Month: June 2017

the Vikings moved back into the first round to get their franchise quarterback

Remember when these two teams met back in 2015, the MVP was not Curry or Thompson. It was Andre Iguodala, and while it’s unlikely that he will repeat that feat, he will be under the same level of pressure that he was in that series. He will draw the assignment of holding off James for large chunks of each game, and he is one of the few in the league that has the combination of strength, quickness and smarts to do a credible job on that front.
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But not all of the players in the NBA Finals were viewed as top prospects coming out of high school, or even college. James, Irving, Love and Durant were ranked as top-three players in their respective recruiting classes and have lived up to, if not surpassed, the hype they received as high schoolers. However, others have taken major steps in their development since high school and college, to varying degrees, such as Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, who have become a two-time MVP and an NBA All-Star, respectively.

Here’s a breakdown of how the players in the finals were ranked as high school recruits and how their draft stocks were valued entering their respective NBA Drafts. Some players’ information may not be available if they were international prospects or played high school/college basketball before comprehensive scouting reports existed online.

After grabbing Barr with the ninth overall pick, the Vikings moved back into the first round to get their franchise quarterback. Bridgewater mostly lived up to his billing as an efficient, if limited, passer, leading the Vikings to a division title in 2015. Hopes were high entering his third season.

Game Mens Rashard Robinson Jersey Then tragedy struck. During last year’s training camp, Bridgewater suffered a devastating knee injury that wiped out his entire 2016 season. There are doubts that he’ll even be ready to return this year, a fact the Vikings tacitly admitted by trading a first-round pick for Sam Bradford last September. Who knows what kind of player Bridgewater will be when (or if) he comes back.

Charles Barkley trolls himself while congratulating Warriors

The Warriors made Charles Barkley look foolish all season.

The NBA analyst, who was often Golden State’s biggest critic, has finally admitted he was wrong — sort of.

“Hey Dub Nation, this is Charles Barkley. I told you guys a jump-shooting team would never win the championship. I was right. Now you’ve won two. Congratulations, Dub Nation, on another championship.”

Oklahoma City — T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA. There has been chatter that Leaf and the Thunder have a mutual affection, but by draft night, teams like Miami, Portland and the Hawks will have had a look at him, so there’s a chance OKC won’t have the chance to pick a stretch-4 like Leaf here. But if he’s available, the Thunder would likely scoop him up.

Brooklyn (from Washington) — John Collins, F/C, Wake Forest. The Nets simply need to add talent wherever they can find it, and they will get some value here. Collins is a productive, back-to-the-basket big man who would have been a sure lottery player five years ago. But there’s still a question as to whether he can stretch his game out to the 3-point line.

Instead, it’s clear by this deal that Ainge believes there are at least two other players in a similar tier to Fultz. He may have had Fultz at the top of his board, but not quite as far ahead. That made it worthwhile for the Celtics to pick up another potentially tremendous asset while still getting a player they consider to be on Fultz’s level.redskins_006

Kevin Durant vows to be back with Warriors for 2017-18 season

Regardless of whether Golden State wins the 2017 NBA title, Kevin Durant has no regrets about his decision to sign with the Warriors last summer, and he plans to be back on the team next season.
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Rene Robert Authentic Jersey I made the 100 percent correct decision, win or lose, Durant told The Undefeated on Sunday, when the Warriors held a 3-0 lead over the Spurs in the Western Conference finals. I feel like this is the place I was supposed to be. I appreciate everything I’ve done before this. But I’m here now, and I feel like it’s a great spot for me to be.

Four bookmakers had the Warriors favored, from as high as minus-8 at the MGM to minus-3 at the Wynn in a potential matchup. Much like the LeBron-MJ debate, a matchup between the Warriors and the 1995-96 champions features different styles of play: The Warriors with a run-and-gun mentality vs. defensive-minded Bulls squad with a methodical offense.

Interesting hypothetical from @Westgate_LV: 2016-17 @warriors would be 6.5-point favorites against MJ-led 1995-96 Bulls on a neutral court.

There are also different rules between the two eras, which play into the Warriors’ favor, according to Matthew Holt at CG Analytics.

The biggest factor is what rules is game being played under, Holt told ESPN. Being able to hand check would make the Bulls favorite and their roster was built for that. In the no-hand check era the Warriors’ current roster is much better suited and would have some serious speed and shooter advantages at several key positions.

NBA Finals 2017: Tristan Thompson, David West have close encounter in Game 5, and Twitter reacts

Tristan Thompson and David West came face to face in an altercation that resulted in technical fouls for each player during the second quarter of Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday.

Pausing video of the encounter at exactly the right time produces an image of Thompson and West getting close — very close — to each other. As Twitter does, people started sharing their thoughts on the moment.

Elite Mens Allen Barbre Jersey Philadlephia (from Boston via Brooklyn) — Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington. The Sixers take the plunge on Fultz by trading away the No. 3 pick this year and another pick in either 2018 or ’19. Fultz will give the Sixers the backcourt scorer they’ve desperately needed, and they feel his ability to play off the ball will fit nicely with forward Ben Simmons, who will be a rookie this year, too.

L.A. Lakers — Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA. There’s enough smoke around the heated rumors suggesting that the Lakers had second thoughts on Ball and decided to look elsewhere to think that there’s some fire to them. But it appears that there is merely some internal questioning about whether to make Ball the pick here, and that Ball is still in the mix, along with Jackson and De’Aaron Fox. And by draft night, when the smoke clears, the bet here is that Ball is the pick.
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Well, that was fast. After a Thompson 3-pointer, the Warriors lead 47-35. It’s a 7-1 run to start the second quarter for Golden State. (Note: All of this occurred with James on the bench.)

Green earns his third personal foul only ten seconds into the second quarter. Kerr likely will leave him on the bench for the rest of the first half. Let’s see how the Warriors respond, particularly on defense.

The Reds are awesome with a great fan base and great ball park.

Gunter, an undrafted second-year cornerback from Miami, held his own against Jones. Jones was targeted five times and Gunters tight coverage was a factor in each of Ryans two incompletions when throwing to Jones. In both cases, Gunter had help with safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix over the top.

Jones, who had 83 catches for 1,409 yards and six touchdowns during the regular season, had some success last Saturday against the Seahawks. He caught six passes for 67 yards and a score while being shadowed for most of the game by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.

Jones7-yard touchdown against the Seahawks was the same play the Falcons ran against Green Bay for Sanus game-winning score. Only instead of Sanu outside, it was Jones ducking underneath to catch an uncontested pass.

The Reds are awesome with a great fan base and great ball park. I’m excited.

Lewis is a 6-2, 188-pound shortstop from JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., and is perhaps the most complete position player in the draft. He’s a power-speed player who hit.388 with four home runs and 25 stolen bases as a high school senior.

Vanderbilt pitcher Kyle Wright was also considered an option before he surrendered seven runs on eight hit’s in 6 2/3 innings in Saturday’s 9-2 loss to top-ranked Oregon State in the Super Regionals. Wright is a 6-4, 220-pound right-hander who was 5-6 with a 3.40 ERA this season. Wright, undrafted out of high school, was selected fifth overall by the Braves and will join former Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson in the organization.

Signability could be an issue, but the Twins have over $14 million in their bonus pool for the first 10 rounds, and can allot up to $7.7 million to get Lewis under contract. The Twins also hold the 35th and 37th overall selections. falcons_021

Roger Goodell trolled for avoiding AFC title game

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Roger Goodell won’t be in Foxborough this weekend to watch the Patriots and Steelers play in the AFC Championship Game. Instead, the NFL commissioner plans to be in Atlanta for the Packers and Falcons NFC Championship Game.

Goodell has not made an appearance at Gillette Stadium in two years, since Deflategate, and the internet thinks he’s a coward.

I dont really know where its at today, Fassel said Monday afternoon. I hope to get a chance to talk to Kevin and Les about whatever they want to talk about whether its a head coaching interview or whether its an information gather on where I see the team headed and where it needs to head to become what we want it to become. So, whatever you want to call it, I would very much welcome the opportunity to sit down and just have a good football conversation about, from my perspective, what I think its going to take for the Rams be an NFC West division champ.

I talked to Kevin a few days ago, a few days before the game, and he said to keep Monday evening, Monday night available to talk about the job and the future of the Rams. It was a little bit open-ended, but I looked at it as just an opportunity to talk football, especially since its fresh in our mind, as far as what went right and what went wrong and how we fix what went wrong. I hope we get to talk a little ball.
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As for those Rams assistants, defensive line coach Mike Waufle is one of the league’s most respected position coaches and won’t be unemployed long.

The Rams’ first season back in Los Angeles was beyond disappointing with a 4-12 record and seven straight losses to close the schedule.

Demoff sent a letter to season ticket holders on Monday telling them the Rams will begin interviewing head-coaching candidates on Tuesday. One of those candidates is expected to be Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Steelers’ Bud Dupree says he was fined for brutal Matt Moore hit

Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree was indeed fined for his nasty hit on Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore last week, reported.

According to Dupree, he hasn’t seenthe dollar amount yet, but he plans to appeal the fine.

ESPN also reported that the fine is$18,231, standard for a first-time roughing the quarterbackcall.
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Moore was hit by the crown of Dupree’s helmet in the chin area, causing his head to snap to the side. He leftthe field after a few minutesbut missed onlyone play as a result of the hit.

Moore returnedto the game, but the Dolphins eventually lost, eliminating Miami and sending Pittsburgh to the AFC divisional round.

Moore said after the game he felt like hedidn’t sustain a concussion, but the NFL andNFLPA are investigatingwhether the league’sconcussion protocol was followed.

A month later, the Generals were voted the AFA’s national champions of minor league football; Jamie King became the Minor League Coach of the Year. But the moment he had looked for all his life happened just moments after that final game. Frank King, who along with Jamie’s mother had watched the game from inside their car, was presented the game ball.
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Frank, then in failing health, accepted it from Mark Moseley, thanking the team and promising the ball would stay with him always.
It had, for all intents and purposes, done everything I’d always hoped to in one gesture, Jamie said. That’s why we called it ‘A Game Ball for Frank.’ It definitely for me was the one thing I did that was right. It brought it full circle.

Detriot chased Boston left-hander Drew Pomeranz after 4 1/3 innings pitched.

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Upton gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead in the first inning, following up a Castellanos two-run homer, with an RBI single four batters later. Upton struck again with an estimated 337-foot grand slam off Pesky’s Pole in right field during the fifth inning of the Tigers’ 8-3 win.

Detriot chased Boston left-hander Drew Pomeranz after 4 1/3 innings pitched. He was scored with six runs (five earned) allowed on eight hits after Heath Hembree served up Upton’s grand slam on a 96 mph fastball. Ian Kinsler added an RBI single to give the Tigers a five-run fifth inning and its eighth and final run of the game.

Boston managed six walks and 12 hits, including seven off starter Daniel Norris, but the Red Sox left 12 runners on base and were left with just three runs to show for it. With nearly a third of June complete, Boston trails the Yankees by four games in the AL East.

Upton’s grand slam was the third of the day in MLB, joining Paul Goldschmidt and Corey Seager with the memorable home runs in an exciting day of baseball.

Jaylon Smith Jersey White Sox second base prospect Yoan Moncada (our No. 1-ranked prospect) has recently been dealing with a bruised thumb, but he seems poised for a June call-up after a blistering start to the season at Triple-A (.331/.401/.504 with six home runs and 10 stolen bases in 34 games). The switch-hitting Moncada will need to improve his pitch recognition to succeed in the majors, but he’s shown the ability to make adjustments and should eventually adapt to the quality and sequencing of big league pitching. More fundamental are the flaws in his righthanded swing, which will require either significant mechanical changes or a decision to only bat lefthanded. In any case, he remains an electric talent with plus speed and tantalizing power potential. Once he’s healthy, it will be hard for the Sox to keep him out of their lineup.

NFL players union: League should pay cheerleaders fairly

With a potential class-action lawsuit by NFL cheerleaders brewing, players union executive director DeMaurice Smith called out the league for not ensuring the women were treated properly.

“I think the league should be better than that,” Smith said Thursday during the annual NFL Players Association news conference, via “I think it requires better leadership and I think it requires a better decision by a group of people that everyone in this business can be paid fairly, and we’ll jump into any fight where we think people aren’t.”

According to the lawsuit, league executives and team owners are accused of conspiring the ensure cheerleaders’ wages were kept to a minimum.

Smith said he hasn’t spoken to the group of women who filed the class-action suit, but he remembers the lawsuits filed against individual teams over sex discrimination and minimal wages.

Curling is often the butt of jokes curtailing the less-attractive sports in the Winter Olympics opposed to the Summer Games, but sometimes people find hobbies in the most unlikely of places.

Davis would like to help expand the sport of curling to more African Americans, who he feels may not know a lot about it right now.

“Right now, I feel like a lot of African Americans don’t really know too much about the game of curling,” Davis told The Undefeated. “A lot of times I find that, when people don’t know about something, they kind of shy away from it. If we can continue to introduce the sport of curling to more African Americans, African Americans can then say, ‘Hey, here’s another option for me, maybe I should take this up, maybe I should do this.”texans_130

No rest for the wicked: Patriots preach preparation ahead of Super Bowl 51

Tom Brady has been through this before. The Super Bowl has become old hat for the Patriots quarterback, who will be playing in his seventh Super Bowl when the Patriots take on the Falcons Sunday at NRG Stadium in Houston.

With a two-week break between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, teams put in most of their game plan before they arrive in the host city.

Although Kaepernick regained his starting position last season, the 49ers went 1-10 in his starts and ended the season 2-14, leading to the ouster of general manager Trent Baalke and coach Chip Kelly.

Now, with Kyle Shanahan expected to take the reins of the 49ers after the Super Bowl, there has been speculation about whether Shanahan could work with Kaepernick.

The quarterback and the team have fallen on hard times since he led them to the Super Bowl following the 2012 season and was hailed as a quarterback prototype of the future. After a return trip to the playoffs in 2013, San Francisco has gone 15-33 the last three seasons.
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Kaepernick is better known now for his controversial refusal to stand for the national anthem before games last season.

One of the biggest winners from the East-West Shrine Game, the athletic tight end from USC was a shocking omission from the official invite list. McNamara offers awesome seam positioning and finishing ability with strength in traffic, and he proved as much during Shrine Game practices.

Womens Kyle Juszczyk Jersey Still, as a non-Combine invite, McNamara might have an uphill battle to secure a draft position. As talented as the running back class is, this might be the deepest tight end class in recent history, and McNamara will have to continue to win over teams during the process, most notably at his Pro Day.