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.
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.
As I sit here and look at my bank account to determine if it is time for a microwaved dinner or if I can actually afford some decent food, I can’t help but feel utter rage over what I just read. In recent years, Major League Baseball players have been setting record contract deals almost every other day. The Los Angeles Dodgers just signed Clayton Kershaw to the highest pitching deal in MLB history. Kershaw’s new 7-year $215 million deal with Dodgers is the cherry on top of this insane baseball tradition.
Just one month after Robinson Cano signed the 4th largest contract ever with the Seattle Mariners, pissing off every Yankees fan by the way, Kershaw agreed to an astonishing $31 million a year deal for 7 years. This makes Kershaw now the 12th Pitcher in MLB history to sign a contract worth over $100 million dollars. Yes you read that correctly, there are now 12 different pitchers that have signed contracts for playing a sport that demands them to work no more than 40 days out of the year. When you look at it that way it really makes you wonder if any of these players are actually worth it.
I still remember when Kevin Brown signed the first ever $100+ million dollar deal and how absurd that sounded when it happened. Now it has just become absolutely disgraceful. To keep it in perspective, it isn’t just pitchers that are paid with these exorbitant deals. In 2013 alone, there were 20 different players that made at least $20 million dollars and only half of those were pitchers. The amount of money these “athletes” are making is unfathomable. If you don’t like my quotations on the word athletes take a look at the image below.
There is no denying that baseball is the overall least athletic of America’s 5 major sports (Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey and Soccer). I just don’t understand how some teams can justify paying a single player this much money. With Kershaw and Cano’s new deals there are now 6 players in the MLB that will make more money next season than the entire Houston Astros team (Houston’s 2013 teams total salary was slightly over $24,000,000).
So I ask everyone reading this, is there any justification for paying someone this much money? Sure, Kershaw has been the best pitcher in the National League, and arguably all of Baseball over the last 3 years, but even so is he worth $30+ million a season. In his first 6 seasons, Clayton has only hit the 20 win mark once (21 in 2011 when he won his first Cy Young). So let’s say that he is going to have a career year next season and win 25 games for the Dodgers; that would mean that LA paid Kershaw alone $1,228,571.43 for each of those wins. That’s not even taking into account the games he might lose. This is clearly a preposterous amount for any player no matter how good he may be.
All in all, my point is that Baseball needs to come up with some salary cap rules similar to those of the NBA to regulate what these players are making. At this pace, players around bound to be making close to $40,000,000 a year by 2020. That is just laughable!
Performance Enhancement Usage Rampant!
The assumption that Mike Pizza used PED’s due to the visible “clues” of his increased size has lead to a massive investigation into the use of steroids and other performance drugs by formerly designated “clean” athletes.
Just take a look at the visual evidence below, and then you decide!
When it comes to being a New York Mets fan, there really isn’t too much to be proud of. Since becoming a franchise in 62′, the Mets have only won 2 World Series, one of which the Boston Red Sox let roll through their legs. With the lack of accomplishments, Mets fans cherish every moment of greatness they have more than most people normally would. I mean Mets fans still talk about making the 2000 World Series, in which they lost, more than Yankees fans talk about it and they won. Whenever the Mets have a player that is of the Hall of Fame caliber, they become an idol to every one of their fans. Mike Piazza is arguably the greatest Mets player of all time as well as the greatest hitting catcher in MLB history. Piazza’s latest snub from the Hall of Fame is a travesty that has every Mets fan in the world up in arms.
Let’s start with Piazza’s career stats. Mike was the 1,390th pick of the 1988 MLB draft and was originally a First Baseman. His first coach, Tommy Lasorda, told him to learn to play catcher if he planned on ever making it in the Big Leagues. It was a good choice as Mike went on to hit more Home Runs than any other catcher in the history of the game. On top of his HR’s, Piazza won the 1993 Rookie of the Year award and went on a 10 season run from his rookie year to 2002 where he was named to the All-Star team and won the Silver Slugger all 10 years. That alone should have been enough to put him in the HOF. He did make it to another 2 All-Star games giving him a total of 12 and he was named the MVP of it in 1996. Mike had a career batting average of .308, 427 Home Runs and 1,335 RBI’s. How the hell has he been overlooked for two straight years now.
In his first HOF eligible year, Piazza only received 57.8% of the votes and that number was raised this year when he got 62.2%. Unfortunately, you need 75% of the votes to make it into the Hall of Fame. Even though everyone and their mothers know that this overlook is bullshit, Piazza still played the roll of the bigger man when he gave props to the 3 people who did make it this year. After the announcement he tweeted, “Big Congrats to Mad Dog, Tommy and Big Hurt! Well deserved Guys!” He was referring to Greg Maddox, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas, all deserving might I add. Classy move from Mike but I’m sure he would have liked to tweet some other things to the voters who have their heads up their asses.
In a statement released by the Mets, COO Jeff Wilpon called Piazza “a true Hall of Famer…We proudly display his plaque in the Mets Hall of Fame, and we’re hopeful that he’ll soon have one hanging in Cooperstown.” All Mets fans agree Wilpon!
There is some speculation that the reason Piazza had so many people not vote for him was because of his supposed use of PED’s. This is what really pisses me off. Piazza has never tested positive for any illegal drug use and the fact that he has been accused because of the era he played in is complete horse shit. If that is in fact the case, shouldn’t Frank Thomas be given that exact same treatment? In Piazza’s book he even goes on to say that he never used any PED’s, so what are we basing these suspicions on?
Whatever the case may be, the 571 voters better get their shit together next year because the Hall of Fame will lose all credibility by letting obvious inductees like Piazza slip through the cracks.