VEGAS BABY!!

vegas baby

The NHL is growing. I’m not sure how since no one watches hockey, but evidently they think they need another team in their silly league. The NHL has added a 31st team, because having an odd number of teams sounds like a good idea. They’ve decided to set up shop in Sin City, and we will be forced to call them the Las Vegas Golden Knights. I can picture that conversation now:

Golden Knights Owner: “Hey, if we’re going to add another hockey team we should put it in the hottest place on earth, like Vegas.”

NHL Commissioner: “Yes!! We should also make sure the players have easy access to get in a lot of trouble. Because everyone loves a team of bad boys.”

Golden Knights Owner: “Should we pay off the NFL to move the Oakland Raiders to Vegas too?? This way our players won’t look so bad when everyone’s getting arrested for soliciting prostitutes.”

NHL Commissioner: “Good idea!! Now you’re using that big brain of yours!!”

I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how it went.

Anyway, last night, the picks were announced for the Expansion Draft. This draft allowed the Golden Knights to select 1 player from each of the 30 teams currently in the NHL. They were allowed to select from a list of unprotected players as provided by each team. Most notably, the Golden Knights added Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal. You can check out their entire roster by clicking here.

Fleury is a three-time Stanley Cup Champion goalie who has played his entire career for the Pittsburgh Penguins. There are worse goaltenders to start a franchise with. They also added left-winger James Neal from the Nashville Predators. Neal has been with the Predators since 2014 and most recently helped lead them to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Golden Knights will play their home games at T-Mobile Arena (right on the Vegas strip baby). And they will don the ugliest uniforms known to man. I mean seriously, scroll back up and drink those things in one more time. It looks like communism invaded the medieval times. But seriously, the Golden Knights will join the Pacific Division in the Western Conference. The last time the NHL expanded they added the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild prior to the 2000-2001 NHL season. They each finished in last in their respective divisions. The question is, how will the Golden Knights fare in their first season??

Post your prediction in the comment section below. Thanks for reading, and check back later today for my thoughts on Phil Jackson’s interview from last night. You won’t want to miss it!!

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends about me!!

 

 

 

Let The Trades Begin!!

kristaps

The NBA offseason is more entertaining than the ACTUAL NBA season. The NBA Finals ended 9 days ago, and I ‘ve already had more fun discussing possible trades and the upcoming draft than I did watching the Golden State Warriors embarrass the league. The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers kicked off the fun Monday with their trade of picks, but that was just the snowball at the top of the mountain. Tuesday had us wondering if that snowball would turn into an avalanche.

Tuesday afternoon, the Los Angeles Lakers traded D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and the 27th pick in Thursday’s draft. This trade makes sense for both teams, however, the Lakers got the better end of the deal. Yes, they lose Russell, who was the 2nd overall pick just 2 short years ago, but his time in L.A. has been rocky to say the least. More importantly, the Lakers rid themselves of an atrocious Mozgov contract. His original 4-year, $64 million contract has 3 years left, so the Nets will eat the remaining $48 million. The Lakers receive the expiring contract of Brook Lopez, which will create oodles of cap-space come this time next year (aka the push for Lebron James). And they receive a draft pick. It’s always good to receive draft picks rather than give them (ahem, Brooklyn, ahem New York, ahem). Lastly, this leads to the assumption that the Lakers will select the walking distraction, Lonzo Ball, with the 2nd overall pick on Thursday.

In their own version of a salary dump, the Atlanta Hawks sent the albatross contract (3 years, $70.5 million) of Dwight Howard and the 31st pick to the Charlotte Bobcats for Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli, and the 41st pick in the draft. There’s not much of a story here, as Dwight Howard is a shell of himself. Charlotte shouldn’t expect Howard to bring any Defensive Player of the Year trophies to Charlotte anytime soon.

And then there’s the New York Knicks. My beloved Knicks. Just when you think they’ve hit rock-bottom, they whip out the sledgehammer and drill through the floor. How is it possible that Phil Jackson is shopping Kristaps Porzingis?!

Kristaps Porzingis should be virtually untradeable.

The Knicks are in total rebuild mode. I’m sorry, let me try that again. The Knicks SHOULD be in total rebuild mode. It’s hard to rebuild when you don’t (or can’t) trade Carmelo Anthony. And it would be impossible if you trade the 21-year old, building block that is Kristaps Porzingis. IF, Phil Jackson wants to entertain trade offers for Porzingis, his price should be so obnoxiously high it causes rival general managers to throw up in their mouths. I’m serious.

For example, if Celtics’ General Manager Danny Ainge calls, Phil Jackson should ask for the 3rd pick in this draft, next year’s 1st round pick, and Jaylen Brown. Oh and they’d have to take on Joakim Noah’s contract (quite possibly the worst contract in NBA history). I know exactly what you’re thinking, “that’s crazy, that’s way too much!!” EXACTLY!! Because you SHOULDN’T trade Porzingis!!

Here’s a point I haven’t heard anyone suggest. We all know Phil Jackson is doing a horrible job as the President of the Knicks. All I keep hearing is, “when Phil Jackson is gone, and in 2 years when we aren’t being force fed the Triangle.” Yeah, well why do we assume James Dolan won’t extend Phil Jackson’s contract???? Maybe Dolan thinks Phil is doing a great job. You and I, and anyone who knows anything about sports, would think that’s insane, but our opinion doesn’t matter.

James Dolan’s opinion is the only one that matters.

SOOOOOOOO, imagine a world where James Dolan extends Phil Jackson’s contract 3 more years. That may cause fans to jump ship and root for a new team………..

 

What would it take for you to trade Kristaps Porzingis?? Who got the better deal in the Lakers/Nets trade?? Tell me all about it in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

 

 

Why Use Your Head When You Can Use Your Feet??

mike trout

If I told you something you did everyday was dangerous, would you stop doing it?? Oh..you wouldn’t believe me?? Okay, okay. Well, what if I could prove it, ya know with facts?? Okay, so then you’d stop?? Cool. So why do baseball players still slide headfirst into a base or home plate?? Other than players thinking it looks cool, I have no freakin’ clue.

Seriously though, players believe it is faster and more effective than sliding feetfirst. Wrong. And wrong again. In 2011, Al Figone performed a study for Collegiate Baseball. He diagnosed all injuries (in MLB) caused by sliding, both headfirst and feetfirst. He found sliding headfirst caused nearly 40% more injuries than sliding feetfirst. The study also proved sliding headfirst only shaved .01 seconds (on average) off each slide. Also, in case of an errant throw, it is far easier to pop-up from a feetfirst slide. This would allow the runner to advance to the next base, while the headfirst slide leaves the runner busy wiping dirt off the front of their jersey. Your honor, the defense rests.

In certain cases, depending on the throw, will sliding headfirst be beneficial?? I’m sure it will be. But, the overwhelming majority of the time, the base-runner is playing with fire. Now kids..do you know what happens when you play with fire?? That’s right..you get burned. Very goooood. Take the most recent, headfirst slide casualties; Mike Trout and Gleyber Torres.

Mike Trout is the best baseball player in the whole wide world. He decided a long time ago he wouldn’t be sliding feetfirst, ummm, ever. He said, “it never felt comfortable”. It’s hard to argue with Trout, as talented as he is, but his latest headfirst slide did land him on the DL (for the 1st time in his career). On May 28th, Trout tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb, as he stole 2nd base (as pictured above). He had successful surgery, and his recovery is ahead of schedule (obviously). When asked if he will change the way he slides, he simply responded, “I’ll need to have more control when I dive headfirst from now on”.

And then there is New York Yankees’ top prospect, Gleyber Torres. Senor Torres will be undergoing Tommy John Surgery after tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. I’ll give you one guess as to how that happened….

You got that right!! He tore up his elbow sliding headfirst into home plate on Monday. It is sad to see a player sustain this type of injury at anytime, but it is especially triste (that’s Spanish for sad) since Torres was on the fast track to the Majors this season. He was playing everyday for Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate Scranton Wilkes-Barre, and he was tearing it up. No pun intended. The reports say he’ll be ready for Spring Training in 2018. Hopefully he learns his lesson faster than Mr. Trout.

Habits are formed. New information surfaces. Habits evolve….hopefully.

Do you think players should slide feetfirst more?? Or do you enjoy watching headfirst slides?? Tell me your thoughts in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

NBA Trade Rumors Swirl Around Super-Team Tornado

jimmy butler

Apparently this is what it’s all about. Who can build the most Super, Super-Team of them all?? As the dust settles from the Golden State Warriors steamrolling through the NBA Playoffs, en route to their 2nd championship in 3 years, everyone is trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. And since Kevin Durant declined his player option on Monday in order to re-sign with the Warriors, the dynasty is in full effect.

According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, Durant will take a $4 million “pay cut” to give the franchise the flexibility to keep their roster intact. So, why doesn’t everyone just play for free?? Players make so much money in endorsements their NBA salaries are fairly insignificant anyway. Then the NBA can rename the East All-Stars the Cavaliers and the West All-Stars the Warriors. Isn’t that where we’re headed anyway?!

Side Note: Who fires their General Manager 3 days before the NBA Draft?!

2nd Side Note (?): Who fires their General Manager without consulting their superstar, Lebron James?!?!

Oh, that would be Cleveland Cavaliers owner, Dan Gilbert. Ya know, the guy who ran Lebron James out of town 7 years ago. Well evidently he had so much fun running the best player of this generation out of town the first time, he plans to do it again. Really, really smart….

Lebron had reportedly been lobbying for Cavaliers’ General Manager, David Griffin’s job prior to his firing. So now, it looks like the Cavaliers are trying to make amends. We must build a Super-Team so powerful that Lebron James will never leave again. Fasten your seat belts and lock your doors because we’re entering Rumor Town.

The latest rumor in the NBA Super-Team Saga is the Cavaliers are looking to complete a 3-team trade for Jimmy Butler. Reportedly, the Cavaliers don’t have enough assets to complete this trade with the Chicago Bulls, so they’ve gotten the Phoenix Suns thrown into the mix. If this rumor holds true (which rarely is the case), the trade would look as follows:

  • The Suns would receive Kevin Love (and I’m assuming something else)
  • The Bulls would receive Eric Bledsoe and the 4th overall pick
  • The Cavaliers would receive Jimmy Butler

These talks are preliminary, as their are many other teams involved in the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes. This is assuming the Bulls are even looking to trade Butler in the first place. I know it’s hard to believe, but some reporters will make up trade rumors just to get attention. Crazy, right??

Jimmy Butler is one of the best two-way players in the NBA. If the Cavaliers can pull off a trade of this magnitude, they would be a few role-playing big men away from being real contenders for a championship. *Not fake contenders like they were last year.

Another big name, who’s actually on the trading block, is Paul George. George informed the Pacers he would become a free agent following the 2017-2018 season. While I can’t imagine the Indiana Pacers are thrilled about losing a top-20 talent, they should appreciate George saying, “trade me now, so you don’t get left empty-handed”. Because no one wants to lose Shaquille O’ Neal to free agency……

Nice work Orlando Magic.

Paul George has expressed his desire to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. They have young prospects and draft picks to offer, so it is a plausible scenario. However, the rumors now involve the Los Angeles Clippers, the Boston Celtics, and the Cavaliers. George will undoubtedly be dealt sooner rather than later. The only question is; Where??

Thursday’s NBA Draft should be exciting, as many players could be on the move. No matter what each team does, they will operate with only one thing in mind; create the next Super-Team.

How do you feel about Super-Teams in the NBA?? Like them, love them, or hate them?? Let your feelings out in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

 

2017 NBA Pre-Draft Fireworks

markelle fultz

Two teams couldn’t wait for draft-day to make some noise. The Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers got the ball rollin’ today, finalizing a trade. A high-profile pick swap if you will. The Celtics will trade the 1st overall pick to the 76ers for the 3rd overall pick and their 1st-round pick for 2018. The 76ers pick is actually courtesy of the Los Angeles Lakers (but is protected). Meaning, if this pick falls outside of the top-5 in 2018, the Celtics will receive a 1st-round pick in 2019. Either way, the Celtics are moving in the right direction, yet again, days before the draft.

The 2017 NBA Draft, aka The Right to Draft Markelle Fultz, is on Thursday, June 22nd. Barclays Center in Brooklyn will play host for the draft this year. The 76ers will pick #1 overall for the 2nd consecutive year and will mark the 5th time they’ll select in the top-10 in the last 3 years. Which begs so many head-scratching questions:

  • How inept is the 76ers organization?!
  • How many years can you tank in a row?!
  • How is it that the entire front office hasn’t been fired by now?!
  • At what point does the owner throw in the towel and sell the team?!

I could keep going, but my head is starting to hurt. All I keep hearing out of Philadelphia is “Trust the Process”, “Trust the Process”. Yeah, well how about you trust me when I say, “fire everyone”. It is time to start fresh in Philadelphia. If you don’t know who to hire, give me a call. I’ll have you in the playoffs in 2 years, and I’ll win you a championship within 5 years. I guarantee it!!

Anyway, enough of the stupidity, let’s talk about the genius that is Danny Ainge. See, I can be positive. I’m not always negative and critical all the time..just most of the time.

Danny Ainge is the General Manager and President of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics. He continues to make all the right moves. Granted, he took advantage of the Brooklyn Nets in ways I can’t describe here, but I guess it’s true what they say, ‘there’s a sucker born everyday’. Danny Ainge’s Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference Finals this past year. At the same time, they still owned the #1 overall pick in the draft. I’d say Ainge deserves a raise.

The question now is: Who will Ainge draft at #3?? My guess is they’ve liked Josh Jackson of Kansas this whole time. And since they don’t ‘need’ a point guard like Fultz, they’ll get ‘their’ man anyway. This is exactly the same as what John Lynch and the 49ers did to the Bears in the 2017 NFL Draft. They traded down for extra picks and got the guy they wanted anyway. As the old Guinness Beer commercials used to say, “Brilliant!!”

As for my team, the Knicks, they don’t often collide with the word brilliant very often. I imagine they will draft the best point guard available at #8, but at this point, who knows what the hell that egomaniac Phil Jackson will do. Man, I can’t wait to see him pack his bags. Hey Danny Ainge, after you finish bringing an NBA Championship to Boston, you wanna come on down to New York and help us out?? That’d be great, thanks!!

Tune into ESPN on Thursday night @ 7:00 P.M. to see how the draft plays out.

Who do you think the Celtics will take at #3?? Who should the Knicks take at #8?? Share your wisdom in the comment section below.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

 

SURPRISE!! Another Guy You’ve Never Heard Of Won The U.S. Open

brooks-koepka-us-open

Brooks Koepka. Tommy Fleetwood. Xander Schauffele. Brian Harman. Stop me when I get to someone you’ve heard of before. If you were 1 of the 6 people watching the U.S. Open yesterday, you probably know who these guys are. As for the rest of you, I’m betting you couldn’t pick them out of a lineup. They would be 4 of the top 5 finishers at this year’s U.S. Open. The other? Hideki Matsuyama. Oh..you’ve never heard of him either? I was giving you too much credit. Sorry.

Brooks Koepka pulled away from the field on Sunday, with 3 birdies in a row on the back-9 (holes 14-16). Koepka finished at -16, winning his 1st Major. Koepka’s -16 is tied for the lowest score to par in U.S. Open history (Rory Mcilroy – 2011). Mcilroy, golf’s #2 ranked golfer, missed the cut this year. As did golf’s #1 and #3 ranked golfers. Mcilroy has now missed the cut in consecutive U.S Opens. This says a lot about the state of golf.

This marks the 7th consecutive year the U.S. Open has been won by a 1st-time Major winner. This ALSO says a lot about the state of golf. Without Tiger Woods, or a notable superstar, golf is fairly unwatchable. Die-hard golf fans will always be there, watching every tournament no matter who’s on the leaderboard. But I’m not talking about the die-hard fans. I’m talking about the casual golf fans, ya know the ones every sport needs to keep their bank accounts overflowing.

Golf is starving for its next great superstar.

Since when does FOX cover golf by the way?! And since when does Joe Buck do golf?! I thought their coverage was atrocious. I know Fox signed a 12-year contract to cover the U.S. Open back in 2015, but we need a breach of contract over here. Pleaseeee. I know golf is struggling, but do they think Joe Buck screaming BRIAN HARMAN FOR THE BIRDIE is going to help matters?? Newsflash, this is golf, not an NFL Sunday with Aaron Rodgers dropping back to pass!! Joe, as talented of an announcer as you are, we can tell you don’t know anything about golf. You sound like you’re reading off a list of stats and facts about each golfer. I have an idea. Why don’t we take some of that $15 million you’re worth, and get you some golf lessons. What do you say?? It may help retain those 6 viewers.

Like the majority of sports fans, I won’t watch another golf tournament until the 2017 Open Championship (British Open). Mark July 20th through the 23rd on your calendar to see who will hoist the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England. Or don’t. Either way. Either way is fine. For golf’s sake, I hope Phil Mickelson plays and golf’s top golfers make the cut this time. I don’t really want to watch Trey Mullinax win his 1st Major. Oh no, he is a real person. I didn’t make him up. He is ranked 373rd in the world, and just finished tied for 9th (-8) at the U.S. Open. It’s not Mr. Mullinax’s fault, but his success is the reason why golf is struggling.

I don’t see golf’s savior anywhere on the horizon….

Did you watch the U.S. Open?? How many golf tournaments do you watch each year??

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

    

The U.S. Open Often Surprises Us

xander

The U.S. Open is the most difficult golf tournament of the year. By definition, it is an “Open” tournament, meaning a larger number of players can qualify as compared to other Major tournaments throughout the year (such as the Masters). The player pool consists of the top 156 golfers who either qualified automatically or played their way in. Automatic qualification is based on the following:

  •  Players who have won a U.S. Open in the last 10 years
  • Players who have won The Masters, The Open Championship (British Open), or The PGA Championship in the last 5 years
  •  Players who finished in the top-30 on the money list on the PGA Tour
  • Players who finished in the top-15 on the money list on the European Tour
  • And players who are ranked in the top 50 in the 2 weeks leading up to the U.S. Open

Those who did not qualify automatically must win an 18-hole local tournament as well as a 36-hole sectional tournament to gain entry.

* Oh yeah, just to be eligible to earn a spot in the U.S. Open, you must own a handicap index of 1.4 or better.

This means a player will shoot, on average, 1.4 strokes above par. In other words..they’re really freakin’ good at golf.

This format welcomes surprise success stories, such as Michael Campbell winning the 2005 U.S. Open. This year, although still early in the tournament, we are stumbling upon another completely unknown golfer. Allow me to introduce Xander Schauffele. Who?! Exactly. I’ll give you a hint – he’s the guy in the picture up there. Xander would be the 352nd ranked golfer in the world. His full name is Xander Victor Schauffele, and he is from La Jolla, California. He is 23 years old, and owns 1 professional win (2015 Northern California Open).

So why are we talking about this kid??

Because he is currently tied for 5th (-5) toward the end of the 2nd Round of the U.S. Open. There are currently a handful of unknown players littered across the leaderboard, but none are playing better than Xander. You can check the current leaderboard here. Only time will tell if he will climb into the spotlight over the weekend. For now, he can briefly enjoy making his 1st cut in a Major Tournament.

While the 1st 2 rounds of the U.S. Open have welcomed low scores, the majority of the top golfers are struggling. As of now, only 6 of the top-30 golfers in the world are in the top-45 of the leaderboard. Following today’s round, only the top-60 golfers will make the cut and advance to the weekend.

We could be looking at an interesting leaderboard come Sunday.  

Who do you think will win The U.S. Open?? Give me your prediction in the comment section below.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY EVERYONE!!

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!