over Malcolm Butler, after Butler has player 98% of the defensive snaps last two years.

Butler did eventually get onto the field after Rowe got hurt, but wow was he underwhelming. Butler was targeted 5 times and gave up 4 catches and a touchdown. On the touchdown it’s hard to tell whether it was Chung or Butler who blew the coverage, but either way that is not the type of play your “top corner” should ever give up.

Butler has looked disengaged since the start of training camp, and Belichick seems ready to let him walk.

Second Down: David Andrews

Overall Andrews is a consistent player week in and week out, but throughtout his career he seemingly has trouble agasint bigger more physical defensive lineman.

Andrews played poorly to say the least against the Saints, giving up a sack and mutiple quarterback hurries. This could be something to keep an eye on as the Patriots offensive line has been shaky to say the least, and if Andrews can’t cut it against power lineman, than Brady is going to have a lot of difficulty staying comfortable in the pocket.

Third Down: Alan Branch

Yet another player who is seemingly on the way out. Alan Branch has been huge for the Patriots the last two years, but all of the sudden he is having difficulity even sniffing the field.

After a brutal week one performance where he was just bullied in the middle of the field by the Chiefs offensive line, Branch only got to play six snaps against the Saints and looked disengaged on the sideline.

Branch has been a troubled player throughout his career and it appears his reputation is beginning to catch up to him. its hard not to wonder if their is a attitude issue with Branch or a weight issue, but after getting payed it seems like Branch is content being useless.

Complete NBA Predicted Standings (Based On Division Predictions)


Western Conference

1. Golden State Warriors: 68-14

2. Houston Rockets: 58-24

3. San Antonio Spurs: 54-28

4. Los Angeles Clippers: 39-32

5. Oklahoma City Thunder: 48-34

6. Minnesota Timberwolves: 48-34

7. New Orleans Pelicans: 44-38

8. Denver Nuggets: 43-39

9. Memphis Grizzlies: 42-40

10. Portland Trail Blazers: 38-44

11. Sacramento Kings: 37-45

12. Utah Jazz: 36-46

13. Los Angeles Lakers: 34-48

14. Dallas Mavericks: 34-48

15. Phoenix Suns: 32-50

Image result for nba western conference teams

 


 

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Eastern Conference

1. Boston Celtics: 57-25 (modified due to Kyrie Irving trade)

2. Cavaliers: 56-26 (modified due to Kyrie Irving Trade)

3. Toronto Raptors: 53-29

4. Washington Wizards: 50-32

5. Milwaukee Bucks: 46-36

6. Philadelphia 76ers: 44-38

7. Detroit Pistons: 44-38

8. Miami Heat: 42-40

9. Charlotte Hornets: 41-41

10. Indiana Pacers: 35-47

11. New York Knicks: 33-49

12. Brooklyn Nets: 30-52

13. Atlanta Hawks: 27-55

14. Chicago Bulls: 26-56

15. Orlando Magic: 22-60

Image result for nba eastern conference teams

Sources: NBA Atlantic Division Predictions, NBA Central Division Predictions, NBA Southeast Division Predictions, NBA Northwest Division Predictions, NBA Pacific Division Predictions, NBA Southwest Division Predictions,

Who are the leagues top coaches? Here’s what we think.

Top 10 NBA Coaches (Part 2)

Make sure you check out Part 1 of this series before taking a glance at Part 2!

Quin Snyder

Last season, Quin Snyder was by far the league’s most overlooked coach. Snyder put together one of the leagues best teams despite his team starting a total of 23 different starting lineups. That is a new starting lineup per every three and a half games.

Unmatched by any other team, Utah fought through their injuries and never made any excuses along the way. Whether it was Gordon Hayward who missed a good chunk at the start of the season due to a pre-existing injury, or George Hill who missed nearly the entire season due to foot surgery.

Quin Snyder always found a way to rally his men and lead them to victories. Thankfully, Utahs play style matches that mentality perfectly. As long as you can play great defense and take care of the ball offensively, Quin Snyder has built a system for you to succeed in. Snyder took over Utah in 2014 when they were nothing more than a lottery team. However, Quin quickly installed the winning culture that seemed absent with the previous coach and in just three years, the Jazz was back to nearly contending. Snyder, who started coaching in 1992, has yet to let go of that 90s play style. His teams have played solid tough defense and then slowed it down and taken fundamentally sound shots offensively. An ideal score for the Utah Jazz is 88-75.

However, that play style will be especially be tested this upcoming season as Quin will no longer be able to rely on Gordon Hayward to carry the scoring load. However, as I said before, the great ones always find a way to win.

Predicted Ranking: N/A

If Quin somehow found a way to sustain Utah’s success despite their disappointing offseason it would be one of the craziest feats we have ever seen. With that said, I won’t believe it until I see it. NBA Northwest Division Predictions.

Image result for quin snyder

 


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Erik Spoelstra

Erik Spoelstra nearly led the greatest Cinderella story in NBA regular season history. After a horrific 11-30 start, the Heat bounced back and went on a 30-11 run to end the season but just missed the playoffs coming in as the 9th seed, just less than half a game back of the Chicago Bulls. This amazing comeback can only be contributed to the amazing coaching of Erik Spoelstra and his team.

Of course, Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside did their part but ultimately, the Heat would have been considered one of the leagues worst teams without the unmatched coaching of Erik Spoelstra. Spoelstra, who started in this league as the director of scouting for the Heat, was working behind the scenes for nearly a decade before randomly getting pulled up to be the head coach.

Spoelstra immediately made an impact leading Miami to four straight NBA final appearances which also included two  NBA Championships and four Eastern Conference Championships. However, many wrote off Spoelstra as they believed it was the superteam factor rather than the coaching. Although, as I have said before, it takes a special kind of coach to balance all of those egos and mesh them to form a championship team.

With that said, let’s take a look at where Erik Spoelstra is projected to be on this list next season.

Predicted Ranking: 5/10

There is no possible way the Heat could see a big enough win improvement to move Spoelstra up in this list and due to the improvement of other premier coaches teams, Spoelstra will likely move down at least one spot on this list next season. If you want to read more about my Miami Heat predictions for next year, read my NBA Southeast Division Predictions.

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Rick Carlisle

President of the NBA’s Coaches Association, Rick Carlisle is one of the league’s most respected figures. Carlisle is also a former player who won the 1986 NBA championship and has been able to incredibly transfer his knowledge into coaching. Learning under an NBA legend in Larry Bird, although Carlisle only averaged 2.2 points per game throughout his career, he has become one of the best coaches this league has ever seen.

Despite the Mavericks lackluster season last year, Carlisle has built a great enough reputation to not let that affect his legacy or ranking among the league’s coaches. Carlisle solidified his legacy a few years ago when he led a less than championship ready team to an NBA Finals win over the Miami Heats newly formed super team.

Carlisle has also been an advocate of past coaches getting fired such as Kevin McHale who was fired early in the season a few years back. Then there is the Dirk Nowitzki factor. Carlisle has been the coach for the most of Nowitzki’s prime and was smart enough to leave the facilitating up to a veteran point guard in Jason Kidd. However, the Mavericks future looks bleak as Nowitzki is getting ready to retire and they have already entered rebuilding mode.

With that said, let’s check out where Rick Carlisle is predicted to stand on this list come this time next year.

Predicted Ranking: 3/10

At this point in Carlisle’s career, the Mavericks aren’t going to get much better but even if they did make a run for the playoffs, Carlisle isn’t moving up on this list and probably also isn’t moving any further down it. If you want to read more about my predicted season for the Dallas Mavericks, check out my NBA Southwest Division Predictions.

Image result for rick carlisle

Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr took over a middle of the road team and led them to three straight NBA Finals appearances. That incredible stretch included two different NBA championships and looks as if there are no signs of slowing down.

Kerr, who was a 5x NBA champion as a player, played under some of the greatest coaches this league will ever see in Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. Both of which have inspired Kerr’s coaching style and laid back mentality. Although Kerr has been blessed with great talents in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and now Kevin Durant, many of them were not nearly as impactful before as they are today.

Green, for example, was simply an expendable role player for the first few years of his career but now you couldn’t dream of a trade that would tear Draymond away from the Warriors. Another example of Kerr’s impact is Stephen Curry, who was just a 1x all-star before Kerr came along and now is a 2x NBA MVP and the first unanimous MVP in league history.

Now obviously not all of this improvement is due to Steve Kerr but it is no coincidence that suddenly the Warriors young core started to sprout once Kerr took over. Even Klay Thompson although looked at as a pure shooter has gotten much better at finishing around the rim.

However, many have written of Kerr for last seasons championship as he missed the majority of the postseason and the team added an NBA superstar in Kevin Durant. But I have said it many times on this list before and I will say it again, it takes a special kind of talent to blend the egos of stars and convince them to other want to play for one another.

As for the absence, Kerr built a winning culture in Golden State which made it that basically, anyone in the organization could take over the team for a short stint and not miss a beat.

With that said, let’s see if Kerr will drop or improve on this list come this time next year.

Predicted Ranking: 2/10

Barring any sort of injury, the Warriors should not fall in the standings and Kerr has solidified himself among the leagues best coaches. Steve will also not take any steps further on this list simply due to legacy points. If Kerr continues his success for another decade or so, then it’s a different story, but for now, Kerr will have to settle for second place. NBA Pacific Division Predictions.

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Gregg Popovich

Gregg Popovich is by far the greatest coach of the 2000’s era. A 5x NBA champion and future Hall Of Famer, Popovich will go down as the arguably the second greatest coach in NBA history as the San Antonio Spurs have made the playoffs for an astonishing sixteen straight seasons (and counting).

Teenagers who you may pass on the road still haven’t seen San Antonio absent from the Western Conference playoffs. That is a feat no other coach can say they have achieved.

Pop along with the Spurs organization as a whole is great at developing young underrated players into great role players and sometimes even NBA stars. An example of this is Kawhi Leonard who was drafted 15th overall by the Indiana Pacers but was immediately traded to the Spurs for veteran point guard George Hill. It’s safe to say that Gregg and the Spurs won that trade. Popovich then proceeded to slowly turn Leonard into a defensive anchor with his breakout moment coming in the 2014 NBA Finals when he won Finals MVP due to his amazing defense on LeBron James.

That is just one of many examples of Popovich taking less than star level players to the “promise land”. The Popovich era has also outlasted some of the NBA greats in Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Paul Pierce, and most likely Dirk Nowitzki.

Although he has never won back to back championships, Pop does have the most rings out of any coach in the 200’s era. With that said, let’s take a look at where Gregg Popovich will be on this list next season.

Predicted Ranking: 1/10

At this point, it is all about legacy. Although many may put Steve Kerr at this spot rather than Popovich, I am going to give Gregg the benefit of doubt and cushion his ranking due to his legacy. However, Popovich is still a top two coach in this league leading the San Antonio Spurs to the Western Conference Finals last year. If you want to read more about my San Antonio Spurs predictions for next season, read my NBA Southwest Division Predictions article.

Image result for gregg popovich

Boston Bruins Key Storylines Heading into Camp

Via Boston Bruins

The Bruins are set to open camp with yearly physicals, and fitness tests. But the one glarring headline that had dictated the Bruins offseason, and was ready to dictate their camp was the David Pastranak contract situation.

Less than a day after it was reported that Pastranak was prepared to holdout of camp if the Bruins could’t get an extension done, it was first reported by TSN that the Bruins and Pastranak had agreed to a six year, $40 million dollar contract.

This was honestly the best case scenaio for the Bruins in a really tough spot. They couldn’t afford to lose another one of their talented young players over a resolvable problem. 

After contract negotations dragged on and multiple reports came out saying that Pastranak was looking for upwards of seven million a year. Getting him at a reasonable price of $6.67 million a year is the best case scenario for the Bruins.

Pastranak is coming off a career year last year finishing second on the team in scoring only behind Marchand, with 34 goals and 36 assists. Now that Pastranak has the big contract, he needs to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke.

Another young player that every Bruins fan will be keeping an eye on this year is 19 year old defenseman Charlie McCavoy. The expectations surrounding this kid are astronomically high, and understandably so. After being thrown into the fire during the playoffs last year, McCavoy looked fantastic for a 19 year old kid making his NHL debut in the playoffs.

You’d expect a player making his NHL debut to look nervous or maybe lost. Not with this kid, his transition to the NHL was eye opening, McCavoy finished with 3 assists, and averaged 26:12 minutes on ice per game. 

But to expect McCavoy to do that for an entire NHL season with only six games under his belt is ridiculous.

There have been stories out their that McCavoy could average upwards of 24 minutes a night and finish with 40 plus points. Those expectations are just ridiculous and unfair. If McCavoy had a season like that it would be historical.

To put it in perspective, Drew Doughty, arguably the best defenseman in the NHL, finished with 27 points, was a minus 17, and averaged 23:50 TOI.  So to expect 40 or 50 points out of Mccavoy is foolish, what I’m expecting to see is some defensive struggles, but signs of growth. McCavoy is going to be a transformative player, just not yet. He needs time to get some experience under his belt.

Rookies to watch this preseason:

Jake DeBrusk

Anders Bjork

Peter Cehlarik

Zach Senyshyn

Overall there are some roster spots open for rookies this camp. Not just fourth line spots, legit second and third line minutes are open. 

DeBrusk is player you want to see go out and take a spot this preseason, he’s been highly touted as having “top six” potential. Heading into his third camp its time to make those expectations a reality.

Cehlarik is a player with some upside, he got a shot in the NHL last year and flashed a little. Although the numbers weren’t great 3 assist, in 11 games, is solid production for a rookie. While with the big club he showed great vision, solid puck handling, and a decent enough shot. He is recovering from shouder surgery, but hopefully he is healthy enough to contend for a roster spot.

Biggest Takeaways & Overreactions from Week One in the NFL

Getty Images/The Ringer Illustration

Week one is in the books, and well man, it sure feels good to have football back.

Overall week one provided us with some solid entertainment. Some teams came up with shocking upsets while others fell way short.

Here are the top takeaways from Week one in the NFL, some may be overreactions but that’s for you to decide!

It’s time to panic in New York

Everyone expected the Giants offense to have growing pains on Sunday night considering they were missing their best weapon in Odell Beckham Jr. But what they put out on the field shouldn’t be allowed at an NFL level.

In the first half of the game the Eli Manning led offense had TWO first downs and a total of 50 offensive yards!

Manning looked lost, whenever he is put under the slightest duress he cracks and can’t make a play. Unless there is perfect protection and a wide open receiver Manning isn’t going to make a play for you it’s so painfully obvious.

There are two major takeaways from this game, 1: Beckham is going to be one rich man, because him not playing showed how dependent the Giants are on him. What other leverage does he need?

And 2: Manning is not an elite quarterback, he hasn’t been in a couple of years now and unless he does a complete 180 the Giants are going to have a big decision on their hands.

Seahawk’s offensive line is worse than expected and that’s saying something

The Seahawk’s defense was dominant in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Packers, and looked like the Legion of Boom from a few years ago. That was the Seahawks chance to go out and steal the game, but as predicted their garbage, and I mean garbage offensive line, was their downfall.

The Seahawks weren’t able to get in the end zone against an overall mediocre Packers defense, and were only able to muster up three field goals in a 17-9 loss. Wilson was a measly 14-27 and had a quarterback rating of 69.7, pretty putrid numbers. 

But the stat that stands out the most is that Wilson was pressured on more than half of his 30 drop backs. Even for the talented scrambler that Wilson is, that’s way too much and it’s hard to complete passes when you’re getting hit every play.

The Seahawks have the formula for a Super Bowl winning team, elite quarterback, good weapons, strong defense, but their joke of an offensive line could cost them a title.

Time to blow it up in and get rid of Andy Dalton

Well that should do it for the Dalton era in Cincinnati. 

It’s well known that Dalton’s job security coming into the season was iffy at best. After that putrid performance against Baltimore, and the Bengals making it publicly known that they believe in A.J McCarron, it’s really a question of how long will they ride it out with Dalton.

Dalton went 16-of-31 passes for 170 yards and four picks in his laughable performance against the Ravens. This performance was so bad that you have to wonder if Dalton should ever see another snap in a Bengals uniform, maybe any uniform.

The Texans performance was embarrassing

What a good sight to see in Houston, a city in chaos from a treacherous storm rallying behind J.J Watt who has done fantastic work for the community. For a split second a city in ruin had some joy and good vibes, Houston was ready to see the Texans come out firing.

Well that didn’t last very long and soon enough Houstonians were booing the Texans, and let me tell you they deserved a lot more than just getting booed. 

That performance was just embarrassing, after all the hype for Sunday’s game you go out there and can only muster 36 yards in the first quarter against Jacksonville.

It was so ugly that Tom Savage (how the hell is this guy an NFL quarterback) was benched at half-time in favor of Deshaun Watson. Losing 29-7 at home to a mediocre at best Jaguars team is unacceptable Mark it up: if Houston doesn’t come out and blow doors in their next game they aren’t making the playoffs.

At least there is some hope after leading the Texans to a touchdown drive in the third quarter, Watson is taking reps with the first team offense. Hopefully that is the last anyone has to see of Tom Savage on a football field.

Derek Carr is worth every penny he got and more

There were a lot of questions surrounding Carr heading into this season. How will Carr come back from his injury? Will he be able to live up to the 5 year $125 million dollar contract that the Raiders gave him this offseason?

For one week Carr answered all those questions in a big way. Carr was extremely effective on Sunday going 22-of-32 for 262 yards with two touchdowns and no picks. Carr led the Raiders offense to points on 6 of their nine possessions, and downright outplayed Marcus Mariota.

Carr did everything you want from a good quarterback. Go into a hostile environment against a highly touted Titans team and grind out a win. 

The Raiders are not a team to be taken lightly, they have the guy at quarterback and a good team around him. Don’t be surprised if Carr takes this team further than people are expecting.

The Indianapolis Colts SUCK!!!

Let’s be honest, if anyone predicted that the lowly Rams were going to embarrass the Colts 46-9 at home they would’ve been take shamed and laughed at. Well they don’t look so dumb now. 

The Colts entered Sundays game without Andrew Luck who is still recovering from injury, and had Scott Tolzein as the fill-in.

Maybe Tolzein could have been just a smidge sharper, after all throwing two pick-sixes to a Rams defense who was missing their best player isn’t the best look. Both picks were so bad that they were genuinely hilarious to watch. But no one expected anything out of the quarterback position this week. The rest of the team’s play was the real alarming thing.

The Colts defense made Jared Goff of all people look like a good quarterback, yes I said it: Jared Goff looked acceptable for a week. 

The tackling by the Colts was awful, most of the time they looked completely disengaged. The secondary (granted is injury ridden) made the worst passing offense in the NFL look like the best, and the offensive line gave up four sacks, a trend that continues to plague the Colts.

Really after a game like this you have to wonder how much longer is Pagano going to be the coach of this team. If you were curios what it looks like when a team losses faith in their coach, well just look at this years Colts.

HOW BOUT THEM COWBOYS!?

How ’bout them Cowboys!? After a brilliant rookie season there was one glaring question about Prescott: Can he beat the Giants who handed the Cowboys two of the three losses they suffered a year ago? Prescott answered it in a big way winning in convincing fashion against the Giants on Sunday Night Football.

While Prescott wasn’t the star of this particular game, beating a team that has your number is a much needed thing for the psyche of a quarterback.

The real star of Sunday Night was Ezekiel Elliot. Elliot had 104 yards in the game and picked up right were he left off last year, he was especially key in the fourth quarter getting key first downs to ice the game away.

The Cowboys defense also looked fantastic on Sunday night limiting the Giants to a measly three points and only 12 first downs. While many expected the Cowboys to handle a Giants offense missing their best weapon, no one saw that type of absolute sovereignty coming.

The Cowboys cemented themselves as the class of the division on Sunday night. While there are still some questions on defense, the Cowboys are poised to make another run in the playoffs and maybe break their drought.

 

Top 10 NBA Coaches Today (Part 1)

Although NBA Players are specimens of the human nature, they would be completely lost on the court without the unsung heroes that are NBA coaches. However, like any professional job, some coaches are not as great at what they do than others. So today we will count down the NBA’s top 10 current NBA coaches.

David Fizdale

Let’s be honest, the main reason David Fizdale makes this list is because of the “TAKE THAT FOR DATA” speech. Fizdale has won multiple championships in the past as an assistant with the Miami Heat and is known as a great player development coach. However, Fizdale did breathe some new life into the Grizzlies organization as Memphis nearly shocked the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs last year following his famous speech. Although, the main reason for Fizdales appearance is more for how he won over the city of Memphis rather than the Grizzlies on court play. A blue-collar city such as Memphis will no doubt gravitate towards someone who stood up for their team and proved himself as one of them. This acceptance has most likely guaranteed Fizdale a job for the next two or three years. David also generated great relationships with Mike Conley and Marc Gasol along with the rest of the Memphis team as they even paid for his $30,000 dollar fine from the NBA. Former players such as LeBron James have even expressed their relationship with Fizdale and so far there have been no negative reviews. The Grizzlies were also nowhere near bad last season as they ended the regular season with a record of 43-39, a one win improvement from the year before. However, Memphis did challenge the Spurs last season unlike the year before where they were easily swept. With that said, let’s take a look at where David Fizdale could end up on this list next year.

Predicted Ranking: N/A

Yes, I do not think Fizdale will be on this list next season and if you want to know why you can check my NBA Southwest Division Predictions.

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Mike D’Antoni

D’Antoni finds ways to fit into whatever the current NBA trend is. Whether it’s the Phoenix Suns seven seconds or less offense or the Houston Rockets taking 50 three pointers in a game, D’Antoni always finds a way to win. However, D’Antoni has had some great luck with superstars in Steve Nash and James Harden, but then again, what great NBA coach hasn’t. Last season, Mike brought the Rockets back from life support. It looked as if James was going down a slippery slope with the Dwight Howard situation and the entire team looked as if they hated each other. Harden was beginning to get a bad rep and needed a change of scenery. Then came in Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni put Harden at point guard making him the center of attention and main ball handler of the team. This was huge for James’ productivity as he went from not making any All-NBA teams to nearly averaging a triple double and leading the league in assists. Mike also made another huge change as he decided mid range shots are the plague and would probably bench any player even thinking about taking a 15-foot shot. Although this seems dark, it did indeed work. Houston went from a 41 win team to a 55 win team. One of the biggest win improvements in Rockets history, if D’Antoni keeps it up, he will go down as one of the best coaches in Houston Rockets history. However, D’Antoni has had little playoff success and has had extra trouble with one specific coach, Greg Popovich. Then again, what coach hasn’t lost to old Popovich. So let’s take a look at where Mike D’Antoni is predicted to land on this list next year.

Predicted Ranking: 6/10

With the addition of Chris Paul, the Houston Rockets should see another win improvement. Although it will obviously not be as big of a win improvement as last season, I could easily see the Rockets landing somewhere around the 60 win mark. However, if you want to read more about my predictions for the Houston Rockets 2017-18 season, you can check out my Southwest Division Predictions article.

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Dwane Casey

Dwane Casey has been the best coach in Raptors franchise history. Casey has brought Toronto the most success they have ever had while taking them as far as the Eastern Conference Finals. However, somehow this team has still been labeled as disappointing and underachieving due to the lack of play their two stars have shown in the playoffs. Although the fact of the matter is, the Toronto Raptors were the second best team in the east for a full two years. Once DeMar DeRozan finally blossomed and grew into his own player, the Raptors were nearing contention but were still missing another piece. Then came in Kyle Lowry who provided a second scoring option and was able to run their offense clearly. Casey had the rare and great ability to cleanly gel these egos and was lucky enough to see that DeMar and Kyle developed a brotherhood like no other. Dwane also has a front office that has been willing to spend money and do whatever they can to keep up with the Cavaliers. Obviously, that hasn’t worked but we cannot put that blame on Dwane Casey as he has done the absolute best he can stay on pace with Cleveland. Below is my predicted ranking for Dwane Casey this time next year.

Predicted Ranking: N/A

Yes, just like David Fizzdale, come this time next year, Dwane Casey will be sitting somewhere outside the top 10 best coaches in the league. This will most likely be due to the Cavaliers continual success and Celtics strengthing up their main core in an attempt to build a super team. Though, if you want to see my full predictions for the Raptors 2017-18 season, check out my NBA Atlantic Division Predictions.

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Tyronn Lue

Although maybe a bit overlooked due to the LeBron James factor, Tyronn Lue did indeed lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first ever NBA championship. That is something no other Cavalier coach has been able to say. Although it is obvious that Lue didn’t win the championship on his own as he had some help from the NBA’s best player, and one of the leagues premier point guards. It’s easy for some to write Lue off and say anyone can coach that team, but guess what? David Blatt couldn’t. LeBron has spent a total of 10 years with Cleveland and own just one championship. That proves that it is by no means easy to LeBron and Kyrie as although the two are split up now, he had to balance their egos for over years. However, Lue has been on record saying he has the hardest job in the NBA, which is simply not true. Last season, the Cavaliers ended with a final record of 51-31 which was good enough for second best in the Eastern Conference. However, Cleveland’s tumultuous season came to an end when they fell to the Golden State Warriors for the first time in the Tyronn Lue era. However, Lue could be on the hot seat in the coming years as Irving is already gone and most believe James will be on his way out this coming free agency.  These two departures could leave management baffled and I’m afraid Lue could be the scapegoat for all of this. With that said, let’s check where Lue will end up on this list next year.

Predicted Ranking: 9/10

Although the Cavaliers may stay second in the Eastern Conference, they will drop in terms of power rankings as that will reflect on Lues ranking. However, if you want to read more about my predicted season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, check out my NBA Central Division Predictions.

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Brad Stevens

Brad Stevens has officially proven himself on the professional level. There was no doubt what Stevens could do on the collegiate level as he led a less than championship talented Butler team to the NCAA Finals before losing on a missed half court shot from Gordon Hayward. However, Stevens has now proven that he is able to take that knowledge and transfer it to the NBA as he led the Boston Celtics to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance and truly brought out the best in Isaiah Thomas. Now although Isaiah is now gone, I don’t think Brad will lose any sleep at night knowing that he has a former NBA champion and scoring machine, Kyrie Irving running his offense. Stevens was also played a huge part in the acquisition of Gordon Hayward this summer and has built a culture in Boston that attracts players and makes them want to play for the organization. Although, this new team will be a huge test for Brad’s ability as a coach due to the fact that the Celtics are expected to be nothing short of a championship contender this season, despite the fact many of them have never played together. If Boston stumbles at all and drops in the standings, the downfall blame will be assigned to Brad Stevens as many will initially think that with that many stars on a team, it must be the coaching staff that is the problem. However, let’s take a look at the Predicted Ranking for Brad Stevens come this time next year.

Predicted Ranking: 4/10

Although there are questions about how well this new Celtics team can work together, ultimately, Stevens will figure it out and somehow figure a way to balance their egos. The great ones always find a way. NBA Atlantic Division Predictions.

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