NBA, Uncategorized

Charlotte Hornets Newcomers paying big dividends early in 2015

The Charlotte Hornets are over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2013 season when they were 43-39. With the 25- point victory over the hopeless 76ers the Hornets are 8-6 to begin the 2015 season. It’s been the most entertaining basketball as seen in the Queen city since the buzz returned.

The Newcomers

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The front office and GM Rich Cho were busy this off-season trying to improve their bench and three point shooting. They were able to pull off some savvy trades to do just what they set out to. We were able to acquire Nicolas Batum, who sort of became a cast-off in Portland with their stars.

Batum has taken to his expanded role with the Hornets averaging 17.1 points per game, 3.8 assists and six rebounds a stat sheet stuffer thus far in 2015. I know it’s only 15 games into the season, but I think Portland regrets letting him go; the Hornets are benefiting greatly from this move. The Frenchman has been a great addition to this team providing great leadership as well he has been everything and more the Hornets wanted when they made this move.

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Another guy the team was able to acquire was Jeremy Lamb who had been determined the odd man out in Oklahoma City and boy I’m glad he was. Since becoming a hornet, he has given us a jolt of energy with his silky jumper and his ability to create at the offensive end of the floor.

He is averaging 12.5 points and 4.5 rebounds coming off the bench; proving the Hornets were right again in making this move. Lamb’s good play was rewarded with a three-year $21 million contract extension that it this point looks like a steal. The Hornets have done an amazing job finding great NBA talent that other teams have forgotten about.

 

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The team has also added Jeremy Lin and Spencer Hawes two guys that have also given us a shot in the arm coming off the bench with their ability to shoot threes and rebound. Jeremy Lin a great ability to create offense and allow Kemba Walker to play off the ball creating more offensive weapons on the floor much more than previous years. He is also putting up solid numbers averaging 11.8 points per game 3 assists and 2.8 rebounds helping the Hornets to one of the best benches in the league.

The newcomers have created a myriad of options for coach Steve Clifford to choose from if one lineup or another isn’t working. With Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson having a great cast around  taking the pressure off of  those guys  games to shine through it’s been fun to see.

The best part about this team is it’s a team effort every night and there’s always someone new making an impact on the game. The front office went into this off-season with a plan and it’s paying off big time. This season has a chance to be very special in the Queen City just like another team in the Carolinas this season!

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Carolina Panthers, Uncategorized

Cam Newton is the NFL MVP

As we head into week 10 of the NFL season there are two undefeated teams remaining the New England Patriots and my Carolina Panthers! Many people may think I am biased when I say Cam Newton is the NFL’s MVP this season easy!  Why? He has proved it and the MVP is the most valuable player and this year Newton is that guy. He has led this team to the game winning drives, controlling this offense putting the team in the best plays possible keep in mind this is without the number one wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. 

He has accounted for 21 total touchdowns 15 passing and six rushing a dual threat quarterback that will do anything necessary to win a game. He has his fingerprints all over the game; a stat that I found mind-boggling is 46% of the time that he runs the ball it either result in a first down or a touchdown doing it multiple ways creating massive headaches for opponents so much fun to watch.

The reality is his stats are never going to match Tom Brady’s but there is no comparison to the personnel around Tom Brady and Cam Newton he has been able to take unheralded wide receivers and help them develop into solid wide receivers that you can trust. I understand Julian Edelman just one out with a broken foot and they lost Dion Lewis to an ACL injury now they have just Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola, those guys are still major names that have had great success at the NFL level. The Panthers do have one of the best tight ends and Greg Olsen, but after that there’s Ted Ginn JR, Philly Brown, and Devin Funchess nowhere near what Brady has had the opportunity to work with. Cam Newton has brought out the best in these young guys that keep developing and getting better every week. Newton’s stats to be as flashy as Brady’s, but if you take Cam off the Panthers we wouldn’t be where we are right now chasing that Lombardi trophy.

Also Newton game has matured greatly this year not sulking and pouting when games weren’t going our way, just shaking it off and cheering on the rest of his teammates. His accuracy is improving as well Sunday against the Titans completed a career-best 11 straight passes showing he can do it all to help this team win! Oh, I almost forgot he has 29 games with at least one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown just two from Hall of Famer Steve Young’s record of 31 if that alone doesn’t put you in the MVP conversation I don’t know what will. People may not like the Cam Newton swagger well get over it because unless you stop him you’re going to get it every time! His game isn’t modeled by stats it’s modeled by W’s and that’s all he cares about what he’s done with this depleted roster is absolutely amazing! A lot of the time the MVP is determined by stats, but this year looking at the entire package Cam Newton is clearly the MVP of the league.

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MLB

My reaction to the Simmons trade

The Atlanta Braves continue this massive rebuild that has become extremely painful for fans; the best way I could describe it is taking punches to the gut every single time a fan favorite has been traded in the last year and a half. This continued yesterday as the team shipped defensive wizard 2- time gold glove winner Andrelton Simmons to the Angels for Erick Aybar and the top two pitching prospects Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis.

This trade shows the team has a plan and are sticking to it I definitely respect that. I really am going to miss Simmons and his masterful glove work this one is really hard to swallow. The reality is his bat never developed as we had hoped and his contract was going to get pricey very soon. Those are some of the reasons the front office felt this deal had to be made. I don’t necessarily agree with the move, but think about it, we had Craig Kimbrel, Evan Gattis, Justin Upton, Jason Heyward and Andrelton Simmons on the team at the same time and we still weren’t able to become a serious contender in that time. It was time for something to change and the team has taken a very active approach in restocking a dried up pipeline to the major leagues.

The New Braves 

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This trade is similar to the others, we were able to acquire the Angels top two pitching prospects and a stopgap shortstop who is solid in Erick Aybar. Sean Newcomb is 6’5 240 pound left-hander who has an electric fastball 93 to 97 tops out at 99 with a changeup and a curveball to go with it. Many baseball experts say he has ace potential and will more than likely be up in the majors next season. He is just 22 years old in the minor league career, he is 9-4 with 2.75 ERA. He has a very high upside and I’m very excited to see what he can do when he gets his opportunity.

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Chris Ellis is a 23-year-old right-hander that I would compare to Kris Medlen because he doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he said to have a really good changeup experts say he needs a little more time to develop and figure out if he is best used out of the bullpen or as a starter he could be up in the middle of 2016 or more likely to 2017. These two guys have great upside and are great additions to a now stacked minor-league system. We now have a lot of options to sort through and figure out what’s best for our organization and the ability to flip some of these top prospects for major league talent specifically offensive players to go with this young pitching we have accumulated.

By no means am I happy getting rid of fan favorites and good baseball players, but the reality is it’s a rebuild and nobody is safe. We clearly have a plan and are sticking to it even though it’s hard for fans to swallow. This is just the first week of a wild and wacky off-season to come brace yourself Braves fans there could be more punches to come. We must trust the process and don’t forget we do have $30 million in cap space to spend so who knows what we have up our sleeves stay positive! Go Braves!

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Carolina Panthers, NFL

CARDIAC Cats keep rolling

The only thing certain when watching a Carolina Panthers game is you’ll need heart attack medication to survive this entire NFL season. This week was no different as the Panthers had a 37-14 lead in the fourth quarter against the Aaron Rodger led Packers! It was too easy to think we were going to just cruise to the victory that’s just not in our DNA we needed a fourth down goal line stand with 1:54 to hold on for the 37-29 victory to continue this magical season and improve to 8-0 on the season. Here are some key takeaways from this signature victory.

Newton shines again

cam-newton-panthers-qb1The Carolina Panthers put their faith in Cam Newton this off-season signing him to a five-year hundred million dollar contract; he has proven it was the right decision leading this team in every aspect of his game. Yesterday was no different he was 15-30 for 297 yards and four total touchdowns he did have a critical interception, giving the Packers the opportunity to tie us at the end of the game, but he didn’t sulk in the moment and just cheered on his teammates showing that he continues to mature even after mistakes.

He also was able to open up the offense with some down the field passes some absolute dimes that could have been thrown any better his game just keeps maturing every single game, adding new weapons to his arsenal, making his case for NFL MVP even stronger. Newton gets criticized a lot for his style of play and sometimes his attitude when things are not going well, but this season he is silencing those critics and showing he is an amazing football player and a great leader’s and 8-0 speaks for itself!

Funchess comes up huge

563fce183e8aa.imageThe Carolina Panthers drafted Devin Funchess in the second round of this year’s draft; he has gone through some growing pains in his rookie year and we had to show some patience, but it’s paid off as Sunday he had his best NFL game to date. He had three catches for 71 yards and his first career touchdown that was the eventual game-winner it was awesome to see his hard work finally pay off and creating confidence for Newton to be able to rely on the youngster to make the big plays when needed no matter the situation. That’s another thing I love about this team yes, we lost our number one target to a season-ending injury, but our team continues to grow and mature and get better at each of those positions and Funchess took a huge step forward today and I’m excited to see how he continues to develop!

The Defense does it again

09panthers-facebookJumboThe defense may have given up 29 points, but they harassed Aaron Rodgers all day getting six sacks and forcing two key turnovers. The defense has been the backbone of this team creating short fields, allowing our offense to get into rhythm and have the attitude of bend but don’t break making the critical play when needed! It’s not just one guy it’s a collective effort and Sunday it was the ageless wonder Thomas Davis, who came up with the game saving pick. As I said the defense harassed Rogers all day getting in his face and that is what allowed Davis to get that interception just an overall team effort on both sides of the ball it was awesome to see us pull out this victory and if that doesn’t show people that we are for real I don’t know what will.

Conclusion

c88d406299647a706240cfc3c5880f4bOverall, it was just another day at the office for the Carolina Panthers pulling out the victory anyway possible. We don’t ever make it easy for the fans, but we continue to win and never give up no matter how the game ends up playing out and all that matters is the scoreboard and right now it says 8-0. GO PANTHERS! Have your heart medication ready because we are going to need it for this stretch run!

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