Category Archives: sports

Why the Giants Have Hit Rock Bottom

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After hiring Dave Gettleman to replace Jerry Reese, the Giants have gone 5-11 and have had their majority of struggles. With a 38-year-old quarterback in a sharp decline, the team’s commitment to Eli Manning has handcuffed the Giants ability to do what they need to do- rebuild. Despite throwing for 21 TDs, 11 Ints and nearly 4,300 yards, Eli was less than spectacular last season (and the season before). Due to the fact that ownership and Gettleman have both agreed to hold onto Eli Manning, who will come at the expense of $17 million against the cap, their emotional connection to the QB has put the Giants in a very bad spot.

To start this offseason, Gettleman refused to franchise tag pro-bowl safety Landon Collins for $11 million, a move that had Giants fans scratching their heads. This situation parallels to what Gettleman did in Carolina, as he also let star cornerback Josh Norman walk out the door for nothing. For a team with a suspect defense, letting a defensive playmaker go for nothing does not seem like a smart move.

Gettleman also traded Olivier Vernon to the Browns for right guard Kevin Zeiter. While this move made a lot of sense for a team that needs help on the offensive line, Gettleman did not stop there.

After saying to reporters at the combine that “we didn’t sign (Odell) to trade him” Gettleman did just the opposite. Despite Beckham not requesting a trade, he was shopped to the Browns in exchange for a mid-first round pick, a late third round pick and safety Jabril Peppers. The idea that you should build your offense around a superstar running back in Saquon Barkley and a superstar wideout in Odell Beckham Jr. is a quite simple one. However, if they felt it was best to trade Beckham, I wouldn’t see a problem with that- except in this case.

A first and a third-round pick are not nearly a high enough ticket to trade Beckham for. Including Peppers in the trade sounds good in theory, but he is only here to replace Landon Collins, who left in exchange for nothing. Not to mention the $21 million cap hit the Giants will suffer in this deal. This trade shows that the Giants have no direction and really no idea what they are doing.

Now all these moves could in theory make sense, pointing to a rebuild. However, the one constant through all of them is the QB, Eli Manning. Despite a clear decline, the Giants have been hellbent on keeping the 38-year-old. As long as he is on this roster, the Giants will remain a complete mess.

To recap, no Landon Collins, no Odell Beckham Jr., yes Eli Manning. This is essentially the Giants message to the fans and players.

Eli Manning should not be the quarterback. Pat Shurmur should not be the coach. Dave Gettleman should not be the GM. This team has become similar to the likes of the 2013-17 Jets or Browns, with no direction of where they are going, roaming around in the dark completely helpless. Until the QB, coach and GM change hands, we will continue to find ourselves in the NFL abyss.

The silver lining in all of this is that assuming we do not re-sign Eli Manning, the Giants are expected to have nearly $100 million in cap space next season.

But until then, buckle up. Because it’s going to be a very unpleasant ride.

About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a sophomore at the University of Miami from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and all U. Miami sports. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (secondtakewithspencera).

 

 

Od(e)ll’s Future in Bi(g) Blue- Why it Might be Cut Sh(o)rt

Buyer’s Remorse?

At the beginning of the season, the Giants paid their all-pro wideout $95 million over 5 years. While this contract gave the Giants a big headline, they still had some trepidations about doing this. Some doubts were cast due to his sideline tantrums, his “me first” mentality and the ankle injury he suffered last season. They gave him the contract with the assumption that he would transform into a leader and that all of those problems would go away.

It’s safe to say that they might be feeling a little bit differently after the Giants 1-4 start.

The Giants have a very bad offensive line, as Nate Soldier has been a disappointment thus far. Additionally, and more importantly, the bet that Dave Gettleman made by drafting Saquon Barkley and sticking with Eli Manning isn’t exactly working out as planned. Manning has looked old, scared and maxed out. Despite the offensive line struggles, Manning hasn’t done anything when he has time in the pocket in spirts throughout the game. He’s reluctant to throw the ball down the field, frustrating OdellBeckham, Jr. so much that he publicly questioning the Giants QB in an interview with rapper Lil Wayne this weekend.

The Interview

Odell Beckham, Jr. was featured on an ESPN special with Lil Wayne. Hewas asked various questions about the Giants progress over the season.  He criticized the Giants offense and essentially threw Manning and the coaching staff under the bus. While he was fully correct about Manning’spoor play, is it right for the wide receiver to say that publicly? He then began to talk about himself, because he is in fact a diva receiver. He complained about not getting enough targets “like some other receivers get.”When asked if he is happy in NYC, he said, “That’s a tough question.”

Beckham Jr.’s responses should deeply concern Giants fans. We knew he was a diva, and we simply swept it under the rug and said that he was talented enough to deal with it. But he showed yet another level of selfishness that could end up hurting the team more than helping it. After the Giants devastating loss to the Panthers on Sunday, Beckham, Jr. said that he was unapologetic about his comments and believes that they actuallyallowed the team to come together. I find that implausible.

 

Trade Rumors

This offseason, everyone seemed to ignore the Beckham, Jr. trade rumors, and the fact that he had voiced his desire to be in Los Angeles with the Rams, reportedly telling other players he “wanted in.” It is clear that Beckham Jr. only signed the Giants contract because he wanted to secure a deal. But let’s not kid ourselves: he wants to be in Los Angeles. And it’s clear
that the Rams, the number one offense in the NFL, didn’t really think he was necessary—something that is deeply concerning. A team follows their leader. But if their leader is selfish, they’ll have nobody to follow. With a player as volatile as Beckham Jr., I don’t think the organization or the fans should rule out those trade rumors just yet.

Who is Odell?

Beckham Jr. is a super talented wide receiver, but whether or not he is a winner is the question that we have yet to answer. When the Giants went 11-5 two seasons ago, he was chilling on a boat before they got crushed by the Packers- and he had three drops.

We know Odell wants to be a Drake-like celebrity and public figure. We know he wants to be on House of Highlights, making amazing one-handed catches. But does he really want to be a playoff contender year in and year out? Does he truly want to win a Super Bowl? Or will he be satisfied with 1,500 receiving yards and 100 receptions each season?

These are still question marks. The Giants gave Beckham Jr. a contract prematurely. Now they need to wait this out and play the season out. If things don’t change, alarms are sure to sound.

We must hope that Beckham, Jr. can galvanize this team and bring them together.
We must hope that his antics and selfish attitude don’t poison this team like those traits of a Chad Johnson, Jameis Winston or Johnny Manziel.

If we don’t see a change, there’s going to be trouble in the Big Apple.

Image via https://www.express.co.uk/sport/othersport/1027545/Odell-Beckham-Jr-New-York-Giants-lack-heart-energy-NFL-news

About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a sophomore at the University of Miami from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and all U. Miami sports. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (secondtakewithspencera).

Kawhi Leonard’s Future in San Antonio

10506973.jpgAfter just nine games this season, Kawhi Leonard voluntarily sat out for the remainder of the Spurs regular season through the playoffs, as they were downed by the Golden State Warriors in five games.

With many questions surrounding Leonard’s future with the Spurs, there have been discussions around NBA circles about Leonard being on the move, as he has a player option on his contract for 2019. He also has an option for a 5-year $219 million super-max extension this offseason. Relations between Leonard and the Spurs have clearly soured.

He was accused, rightly so, of quitting on the Spurs this season, and assuming he requests a trade, the Spurs will likely move him. It would be wise of them to move him if he is non-committal due to his value in the open market. If Leonard has lost interest in playing for the Spurs, they should not hesitate to trade him due to the fact that his injury leaves us uncertain of how he will return. Here are some possible trade scenarios that the San Antonio Spurs should consider:

Boston Celtics

Price: 2018 first rounder (via Lakers), Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum

The Spurs could begin to immediately rebuild while being able to win now. With LaMarcus Aldridge as their primary option, they will have a top pick to surround him with, as well as two young studs in Brown and Tatum. It would be very hard to trade Tatum, but for a guy as talented as Leonard, I think it’s worth it. The Celtics could legitimately be the favorites in the East with Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Leonard and Al Horford at the helm.

 

Los Angeles Lakers

Price: 2018 first rounder (via Cavaliers), Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle (sign & trade)

San Antonio would be put in a rebuilding position, as Ingram is still developing. The Lakers could bring in Leonard to potentially pair with a LeBron James/Paul George combination, along with the rookies Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma. This could be a very interesting dynamic, as this team could really challenge the frontrunners in the West for years to come.

 

Philadelphia 76ers

Price: 2019 first rounder (via Kings), Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric

This core could also really help the Spurs rebuild. With Fultz somewhat out of place in Philly, he has proven that his potential is quite high. The Sixers would be the immediate favorites in the East if they paired Leonard with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, along with their shooters and 3 and D role players.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers

Price: 2018 first rounder (via Nets), Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, Jr.

This deal is going to put the Spurs in a rebuilding position, as they would look to acquire talent for the future and develop Nance and Clarkson. This deal would most likely only be considered by Cleveland if James agrees to sign long term, which at this point, looks unlikely unless they can acquire a talent like George or DeMarcus Cousins.

 

New York Knicks

Price: 2018 first rounder, 2020 first rounder, Frank Ntilikina, Tim Hardaway, Jr.

This deal is highly unrealistic, but as a Knicks fan, I had to include it.

 

Milwaukee Bucks

Price: 2018 first rounder, Eric Bledsoe, Jabari Parker

Putting Leonard next to Giannis Antetokounmpo could make for an impenetrable defense as well as an explosive full court offense. These two resemble each other in length and explosiveness and paired with Malcom Brogdon and Kris Middleton could make for a lethal threat to any team in the NBA.

 

Who is the best suitor for Kawhi Leonard?

I believe if he joins forces with the Philadelphia 76ers, they can be favorites to win it all in the next couple of years. The Boston Celtics have the most value to offer for Kawhi, and they would also be a good spot for him. However, I believe the best destination is Philly.

Deals are based on projected value Spurs would ask for.

Cap space was not considered in these trades, as some of them may need to be refined if they were to actually be considered. Additionally, the pieces that would also be sent with Kawhi were not addressed due to their relative insignificance for this particular article.

IMAGE VIA: https://www.yardbarker.com/nba/articles/eight_most_likely_kawhi_leonard_trade_scenarios/s1_12680_26244548

About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a freshman at the University of Miami from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and all U. Miami sports. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (secondtakewithspencera).

 

 

 

Giants NFL Draft: What’s the move?

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After a 3-13 season, the Giants had struggles all over the field. Injuries to Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall, coupled with a poorly constructed offensive line caused the Giants to fall off the rails last season. The sheer incompetence of Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese is also to blame.

New general manager Dave Gettleman is looking to build this team back up to the top and has already started to implement changes. With the acquisition of Alec Ogletree, Gettleman is making it a point to have a good line backing core – something the Giants have lacked for years. By trading Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants freed up cap space and acquired a third-round pick, making it clear that they want no deadweight contracts on their roster. Better yet, he is also addressing the offensive line issues by signing Nate Soldier, a solid left tackle who can finally protect Eli Manning’s blindside.

Gettleman has done a solid job in free agency and with trades, but now comes the biggest test of all. With the number two overall pick in the draft, an aging quarterback, a still-rebuilding offensive line, very little running game and scarce cornerbacks, the Giants could make a lot of different moves. Here are some of the options:

Option #1: Take Saquon Barkley (scouting report below)

Saquon Barkley is one of the most talented guys in the draft, putting the world on notice last year at Penn State. His technique, speed and skill set parallel those of Todd Gurley and Zeke Elliot. However, many argue that running backs are easily replaceable and a “dime a dozen” as well. If they add him, they could have a potentially deadly offense with an OBJ and Barkley tandem. While this could prove unstoppable, the offensive line might not be able to bring that combo to its full potential.

Option #2: Take Sam Darnold/Josh Rosen/Josh Allen (scouting reports below)

Eli Manning is 38 years old and has only two years left, maximum. Many would argue that a QB needs to be taken. Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, or Josh Allen could learn under Manning for a year and then step in and be ready to win. However, many also argue that none of these three guys are the real deal. If a QB isn’t a sure-fire Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning, should you spend the number two pick on them? You could end up with Alex Smith or Sam Bradford instead.

Option #3: Trade Down

The Colts traded their number three pick in exchange for the number six, 37, 49 and a 2019 second-rounder. That being said, the number two pick is worth more, and the Giants potential trade partners in the Cleveland Browns (4), Denver Broncos (5), Miami Dolphins (11), Buffalo Bills (12, 22) and even the Arizona Cardinals (15) could make a deal feasible. If the Colts traded down three spots to receive three additional picks, I’m sure the Giants could get solid value by trading down two or three spots with the Browns or Broncos. However, if the Giants trade down eight or nine picks with the Dolphins and Bills respectively, they could receive a king’s ransom, and may want to consider that due to the significant help they need on the offensive line, as well as the need for a QB (Lamar Jackson maybe) and cornerbacks.

Other Possible Options

The Giants can draft OG Quentin Nelson or DE Bradley Chubb as well. While these two players are exceptional talents, I don’t believe they should pass up on Barkley if they keep number two. That being said, I think if they trade down (depending on the team), they should end up selecting one of the two – preferably Nelson – to bolster the offensive line.

Conclusion

If the Giants decide to stand pat and keep the number two pick, they should draft Barkley. His talent is special and comes around very rarely. However, if they trade the number two pick, a likely trade partner would be the Buffalo Bills. They would most likely receive the number 12 and 22 picks, as well as a few second and or third round picks for the future. However, if they can court the Browns to agree to a trade, they could still get a hefty amount given the number of picks the Browns have at their disposal.

Opinion

I am a huge fan of Barkley and want the Giants to draft him. However, they need to trade the pick because they need to acquire more picks, which will help them solidify the multiple holes the team still has.

Full scouting report summary by @AdemiSmithScout

Sam Darnold: Darnold has all the physical tools to dominate at the NFL level as a pocket passer. However, below average decision-making ability and poor ball security hinder him. Poor OL and WR play hurt him and unfortunately caused him to develop some poor habits. Has the arm strength to make NFL throws and flashed upside with his accuracy. If his decision making, ball security, and touch are coached up he can be a franchise QB. A long-term pick who will require development and time before he shows his full potential.

Josh Allen: Extremely raw prospect with rare combination of size, athleticism, and arm strength. Is still learning how to use his arm and currently has below average accuracy. Lacks touch and the ability to hit receivers in stride. Played in very simple offense and habitually made ill advised throws to covered receivers. Very good athlete with the ability to outmuscle some DL and outrun some LB in space. Physical player with raw strength. Gets lost when inside the pocket and has no clue what pressure is around him. Long term investment

Josh Rosen: Pocket passer with potential to run any offense like a well-oiled machine. Strong mental processing skills with ability to diagnose defenses and quickly go through reads. Arm talent to float the ball in awkward areas and quickly squeeze through tight windows. Very fundamentally sound, with coachable low release. Natural pocket player stands tall and can sense the pressure. Concerns with inability to extend plays due to lack of mobility, which may result in excess of hits which is concerning considering injury history.

Saquon Barkley: Game changing RB who can become a consistent All-Pro. Rare athlete who can outrun, and outmaneuver any defender. Not a physical runner but can convert inside on short yardage situations. Vision to hit any hole with quickness to utilize cut back lanes. Very consistent ball security. Raw in the passing game but has the athleticism to terrorize LBs and DBs. Good pass blocker but needs to avoid dropping helmet to block.

What do you think the Giants should do?

About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a freshman at the University of Miami from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and all U. Miami sports. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (secondtakewithspencera).

Should the Knicks Trade for Kemba Walker?

Last week, the Charlotte Hornets said they would be willing to trade their starting point guard, Kemba Walker. The Knicks are in need of a point guard and are still trying to figure out if they are a win-now or a rebuilding team. One might ask, should the Knicks trade for Kemba Walker?

Absolutely. Here’s why:

Although Kemba Walker is a star point guard, he’s in a league with a lot of star guards and does not get the recognition he deserves. He averages about 22 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds and 1 steal per game. The Charlotte Hornets reportedly want an all-star caliber player in return. Unfortunately, the Knicks cannot provide that. Therefore, they would need to take on a bad contract or give up a draft pick to acquire Walker. While those two scenarios do not sound appealing given the state the Knicks are in, they should consider giving up a future pick. They do not use draft picks well anyway, so what’s the point of having them? Just ask Dennis Smith Jr., Malik Monk or Donovan Mitchell.

The Knicks should explore dealing Frank Ntilikina, Willy Hernangomez and Kyle O’Quinn. The Hornets would certainly want Ntilikina and possibly one of the two centers. However, they would want a draft pick, due to the fact that the Knicks would not want to take on a bad contract since they already have to pay Joakim Noah $54 million for 3 more years. The Knicks should offer Courtney Lee in an attempt to hold onto a draft pick. However, if the Hornets do not budge, they should give in.

The Knicks should focus on winning now, rather than tanking. A team with Kristaps Porzingis, Enes Kanter, Tim Hardaway, Jr., and Walker could certainly make the playoffs and attract free agents, independent of James Dolan’s negative effect on free agents.

They have not had an elite starting point guard since…well, it’s been a while. Having Walker as a second option could allow Porzingis to speed up his development, play a 2-man game, and lower his shot count. A real point guard could significantly help the Knicks in a guard driven league, and they should absolutely consider trading for the 6-year man out of UCONN.

Do you want to see Walker on the Knicks?

Image via http://www.phillymag.com/news/2017/01/13/sixers-vs-hornets-preview-2/

About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a freshman at the University of Miami from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and all U. Miami sports. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).

What is Holding the NBA Back?

That damn salary cap.

What is it?

The salary cap is essentially a budget for teams, with a floor and a ceiling on what they can spend. Last season, it was set at about $94 million, and the luxury tax limit was about $113 million. This season, the cap is at about $99 million with the same luxury tax limit. The reason the luxury tax is in place is to allow teams to go above the cap limit if they’re resigning their own players. Thus, a player could sign for five years instead of four if they choose to remain with their respective team when they enter free agency.

The NBA salary cap is not a hard cap; it is a soft cap. This means that there are many regulations within the cap, such as max contracts, mid-level exceptions, trade exceptions, restricted free agents and veteran’s minimum contracts. All of these elements contribute to the salary cap. But do we need one?

Why do we have a salary cap?

The main reason the cap is in place is to prevent teams from becoming too dominant—to avoid a situation where a team signs all the best players. Another idea behind the salary cap is that it can breed competition among all 32 teams; that each year, all 32 teams will have an equal shot at winning a championship. However, we know that is far from how it actually works.

Is the salary cap useful?

The idea of even competition among all, or most, teams is clearly a farce. Take a look at the 2008 Celtics, where they signed Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett. Or the 2011 Miami Heat, where LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined forces with Dwyane Wade. Or, more recently, look at the 2016 Golden State Warriors, when Kevin Durant joined a powerhouse built by Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. A salary cap is very easy to work around, as these three examples over the last 10 years have demonstrated.

Let’s look at the competition element of the salary cap. Has this helped teams like the Orlando Magic, the Sacramento Kings or the Phoenix Suns? Despite the cap, they continue to suffer in part because they are small market teams, which indirectly encourages tanking since the idea of “stacking” is hard to emulate if your team is not in a big market like New York, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles or San Francisco.

What are the problems?

The soft cap in and of itself is a problem. At a minimum, the NBA should move to a hard cap, and eliminate max contracts, mid-level exceptions, restricted free agents and veteran’s minimum. A hard cap makes more sense and is far less restrictive for those who believe the idea of a salary cap is a good idea.

Pop the Top 

Due to the spike in the salary cap from the new TV deals the NBA has signed, lowly players are getting far too much money. Andre Roberson signed a 3-year, $30 million contract. His career stats are 5 points and 4 rebounds per game. John Leuer signed a 4-year, $42 million contract. His career stats are 7 points and 4 rebounds per game. Other examples of bad contracts due to the spike in cap are Brandon Knight (3 years, $44 million), Joakim Noah (4 years, $73 million), Allen Crabbe (4 years, $75 million), Chandler Parsons (4 years, $94 million) and Timofey Mozgov (4 years, $64 million) to name just a few.

Most of these guys aren’t great. Even though the rising cap means more money for everyone, the max contract still prevents superstars from earning the amount they are truly worth. LeBron James is getting paid $31 million this season, which makes him the highest paid NBA player on a per-year basis. However, is he really worth just over $30 million per year? Some would say his worth is $50 million, or even $100 million per season. From a business standpoint, LeBron James might be worth $500 million, based on the ticket sales he generates as well as the league-wide attention he brings to the Cavaliers.

Another example is Kevin Durant. Although many can (and should) argue that his move to the Warriors was “spineless” or “weak,” he had every right to do it. But, as the second-best player in the NBA, many of his fans feel he should make more than $30 million per year. The idea that as a team’s salary cap rises, the more “star-level” players they can sign is true. At the same time, it also means that the “fringe-level” players get significant pay raises, canceling out the idea of a super team.

End Tanking

Getting rid of salary caps would also help end tanking. Teams like the Sacramento Kings would be more willing to try and sign a superstar in free agency—and if they have a higher bid, they could grab him with no restrictions.

The cap has a lot of indirect effects on tanking, which doesn’t really work. The best example of this is the Philadelphia Sixers. They have “trusted the process” and have come out with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, Dario Saric and Markelle Fultz. Okafor was a bust, Noel was ineffective, and we have yet to see how Fultz plays out. Saric has some potential, Embiid is a great talent but hasn’t proven he can stay healthy, and Simmons also has a lot of potential. And, after five years of being dreadful, the Sixers stand at 15-18 and 10th in the Eastern Conference.

Teams that have miserably failed at tanking and got zero to two franchise players are the Orlando Magic, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks.

Of course, the salary cap is one of the many reasons why teams tank. Eliminating it is, therefore, necessary to strengthen teams.

Promote Free Competition 

People say they don’t like super teams. But think about it: would you rather have 4-8 super teams and 4-8 lousy teams, or have it like it is now, where the Golden State Warriors are the heavy favorites to win the NBA Finals for the next 3-5 years, with very little competition, unless another super team formed, which will be challenging due to cap restrictions.

Comparison to the MLB

If teams want to spend, let them—it works in the MLB where they have no salary cap. The idea of the competition aspect of keeping teams all on a level playing field with a cap does not work in practice. While baseball has more random variables than basketball which determine the outcome of the game, not having a salary cap really hasn’t hurt the MLB’s competitive nature. The last five MLB World Series winners are as follows: Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants and the Boston Red Sox. No repeats.

Clayton Kershaw is on a 7-year contract for $215 million. Miguel Cabrera is on an 8-year contract for $248 million. Albert Pujols is on a 10-year contract for $240 million. The list goes on and on. Think the contracts are too long? That’s the organization’s problem, not the MLB’s, as they correctly assess. If your team wants to invest long-term in a player, that’s their prerogative. Monitoring teams’ spending is somewhat pointless. If management only cares about profits and shows an unwillingness to spend money to win, then the fans should take that upon themselves to protest management and demand results.

Scrap the Cap

The MLB does not have a cap, accountants don’t have a max contract, investment bankers don’t have a mid-level exception, and lawyers don’t have a veteran’s minimum. Sports is just like any other entity and should be treated as such. The idea of socialist-type structure in sports sounds good in theory, yet in practice does not work and only brings unnecessary obstacles.

 

The Upcoming NBA Season: What to expect, offseason moves and their impact, standings, awards and more…​

What a wild offseason it has been! Starting off with the NBA Draft, we saw Markelle Fultz leave the board first, teaming up with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in Philly, followed by the most prominent name of the summer, Lonzo Ball, be selected by the Lakers at number 2. The Celtics traded down to 3 and snagged Jayson Tatum, potentially the most talented player in the entire draft. Josh Jackson went 4th to Phoenix, and De’Aaron Fox went to the Kings, rounding out the top 5 picks. With Jimmy Butler traded to the T-Wolves, the offseason was off to a wild start. We saw Chris Paul traded to the Rockets to join James Harden, and Paul George and Carmelo Anthony traded to the Thunder to team up with Westbrook. Paul Millsap joined Denver to speed up their rebuilding process. Gordon Hayward left the Jazz to join the Celtics, and shortly after, Kyrie Irving was traded in a blockbuster deal for Isaiah Thomas, a first-round pick and more. D-Wade signed a one year, $2.3 million deal with the Cavaliers, rejoining former teammate and good friend, LeBron James.

Big contract extensions were also a big theme this offseason. Kyle Lowry, Blake Griffin, John Wall, Steph Curry and Russell Westbrook all signed max deals with their respective teams.

So, what should we expect this season? Will Boston dethrone Cleveland in the East? Can anybody beat Golden State? Who will win MVP? Will the Lakers or Sixers make the playoffs?

Here’s what I’m thinking:

Five Hot Takes:

  1. Jayson Tatum will prove to be the best player in the draft (he will not win ROY).
  2. Joel Embiid will play at least 65 games and average at least 25 points a game.
  3. Giannis Antetokounmpo will win MVP (accomplishing Kobe Bryant’s challenge).
  4. Brandon Ingram will win Most Improved Player.
  5. Damian Lillard will be an All-Star starter (accomplishing Kobe Bryant’s challenge).

 

Top Storylines:

  1. The steep decline of Dwight Howard and why he should not be a Hall of Famer.
  2. Why Westbrook’s extension means that LeBron to LA is no longer a given.
  3. Will DeMarcus Cousins team up with John Wall in Washington?
  4. Kyle Kuzma’s emergence as a draft steal—what does this mean for the future?
  5. When will Trusting the Process lead to contending for titles?

 

Players with the most to prove this season:

  1. Carmelo Anthony (needs to show an ability to defend, create offense in transition)
  2. Dwight Howard (needs to prove that he won’t create dissension in the locker room)
  3. LaMarcus Aldridge (needs to prove that he is tough enough to play for Pop)
  4. Lonzo Ball (needs to show the NBA why Lavar is so high on him as an overall talent)
  5. Kyrie Irving (needs to prove that he can be the primary option on a title contender)

 

Standings

Eastern Conference:

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
  2. Boston Celtics
  3. Washington Wizards
  4. Milwaukee Bucks
  5. Toronto Raptors
  6. Philadelphia Sixers
  7. Detroit Pistons
  8. Miami Heat

 

Western Conference:

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder
  3. San Antonio Spurs
  4. Houston Rockets
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves
  6. Memphis Grizzlies
  7. Los Angeles Clippers
  8. Los Angeles Lakers

 

Awards:

MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Most Improved Player: Brandon Ingram

Defensive Player of the Year: Hassan Whiteside

Rookie of the Year: Dennis Smith, Jr.

Comeback Player of the Year: Danilo Gallinari

Points Leader: Kevin Durant

Rebounds Leader: DeAndre Jordan

Assists Leader: Russell Westbrook

Blocks Leader: Hassan Whiteside

Steals Leader: Chris Paul

Most impact on a new team: Jimmy Butler

Least impact on a new team: Tim Hardaway Jr.

 

NBA Playoff Predictions

Eastern Conference Finals:

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics: Cleveland in 7

Western Conference Finals:

Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Golden State in 7

NBA Finals:

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors: Golden State in 6

Finals MVP: Kevin Durant

 

What are your thoughts and feelings about this upcoming season?

 

Image via: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByVvmw2bbSw

About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a freshman at the University of Miami from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and all U-Miami sports. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).