sports

The NBA season is a quarter of the way over so here are my observations so far

After 13 years Dwayne Wade has found a 3pt shot. He is taking and making more threes than at any point in his career. He is a 28% for his career and is at 34% this season. Just a necessary addition to his game since he’s getting older and doesn’t get to the rim as much as he used to. He still has one of the best in between games in the league

 

What is wrong with the T-Wolves? I expected them to be maybe hover around the 8th seed for the playoffs but they have cellar dwelling this season (6-18). Even with the progress of KAT and Wiggins it still hasn’t translated into wins. I think this team would benefit from a roster move or maybe just embrace the tank and get another high pick. But if they were to make a move it would have to be Zach LaVine because they could get the most equal return. He seems to be more aggressive than Wiggins so that will free up more room for Wiggins to operate as he grows. But the downside of that would he is their only consistent perimeter scorer on a team that desperately  needs shooting. Their record mostly has to do with their horrid defense, 27th in the league with a defensive wiz as coach.

The Warriors have looked just as explosive as everyone thought they would and have even come together much faster than excepted. They have shown how dominate they can be even without shooting well when they dusted the Clippers (also their biggest roadblock to another trip to the finals ) last week

They shot 23% from three making only seven of them but ended up winning the game by 17. Since the arrival of Durant only Curry’s shot have dipped the most to an average of almost three fewer per game. Klay is still getting theirs as you can see from his 60pt outburst last week.  Klay is an interesting player  because NO ONE gets scorching hot in a flash quite like him, but you wouldn’t pick him in the top 10 of the best players in the league where efficient scoring comes at a high premium. The only guy really sacrifices is Draymond, he gives up the most out of anyone in terms of scoring so good for him but then again he continues kicking people so screw him.

Since I just mentioned the Clippers this is the perfect time for me to say that they are the hardest team to root for. Simply because they whine constantly, it’s not just one or two of the players but every single one and the maestro behind it all Doc Rivers. Doc thinks the officials are so bad that they would benefit from adding another one out there

Maybe then Doc’s will completely disintegrate and he will be forced to use a robot voice.

Russell Westbrook Westworld has become must watch tv just like the show of the same name . Much like Westworld Russ might be a sophisticated robot too, especially when you look at his historic numbers this season without Durant. His consecutive triple double streak just ended at 7 which is tied for fourth all time alongside Michael Jordan, Oscar Roberston, and the leader with nine Wilt Chamberlain. He’s currently averaging a triple with 31, 11 and 11, if he were to do it for an entire season he would be only the second guy to do so. The hardest stat to keep up for the entire season is the rebounds, he has a similar streak for guys less than 6’5 with consecutive double-digit board games. I just don’t think he can keep it up but if there was ever a guy that could, it would be Russell Westbrook. You hardly see guys with such tenacity and fierce passion in their play every game and I’m glad to be able to watch him dunk all over my Rockets.

 

Kevin Love is looking like the player of old they way he’s been getting buckets down this year. This is the best he’s looked since joining the Cavs 2 years ago. He also came close to breaking Klay Thompson’s record for most points in a quarter when he had 34 in one quarter against the Blazers. He would have done it too if not for Kyrie trying to get his. Let Lil Kev cook!

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The season is only just a quarter over but these teams are already out of the playoff picture.  In the Eastern Conference its the Sixers, Nets and Heat. For the Western Conference it is the Mavs, T-Wolves, Pelicans, Suns and Nuggets. The good thing about some of these teams is that they each have young pieces to build around for the future.

How about the Rockets?! They are playing inspired ball this year because they now have actual shot makers on the team. Like Eric Gordon who has been lights out this year with shooting 44% from three and leads the team in three pointers made off the bench. They also added Ryan Anderson to go along Ariza and Beverly to surround Harden which gives him that ability to rack up those assist numbers. The Rockets lead the league in three pointers made and percentage. Critics will say they still don’t play any defense but hey their offense is so fun and Harden/Capela have the best pick n’ roll in the game now. I think they are one piece away from contending in the West.

 

Now its time to touch on Kristaps Porzingis aka basketball unicorn , Godzingigs. He’s gotten more comfortable this year and has improved at a scary rate. There has never been a 7’3 guy with his handle , stroke and agility before. He’s quickly becoming the best player on the Knicks supplanting Melo. But for right now its good to have Melo around for his development so he won’t be solely weighed down with the expectations and criticisms that come along with being the guy in NYC. In addition to putting up 20ppg, 7 reb, 1.9 blk every game he is also the leading rim protector going by defensive field goal percentage. Can you imagine the mismatches they can create if he got played center?!  The Knicks could have saved so much cap space without signing Joakim. If there is one thing you can count on the Knicks doing is wasting money on washed players but c’est la vie.

 

On December 15th teams can trade players that were signed this summer, while most if not all these guys won’t be moved. These are the players who I think will get moved sooner than later- Greg Monroe , Brandon Knight , Donatas Montiejunas,Nerlens Noel, Zach LaVine, Rudy Gay, CJ McCollum and finally Boogie Cousins.

My early MVP’s are Westbrook, Harden, Bron, Durant,and Chris Paul in that order.

Happy Holidays

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Game of Thrones Top 10 NBA Draft Picks

(Uproxx)  One of my great hopes in life is that George R.R. Martin will release the next book in the series that inspired Game of Thrones, and when fans start reading, they will quickly discover that the whole thing is about a 3-on-3 basketball tournament in Westeros. My reasoning is simple: it would be hilarious. Think of the reaction. People would lose their minds.

A few preliminary notes about my methodology:

The rankings are based on things we’ve learned on the show only. I have not read the books. If you have read the books and have information that would alter the list substantially, you should consider making your own. It’s quite fun.

The rankings are not limited to characters who are still alive. We’ve got dead ones in there, too.

Living characters are ranked based on current potential ability (with one exception), and deceased characters are ranked based on potential ability at the time of their death.

10. Oberyn Martell

9. Melisandre

8. Bronn

7. Jon Snow

6. The One Wildlings Giant

5. The Night King

4. Jaqen H’ghar

3. Jaime Lannister (pre-amputation)

2. Brienne

1. Khal Drogo

 

Cool idea by ‘Brian’ over at Uproxx  but there are some glaring problems with his picks. I get trust the process but My Lanta you have the Wildings Giant aka Wun Weng (you better put some respeckt on his name from henceforth!) going 6th overall and that is a tragedy. Along with having Oberyn going tenth and the ever slow moving Melisandre somehow going above him its time to get started on my list of the top 1o picks if this was the NBA draft.

1. Wun Weg Wun

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You can’t teach size and Wun Weg has it in spades, 14 ft of it to be exact combined with the strength of 12 men. He is the franchise changer and a championship cornerstone that you expect from the number 1 pick spot.

2. The Night King

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Second off the board is the Night King. He possesses a plethora of skills and talent like his inability to get rattled because of his icy cold demeanor and his win at all costs method. He’s a lot like Kobe Bryant so you know what you’re getting.

3. The Mountain

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Going with more size since its a rare commodity in the GOT world and The Mountain fits the bill coming in tipping the scales at 6’9″ four hundred pounds. He is the fierce defensive force you crave to protect your basket. No one is gliding through the lane with him holding down the paint.

4. Jon Snow

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Some may he’s too undersized to go this high but I don’t care the kid’s got game. He is a natural born leader and pair that with his quickness and his agility as seen in the above gif he slides perfectly onto any team in the lead guard position. He’s battle tested and plays with a chip on his shoulder like so many of the great ones did.

5. Khal Drogo

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The last of the big men goes here because of his strength, explosiveness. He just oozes bravado and he will need that going up against the other giants in this game. Not too mention is his uncanny wingspan, he has all the tools to be a great defender.

6. Bronn

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With the game shifting towards position-less basketball Bronn is a great value pick going here. Born iscrafty, agile, mobile and hostile. He’s a jack of all trades what I’m saying and his humor is infectious among his teammates. He most closely reminds me of Draymond Green

7. Jaquen H’ghar

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For all the same reasons as Bronn especially except he is not as funny so he loses a couple points in my book.

8. Brienne

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I said the last of the big men were gone but I didn’t say the last of the big women. Brienne is a skillfully trained player that can you beat you physically and mentally. She reminds of Marc Gasol , just the prototypical grit N grind player. She would make a great sidekick to a powerful duo.

9. Oberyn Martell

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He may not win you a championship but Oberyn Martell will put asses in the seats and be all over Twitter the next morning with his high flying , flashy play. No one can excite or a shock a crowd more than Oberyn with his charisma. His NBA comparison  would be another guy with a nickname almost as good as “The Red Viper” and that is Jason ‘White Chocolate’ Williams.

10. The Hound

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Finally rounding out the top 10 is The Hound. He may be a little banged up with some injuries over the years but he’s been in rehab after his near catastrophic fall at the hands of Brienne. Since then he’s been in rehab putting in the work grinding to get back. He could really be the steal of the draft going this low and no one swings a sword or axe quite like him. He has the bloodline as well with his brother ‘The Mountain’ going earlier. He’s highly motivated and seems to have found some peace with his true purpose.

 

The table is set for the Cavs & Warriors Final’s Rematch

 

Before I get into the Cavs Vs. Warriors let me touch on a few things on the teams that lost  to them. The Raptors took it to six which no one expected by playing inspired ball on their home court with the help of Lowry , DeRozan and the emergence of Bismack Biyombo who has made himself a lot money this offseason from his performance. The Raptors will have a nice core returning next season with a healthy Jonas coming back. But I wonder if they can attract any bigger free agents to come there since they have failed to do so in the past. Add that to DeRozan’s impending free agency when the Lakers (his hometown ) will be most likely calling and I would be willing to bet he would leave. Personally I wouldn’t DeRozan on my team just because his lack of a 3pt shot, and now he flat-out doesn’t take them. But I’m sure the Raptor fans out there would be bummed breaking up their best team ever including this super fan, who I’m sure you’ve seen if you have ever watched a Raptors game.  His name is Nav Bhatia and he has been a season ticket holder for 21 years and he is also a really good dude. By giving out the rest of his many season tickets to bring  hundreds of underprivileged children to the games every year.

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Now onto the Thunder who by all accounts looked to be firmly in control of their series versus the Thunder until a devastating loss at home in-game 6. I felt that after that loss the series would be over going back to Golden State at home. The Thunder’s late decision-making came back to bite them the final two games. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise since they led the league in 4th quarter collapses this year even beating the woeful Sixers in that category. But this postseason they looked like they had finally turned the corner and put those days behind them. Also in games 6 and 7 their second half scoring was abysmal including a 12 point third quarter in game 7, you just cannot expect to win with that kind of output. Going forward for the Thunder I think they are in a good position with Durant’s free agency looming. They have a young coach who is only going to get better. There isn’t a team that could he could go to that would give him a better chance to win like the Thunder unless you believe those Warriors rumblings are true. I say just sign the 2yr deal with an option to opt out after 1 which will also be Russ’ last season under contract too. They have great pieces with emerging pieces like Adams and Kanter. They do need to tweak their roster some because at this rate the Thunder now will be the new age version of those 90’s Jazz teams with Stockton/Malone, in that they continually get to the apex but just can not seem to conquer it. I do think they should deal Ibaka to get back some more shooting and draft picks to bolster their roster. Although I would like to see Durant next to a pass first point guard like a Chris Paul. I just can envision the dynamic pick and rolls those two could unleash on the league.

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Now finally we get to the main course, and what a dish it is between the Cavaliers & Warriors. This will be the 14th time in NBA history that The Finals will be a rematch of the previous season. The runner-up has won the rematch in seven out of the 13 re-matches, but they’ve won six of the past seven so this bodes well for the Cavs.

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The Cavs will be entering the finals at full strength unlike last season and they will have the shooting to back it up. The finals features the top two 3pt shooting teams ever to go against each other in the finals. The individual matchups will be interesting as usual with Kyrie probably guarding Curry exclusively because they wouldn’t want him to guard Barnes or Iguadala because of the mismatch guarding them in the post. Tristan Thompson will need to make more of an impact in this series against the smaller Warriors team than he did against the Raptors and he must make them pay on the offensive glass. They won’t be able to defend the Warriors like the thunder did with their mobile 7ft’ers so they will try to outscore them, and they can be able to pull it off winning the  on the offeensive glass. LeBron can basically go 4 out and him driving in creating for himself or dishing it to an array of shooters. He is the best driver in the league as well as one of the best passers to an epic 3pt shooting team (No one team EVER has made more threes in the playoffs than them). Finally if the Cavs really want to win they have to capitalize when Golden State goes cold and step on the gas to get as much of a lead as possible. Because a 10-15 pt lead is only 5 or 6 shots from the Warriors and POOF its gone.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Charlotte Hornets

Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Warriors on the other hand with just a couple of nights rest will not be rusty and looking to make a statement in-game 1 which is the opposite of what they did against the Thunder. Now they know just how quickly things can change after losing game 1 on your home court. Can we get more Klay Thompson pub?! The guy has been absolutely lights out this post season , especially when Curry went down with mcl sprain and in game 6 against the Thunder when he shot literal fireballs on his way to 11 threes.

Bogut will be very important this series because of Bron’s ability to dominate the paint and without Bogut playing at high level it will be a long series for dubs fans. I wonder if Draymond can keep himself from getting another technical since one more will mean an automatic suspension and that could be more than enough to swing the series. I’ve talked about how great Curry has been this whole year and he just keeps proving it by going for 36 in-game 7 just solidifying his  Boy Scout bad motherfucker badge even more.  Steve Kerr may also want to put out a BOLO on Harrison Barnes because that guy has disappeared from second halves of games this post season run.

NBA: Miami Heat at Golden State Warriors

 Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

There is a lot on the line for this finals legacy wise, on one side you have the Warriors attempting to do something that hasn’t been done before and if they accomplish it they can begin to compare themselves to the better dynasties the league has seen , and arguably on the path to being one of the greatest teams ever. Then on the other hand you have LeBron who has been to six consecutive finals which has never been done before in the history of the Association. Then there is the added pressure on Bron bringing a title to Cleveland which hasn’t been done since Jim Brown was truck sticking folks in the 60’s. There will be a lot of history on the line this time around and with each team at full strength it will be a pleasure to watch. I’m going to ride with the Cavaliers in 6 games because as my friend Darren pointed out earlier this week that

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last

 

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Finally that debacle of a series is over with it and I’m ecstatic that I will not have to see those same players together ever again in my life. By the end of the series I found myself empathizing with Harden because he was the only consistent scorer on the team even with his ole defense followed by a deadpan stare at a teammate who he think should’ve helped. It’s obvious Dwight and Harden have their issues but a lot of it can be placed on JB Bickerstaff barely playing or not playing Capela at all this series when the numbers have backed up his productivity.

For being such an analytic driven team you would think JB would be paying attention to the numbers especially a staggering one like that.  He would also play Harden for long stretches of time without a break, as evidenced by him playing 40 straight minutes in game 4. During the first quarter last night Harden went 6 for 6 and the rest of the season went 0 of 15 which is a perfect microcosm of their season. After the conclusion of last night’s game the Rockets were granted permission to interview Luke Walton for the HC job which would be a phenomenal improvement.

Moving onto next year with Dwight out of the picture along with most of the role players except for Harden, Capela, Beasley, Beverly, Harrell, McDaniels,  D-Mo (going to keep him on a cheaper deal too) and Dekker. Harden is a exceptional offensive talent but he has to become more interested on the defensive end with his effort and not fall asleep on D like he is known to do.

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Part of the non effort is due  to his teammates clanking their shots not like never before this season and even more so during the playoffs. Dwight and Harden never really fit they only played around 2 seasons worth games together in 3 years because of Dwight’s injury problems. It was no coincidence Harden had his MVP worthy season in 2014-15 when Dwight missed the second half of the year. He also led the league in points in back to back years which hasn’t been done since his old teammate Kevin Durant did it 3x in a row  from 09-12′.  By the way the person who scores the most total points is my scoring champ not the one who averages the most.

There will be a number of free agents to go after this offseason and they will need to get another creator to go alongside Harden , with a center and a 3 & D guy to replace Ariza. Ideally I would like them to go after Al Horford, Pau Gasol to shore up the frontline. I don’t want Whiteside even though he’s elite defensively because he just strikes me as a knucklehead and its very hard to win with those. For the 3 spot that Ariza used to occupy I would go after Durant first then then Nic Batum who is coming off of his best season ever with the Hornets. The Rockets would be fools to not go after him when Durant ultimately spurns them. The last guy is Kent Bazemore , another underrated guy like Batum who has quietly had his strongest season. Now for the piece that has been missing longest during Harden’s tenure a player that can create shots alongside him. Mike Conley is my first choice followed by Rondo and Jeremy Lin.

PS. Finals Prediction , Cavs in 6 over The Spurs

Conor McGregor has ‘Retired’, so what are his best quotes ???

Conor Mcgregor has abruptly ‘retired’ before what would be the biggest event in the history of the sport also coming with the biggest payday at UFC 200. It’s sad day to see the best fighter on the mic with fight game to back it up in a long time. The reason for the retirement is because Dana white took him off the card because Conor did not want to promote the fight. “Conor did not want to come to Las Vegas and film the commercial or be a part of any of the marketing that we have,” White told ESPN. Conor is still reeling from the loss and wanted to focus all his time training which is respectable. But it is the fighter’s job to sell fights too and Conor knows that. He thinks he’s bigger than sport and he wouldn’t be wrong in a lot of aspects. Hopefully they can meet somewhere in the middle and do this thing come July. But  In either case lets look back to see part of what him the most electrifying fighter out there.

Speaking in Rio de Janeiro

I own this town, I own Rio de Janeiro, so for him to say that he is the king and I am the joker, if this was a different time, I would invade his favela on horseback, and would kill anyone who wasn’t fit to work, but we’re in a new time, so I’ll whoop his ass instead.”

When he heard he was fighting Mendes instead of Aldo

The ship was sailing smoothly. My coach came into my room at 1pm, I was sleeping, and he told me that Mendes was replacing Aldo. I opened one eye, said “it makes no difference” then went back to sleep.”

Precision Beats Power, after beating Aldo 

“Nobody can take that left hand shot. He’s powerful and he’s fast, but precision beats power and timing beats speed.

“I feel for Jose, he’s a phenomenal champion. He was a phenomenal champion. He deserved to go a little bit longer but at the end of the day, precision beats power and timing beats speed.”

Chad Mendes questions Conor’s wrestling skills 

Mendes: Conor is a big talker. Conor brought so much attention to this division, so much attention to the UFC. He talked his way all the way up to the top. When I look at Conor I see dollar signs in my bank account. You know, Conor I match up horrible for this guy. Conor, do you know what wrestling is?

McGregor: I can rest my balls on your forehead

Before he made his U.S. debut in Boston

“There’s two things I really like to do and that’s whoop ass and look good.  I’m doing one of them right now and on Saturday night, I’m doing the other.”

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When questioned on how he would adjust to the weight class change

“The only weight I give a fuck about is the weight of the checks and my checks are super-heavyweight.”

The Death Promise during the final presser between Aldo V. McGregor

“Look into my eyes. Little Brazilian. Você vai morrer (you are going to die).”

El Chapo in his prime

“I’m speaking Spanish, I’m dressed like El Chapo in his prime,” McGregor shouted. “I’m running this company like half a wise guy. I’m up here verbally destroying this man. I am a multi-cultured individual. I do whatever I want.”

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It will all be A-Ok

“I was happy to see him, I shook his hand, I embraced him, I gave him a little cuddle and told him that it would all be A-okay.

“It will be over before you know it, just please show up December 12th. I don’t want to scare him any more, he’s petrified, he went running before. So now I’m gonna take the opposite approach, cuddle him look after him, whisper sweet nothings…. tell him it’s gonna be alright and it will be over quick.

“Then hopefully get him in that octagon on December 12th and end his career.”

Red Panty Night

To Cerrone/Dos Anjos

“Because I change your bum life. I can make you rich. I can change your bum life. You fight me, it’s a celebration. When you sign to fight me, it’s a celebration, you ring back home, you ring, ‘Baby, we done it. We’re rich. Conor McGregor made us rich. Break out the red panties. We’re rich, baby.’

 

So with that I bid you adieu Conor you magnificent bastard. I wish you luck in your future endeavors but I really hope you do get back in the ring soon because the fight game isn’t the same without you and we need all the amazing sound bites and ko’s we can get. Plus you had one of the best walkouts ever with the Foggy Dew / Notorious BIG mashup .

 

PS.

Upon hearing the Conor new, we get this from his opponent Nate Diaz

now our collective response …

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People I trust more than D’Angelo Russell

Most of us have heard about the D’Angelo Russell secretly videotaping Nick Young on SnapChat admitting to some indiscretions, his reasoning was that it was supposed to be a joke. Ha great joke man, got to remember that one next time I want to ruin someone’s life and my credibility along with my respect at the same damn time. If you want to know more details on it you can read about it here . But what I want to get into you is the some of the people I trust more right now than D’angelo Russell.

  1. Harry Ellis

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The businessman who worked with John Mclane’s wife Holly at the Nakatomi Corporation when it was seized by Hans Gruber and his henchman who were trying to rob it. Harry is much like D’Angelo being that he makes things uncomfortable between John and Holly by not so sneakily hitting on her by giving her a rolex for a present. But thats not even worst thing he did. He’s sleazy , loud, overtly cocky just an 80’s yuppie on the best performance enhancers money can buy. Then he sees his opening and seizes it when he sells Hans on how great he is and that he can help him and himself by giving up John’s location but really all he does is get killed for snitching.

 

2. Tim Donaghy

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The veteran NBA ref who was sent to jail after fixing games to control the point spread. At least you know when and where you are getting screwed with Tim so you can be on your toes with your head on a swivel and you don’t have to worry about a sneak attack.

3. Commodus

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I trust Commodus more than D’angelo because even though he smothered his father Marcus Aurelius and made it look like natural causes. He did it for a reason and that reason is because he wanted to be emperor. Being emperor is awesome and the perks are really great so I can see his motives. But why did D’Angelo send that video? It certainly wasn’t to be emperor or anything close.  The juice wasn’t worth the squeeze so tough break D’Angelo

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4. Pinocchio

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The main reason for choosing Pinnocchio is because I know where i stand with him. If he’s untruthful his nose literally grows so there is no absolutely no room for doubt.

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5. Petyr Baelish aka Littlefinger

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The Master of Coin and perhaps one of the most if not most skilled manipulators in all of the realm. He uses the information he collects from the brothels he owns to gain intelligence on political rivals so he can acquire more wealth. He’s a pimp and a blackmail artist and I still trust him more because I know where I stand with him. This list is all about expectations , and I would fully expect Petyr to exploit one of my weaknesses for his gain but I would never think my teammate would do it for no significant gain at all.

I still don’t understand what Russell had to gain out of all this but maybe thats the thing, there is nothing he wants to gain from it. Maybe he’s one of those individuals who just want to sit back and watch world the burn.

How Nike lost Steph Curry to Under Armor

(ESPN) In the 2013 offseason — coming off a year in which Curry had started 78 games and the Warriors had made the Western Conference semis — Nike owned the first opportunity to keep Curry. It was its privilege as the incumbent with an advantage that extended beyond vast resources. “I was with them for years,” Curry says. “It’s kind of a weird process being pitched by the company you’re already with. There was some familiar faces in there.”

The August meeting took place on the second floor of the Oakland Marriott, three levels below Golden State’s practice facility. Famed Nike power broker and LeBron James adviser Lynn Merritt was not present, a possible indication of the priority — or lack thereof — that Nike was placing on the meeting. Instead, Nico Harrison, a sports marketing director at the time, ran the meeting (Harrison, who has since been named Nike’s vice president of North America basketball operations, did not respond to multiple interview requests).

The pitch meeting, according to Steph’s father Dell, who was present, kicked off with one Nike official accidentally addressing Stephen as “Steph-on,” the moniker, of course, of Steve Urkel’s alter ego in Family Matters. “I heard some people pronounce his name wrong before,” says Dell Curry. “I wasn’t surprised. I was surprised that I didn’t get a correction.”

It got worse from there. A PowerPoint slide featured Kevin Durant’s name, presumably left on by accident, presumably residue from repurposed materials. “I stopped paying attention after that,” Dell says. Though Dell resolved to “keep a poker face,” throughout the entirety of the pitch, the decision to leave Nike was in the works.

Dell’s message for his son was succinct: “Don’t be afraid to try something new.” Steph Curry had thrived on proving people wrong for the entirety of his career. He had delighted in it, even. And Nike was giving him fuel.

If that’s so, that psychological damage was self inflicted. For all Under Armour did and for all Nike didn’t do, Nike still had an opportunity to salvage the situation when Curry indicated he wanted to sign elsewhere.

In 2013, Nike retained Curry’s matching rights, analogous to how NBA restricted free agency works. They still could have signed Curry, regardless of his preferences. According to a Sept. 16, 2015, report from ESPN’s Darren Rovell, “Nike failed to match a deal worth less than $4 million a year.”

 

In this way, Nike’s strength is indivisible from its weakness. As the top brand, it claims the most stars, by far. That’s a massive advantage, but basketball marketing is an act of minimalism. Promote too many athletes and the message becomes garbled.

It wasn’t a thankless effort for Bazemore, either. Now, three years later, he makes six figures annually with Under Armour

That has something to do with why Bazemore’s alma mater, Old Dominion, is now an Under Armour school. “We just signed Old Dominion, so that was kind of a giveback to Kent, so he’s happy about that,” Stone says. Under Armour paid nearly seven times what Nike was paying the school annually before

This was the condensed version of Ethan Strauss’ article so if you enjoy behind the scenes looks at the NBA and how shoe companies operate within the NBA I really encourage you to read the entire piece. So Nike being the juggernaut they are (accounted for 95% of sales in the basketball marker in 2014) thought they could half ass their presentation to Steph by first by sending in Nico Harrison instead of power broker Lynn Merrit who is involved in all major deals then reusing an old PowerPoint with Kevin Durant’s name still on it. Finally they certainly sealed their fate mispronouncing his name and never correcting it throughout the presentation. Well hot damn, I haven’t seen a pitch go that well since Tommy Callahan started slinging break pads in the midwest. It seems that Nike got complacent in thinking they are the end all be all in the shoe game , and that players would beg for there chance to be signed with Nike. Or that they decided to that they were going to push Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving as their feature younger guys.  That seems more plausible to me looking from the outside in.

But despite that bang up presentation from Nike they would need not worry because when Curry’s deal expired in 2013 because a caveat in his contract that gave them the ability to match any offer Curry would receive and keep him.   Over the course of his final year with Nike coincided with Kent Bazemore joining the team. This turned out to be a key moment for Under Armor and Curry because over that next year Under Armor would flood Bazemore’s locker with so much gear he couldn’t keep it all. Soon enough the asst coaches , team personnel and players were wearing it. During that season Curry became more aware of what Under Armour could do for him and what he could for Under Armor.

Fast forward to signing day when Curry signs with Under Armour and Nike decides not to match their roughly 4 million a year offer for him. That amount doesn’t even make the top 10 highest shoe endorsement list.

#10 – Blake Griffin, $6 million/year, Jordan Brand

#9 – Damian Lillard, $10 million/year, adidas

#8 – Dwyane Wade: $12 million/year, Li Ning

#7 – Derrick Rose: $14.2 million/year, adidas

#6 – Kobe Bryant: $15 million/year, Nike

#5 – James Harden: $15.4 million/year, adidas

#4 – LeBron James: $20 million/year, Nike

#3 – Kevin Durant: $30 million/year, Nike

#2 – Stephen Curry: Terms undisclosed, Under Armour

#1 – Michael Jordan: $90-100 million/year, Jordan Brand

At the end of 2013, Under Armour had a 0.35 percent market share of basketball shoe sales and now in 2015  they have almost 3% of the market. That can be directly related to Curry One and his Championship MVP season.

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Which has pushed Under Armour into 2nd place behind Nike but ahead of Adidas which wasn’t the case prior to 2015.  Here is growth graph to see just how much of an impact Curry had

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So far a little less than 4 million dollars a year Nike passed up hundreds of millions in sales  and the influence of the game’s superstars to hitch their wagons to Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving instead. But its not just him they are losing but future players and thats where it could really hurt Nike in the long run and really give them a challenger. Remember this past summer Nike almost lost Durant to Under Armor. So far a little less than 4 million dollars a year Nike passed up hundreds of millions in sales  and the influence of the few  superstars in the game. This is shaping up to be a colossal miss from Nike , the company which has had very few ever. So very similar to how Steph is transcending the game maybe he can do the same to the shoe market too.

March Madness: Day 1 Thoughts

March madness started yesterday obviously and of course there were some big upsets. Starting with Baylor getting upset for the second year in a row after having to travel to Rhode Island to play a Yale team who took a 40 minute bus ride to the game when the other Texas teams playing got their game in OKC. No, before you ask I’m not bitter at all, just pointing out the facts. The game was called very tight down the stretch with some bail out calls when Baylor started to trap after a made basket, and the offensive foul called when the Yale player slipped at the top of the key and the Baylor tried to go by him. I’m still scratching my head about that one. The refs looked pretty eager those last few minutes. But ultimately it is a shot making game and when you don’t make enough of them you put yourself in a position to lose.

Moving on to the other upsets Little Rock toppled Purdue in double OT. They got there on the back of Josh Haggins who hit this deep step back three to send it to the first OT and set the tone for what was about to come

If you look closely you can see he shoots it from the bracket logo which is poetic because he busted so many brackets with that three.  Wichita St also took care if an underachieving Arizona team. Shitty draw for the Wildcats there playing one of the better teams with a couple of days to prepare and going against one of the better backcourt duo of Fred VanVleet/Ron Baker. What’s going on down at Arizona? They have had a top 5 class for the past 5 years I think with no results. That has to be frustrating, so frustrating that you sweat through your shirt watching it because you are so worked up

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He came out at half with a new Jos. A Bank white button down on but much like the first go around the shirt stood no chance.

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Maybe invest in a Dri-Fit dress shirt material of some kind. Arizona is Nike sponsored so give them a call Sean it can’t hurt.

The other upsets were number 9 Providence over 8  USC with this late inbound play to seal it.

I really like this Providence team of some reason, they just look like they really play for each other a lot like Wichita St does and those are the fun teams to watch this time of year.  Also because Kris Dunn and their post man Bentil really get after it. Moving on to the next gameUCONN pulled out a close one against the Buffalos of Colorado. Silly Buffalos,they didn’t know that you have kill UCONN 9x before they die in March. Gonzaga also routed Seton Hall, but that one didn’t feel like much of an upset to me. Probably because  Seton Hall’s best player Isaiah Whitehead started settling for jumpers and went 0-10 from 3 instead going to the rack the whole game which he proved this season he really good at. 

Finally 4 seed Kentucky took on Stonybrook team who hasn’t been in the tourney for decades and took care of business. Kentucky as a 4 seed didn’t make sense so its good to see the tourney spreading around the f-u’s team didn’t stop with just a couple teams, and Coach Cal let them hear about it. But I didn’t get to see Ashley Judd in the crowd last night where she is staple in the crowd this time of year. Just last week she was at the SEC championship game looking mighty fit and exuding team spirit as usual

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PS

It had a been awhile since I’ve last seen her and it got me thinking what are the best Ashley Judd movies. It has to be ‘Kiss the Girls’ & ‘Double Jeopardy’ with the top two and then everything else. If you like thrillers with female leads those were really entertaining plus Morgan Freeman and a balding Jeremy Piven are in it!

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Turns out the reason Ashley wasn’t there was because she was at her new job with the UN

 

A beauty and she helps others, I don’t think she can get much better…Oh wait

Pre game @kentuckymbb listening to @tomleachky and goofing off with the fun & talented @sydellesmom

A post shared by Ashley Judd (@ashley_judd) on

Yup she can get better. Look at that display of great core strength. sWOOON

Bulls on Parade-Texans Make Moves

It has been busy free agency period up to this point with some big names on the move and the Texans had some major needs to address of their own. Turns out they did just that and went out and splashed some cash. Here’s what they did

Following are the free agents the Texans have signed (4):

G Jeff Allen (6-4, 306) Unrestricted (Kansas City)
C Tony Bergstrom (6-5, 315) Unrestricted (Oakland)
RB Lamar Miller (5-10, 225) Unrestricted (Miami)
QB Brock Osweiler (6-8, 240) Unrestricted (Denver)

 

Following are the players the Texans have re-signed (6):

G/T Jeff Adams (6-7, 305) Contract Extension
T Chris Clark (6-5, 305) Unrestricted
CB Charles James (5-9, 179) Contract Extension
P Shane Lechler (6-2, 237) Unrestricted
K Nick Novak (6-0, 198) Unrestricted
S Eddie Pleasant (5-10, 210) Free Agent

 

Following are the players the Texans have made qualifying offers to (2):

CB A.J. Bouye (6-0, 191) Restricted
OLB John Simon (6-1, 252) Restricted

 

 

Good for the Texans for going out and getting an QB that has actual potential of being good. This is the best prospect they have had since Carr but the difference is Brock got to sit behind Peyton for the past few seasons. He got to show a little bit this year when he started 7 games where he threw for ok numbers in his first chance at starting multiple games.

But the thing I have to wonder is why would the Broncos let him walk away when Manning has retired? It could be that they thought he wasn’t good enough to warrant that amount of money when their defense is the real star of the team and probably figure they just can plug /play a veteran in there. Not a bad thought since Peyton was completely washed this year and they won it all. Another possibility is that Brock holds some ill will with the organization after they went all in with Manning after 7 games of him starting. Resulting in being benched, hung out to dry and made out to be the fault guy for their late season struggles. Now that might stick with you as a player when it comes to sign a new contract. So when he got offered not as much as he thought he would be getting he bolted. Can’t fault the guy. In the NFL a lot of the time systems make players so with the Broncos and Texans having very similar team styles and makeup it only made sense. Von Miller also praised his leadership qualities and compared them to Manning’s for what thats worth. He has the tools to be successful and There wasn’t a better move the Texans could have made because Watt , and Hopkins are in their primes and they don’t have time to wait around for a rookie to come in right away. Especially picking at #22 in the draft. Yeah its a lot of guaranteed money at 30+ million but you have to risks and if not you can just cut him in two years.

They also signed Lamar Miller from what I have seen of him he has big play potential and catching ability, no idea why he wasn’t seeing more carries with the Dolphins but then again they continue to trot out Tannehill every week. Which will be much needed with Arian Foster gone. They also addressed some needs on the OL after losing some guys particularly center Ben Jones to the Titans. So lets hope Brock doesn’t completely suck and is better than the walking concussion Hoyer.

Has Steph Curry Peaked?

After following up a Championship season in which he won league MVP and finals MVP in record breaking fashion, Curry is currently having an even better season which is quite remarkable.  He’s already topped his three point total from last season while taking less of them with 21 games left. Twenty one!  To go a deeper and get better appreciation for what he’s doing we can look at the PER (Player Efficiency Rating). PER measures of number of categories, such as field goals, free throws, 3-pointers, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals, along with negative results, such as missed shots, turnovers and personal fouls. It also accounts for a team’s pace of play so the Warriors playing in an uptempo system doesn’t inflate his PER.  Here are the top PER seasons of all time.

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Last season Steph posted a 28 which is good enough for top 60 all time but this season he has a posted a whopping 32.3 which if he keeps it up will be the best of all time. Not even LeBron who had maybe the best 5 year stretch of any player ever posted a 32. Bron went 31.7, 31.1, 27.3, 30.7, 31.6 respectively (It’s a crime that he got robbed by Rose for the 2011 MVP ).  The only other point guard’s who are in top 100 are Oscar Robertson, Magic , Westbrook, and Chris Paul. Great company to be in but none of those could shoot the rock at a transcendent level like Curry does. A 30+ PER has happened 18 times in the history of the NBA, by only 8 players. Of those 8 to do it only two players, Shaq and Wilt have gone on to have a better statical season following their first time reaching 30.

If his true shooting % stays finishes at 68% it would put him in the top ten all time. He would be the only point guard in it along with being the only non specialist wing player on it. All while taking the most shots by far of anyone on the lists. It’s not just threes either, he’s also in the top 15 in made free throws this year and on pace to break his career free throws attempted and made mark. Just shows that he’s getting it done all over the floor.

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Enough of the numbers already just take a look for yourself from his three 50+ outbursts this year

 

The answer remains to be seen if he has peaked or not but for him to best this season would put him in rarified air soaring alone and if there is a player that can pull it off it would be the baby faced assassin.

 

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*Update* He wasn’t the finals MVP, that was Iggy