Charles Barkley, the Hypocrite.

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Charles Barkley. Love him or hate him, he is a truly polarizing character nowadays. He has something to say about everything and a lot of the times it becomes controversial. Now I am a huge fan of Barkley’s. I think what he has to say for the most part is valid and he can usually back it up, and not to mention those TNT guys are the best sports show on television, it is pure hilarity, but this week he made a comment about the Kyrie Irving situation that completely contradicts statements he has previously made about other players.

This week Barkley said in an interview on NBA TV: “I don’t understand the Kyrie situation. This generation of players — you want to be on a good team. You want to play with other great players. This notion where you want to be the man, I just think is so stupid. If I got a chance to play with another great player, I want to do that. I mean, the objective is to win.”

Hmmmm that seems like an interesting comment coming from someone who just as recently as last year was bashing Kevin Durant for joining up with the Golden State Warriors so he could win, “It undermines the integrity of the game. As a fan, I don’t want to have my team out of it by day one.”

So which is it Charles? Because Kyrie is giving you what you want, trying to bring back parody to the game. I understand that he is not a franchise-changing player like LeBron but he is a top-tier basketball player that can greatly help a team, and you’re saying that his move is stupid? But you also think that a player joining a good team to win is destroying the integrity of the game?

You don’t want a guy to join a winning team, but you also don’t want an individual to leave that good team and try to carve their own path and be “the guy” on another team, so what is ok for you Charles?

Not to mention the fact that Barkley was commenting on the Kevin Durant situation like he didn’t request to be traded twice in his career to increase his chances of winning a championship. Hypocrisy.

If you think about the KD and the Kyrie situations, they exact opposites of each other and Barkley doesn’t agree with either. Irving just went to three straight NBA finals and now wants out. While KD couldn’t get past the Warriors, so he teamed up with them and won a championship. I don’t necessarily agree with Kyrie’s decision if he wants to win, I think he is in the best situation to win, but maybe that’s not what it is about for him right now, he already has won. I respect that about Irving, if he wants to be “the man” he cannot become that under LeBron’s shadow. He is simply controlling his own fate, and quite frankly, doing to LeBron what LeBron would be doing to him next year in free agency, leave Cleveland.

If Barkley thinks winning is the highest priority then how can he bash Kevin Durant for literally making a winning decision? Barkley needs to get his words straight and decide what is ok to him, or at least come out and recognize the hypocrisy in his statements. If he is going to be one of the key opinions in the game of basketball the least he could do is not be a hypocrite.

 

 

 

 

Mock Draft 2.0

This week our fantasy league had our draft order set, I got the 6th pick. Here is a mock draft that I did that mirrored my league. It was a 10-team PPR, snake draft. Here are my results and my analysis of each pick. If I have a same pick as I did in my first mock draft then I will try to cover something different.

Round 1- Julio Jones: I felt ok about the 6th pick because I just barely made it into getting one of the top 6 players, after those 6 there are more questions and concerns (the 6 are: David Johnson, Le’veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliot, OBJ, Antonio Brown and Julio Jones). So I was able to snag Julio. In the top offense last year he was a monster and he should only see the same amount of targets and still be the centerpiece of the offense. The only question about Julio is the injuries, if he can stay on the field he may be the #1 receiver at the end of the year.

Round 2- Jordy Nelson: I am not sure how I was able to snag Jordy here on the turnaround, I thought he would be gone for sure. So pairing Jordy with Julio  was a no-brainer. The #1 receiver on an Aaron Rodgers led football team? I will take that all day. And last year he was coming off an ACL tear and he still put up monster numbers, he will only be more comfortable this year.

Round 3- DeAndre Hopkins: I went with the receiver heavy route here in this draft, these are 3 guys that have potential to be the #1 receiver, and have all done it in the past 5 years. DeAndre had a tough year last year, and explicably so with Brock Osweiler as the QB. Now with an adequate QB, whether it be Savage or Watson, he should see some better throws. And with the injury to Will Fuller just the other day, he again will see more targets.

Round 4- Jordan Reed: I went with a top TE here. If healthy, this guy is as good as they come at the TE position. He is the focal point of the offense now with Desean Jackson and Pierre Garcon gone, he has Terrell Pryor to help stretch the field on the outside and the football team in Washington will throw the ball A LOT! The concussions are always a concern, but if Reed can stay on the field, look for a dominant season.

Round 5- Joe Mixon: I finally took my first running back, and I like this class of young guys, so I was ok with taking a young RB this late. I like Fournette, McCaffrey, and Mixon a lot. McCaffrey and Mixon will be dynamic and shifty, the receptions also give them a boost in PPR format, while Fournette will be a bruiser, possibly getting 15-20 carries per game.

Round 6- Spencer Ware: I was excited to get this guy as my RB2. He will be a solid option in this offense as he always is. His backup, Kareem Hunt, has been getting high praise in these training camps and may be a guy who will play more of a role and take some touches from Ware.

Round 7- Russell Wilson: Looking back on this draft I wouldn’t have taken a QB in the 7th round, if I am already waiting this late, I might as well grab a late round guy and stock up on position players. I do like Wilson, he was the last of the “top-tier” guys. I like him because of his mobility and ability to keep the play alive, he was injured last year and didn’t quite look like his full self. With his weapons, he should have a solid year.

Round 8- Mike Gillislee: I was pumped to get this guy as a backup running back for me, because he is a starter. He is taking on the LaGarrette Blount role, who piled up touchdowns last year. And Gillislee looked good in his shorts stints with the Bills. If one of my other guys doesn’t perform, Gillislee will be a solid option to have. I’m getting this guy in as many leagues as possible, especially as a backup.

Round 9- Desean Jackson: I love his speed and his hands and his surrounding cast. With Mike Evans and Cameron Brate out there the field should be wide open for Desean, and Jameis is in a bit of a make or break season, so look for Desean to catch a few 40+ bomb touchdowns this year.

Round 10- Kareem Hunt: *Insert smirk emoji here* This guy could possibly take Spencer Ware’s starting role if he shows in-game promise. This guy is dynamic and Andy Reid will find ways to use his playmakers, just like he did with Tyreke Hill last year. One of my favorite sleepers, if he is one. If you draft Ware, make sure to grab Hunt too.

Round 11- DeVante Parker: This guy may end up being the #1 receiver for the Dolphins this year. He is their down-field threat. After the Tannehill injury scare today I was going to be down on him, but with the news of no structural damage in Tannehill’s knee I think he will be good to go by the regular season and DeVante will benefit from his presence.

Round 12- Tyrell Williams: I love this guy right now, I think people are forgetting about how much Phillip Rivers loves this guy. And with Mike Williams’ health in question and Keenan Allen coming off a nasty knee injury, Tyrell Williams will see a healthy share of looks and don’t forget, he was the most targeted Charger in the red-zone last year.

Round 13- Broncos D/ST: I figured I might as well snag the best D on the board. I was already feeling good about my team so I reached a little bit for a defense, for this defense I am ok with that reach. Will be no worse than top 5 this year, probably top 3.

Round 14- Justin Tucker: The best kicker in the game, hands down. He has it all, accuracy and a pure boot. He drills kicks in nasty weather consistently. Once again, a slight reach to get the best player at the position.

Round 15- Alvin Kamara: I love this guy for the Saints. He will most likely be the third down back, but look for him to have a good chunk of receptions this year. The Saints like this guy and so do I. A great change of pace back and he is quick and shifty. Will bring even more excitement to the Saints offense.

Round 16- Josh Doctson: After missing basically his entire rookie season, this guy is looking to bounce back and prove himself in a big way. He is a big, physical receiver and like I mentioned earlier, this is that team in Washington, they will chuck the ball A TON.

How Social Media has Bred Sensitivity in Sports

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The old head basketball players who are saying today’s game is soft might have a point, but they’re just slightly off. The players are simply more sensitive. This is not necessarily a good or bad thing, it is just a thing. It brings fans closer to the game and makes the players more relatable, but it also makes them more sensitive to every criticism. In this new age of social media everybody has their own take on every situation, and they have the means to express that take. People feel they can hide behind the Internet and say whatever they want without consequence. Should fans be able to say what they want, yes. Do they need to stick to the game? Absolutely. Both the players and the fans play a role in this ongoing dance between sports and social media.

Back in the old days, social media did not exist. There was was no Internet. So there was no online social interaction. The only interaction you had with your fans was if you were in the game or out in the street. Most people then, and even now, don’t have the balls to come up to a massive NFL or NBA player or any athlete in the street and call him out. The Internet has changed that. Nowadays, there is this online confidence. People feel safe behind the wall of the Internet, and feel they can say whatever they want and there will be no backlash. Though the Internet has brought us closer across the globe, it also has created an online wall that people willingly stand behind because they won’t be tracked down by the person they are critiquing. This gives them the false idea that they can say whatever they want. Don’t get me wrong I am all for fans sharing their opinions, that is what social media is all about, but when it gets personal with players is where I see a definitive line. For the most part players are good sports with criticism until it gets personal. When I say personal I mean about their personal lives, not necessarily focusing on the game. I do understand that most critiques are technically personal.

On the player’s side, I understand if there are personal comments made, that is a time to protect yourself and your family. What I can’t stand is some of the pettiness about the critiques. It seems like a guy cannot get criticized nowadays without getting upset at the critiquer. Growing up “critiques” were what I called constructive criticism. Take that criticism and use it, sometimes just sometimes, a fresh set of eyes can see what you are doing wrong more than you can when you are entrenched in the situation. There is a time and place for being sensitive and using criticism as motivation, and it seems like nowadays it is always the sensitivity route for many players.

If this story about David Price and Dennis Eckersley is true, which it sounds like it is according to Dan Shaughnessy, this is just a prime example of being overly sensitive. Eckersley simply said “yuck” when looking at the stats of Eduardo Rodriguez in a rehab start (5.1 innings 3 earned runs). Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and that doesn’t seem like a horrible start to me, but keep in mind this is Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersely, his standards are understandably higher than mine. David Price then proceeds to yell at Eckersley “get the f*** out of here” multiple times. How is that at all an eye for an eye in that situation? David Price went way too far. If that made you upset, then go talk to the man, don’t yell profanities at him, seems immature. Price later explained that he was simply defending his teammate.

As mentioned before, there is a time and place for defending yourself and your teammates, but there are also more productive ways to give those criticisms and take the criticisms. Fans are the more guilty party in this situation that is for sure, but players aren’t completely off the hook. Everyone plays a part in this new age waltz between social media and sports culture that we will continue to do for decades to come.

Why the NBA is the Greatest Soap Opera, Ever.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons

I think it is safe to say that this offseason has been absolutely INSANE. Today with the bombshell news of Kyrie Iriving asking for a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers only furthers the craziness that is this offseason.

Ever since Lebron made “The Decision” in 2010, NBA free agency has been the hottest, wildest and most talked about offseason in any sport. “The Decision” really did kick these wild moves off. Lebron has shaped the NBA and influenced players to express themselves and flex their muscles empowering them to exert their power and influence. Lebron took the matter into his own hands in 2010 while the entire NBA world sat on pins and needles awaiting him to announce where he would play his next seasons. The entire NBA world stopped on that night. When Lebron announced that he would be “taking his talents to South Beach.” The collective NBA world gasped as the “Chosen One,” the Akron kid was actually leaving his home to play for the Miami Heat. The world was stunned and the opinions began to fly around.

Fast-forward 5 years to the summer of 2015 and the shocking news that Deandre Jordan would join the Dallas Mavericks on a four-year contract. The deal was as good as done, until the Clippers caught wind of it. Doc Rivers, Chris Paul, and Blake Griffin, among others came to Deandre Jordan’s Houston home. Deandre had expressed his doubts and concerns to his soon-to-be ex-teammates and they effectively locked him down in the house until he signed a deal to return to the Clippers, rejecting the Mavericks offer that was previously agreed to. And this was only part of the fun. The Twitter emoji war between the Clipper and the Mavericks players was the true fun. Chandler Parsons had the plane tweet, indicating he was en route to recruit Jordan. Then 3 days Later, J.J. Redick had the car emoji, followed by Blake Griffin’s plane emoji. They were going back and forth, and then the entire NBA got involved. Kobe tweeted 5 trophies with a snooze emoji, it was the most entertaining thing I had seen in a long time, and all thanks to these amazing moves, and the emergence of social media.

The very next season, July 4th. Everyone wakes up to yet another July, free agent bombshell. Kevin Durant decided to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and join the 73-win Golden State Warriors. Who had just come off back-to-back finals appearances. The backlash was white hot. Nobody could appreciate that a man did what was best for him at that point in his life. Constant ridicule for being weak and a coward, not loyal, soft. Any bad word you could think of was probably spoken about Kevin Durant. But think back, Lebron made this possible, with his “decision” he empowered players to do what is best for them. I understand that the two situations were different but the principle was the same.

And now we are up to date, and this offseason might be the wildest of them all. With Paul George and Jimmy Butler both heading to the western conference, and the Cavaliers firing their GM seemingly right before they were going to trade for one of those players, and now Kyrie asking for a trade after coming off three straight finals appearances… I’m speechless. Not to mention Phil Jackson being fired and the whole Carmelo situation. Chris Paul gets traded. I could keep going.

But anyway, Kyrie supposedly wants to be more of the focal point on a team and doesn’t want to play with Lebron anymore?? That just doesn’t make sense, Lebron makes everyone’s job so much easier. And two years ago when they won the championship many made the case that Kyrie should have been the MVP for making that shot. Not to mention the fact that if the Cavaliers ever lost a game, Lebron is the one that takes the blame, not Kyrie. I just don’t understand why you would want to leave, but hey, to each their own. I won’t be the one to stop him, as a Lakers fan this is exactly what I want to see, the Cavs dismantle, bringing Lebron ever closer to coming to the Lakers. All of this focus on the offseason and the changing of powers in the NBA stems back to “The Decision,” the offseason has become a spectacle, and I’m here for all of it.

Every single year as sad as I am after the NBA season is over it is always short-lived thanks to the twists and turn and wild drama that the offseason provides every year. It is must-watch TV and news. I cannot get enough of it, this kind of drama and pettiness is stuff that is on reality TV, or that is scripted in shows. That is what makes it so great, it is so nuts that it seems like it should be scripted, but it is 100% real life, and the reactions to said decisions are seen immediately, especially in today’s age of social media. Personally, I hope that this kind of wild and craziness happens every year, and with next year’s huge free-agent class, it will be another one for the books.

How LA was won… Back.

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The recipe was simple, tank 4 straight years, accumulate hopeful draft picks, clean house in the front office, hire Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, and draft Lonzo Ball. Simple, right? Ok so maybe the formula was not as clean and smooth as Laker fans had all hoped, but the NBA is better when the Lakers are good; and the Lakers are on a fast track to prominence once again.

With the Clippers failing to seize their window of opportunity in Los Angeles, and a tumultuous offseason, the Lakers are once again the team in LA. But were they ever not? The Lakers have a history of winning and with the Clippers failing to make it to even a conference finals in their short time of excellence, the city of LA never really trusted or had REAL hope that the Clippers could bring home a championship. And last time I checked, the banners that hang in the rafters in Staples Center say Los Angeles Lakers on them.

The Lakers never really lost their grip on LA. They were still the premiere attraction even when the Clippers were winning and will now put a death grip on Los Angeles with the recent 2nd overall pick Lonzo Ball. He is perfect for the Lakers, he is flashy and precise on the court and level-headed off the court. We will let his dad worry about the off the court antics, I think he has it covered. Lonzo just showed out in the summer league, and I know everyone will say that it is just the summer league, but if you don’t dominate in the summer league then you probably won’t be productive when the real season begins. His name alone draws fans, the Lakers vs. Celtics in the summer league sold out. That is the first time in the 14 years of the summer league that a game has sold out. This guy is the real deal. I think the best comparison for Lonzo is Jason Kidd, but he is the closest thing we have seen to Magic in quite some time. The court vision cannot be taught and he doesn’t have to score the ball to have an impact on the game. He is a polarizing figure, sometimes I don’t understand the hate on Lonzo, I think it is mainly people wanting him to fail so his dad will shut up, but love him or hate him he is a perfect here in LA and will bring winning back to LA for years to come.

In addition, the development of Brandon Ingram is something I am supremely looking forward to watching this year. When Magic traded DeAngelo Russell he essentially was pointing to Ingram saying “you’re the guy,” and it seems that he has relished that fact and is ready to lead this team. Even though he only played 31 minutes in the summer league, those were some good-looking minutes and he will only get better as the season goes on.

The simple fact is that the Los Angeles Lakers are a destination team, the Clippers never will be. Just look at Paul George, he has been wanting to come to LA for 2 years now, and play for who? The Lakers. And with the instability that is going on in Cleveland, might I dare say Lebron will take a look at the Lakers next year. And what will be the enticing factor? Those young stars. Lonzo can dish the ball like nobody that Lebron has ever played with, and if Ingram can mature like Laker fans hope he does, that will take some of the scoring responsibility off Lebron, further enticing him to come on out to LA. As a Laker fan, this is the first season I have been excited about in about 5 years. We have solid young players, and free agents that want to come play for us and be a part of the Laker legacy.

Fantasy Awakening

“Welcome back to life!”  It’s what I said to myself today as I was doing my first few fantasy football mock drafts today. I finally felt complete again, a purpose and a drive. Few things in this life capture my attention like the rush and competition of fantasy football. I’ve been playing fantasy football for about 7 years now and commissioner of my league for the last 5 years. I logged into my ESPN Fantasy Football app licking my chops today, and after completing a few mock drafts I feel at home again. There is nothing quite like kicking back on Sundays and watching your team bring you to new heights, or drive you absolutely batshit crazy as you watch your star players cough up your matchup. I would just like to say to all fantasy football players and sports fans, we are upon the best time of the year, so cherish it, read this blog (maybe I can provide some insight), and kick some fantasy ass. I have shared one of the teams I drafted and will go through my reasoning for each pick. This was a random mock draft and I was assigned the 4th overall pick. Granted not all were my top picks but I will justify each, and give possible concerns.

Round 1- Ezekiel Elliot: He was an absolute stud last year and that O-line hasn’t changed, they seem to want to get him more involved in the passing game this year, but let’s hope, for fantasy sake, that he doesn’t get suspended or that the looming suspension isn’t too long.

Round 2- Michael Thomas: Outstanding rookie year, looking to build off of that. With the exit of Brandin Cooks, Thomas is all of the sudden vaulted to the #1 receiver on a New Orleans Saints team that is a top offense year in and year out.

Round 3- Rob Gronkowski: I know, I know, the injuries, Brandin Cooks, many factors are pointing towards a down Gronk year, but I have a feeling he bounces back this year. And a healthy Gronk is a fantasy nightmare for other teams. It’s like having a #1 receiver at your TE position. Take the chance.

Round 4- Tom Brady: Coming off an MVP-worthy season, and the Patriots reloaded with talent, he is a no-brainer choice. He was suspended 4 games and still threw for 28 TDs and only 2 INTs. Plus I am a big fan of a good QB/receiver pair. So pairing Brady with Gronk is about as good as it gets so long as both of them stay healthy.

Round 5- Larry Fitzgerald: Good ol’ (literally I mean OLDDDD) Larry Fitz. No matter what this guys’ age is or what anybody says about him, he consistently produces, year after year. This is a safe pick as a WR2 this year.

Round 6- Joe Mixon: I hate this guy for what he did, but he has done and said all the right things since the video of the vicious assault came out. But this guy is a player. Fantasy-wise, he may be my biggest sleeper. I think this guy will end up being an RB1 in PPR formats. Just needs to keep his head on straight and he will be a star in this league.

Round 7- Martavis Bryant: Another guy that I think people have forgotten about and are going to sleep on. It is a dynamic offense and Martavis is the deep threat. With his size and speed, I would lookout for a big bounce-back season. So long as he can STAY OFF THE WEEEEEEDDDDD, then I think he has a big year.

Round 8- Desean Jackson: Little guy, with big speed. Paired up with Mike Evans, now OJ Howard, Desean will have room to run, and with Jameis developing, this will be a nice addition for the Bucs, a lot of mouths to feed, but luckily they all have different roles.

Round 9- C.J. Prosise: I LOVE this guy. Watching him last year had me licking my chops to get him this year. Although the Seahawks signed Eddie Lacy, Prosise will be in on 3rd downs and will make enough of an impact to get some early down touches too. This guy is as shifty and dynamic as anybody in the league and if he performs early, look for him to grab the starting role like he did last year.

Round 10- Adrian Peterson: I am a Saints fan so I took a flier on Adrian and in the 10th round I think that is worth it. He is a sizable downgrade in PPR formats, but just remember the last time he came back from injury… 2,097 yards. Nuff said.

Round 11- Randall Cobb: There are a lot of mouths to feed in Green Bay especially with the emergence of Devante Adams, and Cobb always has injury struggles, but with how the Packers lack a running game, expect them to throw it 50 times a game and Cobb will be on the receiving end of a few of those.

Round 12- Tyrell Williams: Phillip Rivers’ favorite red zone target. With the way the Chargers throw the ball expect Tyrell Williams to have a solid year. The Chargers did add Mike Williams as well, but he is already a little banged up. Look for Tyrell to have another solid year.

Round 13- Jameis Winston: In all honesty, this one got auto-picked for me. But I needed a backup and I feel like with the weapons around him, if he doesn’t have a breakout year, maybe it will never come. I expect Jameis to have a solid year, but he scares me.

Round 14- Matt Bryant: 2nd best kicker in the game in my opinion behind Justin Tucker. He plays in a dome, might not have the biggest boot, but he has one of the most accurate boots. And really that’s what you want when drafting a kicker.

Round 15- Cardinals D/ST: Patrick Peterson. Dual threat on defense and on special teams. They are always a stout defense. Their offense is what scares me this year, hopefully they don’t lean on their defense and tire them out.

That concludes my first draft. I will be posting more, and this blog will not only focus on fantasy football but the entire sports climate. Whatever is popular in sports and on my mind, it will be covered. So please enjoy and read!