Posts Tagged ‘Comparisons’

Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson is fuming at the suggestion that his team is less of a Super Bowl contender without Carson Wentz.

The Eagles secured the NFC’s top seed but are considered a betting underdog when they host the Atlanta Falcons this weekend.

Many believed that the Eagles’ goal of winning the Super Bowl vanished when Wentz suffered a season-ending torn ACL, but Johnson isn’t having any of it.

“What bothered me was we were 12-2 (at the time) and treated like we were the (Cleveland) Browns,” Johnson said via ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. “It happens, but I think although we don’t like it, it’s a good motivator to have people not write good things. I think it’s the best motivator there is and you can go and change it.”

Johnson appears to be using these perceived slights as motivation ahead of Saturday’s game against the Falcons.

“I think everybody perceives us as being the weakest and that is fine. I think that is good. I think if teams want to overlook us, that is good. We’ll just see about Saturday. … We’re excited. We know what people are saying.”

Advertisements

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr sees the public fawning over LaVar Ball as part of a bigger and more troubling trend.

Kerr compared the Ball family to the Kardashians as part of a larger critique of the media after LaVar slammed Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton.

“Somewhere, I guess in Lithuania, LaVar Ball is laughing. People are eating out of his hands for no apparent reason, other than that he’s become the Kardashian of the NBA or something,” Kerr said, according to Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle.

“That sells, and that’s what is true in politics, entertainment, and now sports. It doesn’t matter if there’s any substance involved in an issue.”

The Balls, like the Kardashians, have their own reality TV shows since people seem to hang on their every move. While they receive no shortage of negative public feedback, they still manage to stay relevant.

“This is not a condemnation of ESPN,” Kerr added. “It’s not. It’s a societal issue. It’s been going on for many, many years, and it’s really, I think, invading the sports world now.”

 

Chris Paul lost a game Wednesday night for the first time this season, and even then, it came with the caveat that he couldn’t finish the contest due to an adductor injury.

Paul is thriving in his first season in Houston, and the Rockets are thriving along with him, racking up a 14-1 record in games he’s suited up for. And, after spending 12 campaigns as the chief offensive orchestrator in New Orleans and Los Angeles, the eight-time All-NBA point guard doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that he’s had to adapt his style, move off the ball, become a secondary playmaker, and take a backseat to James Harden in the Rockets’ offense. On the contrary, Paul says he’s thrilled with the developments.

He expressed as much to Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni after D’Antoni apologized for taxing Paul with 34 minutes of playing time in Monday’s win over the Utah Jazz.

“Thirty-four here is like 25 in L.A.,” Paul told D’Antoni, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe. “Not having to dribble the ball up every time – this is a breeze.”

It’s not a novel concept for Paul. As he pondered leaving the Clippers as a free agent this past offseason, he said he was tired of needing to handle the ball so frequently. Choosing the Rockets appeared to signal his desire for change.

“It’s neither here nor there at this point, but I was asking for a while to get the ball out of my hands,” he told Lowe.

The Rockets’ offense is fast, free-flowing, and improvisational, and Paul insists he doesn’t miss the more methodical set plays he used to quarterback with the Clippers.

“How many times have we run floppy this season?” he asked reporters rhetorically after the Jazz game, according to Lowe. “Ze-ro. Zero. We don’t even have floppy in the playbook.”

In all, Paul’s touches per game have come down from 86.2 per game to 69.1, his average number of dribbles per touch from 4.92 to 4.68, and his average time of possession per game from 7.6 minutes to 6.1.

The upshot? He’s scoring 1.61 points per possession on spot-ups (good for the 99.4th percentile in the league), and the Rockets have posted a 119.3 offensive rating with him on the floor. It probably won’t always be this easy, but for now it seems like a breeze, indeed.

 
 

Most NHL players are tight-lipped when it comes to anything relating to contract negotiations, but Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is the rare exception.

In an interview with Craig Custance of The Athletic, Doughty revealed that he will be in contact with fellow superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson at some point prior to the 2019 free-agency period, when both players are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents.

“I know I’m going to talk to Karlsson back and forth, kind of see what money he’s looking for. I’ll kind of look at what money I’m looking for,” Doughty said. “I don’t know if he’s going to re-sign with Ottawa, I don’t know if I’ll re-sign with L.A. You just never know what’s going to happen.”

While Doughty didn’t get into exact salary demands, he did note that P.K. Subban‘s contract, which comes with a $9-million cap hit – the most among NHL defensemen – should be the benchmark.

“Right now, I guess we’d be gauging off what P.K. makes,” Doughty said. “I think both of us deserve quite a bit more than that.”

Doughty and Karlsson are widely considered the two best defensemen in the NHL, so it’s hard to argue that they don’t deserve to be paid accordingly.

As to where Doughty would like to wind up if he doesn’t reach an extension with the Kings by July 1, 2019, he didn’t rule out his boyhood team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Growing up, watching them every single time, it’s hard to say you’d never want to play for the Leafs,” he said.

While that comment may have Leafs fans salivating, Doughty reiterated his love for L.A.

“I love this organization,” Doughty said. “I love the players. That’s where I would really, really, really feel bad, if I left some of the players. I’ve done so much in this organization. I’m comfortable here. L.A. is going to be my No. 1 choice to re-sign here. But you never know what can happen, right?”

Only time will tell.

The fact that Colin Kaepernick isn’t in the NFL, despite so many quarterbacks with worse resumes being employed instead, does not add up for Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.

James firmly believes that Kaepernick, who holds a career passer rating of 88.9, is easily an NFL-caliber player that is being blackballed for his beliefs.

“I love football, but I’m not part of the NFL,” James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I don’t represent the NFL. I don’t know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing, I do know that.

“Just watching, he’s an NFL player. He’s an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he’s been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that.”

Since opting out of his contract last March, a total of 42 quarterbacks have been signed while Kaepernick waits, according to a study by Martenzie Johnson of The Undefeated. Some of those accomplished luminaries include David Fales, Matt McGloin, and Brandon Weeden.

So why isn’t he in the league? James points out the obvious with Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and the systematic oppression of people of color in America.

“The only reason I could say he’s not on a team is because the way he took a knee. That’s the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night,” James said.

“I see all these quarterbacks – first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks – that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let’s just be honest.”

James, another socially conscious athlete who uses his platform to affect change, compared Kaepernick’s activism to the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali.

“I’ve commended Kap, and for him to sacrifice everything for the greater good for everyone, for what he truly believed in, the utmost respect to him. Obviously he had a vision like Martin Luther King and like some of our all-time greats that people couldn’t see further than what they were doing at the point and time. And Muhammad Ali and things of that nature,” James said.

“When it’s something that’s new and it’s something that people are not educated about or don’t understand what your beliefs are all about, people are so quick to judge and people are so quick to say that what you’re doing is wrong.

“For him to sacrifice the sport that he plays and to sacrifice the things he’s done his whole life because he knew what he believed in, I salute him. I salute and respect that.”

Russell Westbrook might be the most aggressive basketball player on the planet.

That approach to the game had Jason Kidd comparing the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard to one of the most feared boxers ever.

“He is the (Mike) Tyson of basketball,” the Milwaukee Bucks coach said Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell.

“When the jump ball (goes up), he is coming as Tyson did (in getting) off the stool. When the bell rings, he’s coming for you. Whenever he’s on the floor, he plays at one speed and that’s fast and hard.”

Kidd, who had a Hall of Fame-worthy career as an NBA guard, wasn’t done praising Westbrook.

“He’s the best in the game,” the 10-time All-Star said. “Puts a lot of pressure on your defense, offensively and defensively.”

Those words rang true later Tuesday, as the reigning league MVP registered 12 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists in 26 minutes as OKC stomped the Bucks 110-91 at Bradley Center.

Comparing modern-day athletes to the stars of yesteryear is a sports tradition, but Steve Kerr took that the extra mile Thursday.

In heaping praise upon his point guard Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors coach made two separate comparisons that shed light on how Kerr views Curry’s ascension over the last few years.

“I’ve said it many times, he reminds me so much of Tim Duncan,” Kerr said, according to 95.7 The Game’s John Dickinson. “He’s got this incredible package of skill, arrogance, and humility. That’s a weird combination.”

While Duncan and Curry play vastly different positions, their influence over their respective championship teams was, and is, unquestioned. When the Warriors rose to prominence in 2014, one of the most automatic analogies was to compare them to the “:07 Seconds or LessPhoenix Suns squads of the mid-2000s, led by Steve Nash.

As such, Kerr reiterated something he’s said in the past, that Curry is a more bionic version of Nash. “Steph is like Nash on steroids,” the coach said. “He’s faster and quicker and he’s shooting from 35 feet instead of 25 feet.”

While Curry remains the Warriors’ catalyst, it’s difficult to see him winning a third NBA MVP award on a roster that now features Kevin Durant. He’s still in solid aforementioned company however – like both Duncan and Nash, collecting two Maurice Podoloff Trophies.