Kristaps Porzingis – Is he a franchise player?

il Jackson and the New York Knickerbockers have been in the news because Jackson has identified Carmelo Anthony has the problem with the struggling franchise, and wants to give Anthony away, so he can build around Porzingis.  New York is called the ‘Mecca of Basketball’, so it’s understandable why historically their teams have been overrated.  There is no dispute that Porzingis is a good player, and that he has potential, but is he really a building block, or just a talented piece?

It’s important to remember that Porzingis was booed by the fans on draft night because it reminds that expectations were low. So, with the low expectations, him exceeding expectations is overrated.  He went from thought of as a wasted pick to franchise savior in a matter of months.  The truth is somewhere in between.

It is tough to gauge potential improvement in big men because  it hasn’t happened lately. Dwight Howard never developed an offensive game. Anthony Davis hasn’t ‘grew’ into his body.  Karl Anthony Towns isn’t living up to expectations, although it is just his second season.  Nothing is guaranteed to anyone.

Porzingis has rare size at 7’3”, but so did Shawn Bradley. He doesn’t really have a world class skill. He is a jack of all trades, master of none, at this point in his career. He has a decent jump shot, but he’s not a knock-down shooter. He has good footwork, but he’s not strong enough to dominate the post. It’s not a knock, but Porzingis is very similar to Bradley, even if no one wants to acknowledge it.

Porzingis has put up decent numbers, but they are as a secondary option. Despite the grief that Carmelo receives, he is still a dominant offensive force that demands a double team, and Porzingis benefits from the attention that he receives.  If you take that away, it’s going to be even uglier than it is.

What Phil Jackson is doing is unfair to Porzingis. If Carmelo Anthony is traded, it’s hard to fathom Porzingis having a long NBA career.  Losing can wear on a player (see Michael Carter Williams)  The consensus is that he is the future for the  Knicks, but if that is the case then how bright is that future.

The Knicks have so many holes in the roster, so it makes no sense to move on from Carmelo now. Jackson must not have learned from the last time he ‘tore down’ the roster.

This is the same thing Phil did in 2015 when he sent the Cleveland Cavaliers Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith for nothing.  The team still hasn’t recovered.  Phil and the New York Knicks organization need to be very careful, or they might dig themselves a hole that the organization will never get out of.

Andy Dalton Has to Win in Playoffs But…

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is infamous for his inability to perform in big games, but his comeback from  17 points down in the 4th quarter to pull out a 27-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks is worth something.  People will say that he still has to do it in the playoffs, but making it to the playoffs should count for something.

The irony is that people act like the Bengals are some storied franchise.  They were the laughing-stock of the league for years, who never even made the playoffs.  Now they finally have a quarterback that consistently gets them to the playoffs, it’s all about playoff wins.

The Bengals as a team struggle in big moments, not just Dalton.  The Bengals have capitalized on giving players second chances, but players with issue typically have demonstrated questionable judgement in life, so is it a surprise they would do the same thing on the field?

But Andy Dalton hasn’t been one to make excuses.  Judging by the way he is throwing, he spent a lot of time working on his game.  Dalton’s accuracy has improved, and he is not only dropping the ball into tight windows, but he is protecting his receivers from the big hits.  With that type of understanding between teammates, they are more likely to leave it all out on the field.  It is still early, and Dalton still has to show more, but it seems that he is putting his past behind him in route to a bright future.

Michael Sam Debuts in CFL…Is It Even A Story?

Michael Sam made his pro football debut with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, becoming the first openly gay player to play professional football.  His debut was nothing special, but maybe now Sam will cease to be a major story now that he has accomplished his goal.

The whole ‘coming out’ was strange from the beginning due to timing.  By coming out before the draft it made his motives questionable.  Michael Sam was considered a fringe NFL player, so it made no sense to come out.  The NFL frowns upon individuality, so any kind of revelation before the draft would hurt his stock.  In hindsight, it seems that he was trying to use the social climate to force his way into the league.

Then after being unable to make a NFL roster, he was hesitant to go to Canada to prove himself.  After getting to Canada he then took a still unexplained leave before eventually returning to the team.  Who does that? Why did he even get a second chance? For some reason he seems to think he is entitled, so maybe if the media paid less attention to him then he would put in the work he needs to on the field.  If he does that he will have a chance to reap all the accolades he imagined.

Tom Brady Suspension Upheld…NFL Better Be Ready for War

Tom Brady Suspension (ESPN First Take)

The NFL wants Tom Brady’s head on a platter, and they are not playing. Not only was the Tom Brady suspension upheld, but the league released an inflammatory statement to damage Brady’s reputation before a suspected legal battle. The media ran with the statement, even though it was pure conjecture with no facts

With all of the attention on whether Brady is a cheater, it is easy to forget that this is about suspected deflated footballs in a 45-7 game. This should have never been a story because the NFL never said anything definitive about the actual PSI and how low the ball supposedly was, so there must be something else. The only logical explanation is that they found something to indicate other games were compromised, otherwise this is a witch hunt.

It makes no sense that the NFL has compromised the reputation of one of its biggest stars. It is unprecedented for the league to go after a star like this, especially considering the team was already fined $1 million and lost draft picks. This is a heavy price for a PSI infraction.

The release of information that he destroyed his cell phone is inflammatory because it paints Brady as having something to hide, even though it isn’t relevant to this situation. What does his phone have to do with it if the balls weren’t deflated? They can’t say definitively the balls were deflated, so they are distracting the public from that fact. Brady is widely viewed as the greatest quarterback ever, and now his reputation is stained, and that is sad.  It shouldn’t be surprising that the NFL took this stance because this is what they do. They violate their player’s rights, and then typically lose in court, but no one calls them out, so they keep doing it.

Even though the speculation is that the NFL has a good case, can this process be considered fair? There were no rules or processes in place, so how can the Patriots and Tom Brady be punished this harshly? If the suspension is upheld this infraction will cost a total of almost $3 million and draft picks.  But there is no hard proof, and it is questionable how much impact the crime really had.

Plus the penalties are unprecedented because Brett Favre didn’t hand over his phone and was just fined. Other deflated football incidents only incurred fines. It doesn’t make sense on so many levels, but maybe as this develops it will come together as something other that a witch hunt.

Javier Chicharito Hernandez to Orlando City Would Be Big for MLS

Javier Chicharito Hernandez Highlights

Bleacher Report reported that Javier Chicharito Hernandez has softened his stance on coming to MLS, and his agent is in negotiations to try to bring his client to Orlando to play.  If he comes to Orlando City SC and the MLS it would be the most impactful signing for the league to date.  Other internationals are bigger stars on a world scale, but typically they don’t come over until they are pass their prime, while Hernandez is just 27 years old.

The experts criticize Hernandez’s game saying that he isn’t a complete player, but in the United States the soccer fan isn’t as savvy, so they will appreciate Hernandez’s ability to put the ball in the net.  For all his short comings Hernandez must be doing something right because he played for Manchester United and Real Madrid.  He may not have got the playing time he wanted, but the bottom line is he was playing for 2 of the highest profile soccer clubs in the world, so him coming to MLS would legitimize the entire league.

 

Sepp Blatter Re-Elected to 5th Term as FIFA President

Sepp Blatter Re-Election Speech

If the U.S. thought that arresting a few people would change something at FIFA they were sadly mistaken as Sepp Blatter was elected to his 5th term as FIFA President.  Not only that, he called out the United States and England, saying they are just mad because they didn’t get to host the World Cup.

There is some truth to his statement from an American perspective.  America is the minor leagues of soccer, so why are we getting involved at all with big time soccer? We don’t even call it the same name as the rest of the world.  This comes down to money because FIFA is making so much money for the world football clubs that the United States wants in.

The whole case is rather hypocritical because bribery and inducement is part of our society as well, but it isn’t as evident to many residents.  For example, in the NFL, when a town is voting to use tax funds to build a stadium, they are promised a Superbowl in order to get the vote passed.

Sepp Blatter isn’t doing anything new, it’s just that he is getting too powerful in some people’s eyes.  The charges were just for the sensational story.  Even if those arrested flip on Blatter, the U.S. won’t be able to touch him because he has too many relationships all over the world.  Blatter showed that he is not one to back down, and he is ready for war.  Apparently judging by the election, his FIFA constituents have his back.

Mayweather Beats Pacquiao…But Still Battling His Past

Mayweather Beats Pacquiao (Post-Fight Interviews)

Mayweather beats Pacquiao easily by unanimous decision in what was called the ‘Match of the Century‘.  Some were disappointed that Manny Pacquiao wasn’t able to impose his will and make Floyd Mayweatherfight‘, but that is a testament to Floyd’s greatness.  No one can hit him.

Pacquiao looked just like the rest of Floyd’s opponents, swinging wildly, but unable to connect.  After the fight, Pacquiao had excuses for the loss, which also took away from the bout.  The Pacquiao camp tried to make it an ideological battle of ‘good vs evil‘, casting themselves as the ‘good‘.  Since they played the hero role, they should have been more gracious is defeat.  The fact that they didn’t makes it seem that it was all an act.

Pacquiao’s approach didn’t hurt Floyd in the ring, but it may have outside the ring.  Bringing up Floyd’s past had people re-evaluate his domestic violence case.  He did have to serve 60 days in jail, so his case was pretty bad, but it was a different time.  He paid his dues and hopefully he has redeemed himself, so it isn’t fair to judge him today by an act from years ago.

But Mayweather has brought this on himself by not speaking on the case.  He could have diffused the situation early in the process.  All he had to do was speak on it and say something to the effect that it was a different time in his life and he regrets it, but he didn’t, and the situation took a life of its own.

First there was the ESPN Outside the Lines story, which made him look bad enough.  But it got even worse with the perception that the Mayweather Camp banned Michelle Beadle of ESPN and CNN’s Rachel Nichols from the fight because they were critical of Mayweather’s domestic violence situation.  Coupled with the publishing of his son’s account of the domestic violence incident, and it is no surprise that Mayweather is talking retirement.  His past is beating him down like no fighter could.

Former LSU Offensive Tackle La’el Collins Wanted for Questioning in Murder

La’el Collins, the former LSU offensive tackle, was considered a lock to go in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, but the announcement that he is wanted for questioning in the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Brittany Mills changes everything.  Even though Collins isn’t a suspect, the timing of the announcement isn’t good for Collins.

This announcement may cost Collins his bright future, so hopefully the authorities would have been more discrete if it was just about questioning.  Now at the very least Collins will lose millions of dollars, and his reputation is stained forever.

Collins will suffer from association with Aaron Hernandez because it is not far-fetched that a NFL player would commit murder.  The child was born and there will be a paternity test to see if Collins is the father.  If he is the father, it doesn’t mean that he killed her, or had her killed, but that would be the perception.  It’s not like it didn’t happen before with Rae Carruth.

Hopefully for his sake, this can get squared away, but the longer this lingers the more trouble he is in.  He is not a suspect now, but that’s what police always say  to try to get you to talk.

Javaris Crittenton Pleads Guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter

Ex-NBA player Javaris Crittenton pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Julian Jones, a mother of 4, in a 2011 shooting.  When entering the plea Crittenton explained that he joined a gang his rookie year in the NBA for protection, and Jones was shot while he was attempting to retaliate against a rival gang member who robbed him.

According to Deadspin, Crittenton will be sentenced to 23 years in prison.  It is heart-breaking how a life with so much potential ended up like this.  In hindsight, the Jarvis Crittenton-Gilbert Arenas guns in the locker room scandal was an indicator of a bigger problem.  It’s not even over for Crittenton, who is also facing charges as part of a cocaine and marijuana drug distribution ring.

This is not good for any professional athlete especially considering the social climate we now live in with the police and black men.  It’s getting to the point that athletes are going to be feared, so black athletes will have it worse than regular blacks.  The Thabo Selfalosa incident in New York lends credence to that theory.

Hopefully guys learn from this case, Aaron Hernandez, and Darren Sharper.  Life as a professional athlete is good, so concentrate on your craft.  If time is being put in on the court or on the field then there shouldn’t be time to get in trouble off of it.

Breshad Perriman Putting UCF Football on Map

Breshad Perriman UCF Football Highlights

Breshad Perriman a 6’2″ wide receiver, who ran a 4.27 40 yard dash will have UCF Football on the national stage during the 2015 NFL Draft.  Perriman is expected to be a first round pick in the draft.  It will be the second year in a row that UCF has put a high first round pick in the NFL.  It is a major accomplishment for the UCF Football program because it lends credence to the direction of the program, and it will put them in play for more talented recruits.

Perriman was a 2 star recruit coming out of high school, despite having a father who played football in the NFL.  Last year’s third selection, Blake Bortles, was getting offers to play tight end in college.  So the UCF coaching staff has proven that they get the most out of their players.

Elite players want a path to the professionals and UCF can show them the way.  There are really enough players in the state where they don’t have to recruit anywhere else.  but after this draft, players will be recruiting them.