Posts Tagged ‘Praise’

Lonzo Ball‘s unorthodox shooting form and weak percentages during his rookie campaign with the Los Angeles Lakers drew a great deal of criticism.

The 20-year-old point guard is at least self aware of his shortcomings as a shooter, which is why he took it upon himself to try and improve that facet of his game by reworking his form over the summer.

“”We didn’t want to bother him [his shot],” said team president Magic Johnson on Thursday, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “I think he decided to do that on his own.

“And, man, it is beautiful.”

Johnson said that Ball now brings the ball more in front of him and does the same with his follow through. Where he sets and releases his shot hasn’t changed.

“I think his shot looks incredible,” added general manager Rob Pelinka. “He was here every day. He was one of the most committed guys this offseason. … The way he’s shooting the ball looks a lot more fluid now.

“One of the things about his college metrics is he was an outstanding 3-point shooter. With this team, with so many different ball handlers, I think that’s a strength for him. If he pushes it ahead to someone and runs and fills a spot, and he’s a catch-and-shoot player, he’s going to have the ability, I think, to be a good shooter.”

Ball converted 41.2 percent of his 3-pointers during his lone season at UCLA, with that number dropping to just 30.5 percent during his first season in the NBA. The second overall pick of the 2017 draft shot 36 percent overall across 52 outings, including 33.5 percent on the catch-and-shoot and 31.7 percent on pullup shots.

Of the 154 players in the Association who played 1,700 or more total minutes, Ball ranked 153rd in true shooting percentage at 44.4 percent.

He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in July and will be ready for the start of Lakers training camp, although he’ll initially be held out of five-on-five drills.

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Randy Orton has been with WWE for over 16 years and someone who is that familiar with the WWE Universe needs to constantly reinvent himself. We’ve seen that from Orton during his feud with Jeff Hardy as a darker, more sinister Orton seems to enjoy inflicting pain upon his opponents.

Mark Henry talked about this new Orton after witnessing him thread a screwdriver through Hardy’s earlobe at Hell in a Cell.

“[Randy] is one of the most underrated guys of all-time,” Henry said on Busted Open Radio. “His accolades speak for themselves, his talents speak for themselves. Randy is getting meaner and more vicious. He started off very smooth and fluid. Usually guys like him don’t rise to the level of excellence that he’s rose to, but he’s been able to do that.”

Orton is a Grand Slam champion and has held the WWE Championship nine times in his career, but he’s yet to have the Universal Title around his waist. While that title is native to Raw and Orton is on SmackDown, Henry believes Orton should be a part of the World Title hunt.

“Randy needs to be in that conversation for ‘Universal Champion’ type roles. He’s that good,” said Henry.

Orton forced Hardy to leave Hell in a Cell on a stretcher so The Viper will likely move onto someone new to feud with. There’s no word on who that might be, but judging from Orton’s actions at SmackDown following Hell in a Cell, we can expect this same “meaner and more vicious” Orton moving forward.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski admitted he was outplayed Sunday by the Jacksonville Jaguars‘ suffocating – and equally brash – defense.

“They did a good job overall,” Gronkowski said after the Patriots fell 31-20 in northern Florida, according to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. “I just have to watch the film, how they did it. They’ve got good players. I have to play better. They did a good job. They’re a good team.”

Covered primarily by safety Tashaun Gipson, Gronkowski was limited to two receptions for 15 yards. He entered the contest under a microscope after Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey called him overrated during the offseason.

“It’s difficult versus a team like that,” Gronkowski said. “You have to be prepared, you have to ready. You have to find the openings. That’s one thing I didn’t do.”

It was a frustrating day all around for the Patriots, who were dominated by Jacksonville in a rematch of last year’s AFC title game. Gronkowski had one reception for 21 yards in that affair, though he was knocked out early with a concussion.

“A lot of people wanted to see the matchup with Jalen so I apologize I didn’t give them that matchup,” Gipson said after his standout performance against Gronkowski, per NFL Network’s Michael Giardi.

” … I feel I have never met a tight end I couldn’t cover. I have been doing this since last year and it’s a matchup I was excited about. (Gronkowski) wasn’t excited about it as I was because I am just Tashaun Gipson. … When you turn on the tape, you can see what it looked like.”

Gronkowski, who posted seven receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown against the Houston Texans in the season opener, will look to bounce back in Week 3 versus the Detroit Lions.

Baker Mayfield drew comparisons to Drew Brees out of college, but the New Orleans Saints quarterback doesn’t want the No. 1 overall pick to sell himself short.

“I think he can be a lot better than me,” Brees told reporters Wednesday when asked about the Cleveland Browns rookie, according to ESPN’s Pat McManamon.

Both natives of Austin, Texas, Brees and Mayfield have been likened to one another for their smaller statures and passing accuracy.

The two will meet for the first time Sunday when the Saints and Browns square off, though Mayfield is slated to serve as a backup for Tyrod Taylor once again.

“Man, he’s got all the tools,” Brees said of Mayfield. “He’s more athletic. He probably can run around better. He’s got a stronger arm.”

The 39-year-old Brees added he couldn’t help but notice Mayfield in college, where he became one of the most prolific passers in Oklahoma history and captured the Heisman Trophy in 2017.

“I followed his college career,” said Brees. “Couldn’t have been more impressed with what he was able to accomplish, especially last year. Really impressed with the way he plays the game. I think he’s a great competitor.”

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was glad to be one of the few quarterbacks to avoid the verbal wrath of Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

In a now-infamous GQ interview before the season, Ramsey blasted several highly regarded NFL pivots, but mentioned Brady on his short list of signal-callers that don’t “suck.”

“I never want to suck,” Brady told reporters Wednesday when asked to respond to Ramsey’s assessment. “I don’t want to be in that category.”

While Ramsey didn’t expand much on his analysis of Brady, the future Hall of Fame quarterback offered a longer breakdown of Ramsey, who’s become one of the game’s top corners since entering the league in 2016.

“I mean, he’s a great player,” Brady said. “Yeah, he’s very talented – big, fast, very rare talents, rare abilities, size, speed. They match him up with the top receiver from time to time, and he holds his own versus everybody. So, he’s a great young player.”

Brady and the Patriots are set to take on Ramsey and the Jaguars on Sunday in a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship Game.

Jeff Hardy spoke with The Kingston Whig-Standard on wrestling The Undertaker, going easier in the ring at 40, matches he still wants to be in, and his most painful bump. Here are some of the highlights:

Working with The Undertaker in 2002:

“[The Undertaker was] a huge influence. I mean he is the living legend of WWE. … He is the man. To be a young, up-and-coming Jeff Hardy in the ring with The Undertaker, having that underdog-versus-the-main-eventer match was just great storytelling as far as me almost becoming [a singles] champion for the first time in my career. … Every time I got in the ring with him, it was a learning experience, and every time I watched him, I learned something. I’ve kind of molded myself by watching guys like The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle and kind of taking a little bit from each of them and creating myself.”

Taking it easier in the ring, especially at house shows:

“I’m 40 now and I’ve been pretty banged up lately. Four nights a week is a lot of matches — I mean they add up. And doing that Swanton [Bomb] every night is just rough. I’ve actually cut that out of a lot of events and I’ve just been using the Twist of Fate as a finish and it’s helped my lower back out a lot. I pretty much now save the Swanton for television unless I’m feeling really good at a live event. … I’m a little beat up, but my back is a lot better than it was a few weeks ago. I’ve been having this issue with my elbow, like a nerve issue, and my hand was asleep for probably seven weeks and it’s finally woken. But overall, I mean, I’m 40 years old, I feel pretty good to be wrestling the way I am today in 2018.”

Which matches he still wants to do in his career:

“I definitely want to be in a Hell in the Cell match. That’s one match I’ve never been a part of. And definitely I want to be in a ‘Deletion’-style match, like Matt and Bray did the Ultimate Deletion on our property. Hopefully we’ll get to do another one, one of these days. I can bring Brother Nero back to life.”

Most painful bump in his career:

“By far, it was me and RVD, I forget what year it was, but I had this idea I wanted to go through a table vertically, like long ways and I think it was a 14-foot ladder. I did a swan dive off [the ladder] and he moved and I crashed and burned and the table exploded, and I knew, ‘OK, this is the one. I’m not gonna get up from this.’ I thought I had broken my lower spine. It hurt so bad and it knocked the wind out of me.”

Hardy also discussed goals for his current WWE run and working with Shinsuke Nakamura. You can check out the full interview by clicking here.

Serena Williams supports Nike’s decision to make Colin Kaepernick the face of its “Just Do It” 30th-anniversary campaign.

Williams, who is endorsed by Nike, shared her thoughts on the campaign Tuesday after defeating Karolina Pliskova in straight sets to advance to the US Open semifinals.

“Having a huge company back him, could be a controversial reason for this company, but they’re not afraid and I feel like that was a really powerful statement to a lot of, a lot of other companies,” Williams said, according to Adam Reed of CNBC.com.

Williams also spoke about athletes’ roles in social activism.

“I don’t think athletes have a role to play,” she said. “I feel like … it’s their choice.”

Kaepernick and former San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid were in attendance for Williams’ victory over her sister, Venus Williams, in the third round of the US Open on Friday. Kaepernick tweeted a photo of Williams with his niece after the match.