Back to Basketball

Back to Basketball

Basketball is back…or at least it will be very soon. The NBA announced that the playoffs will be played in Orlando with the players and their families staying in a hotel. The NBA will operate in somewhat of a “bubble” with the players, their families, and everyone else it takes to produce live basketball having minimal contact with the outside world. However, there’s a catch.
The catch being that the NBA will only be bringing 22 teams to Orlando, ending the season for 8 teams. 13 teams from the Western Conference will be heading to Orlando. The Minnesota TImberwolves and the holders of the league’s worst record, The Golden State Warriors are the only Western Conference teams to not make the playoffs. 9 teams from the Eastern Conference will be going to Orlando to join the Western Conference teams.
Here are the teams who won’t be making the trip to Orlando:
Minnesota Timberwolves
Golden State Warriors
Charlotte Hornets
Chicago Bulls
New York Knicks
Detroit Pistons
Atlanta Hawks
Cleveland Cavaliers
The question is If your team has been eliminated, Who are you rooting for?
COVID-19 has created a once in a lifetime scenario for basketball fans to root for the playoff team of their choosing. After the conclusion of the playoffs your partisanship can return to your hometown team.
Right off the bat a few teams are off limits.Some teams are too good and rooting for them would just be plain out front-running. These teams are the Bucks, Raptors, Lakers, Clippers, and the Nuggets.
Other teams like the Rockets and 76ers who underperformed in the regular season but could go far in the playoffs due to their star players should also be off limits.
That leaves the Jazz, Thunder, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Spurs, Kings, Spurs, and the Suns from the west.
From the east the Celtics, Heat, Pacers, Nets, Magic, and the Wizards are also left for consideration.
From here on out the weeding-out of teams is based on where you live and who you regularly root for. As a Knicks fan for example I can eliminate the Celtics because of a general disdain for all Boston sports teams. The Nets can also be eliminated due to cross-town rivalry reasons.
It must also be taken into consideration that I would like to pick a team that is likely to make it past the 1st round. That being said, I think it’s fair to eliminate the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Spurs, Kings, Suns, Magic, and Wizards from consideration.
With all of these criteria in place the only teams left are the Jazz, Thunder, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Heat, and the Pacers.
Each team has an upside to rooting for them. If you feel like supporting local guy the Jazz are led by Westchester County, New York native Donovan Mitchell. The Thunder shocked the whole league by avoiding a long-term rebuild. The Mavs are led by young talent in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. The Grizzlies have the next star in Ja Morant. The Pacers who for most of the season have been without star guard Victor Oladipo have played solid team basketball, led by Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon, and TJ Warren. The Heat traded for Jimmy Butler in the offseason and paired him with Kendrick Nunn, fan favorite rookies Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson, and emerging star big man Bam Adebayo.
This is an exciting time for basketball fans. Especially for those whose team was part of the 22 tabbed to play in Orlando. If your team wasn’t selected to play in Orlando choosing a team to root for may just be a great way to stay in the action.
Will the 24-team playoff return post COVID?

Will the 24-team playoff return post COVID?

The NHL announced that in wake of the regular season being disrupted by COVID-19 that they will be using a 24-team playoff when play resumes.

Will we see this playoffformat after this year?

I think that A lot of revenue stands to be made by the NHL with the adoption of this playoff format and for that reason I believe that this format could return in the future.

This format has many similarities to the NCAA’s March Madness which is a revenue generating machine.
I believe that the 24-team playoff will generate more revenue for the NHL because of the increased amount of playoff games. With more games, there’s more viewership. With more viewership, there’s more advertising. With more advertising, there’s more revenue generated. This playoff format could potentially make the NHL so much money that they return to this format in the future.
In addition to the league making more money from this format, the fans also stand to benefit. It’sno secret that playoff hockey is more exciting than any regular-season game. The 24-team format brings more playoff games to the fans.
This playoff format could very easily return in the future. It could possibly make the league agreat deal of money and become a fan favorite.
Dark Days for Superman?

Dark Days for Superman?

Former Heisman trophy winner, National Champion, First overall pick, and league MVP Cam Newton finds himself unemployed after the first wave of NFL free agency. Newton has done nothing but produce when he is on an NFL field. He’s gone to 3 Pro Bowls, Using his unique skill set to become an elite quarterback. After all, his nickname is Superman. Newton is probably best known for his 2015 league MVP season where he accounted for 45 total touchdowns, threw for 3,887 passing yards, and had a qbr of 99.4. That season Newton started all 16 regular season games and led Carolina to a Super Bowl 50 berth where they fell short to the Denver Broncos by a score of 24 to 10.
Since the Super Bowl 50 loss Newton and the Panthers have struggled. Last year Newton
started the first two games before missing the rest of the season. After the conclusion of the
2019-2020 season where the Panthersfinished an abysmal 5-11, team management shook
things up. Longtime coach Ron Rivera was fired, Newton was released, and a new era beganfor
Carolina. Star running back Christian McCaffery was given a 4 year deal to make him the
highest paid back in the league, Baylor Head Coach Matt Rhule signed a 5 year deal to take the
reigns of the team and the division rival Saints backup Teddy Bridgewater was given a 3 year
deal to become the Panthers next starting quarterback.
So the question is What’s next for Cam Newton?
Is anyone going to offer him a starting spot?
Does he take a backup job somewhere?
Does he sit out for the year?
One thing is for sure, Newton will not be a backup. At least not at this point in his career.
As of right now it’s looking like he’s going to sit out the year and wait for next offseason. Almost every quarterback vacancy has been filled. New England has chosen to go with their in-house options, Chicago traded for Nick Foles, Tampa signed Tom Brady, Indianapolis signed Rivers, and the Chargers, Begals, and Dolphins all drafted quarterbacks. Leaving Newton with the choice of sitting out or, taking a backup job. Since Newton has been said to have zero interest in holding a clipboard, it’s my guess that he’ll be watching football from his couch.
Sitting out and waiting a year might be Newton’s best option. However, it does mean he’ll have to go a year without football. Cam Newton is an NFL starting quarterback who still has plenty of playing days left in him but, for now it could be dark days ahead for the man they call Superman.
A possible end to the debate over college athletes being paid?

A possible end to the debate over college athletes being paid?

In recent weeks the NBA G league has swayed top college basketball recruits away from signing with their schools of choice and instead signing with a select G League team for up to 14 times the maximum league salary. This could pose a threat to the NCAA. If top players decide to skip college and get paid to go pro the NCAA could stand to lose a massive amount of revenue.
Top recruits like Jaylen Green, Isaiah Todd, and Daishen Nix have signed with the G League for the 2020-2021 season for salaries of up to $500,000. If more and more recruits continue to do this the NCAA will produce a less exciting product with worse players and potentially lose hundreds of millions of dollars.
In response to this the NCAA has released a new NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) policy that will go into effect for the 2021 season. Essentially the NCAA will allow athletes to profit off of their personal brands without being paid by schools. Players can profit off of signing endorsement deals, signing autographs etc. However, it is strictly prohibited that a school pay a student-athlete.
This ruling seems like the NCAA’s long awaited compromise to the debate over college athletes being paid. In my opinion this is a step in the right direction. As an avid college sports fan and a staunch believer that athletes should be compensated this appears to be progress. This initial ruling will allow the NCAA to be able to afford to sponsor athletic competition and athletes to profit off of their hard work. This ruling by the NCAA could possibly be the end of the debt over college athletes being paid.
Becton to the Jets

Becton to the Jets

The New York Jets currently hold the eleventh pick in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. Many believe that they’ll either draft a Wide receiver or an Offensive tackle. Fortunately for the Jets both positions seem to have extraordinary depth
The Jets have the eleventh pick because of a 6-2 stretch in their last eight games. This burst saw the Jets record improve from 1-7 at week nine to 7-9 by season’s end. Winning six out of their last eight saw Jets slide back in the draft order to pick number eleven. This angered some fans because the Jets won games at the end of the season that would not help them get to the playoffs and have a later draft pick. Other fans including myself saw the 6-2 stretch as a beacon of light. For the last eight games of the year, the Adam Gase offense clicked, with Sam Darnold and Le’veon Bell in the spotlight. The Jets winning those six games may have pushed their draft position back but, it did show Jet fans everywhere that this is a team capable of winning football games.
While the six wins in the last eight weeks of the season were inspiring for the season to come, they didn’t get the Jets a playoff spot. A way to get a playoff spot is to improve the team, both through Free Agency and the Draft. Two-position groups that the Jets need to address to improve the team are the Wide receiver and Offensive tackle positions.
The draft is loaded with Receivers and Tackles. Players like Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and henry Ruggs III headline the Receiver class. While Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills Jr, and Mekhi Becton headline the Tackle class. In my opinion, Mekhi Becton the 6’7”, 370 pounder Out of Louisville is the most intriguing.
Becton played three years at Louisville, capping his career off with a First-team All-ACC nod this year. Becton also won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy given out each year to the best blocker in the ACC. At the NFL Combine Becton ran a 5.10-second 40-yard dash and was measured to have the fourth-longest arms and the sixth-longest wingspan out of all Combine participants. A five-second plus dash time may seem slow but to run that time at Becton’s weight is truly an incredible feat. Becton’s speed at his size and his playing ability is what makes him special. A player like Becton is usually off of the board by the time the eleventh pick rolls around, barring any personal issues or a scandal.
However, last week it was reported that Becton had his drug test flagged at the Combine. The failed drug test could possibly make Becton look less attractive to the teams picking before the jets.
A similar situation has occurred in recent memory. It was almost certain that in the early picks of2016 NFL Draft Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil would hear his name be called. But, moments before the draft commenced, a picture from high school surfaced of Tunsil wearing a gas mask bong. This “scandal” caused Tunsil to slide to the thirteenth pick where the Miami Dolphins swiped him up. Tunsil has since proved that he was worth the early pick hype as he was named the 2016 All-Rookie team and made his first Pro Bowl this year as a member of the Houston Texans. Tunsil has been a highly regarded player since entering the league and has not gotten into any drug trouble.
Louisville Athletic Director Vince Tyra came to Becton’s defense publicly stating that Becton had never failed a drug test during his whole collegiate career and that “it would be a surprise if he has a failed test”. Becton’s flagged test could make teams stay away from him, possibly allowing him to be available when the Jets pick at number eleven.
Becton’s ability and size can answer all the questions as to why he should be an early selection in Thursday’s draft but, his flagged tests at the combine could cause him to slip similarly to the way that Tunsil did a few years prior. Becton’s backing by Vince Tyra should be enough to show the Jets that he’s deserving of the eleventh pick.
I can’t speak for every Jet fan but I know that I’d love to see Mekhi in a Jets jersey for years to come.