• Categories

  • Archives

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,062 other followers

The 2016 NBA Draft Winners and Losers

With the NBA Draft now firmly behind us, it’s time to take a look at which teams stand to come into next season in great shape, and which will continue wilting down the long hard road of despair.  Here are the big winners and losers from the 2016 NBA Draft:

 

Winners – Philadelphia 76ers – It’s pretty easy to win these drafts when you have the top pick (in addition to 3 first-rounders), but the Sixers went above and beyond.  Their fledgling team acquired superstar big man Ben Simmons, who could lead the team to the promise land of mere respectability.  Additionally, two great shooters in Timothe Luwawa and Furkan Korkmaz could help the team in their scoring department, and perhaps develop into decent players themselves.

 

Phoenix Suns – Sometimes it takes a big trade to make something happen, and the Sun did just that in this draft.  With the 4th pick they took Dragan Bender, a 7-ft. tall center who’s got great ball and passing skills.  But while Bender was the obvious choice, their smart trade back to the top 10 to land Marquese Chriss gives them another potentially dominant forward.  While both players are still just 18, they have wonderful potential and could make the Suns’ front line very formidable one day.

 

Losers – Boston Celtics – Much was expected on draft night for this team that is just a star player away from contending in the East, and was loaded with trade bait in the form of 8 draft picks.  However, no blockbuster deal materialized and the Celtics ended up with the likes of Jaylen Brown, Guerschon Yabasele, and Ante Zizic.  And while one day they may be good, the Celtics’ fans were hoping for something tangible now.

 

Sacramento Kings – Perhaps the Kings had targeted a player who went before their 8th pick, but their trade back to 13th left them with a very questionable Georgios Papagiannis, a center who will be unlikely to break into a very crowded position on the team.  Perhaps there is going to be some serious re-organization with this club, but right now it looks like the Kings flopped big time.

Embrace March Madness: The 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is Here

The time for talk of rankings and bubble teams is over.  With the official release of the 2016 bracket for the NCAA tournament, it’s put up or shut up time for the top 68 college basketball teams in America.  Here’s what I think will happen:

Despite the fact that there isn’t a top tier of elite national contenders, I expect the top seeded teams will do very well.  Of course there will be some exciting upsets (I’m looking for UNC-Wilmington to upset Duke and for Butler to take down Virginia in the second round), but it seems that come Final Four time, it will be many of the usual suspects.  The fact remains that for any team to win this tournament they need to accumulate 6 straight wins, each against top quality opponents.  It’s simply not feasible for small-time schools and average teams to do this.

For me, the Final Four will consist of Kansas, UNC, Michigan State, and Texas.  The only real surprise of this group is Texas.  I feel like they have that quirky team that will be able to build a strong run, led by intriguing point guard Javan Felix.  That being said, Kansas will be too strong for them at that point.

However, the team I foresee claiming this year’s tournament in North Carolina.  After a relatively inconsistent majority of the season, they really turned it on down the stretch and won the ACC tournament.  They’ve won 5 straight games, each against teams in the NCAA tournament, including a 1-seeded Virginia in the ACC Championship Game.  That win showcased something different for Carolina: an ability to defend.  If they can focus on defending, they will overcome their 3-point shooting woes, and guys like Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige will make the necessary drives and dunks to claim this national title.  It’s UNC all the way!

First Annual AAA Sports Memorabilia Bracket Challenge (and it is free)

password is: aaasports

http://aaasports.mayhem.cbssports.com/e?ttag=BPM16_twt_invite_new

Free to enter in our first annual March Madness Bracket (deadline is tomorrow morning). Feel free to forward along to anyone who you think would be interested.

Grand Prize – Magic Johnson signed basketball PSA/DNA COA

http://www.aaasportsmemorabilia.com/nba/magic-johnson-autographed-indoor-outdoor-spalding-basketball/

 

2nd Prize – 25% off your next purchase

3rd-5th Place Prize – 15% off your next purchase

 

Good Luck!

Surprising Teams Dominating Baseball this Season

It’s been a recent trend in Major League Baseball, and it’s simply continued into the 2016 season; small market teams have been successful.  Last season it was the Kansas City Royals who dominated their way to a World Series trophy.  Now it’s a new cast of “little guys” who have defied the odds and are vying for playoff spots this coming October.  So who are these teams?

First on my list of upstarts is the Cleveland Indians.  At 52-36, they are in 2nd place in the American League.  They’ve done it with patience and a couple young players who’ve taken major steps forward.  Francisco Lindor has emerged as a star at shortstop and pitchers Danny Salazar and Corey Kluber have given the club viable options on the mound.

Next are the Washington Nationals, who are looking smarter and smarter each day for their acquisition of Max Scherzer in 2015.  Between him, Stephen Strasburg, and Tanner Roark, the club has the best pitching staff in baseball.  They’re 6 games ahead of the National League champion New York Mets so far and seem well placed to contend for a pennant themselves this year.

Another team to watch out for is the Baltimore Orioles, led by the bats of Manny Machado and Mark Trumbo.  They currently lead in the AL East over the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, though their postseason prospects are slightly more contained given their slender two-game lead over both the Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Ultimately, having teams like the Indians, Nationals, and Orioles finding success makes the sport of baseball far more fun.  While usual contenders like the St. Louis Cardinals, Yankees, and the Atlanta Braves have struggled in 2016, it’s refreshing to see if another small team can claim a title like the Royals did last year.  Who knows though, with baseball just passing the All-Star break, there’s still a lot of baseball left to play, and with the San Francisco Giants looking dominant yet again, we could be in for a now-predictable run by the recent 3-time champs.  However, it’s all shaping up for a tremendous run-in to the 2016 MLB season!

 

World Series Prediction – Chicago Cubs vs. Baltimore Orioles

Warriors – Cavaliers NBA Finals is a Dream Matchup

This is the matchup that everyone wanted to see.  The Cleveland Cavaliers at full strength against the reigning champion Golden State Warriors who own the best regular season record of all time.  It’s the same matchup as the 2015 NBA Finals but this time it won’t just be LeBron James and Matthew Dellavedova for the Cavs.  Both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are healthy this time around, and it should make a huge difference.

But however better the Cavaliers are in 2016, the Warriors are perhaps still improving as well.  Steph Curry continues to defy all laws of physics with his routine circus shots, and the supporting cast of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green help mold a nearly flawless basketball team.

And so what could possibly figure to happen in the 2016 NBA Finals?  It’s a tremendous test for both teams.  For the Warriors, they are seeking to put to rest the notion that their 2015 title was aided by a string of unfortunate injuries to their opponents.  For the Cavs, they’re hoping to rectify all the years of Cleveland suffering without any sort of championship, and remember, LeBron James still has all the pressure of being yet to bring a title to his home team.

For me, I think it’s a very even and well-balanced series that will take 6 or 7 games to decide.  I’d put my money on the Warriors taking the title again, given the outrageous talent they have for knocking 3-balls and ultimately racing away with games.  What they did to the Oklahoma City Thunder, coming back from down 3-1, is the mark of a champion, and I expect them to repeat despite the Cavs’ healthiness this time around.

Prediction – Golden State Warriors in 5 games

Philadelphia 76ers Wins NBA Draft Lottery

The NBA Draft Lottery was completed on Tuesday, and it played out quite as it should have, with the worst team in the league being awarded the first overall pick.  The 76ers have been on a pretty consistent decline for the past 5 years and finally hit rock bottom.  Can either Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram (the top 2 NBA Draft prospects) help them out of this funk?

The more exciting story may actually be whichever player ends up being taken 2nd by the Los Angeles Lakers, who’ve suffered greatly due to the aging Kobe Bryant’s slow NBA departure.  With him now completely out of the fold, it’ll be interesting to see how this draft pick alongside last year’s #2 pick D’Angelo Russell work to rebuild this once great franchise.  Given the allure of LA, the Lakers could possibly bring in some big time free agents too and spark the turnaround sooner rather than later.

But as with all drafts, it will take time to see how these players and picks pan out over the course of their NBA careers.  At least for the short term it’s become clear, the 76ers and the Lakers are set to collect the two best players of the 2016 NBA Draft.

Who won the NFL Draft?

It’s hard to judge an NFL draft so quickly, but in the ever thirst for NFL football coverage, rash and hasty judgment must be made!  Hundreds of players heard their name called this weekend, but which NFL team did the best?  Of course it depends on a variety of factors, such as did a team answer a specific need?  Can the players they chose fill in immediately?  Did the team choose exciting, high-speed players or a trough of big guys to fill the lines?  Does it matter?

With all these questions aside, my pick for the best 2016 NFL draft is awarded to the Tennessee Titans, who made several smart trade deals before settling on their top pick, offensive lineman Jack Conklin, who’ll immediately give Marcus Mariota the protection he needs.

The trade out of the top pick gave the Titans a full stable from which to work with, and gave them the ammunition to move back up to 8 to select Conklin. With three picks in the second round, the Titans boosted their defensive line with Kevin Dodd and Austin Johnson, which should help alleviate their struggles stopping the run.

However, my favorite pick for the Titans was Alabama running back Derrick Henry, who will join up with 2014 NFL rushing champ DeMarco Murray to make a quite formidable backfield for the Titans.

I won’t go into the later round picks because they so rarely pan out, but with 10 total draft picks Tennessee had more bites at the apple than most teams, and this should help them immensely long term should 1 or 2 of the later picks grow into starters.

All in all, you have to commend the Titans for what they did in this draft, dangling the bait of the top pick to the Los Angeles Rams and turning it into a host of picks before trading up to get their guy for the O-line in Conklin.  I feel that this team is on the up and probably won’t be picking near the top of NFL drafts anytime soon!

Embrace March Madness: The 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is Here

The time for talk of rankings and bubble teams is over.  With the official release of the 2016 bracket for the NCAA tournament, it’s put up or shut up time for the top 68 college basketball teams in America.  Here’s what I think will happen:

Despite the fact that there isn’t a top tier of elite national contenders, I expect the top seeded teams will do very well.  Of course there will be some exciting upsets (I’m looking for UNC-Wilmington to upset Duke and for Butler to take down Virginia in the second round), but it seems that come Final Four time, it will be many of the usual suspects.  The fact remains that for any team to win this tournament they need to accumulate 6 straight wins, each against top quality opponents.  It’s simply not feasible for small-time schools and average teams to do this.

For me, the Final Four will consist of Kansas, UNC, Michigan State, and Texas.  The only real surprise of this group is Texas.  I feel like they have that quirky team that will be able to build a strong run, led by intriguing point guard Javan Felix.  That being said, Kansas will be too strong for them at that point.

However, the team I foresee claiming this year’s tournament in North Carolina.  After a relatively inconsistent majority of the season, they really turned it on down the stretch and won the ACC tournament.  They’ve won 5 straight games, each against teams in the NCAA tournament, including a 1-seeded Virginia in the ACC Championship Game.  That win showcased something different for Carolina: an ability to defend.  If they can focus on defending, they will overcome their 3-point shooting woes, and guys like Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige will make the necessary drives and dunks to claim this national title.  It’s UNC all the way!

First Annual AAA Sports Memorabilia Bracket Challenge (and it is free)

password is: aaasports

http://aaasports.mayhem.cbssports.com/e?ttag=BPM16_twt_invite_new

Free to enter in our first annual March Madness Bracket (deadline is tomorrow morning). Feel free to forward along to anyone who you think would be interested.

Grand Prize – Magic Johnson signed basketball PSA/DNA COA

http://www.aaasportsmemorabilia.com/nba/magic-johnson-autographed-indoor-outdoor-spalding-basketball/

2nd Prize – 25% off your next purchase

3rd-5th Place Prize – 15% off your next purchase

Good Luck!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,062 other followers

%d bloggers like this: