Thursday, February 26, 2015

Just Another Tuesday Night in the NBA

Derrick Rose tore his meniscus in his right knee on Tuesday and will miss the rest of the season, at least. This is the same injury on the same knee that he sustained in the 2013 season. Rose hasn't played a full season since the 2010-2011 campaign when he won the MVP award and it's tough to picture a scenario where D-Rose comes back as that same MVP-caliber guard, but how could you after multiple surgeries on your knees. I like to refer back to Brandon Roy who had to retire at the young age of 28 due to his knee injuries, thus after making 3 All-Star game appearances in just 6 seasons of play. The talent was certainly there, but the health just wasn't. So is it fair to use "retirement" and "Derrick Rose" in the same sentence?  I think it's too early to determine but it's definitely not something I'd rule out. The Bulls are currently a #4 seed in the east.
Rick Carlisle and Rajon Rondo (photo via balleralert.com)
Rajon Rondo got into a heated exchange with Maverick head coach, Rick Carlisle, on Tuesday that was caught on camera. After the game, Rondo was suspended for 1 game by the team for "conduct detrimental to the team" (a game they lost). Definitely not what you want to see as a Dallas fan as playoff time is right around the corner. I've been a big advocate of Rondo since his rookie season and I know he's previously gotten into some shouting matches, if you will, with coaches, but I think if you look at the bigger picture, both Carlisle and Rondo have something to be frustrated about as I don't think either have been 100% happy with this trade. So far Rondo's assists (what he's known for) are down and his shooting attempts (he's a horrible shooter) are up. I don't like his fit in Dallas thus far and I expect him to test free agency this upcoming summer.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Feb. 15th - Feb. 24th What Was in Sports

While I was getting ready for the 2 biggest lacrosse games of my life in West Texas, there was a lot happening in the sports world that I missed and figured I'd offer my insight on - better late than never...


February 15th - "The Art of the 3/4 Court Shot...by Cedric Jackson"

I'm sure the majority of people in the basketball world aren't familiar with the name, Cedric Jackson. However, there might be a handful of Syracuse fans out there who are. I became a fan of Jackson in 2008 when he was a member of the Cleveland State Vikings. I have since followed his career closely. I loved his style of play but didn't get to see him play too often as Cleveland State games weren't regularly nationally televised. However, Jackson made national headlines on December 15th, 2008, when he hit a 3/4-court buzzer beater at the Carrier Dome to upset Syracuse in what would be the Vikings' biggest win in school history. 

Cleveland State would go on to win the Horizon league tournament that year and qualify for the NCAA tournament when Jackson and the Vikings' would upset #4 seed Wake Forest in the first round of the tournament in what would than overtake the Syracuse win as the biggest win in school history. Jackson would go undrafted and bounced around in the NBA D-league and NBA (mostly via 10 day contracts) for a few seasons but has since had a successful career in New Zealand playing for the New Zealand Breakers of the NBL. Well, on February 15th, Jackson's heroics came up big again as he would hit a similar shot as he did at CSU to beat the Perth Wildcats in double overtime.


I'd say he's the man I want with the ball left when were down by 3 with just seconds left...



February 19th - "NBA Trade Deadline"

The 2015 NBA trade deadline was certainly not dead. A lot of moves were made by a wide variety of teams. Here are some of the transactions that stuck out to me. 


Heart of Trade:
Goran Dragic to Miami, Danny Granger and 2017 & 2019 Heat first-round pick to Phoenix, Norris Cole to New Orleans

Analysis:
Things were getting ugly between Goran and the Suns leading up to the deadline. By the time 3pm came around (the official deadline), Goran was bound to be gone and Phoenix got their worth in a couple picks and a former NBA All-Star in Danny Granger who will help solidify the Suns as the #8 seed in the west. Not sure if I like the deal for Miami, though. Goran is good NBA guard, but worth 2 first-round picks and a developing Norris Cole (2 NBA championships in 3 years)? 


Heart of Trade:
Reggie Jackson in his Pistons debut (photo via Scoopnest.com)
Reggie Jackson to Detroit, Enes Kanter to OKC, Kendrick Perkins and a future OKC first-round pick to Utah

Analysis:
KP was another player that was destined to be moved on deadline day. I really thought that the Thunder were going to land Brook Lopez but Enes Kanter will do. I really like his fit in Scott Brooks scheme. As for KP, I think this is the beginning of the end. OKC will lose Reggie Jackson, but he becomes expendable with Russell Westbrook on the roster and a talented GM in Sam Presti who will just find another good guard to replace Jackson in the draft. From a Pistons perspective, I'm not convinced Jackson is the missing piece for them to get over the hump and clinch that #8 seed in the east, but it's at least a small step in the right direction.


Heart of Trade:
Brandon Knight to Phoenix, Michael-Carter Williams, Tyler Ennis, Miles Plumlee, to Milwaukee, 2015 Lakers first-round pick to Philadelphia

Analysis:
Phoenix dished out Dragic and Thomas on deadline day but Brandon Knight is certainly not the worst guard to land in result. With that being said, I personally would have rather of kept Thomas than lose both Ennis and Plumlee. Milwaukee is the real winner here grabbing some very good young talent. They're a #6 seed in the east right now (with Jabari Parker injured) and give them a few years when all this young talent develops and something special could occur in Milwaukee. Philly is no doubt the loser. Sure, they will end up with a high draft pick but they're giving up the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year in MCW. I think Sam Hinkie has less than 18 months left in Philadelphia, that's assuming the fans don't get a hold of his house address...


Kevin Garnett is back on the Minnesota Timberwolves (photo via Getty Images)
Trade:
Kevin Garnett BACK to Minnesota, Thaddeus Young to Brookyln

Analysis:
A big win on both sides. Thaddeus Young wasn't a difference maker in Minnesota but can be in Brooklyn as he will help push for the #7 or #8 seed in the east. Losing KG shouldn't impact the Nets at all. As for the T-Wolves, KG will sell tickets the rest of the way out as their season is and has been over. It's only appropriate he retires with the team where his legacy began. Favorite trade of the day.


Trade:
Isaiah Thomas to Boston, Marcus Thornton, 2016 Cavaliers first-round pick to Phoenix

Analysis:
It was surely a busy Thursday for Phoenix. They again load up on draft picks but I would have liked to have seen Isaiah stay in Phoenix. I guess this was their way of saying how committed they are to Eric Bledsoe as the #1 guard. As for Boston, I like this fit. I thought this move could have been made back when Thomas was a King. As much as I have hated this past year for Danny Ainge in terms of the absurd roster fluctuation, Thomas just might be the piece that brings the C's the #8 seed in the east - which just goes to show how bad the east really is this year...




February 20th - "Money Mayweather vs. The Filipino Slugger"

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will duel on May 2nd (photo via BoxingInsider.com)
FINALLY!!! This IS the most hyped boxing event (and possibly sporting event) ever. I couldn't be more excited that this fight is happening. May 2nd folks, mark it on your calendar now. Two terrific competitors and brilliant entrepreneur's will step into the ring for one of the biggest fights in boxing history. I will undoubtedly have more insight about the fight as May 2nd gets closer to us, but for now, I'll give Manny Pacquiao a slight edge. I've been a fan of him for a while (which may be getting in the way of my decision) and I think at this moment right now, he is best prepared for the fight. Nobody trains as hard as Manny does/will for this fight. With that being said, Mayweather is "Money" and it's hard to go against a guy with a perfect record. This fight will be awesome!




February 23rd - "Byron Jones"

Former UConn DB Byron Jones (photo via CentralTrack.com)

Byron Jones repped the Connecticut Huskies (my school) very well at the NFL combine. It's nice to hear UConn football and NFL in the same sentence as the image has given UConn football a very good name the past few days considering how disastrous the team has really been the past few seasons. Perhaps this is the first step in a positive direction for Husky football. As for Jones, this doesn't come very surprising to me. Having seen him play many times in person, I can tell you he's a very athletic corner who should flourish at the next level. The UConn website has his player profile listing him at 6'0, 196 pounds - solid size for an NFL corner. He comes from New Britain, CT which is known as "hard-hittin' New Britain" by many. Over his 4 year span with UConn, he had 8 INT's and 2 defensive TD's playing both safety and corner. I think he could go as early as the 3rd round but I don't see him lasting past the 5th round. Since 2008, UConn has had a handful of defensive backs end up finding success in the NFL (Tyvon Branch, Darius Butler, Dwayne Gratz, Robert McClain, Blidi Wren-Wilson)



February 24th - "Mathias Kiwanuka released"

I noted that I haven't been too fond of Celtics GM, Danny Ainge recently, but Giants GM Jerry Reese is starting to irk me too. As a Giants fan, I'll give him credit for the recent discoveries of WR's Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham, but besides that I can't say I'm too fond of the moves he's making (especially draft wise). Kiwanuka is another player off this Giants team that was on both Super Bowl rosters (previously, Ahmad Bradshaw and Osi Umenyiora released). In 9 seasons with the G-men, "Kiwi" posted 38.5 sacks, 13 forced fumbles, and 3 INT's playing both a DE and OLB. Kiwanuka was always a fan-favorite and his smile brightened a room. I was sad when Osi left, but this move hurts just as bad. I understand his productivity has been inconsistent but he has always been a hard-worker and was a pivotal part of that defense in the locker room. Whoever picks up Kiwi is picking up a winner.
The Giants have released 2-time Super Bowl Champion, Mathias Kiwanuka (photo via Zimbio.com)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Knicks Cut Ties with Amar'e

Amar'e Stoudemire has been released after 5 season in NY (photo via Netloid)
It looks like the New York Knicks are finally starting the rebuilding process and looking towards next season, but star forward Amar'e Stoudemire will not be part of that process. As of yesterday, Stoudemire is no longer a New York Knick, rather a free agent, after the team bought Amar'e out of his contract. The 32 year old joined the Knickerbockers in 2010 where in his first year with the Knicks he played in 78 games averaging 25 points and 8 rebounds and making his 6th All-Star appearance. But since that 2010-2011 season, Amar'e has battled injury and his numbers/minutes have gone done each season since, as he is no where near as threatening as he once was. It would seem that Stoudemire could add some sort of a prescence off the bench with a potential playoff team this year, but that could be a risky signing with Stoudemire's notorious knees. So is this the end for Amar'e? I don't think so, keep an eye on the Mavericks as they were a frontrunner for Josh Smith but were unable to close there.