The Coach of the Year goes to……

     As the NBA season winds down, let’s take a look at the coaches who deserve to win coach of the year. Some of the obvious names include Steve Kerr of the Warriors, even though they are having a down year to their standards, Mike D’antoni of Houston, Dwane Casey of the East-leading Raptors, and Brad Stevens of the Celtics among a few others. The one that truly deserves the award the most is Brad Stevens.

     Brad Stevens is the coach of the year in mind because of what he has been able to do with players missing a lot of time. He has had to plug different players into thehayward starting lineup almost all season because of injury. Like many basketball fans know, the injury bug didn’t waste any time attacking the Celtics. It struck five minutes into the season opener with the Cavs and got Gordon Hayward, who was starting his first season in Boston after signing over from the Jazz, and he hasn’t been able to play since. Other players that have been plagued by injuries this season are:

(most recent injuries)

Kyrie Irving-16 games missed (knee) 24.4 ppg, 5.1 apg, 3.8 rpgbig3

Gordon Hayward- 75 games missed (ankle/leg) 2 points in the opener

Marcus Morris-26 games missed (ankle) 13.6 ppg, 1.3 apg, 5.5 rpg

Marcus Smart-22 games missed (thumb/thigh) 10.2 ppg, 4.8 apg, 3.5 rpg

Al Horford- 8 games missed (illness/ankle) 12.8 ppg, 4.8 apg, 7.4 rpgbrownmorris

Jaylen Brown-11 games missed (concussion) 14.0 ppg, 1.6 apg, 5.1 rpg

Daniel Theis-13 games missed (meniscus) 5.3 ppg, 0.9 apg, 4.3 rpg

     With missing that many players for long periods of time and the most experienced vet left having 7 years of experience at most to go along with 4 rookies and still have a shot at the top spot in the Eastern Conference shows that Brad Stevens should bejaysontatum the coach of the year. Not only does Coach Stevens have the team 2 games out of the top spot behind Toronto, he has been able to find ways to get production out of his young players, most notably Jayson Tatum, who was thrust into the starting lineup following the injury to Hayward.

     Even with having 7 players who are big contributors missing games, Coach Stevens has guided the team to a 53-23 record so far and like I stated before, a shot at the top spot in the conference. Don’t get me wrong, the other coaches are very deserving of the award, but Coach Stevens has been able to find success with a very limited lineup option and fewer big-time players.

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We are in for a great championship!

     Could this be the beginning of the end for one of the greatest sports dynasties ever? This is the first time since 2010-11 and 2011-12 that the Uconn women’s basketball team failed to make the National Championship. This season, the Huskies lost in the Final Four to the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in OT 91-89. The Irish will move on to face the Bulldogs of Mississippi St in the National Championship. Mississippi St made it to the title game for a second straight year by outlasting Louisville in OT 73-63.

     Last season Uconn and Miss St faced off in the Final Four with Uconn riding the 111 game winning streak which included 4 straight national championships, so it is safe to misssay that Uconn was looking for revenge against Mississippi St for beating them in OT 66-64. The Huskies could have been looking past Notre Dame once they knew that Mississippi St punched their ticket to the big game.

     Mississippi St is looking to finally capture a national championship, after having it snatched away from them last year by conference foe, South Carolina. The Bulldogs have looked very well this year, with only losing 1 game, which was the SEC tournament championship against South Carolina. To get to the title game, Mississippi St had to go through the likes of Nicholls St, Oklahoma St, NC St, UCLA, and Louisville. The Bulldogs have won by an average of 20 points in the tournament this year.

     Whereas Notre Dame has gone through the likes of CSU Northridge, Villanova, Texas A&M, Oregon, and Uconn. They have won by an average of just over 10 points a game.notredame Notre Dame makes an appearance in the national championship for the first time since 2014-15 where they lost to Uconn. This will be Notre Dame’s 6th appearance in the national title game, they have 1 win in this game, which came all the back in 2001.

     For Notre Dame to win the title, they have to make sure that their guards come to play 100%, and they also have to stop Tearia McCowan inside for Mississippi St. The key for Mississippi St is that they have to get McCowan going inside the paint. If she can get going for Mississippi St, then it’ll give the guards more open shots throughout the game. This matchup looks to be a good one.

     My prediction for the game is that Mississippi St will win the game 83-75.

Free Agency Mayhem

     As the first week of free agency in the NFL ends, many teams gained certain pieces to help push them toward contender and others lost pieces and fell toward mediocrity. The biggest winner of the first week has to be the Minnesota Vikings once cousinsminnesotathey signed top free agent QB Kirk Cousins from the Redskins for 3 years and $84 million. This move did not shock many people around the NFL or the fans, since it was well publicized that Cousins would be on the move especially with the Redskins acquiring Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs for Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick, what did shock a lot of people was that the contract was fully guaranteed. With this contract, it would make him the highest paid player in NFL history on a per season basis with him earning $28 million a year.

     The first couple of surprises come from one player, Richard Sherman. The first surprise was the Seattle Seahawks released their star player. With this move, it sherman49erseffectively ended the Legion Of Boom. The next surprising move for Sherman was that he decided to sign with the San Fransisco 49ers, a team that Sherman and the Seahawks have owned in the recent years. Sherman signed with the 49ers for three years and $27 million. I believe that this is the best team the 49ers have had since Harbaugh was there. They are also taking momentum into next season since they ended the season on a 5 game winning streak and winning 6 of 7 after starting the season 0-9, it also helps that they have a good QB cemented as the starter for the next five years with Jimmy Garoppolo after he signed the extension in February.

     Another big free agency move was the Arizona Cardinals releasing the Honey Badger Tyrann Mathieu after he would not accept a pay cut. The Cardinals took a honeybadgerchance on him in the third round back in 2013 after he was kicked off the football team at LSU. While in Arizona, Mathieu has impressed many with his ability to find the ball. As a Cardinal he had 307 tackles, 11 interceptions, 4 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 41 passes defended. Shortly after his release from the Cardinals, Mathieu signed a one year $7 million contract with the Houston Texans to help bolster that secondary.

Other notable free agent moves:
-QB Sam Bradford one year deal with the Cardinals worth $20 million coming over from Minnesota, Bradford is now on his fourth team in four years after spending his first four years in St. Louis where the Rams took him 1st overall out of Oklahoma.

-QB Mike Glennon two year deal with the Cardinals worth $8 million coming from Chicago after one year.

-WR Michael Crabtree three year deal with the Ravens worth $21 million coming over from Oakland.

-QB Aj McCarron two year deal with Bills worth $10 million coming over from the Bengals. Buffalo was in need of QB after trading starter Tyrod Taylor to the Browns. (I’ll go over that in another post)

-WR Allen Robinson three year deal with Chicago worth $42 million coming over from Jacksonville.

-RB Carlos Hyde three year deal with Cleveland worth $15 million coming over from San Fransisco.

-QB Case Keenum two year deal with Denver worth $36 million coming over from Minnesota.

-RB LaGarrette Blount one year deal with Detroit worth $4.5 million coming over from Philadelphia.

-TE Jimmy Graham three year deal with Greenbay worth $30 million coming over from Seattle.

-RB Dion Lewis four year deal with Tennessee worth $20 million coming over from New England.

-CB Malcolm Butler five year deal with Tennessee worth $61.25 million also coming over from New England.

Help Wanted…

      Over the last 15 games, the Boston Celtics are 8-7 while averaging 102.4 ppg and giving up 101.06 ppg. In that span, the Celtics are giving up over 4 points per game more than their season average. Does this point to the beginning of a slump? I believe it is just that time of the season where the players are worn down from the schedule. Up to this point, the Celtics played the most games to begin the season, with playing 43 games in the first 82 days of the season, while they have one of the easiest remaining schedules of the whole league.

      With the season over halfway done, the Celtics need to sign a free agent or two to come off the bench and help the second unit with scoring. With the trade deadline passing, and the Celtics not making a move surprisingly, the team should look to the droseplayers that are being bought out of their contracts and are available. A potential target for them includes Derrick Rose, who was traded from the Cavs to the Jazz and was waived by Utah following the trade. Since his glory days with the Bulls, he is averaging 16.4 points in 80 games with the Knicks and Cavaliers while shooting 46.7% from the field and shooting only 22.6% from 3. For his career though, he is averaging 19.2 points on 45% from the field and 30% from 3. The problem with this would be that he has left the Cavs and Knicks during the season without much of a warning and stayed away sessionsfor a few days. Another target for the Celtics could be Ramon Sessions. The 10-year vet has shown that he is a good scorer off the bench with averaging over double digits 7 times throughout his career and for his career, he averages 10.4 points a game on 43.5% shooting from the field and 31.4% from 3.

      They did manage to help with rebounding when they signed Greg Monroe for the rest of the season following his buyout from the Suns. Monroe averages 8.7 rebounds for his career. This was a good signing, as monroeMonroe can fill in for Horford or Baynes throughout the game so that there is always a big on the court to protect the paint. In the three games that Monroe has played for the Celtics, he is averaging 4 points on 33% shooting and 5 rebounds per game.

      The Celtics need to add one more scoring option to come off the bench, especially since they do not have Gordan Haywards scoring ability this year and most likely won’t have it until next season with the leg injury. The team needs to show that they can still keep up with the top teams in the league even with how young and inexperienced most of the players are.

      If the Celtics want to be able to get deep through the playoffs, they will need to smarthave capable scorers to come off the bench. They will also benefit from the return of Marcus Smart, one of the teams best defensive players, who has been out with a lacerated hand for the last 10 games. In those 10 games, the Celtics are 6-4 while averaging 104 points but also giving up 103 points. With two of those losses coming by at least 20 points and have fallen behind the Raptors for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. To help with the defense, they could sign a familiar face in Tony Allen now that he is a free agent following his release from the Bulls following his trade from the Pelicans.

For Sale….In basically good condition

      In the NBA, during the season there is no moment busier with trades than the trade deadline. This year, the deadline is Thursday, February 8th, so at the time of writing this, its two days away. Almost like clockwork, rumors start circulating a few days before the deadline on who could get moved and who won’t get moved.

      One of the biggest names during this trade season has been LA Clippers star Deandre Jordan. The Clippers overall have been one of the busiest organizations this chrispaul tradeseason and prior to the season starting. Prior to the season starting, the Clippers sent star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets for 7 players including, Patrick Beverley, a protected first round pick, and cash considerations. They then followed that up by sending their former #1 overall pick, Blake Griffin, to Detroit for Tobias Harris, blakegriffinAvery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic and a 2018 first round pick and a 2019 second round pick. It is safe to say that no one on the Clippers roster is safe right now with them towards the bottom of a tough Western Conference at 27-25 and sitting in 9th place a half game behind the New Orleans Pelicans for the last spot.

      Several teams have been linked to the star Center like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards. Other trade news around the league would be that Tyreke Evans of the Memphis Grizzlies deandre jordancould be on the move as well, teams like the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and Denver Nuggets are the top 3 trade partners looking to acquire Evans. As of right now, Evans averages 19.5 points a game to go along with 5 assists and 5 rebounds a game. He would contribute right away coming off the bench in my opinion if he gets traded to one of those teams. It is safe to say that this could be one of the most eventful trade deadlines in the last few years.

      As teams go into the trade deadline, everyone is trying to not pull a dud. Whether it’s by trading for someone who doesn’t fit or trading away someone who is getting better. Like what happened with the Phoenix Suns a few years ago when they traded isaiahtIsaiah Thomas to the Celtics for Marcus Thorton and a first-round pick. Following the trade, the Suns would finish out the year with a record of 10-18 through their last 28 games, and since then have gone through two coaching changes, whereas the Celtics would go 20-11 following the trade and IT would lead the team to the Eastern Conference Finals in his last season in Boston while averaging just under 30 points a game.

      Of course, there will be teams that regret trading a player during this year’s deadline. The question is, who will it be this time.

Welcome to the adult table Eagles

     As the clock struck 00, the NFL gained a new champion and a first-time champion. As many people around the country know, the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl 52 against the all mighty New England Patriots for their first Super Bowl in franchise history and their first overall title in 56 years. With that Super Bowl win, the Eagles superbowl winscan finally join the list of teams who have won a Super Bowl in their franchise history. Doug Pederson is the first head coach to win the Super Bowl within the first two years of his HC career since Mike Tomlin in Super Bowl 43 against the Cardinals.

     The list of teams who have not won a Super Bowl drops down to 12 teams now that consist of the Browns, Jaguars, Lions, Texans, Vikings, Bengals, Bills, Panthers, Cardinals, Chargers, Titans, and Falcons. It will be interesting to see who will end their Super Bowl drought next. Most of the teams on that list have the talent to win a championship.

     Going into halftime, the Eagles led 22-12 after dabbling in trickeration by having Tret Burton, a backup Tight End, throw a touchdown to QB Nick Foles, who only started three games all year after star young QB Carson Wentz went down with an ACL tear against the Rams back in week 13. Sadly for the Patriots, Tom “Terrific” Brady did not have the same magic that he had last year when he led the Patriots grahamback from 28-3 to win in OverTime, losing this year 41-33 after a missed hail mary attempt to the end the game for the Patriots. The game was effectively over when Brandon Graham, a DE for the Eagles, got the only sack of the game and forced Tom Brady to fumble the ball deep in the Patriots territory, which led to an Eagles field goal to put them up 41-33.

     Both QB’s had a tremendous game, but only one could come out victorious and folesNick Foles not only led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl win, he also won the MVP after he would go 28 for 43 for 373 yards 3 touchdowns and 1 interceptions and have 1 reception for 1 yard and 1 touchdown.

     As it stands today, the Eagles have the third-best odds for the Super Bowl next year at 17-2 just behind the Patriots who sit at 7-2 odds and the Packers of Greenbay who sit at 8-1 odds. It will be interesting to see how the Eagles do following their championship win. With this loss, the Patriots are tied for the most Super Bowl loses with the Denver Broncos with 5 Super Bowl loses.

bradyloss

 Here is to the 31 other teams trying to deny the Eagles of their second straight championship, but no matter what the Eagles earned this championship and had a great year.

 

Revisiting the biggest trade from this past NBA offseason.

     As we grow closer to the All-Star break in the NBA, I want to take a look back at isaiah introthe trade that shocked the league. As many fans of the NBA know, Kyrie Irving was traded from the Cavaliers to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the last first round pick that the Celtics received through the Garnett-Pierce trade with the Nets.

     With more than half of the season over, it seems as if the Celtics have won the trade and by a wide margin. kyrie has been playing at an MVP level with leading to kyrievsisaiahthe team to the top spot in the Eastern Conference while averaging 24.9 points a game, which ranks 10th in the league, 5 assists a game and just under 4 rebounds a game.

     In comparison, the players that the Cavs received, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic, average a combined to score 25.2 points a game, 5.4 assists a game and 6.5 rebounds a game. The highest scorer out of the three is Isaiah Thomas with 15.4, but that average is only from Thomas appearing in 12 games this season after he was recovering from the hip injury he suffered in the playoffs last year for the Celtics.

     I strongly believe that the Celtics won this trade since Kyrie has been able to lead the team to the best record in the Eastern Conference. Since Isaiah Thomas made his standingsdebut against Portland, the Cavs are 5-7 and scoring 108.6 points a game, but giving up 116.1 points in that span. Meanwhile, Boston is 7-5 in that same span and scoring 101.75 points, but holding teams to just 97.5 points in that span.

     That is the main difference between the two teams, Boston has been able to play terrific defense throughout the year to help them win games. As of now, the Celtics are second in the league in points allowed per game at 98.3 points only behind the Spurs of San Antonio, and the offense is ranked 23rd with 103.1 points a game. In Cleveland, their offense is ranked 5th with scoring 109.6 points a game, but their defense gives up almost the same amount with giving up 109.3 points which is tied for 25th in league with the Bulls.

      It helps that the Celtics were able to mold their team around Irving, which is one reason why Irving has been able to get better on defense compared to how he was in Cleveland. The problem with the Cavs is that they mold everything to Lebron James and hope it works even if the players don’t work in the system.boston5

      This isn’t the first time that Danny Ainge, the Celtics GM, has been a part of a trade and come out the winner. Many NBA fans know the trades he made when the Danny Aingeteam got Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to join up with Paul Pierce and went on to win the title in the ’07-’08 season, then there was the trade of Garnett and Pierce to the Nets for a few first round picks and that experiment failing for the Nets to the point that the Celtics had lottery picks with each of them leading to the team being able to draft Jaylen Brown out of Cal, and Jayson Tatum out of Duke.

     browntatum Unless something happens in the near future, Boston has this trade won hands down. Here is to more trades that the Celtics come out as winners of!