The NBA: Upside down

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Your best records in the NBA, 33% done with the regular season in the eastern conference are…. crazy.

Look at that! Miami was predictable, but NY, Atlanta, Indiana and Milwaukee? Wow. The west seems to be going a little more to plan, looking at it, but still – Clippers, Grizzlies, Warriors, Rockets, and no sign of the Lakers anywhere? Geez.

So, how did this happen exactly? I’ll give you one word: Bench. In this era, we have been introduced to the, quote on quote, “Superteam”. A big three here, a big four there, a super coach here, a ton of money there – you get the point. But let’s look at the Clippers players – almost all of them average 10 points or more for every three quarters they play. For the knicks, every player but three has 9 points or more in that time. The Warriors have only 4 that aren’t scoring 11 or more in that time period – I could go on with this forever. (NOTE: I use this statistic because it can range over an amount of games, not just one, unlike PPG)

This season is proving a point I’ve been trying to back up for a while now – a team isn’t a superstar and his supporting cast, everyone has to be there. For instance, when LeBron left, The Cavs gave up 105 points a game and scored 95 – as opposed to it pretty much being vice-versa last year. LeBron had 2,200+ points – nobody came within 1,000 of him. Next year? The top scorer only had 1,100 points. That’s what killed the Cavs – their team was built on LeBron. When the Heat made the finals and lost, it was because only 4 players scored triple digits during the playoffs – the next year, they had 7.

While Blake Griffin and CP3 are a big, if not the biggest parts of the Clippers, the bench takes off the pressure, giving them easy wins almost every time. It’s a new philosophy for winning, which I love, and if you’re not a Heat fan, you probably enjoy this too.

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Easy as R, G, 3.

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The Washington Redskins just have to win out to win the NFC East. I must be wrong. Let’s try that again. The Washington Redskins just have to win out to win the NFC East. That – that can’t be right! Let’s try that one more time. The Washington Redskins… just have to… win out… to win… the NFC East.

You get my point.

But seriously, at the beginning of the season, who picks the Redskins, the team only 5 were worse than last year, to be able to win the NFC East, possibly the hardest division in football?

I don’t think anyone did – even Redskins fans weren’t extremely confident about this season, if not at all. And then he came. RG3. RG3 also attracted Pierre Garcon, and fellow rookies came too, such as Kirk Cousins and Alfred Morris, both who have proved a huge part in this season. But really, the biggest factor is the would-be senior quarterback from Baylor, Robert Griffin the Third.

RG3 has been nothing short of incredible this year. 104.2 is his Quarterback Rating, he’s thrown for 2,902 yards and counting, thrown for 18 touchdowns, run for 6, and 748 yards. But what the incredible thing is, is something else.

The NFL has never seen an offense like this, so exciting, agressive and situational. There are so many variables you can put into this offense. For instance, a normal pass play is normally a pass to the number one receiver. But, since there is no number one receiver, it could go to anyone, or RG3 could rush. It’s like that on every play – so you never really know what’s happening.

A lot of people like to compare RG3 and Luck together, but the thing is, you can’t. Not to say that one is better than the other, but their style is so different. Luck is like a miniature Tom Brady or Peyton Manning – RG3 is something nobody has ever seen –  you just can’t put them in the same category, you can’t.

If I was a Redskins fan, I would be serious about keeping RG3 healthy, because he has so much potential,  but plays so aggressively.

Alfred Morris, Pierre Garćon, Joshua Morgan, Santana Moss and many others have made huge contributions to this season, but if it weren’t for this young QB – who knows where the Redskins would be.

Old McDonald may have the key to the world series

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The Nationals had the best record in baseball last year. But, how? They finished with 69 wins in 2010. In 2011 they had 80 wins. But this year, they had 98. That’s a 29 game difference in two years.

But down on the farm, the nats were ready. They had future ace Jordan Zimmerman, they had future face of the franchise, Stephen Strasburg, they had everything ready for them. They just needed to develop them. And they have some players in A and AA that are looking pretty good themselves, too, as well as some in AAA for the future of the club, or for bait.

So after two years of misery, the Nats came together, and are favorites to win the NL next year.

The Giants have only taken one big trade in the past, being Melky Cabrera, which didn’t exactly work out. Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgartner, Brian Wilson and a whole lot more were all homegrown. A lot were traded for as minor leaguers, or non-big ticket free agents.

So does this prove that signing the big-ticket free agents isn’t the way to go?

I think it does. Look at the Marlins. They stunk 2 years ago, they sign a bunch of free agents, they still stink. What does that say about the formula. If they’re going to get anywhere, it’s minor leagues.

2014’s playoff hopes for Boston rest in Pawtucket. The moves they made stunk. I wouldn’t even focus on getting free agents – just be trading for good minor leaguers. If somebody offered 5 top 20 prospects for Jacoby Elisbury, I would take it. If I was taking over the Astros, I wouldn’t be worried about taking free agents – just getting good minor leaguers. By 2015, Houston could have the best record in baseball – they just have to set up for it.

A terrible team can become great in two years – all they have to do is wait. The Nats proved it, and so did the Giants.

I think this past year has proved Old McDonald has the trophy – not Bud Selig.

I give up officially.

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Vilma celebrates a sack – and 10,000 dollars.

The suspensions for the players were overturned. Wow.

The NFL is having trouble looking like a league that cares about player safety, and I give up officially on them changing the image they have. (Look at my final prayer about that over here: https://sideofnatitude.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/the-ed-reed-decision-is-right/).

But now that Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith and a few more are free of suspensions, it’s done.

In all honesty, I can’t believe this. I hate this decision so much. I understand that football is a physical game, but the NFL really stands for Not For Long. And to shorten a player’s career is so – just -wrong.

I don’t care if a player only did one thing or the other or something like that. Outside the lines’ tape should’ve been enough evidence. What proved these men innocent when Sean Payton was given a 1 year suspension.

Speaking of, you do truly have to put a lot of blame on Payton. He knew it was going on. So did Paterno. He lost his job, and I truly think Payton should be fired, effective immediately.

You may say “How do you know if they did anything?” or “They’re innocent!” But if this game is going to get safer, it’s going to need to crack down hard on things like this.

Punish them, punish them somehow! Suspend them, please! Do something! Apparently,  “The team’s coaches and managers led a deliberate, unprecedented and effective effort to obstruct the NFL’s investigation,” Even more reason to punish.

Wow. All I can say is wow.

Why Lionel Messi has my attention (and yours, maybe after this post!)

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Sorry, Saints and Giants. My attention is on Messi Today.

While you focus on your Bills VS Rams, I will be tuned to another channel. And I’ll give you a hint, it’s not the NBA.

Lionel Messi needs to score two goals before January 1st, 2013. Why? Because two goals brings his 2012 total to 86. In other words, changing a record that hasn’t been changed since 1972 by Gerd Müler.

If I was voting for SI’s sportsman of the year, I would’ve voted for LeBron James. But if Messi had won La Liga, UEFA or anything significant like that, he’s my pick.

But except for soccer fans, nobody really knows who he is. Even if I walked up to a random person who doesn’t follow the NFL in DC, I could still say RG3, and they’d know who I’d be talking about. If I talk to the average sports fan in america, not many will know who Messi is, (“Oh yeah – that defender for LA Galaxy”)  and even if they do, they won’t know who he plays for. (FC Barcelona, By the way…)

But let me throw something at you: In this year alone, Messi has: scored 73 goals for Barcelona, 8 hat tricks included, 12 for Argentina, and just been – well – incredible. This next record will be the icing on the cake for him.

But why does nobody in america really care? I don’t know. But maybe we should try to, at least recognize him. So I am taking the job for Lionel Messi as the campaign manager for his Sportsman of the Year Campaign in 2013.

So, maybe, average sportsfan, lend your eyes, and I shall try to take them off of the Rams VS Bills game. Because if I succeed – you could see something pretty amazing.

 

 

 

Manning the post

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In March, the Broncos signed Peyton Manning to a five year, 96 million dollar contract. I laughed. I thought the broncos were being just plain stupid. It didn’t make sense!

I thought Peyton was gone. His neck had killed an entire season, and in all honesty, I didn’t believe he could come back to his old form. If I was running an NFL team, I would’ve taken a rookie over Peyton. He didn’t seem fit to play after missing an entire year, and I would want somebody fresh. It just didn’t make sense.

Boy, would’ve I been wrong. Peyton is leading the Broncos to a 9-3 record, rising to his old form, if not rising above it, and could have ten wins by the time the night is over, and is the only other choice for MVP next to Tom Brady.

I would chose Peyton Manning for MVP. Because with no offense to the Broncos, they’re not much without him. They don’t have a real QB (no, I don’t think Tim Tebow was a starter) and not much of a receiving game. All of the sudden, Peyton Manning has made the Broncos super bowl contenders. Nobody thought he could do it, but look at him now!

But, every week, I watch him (with no offense, he is kind of boring) lead the Broncos beautifully. And I ask how? How has this 36 year old managed to take this team to the playoffs, and maybe more?

Nobody really knows but him. But what I do know – is that Peyton isn’t gone at all. Actually, he might just be starting.

Luck VS RG3 – The epic battle for Rookie of the Year

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RG3 and Andrew Luck Embracing after a preseason game won’t be the last time they see each other, but next time, it may be in suits and ties.

Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin the third have taken control of two terrible franchises. And made them a contender.

So who deserves the Rookie of The Year award?

Both have pretty good cases. Let’s start with RG3. He’s definitely put up the numbers worthy of the honor. He’s averaged 67% completions, thrown for 17 touchdowns, 2660 yards, ran for 714 yards and 6 touchdowns. (pro-football-reference.com) And they had about half of these guys last year – note how they weren’t winning – or at least like now.

Also, the performance he put up against the defending champions twice, especially this week has been huge. Not only are his numbers huge, but he adds an atmosphere to this team, and boy is he fun to watch.

This team didn’t record 4 wins last year – now, a division title is in sight.

Andrew Luck might not have the same numbers, but he does have a better QB rating. But last year, the Colts had 2 wins. This year, they might be a lock for a playoff spot. And you know the funny thing? They added Andrew Luck. They lost some of the best receivers and running backs. And they have 8 wins this year so far.

Peyton, who? Peyton left a legacy behind, and nobody thought Luck could live up to the legacy left behind. Instead, he has. And he’s on pace to blow it away. In 2010, Peyton Manning had 4700 yards and 33 touchdowns. Andrew Luck has recorded roughly three quarters of that, and he might’ve brought them to a better record. In 2010, they won 10 – Andrew is in all likelihood going to lead them to more.

But who? I have to say…

Andrew Luck, only because the Colts stunk last year and lost some of their better player, and now Andrew Luck has led them to the playoffs.

Both of these guys are the future of football – and this award in the long run – may only be the start of many for both of them.