Blockbuster Deal: Kyrie Irving to Boston

After a wild offseason, a blockbuster trade took place last night when Kyrie Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets 2018 first round pick.

Who would’ve thought the 1st pick in the 2011 NBA Draft would be traded for the last pick in that same draft?

So, who won in the deal?

Well, the Cavs won the trade- for this season. They were able to fulfill Irving’s request for a trade and got a guy who averaged 30 points a game last season in Thomas, as well as a solid starting caliber player in Crowder.

To combine those two with LeBron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith and Derrick Rose, they should see themselves in another NBA Finals.

However, they don’t yet have the pieces to beat Golden State due to IT4’s poor defense and Tristan Thompson’s lack of offensive skills. So, what happens at the end of this season when James and IT4 are free agents?

The best scenario for Cleveland is for Thomas and James to re-sign, as well as signing a marquee free agent such as Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, Carmelo Anthony or someone of that caliber to pair with them.

Of course, James and IT4 would need to take pay cuts in order for the team to have the cap space. Knowing that they’re on the clock, they would most likely trade the Nets pick for a star as well, maybe packaged with Kevin Love.

On the flip side, James could very well leave next season and join Lonzo Ball, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr., and Julius Randle in Los Angeles, and maybe even Paul George or Russell Westbrook.

I’d be surprised to see James in a Cavaliers uniform at the start of next season. If James left Cleveland, IT4 would most likely leave as well.

So what did the Celtics gain?

Well, they acquired a superstar in Kyrie Irving. They made the rotation tighter by getting rid of Crowder, allowing Jayson Tatum to get more touches, as well as allowing Jaylen Brown to develop as a firm rotation player behind Tatum and Gordon Hayward.

With Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart and Gerald Green rounding out the rotation, the Celtics see themselves a piece away from being able to capture a title in the next 2 to 4 years.

Yes, the Celtics lost the Nets 2018 pick, however IT4 was most likely going to leave Boston, and Crowder made the rotation too crowded (no pun intended) for Brown and Tatum to be able to thrive.

I believe the Celtics won the deal long term, because James and Thomas will likely leave Cleveland after losing to Golden State in the NBA Finals, which will leave them with a top pick and Love as their franchise cornerstones.

I get the sense that Irving will enjoy playing for the Celtics because he is the best player on the team, and has a great number 2 option in Gordon Hayward, as well as guys like Horford and Morris who do not need to dominate the ball to be effective.

While they are still a piece away, they can address it next summer due to the plethora of star free agents on the market such as Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins and others.

Not to mention, Kyrie Irving is only 25 years old, and it gives Boston a sense of direction for the future.

Who do you think won the trade?

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 Miami Hurricanes football and basketball. 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).

Why the NY Giants Season Will Be a Disappointment

Last season, the New York Giants were solid, going 10-6 and making the playoffs for the first time since 2011. With a great defense led by the newly signed Janoris Jenkins, Oliver Vernon, and Damon Harrison as well as returning players in Landon Collins, Jason Pierre Paul and Johnathan Hankins, they were able to dominate that side of the ball for most of the season.

The Giants were 10th in fewest total yards allowed, 3rd in fewest rushing yards per game allowed, and 2nd in fewest points allowed.

On the offensive end, things were different. Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. were back, yet the very ineffective offensive line and poor running game made it extremely difficult for them to match the defense’s productivity. They were eliminated in the Wildcard round by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, as Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard had their worst games of the season- at the worst time.

Fast forward to this season. The Giants decided to sign WR Brandon Marshall, something many (including me) believe is a boom or bust move. But when draft time came around, they decided not to take a running back or an offensive lineman, and instead took a “tight end” in Evan Engram.

Then, in round 3, they decided to add a 4th QB to the depth chart in Davis Webb, instead of a desperately needed running back. Yes, the offense has a plethora of weapons in Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram, but how effective will they actually be?

With really no improvement in the offensive line, you can expect similar results from last season on the offensive side of the ball. Offensively, the Giants were ranked 17th in passing yards per game, 29th in rushing yards per game, 25th in total yards, and 26th in points scored. Pretty bottom of the barrel.

So, what can we expect this season?

Due to the difficult schedule, I see the Giants going 8-8 this season and missing the playoffs. When you look at the Cowboys and Redskins, they do not possess the same talent defensively, but they have few problems on the offensive line.

Paul Perkins is a solid running back, but he is not a difference maker who can propel the Giants to the post season. I know, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard and probably Evan Engram are super talented wideouts. The only problem is, Eli Manning will have to rush a lot of throws due to the little protection he has on that line, which will lead to more interceptions and eventually more sacks too.

No, the offensive line is not glamorous or exciting. But if you want to win games in the NFL, you are going to need one. And unfortunately, the Giants have failed to fill their holes on the line from last season, and will likely fall short this season.

Will the Giants make the playoffs this season? 

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 Miami Hurricanes football and basketball. 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).

Top NBA Free Agents

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Kevin Durant, Small Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

He’s only the 2nd best player in the world. This Warriors team looks like it has the makings of a dynasty and I don’t see why he would go anywhere else. I hope he leaves, but he won’t. They’re too dominant.

Value: Max

What the Warriors should do: Make sure he has no plans to leave, and max him up.

What he should do: Sign a max with the Warriors.

 

Gordon Hayward, Small Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hayward has evolved into a top 30 player, and really played well this season. He’s certainly a star player, and can make any team better instantly. Averaging 22 points, 5 boards and 4 dimes a game, he is still improving and can become a superstar with time.

Value: Max

What the Jazz should do: Offer him a max contract.

What he should do: Sign with the Celtics, Thunder or Pacers (he went to college in Indiana).

 

Kyle Lowry, Point Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Good for 22 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists a game, Lowry has certainly cemented himself as a top 10 point guard. A smart 31-year-old veteran, he would be great for any team trying to find a “missing piece” in the backcourt. His size can be a concern, but his IQ and talent make up for it. His demeanor is up and down, but nothing that can’t be fixed with a better supporting cast.

Value: Max

What the Raptors should do: Try and resign him, he’s worth the max.

What he should do: Go to the Spurs or stay in the East.

 

Chris Paul, Point Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A seasoned veteran and pure point guard, CP3 can make any team a contender. His great basketball IQ as well as his winner’s mentality should land him a max deal, but for his own sake it shouldn’t be in Los Angeles. He has yet to make it to a Conference Finals, and really needs to make a run at a title, because he is too good not to at least have an NBA Finals appearance.

Value: Max

What the Clippers should do: Re-sign him for less than the max in hopes of signing another marquee free agent.

What he should do: Sign with the Spurs for a bit less than the max.

 

Steph Curry, Point Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A top 2 shooter in basketball and good for 25 points, 5 boards and 5 assists a game, Curry is as valuable as anyone and is a top 5 player in the NBA.

Value: Max

What the Warriors should do: Give him a max contract.

What he should do: Sign a max contract with the Warriors.

 

Blake Griffin, Power Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

His talent is top notch, but his health is a big question mark. Nonetheless, he needs a new scene and needs to leave LA. He’s good for 22-25 a game and is a physical specimen who’s strength combined with his athleticism is unmatched. If he can stay healthy, he is certainly a top 25 player.

Value: Max

What the Clippers should do: They need to move on and let him walk.

What he should do: Go to OKC and team up with Russell Westbrook.

 

Danilo Gallinari, Small Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

While he has been injured the last couple seasons, his size and shooting ability should not be overlooked. He can add value to any team, assuming his health is intact. He averaged 18 points and 5 rebounds a game last season with the Nuggets.

Value: $18-20 million/year

What the Nuggets should do: Let him go, spend the money on younger talent in the rebuilding process.

What he should do: Go to the Thunder; they need another talent as well as shooting, two things he brings to the table

 

Otto Porter, Small Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

He has improved immensely over the last two seasons, averaging 13 and 6 on the Wizards as the third scoring option, as well as recording the best three-point shooting percentage. He is definitely someone you want on your team, but beware of his disappearing acts, they come unexpectedly.

Value: $18-20 million/year

What the Wizards should do: Let him walk, make Kelly Oubre the starter and clear up cap for another superstar in the future.

What he should do: Try to sign a max deal with the Wizards.

 

Paul Milsap, Power Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Averaging 18 points, 7 boards and 4 assists a game, Milsap has evolved into a star veteran at the forward position. His size is a concern, yet his skills negate those concerns and he is extremely valuable. He has a winner’s mentality and can fit on any team.

Value: $22-24 million/year

What the Hawks should do: Re-sign him.

What he should do: Leave and go to a “contender”- possibly the Spurs, Thunder, Wizards or Bulls.

 

JJ Redick, Shooting Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️

He’s a marksman from deep, and he’s an automatic 15 points a game for a team in need of shooting. He can fit anywhere, just don’t let him go to Golden State on a minimum salary.

Value: $14 million/year

What the Clippers should do: Let him go, don’t spend money on a 32 year-old shooter right now.

What he should do: Go to a team in need of a starting shooting guard, preferably in the East.

 

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Shooting Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️

A solid player on both ends, but definitely overrated. Detroit said they would do everything in their power to keep him, but he is replaceable. He averaged 14 points a game on 40% shooting. Nothing to sneeze at.

Value: $12 million/year

What the Pistons should do: Not give him a max contract.

What he should do: Try to get max dollars from the Pistons. He fits well there and won’t be utilized well on a winning team.

 

Rudy Gay, Small Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The saying “talented bum” applies to Rudy Gay–when he left the Grizzles they made the Western Conference Finals and when he left the Toronto Raptors they went far in the playoffs. When he walks into the contract room, he should have an L on his forehead, because that’s all this guy does. 19 points a game and a loss is what you will get, unless he’s your 4th or 5th option.

Value: $12-14 million/year

What the Kings should do: Anything but re-sign him.

What he should do: Take a pay cut and learn how to win on a contender.

 

Serge Ibaka, Power Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Just 27-years-old, Ibaka seems past his prime. Nonetheless, he averaged 15 and 7 last year with the Raptors. He can still play, but his defense has diminished and he has no post game to speak of. If you aren’t sure why he’s standing outside of the paint, he’s not waiting for the bus–he wants to shoot a three. He shot slightly under 40% from beyond the arc as well.

Value: $12 million/year

What the Raptors should do: Only re-sign him if Lowry stays.

What he should do: Stay in Toronto. It’s a good fit.

 

Jeff Teague, Point Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Teague has proven to be effective on both ends, as his speed and agility are important parts of his game. His days in Indiana are likely over, as they are more focused on locking up Paul George and if not, signing young talent.

Value: $14-16 million/year

What the Pacers should do: Let him walk, he’s better off somewhere else.

What he should do: Go where the money is, not good enough to propel a team to the finals.

 

Greg Monroe, Power Forward/Center ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monroe has moved around a couple times, yet hasn’t really found a home yet. His size and strength make him effective in the post, yet his lack of speed hurts him against versatile bigs.

Value: $14 million/year

What the Bucks should do: With the development of Thon Maker and John Henson, the Bucks should let Monroe walk.

What he should do: Go to a team looking for a big, but not a contender- the Suns, Hornets and Kings are all possible fits.

 

Andre Iguodala, Small Forward ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Iggy has a choice to make this offseason- does he want to collect a large check, or does he want to win? It’s his choice to make, but he can’t have both. He’ll need to take a huge pay cut to stay with Golden State considering Steph Curry and Kevin Durant have to get paid first.

Value: $16 million/year

What the Warriors should do: Offer him whatever cap space they have, but don’t stress if he walks.

What he should do: Whatever he wants. He’s a champion and a former all star. He’s done enough, if he wants to sign a max contract with a losing team he should be entitled to. If he wants to win, he can do that as well. His choice.

 

Jrue Holiday, Point Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Holiday did his part this season, averaging 15 points and 7 assists a game on the Pelicans. With the addition of DeMarcus Cousins, it could create a lot of opportunities for Holiday in the pick and roll game with him and Anthony Davis.

Value: $15 million/year

What the Pelicans should do: Re-sign him, he can get the job done at point.

What Holiday should do: If he wants to win, leave. If he wants to get his assists totals up, stay.

 

Pau Gasol, Power Forward/Center ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Although Pau is up there in age, he still brings a lot of value to the table. He is a good fit in San Antonio, but only if they lose Aldrigde. He’s a winner, and he’s a champion. As long as he is paired with a true center, he will fit well.

Value: $10-12 million/year

What the Spurs should do: Re-sign him if they trade Aldridge, let him walk if they don’t.

What he should do: If he wants to win a ring, stay in San Antonio for less money. If he wants to get paid, take the highest bidder.

 

Dwyane Wade, Shooting Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Wade averaged 18 points a game this season, as he still has something left in the tank. Wade, like many veterans on this list, can do whatever he wants. He didn’t seem to love his Chi-town reunion as much as we thought.

Value: $16 million/year

What the Bulls should do: Let him walk, they need to rebuild.

What he should do: Accept his player option if he wants the money or go to Cleveland or San Antonio if he wants to compete for a championship, for the minimum.

 

George Hill, Point Guard ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Hill said he would leave if Gordon Hayward did, so based off that, he’ll probably reside somewhere other than Utah next season. He would be a great backup point guard on a team like Washington, desperate for one.

Value: $10 million/year

What Jazz should do: Let him walk, give Exum more minutes.

What he should do: Sign with the Wizards.

 

Derrick Rose, Point Guard ⭐️⭐️

Averaging about 18 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists a game on the Knicks this season, Rose was nothing short of average and has demonstrated he cannot stay healthy throughout the entire season. His defensive woes were very obvious as well, as well as his inability to consistently shoot. His athleticism is diminished and he does not have
the bounce he once did.

Value: $8-10 million/year

What Knicks should do: Let him walk. A franchise with no direction does not need to lock up more cap space on an over the hill 29-year-old who can’t shoot or play defense.

What he should do: Try to convince Phil Jackson to give him a max contract- he would be stupid enough to do it.

 

Dion Waiters, Shooting Guard ⭐️⭐️

An average role player with some talent, Waiters averaged 16 points per game off the bench for the Heat. Despite his talent, he has had problems in multiple locker rooms. His shot selection is concerning, but he has confidence in himself, which is a plus. Solid player, don’t break the bank for him.

Value: $10-12 million/year

What the Heat should do: Let him go because Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson show more promise and play the same position.

What he should do: Try to stay with Miami- he seems to like it there and he fits well with the other young players.

 

Nerlens Noel, Center ⭐️⭐️

Still a young and vibrant 23-year-old, Noel has shown he can be a valuable defender and rim protector. He should hit the weight room, but I think he can be a useful player on a winning team.

Value: $10 million/year

What the Mavericks should do: Re-sign him, but only for the right price. Do not overpay.

What he should do: Sign a 2 year, $6 million deal with the Warriors. Replace Zaza, he’s terrible.

 

Kelly Olynyk, Center ⭐️⭐️

The aggressive and offensive minded kid from Gonzaga has game. He is somewhat of a liability defensively, but he can space the floor and knock down the three. He’ll help a team in need of a backup center who’s good for 25 minutes a game.

Value: $10 million/year

What the Celtics should do: Re-sign him only for $10 million or less.

What he should do: Stay in Boston.

 

Tyreke Evans, Small Forward ⭐️⭐️

From rookie of the year to a forgotten player, Tyreke has displayed a lack of care when it comes to winning–then again, he’s in Sacramento. He should go back to playing point guard like he did at Memphis. He has the skills, just not the mentality.

Value: $8-10 million/year

What the Kings should do: The opposite of what they think is right.

What he should do: Leave and sign with an Eastern Conference team looking for a spark off the bench.

 

Rajon Rondo, Point Guard ⭐️⭐️

Making the playoffs with the Bulls didn’t come easy, as his rifts with Jimmy Butler early on in the season were a sign of things to come. This isn’t a good fit for Rondo, but it seems nowhere is. He’s a headache in the locker room, cannot shoot and has not evolved his game at all. He’s past his prime, and I wouldn’t want him on my team. I know that the Bulls went up 2-0 on the Celtics, but it was just after Thomas lost his sister, I think that contributed to the deficit more than Rondo’s numbers.

Value: $6-8 million

What the Bulls should do: Get him out, don’t pickup his option.

What he should do: Go anywhere that offers him a contract. He’s public enemy #1 right now.

 

Tim Hardaway Jr., Shooting Guard ⭐️⭐️

Hardaway Jr. showed out this season, averaging 14.5 points per game in Atlanta. While he is still a flawed player, he has improved since he was on the Knicks, and should get a solid check this offseason.

Value: $10 million/year

What the Hawks should do: Re-sign him, but not for too much.

What he should do: Try and stay, it’s a good fit for him.

 

Andre Roberson, Shooting Guard ⭐️

Yes, he’s the guy who shot 3/22 from the free throw line in the first round. While he has good size, his offensive skills are so abysmal that whatever he does defensively won’t matter. With the jump shot of DeAndre Jordan and the handles of Tyson Chandler, its too bad Roberson is  only 6’6”, because he plays like a center.

Value: $5 million/year, even though he might get a max. Scary.

What the Thunder should do: Show him the nearest exit.

What he should do: Be happy he’s in the NBA.

 

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 Miami Hurricanes football and basketball. 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).

Guest Blog: Yankees Defy All Odds, Win Big Vs. Division Rival

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By Ilan Luttway

On April 28th, The New York Yankees were down 9-1 to the Baltimore Orioles in the bottom of the 6th inning. All hope seemed to be lost. Even after Aaron Judge’s huge second home run of the night, his first multi homer game of his career, the Orioles came back with another 2 runs in the top of the 7th to make the game 11-4, diminishing all hopes of a comeback. But in the bottom of the 7th inning, after a single by Austin Romine on a soft ground ball to third baseman Manny Machado, and starting pitcher Kevin Gausman was replaced by reliever Vidal Nuno, a glimmer of hope for the Yankees emerged. After a double from the third baseman Chase Headley and a walk to designated hitter Matt Holliday, Jacoby Ellsbury came through and hit a grand slam to right field, the 100th home run of his career.

While the Orioles were still up 11-8 after the top of the 9th inning, Yankee Stadium felt as vibrant as ever… a comeback was on the way. After a walk to Chase Headley, a sharp single from Matt Holliday, and an RBI groundout from Jacoby Ellsbury, the score was now 11-9 in the bottom of the 9th with Starlin Castro up to bat. As Castro dropped his knee to the ground, as he often did on home runs, fans at Yankee Stadium and at home gazed at the ball traveling through the air and shouted with excitement. 11-11. As the top of the 10th came to a close for the Orioles batters, fans screamed and yelled, knowing that this was the moment for the young and talented Yankees roster to complete their heroic comeback. Reliever Jayson Aquino must have felt it too, dishing out two walks in a row to Aaron Hicks and Kyle Higashioka.

As Matt Holliday came up to bat with one out, runners on 1st and 2nd, everything began to slow down. As the first pitch breaking ball came running down through Aquino’s fingers, veteran Matt Holliday remained calm and put bat on ball, smashing a three run home run. Before he knew it, Holliday was being doused with water, jumped on by his teammates. Holliday’s walk-off three run home run capped off one of the most improbable comebacks in MLB history, a game that should never be forgotten.

But this game is only the beginning for the 2017 New York Yankees as they look to continue their success throughout May and make a statement to the AL East about who the best team in their division really is.

 

Grading the New York Giants’ Draft  

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Team needs prior to the draft: OL, RB, TE, DL, LB

1st round pick (23rd overall): Evan Engram, WR/TE, Ole Miss

Standing at 6’3” and 235 pounds, Engram is certainly a talented player with tremendous ability. Running a 4.42 and showing off a 36” vertical at the NFL combine, his speed along with his athleticism make him a matchup nightmare. However, his inability to effectively block as well as his lack of height for his position makes me think he is more of a wide receiver. With four lethal weapons on the field, the Giants’ potential in the passing game is high. However, the Giants went for flash and flare and ignored evident holes on their O-line and in their running game. With offensive linemen Ryan Ramczyk and Cam Robinson on the board, along with running back Dalvin Cook, I certainly question this move—not to knock Engram, because he can be special, but to knock Jerry Reese for blatantly ignoring the Giants’ dire needs and going for the “sexy pick” instead. Hopefully, Engram can show off his speed, because Eli may not have that much time to get rid of the ball!

 

Scouting report via A.R. Smith Scouting

Engram is a super athletic four-year starter from Ole Miss. He has the speed and agility be a threat against all defenders on any area of the field. Engram has naturally soft hands and displays great concentration on hard catches but struggles mightily when asked to catch through contact. Defenders often are able to separate the ball with simple contact. Engram doesn’t use his size to box out defenders nor does display the toughness to out muscle defenders at the catch point. Engram isn’t a great route runner. He was able to rely on using his speed to run away from slower defenders at the college level. Ole Miss also did a great job putting him in position where he could combine his speed with natural leverage, such as running an out route vs. a defender lined up towards the inside. He needs to learn to break down and explode out his cuts using his natural burst rather than running round routes. Engram also struggled when contacted during his routes. Even the slightest shove will throw him off his path and he takes too long to regain balance and is sometimes eliminated from the whole play. Engram has the vertical ability to compete for the ball at the highest point but in limited opportunities he didn’t show enough consistency. As a blocker he shows good effort but he needs to learn to keep his head up and rely on his arms to make contact first in order to whiff less. He also needs to gain strength to be able to block NFL defenders. While he does a good job driving his legs, his base can be a bit wide initially giving him less balance. After the catch Engram relies on his speed rather than attempting to elude defenders in the open field or break tackles. Engram is a TE with a super high ceiling. Passing teams will be able to line him up at all receiver and TE positions effectively. He needs to gain strength as well as sharpen his route running to become a better player. He’s a high upside early 2nd rounder.

Grade: B-/C+

Who I would have taken: Ryan Ramczyk, OL, Wisconsin

 

2nd round pick (55th overall): Dalvin Tomlinson, DL, Alabama

This guy is impressive on and off the field. He was offered an academic scholarship to Harvard, but chose to play football at Alabama instead—a good decision. At 6’3” and 310 lbs., Tomlinson can certainly fill the starting defensive tackle position which is vacant due to Jonathan Hankins’ exit. I love any defensive player who comes out of Alabama; they’re the best of the best! Tomlinson’s strength and ability to stuff the run can really bolster the Giants’ front four. While they need a linebacker, it is certainly the next best option since Hankins left. He will not necessarily be an immediate starter, because he will need to compete with Jay Bromley and Michael Thomas, but I think he will beat them out and be very effective this season.

Grade: A-/B+

Who I would have taken: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt

 

3rd round pick (87th overall): Davis Webb, QB, California

We really needed a quarterback, and thank goodness we took one—oh wait, we have one. He’s 36-years-old, not 42. Eli Manning has a solid 3 to 4 years left of being a very good quarterback. No, he isn’t Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, but last season he threw for over 4,000 yards while completing 63% of his passes on 26 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. This is Eli Manning, a two-time Super Bowl champion who does not need to be replaced for another few years. There was absolutely no need to take a quarterback this early, especially since we needed a top tier running back in this class, and yet again we passed on it. Next year’s quarterback class is supposed to be loaded, and no matter how much potential Webb really has, I don’t know if he’s really the guy we can mold into a franchise quarterback. Plus, weren’t we supposed to resurrect Geno Smith’s career? I’m not saying Webb can’t be good, because he can be, but it is not the right place or time to have him join the team. And while Webb has a lot of arm strength, he struggles with accuracy—something that’s very concerning when your job is to be accurate.

Grade: D

Who I would have taken: D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texas

 

4th round pick (140th overall): Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson

Gallman won the National Championship at Clemson and ran a 4.6 at the combine—pretty middle of the road for his position. He knows how to win, having played with NFL-caliber players and against NFL-caliber opponents at Clemson.

Grade: B+

 

5th round pick (167th overall): Avery Moss, DE, Youngstown State

Scouts say that Moss reminds them of Robert Ayers, so essentially the guy could come in on first or second down to give JPP or Vernon a breather. Late round pick, so not much to lose here.

Grade: B

 

6th round pick (200th overall): Adam Bisnowaty, OL, Pitt

Reese finally realized he forgot that our biggest need was our offensive line. Good thing he realized this late.

Grade: A+

 

Overall draft grade: C+

Overall, the Giants had a slightly underwhelming draft. They took talented guys, but really ignored most of their core needs, waiting until the 4th round to pick a running back, and until the 6th to take an offensive lineman. They were ranked 27th in offensive efficiency last season, so taking one offensive player who will play in the first three rounds is unacceptable. They absolutely should not have taken a quarterback unless he is as good as Eli right now, because the fact is, Eli is still playing well and the next guy in line is probably someone in the next couple of classes. Reese is banking on the hope that Erick Flowers will improve and not be as much of a liability as he was last season, as well as on the hope that Webb can be molded into the next franchise quarterback. Hopefully, they’ll get their guys ready for opening night, and I can’t wait for Giants football this fall!

 

DISCLAIMER: Scouting Report on Evan Engram was written by @AdemiSmithScout. Share your feedback with him on twitter.

 

Image via http://nypost.com/2017/04/27/giants-snare-ole-miss-pass-catching-tight-end-with-23rd-pick/

 

About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a 12th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants and the Yankees. 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).

Who’s the Real MVP?

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With the NBA regular season concluded, it is time to pick an MVP. Wait what? Don’t we need to see how the Rockets vs. Thunder series plays out?

No we don’t. It’s specifically a regular season award.

With historic seasons behind both Russell Westbrook and James Harden, there can only be one MVP.

The regular season MVP should be awarded to Russell Westbrook. Here is why:

Westbrook averaged a triple double, with 31.6 points, 10.4 assists and 10.7 rebounds per game. No, triple doubles are not overrated, especially for someone who is 6’3”. James Harden averaged 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game. But Harden was only two rebounds away from a triple double average! But he didn’t have one. Westbrook did. Westbrook also had 3 50-point triple doubles. Harden had 2.

Westbrook only shot 42.5% from the field and 34.3% from three whereas Harden shot 44% from the field and 34.7% from three. Both shot the same from the free throw line. Splitting hairs. Irrelevant.

Harden shouldn’t get MVP when shooting less than 50%. Really? The Golden State Warriors, with the two best shooters of all time and the best scorer in the NBA, shot 49.5%. The median for field goals was 45.5%. Both Harden and Westbrook fall slightly below that.

For those of you who love the PER (Player Efficiency Rating) statistic, Westbrook finished first with a 30.7, while Harden finished fifth with a 27.4.

But the Rockets won 55 games and the Thunder only won 47!

Well, let’s talk about the supporting cast. After Kevin Durant left and Serge Ibaka was traded from the Thunder, Russell Westbrook decided to be bold and re-sign despite the team’s many young players. On the other hand, James Harden’s team, the Rockets, was short of legit all stars and certainly had no scrubs.

Lou Williams (15 PPG, 23 games), Eric Gordon (16.2 PPG), Ryan Anderson (13.6 PPG), Trevor Ariza (11.7 PPG), Clint Capela (12.6) and Patrick Beverly (9.5 PPG) averaged a total of 78.5 points per game.

Westbrook’s cast consisting of Victor Oladepo (16 PPG), Steven Adams (11.3 PPG), Enes Kanter (14.3 PPG), Taj Gibson (10.8 PPG), Andre Roberson (6.6 PPG) and Doug McDermott (9 PPG) averaged 68 points per game.

So, Westbrook’s supporting cast had an average of 10.5 fewer points per game than Harden’s. That’s a big difference.

So, if someone who averaged a triple double, had 2.5 more points and 2.6 more rebounds, and only 0.8 fewer assists, 0.4% less from three, and 1.5% less from the field, and a supporting cast that averaged 10.5 less points per game than that of his rival doesn’t deserve MVP, you lost me.

Again, the MVP is strictly a regular season award for the player who performed the best. I don’t even believe Westbrook is a better player than Harden—or Kawhi Leonard for that matter. But the man did average a triple double—something that hasn’t been done since the 70s. You think he will flame out in the playoffs? Fine! Doesn’t matter! The playoffs have zero effect on the outcome of the regular season MVP award.

What about Kawhi Leonard? He had a phenomenal season and has improved every season since his rookie year. He has become a superstar on both sides of the floor. The Kawhi Leonard argument is similar to the LeBron James argument— you can’t give the award to the best player every year. That isn’t how voting works. Otherwise, Michael Jordan would have 8, Kobe Bryant would have 7, Lebron James would have 7 and everyone else would have 0.

Kawhi Leonard plays on the great Spurs team. While he is not a “system player,” he certainly benefits from the system of coach Pop. He averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game on 48.5% shooting from the field and 38% from three. A phenomenal season nonetheless, but not to the level of Russell Westbrook or James Harden.

Neither of those two had a player at the level of Lamarcus Aldridge, who averaged 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds a game on 47.7% shooting from the field.

Russell Westbrook deserves to win the NBA regular season MVP award. Regardless of how he performs in the playoffs and regardless of whether you believe he is worse than James Harden and Kawhi Leonard (I actually think Harden and Leonard are better than Westbrook). Westbrook was left hanging by Kevin Durant, and it gave him all the motivation in the world to break Oscar Robertson’s triple double record. And that he did.

Image via https://www.si.com/nba/2015/04/07/nba-scoring-title-race-james-harden-russell-westbrook

About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a 12th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants and the Yankees. 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).

Five Important Tips to Tackle the College Process

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As an incoming senior, I’m sure you have many fears and trepidations about this so called “college process.” Let me start out by telling you that this process is extremely random and seemingly unfair. It’s important to not take any decision personally, and to not try to make sense of any particular decision. Sometimes there’s no clear or rational answer.

Here are some tips to help put you in the best possible position to get through the college admissions process:

1) Start the common app in August.

Early Action deadlines are November 1st or November 15th. While they may seem far away, it’s good to get a jump-start on them, especially because you want your essays and supplements to be of high quality. It is especially important to spend time on them, especially if you plan to apply to a lot of schools.

2) Apply early to schools with rolling admission.

Rolling admission means that once you send in your application, the school will read it and send you a decision within a few weeks. Some schools with rolling admission include University of Pittsburgh, Indiana University, Michigan State, Quinnipiac, Rutgers, University of Minnesota and Penn State. If you are going to do this, make sure your transcript and recommendation letters are ready to be sent as well so your application can be complete.

3) Take advantage of Early Decision.

Many people say “don’t apply ED to a school unless you’re 100% sure about it.” While that has some merit, I don’t necessarily agree with that. If you like a school a lot and believe you would enjoy being a student there, you might want to submit an Early Decision application; if you’re admitted, you have to go there. Regular decision applications are higher in quantity, making it more difficult to gain acceptance at many schools. If you are 85 to 90% sure about a school, apply ED there because your chances of getting in will skyrocket.

4) Play it safe. 

As much as you may dread it, if you want to go to college directly after you graduate, you need to apply to a couple of so-called “safety schools”—schools that you know you can get into and that if worse came to worse, you’d be happy to go to.

5) Know that whatever happens is not permanent. 

With the college application and admissions process comes a lot of excitement, uncertainty and disappointment. Just remember that whatever school you commit to is not necessarily your destination. If you are waitlisted, you could potentially get off the waitlist. Maybe you’ll love the school you end up going to even though it wasn’t your first (or even fifth) choice. And if you don’t love the school you commit to, you can always transfer. Just try to have an open mind about it.

 

About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a freshman at the University of Miami and am from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants and the Yankees. 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).

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