Not only did star big man Marc Gasol have tension with former head coach Dave Fizdale but the owners are reportedly in a dispute as well.
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The New York Jets made some bold moves in the 2017 NFL Draft by selecting safeties in both the 1st and 2nd rounds. Many considered the move to be outlandish, especially since the team had no sure-fire quarterback at the helm.
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LeBron James had never been rung from an NBA game until Tuesday night. Then, as the Cleveland Cavaliers were throttling the Miami Heat on NBATV, that all changed.
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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.
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My personal favorite of all the NBA awards, the Defensive Player Of The Year award honors the players who do the dirty work on their respective teams and go the extra mile to secure a win.
Winners of this award include some of the greatest players this game has ever seen in Dennis Rodman, Kevin Garnett, Michael Jordan, Dikembe Mutombo, and Hakeem Olajuwon. Eventually, we will be able to include Kawhi Leonard and Draymond Green on that list, but for now, they haven’t yet earned their stripes. So let’s take a look at who has a chance at winning this award in the 2017-18 season:
Already a 2x winner of this award, Kawhi Leonard has quickly become the poster boy for this award. Not only is Leonard a magician on the defensive end, but he is by far the best in the league at turning defense into offense. Last season, Leonard averaged nearly two steals a game along with 0.7 blocks a game and was tasked with guarding the NBA’s best players each and every night.
Leonard even won the 2014 NBA Finals MVP due to his preposterous defense on Lebron James, the greatest basketball player on the planet today. In the past, Leonard has also led the league in steals and has been in the running for this award the past 4-5 years. It also helps that Leonard plays within the most stable organization in this league for the past decade. However, it looked as if the Spurs were going to be forced into tank mode once Tim Duncan retired before Leonard made an amazing breakthrough and proved himself as the air to the Spurs throne.
Leonard’s prowess defensively has gotten to such a high level that teams are purposely avoiding him and hoping that their other contributors can step up and give the team a win. Having Kawhi Leonard guard you has become the highest level of respect you can reach as an NBA player. Once you see that serious, straight face stare you down, you know that although you may not reach double digits that night, you are a top 30 NBA player. That kind of impact defensively is unmatched as Leonard has only been in the league for six years and could stack up to five of these awards on his way to Springfield.
Predicted Defensive Stats: 2.1 Steals Per Game, 0.9 Blocks Per Game, 4.8 Defensive Rebounds Per Game
The best rim protector in the NBA, Rudy Gobert nearly edged out Draymond Green and Kawhi Leonard for this award last season. Coming in third last season for this award, Rudy Gobert will now be the focal point for both the Jazz’s offense and defensive with Gordon Hayward out of the picture. Last season, Gobert led the league in blocks, averaging 2.64 a game along with 8.9 defensive rebounds per game.
Already proven as one of the leagues best rim alterers this game has seen, Gobert has steadily been proving himself and nearly came out on top for this award last season. However, the loss of Gordon Hayward could prove costly as surely the Jazz will fall in terms of the standings which could deter the voters. But if Gobert can play great offensively and earn his first all-star appearance, it will indeed increase his chances at winning the Defensive Player Of The Year award. If Gobert does want to have a chance at winning the award, he will need to be even more efficient than last year and really carry the Jazz organization on his back.
If Gobert happens to see any sort of drop in numbers, his chances at this award will drop to below slim. However, that possibility is highly unlikely as Gobert, at age 25, is still a few years away from reaching his prime leaving him much room for improvement. So if a young star such as Gobert a momentous award such as this one to his mantle, it go would go a long way for his Hall Of Fame credentials.
Predicted Defensive Stats: 0.5 Steals Per Game, 3.0 Blocks Per Game, 9.2 Defensive Rebounds Per Game
Wildly overlooked on the defensive side of the ball, Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most athletic specimens on the planet. Standing at six foot, eleven inches, Giannis has a seven-foot, four-inch wingspan with over a twelve-foot vertical leap. These statistics just add more proof to his nickname, the “Greek Freak.” However, despite his athleticism, people still don’t see Antetokounmpo as a force on the defensive side of the ball.
Last season, Giannis averaged 1.6 steals a game to pair with 1.9 blocks and 7.0 defensive rebound. An all-around great defensive season, Giannis was put on the all-defensive second team and an All-NBA team as well. However, his presence was still overlooked and many don’t see any possible way he prevails as the front-runner for this award. But if the Bucks continue to develop their young talent, and Giannis continues to take the next steps in his development, it will be hard for the voters to leave him off of the short list.
Now I’m not saying he is for sure going to win it, as he will be facing players such as Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green, and Rudy Gobert, who are seen as some of the best defenders of all time. But Giannis does have two “X” factors in his favor. For one thing, he is a foreign player which means he will get the overwhelming support from his country which does influence the voters. And two, he is an offensive superstar, and let’s face it if two players have nearly identical defensive numbers, voters are far more likely to pick the one who is considered a superstar and dominates both sides of the ball. However, with that said, only time can tell which defensive power, can sustain their excellence for another full year.
Predicted Defensive Stats: 1.9 Steals Per Game, 2.2 Blocks Per Game, 7.3 Defensive Rebounds Per Game
Other Notable Players: Draymond Green, Anthony Davis, Patrick Beverly, Andre Roberson
A quarter into the NFL season and nothing is as we expected it to be. The Patriots defense is awful, the Giants are 0-4, and Alex Smith looks like an actual quarterback. Here are a few takeaways from a wild week 4 in the NFL:
Patriots are in big trouble
Wow that was awful…wait not just awful, putrid.
What the Patriots did on defense against a struggling Cam Newton, and a banged up Panthers offense should be illegal. Multiple times the Patriots just didn’t cover, from Gilmore just abandoning his man, or just soft coverage by Malcom Butler on third and forever plays.
Now a quarter of the way into the season the Patriots have lost two games at home, and should’ve lost the other one if not for the Texans puking on themselves. On top of that they are dead last in the NFL in points allowed, passing defense, and are on pace to be the worst defense in NFL history.
The most concerning part is after playing a lackluster first half on Sunday, you have to figure the Patriots coaches were in the faces of the defensive players, then they come out and play an even worst second half. That’s a major red flag because if the players are tuning out the coaching, that would explain how Gilmore and Chung can’t figure out a simple motion play.
If not for Brady, the Patriots should be 0-4 and honestly I don’t think thats an overreaction at all. Granted Brady is the ultimate deodorant and can cover most flaws on your team, but no one can cover for this defense.
On top of that Brady has been getting killed this season, and it looked like he got rocked pretty hard when he landed on his left shoulder on Sunday. Do you honestly want your 40 year old quarterback taking hits like that every week? Chalk it up now: if the offensive line doesn’t play significantly better, then Brady won’t play this entire season.
Deshaun Watson is legit
Well for all those people wondering if it was the awful play of the Patriots defense, or the great play of Deshaun Watson last week: That should answer it for you.
Watson looked AMAZING! On route to an absolute massacre of the Titans, Watson threw 4 passing touchdowns, and added another on the ground in the Texans 57-14 win.
Watson showed a lot on Sunday. His accuracy was better as he was reading the defense and overall looked much more fluid in the pocket. Watson’s value to the Texans so far this season can’t be stressed enough, since he took over for Tom Savage the Texans offense looks rejuvenated and is starting to look like a real contender.
Watson looks a lot like Russell Wilson early in his career, mainly due to the pieces around him. The Texans have a great defense, a good running back, and a mobile young quarterback who can make plays. Starting to remind you of the Seahawks a few years ago, because it’s looking like the Texans have a good combo going right now.
Overreaction comparing the Texans to one of the most dominate defenses in NFL history? Maybe, but it could certainly happen, especially if Watson continues to play like this Houston is not to be taken lightly.
Kansas City is the best team in football
Kansas City had a lot of controversy surrounding the team coming into the season, mainly concerning the quarterback position. Alex Smith was on the hot seat, with Patrick Mahomes being taken 10th overall by the Chiefs. All that the Chiefs needed to see was Smith get off to a slow start and we more than likely would’ve seen Mahomes by now.
Well Smith wasn’t going to give his job up that easily. Smith doesn’t look like the Alex Smith we’ve come to know. He’s taken shots downfield, and is actually making plays for once.
Kareem Hunt has been a huge addition to the offense also. His speed is really unbelievable and his vision is more than good enough as he has made the line look better, making plays out of nothing.
The Chiefs defense has also been dynamite, headlined by Houston who is a force. Looking up and down the roster it’s hard to really find any holes in the Chiefs team as they are simply a really solid football team.
But are they the best in the NFL sitting at 4-0?
Right now it’s not even close: of course they are. The level that Smith is playing is more good enough to win a title, now he just has to keep it going and not revert to his old ways.
But to say the Chiefs aren’t the best team in the NFL right now is just absurd. Give credit where credit is due and the Chiefs deserve all the credit in the world.
Rams are proving everyone wrong
Sean Mcvay deserves all the credit in the world. What he’s been able to do for the Rams offense is amazing. Todd Gurley looks rejuvenated and has been downright unstoppable this season, and that trend continued in the Rams 35-30 upset of the Cowboys.
Gurley finished the day with 215 total yards from scrimmage, and willed the Rams to a win in the second half of the game.
McVay has been able to utilize Gurley’s pass catching ability this year, highlighted by his 53 yard catch and run touchdown, scoring on a pass for the third consecutive game this season.
Jared Goff has also benefited greatly from the coaching change. Goff has loooked good, like really good this year after an dismal rookie season were he looked overwhelmed. Goff has been much more accurate his year as he’s been able to hit the go route, and the back shoulder comebacks much more consistently this year. The arm strength has always been there with Goff but he’s been much better utilizing it this year.
The real question remaining about Goff is if can he read an NFL defense consistently, and that’s a legit question.
What McVay has done for the Rams is remarkable considering many believed they would be the worst team in the NFL. At the quarter mark he is your coach of the year, and could potentially lead the Rams to a wild card spot.
Bills are a dangerous team
Another team that many expected to be below average at best is all of the sudden 3-1 and leading the AFC East.
The Buffalo Bills cleaned house this offseason getting rid of some big name players, and brought in rookie coach Sean McDermott. So it was expected for there to be a lot of growing pains this season. Instead the Bills have been a really solid and consistent team.
Sean McDermott had a signature win Sunday against Atlanta. The Falcons are widely viewed as one of the best if not the best team in football, so to go into the Atlanta and beat the Falcons is a huge accomplishment.
The Bills defense has been excellent this year and continued that against the Falcons. They gave Matt Ryan all sorts of fits, picking him off twice and consistently getting pressure on him. On top of that they also scored on a fumble that highlighted what this new defense is all about: team play. The talent is not what it use to be, but they play smart team football and that’s the recipe to win games.
Tyrod Taylor isn’t the best quarterback out there but he is widely underrated. The Bills defense has been underwhelming this year, ranking 29th in the NFL averaging only 284.2 yards per game. Charles Clay is really the only real pass catching threat the Bills have after they traded away Watkins.
Luckily the Bills offense doesn’t have to be great it just has to be acceptable if their defense is going to play this good. But it does have to be better and that’s up to Taylor to make the players around him better.
Sean McDermott has his blueprints all over this team now. The Bills have been stock piling high draft picks on their defense, and McDermott has been able to utilize very single one of them with his right defensive system. The Bills probably won’t win the AFC East but they are a dangerous team, and could very well be in the postseason this year.