Sam Darnold is the Most Underrated and Disrespected QB in the NFL

Every football fan tends to think their quarterback is underrated – even Chiefs fans. However, when it comes to Jets fans and Sam Darnold, our complaints are completely true. Sam Darnold gets a ridiculous amount of disrespect from the average NFL fan. In reality, Darnold is a very good QB who had been thrust into the worst possible situation for a young QB, a situation very similar to Josh Rosen, yet he has kept his head above the water.

Sam Darnold was thrust into the worst possible situation for a young QB.

For starters, Darnold was the youngest QB in the Super Bowl Era to start week 1 in his rookie year, and he remains still one of the youngest QB’s in the NFL despite being about to enter his 3rd year. Not only was he historically young, but he has faced an unearthly amount of adversity in just 2 seasons in the league. The Jets had absolutely no supporting cast around him from the start. A historically bad offensive line in both of his seasons so far, and no great weapons around him besides Le’Veon Bell, who could never get much going due to the atrocious O-line in front. At the very beginning of year 2, Darnold was sidelined for a month with mononucleosis, a disease that leaves victims often looking like they’ve just been to hell and back. Even after coming back from mono, Darnold was pressured at the highest rate in the NFL, on 42% of his dropbacks. When pressured at league average rate, Darnold led the Jets to a record of 7-1 and the offense scored an average of 29 points per game. LEAGUE AVERAGE RATE! Imagine what Darnold could do with an OL that is not only average, but slightly ABOVE average? He’d be easily a top 10 quarterback.

Sam Darnold led the Jets to a 7-1 record when pressured at league average rate.

One of the main reasons for the incessant Darnold disrespect is his infamous “seeing ghosts” game on Monday Night Football last October against the Patriots. Far and away Darnold’s worst game of his career, he threw for 86 yards and 4 INT’s. But what is most infamous is what ESPN picked up on the sideline for their “Mic’d Up” segment and broadcast on national TV. After another unsuccessful drive, Darnold went to the sideline and said, to no one in particular, “I’m seeing ghosts out there.” Although this is not an uncommon phrase for a QB on an off day, for the average NFL fan this one sentence is all they know about Sam Darnold. When they think Darnold, they think ghosts and interceptions. Which is really a shame, because Darnold has shown plenty of times that he can carry an offense entirely by himself. Just DAYS after being medically cleared from mono by team doctors, Darnold took the field week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys and piloted the Jets to their first victory of the season, throwing for 338 yards and 2 touchdowns, as well as setting up a Le’Veon Bell goal-line plunge. Despite being handicapped by the worst offensive line in football, Darnold was extremely impressive in the 2nd half of the season, with a 6-2 record. Things like that are what only Jets fans know, and why we are so defensive of our QB. Because we know he’s a very good player, and we know he is the most unfairly disrespected player in the NFL.

Sam Darnold led the Jets to a 6-2 record in the 2nd half of the 2019 season.

Given the 2020 season happens, Sam Darnold could see a huge leap of improvement and success. New GM Joe Douglas made Darnold’s protection and development the single most important part of the offseason. He signed the best center on the market in Connor McGovern to provide consistently great center play and help the young franchise arm read defenses. He resigned the Jets one decent lineman from last season, LG Alex Lewis. He signed veteran Greg Van Roten to compete with Brian Winters at RG, and George Fant to likely start at RT over 2nd year youngster Chuma Edoga. Most importantly, however, he drafted Sam Darnold’s blindside protector in Louisville LT Mekhi Becton with the 11th overall pick in the draft, and then followed this up by managing to snag a WR with 1st round talent in Denzel Mims at pick 59 the following night. Becton, Mims. and McGovern are the most important offseason additions, and will make Darnold’s life mush less of a challenge. Behind this new and improved offnsive line, Darnold hopefully will not be running for his life the whole game, and can focus on reading coverages, setting his feet, and stepping into his throws. For the past 2 years us Jets fans have been saying to everyone, “imagine what Darnold could do in a better situation.” In 2020 and beyond, we get to finally see what we know he can do, and we can watch him put the rest of the NFL on notice. The Jets are finally coming back.

Bubble Preview: San Antonio Spurs

Record: 27-36

Championship Odds: +750000

Key Players

DeMar DeRozan: 22.2 PPG, 5.6 REB, 5.6 AST, 1.0 STL

Dejounte Murray: 10.7 PPG, 5.8 REB, 4.1 AST, 1.7 STL

Bryan Forbes: 11.2 PPG, 2.0 REB, 1.7 AST

Rudy Gay: 10.0 PPG, 5.4 REB, 1.7 AST

Derrick White: 10.4 PPG, 3.2 REB, 3.4 AST

Players Sitting Out

LaMarcus Aldridge: 18.9 PPG, 7.4 REB, 2.4 AST, 1.6 BLK

Schedule
DayOpponentTimeTV
7/31Sacramento Kings8:00 PMHulu Live
8/2Memphis Grizzlies4:00 PMHulu Live
8/3Philadelphia 76ers8:00 PMHulu Live
8/5Denver Nuggets4:00 PMHulu Live
8/7Utah Jazz1:00 PMHulu Live
8/9New Orleans Pelicans3:00 PMABC
8/11Houston Rockets2:00NBATV
8/13Utah JazzTBDTBD
Bubble Preview:

Can the Spurs’ playoff streak stay alive? Well, the short answer to that is that it is extremely unlikely. ESPN gives the Spurs, who have made the playoffs for 22 straight seasons, a 2.9% chance of getting into the playoff field as an 8-seed.

Without getting into all the different scenarios for how the Spurs could get to 8th place, they essentially must go undefeated, or close to it, and they need help from other teams as well. To find out exact scenarios for how the Spurs could get into the playoff field click here.

After some concern as to whether Hall of Fame coach Gregg Popovich would be making the trip with his team, Spurs fans were delighted to hear that the 71-year old coach would be making the trip to the bubble despite the risks with the coronavirus. If there is anyone who can push a team with little playoff hopes into an 8-seed, its Popovich. But, a coach can only do so much; especially without his number one player.

When evaluating the San Antonio Spurs’ bubble roster, it is impossible to ignore the fact that they will be traveling to Disney without their best player, Lamarcus Aldridge. The Spurs big man is not participating in bubble action due to a shoulder surgery. With the odds already stacked against them, this was a real slap in the face to Spurs fans.

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How can the Spurs overcome the odds and make the playoffs? For starters, DeMar DeRozan is going to have to play the best basketball of his career. DeRozan, who was traded from the Raptors to the Spurs in exhange for Kahwi Leonard in July of 2018, led the team in scoring, assists, and minutes played this season. It is vital that he steps up in a big way and carries the scoring load in the bubble. Other guys that will need to produce big numbers in order for the Spurs to be successful include Rudy Gay, Dejounte Murry, Derrick White, Bryan Forbes, and Patty Mills.

It is likely that Rudy Gay will be playing more of a power-forward role in the bubble, with the loss of Lamarcus Aldridge. I believe Gay’s numbers will spike during bubble play as he will definitely see an increase in minutes.

Although the odds are against them, you can never count out a team with a hall of fame coach. Can Gregg Popovich lead the Spurs to the 8th seed in the West?

Top-10 College Basketball Jerseys to Wear to a Frat Party

Anyone who has been to a college frat party knows that guys often wear basketball jerseys to them. These ten jerseys will give you the most respect at any frat party.

10) Kemba Walker 

A Kemba Walker UConn jersey had to be on this list for one shot.  Yup you guessed it.  The shot against Pitt that immortalized Kemba Walker in Big East Basketball.  People will never forget that shot, and the incredible run that UConn went on that year. 

9) Shaquille O’Neal 

Underused jersey at frat parties.  However when you see it, you have to respect the man wearing it.  Not only is Shaq one of the greatest basketball players of all time, but his talents extend past basketball and into television where he is a well known personality.  

8) Larry Bird 

Something about that old fashion Indiana State jersey that just pops to my eye. This one could have honestly been ranked much higher.  Nonetheless, deserves to be top ten on any list. 

7) Anthony Davis

The 1 and done at Kentucky certainly left his mark on college basektball.  Davis set numerous records during his time at Kentucky and became well known for his unibrow.  

6) Michael Jordan

You can simply never go wrong with a Michael Jordan UNC jersey.  Aside from Jordan being the GOAT, The Tar-heel blue coloring of the jersey makes it ultra-appealing to the eye.  Only rule when wearing this jersey to a party is you have to smoke at least one stogie to really “be like Mike”.  

5) Steph Curry

Who can forget Steph Curry’s sweet sixteen run at Davidson? A run that immortalized Steph Curry in college basketball.  Davidson is a mid-major school making this jersey much more rare than some of the others on this list.

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4) Christian Laettner

You either love him or you hate him, but either way you can’t deny he’s a college basketball great.  A typical Duke star. A Christian Laettner jersey is an extremely underused jersey at parties. 

3) Lonzo Ball

To cut to the chase wearing a Lonzo Ball jersey to a party is a BIG BALLER move.  And there is just something about that UCLA jersey that is pleasing to the eye.  

2) Jimmer Freddette

THE MORMON MEGALODON.  Jimmer Freddette might be one of the most interesting players in recent years of college basketball making his jersey a must wear to a frat party.  

1)Robert Horry 

A Robert Horry jersey is the biggest flex at any type of party, ESPECIALLY if you’re repping a college Horry jersey. If you pull up to a party in any type of Big Shot Rob jersey then you are a certified boss and probably pull chicks left and right. 

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Bubble Preview: Phoenix Suns

Record: 26-39

Championship Odds: +75000

Key Players:

Devin Booker: 26.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 6.6 APG

DeAndre Ayton: 19.0 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 1.7 BPG

Kelly Oubre Jr: 18.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.5 APG*

There has been speculation that Oubre would be sitting out of the restart to rehab his knee injury. While there has been varying statements from the player and the team and no official announcement, his tweets have indicated he will be joining the team in Orlando.

He may not take the floor, but it appears that at the very least he is along for the ride. Regardless of whether he plays or not, he will not have nearly the same impact he would regularly do to his injury and Phoenix’s slim chance at the playoffs likely limiting any minutes he sees.

Players Sitting Out

Outside of the questions surrounding Oubre, it appears the Suns will have their full roster ready to go for the restart.

Schedule
DayOpponentTimeTV
7/31Washington Wizards4:00 PMFOX Sports AZ
8/2Dallas Mavericks9:00 PMFOX Sports AZ
8/4Los Angeles Clippers4:00 PMNBA TV
8/6Indiana Pacers4:00 PMFOX Sports AZ
8/8Miami Heat7:30 PMFOX Sports AZ
8/10Oklahoma City Thunder2:30 PMFOX Sports AZ
8/11Philadelphia 76ers4:30 PMFOX Sports AZ
8/13Dallas MavericksTBDTBD
Bubble Preview:

The Suns are one of only a handful of teams in the restart that find themselves with no playoff hope at all, as Phoenix currently finds themselves 6 games back and would have to jump five teams for the final playoff spot. With their chances at being competitive in the restart so slim, it’s likely that we won’t see the Suns main core of Booker, Ayton, and the uncertain Oubre Jr leading the way and taking a lot of minutes. They will certainly see time in an effort to stay fresh for the upcoming season, but will be walking a fine line when considering how littler this games benefit the Suns.

Instead, coach Monty Williams will use this time to develop the players he has around his young core, as players like rookie Cameron Johnson and Phoenix’s host of young talent will benefit from extended time against the best teams and players in the league.

The Suns won’t be much of a factor in Orlando, and have a very strong chance of going 0-9 in their time in the bubble. However, by using this time correctly to develop their young talent and stay ready for the next season, which will begin in a quick turnaround, the Suns can become one of the winners of this restart down the road.

Bubble Preview: Washington Wizards

Record: 24-40

Championship Odds: +100000

Key Players:

Rui Hachimura: 13.4 PPG, 6.0 REB, 1.7 AST, 0.8 STL

Thomas Bryant: 12.1 PPG, 6.8 REB, 1.9 AST, 0.9 BLK

Shabazz Napier: 12.0 PPG, 2.4 REB, 4.4 AST, 1.7 STLS

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Players Sitting Out

Bradley Beal: 30.5 PPG, 4.2 REB, 6.1 AST, 45.5 FG%

David Bertans: 15.4 PPG, 4.5 REB, 1.7 AST, 42.4 3P%

Schedule
DayOpponentTimeTV
7/31Phoenix Suns4:00 PMNBCSW
8/2Brooklyn Nets2:00 PMNBCSW
8/3Indiana Pacers4:00 PMNBCSW
8/5Philadelphia 76ers4:00 PMNBA TV/NBCSW
8/7New Orleans Pelicans8:00 PMNBCSW
8/9Oklahoma City Thunder12:30 PMNBCSW
8/11Milwaukee Bucks 9:00 PMNBCSW
8/13Boston Celtics TBDTBD
Bubble Preview

The Wizards will be heading down to Disney without their leader and leading scorer Bradley Beal.  Beal, who averages 30.5 PPG for the Wizards, is sitting out due to a shoulder injury. While he is the unquestioned star and leader of this team, many people don’t realize that the Wizards have a core of eight players who all average double figures in PPG. 

After Beal, Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura are the next highest scorers for the Wizards, averaging 15.4 and 13.4 respectively. What gets tricky for the Wizards here is that their second leading scorer is ALSO not going to be playing in Disney. 

Davis Bertans has opted out of the NBA return.  Leaving the Wizards without their three point sharpshooter and their second leading scorer.

Rui Hachimura, the rookie big man out of Gonzaga, will have a chance to finish out his first year in the NBA strongly as he is now the leading scorer on the team and should see more touches. Hachimura also pulls down 6.0 rebounds a game, which is second best on the team after Thomas Bryant.

Ultimately, playing without Bradley Beal is going to make it tough for them to crack into the playoffs, as they are 5 ½ games out of the 8 seed.  However, crazier things have happened and if guys step up there is a chance that you see the Wizards secure the 8th seed in the East.

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The MLS is officially back!

This Wednesday, July 8, marks the return of the first major North American professional sport.  Major League Soccer will return inside an Orlando bubble and conduct what they are officially calling the “MLS is Back Tournament”.  The tournament will take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, near where the NBA will be holding their games upon restart.  The format for the MLS Tournament includes 25 of the 26 teams that participate in Major League Soccer.  The only team that is not participating as of now is FC Dallas, due to a large number of positive test results from their latest round of Coronavirus testing.  Those teams are broken up into 6 groups.  Of those 6 groups, 3 teams will advance from Group A, 2 teams will advance from Groups B-F, and 3 Wild Card teams will advance to the knockout stage.  Below I will share which teams I think will advance from each group to the knockout stage.

 

Group A:

Brenden Aaronson | Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union

Coming off a 3rd place finish in the Eastern Conference during the 2019 season, 2020 has not been as kind to the Philadelphia Union as they may have hoped.  They have only walked away from their first two matches with 1 point, but they have scored enough goals to suggest they were a few bounces away from accumulating more points.  Having one of the stronger rosters in the league, I am expecting big things from this team starting with the MLS is Back Tournament leading into the remainder of the season.  One key player to watch for the Union is 19 year old Brenden Aaronson.  In the first two matches, he has played as a No. 10, which is another name for a Central Attacking Midfielder (CAM).  Group A is not as strong as some of the other groups which can only benefit Philadelphia here.  I think the Union have the potential to win Group A.

Maxi Moralez currently highest paid player on NYCFC - Hudson River ...

New York City FC

After coming off a first-place finish in the Eastern Conference during the 2019 season, the start of the 2020 season has been slower than anticipated for NYC FC.  The Cityzens welcomed in new coach Ronny Deila this season, meaning he did not have much time with his players before the season was postponed in March.  The pause in action has given him more time to learn his players and the style in which they play.  When the season resumes with this tournament, look for NYC FC to be in good form and do well in this tournament.  They are led by Maxi Moralez in their midfield and have a very strong goalkeeper in Sean Johnson.  I expect the Cityzens to finish 2nd in Group A.

 

Group B:

Jordan Morris | MLSsoccer.com

Seattle Sounders FC

For years now, the Seattle Sounders have been a top team in Major League Soccer.  Led by Jordan Morris in attack, this is mostly the same team that won the MLS Cup title last season.  With Stefan Frei in net, all the way to the players in attack, the Sounders have arguably the strongest team in the league.  If the defense plays well and communicates with the midfield, it could become tough to score against them.  In a tournament like this, consistency is key considering the group stage will be the sole indicator of whether or not you advance the knockout stage.  Luckily for Seattle, they have reached 3 out of the last 4 MLS Cups, meaning they are a very consistent side.  I expect them to win Group B without any issues and make a deep run into this tournament.

Behind the #8 Ball: What can newest Whitecaps signing, Leonard ...

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Other than Seattle, there are many questions within this group.  FC Dallas was originally in this group before they officially dropped out of the tournament.  It is unknown at this time if the MLS will restructure the groups and add a 4th team.  In the meantime, the final spot to advance to the knockout stage from Group B comes between the Whitecaps and the San Jose Earthquakes.  Based on last season’s results, and very little changed between these two teams, I think that Vancouver has an edge over San Jose and it will show when the two teams square off in Orlando when the season restarts.  I expect Vancouver to finish 2nd in Group B behind Seattle.

Chicago Fire FC players may return to club facilities for ...

Chicago Fire FC

Unlucky for the Chicago Fire, they played their first two games on the road, meaning they were unable to play in front of the majority of their supporters before the season was postponed.  Most teams played at least one match at home, but that was not the case for Chicago.  In the offseason, the Fire were one of the more active teams in the league bringing in three players that could bolster their squad and help them make a jump in the table.  At the beginning of the season, those players did not have much time to build chemistry with the rest of their teammates.  With the four-month pause in the season, the chemistry should be much better now and the Fire could become dangerous.  If their defense can play well from the start, the Fire will have no issues advancing the knockout round of this tournament.  With a lot of uncertainty within the other teams in this group, I think Chicago will do just good enough to be the 3rd team to advance from Group A.

 

Group C:

Montreal Impact's Victor Wanyama excited to play for coach Thierry ...

Montreal Impact

The Impact might be one of the bigger underdog teams in this tournament, but everyone needs to stop sleeping on them.  Led by Manager Thierry Henry, Montreal was one of the more organized teams throughout the first two matchdays this season.  Henry was a member of the 2003 Arsenal team that went the entire 38 match season unbeaten.  The leadership is certainly there, and throughout the early stages of the season, the talent was exactly where it needed to be.  Former Tottenham midfielder Victor Wanyama has been the steadying force that Impact was missing over the course of the last few seasons.  In addition to Wanyama, Montreal have plenty of talent in attack.  Saphir Taider, Bojan, and Max Urruti are all names to watch once the tournament starts.  I am expecting the Impact to easily advance into the knockout stages and beyond in this tournament.

Bill Hamid | D.C. United

D.C. United

Unlike most of the other teams in Major League Soccer, DC United rely on their goalkeeping and defense to win them games.  Bill Hamid has been one of the top goalkeepers in the MLS for multiple years now.  In addition to Hamid, DC United feature as strong of a center-back duo as you’ll find in Steve Birnbaum and Frederic Brillant.  While the attack is still a question mark for this team, the defense is certainly strong enough to keep opposing teams off the scoreboard.  DC might be able to sneak out with a few 1-0 wins, but if not, a few draws will certainly be good enough to get them into the next round.  I look for DC United to finish 2nd in Group C behind Montreal Impact.

The case for Carles Gil as Newcomer of the Year | “He's just a ...

New England Revolution

The Revolution needed the shutdown more than any other team in Major League Soccer.  Although it was only 2 weeks into the season, New England was torn apart with injuries and it was not a good situation for them to be in.  With the return of Carles Gil in attack, it will open things up for their top goal scorers.  They are solid in net with goalkeeper Matt Turner continuing his rise to one of the top keepers in the MLS.  An issue for the Revolution could come in the position of defensive midfield.  With the loss of Luis Caicedo to injury, New England currently does not have a player who can both tackle and be an effective passer.  They are hoping that will not be an issue once the season resumes.  Due to the hole in midfield and other teams in their group being stronger, I don’t think the Revolution will finish in the top 2 in Group C.  However, I think they will be just good enough to get 1 of the 3 Wild Card spots and advance to the knockout stage.

 

Group D:

The Center of the Triangle: Ozzie Alonso's path to Minnesota ...

Minnesota United

Before the shutdown, Minnesota United was looking like one of the most balanced teams that took the field in the MLS’s first two weeks.  As long as Ozzie Alonso is in the midfield, there is very little reason for concern within this side.  With him in position to distribute the ball to attackers Kevin Molino, Ethan Finley, and Luis Amarilla, there is a lot to like about this Minnesota side.  The only thing that some people worry about with Minnesota in their possession statistics.  They hold a league-low 40.2% of the ball in their matches, but if they are effective on the counter-attack, the possession percentage is nothing big to worry about.  With the effectiveness they showed within the first two weeks of the season, I think Minnesota will come out of the group stage on top of Group D.

Final run for Sporting KC's core? Not so fast, say Besler and Zusi ...

Sporting Kansas City

Right behind Minnesota United in Group D is Sporting Kansas City.  A team that had previously been a consistent finisher in the top of the Western Conference, Sporting KC had a rough 2019 season.  Not many people were expecting a down 2019 season for this team, but look for them to come out strong in this tournament.  Goalkeeper Tim Melia, defenders Matt Besler and Graham Zusi, and midfielder Roger Espinoza have all been key parts of this team for years now.  The leadership within this squad is certainly there, and none of them want a repeat of the 2019 season.  In addition to the veteran presence of the players above, we can’t forget Gadi Kinda and Alan Pulido.  They are the players who will be key in providing goals for this team to win matches.  I think this squad is good enough to move on to the knockout stage, and I expect them to finish 2nd in Group D behind Minnesota United.

Jack Price | Browman and Keefe | Altitude 950 | July 2, 2018 ...

 

Colorado Rapids

The Rapids are a team that needs to be monitored closely heading into the tournament.  They opened up the 2020 campaign with 2 wins and showed how lethal they are on set pieces due to the service of Jack Price.  Midfielders Younes Namli and Braian Galvan have had the midfield on lock for the Rapids leading them to get a boost on the counter-attack.  Being that Group D is most likely going to be the most competitive among the other groups, a 3rd place finish, which I am projecting for the Rapids, will probably be good enough to get them to the knockout stage.

 

Group E:

Josef Martínez: the Venezuelan hotshot breaking MLS records and ...Atlanta United FC

Atlanta United is without a doubt, one of the best teams in Major League Soccer.  Currently led by Pity Martinez and Ezequiel Barco in attack, Atlanta United is the one team you want to avoid at all costs in this tournament.  In the midfield, look for Emerson Hyndman, who has done an exceptional job on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.  One of the most important parts of a team is the defense, and Atlanta finally has a healthy defense, something they didn’t have when the season started back in February.  One thing that could potentially hold Atlanta United back is the loss of star striker Josef Martinez.  Martinez was a crucial part of the 2018 team that won the MLS Cup but tore his ACL shortly into the 2019 season.  He should be close to a return, but with the depth that Atlanta possesses, there is absolutely no reason to rush him back into action.  I expect Atlanta to breeze through Group E into the knockout stage, and easily be one of the favorites to win the tournament.

Tim Parker | New York Red Bulls

New York Red Bulls

The club that I grew up rooting for, the New York Red Bulls thrive in an area that many other clubs cannot say the same.  The Red Bulls are an outstanding pressing team, meaning they excel in winning the ball back and getting excellent scoring chances because of that.  Everything starts in the back with this team, and it just so happens they are led by quality center-backs Aaron Long and St. John’s Alum Tim Parker.  One player for the Red Bulls that you cannot sleep on is Daniel Royer, who can score goals at any moment.  In the midfield, Kaku provides the creativity piece that is so crucial for every team to have.  When he and Royer are in good form, this team can be very dangerous, considering how reliable their defense is.  I look for the Red Bulls to finish 2nd in Group E, behind the talented Atlanta United.

Columbus Crew SC's Gyasi Zardes named MLS Comeback Player of the ...

Columbus Crew SC

The Columbus Crew were arguably the most active team during the offseason bringing in quite a few new players as they were looking to improve their squad after a disappointing 2019 season.  They acquired Darlington Nagbe from Atlanta United as well as signing playmaker Lucas Zelarayan.  Gyasi Zardes is their most potent goal scorer, but with Nabe and Zelarayan alongside him, the Crew have plenty of attacking options.  Columbus looked solid in the two games they played before the Coronavirus shutdown, but there are some questions about whether they can continue that run of form in this tournament.  Most of those questions are about the center of their defense, which is one of the most important positions on the pitch.  If the Crew can score at the rate people are expecting them too, they certainly can advance to the knockout stage.  I predict them to finish 3rd in Group E but do just enough to claim one of the Wildcard spots.

 

Group F:

Sebastian Blanco | MLSsoccer.com

Portland Timbers

Along with Atlanta United, Portland Timbers are another favorite to come out of this tournament as champions.  Back to front, this team has a lineup full of players that can change the game at any moment in time.  Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco on the attack are as dangerous as they come in the MLS.  In addition to them, you cannot forget about the outstanding job that Diego Chara has done for this team in defensive midfield.  A player in his position must understand his responsibilities, and Chara is simply one of the best in the business at what he does.  The time off was needed for Portland as they looked a little lost in their first two matches.  I expect the Timbers to come out firing and show the rest of the league they used their time off wisely and improved as a team.  There is no doubt in my mind this team will advance to the knockout stage, it is just a matter of whether they will finish 1st or 2nd in their group.

LAFC's Carlos Vela opts out of MLS tournament in Orlando | Fox News

Los Angeles Football Club

The most dangerous team in the attacking half of the field is heading to Orlando, ready to show the rest of the league their potential.  With 2019 MLS MVP Carlos Vela not going to Orlando with the team, some people are doubting whether or not they will have success in this tournament.  I am not one of those doubters.  Brian Rodrigues and Diego Rossi normally make up the front 3 with Vela, but look for Bryce Duke to see some increased activity in his absence.  Behind the outstanding attack, LAFC also boasts one of the most cohesive midfield units in the league.  Mark-Anthony Kaye, Latif Blessing, and Eduard Atuesta play well with each other, it helps LAFC in many ways.  When you have a midfield as dominant as those three, it is game-changing.  As long as those three play in peak form, I think LAFC will do just enough to advance into the knockout stage of this tournament.

 

Episode 3: St. John’s and Seton Hall Talk with Ben Jansen

Podcast Outline

Intro: 00:36-1:45

Dylan’s first twitter beef: 1:46-2:50

Shoutout Pharve Phan: 2:51-3:23

Alex Tchikou Commits to Alabama: 3:23-4:00

Alden Applewhite Final Four Schools: 4:01-4:50

FACT CHECK: 4:51-5:25

Live with Ben Jansen talking Seton Hall Basketball: 5:26-14:59

Wrapping it up: 15:00-end

Devin Booker to New York?

Devin Booker is already an NBA All-Star at 23 years old, but he isn’t even scratching the surface of where I believe he will be in two or three years.

Before the coronavirus suspended the NBA season back in March, Booker was averaging 26.1 points, 6.6 assists, and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 48.7 percent from the field. Unfortunately for him, his teammates failed to pick up the rest of the pieces and the Suns struggled once again this season finishing 26-39. He is the opitimy of a great player stuck on a bad team.

While there has been nothing confirmed that the Suns are even interested in listening to trade offers for the young star, it has been rumored that Booker is getting tired of losing in Phoenix.

It’s no secret that the Knicks haven’t exactly been a very successful franchise for quite some time now, as they haven’t made the playoffs since 2013. If they can muster a blockbuster trade with the Suns for Devin Booker, they already have a bunch of up and coming young players on their roster who would compliment Booker perfectly.

Players such as RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson are going to be staples of the Knicks roster for years to come. Both of them have incredibly high ceilings which they will reach within the next few years. Aside from Barrett and Robinson, the Knicks are also going to have a Top-5 draft pick in the 2020 Draft. This gives them a chance to add yet another player who can come in and play an important role for them right out of the gate. Many speculate that they are going to try and draft Lamelo Ball. This would really be a perfect fit as Barrett and Booker are both traditionally off-ball players. Adding Booker into the mix makes the Knicks a force to be reckon with in the Eastern Conference.

Devin Booker is not as big time a player as Knicks fans thought they would get, as last off-season there was talks about Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant coming to MSG. However, in two to three years there is no reason why Booker won’t be in the same conversation as those guys. James Dolan has a chance for once in his life to make a smart move for the Knicks.

My advice: Invest in 23 year-old Devin Booker now, and watch the payout for the next 10 years.

Top 5 Players to Break Bubble Rules in Orlando

With the NBA set to return on July 31st, Adam Silver is implementing a model designed to protect the teams from COVID-19 cases from outside the community. Keeping all of the players inside of the bubble may be harder than he anticipated.

Portland Trailblazers guard, Damien Lillard, expressed his concerns over the players following the bubble rules. Lillard said in an interview with ESPN, “When we have 100 percent freedom, everybody don’t follow all the rules. I don’t have much confidence.” Lillard himself will have no problem with the bubble rules as he says that he’ll be fine just staying in his room, playing video games, and working on new rap songs.

Stephen A. Smith said on First Take that the players will struggle with not being able to take part in the “recreational activities” that they are accustomed to. Stephan A. doesn’t believe the players will abstain for sex for 3 months, “You really think guys are going to be without their wives or their woman?”

Now for the top five players I believe are most likely to break the bubble rules.

5. Demar DeRozen

Demar DeRozen has already voiced his frustrations with the COVID-19 rules put into place by Commissioner Adam Silver. He calls the rules “ridiculous” and I don’t see him complying with them while the Spurs are still alive in Disney World.

4. Joel Embiid

Known for causing a ruckus both on and off the court, Embiid is a prime candidate for violating bubble rules. He is constantly getting himself into scuffles and altercations on the court and on social media, leading me to believe he will be a problem in abiding by the bubble rules.

3. Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler could possibly be a more controversial player than Joel Embiid. Similar to Embiid, Butler is almost always seen mouthing off to someone on the court and carries a “bad boy” mojo with him in his game. He likes the role of the villain, making him a prime candidate for breaking bubble rules.

2. JR Smith

JR Smith is the ULTIMATE wild card personality. A player whose career has been full of fines and suspensions, it is almost certain that Smith will break the bubble rules at some point. Smith was of course just recently added to the Lakers roster, and one could only hope that LeBron and co. would be able to keep him in check.

1. James Harden

James Harden has literally had his jersey retired in a Houston strip club…need I say more? There are many theories about Harden playing worse in cities with well known strips clubs and such. Long story short, there will be no containing James Harden in Orlando. Harden’s regular appearances at strip clubs put him on the top of my list of players most likely to break the NBA bubble rules.

Rising Senior Jamel King Talks Recruitment

In January, Jamel King transferred from Paul Bryant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to well known prep school, Bella Vista Prep in Scottsdale, Arizona. Throughout the process of transferring Jamel King decided to reclassify from the class of 2020 to the class of 2021. This is never a bad thing for any high school prospect, and for Jamel it gives him one more year to develop and gain more and more offers.

King is currently rated as a 3/4star depending on the site you look at and will continue to rise in the rankings as a very talented small forward. At 6-foot-7 he can shoot it from outside and has the athleticism to finish extremely well around the rim.

I spoke to him about his recruitment and says the schools recruiting him the hardest are, “Western Kentucky, Tulsa, Tennessee state, USF, Charlotte and Murray State.” Some very notable names on this list which will continue to grow. He just started to gain high major interest and says, “Iowa state, St. John, Iona, VCU and Arizona state” are amongst new schools showing interest.

Once again as coronavirus has prevented in-person recruiting, King has been able to complete virtual visits with Tulsa and Murray State. Eventually as he continues to gain interest and offers, more meetings will be completed and if his decision takes a little while, he will be able to eventually visit schools.

What is King looking for in his decision? He says, “I’m looking for a place I can call home. I want to pick a college that’s fun, caring, and all about business.”

Keep an eye on Jamel’s recruitment as he continues gaining offers and interest from bigger and bigger schools. King’s goal is to become a top 50 player and can definitely achieve that.

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