Debut radio show, featuring Mike and Bobby…missing Matt but the show had to go on!
We are debuting the Sports Debaters Live Radio show on Tuesday nights at 7:00 p.m. This Tuesday we will be discussing the state of NFL Free Agency & Trades and our choices for ideal NBA starting line-ups heading into the stretch run and playoffs. Listen live, call in and participate and tweet at us in live time at the handle @RealSDTalk.
Big things coming at you…
We will be welcoming Michael Zucker as the third member of the SD Team…speak to you on Tuesday, link to the show will be coming soon.
With last years MVP sidelined for the majority of the first quarter of the NBA season, it is safe to say that we will have a new winner of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy for the 2014-15 year. While I am sure that Kevin Durant will return to his natural form and be a dominant player once again, he just won’t have enough time this season to bolster the stats that an MVP needs. This news opens the door for some old familiar faces to regain their seat on top of the throne or even maybe some new blood making their mark in NBA history.
Some people say that the MVP award is a meaningless popularity contest, but the truth of the matter is that anyone who has won the MVP award has made it into the Basketball Hall of Fame (this obviously only includes the HOF eligible players). Here are our Top 5 candidates to claim their place among the best of the best for this season based on how they have performed through the first 20+ games.
1. Stephen Curry (23.5 PPG, 7.6 APG, 5.2 RPG, 1.9 SPG)
The above stat line alone is enough to prove Curry’s skills. Steph is currently in the top 10 in the NBA in points (5th), assists (6th) and steals (8th). How about the fact that he is the best player on the team with the best record in the NBA. If you are like me and are addicted to the NBA League Pass, then you probably watch as much Warriors games as possible due to their exciting nature of game play. I haven’t enjoyed watching a team in the NBA play as much as these Warriors since the high-flying Chris Webber led Sacramento Kings 15 years ago. The “Splash Brothers” (Steph and Klay) are taking the NBA by storm and it doesn’t seem like anyone can slow them down. If the Warriors can finish as strong as they have started then there is no doubt in my mind that Curry will be this years MVP.
2. James Harden (26.3 PPG, 6.7 APG, 6.4 RPG, 2.0 SPG, 1.1 BPG)
I will start by saying that I have never really been a big fan of Harden’s game style. Having said that, what he has done in the first 20+ games of this season has been nothing short of incredible. With the softest big man in the game, Dwight Howard, being sidelined for most of the beginning of the season due to “knee soreness,” Harden has stepped up and helped lead the Rockets to an 18-5 start (third best in the NBA). While outside of Kobe Bryant, I feel Harden is the biggest chucker the game has to offer, he has still provided a huge lift for his team. He doesn’t play much defense but he does fill the passing lane as well as anyone else in the game. His assist and rebound numbers are admirable for a selfish shooting guard like himself. He shoots a ridiculous amount of free throws a game which helps raise his PPG but if he ever wants to win the trophy that his former teammate did last year, he better tighten up his turnovers (4.2/game) and his shooting percentage (41%).
3. LeBron James (25.6 PPG, 7.8 APG, 5.5 RPG, 1.4 SPG)
The craziest thing about The King’s stat line through the first quarter of the season is that he is actually below his career averages in pretty much every major category outside of assists. Even with this “slow” start, LeBron is still dominating in a way that only he can. His Cavaliers have seemed like they figured out their early season struggles and now they are starting to look like a younger, faster, more talented version of last years Miami Heat. James has worked diligently on perfecting his game management, and while his turnover numbers are nothing to brag about his assists (7.8/game) are his highest in five years. With any dips in Harden’s or Curry’s games, LeBron will be reeling in his 5th MYP award assuming that my 4th MVP pick doesn’t continue his historic start.
4. Anthony Davis (24.6 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 2.7 BPG, 1.8 SPG)
We all knew that one day Uni-brow Davis would be one of the best players in the game. What we didn’t know is that it would happen so quickly. If the Hornets had a slightly better record than 12-12 I might have put Davis higher on this list. Whether Davis gets his first MVP award or not this year, I can guarantee one thing and that is that Davis will hands-down be the Defensive Player of the Year. The offensive arsenal that Davis has along with his ability to make his opponents look foolish on the defensive end makes him one of the best franchise players in the game. I would go on to argue that Davis is the best #1 pick of the draft since Lebron. If New Orleans can stay healthy as a team and Davis can continue his torrid run, there is a distinct possibility that AD can hoist the MVP trophy come years end.
5. Marc Gasol (19.6 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.7 BPG, 1.0 SPG)
While my top 4 picks seem to make Gasol’s numbers look mediocre, the fact of the matter is that Gasol probably means more to his respective teams success than the rest of my top 5 do. Let’s try to forget about the fact that Gasol just lead his team to a very impressive victory over the 1st place Warriors to end their 16 game winning streak. Gasol is a hard-nosed athlete that does all the little things to go along with all the massive things he brings to his team. A perfect nickname for Gasol would be Mr. Fundamental but since Tim Duncan already owns that moniker, I will coin Gasol’s new nickname. I shall dub him Mr. Essential! He scores, he rebounds, he shuts down some of the best big men in the game and he does all this while rarely ever being recognized. It’s a long shot for him but who’s to say that Marc can’t claim the best of the best prize this year.
It is still extremely early in the season and these top 5 can change in an instance. I want to know if you agree or disagree with any of my picks. Let’s see what my list looks like in 20 games.
Q: What do the Houston Texans, St. Louis Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans all have in common?
A: They could have had Odell Beckham Jr. on their team, and they all did something the Odell never does…they dropped the ball!
Now if you ask some of the GMs in the before-mentioned teams how they view their drafts from May 2014, I’m sure some will express confidence in their decisions. Though Jadeveon Clowney has been hurt part of the year and hasn’t been dominant, his upside was raw talent was too much to pass up. Khalil Mack has shown Raider fans that he will be their defensive center piece for years to come and the Falcons are extremely happy with their pick of Jake Matthews to sure up their O-Line and protect their franchise QB. Also, receivers like Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans has shown promise as well as being stars for a long time in the league. However, all of these players will be on the list of players taken before the best talent to come out of 2014, the Sam Bowie to the Michael Jordan of NFL WIde Receivers.
The New York Giants have had by their standards a down year. After today’s victory against the Minor League Washington Redskins, the Giants find themselves at 5-9, 5 games behind their two biggest rivals, Dallas and Philadelphia. As the Cowboys and Eagles fight it out for the NFC East crown, the Giants are left sitting at home thinking pondering their future. Will Tom Coughlin, two-time winning Superbowl Coach be back to lead the team next year as missing the playoffs for the 3rd consecutive year? Will Jerry Reese, the GM who brought in the players which have lead the Giants to 2 titles in 4 years in the not so distant past, be charged with turning the franchise around? What does the situation at QB look like, as Eli Manning looks far removed from wearing the title, Two-Time Super Bowl MVP? However, as bleak as the current situation might be, a huge building block is in place and can give Big Blue Faithful a reason to assume that brighter days are on the horizon.
Everyone has seen the unbelievable catch Beckham made on Sunday night against the Cowboys, when he leaped 8 feet in the air, grabbed a pass one-handed as if he had stick-em on his hand, ignored the fact that he had a defender pulling him down, and landed his body just in-bounds. It was called the “BEST CATCH EVER” by many experts who have been around the game for decades. We’re also all seen the video of Odell making one handed catches, diving, leaping and damn-near doing back-flips in pre-game warm-ups and practices. He can throw the ball 60 yards on the line and also spin the all to himself and kick a 40 yard field goal. He’s an athletic freak and by far the best receiver the Giants have possibly ever had on their team, no offense to Amani Toomer and Plaxico Burress.
The real story is told by his numbers on the year. He missed the first 5 games of the year with a hamstring issue, but his rookie numbers would give you no indication that he hasn’t played every down of the season. 972 yards on 71 catches, 9 TDs and his 97.2 yards per game as second behind Antonio Brown and Demayrius Thomas, two veteran receivers who are having career years. Beckham’s 9 TDs puts him only 3 behind the NFL leader, but considering he missed 5 games, his average of 1 TD per game is by far the best in the league. In less games, he has more yards than Calvin Johnson, Alshon Jeffery, Desean Jackson and many other NFL veteran pro-bowlers. Did we mention that we’re talking about a ROOKIE with LESS THAN 10 GAMES!
As a Jets fan, I am jealous but as a New Yorker, I’m excited to be able to watch a young legend make his name on the greatest stage in the world, especially in a year in which Derek Jeter gave up the New York City sports throne. The sky is the limit, as the combination of speed, size, hands and pure athleticism is unmistakably special. Though there are many questions to answer in Giants nation in the next few months, their is no need to worry about who the main target will be for the next decade, as Odell Beckham Jr. is ready to take the NFL by storm.
Opinion by Guest Blogger: Peter Erich
Anyone else ready for Jimmy and Seth to take over their new NBC roles? I mean really – Slopestyle? Are there more than a dozen people who understand the rules of this?
It’s always a little tough getting through most of the events in the Winter Olympics. Short of cheering for the Night’s Watch in the one-on-one man-wight competitions, there are few competitions that appeal to your average sports fan. Be honest here – you understand what the Figure Skating connecting steps into a triple-jump look like? Would you recognize a curve combination in Luge even if you were on the damn Kufen? For that matter did you know it was a Kufen? Who among you have ever hit a K-point, and if you did, was it because you accidentally flew off the edge of a ski jump or because you were actually aiming for it?
The fact is Winter Olympic sports provide the opportunity to watch the smallest number of trained athletes in the world perform in some of the most exclusive (read that as non-street, unobtainable, obscure, or otherwise not-readily-available to your average sport enthusiast) sporting events known. With the possible exception of hockey*, these are not sports a growing kid aspires to in the inner city or the savanna or the ghetto, or even in the average neighborhood for that matter.
What drives the attention and excitement of most sports viewers is their ability to identify in some small way with the athletes they watch. Sure, most of us will never dunk, can’t dive from more than the edge of a pool, will never finish a mile in under 4 minutes, dismount cleanly from a bar, or even pin an opponent. But what makes us pay attention when someone else performs these feats is that fact that we think we could possibly perform any of these tasks.
We mostly all have access to a place to swim, to play B-ball, to wrestle, and to simply run. We have experienced and participated in many of the sports that make up the events in Summer Olympics, and so we can identify. Being the best at most of these events is self-evident; excluding the intricate and sometimes questionable judging of high dives and other subjective sports, the majority of Summer Olympic events are made up of things many of us have done or still do.
So hurry up Winter Olympics! Get done! Winter is no longer coming; it is leaving and it can’t take Sochi with it fast enough. Let the kids go back to the Wal-Mart parking lot to rule the pipe on their boards – we don’t have to put snow under a schoolyard pastime simply to make believe it is a sport. It will be time soon enough to watch real athletes from real sports. In the meantime, let’s go Jimmy and Seth!
* and let’s face it, even hockey at it’s Canadian craziest is still a sport with extremely limited viewing potential and following.
If you’re a football fan then this AFC Championship matchup will bring much happiness to your life. Arguably the 2 greatest quarterbacks to ever throw the pigskin are facing off in what will definitely be a game for the ages. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have built a pretty storied rivalry during their tenures in the NFL. Brady has dominated the head-to-head matchups winning 10 of the 14 battles the two have endured. This game has even more excitement behind it because of how Manning just broke Brady’s single season touchdowns record that he had set back in his near perfect season in 2007 (I imagine that every Giants fan will be chuckling after reading that line). In their one matchup this season, Brady led the Patriots to an impressive 24-point deficit comeback to win 34-31 in OT in what was my favorite game of the season…although I would have preferred to see a different result. Based on the history of their rivalry and Brady’s playoff dominance year in and year out, there is no logical explanation why I should be picking the Broncos to win but here are my 5 reasons why they will.
1. Denver’s receiving core is one of the greatest ever: Denver has assembled a receiving core with talent that hasn’t been seen since the greatest show on turf. With Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas, it is near impossible to double team anyone. Add that in with the fact that the best quarterback ever is throwing to them and I don’t even see how this team lost 3 games this year. With a secondary ranked in the bottom half of the league, the Patriots can expect to see Manning throw for at least 350 yards in this one.
2. Peyton needs this win more than Brady: As a die-hard Jets fan, I find it very hard to write anything positive about Tom Brady, but I’d be lying if I said he wasn’t the best playoff QB I’ve ever seen. When Mo Lewis ended Drew Bledsoe’s career and started the career of a no name kid from Michigan there was no looking back. Tom Brady has proven time and again that he is clutch in every sense of the word. Peyton on the other hand has had record-breaking season after record-breaking season but outside of his one Super Bowl win, he has been a pretty disappointing playoff QB. That won’t be the case this year because Peyton knows this will be one if his final chances to match his little brothers ring total.
3. Home field advantage means a lot: While Brady and the Pats got the best of the Broncos in a big overtime comeback this season, that game was played in Foxborough. This AFC Championship game will be played in the Mile High Stadium. Denver fans are rowdy and will be doing their darndest to get in to Brady and his minions heads. Peyton will have the calming and quieting respect from the fans so he can audible all fucking day if he wants to and when he has that power he is an unstoppable force keeping defenses on their toes. While the temperatures aren’t favorable for Peyton’s reputation, he has recently shown that he can put up Manning-esque numbers even in the worst of weather.
4. Rush defense trumps rush offense: Who would have thought that the Patriots could put up the type of performance they did last week without Brady throwing even one TD? Bill “spy gate” Belicheck has found himself in control of a very solid 3-headed running attack with Lagarrett Blount, Steven Ridley and Shane Vereen giving opposing defenses a lot of different looks. Unfortunately for the Pats, the Broncos have a better than average Rush D that ranked 8th in total yards allowed this year. With the Broncos front 7 and the fact that Peyton will be running up the scoreboard, Brady will be forced to throw a lot more than he probably would like too and unfortunately for him, he does not have nearly the type of offensive weapons that Peyton has at his disposal.
5. Knowshon Moreno is going to go off: This is simple; the Patriots have the 30th ranked rush defense in the NFL and Knowshon Moreno has been showing off his talents that none of us have seen since his years in Georgia. With the amount of spread formations and 4 wide receiver sets that the Broncos offense presents, Moreno will find himself in a very favorable situation quite often. I am expecting Knowshon to go off for over 120 yards in this game and in my mind he will be the ultimate deciding factor for the Broncos to get that W.