Monthly Archives: June 2017

He must have considered the ringless runs of Charles Barkley

Maybe, in a moment of reflection during the 2016 free-agency period, Durant asked himself, Forget what everyone else says. What does being No. 1 mean to me?

He must have considered the ringless runs of Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing as well as his contemporaries such as Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony. He was tired of settling for second.
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He saw how Steve Kerr emphasized playing sefless basketball with freedom of movement. He saw the championship drive and the joy the Warriors brought to the floor. He knew he could become an efficiency monster in this system, but he didn’t have to score 30-plus every game. He knew the temporary backlash would pale in comparison to the stamp of approval a championship could give his legacy.

Durant’s exceptional career has washed away any thoughts of high school or the 2007 NBA Draft. He has an MVP trophy. He is two wins away from a title. He hasn’t surpassed James yet, but as LeBron inches toward basketball mortality, Durant may one day take the mantle as the best player in the NBA. He is checking all the boxes, even if those boxes look slightly different.

While 2017 was no banner year for offensive linemen in the NFL Draft, the Colts selected only one blocker, fourth-round pick Zach Banner. They invested in just one lineman in free agency, luring interior lineman Brian Schwenke away from a Tennesse Titans team he started only three games for in 2016. That’s two depth acquisitions for a line that has allowed Luck to be sacked 56 times in his last 22 games.

Geoff Swaim Game Jersey Ballard has faith in the young linemen tasked with protecting the league’s most expensive asset. Only one of the team’s starters last fall had more than two years of NFL experience: 2011 first-round pick Anthony Castonzo. The Colts front office is hoping another year of experience and growth will be enough to produce significant upgrades this year.

NBA Mock Draft 2017: Round 1 taking shape, but plenty of questions remain

The Celtics, NBA playoff semifinalists, have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, but what will they do with it?

Keep it? Move it? Use it on a distant relative of Ron Mercer? Who knows? We have a pretty good idea what Boston will do at No. 1, but there aren’t many certainties after that.

Here is how our Round 1 of our NBA Mock Draft looks with a few weeks left until the real NBA Draft on June 22.

Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington. The Celtics will have options, including a trade. Fultz has established himself as the best bet in this draft, a dynamic offensive player who has drawn comparisons to James Harden. A small forward (Josh Jackson?) might be a better roster fit, but expect the Celtics to rank talent first.

If not Paul, there has been talk that the Spurs could pursue Derrick Rose. That obviously does not put them near the Warriors, but it would be worth watching whether Rose can rescue his career in San Antonio.

Equally important for San Antonio will be the development of its bench, where young players like Jonathon Simmons, Kyle Anderson, Dejounte Murray and Davis Bertans showed promise. Bringing in Paul, combined with a breakout young bench, would keep the Spurs close on the heels of the Warriors.

It’s fair to say the Rockets will at least make a play for Griffin when free agency comes around. He is a versatile, capable shooter who is working on pushing out to the 3-point arc (he shot just 33.6 percent on 3s this year, but took a career-high 1.9 per game) and is a very good passer from the post. In Mike D’Antoni’s offense, he’d likely work well with James Harden in an Amare Stoudemire-type role.nike_vikings_572

NBA Finals 2017: Richard Jefferson says Cavs just need to ‘execute, and not panic’

While the day after Game 1 wasn’t a Monday, it certainly was a day for overreaction.

The Cavaliers lost to the Warriors by 22 points, shot the ball poorly, turned the ball over too much, and gave Golden State easy buckets. That’s a lot to change, but considering the Warriors shot 42 percent from the floor and turned the ball over only four times, is it too much out of the realm of possibility that the Cavs are not out of this postseason?

Not at all. Richard Jefferson was quick to say that when he was interviewed Saturday.

It only takes you to be a little off in order for things to get very, very ugly, and that’s on both sides, he said. Last year there was only one close game in the series and taht was Game 7… so if you can hold them to 42 percent…you don’t have to change your defense you just have to do better.

Dennis Smith Jr., PG, North Carolina State. It was clear this season that coach Frank Vogel doesn’t have a lot of faith in Elfrid Payton as a starter. Ideally, one of the top three point men would fall to the Magic, but barring that, Smith is the next best option.

Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky. There are concerns about Monk’s size (he’s 6-3), and whether he will be able to defend bigger shooting guards in the NBA. But his ability to create shots and his efficiency from the perimeter make him a worthy risk.
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Game Kids Dion Bailey Jersey Frank Ntilikina, PG, France. Ntilikina averaged only about 18 minutes per game for Strausbourg in the French League, but he has the makings of a solid combo guard, able to make plays when needed but also adept at stretching the floor. Sounds triangle-ish.

Chris Paul eyeing Spurs as potential landing spot

Eric Rowe Mens Jersey Money doesn’t mean as much to athletes nowadays. With the constantly growing endorsement deals that come out every year, $5 million more a year on a contract often isn’t enough to get a player to go one place over another. What athletes want is to win championships.

Chris Paul desperately wants to win a championship, and, honestly, the most likely place for him to do it is in San Antonio.

I think almost everybody that coaches in this league, at some point, whether they’ve done it or not, wants the opportunity again, Brown said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. But it’s not something I’m necessarily thinking about. If it happens, it happens. I feel like one of my attributes is being patient. If it works out, great. If it doesn’t, I’m enjoying it here.
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Brown reinforced that final notion with a succinct response when asked if there were head coaching jobs he’d decline in order to stay on Kerr’s staff: Yes.

The 47-year-old is 10-0 since stepping in for the ailing Kerr two games into the playoffs. Obviously he has abundant talent at his disposal, and Kerr has remained heavily involved even if he isn’t on the bench.

But Brown, the 2009 NBA Coach of the Year, has quite a track record of his own 鈥?something easily forgotten after his disappointing second stint in Cleveland. That 33-49 showing in 2013-14 marks the only time in seven seasons as a head coach that he failed to make the playoffs (and win at least one series once he got there).

All told, Brown has won 61.6 percent of his regular-season games as an NBA head coach. Sometime in the next year or two, he should at least have the opportunity to tell another suitor no, if he so chooses.

Bills’ Jerome Felton says team faced internal distractions in 2016

The way fullback Jerome Felton sees it, the Bills had two obstacles to overcome in 2016.

The opposing team, and the enemy within (i.e., the internal media leaks that sprung as Buffalos season sputtered to a close).

It’s a lot smarter for them to grind away with Bell and find more good holes behind their red-hot offensive line. Pittsburgh is better up front than it was then, while New England no longer employs a linebacker who was key in slowing down Bell in the first meeting Jamie Collins.

During the Patriots’ only loss of the season with Brady, the Seahawks used a big game from a big, versatile back, C.J. Prosise, to create favorable third downs, sustain drives and out-possess the Patriots. Bell will need to be at his all-around best and why wouldn’t he be for the Steelers to win in Foxborough, too.

It’s been Pittsburgh’s desire to re-forge it’s identity as a power running team for a while. Now that’s it finally here again, with Bell putting up numbers to even trump what Franco Harris did in two consecutive postseasons during the Steelers’ 1970s dynasty, the worst thing they could do is waste it.

Even when those New York and Jacksonville teams fell short, they were still overachieving wild-card teams riding more one-hit wonder-type backs. The Steelers went into the playoffs as a strong division winner, with their current winning streak at nine games. Bell, when healthy, has been in the conversation as the NFL’s best running back for three seasons.

Everything is lining up for him to keep playing through Houston. Now the rest of the Steelers need to execute and not let Bell or Super Bowl history down.
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49ers CEO: John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan ‘don’t fear failure’

After years without on-field success, 49ers CEO Jed York says he has lined up two men to lead the team who don’t fear failure.
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That, in part, is how the Niners dropped a front-office bombshell Sunday: TV analyst and Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist John Lynch, 45, will be the 49ers GM, paired with presumptive coach Kyle Shanahan, currently the offensive coordinator of the Falcons.

‘So many opportunities are missed in the NFL because people don’t want to do something different, York told MMQB’s Peter King late Sunday night. We’re OK with that, because I am confident in Kyle and John. John has watched John Elway, and how he’s built a team in Denver. As easy as it is to say he hasn’t built a team yet I get that I talk to Kyle, and he says John is the most prepared of all the TV [people] he meets in the production meetings before games. We understand we’ll have to live with growing pains, but I’m willing to do that because I believe the upside with both of them is so great.’

One of the factors that goes into my decision is what the NFLs going to do to him,Deters said. If he gets suspended for four games, he loses $2 million. We have drunken idiots every night over at the (jail) that don’t get fined $2 million.
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There is some question about whether the NFL will be able to take action against Jones by Feb. 10. And he could also appeal any discipline through the NFL Players Association.

Yet Deters acknowledged his office will pursue something against Jones for his allegedly disruptive behavior.

Sports reporter hilariously shoves rowdy Steelers fan out of live shot

Here’s a warning to any sports fanlooking to crash a live shot:stay away from Joe Amorosino.

A hilarious video showing the7News sports director shoving a rowdy Steelers fan out of his live shot has gone viral.

‘You got to love it, you got to love what’s going on with the Patriots,’ Amorosino said after shoving the Steelers fan. ‘Bring those Steelers into New England next week for that knucklehead and they’ll do the same thing to him.’

The Steelers will play the Chiefs on Sunday night for an opportunity to be New England’s opponent next weekend in Foxborough.

Thompson is a prep star in both football — he received SEC scholarship offers as a quarterback — and baseball, and he’s committee to Alabama to play baseball. But the Red Sox, or whatever team winds up taking him in the first round, should be able to convince him to take the professional route this summer.
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It’s every bit as important as the drafts in those other sports, though. The Cubs snagged Kris Bryant in the first round of the 2013 draft, and the Yankees picked Aaron Judge last that round. The 2014 first round produced Trea Turner for the Nationals and Michael Conforto for the Mets, to name a few budding MLB stars.

Elite Youth Ameer Abdullah Jersey You get the idea. You might not know the names now, but you will soon enough.

Anyway, on to the mock draft. For this exercise, we’re going to lean heavily on the fantastic work done by the folks at Baseball America, MLB.com and ESPN.com, among others and try and sort out how the draft could play out. Let’s get started.

Yoenis Cespedes set to make long-awaited return to Mets lineup Saturday

The Mets have been mired by an injury curse all season, but one star will be back Saturday for at least one game in a doubleheader against the Braves.

Romero had been suspended April 7 for violating team rules but was reinstated last week. He pitched in relief Friday and Sunday against Connecticut in what turned out to be his final appearances for the 20th-ranked Cougars (31-17).

Elite Youth Robert Woods Jersey We wish Seth and his family the best of luck as he embarks on the next phase of his life and baseball career, Houston coach Todd Whitting said in a release. We are fully focused on our remaining schedule and the current members of our program.

A native of West Columbia, Texas, Romero leads the nation with 15.72 strikeouts per nine innings. In 47 appearances for the Cougars during his career, 28 of them starts, he posted a 2.43 ERA with 70 walks and 290 strikeouts in 226 1/3 innings.
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Baseball America had him at No. 18 in its most recent ranking of 2017 draft prospects, down from No. 10 earlier in the spring. In a mock draft published during Romero’s suspension, BA projected him to go to the Marlins at No. 13 overall.

Carlos Correa, being the No. 1 pick and being in Studio 42, that was awesome. He was only 17 years old, and to walk up on our set after he shook the hand of the commissioner and holds up the jersey, and to sit down and be as polished as he was at the age of 17, I was floored. I was like, This kid is everything you want. People said maybe they didn’t have to give him the big signing bonus, and maybe that’s why he became the No. 1 pick. I don’t care. You talk with him, you want this kid. I was totally impressed. The other one I loved was Courtney Hawkins. Remember Courtney Hawkins?

Steinberg was once the super agent, representing the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft a record eight times.

Edelman finished with five receptions for 87 yards, and his 23-yard diving catch put the Patriots in position for White’s touchdown with 52 seconds remaining. A two-point conversion pass to Danny Amendola tied things at 28-28 to send the game to overtime.

“I couldn’t believe it. It was one of the greatest catches,” said Brady, who threw for a Super Bowl-record 466 yards. “We’ve been on the other end of a few of those catches and tonight, you know, we came up with it. It was a pretty spectacular catch. He had a hell of a game.

“It was one of the greatest catches I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how the hell he caught it. I mean, I don’t think anybody — I don’t think he does, but that’s the way it goes.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick called Edelman’s catch “a tremendous play,” but also something he expects from the eight-year veteran.

“Julian has great concentration. He is a tremendous competitor,” Belichick said. “As good of a competitor as anyone that I have coached. … He does whatever it takes. He made a tremendous play. It is not the first one he has made, but that was obviously a big one.”

Steinberg was once the super agent, representing the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft a record eight times. He is also credited as the real-life inspiration of Tom Cruise’s sports agent character Jerry Maguire in the 1996 film of the same name. But Steinberg fell into financial ruin because of alcoholism and lost his NFLPA certification in 2008.

Once he found sobriety and returned to NFL representation in 2014, his first client was SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who was a sixth-round pick of the Rams.

Steinberg represented Paxton Lynch last year and the former Memphis quarterback was taken in the first round by the Broncos.
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Chiefs need to treat Eric Berry like the superstar he is

Limited Kevin Minter Jersey Eric Berry during his seven-year NFL career has overcome a torn ACL that cost him the 2011 season. He fought back from a cancer diagnosis late in the 2014 season and earned Comeback Player of the Year in 2015. He’s a five-time Pro Bowler and has been named first team All-Pro the past two years. He’s beloved by his Chiefs teammates and the Kansas City fan base.

Yet, thus far, he has been unable to convince the Chiefs to step up and sign him to a long-term deal.

The Jets got the worst of all worlds with a terrible 2016 season followed by 2017, a year in which they project to be over the cap. That doesn鈥檛 even include what will be close to $5 million in rookie salary cap charges they will need to account for by summer.
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Luckily for the Jets, most of their contracts contain limited or no dead money. Cutting Darrelle Revis, Ryan Clady, Nick Mangold, Eric Decker, David Harris and Breno Giacomini would save the team $45.7 million in cap room, and another $15.5 million would be freed up if they also decide to make moves with Sheldon Richardson and Brandon Marshall.

The Jets can quickly make themselves relevant in free agency, but considering the roster is closer to that of an expansion team, they might not choose to be as active as they were in 2015. Either way, expect a bloodletting in early March by the Jets.

“I have disagreements with all 32 of our teams. I鈥檓 not afraid of disagreement,” he said. “I don鈥檛 think disagreement leads to distrust or hatred. It鈥檚 a disagreement. You take your disagreements, you find a common place and you move forward. It鈥檚 not personal in nature.”

Goodell’s handling of Deflategate and other controversial issues has raised questions in some quarters about his job performance, but he said he isn’t worried about that perception.