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2020 NBA Eastern Conference Power Rankings

With the start of the 2020-21 NBA season rapidly approaching, take a look at who I think will shock the NBA world this season and wbo will come up short of their pre-season hype.

#15 Detroit Pistons

Coming off of a 2019-20 season in which the Pistons finished at 13th in the Eastern Conference, the Pistons are in a full-on rebuild. At last year’s trade deadline, Detroit traded away Andre Drummond to Cleveland, leaving Blake Griffin alone as the only established star in Detroit. This offseason, the Pistons made a trio of questionable moves signing big men Jahlil Okafor, Jerami Grant, and Mason Plumlee, each to multi-year deals. The Pistons also have veteran big Dwayne Dedmon as well as 2020 16th overall pick Isaiah Stewart who will battle for minutes at the 4 & 5 positions. 2019 lottery pick Sekou Doumbouya doesn’t exactly have a clear path to playing time this season, which is disappointing for his investors. Although there are some signs of talent, the Pistons lack capable starters at the 1-3 positions and should flounder at the bottom of the Eastern Conference this season.

#14 New York Knicks

For years the New York Knicks have been at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. This year will be no different, however they won’t be the worst team in the league. The number three overall pick from the 2019 NBA Draft, R.J Barrett will need to greatly improve if the Knicks want to climb out of the cellar of the East. Surrounding Barrett this season are a slew of disappointing draft picks, albeit not all were chosen by the Knicks. The likely starting five will deploy Dennis Smith Jr, R.J Barrett, Kevin Knox, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson. Off the bench, you’ll see more former lottery picks with the likes of Nerlens Noel, Frank Ntilikina, Austin Rivers, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and 2020 lottery pick Obi Toppin. Toppin should put up solid stats this season and could see a few starts down the line. This lineup of former top prospects won’t be enough to crack the playoffs just yet.

#13 Cleveland Cavaliers

While there are pieces in place for success, this season will be about development and improvement for the Cavs young bunch. Lottery picks Darius Garland, Colin Sexton and Issac Okoro should all see meaningful minutes together. This group has the potential to put up points on a nightly basis. With Kevin Love and Andre Drummond paired up down low, the Cavs actually have a formidable starting five on paper. The bench unit is very lack luster as second year wing Kevin Porter Jr. is yet to join the team due to ongoing personal issues. Without KPJ off the bench, the Cavs are going to struggle to get buckets. Love and Drummond may rebound well but their defense together leaves something yet to be desired. It should be another two years before the Cavs are in the playoffs, unless these young ball handlers develop early.

#12 Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic managed to sneak into the NBA playoffs and even win one game against the one seed Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately for Orlando, they will be without forward Jonathan Isaac who will miss the entirety of the 2020-21 season due to torn left ACL and meniscus, his second major knee injury. Adding on to the Isaac injury, the Magic did not make any major additions that will supplement the loss of their starting wing. Other teams in the East such as the Hawks and the Nets are much improved which bumps the Magic out of the playoffs. Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon should be able to string together solid performances which translate to a few wins. However, don’t expect to see a playoff push from this team in 2020-21.

#11 Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets had a very active offseason as they not only selected LaMelo Ball with the number three overall pick in the NBA Draft, but they also signed Gordon Hayward to a four year 120-million-dollar contract. Long term, this is a very hefty price to pay for a veteran with an extensive history of injuries. For now, he provides a veteran presence that should complement Devontae Graham, Terry Rozier and LaMelo Ball nicely. The lack of a big man is what will ultimately be the Hornets downfall. Miles Bridges should continue to progress as he splits time between the 3 & 4 playing with Hayward. This active offseason doesn’t seem likely to translate to success quite yet for Charlotte.

#10 Chicago Bulls

Over the past handful of years, the Chicago Bulls have been stocking up on young talent including Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr, Zach LaVine, Coby White and most recently the number four overall pick in the 2020 draft Patrick Williams. This starting group is still young and learning their way. Markkanen has been solid since entering the league but has not played at an all-star level. Carter Jr. has been a disappointment for the most part, but there is still plenty of potential. Look for the back court of LaVine and White to develop into one of the best in the East this season. The supporting cast is still lack luster, but expect lots of improvements this season followed by a playoff run in 2022.

#9 Washington Wizards

Making what might have been the biggest move of the NBA offseason, the Wizards flipped John Wall for Russell Westbrook. Many are questioning if this actually makes the Wizards better than they were with Wall. Last season Washington was without Wall and surrounded Bradley Beal with a group of young players. Rui Hachimura had a decent rookie campaign last season and should develop into a solid player for the Wizards. The backcourt of Beal and Westbrook is amongst the best in the league and should help catapult them into contention for a playoff spot. A questionable surrounding cast and questions about Russ’s ability to play alongside Beal leave me hesitant to place them into the playoffs.

#8 Indiana Pacers

If there is one team in the NBA that did not get better or worse, it would be the Indiana Pacers. Rumors swirled about a potential Gordon Hayward addition, but that did not come to fruition as Hayward opted to take a more lucrative deal with Charlotte. The biggest change in Indy is at the head coaching spot with Nate Bjorkgren now at the helm. With the other teams in the East improving and the Pacers without a true #1 option, they may have a tough year. Victor Oladipo struggled in his return from injury last season but T.J Warren took a big leap forward. A very deep team, it should be interesting to see how the Pacers fare this season.

#7 Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks had one of the most active and impressive NBA offseason. They added free agents Kris Dunn, Rajan Rondo, Danilo Gallinari, and Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Hawks also selected Onyeka Okongwu with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. With Trae Young leading the charge and continuing to play well, the Hawks are poised for a breakout season. Clint Capela and John Collins should play well together down low for Atlanta. There are some defensive questions with this team as Trae Young’s defense needs improvement. This deep team with a solid mix of veterans and youth, should have a solid season.

#6 Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors develop talent incredibly well. Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and O.G Anunoby have become very solid players after not performing at a high level for the first couple years of their careers. Veterans Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka have migrated to L.A leaving the Raptors with a void at the center spot. To help fill that void, Aron Baynes was brought in on a two-year deal. Baynes has been a solid backup big the past few seasons and could even see a larger role offensively than he’s ever seen before. Kyle Lowry is back leading this young group of grinders. As seen in the playoffs last season, the Raptors are a good team, but until someone steps up and takes the role of the number one option, they won’t be a top seed in the East.

#5 Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers have been a playoff failure the last couple of seasons which ultimately led to the firing of Brett Brown. Philly brought in Doc Rivers to take over coaching this under achieving group and Daryl Morey to lead the front office. Almost immediately, the sixers shipped out Al Horford and Josh Richardson. A team that struggled to space the floor last year, the offseason goal was clear as Philly looked to surround Ben Simmons with shooters. They added Seth Curry and Danny Green to hopefully turn things around. This team lacks defense and until someone steps up to lead this team, they’ll be floating around in the middle of the Eastern Conference.

#4 Boston Celtics

Coming off of another Eastern Conference Finals lost, the Boston Celtics need to take the next step to get to the NBA finals. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will continue to get better but will the players around them be enough to help them get over the hump? With the loss of Gordon Hayward this offseason, the Celtics will need a combination of Aaron Nesmtih, Grant Williams, Jeff Teague and Payton Pritchard to step up. Through their two pre-season games, the Celtics looked rather sluggish and without much of a half-court offense. The good news for Celtics fans is that the team was +7 in the 48 minutes Jason Tatum was on the floor during the pre-season. The bad news is that the team was a -40 in the 48 minutes Tatum was not on the floor. The addition of Tristian Thompson is a big add for this team as he brings an intensity and veteran leader that this team lacks. Expect a sluggish start to the season for Boston until their all-star point guard Kemba Walker, returns to action.

#3 Milwaukee Bucks

Having Giannis Antetokounmpo on your roster pretty much thrusts a team into playoff contention. Surrounding the two-time MVP is newly acquired Jrue Holiday. Holiday is a big get for this team as he brings a level of defense and veteran scoring that they lack. Kris Middleton is back again with Brook Lopez but besides that, Milwaukee lacks depth. Donte DiVincenzo will likely get the start at the shooting guard spot. The players mentioned above are definitely a good enough group to get Milwaukee into a top seed in the East. How far they go from there will be interesting to see.

#2 Brooklyn Nets

Kevin Durant. Kyrie Irving. On the same team. This duo, if they stay healthy, is amongst the toughest to guard ever. The Nets will finally get to see the pair suit up together with Durant coming off of the dreaded Achilles tear. Irving had a tumultuous start with Brooklyn last season with a mix of injuries and mediocre teammate play. Surrounded by DeAndre Jordan, Jarrett Allen, Joe Harris Caris LeVert, and Spencer Dinwiddie, this team is deep and deadly. It may take some time for them to come together as a unit but with two superstars and incredible talent surrounding them, it should be an exciting year for Nets fans.

#1 Miami Heat

The Miami Heat defied the odds and made it all the way to the NBA Finals. Unfortunately for the Heat, injuries to Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo ended their season without the coveted Larry O’Brien trophy. Coming off of the run they had in Disney World, it is hard to rank anyone in the East above the Heat. Jimmy Butler established himself as a superstar even if the stats don’t show it. Duncan Robinson is amongst the best three-point shooters in the game today and their guard tandem of Dragic and Nunn should be very solid. Tyler Herro showed signs of stardom last season and if he can carry that over into this year, the Heat are set up for a dominant season.

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5 Biggest NBA Draft Busts Since 2010

With the 2020 NBA Draft approaching, it’s always fun to reminisce on some memorable draft day moments. Sure there are the classic moments such as LeBron James taking the stage after getting selected #1 overall. You also have the not-so-memorable moments, like when players aren’t so happy to see who drafted them. Through all the drama and hype, each draft seemingly has its studs and its busts. With that in mind, here are the top five biggest draft busts in recent memory.

#5 Nik Stauskas

Nik Stauskas 101 | Sacramento Kings
Getty Images

One team that has consistenly made the wrong pick over the past decade, is the Sacramento Kings. Stauskas was regarded as the top shooting guard in the 2014 NBA Draft, so it’s easy to see why the Kings saw potential. The discrepansies came where scouts saw Stauskas worthy of being drafted at. Almost all scouts agreed that the shooter was a late-lottery pick. The Kings disagreed and snatched up Stauskas with the eighth overall pick in the draft. The Kings drafted Stauskas over the likes of Zach Lavine and Jusuf Nurkic.

The shooting guard would appear in 73 games as a rookie and by the end of the season was unplayable. He averaged just 4.4 ppg his rookie season and played little defense. Stauskas’s performance was so poor, the Kings decided to cut ties early on, trading him to the 76ers after just one season in California. Since then, Nik has boucned around the NBA and currently plays overseas.

#4 Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker to the Bulls: Why the Bucks shouldn't be blamed for his exit  - SBNation.com
Photo via Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Sticking with the 2014 NBA Draft, the Bucks had a rough 2013-14 season and were sitting at the second overall pick. With Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker seen as the best two players in the draft, the Bucks were hopeful that they would draft a franchise cornerstone. There was major hype around the Duke product around draft time as he was even featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. After the draft, Parker would even sign a shoe deal with Jordan.

25 games into his rookie season, the former Bluedevil would tear his ACL and miss the remainder of his rookie season. He would play a majority of his games his sophomore season, but still wasn’t living up to expectations. In February of his third season, Parker would tear his left ACL for a second time and need twelve months to recover. He would return almost a year later and play 30 games in his fourth season with Milwaukee.

By the time Parker’s fourth season was over, it was clear his time in Wisconsin was up. The Bucks redacted their offer sheet and let the former #2 overall pick sign a two year 40 million dollar deal with the Bulls. Since then, Parker has struggled and made stops with various NBA teams. He recently exercised his $6 million player option to return to the kings, less money than he made his rookie season, showing exactly how big of a draft bust he was.

#3 Dragan Bender

Report: Ex-Suns 1st-Round Pick Dragan Bender to Sign Contract with CSKA  Moscow | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

With the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft the Phoenix Suns selected the highly regarded top international prospect from Croatia, Dragan Bender. Bender was obviously a top 10 pick so not many people questioned the Suns decision to draft him. Sometimes players from overseas struggle to transition their game to the NBA. That was the case with Bender as he averaged just 3.4 ppg accross 14 minutes per game his rookie season. He did play in all 82 games his sophomore season averaging just 6ppg/4rpg, solidifying what many already thought to be a big mistake by the Suns.

Bender wouldn’t see much action since then, with the Suns declining his fourth year option. He then split time during the 2020 season with the Bucks and the Warriors and was later released prior to the NBA restart. As of September 2020, Bender signed a contract overseas to continue playing basketball, still just 22 years old. He was drafted over Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray, who were selected with the sixth and seventh pick respectively.

#2 Thomas Robinson

Elsa – Getty Images

For the second time on this five person list, we talk about the Sacramento Kings. With the fifth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Kings selected Thomas Robinson, a power forward from Kansas. Each draft has their tear-jerking stories and in 2012 it was Thomas Robinson who had endured the losses of his grandmother, grandfather, and his mother all within a month of each other. Robinson was a projected top 10 pick by many experts, so it was easy to see why the Kings chose him at five.

Throughout his first couple seasons in the NBA Robinson struggled against bigger forwards and centers, becoming a role player. He never averaged more than 5ppg/5rpg throughout his brief NBA career, and hasn’t played in the NBA since 2017.

#1 Anthony Bennett

NBA execs explain how Anthony Bennett and other NBA scouts failed so badly  | Sporting News
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Unfortunatley for Anthony Bennett, the Cleveland Cavs selected him with the #1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. There was no clear cut favorite to be drafted at #1, as this draft lacked talent. Almost immediately, Bennett was regarded as one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history. It took him 33 games to score in double figures.

It’s not necessarily Bennett’s fault as he never should’ve been taken #1 overall. Victor Oladipo was drafted at #2 overall, right behind Bennett. If there was one draft where you didn’t want the first pick, it was 2013. Giannis Antetokounmpo, a now two-time MVP, was drafted at 15 in the same draft, but no one thought of him as a top pick. Bennett is now no longer in the NBA and will forever live in history as a major draft bust.

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The Patriots are Very Much Alive

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Via Billie Weiss/Getty

The New England Patriots kept their playoff hopes alive on Sunday night with a 23-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens. It was a gritty win in some ugly New England weather against a team the Patriots were not suppose to beat. Staring a top five pick in the face, down two scores to the Jets last Monday night, it seemed as if making the playoffs was impossible. The comeback win over the Jets and the win against the talented Ravens do not just keep the Patriots playoff hopes alive they actually put them in a position to have a really strong second half and make those once playoff dreams a reality. This reality is because of a multitude of reasons, lets take a look at them.

Huge Positives in Primetime

The Patriots have played well in primetime games this season especially in their last two games. Both games had significant positives that should have Patriots fans encouraged going forward. In the victory over the New York Jets, Jakobi Meyers looked awesome hauling in 12 catches for 169 yards. This was a trend that continued against the Ravens as Cam Newton looked his way on big third downs and Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels called a Meyers pass in which he threw a touchdown to Rex Burkhead. This shows that important members of the Patriots trust Meyers.

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Via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports

The next huge positive is how well Cam Newton and the offensive line have played in these past two games. Newton has not been doing anything crazy, but he has not turned the ball over and has been picking up big third and fourth downs with his arm and his legs. A huge factor in Newton’s recent solid play is that he has been sacked once in the past two weeks. When Newton has time he makes smart decisions and the patriots offense keeps the ball and controls the game. Another big positive was seeing the ability to slow down the Ravens run game. The Patriots have had a really hard time stopping the run so seeing them slow down the run first Ravens is a massive building block. The last huge positive is how the young guys have stepped up and have played pretty well as of recent.

The Young Guys

All season long coach Bill Belichick has been heavily criticized on how he has drafted in recent years. If you have actually watched the last two games that narrative should be beginning to shift. We’ll start at arguably the most impressive guy who has been drafted in the last two seasons, 2019 3rd round pick Damien Harris. Man has he been good since he came back from injury, gashing the Chiefs, Bills, Jets, and Ravens defenses. Harris looks like a stud so expect him to be a big part of the offense going forward.

Sticking with the 2019 trend Chase Winovich played (as most would say) the best game of his career against the Ravens. He had 10 pressures, a QB hit, a run stuff, and drew a holding penalty in his career high 65 snaps. Belichick hit on two more picks in the 5th round of this 2019 draft with defensive tackle Byron Cowart and punter Jake Bailey. Cowart has been solid all year long and played a role in the back to back wins over the Jets and Ravens with his run stuffing and pressure abilities. Jake Bailey has been a stud on special teams. That Ravens game should show how valuable of an asset he is. He punted very well given the crazy winds and pouring rain, but no one thinks about how hard it is to also be the holder in those conditions and Bailey just produced.

Shifting to the 2020 draft class that has been criticized the most, 2nd rounders Kyle Dugger and Josh Uche were key in the Patriots victory over the Ravens. Uche helped stop the run and had a sack on the elusive Lamar Jackson. Dugger stood out in this game, as he was all over the field with 12 tackles, 7 of them being solo tackles. One of those solo tackles was on Ravens rookie running back J.K. Dobbins on the final drive of the game that kept Dobbins in bounds and ultimately ran out the clock. He also covered the best Ravens receiving threat Mark Andrews most of the game and held him in check. The other rookie from this class who has been phenomenal is 6th round offensive lineman Michael Onwenu. Onwenu has been shifted around the line all season due to injuries and has excelled in his chances which led to him getting the start last night at tackle even with a healthy Jermaine Eluemunor. Belichick selected all of these players that made impacts in the huge win last night (not even to mention the undrafted guys in these years) so lets watch the young guys play before we give up on them and Belichick’s ability to draft. The young guys will be key to a playoff push.

What the Schedule ahead Holds

The Patriots now sit at 4-5 with 7 games remaining and are still facing an uphill battle to make the postseason. The Patriots have wins over the Dolphins, Raiders, and Ravens (the 3 current wild card teams) which gives them the head to head tiebreaker against these teams. That being said the schedule ahead makes a postseason birth look more and more possible. The Texans, Chargers, and Jets are not easy games but should be wins for New England. The Patriots have some tough games but do not face anyone that is viewed as unbeatable. They take on the Rams and Cardinals which are games that can go either way, however with the current momentum the Patriots could have an advantage. Every remaining game seems like a must win, but the two most important are week 15 at Miami, and week 16 at home against Buffalo. These two games can have impacts on the division winner and wild card spots. The Patriots could go 1-6 or 6-1 in the last 7 games, but there is a sense that 6-1 in more possible as long as things keep rolling against Houston this weekend.

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Reinforcements are Coming

The Patriots have been clicking the last two weeks which gives them significant momentum to push for the playoffs, but they will be getting a boost on both sides of the ball. On defense the Patriots have been without former defensive player of the year Stephon Gilmore and starting linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley for a few games and have rattled off two consecutive wins. These two starters returning could help sure up the defense during this crucial stretch.

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Via Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

The offense will be getting a bunch of reinforcements in the coming weeks. Julian Edelman, Sony Michel, Devin Asiasi, and Dalton Keene are all offensive pieces on IR that could return and make an impact going forward. Edelman’s return will be a boost to a wide receiver group that has looked better since Jakobi Meyers started playing more snaps. Michel will make a four man running back platoon with Harris, Burkhead, and James White that can all give you production. The two rookie tight ends Asiasi and Keene have more time to learn the playbook while on IR and will try to make an impact when/if they return. Another piece that could help the Patriots moving forward is wide receiver Isaiah Ford who was acquired from the Dolphins at the deadline. Ford does his work in the slot and could become another Newton favorite. Jordan Thomas is another guy who the patriots claimed off waivers who could make an impact in the tight end department especially in the red zone. These guys have good size at their positions (Ford 6’2, Thomas 6’5), so look for them to make an impact when they learn the playbook more and opportunities on the field. All of these players who are returning could play roles in the Patriots playoff push.

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What the Gronk Trade Means for both Sides Heading into Draft Night

On Tuesday April 21st 2020 the NFL and sports world as a whole was shocked to find out that Rob Gronkowski wanted to return to the game of football. However there was a catch. He did not want to return to the team he retired with (New England Patriots) but rather with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If Gronk returned it would only be for the Bucs, forcing the Patriots to trade him and the remainder of his contract (1 year 9 million). The final terms of the trade were Rob Gronkowski and a 7th round pick (241nd) for a 4th round pick (139th). This trade is extremely important for both sides and here’s why:

Gronk gives Brady another Weapon

Adding Rob Gronkowski to an already stacked Bucs offense is huge, but the most important aspect is that it gives Brady a guy he can trust. It is proven that Brady works best with players that he trusts throwing the ball to. It is likely that he develops good chemistry with star wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin as the season goes on, but he already has that with Gronk. He will trust throwing it up to him in the end zone and on big plays late in the game as soon as the season starts. In addition to his receiving skills, Gronk is an elite blocker at the tight end position. He will instantly impact the run game which will open up play action for the offense. It also gives the Bucs another guy to help protect Brady in the pocket. This was essential for Brady to have because in a division with the stacked Saints, scrappy Panthers, and a Falcons team that is boom or bust it will be important for Brady and the Bucs to win games early in the season. Adding Gronk to a group of already stacked receivers should be huge early in the season and throughout the year as Brady gains a guy he trusts.

Trade Gives Bucs Flexibility on Draft Night

Another huge aspect of this deal is that the Bucs can get very creative on draft night. Adding Gronk makes young tight end OJ Howard available in trade talks. They could use Howard and package him with their 1st round pick (14th) to potentially move up in the draft to select one of the highly coveted tackles to help protect Tom Brady. They could also move him for a couple of later round picks and get much needed depth pieces. Another option is they keep Howard but that seems unlikely right now. Teams like the Packers, Bengals, Redskins, and even the Patriots have been linked to Howard. Look for Howard to be on the move during the draft at some point.

Potential Patriots Draft Day Trade?

The Patriots have been in multiple trade rumors involving the draft. When the Gronk news broke its was rumored that the Patriots could use the 4th rounder as draft ammunition to trade up. The Patriots also have a piece in guard Joe Thuney that is likely to be moved over the inability to get a long term contract agreed upon. Maybe Thuney and that 4th can get them a second selection in the 1st round on top of already owning pick 23. The Patriots could also stick to the Patriot way and keep the fourth round pick as GM and Coach Bill Belichick has done very well later on in the draft throughout his career. As much as it hurts to see Gronk go, it is another pick the Patriots did not expect to have and they will take it as they look to retool the roster.

Different Routes the Patriots Could go on Day 1 of the Draft

The Patriots have an ample amount of routes they can take in the first day of the draft. The first option is to trade up in the draft to select a quarterback. The Patriots have been linked to Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, and Jordan Love. They would have to trade into the top 10 for Tua, but there is a chance the other two could fall. Another route if the Patriots want a quarterback would be to wait until day 2 or 3 of the draft and select Jalen Hurts. Which leads us to option two which is standing pat. If the Patriots stay where they are they will still find good value in such a stacked draft class. Herbert or Love could fall, they could also go a pass rusher such as Iowa’s AJ Espenesa, maybe address their aging safeties with a guy like Grant Delpit, or their linebacker problems with a Kenneth Murray. The third option is one many fans do not want to hear, and that is trading down. The Pats could move down from 23 for a second and a third rounder or maybe even a package that could include a 1st round pick in the 2021 draft. Whatever the Patriots do Belichick will make sure he gets what he is looking for which will in all likelihood be a quality player.

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MLB season launching in the Rona free zone

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http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com (Chase Field, Arizona)

Here we go. The news we all wanted to here. The MLB plans to start the season in Arizona with Fan-Free games. Starting in May, the MLB is hoping to be able to start the season with all 32 teams playing in Arizona. There would be multiple teams playing everyday at different times in the brutal heat of Arizona on minor league fields with no fans. The plan would be to start and continue the season strictly in Arizona for the next four to five months. It sounds like a great deal for all of us who want to just want to be able to watch some sports during this quarantine. Although, the baseball world has spoken, and some players have given their thoughts on this idea.

Chris Sale on the Arizona plan “I don’t know if I could look at my kids through a screen for 4-5 months.” (CBS Sports) If you want me to be honest, I could care less what Sale says because he just got tommy john and is going to provide absolutely nothing to the sox for this season. Nevermind the fact that he provided the same amount in last years run too. An unknown New York Mets player stated “Its the desert, stuff doesn’t live there, it dies there.” Who cares who he is but all we know is he plays for the Mets and its okay we don’t need the Mets to show up anyway.

If the MLB puts this plan into action, the sport will not be the same. The plans for how games will be played are not what you will expect. First of all they want get rid of the dugout. Vibe check. If you’ve played on a baseball team, and have been in a dugout, then you know how much the dugout means to the team. That’s where you, and the team can joke around, chew gum, spit seeds, and be dudes. They plan is on having players sit in the stands. All of them would be “six feet apart”. Are we serious… I cant imagine every MLB team sitting in the stands where each person is six feet apart from each other. What’s the point of playing the game if you want players sitting six feet away from each other in the stands. The batter and catcher are literally two feet way from each other, or what about when the runner goes to steal second and someone has to go tag him. There are countless times in baseball where players come in contact. Now, the best part of it all, the MLB plans to implement the electronic strike zone. In all sports there is always some sort of human error because all refs and umps can make mistakes. Now we have to deal with the “Perfect strike zone” for each batter. Honestly, I just wanna here the ump after a strike three call. A good strike three call from the ump can really get the boys going in the field.

The plans of continuing the season sounds like a great idea to me, although it is in oddly fashion. Some players don’t seem to be too interested, and that could hurt the leagues plan. They can most definitely tweak some of the points to this plan to make this real baseball. Anything that can glue me to my TV for a couple of hours would be good enough for me, but if we have non-stop televised baseball games all day for the foreseeable future sounds even better.

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5 Guys You Forgot Played for the Boston Celtics

Throughout the years, Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge has swung many trades. There have been a few instances where he’s acquired someone and they only lasted a handful of games. Not every player sticks a full 82 games on one team’s roster. Let’s take a look at five players that you forgot suited up in the iconic white & green.

Tayshaun Prince

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Tayshaun Prince is a very recognizable name. He is a 2003-04 NBA champion and 4x All Defensive Team award winner. Prince lasted 10 full seasons with the Detriot Pistons, before being traded to Memphis in 2012-13. Half-way through the 2014-15 season, the vetern forward was shipped up to Boston in a three team trade. You may not remember the stingy veteran suiting up for the C’s as it was for a meager nine games. Prince was decently effective in those nine games, averaging 8 ppg. Just before that year’s trade deadline, Danny Ainge would send Tayshaun back home to Detriot, in exchange for Celtics icon: Jonas Jerebko.

Jameer Nelson

Brian Windhorst ESPN

Yes, this is the same Jameer Nelson that was an All-Star for Orlando, and yes he played six games for your Boston Celtics in 2014-15. Nelson came to Boston in the trade that sent Rajan Rondo to Dallas. I personally forgot Nelson was even in that trade, as most reports focused on the draft pick acquisition and Jae Crowder (greatest player to wear #99 since Wayne Gretsky). Nelson’s best years were far behind him at the point of this acquisition, and he only stuck for six whole NBA basketball contests, before Danny “the trader” Ainge flipped him for the electric Nate Robinson (who was waived before he could ever re-join his former team). Jameer didn’t do much in those six games with Boston, averaging just over 4 points and 2 assists per contest. Nelson would last three more seasons in the NBA after his very brief stint in Boston.

Troy Murphy

Steve Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

That’s the best Troy Murphy Celtics pic you’re all gonna get for this blog. Murphy was a solid player who played in 729 National Basketball Association games. Murphy only spent 17 games with the Celtics during the 2010-11 season. At this point, he was 30 years old and didn’t have a ton left in the tank. A former first round draft choice, Murphy had a very solid NBA career, but never carved out much of a role on that loaded 2010-11 roster, after latching on as a veteran buyout.

He did appear in a playoff game during the first round against the New York Knicks that year. You probably don’t remember Murphy as by the time he checked into most of his contests, KG and the boys had already solidified a win. It’s a shame Murphy never found his stroke off the bench as he would’ve made a nice 3 point option. Instead, he played a meager 17 games and then took his talents to LA the next season.

David Lee

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

If you payed enough attention to the beginning of the 2015-16 Celtics season, you would have seen David Lee start four games, and appear in 30 total for Boston. Many casual Celtics fans may not remember Lee playing for the C’s as his stint did only last 30 games in which he averaged 7 ppg over 16 mpg. Lee came to Boston in a deal that sent Gerald Wallace to the Golden State Warriors.

I liked David Lee a decent amount, and was rather excited that he was brought over to Boston. He was 32 years old at the time, so my expectations weren’t sky high. I was hoping for some production, maybe 10 ppg and 5 rebounds a game, but instead we got 7/3 and then the classic ESPN alert “David Lee has been waived by Boston”. Not every former All-Star can have a memorable stint with Boston.

Joel Anthony

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

I get it. Some of you might be asking, “who is Joel Anthony“. Well, let me tell you. Joel Anthony is the center that would be auto drafted to your 2k team if you skipped round 12 in 2k13. Anthony arrived in Boston in a three team trade that sent away Jordan Crawford. Anthony enjoyed his time in Boston so much, that he decided to pick up his $3.8 million player option for the 2014-15 season (no one would give him more than that in the open market, shout-out Pat Riley for that gem of an option). Danny Ainge, obviously excited to have Anthony back after he averaged one point per game over 21 games 2013-14, traded Anthony for Wil Bynum soon after.

All jokes aside, Anthony did manage to stick around for 10 seasons in the NBA, and was a decent bench for the Heat during the early part of his career. His stay in Boston consisted of him hanging on the end of the bench for most of the season.

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sports

Is Jarrett Stidham Our Guy?

(Photo via yahoosports.com)

In my last blog I recapped the most memorable Tom Brady moments over the last two decades, with that being said, it’s now time to see what’s in store for the future. With Brady leaving, we shift our attention onto Jarrett Stidham, a bluechip prospect finishing his collegiate career as an Auburn Tiger. Personally… I’m a HUGE Stidham guy. He’s a 6’3, 200lb Prototype QB who has the capability to make the big time throws in big time games. That being said, will he fit into Josh McDaniels offense and “The Patriot Way”? Is Jarrett Stidham the one who can lead the New England Patriots to their seventh super bowl, and continue the historic dynasty? I believe so, and I’ll tell you why.

Track Record

Stidham was born and raised in the South where football runs the universe. Attending high school in Texas he put up some crazy numbers. Finishing up his senior year with 2,934 passing yards and 35 TD’s made him the #2 Dual-threat QB in the nation..

Just like any college athlete, Stidham battled adversity. Stidham got off to a rocky start in the NCAA. On the fence between Baylor and Texas Tech, where at TT he would have worked with QB Guru Kliff Kingsbury and his Air Raid Offense. Unfortunately for him, he stuck with Baylor. Stidham was in a QB battle and ended up losing the number one spot. He kept his nose to the grindstone and he earned his spot after an injury to the QB1 (sound familiar?). After starting as a backup for his first collegiate season, he threw 12 TD’s and more importantly only 2 INT’s in just 10 games as a true freshman. Which let me remind you, was in the highly competitive Big 12.

His Perseverance

Following the Baylor Sexual Assault Scandal, Jarrett was out of a job. He ended up playing scout team QB for some community college in Waco, Texas awaiting offers from D1 schools. This time Stidham decided to take his talents down to the SEC and was given the starting job for the Auburn Tigers in 2017. All season for Auburn he displayed great poise and making those big time throws in the big time games. Everyone knows about the historic Alabama-Auburn rivalry, well Jarrett Stidham was able to hand Alabama their only loss during their 2017 championship run. Sophomore year gave everyone an idea of who Jarrett Stidham was. Junior year things took a turn for the worse. Going into the season the AP Poll had high hopes for the Tigers, ranking them at #9 in the voting. Cracks began to show early on in the season, especially the highlighted lack of skill players surrounding Stidham. As a result, Draft Pundits were a lot more skeptical on the 6’3 QB from Texas.

Bottom Line

(Stidham with the later mentioned IG Model.. via Barstoolsports.com)

If you want me to be honest, I love this Jarrett Stidham kid. He’s an absolute dog on and off the field. Between sliding into the DM’s of Instagram models, and throwing pool parties with smokeshows, New England is in good hands. His resume speaks for itself. Bluechip QB prospect in High School, success in two top conferences in NCAAF, prototypical build. You can listen to Todd McShay preaching that Stidham isn’t ready for the big time, but I suggest you dig a little deeper into our new signal caller. The kids got grit.

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sports

NBA Season being Cancelled?

What a world we live in huh. 2020 has gotten off to a start like the 2012 Sox season. First, it started off with people talking about a World War III with Iran. Then, Kobe… RIP Mamba. Now, the Corona Virus, aka Covid 19, aka Rona. I don’t know what to call it anymore but I could care less at this point. Everything has basically shut down except all “Essential Businesses” which apparently includes liquor stores, but who’s complaining. By far, the worst part about all this is the fact that there are no Sports going on. Absolutely nothing. All professional sports have been cancelled and its taken the heart out of all us sports fans. There would be nothing better in this horrible quarantine than being able to turn on the television tonight and seeing some good primetime basketball. Nevermind the fact that we cant bet on them either. Nothing better than making the thirty minute drive down to Twin River and getting that $10 eight team parlay in that can win you $350. Really juices up the night to say the least. Anyways lets get to the big news.

On this day, one of the biggest phone calls of all phone calls is going down. Between President Trump and all major league sports commissioners talking about…wait what are they talking about? Are we going to resume the season with no fans? Keep the season on pause? Or are we throwing the towel in on 2020? Trump is a man a business and when I think sports I smell business. This Rona is serious though and it seems the season could be in real threat of not resuming. Which is heartbreaking because the first half of the year was the so entertaining. I mean c’mon that all-star game. That was like watching a finals game. The league was at a all-time high from a competitive standpoint. The players were hungrier than ever to win. Lets get back to this phone call. Imagine being able tune into this call. Its not all of them but here’s some of the notable characters. Dana White, UFC , Adam Silver, NBA , Rob Manfred MLB, Roger Goodell, NFL, Vince McMahon WWE, and of course Trump.

Dana White and the UFC are still going as UFC 249 airs on 4/18. You can pretty much guess his take on continuing the professional sports. How about Adam Silver? Some NBA players have gotten although some have recovered which is good. I’m really hoping a June return is possible. I could care less about the regular season, just start up the playoffs. Next is Rob Manfred. I lost all respect for this guy when he let the Astros keep the trophy they don’t deserve. I could care less about this guys opinion but he better try and get this MLB season going soon. The man, the myth, the loser, Roger Goodell. I have no idea what this moron is going to bring up on this call. Probable try and convince trump to cut player salaries or something that everyone else is against. Last but not least we got Vince McMahon. This is the best one. The Commissioner of the XFL and WWE. He’s living life huh. Best part about all this is that one upon a time Vince McMahon and Donald Trump fought on live tv for the WWE. Now Trumps our President and Vince brought the XFL back from the dead. WrestleMania is actually tonight and tomorrow as a two day event hosted by Gronk. That’s pretty dope but no fans is a buzzkill. Here’s Donald with the good form with the close-line takedown on Vince.

It will most definitely be a phone call that will set the format for all sports in the coming weeks, maybe months. In my opinion at this time, for everyone during these times, the NBA can bring life back to this country as it has before. Sports fuels this country with energy and entertainment. It would help us get through our daily lives, in these times where we do literally nothing. If I was able to wake up and look forward to the Celtics squaring off against LA or Toronto, it would be a great feeling. Lets just hope and pray the phone call goes our way and they find ways to reach an agreement on how to continue the season. This would be the beginning of America regaining its faith in this fight against Covid 19.

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sports

5 Worst Active MLB Contracts

With everything going on in the current world, it’s easy to forget that there are some MLB teams who probably wish they could take a time machine and un-do these signings. Let’s take a look at five MLB contracts that are not favorable for the team. This isn’t to roast any player for poor performance, because let’s be honest, none of us writing could even touch a 97 mph fastball.

Chris Davis: Baltimore Orioles

Contract Remaining: 3 years $51 million

Image via forbes.com

Yikes. 51 Million over the next 3 years for a guy who hit a combined .172 with 28 HRs over 233 games in the last two seasons (baseball reference). For those of you who may not be baseball fans, that is just horrendous. This is a guy who gets less then 2 hits in every 10 at bats. I genuinely feel bad for Baltimore fans, as they have to watch him attempt to play baseball the next three seasons. Even if they release him they still have to fully pay that money. There is no team that would ever trade for Davis or that contrtact. Part of me feels bad for the guy, as he is a good person, but at the same time, I would love to collect 17 million a year to be the worst employee in my field.

Nathan Eovaldi: Red Sox

Contract remaining: 3 years, $51 million

Photo via espn.com

17 Million a year must be the benchmark for contracts to give sub-mediocre players. Yes, Nate had a good postseason that helped the Red Sox win a World Series. No, that does not mean you back up the Brinks Trucks and unload 4 years and $68 million to a guy who’s had an ERA under 4.00 twice in six seasons. He made 12 regular season apperances with the Sox in 2018, and yes he was pretty good. You just can’t unload that much money to a guy with a shaky track record at best, when you have holes you could’ve filled, with more sure fire options. Last season, the 6’2″ fireballer had an ERA of 5.99 in 23 games.

Nate is a classic Boston Red Sox signing of: does good in the post season for 3 games, let’s give him lot’s of money. If the season is ever played, some people still think Nathan could bounce back; like the guys in my fantasy baseball league who insist on drafting him for more than one dollar in an auction.

Robinson Cano: NY Mets

Contract remaining: 4 years $96 million

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Only the New York Mets would acquire a guy who’s going to be making $24 million at age 40. When this contract was signed, Seattle knew they would get a few good seasons of Cano before he slowed down, and good for them for trading him right before the train derailed. Seattle sent $20 million to the Mets along with Cano in that mega deal, which involved about 200 different players being swapped. The Mets did get Edwin Diaz in the deal, but we all saw how well that went last season (5.59 ERA, 7 blown saves).

The Mets must be banking on the DH being installed into the NL. 40 year old Robbie and his hamstrings probably won’t hold down an infield spot much longer. Sure, he can come off the bench and be a good left handed option against righties, but if that’s what you’re looking for, then go sign Logan Morrison for league minimum.

Miguel Cabrera: Tigers

Contract Remaining: 4 years $124 million, vesting options worth $30 million for 2024 and 2025

Tigers at Orioles 4/28/18

Listen, I love Miggy. He’s one of the best hitters I’ve watched growing up. The contract is a tough one, as Detriot signed him to a deal to get a few great seasons, and whatever happens at the back end of the deal, happens. With how free agency and contracts are going at this stage of baseball, you have to sign a stud to ten years, knowing the last couple years won’t be productive. Four seasons of poor production are worth it, if the player is as dominant as Miggy was during the beginning-middle of the contract.

Detriot does owe him a ginormous amount of money, but who else are they gonna pay? I don’t see Matt Boyd starting game 5 of the fall classic anytime soon, so at this point Miggy sells tickets and jerseys, and could still bounce back. He looked good in spring training and at least he can DH, unlike Robbie over in NY.

Johnny Cueto: SF Giants

Contract remaining: 2 years $42 million

Mlb.com

Johnny Cueto pitched 16 innings last season, 53 innings the year before that, and 147 innings three seasons ago. Yes, after pitching one seasons worth of innings over the last three seasons, Cueto still has two years left at a total of 42 million american dollars. I liked the signing back when it was first reported and obviously you can’t predict injuries. Cueto probably won’t be bouncing back to all-star form anytime soon, which is unfortunate for fans of his unique wind-up.

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sports

5 Times Tom Brady Made Us Proud To Be From New England

Tom Brady is my favorite athlete of all time. If you’re reading this Tom Brady is probably your favorite athlete of all time. I’ve been through all the stages of grief, at first I blocked him on Instagram and Twitter. Next, I hide all my TB12 memrobillia because I simply couldn’t deal with such a devastating heartbreak. I can confidently say as I write this blog I’m honestly over it, I hope he goes a firm 9-7 with Bruce Arians and the boys down in Tampa. With all that’s going on in the world today I wanted to write about something that made me smile. From the time I was born Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. has been the Quarterback for the New England Patriots, and I’ll be damned if him wanting to go have some fun in the sun destroys these memories for me.

2003 AFC Championship Game

Tommy giving Peyton the ole’ “I got you this time” bro hug

This was a huge game for TB12 and the Pats. We had bested Peyton and the stacked Tony Dungy Colts before, but never in a playoff match up. It was the first time the greatest QB Rivalry would meet when it mattered. It was the classic Yankees-Sox level of beef. Peyton vs. Brady was must see TV and in 2003 when the Colts came to Foxboro it was no different. Brady comes out first drive on a rainy 32 degree January night and immediately marches downfield to assert his dominance. 4th & 1 at midfield? Tommy sneaks it up the gut for a first (classic), caps the drive off with a laser to David Givens. The game was basically over at this point, Gillette was absolutely electric, Belichick’s already sending it on 4th down at the logo. Peyton manages to march his way down to about the 8 yard line before he fires it pretty much directly at Rodney Harrison (classic), the outcome was almost certain after that. Peyton plays the rest of the game seeing ghosts, and running from our pass rush. Pats make it a long, slow, embarrassment and then they go on to win Super Bowl XXXVIII, basically ending any chance of people arguing Manning > Brady allllll the way back in 2003.

Super Bowl XXXVI

He was just as in shock as all of us watching at home

2001 was the quite a rollercoaster of a season for the New England Patriots. Week 2 our franchise QB goes down, leaving any hopes of possibly making a wild card run in the hands of our 6th round pick out of Michigan. Up until the playoffs Brady performed well, he was definitely putting in work for a 1 year vet off the bench but we had no clue what this kid was capable of. The super bowl that year showed us that not only was he a franchise QB, it also showed us what a savage he was when it mattered most. Steps up to face Kurt Warner and the Rams, best comparison I have for them hype-wise would be the modern day Chiefs with Mahomes. Nobody thought they could be beat, and especially not the inexperienced Patriots with an unproven commodity at QB and an average set of skill players surrounding him. That last 4th quarter drive was arguably my favorite moment of his. John Madden is commentating the game arguing that the Patriots should just kneel the ball and plan up a script for OT and Brady comes out in ultimate Brady fashion and plays it perfect. Dump off here, dump off there, BOOM 26 yard dot to Troy Brown. One 6 yard pass later and Vinny was set up to give all of New England football fans to utter “We are champions”… he delivered.

Super Bowl XXXVIII

TB12’s 2nd Victory Trot… the pics never get old

This was a huuuuge super bowl win for the Patriots. Following the Super bowl against the Rams, the Pats didn’t make playoffs. A lot of people were writing off New England as a fluke, and even questioning the Bledsoe trade. Fast forward to Super Bowl Sunday and the boys are back but for bigger stakes. They came into the first Super Bowl as the underdogs, the guys with nothing to lose, this game… they had something to prove. First quarter no points were scored and it was looking a little bit like Jake Delhomme actually had a shot at winning a super bowl (imagine). 2nd quarter and both teams came out shooting. In typical Patriots fashion they keep it a close game, play physical on defense, wear the opponent down on offense. Once again, and this time to solidify the Patriots as an all time legendary group of players.. Brady drives down the field in a tied ball game and flawlessly gets us down right to the point where Vinatieri can sink ANOTHER game winner.

The Entire 2007 Regular Season

Name a better trio… I’ll wait

What a time to be alive, huh? Brady is literally in his prime of primes, he just started dating Giselle so now he’s the man no matter where he goes. Randy Moss is lining up outside, Wes Welker before all the concussions is sitting in the slot. Watching this football team play was literally poetry in motion. I was walking around elementary school with my Patriots lunchbox and my Tom Brady jersey like I was the man just because I rooted for the Patriots. That’s how this team made everybody feel, they had the swagger, the talent, and football’s Michael Jordan as the signal caller. 50 Touchdowns later and pretty much no argument that they were the most dominant offense in the history of professional football. Despite how it ended (I refuse to talk about it in this or any other blog) we can always look back and remember how hyped we were tuning in to see this group of guys play football on Sundays.

Super Bowl LI

The greatest comeback in the history of Professional Sports

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING will ever top that 2nd half of football for me. My wedding, my child being born, it doesn’t matter. Watching the Patriots claw their way back from 28-3 is easily the greatest moment of my life and I can say that with utmost confidence. I don’t even know how to put into words what this game meant for me, us, and even Tom Brady’s legacy. I remember at halftime thinking on behalf on Tom “We really need this one for Tommy, 5-2 (Super Bowl Wins) looks so much better on the GOAT resume then 4-3). Just about an hour later and there was no need for a resume… Tom Brady & The Patriots literally played 3 perfect quarters of football on the biggest stage and didn’t even give us time to stop and enjoy. This was his Mona Lisa, it was OUR Mona Lisa. Regardless of what happens from here on out with the Patriots, Tom, and anything else I will always be able to look back to the moment James White ran that touchdown in and smile from ear to ear. I have to thank Tom for that.