Who to Watch (March 1 – March 7)

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Dwyane Wade hit a remarkable three pointer to give the Miami Heat the edge over the Golden State Warriors this past Wednesday; here he is sharing the aftermath of that moment with the fans of the Heat (Credit: For The Win)

Welcome back to the world’s greatest weekly preview of professional sports which is released on Friday afternoons!

This past week, the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics continued to… disappoint (nice call on Gordon Hayward last week Nick… NOT).  Dywane Wade made an insane three-point shot to beat the Golden State Warriors, Kyler Murray was announced to be 5’10” Jason Witten decided to leave MNF and come back to the Dallas Cowboys, and Bryce Harper FINALLY chose a team, signing with the Phillies for THIRTEEN (13) YEARS AND $330 MILLION! SHEESH!

March is a great month for sports.  March Madness begins on the 19th, playoff races will only heighten in the NHL and NBA, the first games of the MLB season begin on the 20th, while the traditional Opening Day will be the 28th.  Hopefully it will finally stop snowing, but who knows; one step at a time.

Lets get down to business

Continue reading “Who to Watch (March 1 – March 7)”

13 Seasons in Sports

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Bryce Harper just inked a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, tying him to the franchise through 2031 (Credit: Sports Illustrated)

It finally happened. It took until the last day of February, but Bryce Harper FINALLY chose the team for his future, picking the Philadelphia Phillies.  In what ultimately looked like a competition between Philly, the San Francisco Giants, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Harper chose the longevity and total dollars that the Phillies were offering.  The bid of the Giants is said to have been at least 12 years and $310 million, while the Dodgers are said to have offered 4 years and $180 million, an absolutely astronomical short-term contract that would have been the highest AAV in MLB history.

Ultimately, 13 years and $330 million, with a no-trade clause and no opt-outs, was the offer the was deemed the best. Continue reading “13 Seasons in Sports”

Celtics Post All-Star Break History

David Butler – USA Today Sports

The Celtics have been under the microscope in the East ever since they emerged as potential contenders again under Brad Stevens. They were obviously in a rebuilding stage when the Celtics parted ways with long time coach Doc Rivers, who saw only one championship with them in 2008. It did not come as a surprise when Brad Stevens, the former Butler head coach that brought the team to their first Final Four in school history, went 25-57 in his first year. The actual surprise was the Celtics never missing the playoffs every season after that. Brad Stevens is remarkable at utilizing the players he has and setting them up to succeed through well-crafted play calling. As his roster grew each year with more and more talent, he was able to improve their playoff success. With the All-Star break over and the playoff push in full effect, I wanted to see how the Celtics have fared in the past five years during this time; the pattern is surprising. Continue reading “Celtics Post All-Star Break History”

These are not the Boston Celtics I know

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A lot has been made about the constant media attention surrounding Kyrie Irving this season.  Is is his own fault, or are others creating a narrative for him? (Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Consider these two teams: one started this season 10-10, while the other started 12-8.  Both teams were top 3 seeds in their respective conferences last season, so needless to say, they started off this year slower than expected.

After some bumps in the road those two teams have very similar records.  One team is 37-24, while the other is 37-23.  Both teams look set to make the playoffs, and after the first 20 games of their season, look to have righted the ship.  Yet after last night, it’s only safe to make that argument for one of those teams. Continue reading “These are not the Boston Celtics I know”

808s and Ankle Breaks: Episode 38

Co-host’s Jonathan Kermah and Trevor Wilson discuss hot takes from Twitter on various hip-hop (15:38) and basketball (33:44) topics. Is Kendrick Lamar bound to lose the throne? Does Kanye West have anything below a great album? Is Chris Paul overrated on the all-time point guard list? Tune in for the discussion.

Listen to the censored version here:

Apple

Spotify

Slap or Skip:

https://embed.music.apple.com/us/playlist/808s-and-ankle-breaks-slap-or-skip-ep-38/pl.u-LdbqzzjC5qDK4j

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/wilsont376/playlist/0xoW2sxVH5G6Ij1hx89xke

Produced by: Jonathan Kermah

Edited by: Trevor Wilson

Follow us on social media @808s_Abreaks.

NBA “Midseason” Award Winners

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James Harden is averaging a historic 36.6 PPG, and has made 274 threes this season (5th all-time); is it good enough for a second straight MVP? (Credit: ABC Houston)

Okay, so “technically” the NBA has already gone past the halfway point, with all teams having played over 50 games, but the All-Star break serves as a ceremonial end to the first half of the NBA season. Players get a week to rest, the league showcases it’s stars, and we gear up for postseason runs, with the playoffs starting in just less than two months.

Also, all the people who spent their time watching football one day a week now have free time to focus on basketball (which is funny, because it’s on Monday-Saturday, but I digress). More games will be seen on prime time (Saturday Nights on ABC anyone!?), and a national focus will emerge.

There’s been lots of good basketball played this season, and through this time, lets go over who’s ahead of the pack for award season. Continue reading “NBA “Midseason” Award Winners”

The IT Conundrum

Isaiah Thomas has done a fantastic impression of Carmen Sandiego this season. Just when we think he will finally return to the court, Thomas vanishes again, pushing his activation date further and further into the future. While the Denver Nuggets have succeeded in IT’s absence, some tough decisions will have to be made when he is ready to play.

Will Isaiah Thomas return this year at all?

Thomas had to sign a one year “prove it” deal with Denver in the offseason, the result of an unproductive 2017-18 season split between the Cavaliers and Lakers that was cut short by arthroscopic hip surgery. The upside of this deal for the Nuggets was massive – if IT could even somewhat replicate his All-NBA level of play from just two years ago, then Denver would have one of the top guards in the league – and there was little risk because of Thomas’ league minimum salary.

When Thomas inked his deal with Denver, he was slated to be their main 6th man coming off the bench and running the point. However, as this season has progressed, second-year player Monte Morris has emerged as a rock solid second unit floor general for the Nuggets. In about 25 minutes per game, Morris is averaging 10.7 points on 49.6% shooting from the field and 43.8% from three point range; which is the 7th best mark in the entire NBA. Even more impressive than his shooting is Morris’ mistake-free playmaking, as he averages 3.9 assists per game against a miniscule 0.6 turnovers. Turnover percentage is a stat that estimates the number of TOs a player commits over 100 plays, and Morris’ number is 6.4, which is good for 6th in the NBA.

Former 2nd round pick Monte Morris has contributed to the Nuggets’ success this season. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

With Morris’ help, the Nuggets have thrived this season, holding onto the best record in the West for a while before the Warriors got back to being the Warriors. Now Denver is sitting in the second spot in the conference, and you have to wonder where Thomas fits in this squad that already seems to fit together seamlessly. Every team can use more scoring, but if Thomas isn’t impacting the offense significantly when he returns, Nuggets head coach Mike Malone will have to closely consider his playing time because of IT’s defensive deficiencies and Morris’ excellent play.

There are a few ways Thomas can still have a positive impact on the team even if he doesn’t immediately have a large role upon his return. The Nuggets are a young team and, with the exception of Paul Millsap, have very little playoff experience. Anyone who watched Thomas play in the postseason with the Celtics knows he has incredible heart and can motivate his team. Denver is going to need that passion once the playoffs come around and the going gets tough. Another key aspect to keep an eye on is Thomas’ ability to get baskets when the game slows down. He was known as the King of the 4th for a reason, and you know IT wants to reclaim that status.

Thomas has been biding his time on the bench so far. (Photo by John Kuntz, cleveland.com)

With Thomas’ return date theoretically getting closer, the Nuggets will soon have to deal with integrating him onto the court. It would be amazing if Thomas came back completely healthy and fit in perfectly with what Denver is already rolling out. However this is far from a perfect world, and the Nugget’s just have to hope that IT is ready to contribute when his abilities are needed the most come playoff time. It’s been quite a roller coaster ride for Thomas since he entered the league, maybe we’ll get to see it go up again by the time this season comes to a close.

(All stats from basketball-reference.com, through Feb. 11)