Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Why LeBron James to the Boston Celtics is the best choice for both Boston and for LeBron

The best case scenario for the Boston Celtics this off season is getting LeBron James.

The best case scenario for LeBron James this off season is going to the Boston Celtics.

They are perfect for each other. They need to make this happen - even if it means trading Kyrie Irving.

Let's start with why it is perfect for Boston:

The Aging Superstar with Up-And-Coming Talent is Proven Success.

Adding LeBron to Tatum, Hayward, Horford, and those other young players would turn Boston into a dynasty. They would undoubtedly win several rings and continue to contend after LeBron declines/retires. Look at these examples: Kareem and Magic. David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Duncan and Kawhi Leonard. The nearing-the-end-of-their-prime superstar paired with young talent is a proven recipe for success.

LeBron fits perfectly with Boston's Tatum, Horford, and Hayward.

Brad Stevens will surely be starting are Horford, Hayward, and Tatum. LeBron as the forth starter would make this team perhaps the most versatile team of all time. LeBron can play that "point-foward" roll of bringing the ball up and initiating the offense, thus allowing you to start a defensive player like Marcus Smart or a center like Morris or Baynes. Or, LeBron could play off the ball, allowing Stevens to start a point guard like Kyrie, Brown, or Rozier. Ultimately, these four main players gives Brad Steven's the freedom to plug in and rotate players however he wants; regardless of position.

Kyrie's contract is perfect if you have to move him

Kyrie does not have a no trade clause. He also only has one more year left on his contract. This makes moving him easy. Here's a question I've heard: Are the Celtics better off starting Brown or Rozier than Irving anyway? The fact that this is even a legitimate question makes moving Kyrie for LeBron an easy choice. Kyrie's bad defense makes him a borderline starter on this Celtics team with player like Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier that are already better on defense, getting better on offense, and play the same position. With LeBron James instead of Kyrie, you've upgraded on both sides of the ball.

Winning Championships

Winning championships is what both parties want, so let's now transition into why Boston is perfect for LeBron.

LeBron has never played for a great coach.

Besides the obvious "best chance to win rings," there are other perfect benefits to joining Boston for LeBron. The first one is playing for Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens. LeBron pretty much had to bring an entire new culture to Cleveland to make the Cavaliers a contender. LeBron had to help the front office, the coaching, and also carry a huge load as a player. That sounds exhausting. Finishing his career with Boston would mean being able to focus on being a player, and at most a "coach on the court" where he helps Stevens carry out the game plan. All the other stuff would be covered at a high level. Stevens would be far and away the best coach LeBron has ever played for. And Danny Ainge is one of the best general managers in the league. Stevens would make a great system that includes LeBron and worry about the parts of the game like when to call time-outs, leaving LeBron free to focus more on being the best player he can be.

LeBron would be "the guy" at first and then transition like Kareem and Duncan.

LeBron would be joining a team without any MVPs and, if they did end up trading Kyire, a team without any championship experience. LeBron could to go Boston and LEAD them to a ring in the next year or two. Then, as he gets older, watch the other Celtics step up and carry more and more of the load. And then, like the Lakers did for Kareem and the Spurs did for Duncan, LeBron could still be contending for championships at 40 years old because his team being able to carry a lot more of the load.

Defense Wins Championships.

Plain and simple. Boston was the best defensive team in the NBA last year - especially after Kyrie Irving got hurt. All the greats had great defenses. Michael Jordan had Pippen and Rodman. Kobe had defensive-player-of-the-year Metta World Peace for his last ring, and Shaq for his first ones. The Warriors are a great defensive team. The Celtics would immediately become the best defensive team LeBron has ever been on.

Stay in the East

This is a lesser reason but a good reason none-the-less. If LeBron were to go West, he would have to go through Golden State before the finals. He would have to go through Houston (if he didn't join them). Other teams like the Jazz are one piece away from being very good. You think the East is worse than the West now? Imagine if LeBron left it. That would destroy the balance of the conferences. LeBron staying in the East keeps the conferences closer in strength and makes for a better finals.

In conclusion, LeBron and Boston are perfect for each other - regardless if they to give up Kyrie in order to make it work. If Boston's goal is to become a dynasty and win championships, their best move it to bring in LeBron. He completes their starting line up and brings a perfect balance of experience to their young core. LeBron would benefit greatly from Brad Stevens and the Celtics front office. He'd be joining the number one rated defense. He would have as high a chance as anywhere (except joining the Warriors) to win championships, all while not having to join up with any other current MVPs. He would set himself up to transition from carrying a team to just being a part of the team like Kareem and Duncan as he gets older. And with the cherry on top being able to stay in the East.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Three Reasons: Why Rafael Nadal Is Better Than Roger Federer.

Even if you completely disregard injuries!

“Who is better in head-to-head matchups?”

In tennis, because you play one-vs-one, head to head victories are more impressive than in team sports like football or basketball. In tennis, you cannot shift responsibility to teammates for wins or loses. The fact that Nadal gets the better of Federer more often than not is a huge tell:

Nadal is 9-5 against Federer in majors.
Nadal is 4-3 against Federer in majors if you don’t count Clay courts.
Nadal is 5-0, then, against Federer at the French Open.
Nadal is 23-15 all-time against Federer is all tennis tournaments.

“But Federer has won 20 majors and Nadal just 17…”

Although 20 majors is very impressive, context also matters.

Federer was born at a lucky time. 12 of his 20 majors came during weak competition between 2003-2007. Federer started his professional career in 1999. Pete Sampras retired in 2002. Federer finally won his first major in late 2003 and then won 11 more of his 20 in the subsequent four years (04-07). The 2nd best tennis player in the world during that time was Andy Roddick. Here are the 12 majors Federer won during that span (and who he beat in the finals):
  • 2003 Wimbledon over Mark Philippoussis.
  • 2004 Australian Open over Marat Safin.
  • 2004 Wimbledon over Andy Roddick.
  • 2004 US Open over Lleyton Hewitt.
  • 2005 Wimbledon over Andy Roddick (2nd time).
  • 2005 US Open over old Andre Agassi (Agassi's last final’s appearance)
  • 2006 Australian Open over Marcos Baghdatis
  • 2006 Wimbledon over young Rafael Nadal (20 years old)
  • 2006 US Open over Andy Roddick (3rd time)
  • 2007 Australian Open over Fernando Gonzalez
  • 2007 Wimbledon over Rafael Nadal (21 years old.)*
  • 2007 US Open over young Novak Djokovic (Novak's 1st final appearance)

*This was that 5 set match Federer barely won. Nadal
would come 
back the next year to beat Federer at Wimbledon.

As you can see, Federer took advantage of a time that was the tail-end of Pete Sampras and Andre Aggassi and the very beginning of Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray to win a majority of his majors. Over Federer’s 19 year career (1999-current), more than half of his majors came between the years 2004-2007. While you can't blame him for taken advantage of bad competition, his accomplishments do have their accompanying context. It is very telling that Federer never won a major in his first four years, won over half his majors in the next four years, and then only won eight majors over the next eleven years. Federer was only 26 after 2007, so not-being-in-his-prime is not what caused the decline in winning. It was Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, and other decent tennis players getting into their primes. The competition got harder. And since the competition got harder, aka since 2008, Nadal has actually won more majors (14) than Federer (8).

“Isn't Nadal a clay court specialist?”

Nadal, while dominating Clay, also has done very well on all other surfaces. Nadal has won six majors off clay (four on hard court and two on grass). Where Federer has only won one major on clay court. So if you think about it, considering that grass and hard court are very similar and clay is much different: Federer is more the specialist than Nadal. Federer struggles mightily on clay courts where Nadal has been impressive on all courts. Nadal has bested Federer on both Grass (2008 Wimbledon finals) and hard court (Australian Open finals). Federer, on the other hand, has never come close to beating Nadal on clay.

(Side Note: Nadal has a gold medal in Olympics: Men's Singles. Federer does not.)

In conclusion, since 2008 when Nadal started his prime, he has won more majors than Federer (14 majors to Federer’s 8). Nadal is significantly better on both grass/hard courts than Federer is on clay (so who's really the specialist?). And Nadal simply beats Federer more often than not when they play against each other (on or off clay courts!). Therefore, I must concluded that Nadal is the better overall tennis player. Federer’s overall stats, while impressive, are also inflated because of his taking advantage of weak competition from 2004-2007. Nadal’s overall stats, which are not far behind Federer’s, were harder earned against the better competition from 2008-on.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

More Than Meets the Eye - Utah Jazz Edition

Donovan Mitchell is your 2018 slam dunk champion! And on a current eleven game win streak, the Utah Jazz and their fans have cause to be excited!! This particular win streak, however, has three big reasons to give Jazz fans even more optimism about this team.

More road wins than home.

The Jazz have historically struggled on the road. They have always played much better at home. This win streak, however, has included more road wins (7) than home wins (4). Including a stretch where Utah had to play six road teams in a seven game stretch!

The Jazz are soundly beating the best the NBA has to offer.

During this winning streak, the Jazz beat the East's best record Toronto Raptors in Toronto. A few days later they destroyed the best team, the Golden State Warriors, by 30 points. They then soundly beat the Pelicans and the Blazers, two teams currently ahead of the Jazz in the standings, both on the road winning by 24 points and 19 points respectively. And then, perhaps the most impressive for Utah, the Jazz beat the team that has always given them the most trouble; the San Antonio Spurs... twice! Once at home and once in San Antonio. And it's not just two normal games - both games were the second game on a back-to-back for the Jazz, which usually teams will lose because of fatigue.

The Jazz are not just "clicking."

This winning streak did not come out of no-where. It isn't like the Jazz are just "hot." This is the first time the Jazz's two best players are playing together this season. Of course at the very beginning of the season, Rudy Gobert and rookie Donovan Mitchell were playing together - but Donovan Mitchell wasn't Donovan Mitchell yet. He was just getting started. Then just twelve games into the season, Rudy Gobert went down with an injury. He missed twenty-six of the next thirty-two games. He came back healthy on January 19th and the win streak started on January 24th. It's no coincidence that this win streak started just three games after Rudy came back from injury. This is first time we see Donovan Mitchell and healthy Rudy Gobert really playing together. And it's amazing.

So be optimistic Jazz fans! I expect the Jazz to continue to win games, play well against any team in the NBA, climb up the standings and make the playoffs this year. With Utah winning games on the road, beating the best teams, and with budding superstar Donovan Mitchell and a healthy Rudy Gobert - the Jazz could be the team nobody wants to have to play against in the playoffs.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Two Examples Why I Love Replay In Sports

“Those who can’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”

...or whatever version of that quote you like best ;)

Many people have been complaining about replay in sports lately. Nick Wright, for example, has said the following two statements in the last week: “Replay, in all sports except tennis, is just awful." and “the officiating has been damaged by having replay. You see it every weekend, where a pass is clearly-- a quarterback's throwing the ball, and the referees are like eh, let's not blow it dead.”

Nick Wright, and everyone who agrees with statements like those, have forgotten the past. Nick Wright also said this week, when Chris Carter sarcastically said "oh, so let's just go back to that" (when Wright was complaining how life used to be without replay), Wright responded with "Absolutely." Those people have forgotten how bad life was without today's instant replay.

My two examples (of many):

Example 1: Broncos vs Steelers 2011. Playoffs. Broncos had dominated the first half of the football game. In the middle of the third quarter, the Steelers start a drive in a pretty much "score or lose" situation. The score was 20-6. Ben Roethlisberger throws a backwards lateral to Mike Wallace which is dropped. A Broncos’ defensive player picks it up at the Steeler's own 17 yard line - essentially the dagger that would have ended the game. However, back then, refs weren't letting plays play out like they do now. They weren't airing on the side of caution. Refs decided to call in an "incomplete forward pass." Replay shows it was very obviously a backwards lateral and thus a fumble. But since it was initially ruled an incomplete pass, it was unreviewable. So a horribly wrong call lets Pittsburgh keep possession instead of the Broncos having it in the red-zone. Steelers end up scoring a touchdown on that drive; and with that momentum eventually tie the game and had a chance to win it in regulation. They did forced overtime.

Long story short - even though the Broncos ended up winning in overtime; that game should have been over a long time ago. The refs made a non-questionable wrong call that could have changed the outcome of this playoff game. IF ONLY the ref had done exactly what Nick Wright and others are complaining about! If only “the referees (were) like eh, let's not blow it dead.” That would have saved the horrible, nearly game changing bad call.

Example two: In 1998, The Utah Jazz and the Chicago Bulls are playing in the finals. Game 6. If Jazz win, they go back to Utah to play game seven. If Bulls win, the series is over. In the 2nd quarter, Howard Eisley makes a 3 point shot for Utah. The refs call it a shot clock violation. Replay shows not only did he get it off in time, but “the ball was 5 feet out of Eisley’s hand with 1 second left on the clock.” But without replay, the three pointer simply didn’t count because the refs made a non-questionable wrong call and didn't use replay.

In the fourth quarter of that same game, Ron Harper makes a buzzer beater from the corner for the Bulls in the last 4 minutes. Replay shows he didn't get it off in time. But the refs incorrectly decided it did.

That was a 5 point swing on bad shot clock calls alone in which replay would have shown they were obviously wrong and easily correctable. Bulls won ended up winning that game by only ONE point (and thus the finals as well).

I would much rather have these controversial replay calls than go back to having those few non-questionably wrong calls that rob a team from their chance of winning it all. Replay has tremendously helped sports to eliminate that bad call that sends teams home and changes history. We don't really remember that because replay is awesome and has fixed most of that. Today we are spoiled. People are getting so worked up on debatable calls. We are living in such a privileged time is sports! One where the only calls we argue about are calls that are questionable instead of calls that are non-questionably wrong. Today's replay has pretty much eliminated the "Oops. We made the wrong call and now you're eliminated. Too bad!" mistakes. Thank you replay!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Quin Snyder - Robbed the Opportunity To Be Robbed of Coach of the Year

Quin Snyder has been doing amazing things in Utah as the head coach of the Jazz since being hired in 2014. He took over a very messy roster that was in complete rebuild mode still trying to recover from losing their all star Deron Williams and their long time head coach Jerry Sloan just a few years prior.

Snyder quickly started to work with a roster nobody envied. Two season ago, the Jazz finished with a losing record (40-42) and missed the playoffs. Even after trading starter Enes Kanter to the Thunder for a peanut butter sandwich, the Jazz improved a lot and won 51 games last year (51-31) - tied for 4th placed with the Clippers. Also tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers; who got the 2nd seed with that record in the East.

Turning a non-playoff team into a 51 win (in the West) with a bunch of people you've never heard of, except for barely-an-allstar Gordon Hayward, would normally win you Coach of the Year in the NBA.

Unless you coach the Utah Jazz apparently.

However, not only did Snyder not win COY last year, he wasn't even in the discussion! He wasn't even a nominee! "2016-17 Coach of the Year" turned into a three man race between Erik Spoelstra, Mike D'Antoni, and Gregg Popovich.

Erik Spoelstra - His Heat, the year before, got 48 wins and the 3rd seed in the East. Last year? Missed the playoffs with only 41 wins (in the East!). How Erik Spoelstra got COY votes and not Quin Snyder is beyond me.

Greg Popovich - Always in the COY debate and deserving so. However, his team also dropped from last year. They went 67-15 the year before and last year went 61-21. winning 6 less games.

Mike D'Antoni - Ended up winning COY for doing the exact same thing Quin Snyder did but with more talent and in a larger market - going from 8th seed last year to 3rd seed this year (41 wins to 55 wins). He had MVP finalist James Harden instead of couldn't-even-make-All-NBA-3rd-Team Gordon Heyward. And he coached the Houston Rockets instead of the Utah Jazz.

So Speolstra's team misses the playoffs, Popovich's team does worse than last year, and D'Antoni's team does the same improvement as the Jazz (but with a better roster) and they were the three in the COY race. Quin Snyder not even a footnote.

Expect more of the same disregard this season.

The Utah Jazz are currently on a 6 game winning streak. During the win streak, they have been destroying good teams - Including beating the playoff bound Bucks, Pelicans, and Wizards (a 47 point win).

Oh - By the way, they are doing this without the one player that you knew from last year - Gordon Hayward that left in the offseason.

Oh yeah, their best player Rudy Gobert missed 5 of those 6 games with injury. And they are still winning.

Quin Synder should have won or at least been in the conversation for COY last year - but wasn't.

And he will most likely be overlooked again this year.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

3 things we learned from the first two NFL weeks.

1. It’s the Falcons vs the field in the NFC

After the Packers beat Seattle and then Atlanta destroyed Green Bay, it looks like the Falcons are the team to beat in the NFC. Atlanta is great on all sides of the ball. On offense, they have the reining MVP Matt Ryan, great receivers starting with Julio Jones (every time you try to go one-on-one with Julio Jones, Matt Ryan makes you pay). And great running backs starting with Devonta Freeman. They also have a great defense. Aaron Rodgers is maybe the best QB in the league and specializes in avoiding sacks but Atlanta was getting to him all night long. Atlanta’s secondary was also able to go one-on-one with all of Green Bay’s receivers. Atlanta is a well-oiled machine and nobody seems to be on their level in the NFC.


The AFC, right now, seems to have five of the top six teams. Atlanta being the NFC team and then Kansas City, Pittsburg, New England, Oakland and Denver being the other five.

3. The AFC West is the best division in the NFL

The AFC West could realistically send three teams to the playoffs. Rarely does one division take both wild card spots – because you play each other twice each and thus knock each other down. However, the Chiefs, Broncos, and Raiders all look so good they could all make the playoffs despite being in the same division. Their schedules are hard but not too hard. Their out of conference schedule is the NFC East and the AFC East (Cowboys, Giants, Redskins, Eagles, Patriots, Dolphins, Bills, Jets). Besides New England, those are look like very winnable games. And even the Patriots have been losing players left and right this year to injuries so they may be quite beatable as well. Kansas City already beat them in week 1.

Overall, at the start of the season it looked like the AFC would be dominated by the Patriots and the NFC was up for grabs. After two weeks in the NFL, it looks like the complete opposite. The Falcons look to be the juggernaut in the NFC, and the AFC looks to be up for grabs right now.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tim Duncan Ends the Chain of Great NBA Centers

When Tim Duncan retired, it broke a beautiful chain of amazingly dominate centers in the NBA.

Bill Russell came into the league and dominated right away. During Bill's dominance, Wilt Chamberlain came along. In a student/teacher type relationship, the two had epic duals against each other. Both competing for best center in the league. By the time Bill Russell retired, Wilt was already well established and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar came along. Wilt became the roll of the teacher and Kareem the student. That started a beautiful chain of student/teacher or master/appendance rolls of centers. I'll let the pictures do the talking:

Bill vs Wilt

Wilt vs Kareem
 Kareem vs Hakeem

Hakeem vs Shaq
Shaq vs Duncan

Duncan vs NA