How the PG position has evolved in the NBA


The role of the point guard in the NBA has changed over the years. It used to be all about ball ?distribution. Point guards were doing one thing better than everyone else – distributing the rock. They used to be a moderate scorer, top ball handler, and your main assist guy. They were the player who made the team work, the true leader of the team on the court. The evolution of the point guard in the NBA has gone into a direction I never saw coming.

The scoring point guard.

Like, as in, scoring 25, 30, 40 points…scoring point guard. These kind of numbers are at a different level.

Growing up, I, like many others in my era, watched the greatest point guard ever, Magic Johnson, orchestrate the game on the court like no other. This was a player who, at 6-9, and even though shot over 50% from the field in his career, only finished as a top 10 scorer in one solitary season ’86-87. Magic probably cold have put up a lot more points in his career, but he chose to run the offense instead of dropping 25-30 every night.

In this day’s NBA, the pass first point guards are very hard to come by. There are numerous reasons behind this, in my opinion. When the NBA stopped hand-checking, it made it a whole lot easier for perimeter players to get their shot off. Which typically opens the game up for smaller guys, aka the point guard. So the smaller PGs in the NBA have more space to look for their own shot more frequently. The lack of post playing bigs, and the stretch big evolution has tremendously opened the game up for the PG. Now when a PG gets himself into the lane, there’s oftentimes no one there to solidly protect the rim vs them.

It seems to be on the surface, that the PG position has evolved because there were a bunch of shooting guards who wanted the ball more, so they learned how to handle the ball better, and called themselves “point guards.” Perfect example, and I am not a huge fan, is Russell Westbrook. He is easily the most athletic PG I have seen play the game. He can score, pass the ball, when he decides to, and an outstanding rebounder. There comes a time to accept the changes, and see what talent this NBA has today. But his game and style in which he plays is everything I never considered when I think of a PG.

We have seen the PG position change with players like, Steph Curry, who is seriously making a legit push to be the best shooter in the history of the NBA. 25 year old John Wall is in incredibly rare and genuine elite passer, who at the time of this article, if he has the expected 15 year career, he will probably end up in the top 7-8 category in this stat, which means he would surpass Gary Payton and Isaiah Thomas. And he also a very talented defender, and one of my personal favorites. And, then we have Chris Paul, who is arguably the best overall point guard in the game. This is the most competitive era in NBA history for the point.

The game has always evolved, and will just continue to do so. In this game today, the point guards are needed to carry more of the scoring load. The game is designed for shooters. And I go back to the point of declining of dominant post play by the old school bigs. And let’s also keep in mind, the play making SGs as well as the 3. The NBA is always moving into a direction to accommodate the players coming in. Yes, it used to be more physical, it used to be dominated by guys down low, bumping shoulders and backing in down low. But today, the game is played outside the paint, its controlled by the 15 foot shot and obviously the three point shot, which is more of a game changer than ever these days. Think about his fun fact, in 1990, the top three point shooter, Vernon Maxwell, had 172 made treys, on 510 attempts, hitting only 34%. In 2015, Stephen Curry shot 646 treys, knocking down 286 at an incredible 44% shooting pct. It’s a head shaking era.

The NBA is much more 3 point driven now, so everyone at every position shoots the deep ball. It’s not a commodity anymore, its part of the game, the game plan goes off of the three point shot. The league is geared towards athletic shooting PG’s and the wing player. We can look at the top 10 players in the NBA, and the majority are all in the 1-3 positions now. The PG position is becoming the position to be in, in basketball today. Your job isn’t just to get the ball to the best shooter, or the big down low. You have skills that allow you to do that, as well as, drop 25 in a quick second.

Let’s just enjoy what the game has become, today. We can have a serious, conversation between players like Steph, Paul, Kyrie Irving, Westbrook, Damian Lillard, John Wall, all of whom are great PG’s in the NBA today. It comes down to what everyone expects as what they want from their PG for their team. It is all a matter of preference. Give me anytime in the NBA, when we have witnessed at least 10 candidates competing for one specific position as the best. The PG position is overflowing with talent. We used to have 3-5 guys who were considered the best PGs in the game, we can look at a boatload of guys now, and have a serious debate as to what we can be comfortable with naming the best of the PG’s.

The game is changing, and it’s not all bad.

Mike Anthony of

Betting the NFL preseason in 2015

NFL Preseason

Betting the NFL Preseason in 2015
by Jeff Hochman of

The Hall of Fame Game is the first NFL preseason game of the year, which closes the annual Hall of Fame enshrinement festivities. On August 9th, 2015, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings will get the ball rolling.

You will hear people say “Don’t bet on NFL Preseason Football”. Big Mistake! It’s actually easier than capping the regular season. In most cases you can read ahead of time the exact game plan for each team. I feel the NFL preseason is a great opportunity to start and build a nice bankroll for the upcoming regular season.

Many handicappers have the opinion that the preseason games should be left alone and not bet on. I feel just the opposite. If you do your homework, the preseason offers the betting public a tremendous chance to make a lot of money. Here are some key factors to consider when betting NFL Preseason football in 2015.

1) Depth


This one is obvious. Jo public gets so worked up about the starters and skill position players on certain teams during the regular season. But they’re the same in the preseason. Teams that can go two- and three-deep at the skill positions have a decided advantage over a club that has a few stars that will be sitting after the first or second series. A perfect example of that is a team like the Philadelphia Eagles, who will have Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley, and possibly Tim Tebow. All four QB’s have NFL game experience and have a distinct advantage over a club like Detroit, who has a solid #1 in Matthew Stafford but a shakey #2 in Kellen Moore and #3 Dan Orlovsky. Orlovsky hasn’t thrown a pass since 2012. Another team that will sport three solid QB’s this preseason are the Dallas Cowboys with a healthy Tony Romo, Brandon Weeden, and Dustin Vaughan. The Cowboys are very high on Vaughan’s skill level.

Quarterbacks are key. NFL Preseason wagers, just like those during the Regular Season, often come down to the last eight minutes of a game. So find teams that have solid depth at QB and/or has some experience or success in the league. They’ll have a tremendous advantage in the closing moments of a game against a third or fourth-string defense.


2) Experience


I don’t necessarily mean which team has the most grizzled veterans on it. In fact, experience can be a detriment. Most Vets hate preseason games. And teams that have established players in certain positions or roles will often see those guys mail it in during the preseason because they know the games are “meaningless” and already have their “jobs” locked up.

However, experience is a key factor when it comes to coaching systems. Organizations that haven’t experienced much turnaround have a significant advantage over those that are easing in a new brain trust. For example, New England has been running Bill Belichick’s system for many years. They’re going to be much sharper than a team that is changing offenses. Take the Cleveland Browns for example. They are breaking in a rookie offensive coordinator in John DeFilippo. There is going to be a major adjustment period for the Browns this August. Keying on clubs that have familiarity & continuity, and finding clubs that are much less comfortable with their new systems is a big key when wagering on preseason games.


3) First-Year Head Coaches with new team (Full Season)


We have seven for the 2015-16 season. First year head coaches can be tricky but generally perform very well in their first August home game. A lot of expectations are put on these guys coming in. They want to show the Owner, General Manager, and fans that he is the right man for the job. Setting the tone early means playing to win in the preseason.

Atlanta Falcons: Dan Quinn

Buffalo Bills: Rex Ryan

Oakland Raiders: Jack Del Rio

Chicago Bears: John Fox

Denver Broncos: Gary Kubiak

San Francisco 49ers: Jim Tomsula

NY Jets: Todd Bowles

4) Competition/Philosophy


If you know how head coaches were raised and what their philosophies are than you will have a big advantage this August. I know all the personalities/traits of every single HC in the NFL which helps me beat the books in August. I will give you one HC that preaches competition from his players down to the ball boy. That would be Pete Carroll of the Seahawks. His philosophy at USC was to create competition along with a winning attitude. That has continued since moving to the NFL. Pete Carroll is 25-11 ATS in his career when playing in August. On the flip side, Ken Whisenhunt uses the preseason to scout his younger players. His 9-19 ATS career preseason record is very telling.


5) Motivation

If you watched the NFL for any number of years you should know that not every Head Coach cares about winning in the NFL Preseason. Different HC’s have different agendas when playing August Football and they all pretty much stick to their beliefs. I gave you two very good examples above that should hold true once again this upcoming season.

Each coach handles the preseason differently. Some put a premium on the second game. For some it’s the third or even the fourth. Some coaches just mess around and tinker with their lineups during the preseason and use it to evaluate their younger guys. But here’s the key – and this is a big difference between the regular season and preseason football – most coaches are forthright about what the game plan will be. All you have to do is a little research from the local beat writers.


6) Scheduling


The preseason schedule generally isn’t too taxing on the teams and players. But there are quirks. The two teams that play the Hall of Fame Game are a good bet to fade in their next game. If some players are a bit banged up then you can expect those guys to be watching in street clothes. Keep an a close watch on how the players from the Steelers and Vikings come out of the Hall of Fame game.

7) Jeff’s NFL Preseason system to consider

If you are looking for a very solid system/angle in the NFL preseason here is one to consider this year. Teams that begin 0-2 SU over the last ten years are 49-32 against-the-spread in their very next game. Head Coaches/owners tend to get very nervous when they get off to a bad start, even in the preseason, and they have their team ready for that third game. Most teams will take that 0-2 team lightly, thus making those winless teams a smart play by the Wise Guys.


Look for more Football articles in the coming weeks. Jeff was ranked No. 2 in the NFL last season at The Sports Monitor of OK, cashing just under 70%. Early Bird Football packages are now on sale.

Jeff Hochman of VegasTopDogs.

Who is the real leader on the surprising Atlanta Hawks

This season has definitely not looked the way many people, fans or expert analysts expected it to look this deep into the season thus far. I am more than certain no one had the Hawks, who were 38-44 in 2013 and crawled in at the 8 slot to be a playoff seed. To being a potential 60 game winning team that is scoring 103 a night and playing some great defense as well.
The Hawks have one of the deepest and most complete teams in the Eastern Conference. And with Mike Budenholzer coaching them, he has kept them motivated, playing great team ball. The Hawks have been making good teams look bad, by playing good basketball. Many naysayers have wanted to throw a lot of what they have done this season, as being a lucky team. But, after 50+ games it’s about that time to seriously look at this team as a title contender. I question if the Cavs can guard them, I don’t see the Wizards being able to outscore them. And on top of that, the Bulls have absolutely no continuity.
The sign of any good team is to handle your business vs the inferior teams as well. They have obliterated the inferior opponents they have faced. Taking down teams that the top 5 in the East should beat. And they have also compiled a pretty impressive win streak as well, with their big 19 gamer. If you have any question as if the Hawks are truly currently in the mix, do not dismiss them because of the schedule they have been handed, early in the season.
The East is wide open, so why not the Hawks this year?
They have had many guys on the team contribute, which reminds me of the Detroit Pistons in a weird sort of way, when they had Rip, Chauncy and Rasheed Wallace as their team in 2003, when they were a title winner. Where there biggest and baddest scoring threat was Rip, dropping 18 a night.
Paul Milsap has been excellent in his role. Jeff Teague has been fantastic, scoring the ball at 17 a game, and his ball distribution as well, 8 dimes. He has quick hands, making plays that are both smart and decisive. Teague has seemingly stepped in to play the “Tony Parker” type role, by his distributing the ball and scoring when needed.
They are showing some styles that are similar to some of the past great teams, playing a style like the Spurs have in the past, as well as the Pistons of the past. Playing with confidence and great teamwork. They change their game and they know the biggest threats on the court, and they then adjust to the biggest threats. And when on offense, they stay spaced out on the court, to make the right basketball play repeatedly.
As far as the team goes, the man who keeps the wheels going forward has been Al Horford, the biggest key to the teams success. Big Al has progressed from the one dimensional player from the past. He has bounced back after his torn right pectoral muscle that had him lose the majority of last season. Horford has returned this year as the anchor, on both the offensive side as well as the defensive side of things.
They would not be nearly this good without his solid shooting. He makes opposing defenses break down in the middle because of him, as well as his midrange game, spreads the court a bit as well.
Horford, has finally seemed to come into the game. He has played better than he has in 8 seasons. He gives the Hawks a big enough presence in the paint to disrupt opponents’ offenses. And, he has shown he can protect the rim as well, with his shot blocking ability.
The fact that the Hawks have so many playmakers, he may not always be able to showcase his importance, on the scoreboard and stuffing the stat lines. If he actually had the freedom to play loose every night, his numbers would be even more impressive. Al is not expected to get your typical center rebounding numbers, in the 10-12 range. They like to keep the team spacing, and rebounding has been a team effort, which is why 5 players are getting 4 or more boards a game.
Horford could easily average 24 and 10 if he played more on his own style of play, but that’s not the case. He has bought in full fledged, and is into the Hawks system. And he is with them 100%. The best players are willing to sacrifice their own stats for the team. unfortunately, it’s not often enough. Without Horford, the Hawks would be a very average team, and would not be nearly the team they are now. To put into perspective, Horford has scored in double figures all but a handful of games, including many 20 point games, this season. He has a multitude of double doubles.
Knocking down 54% from the field, which is currently at 9th best in the NBA. As far as a defender he is 21st in the league in blocks. If the Hawks keep going in this direction, with Big Al, healthy, and in the lineup, they truly are one of the most impossible teams to defend.
Written by TonyK for

What Kevin Love gives LeBron James


This season 4 time MVP LeBron James is getting to play alongside one of the best knock down shooters in the game, Kevin Love. A different kind of big man with some really interesting skills that far exceed Bosh in a number of ways, it’s not too shabby of a trade off if you ask me.

KLove brought a lot to the table alongside LeBron, that Bosh didn’t bring in Miami. Now, granted Bosh had to change his gamestyle to play with LeBron and Wade in Miami, Love has to adapt to do the same thing. Big difference to me is the fact that when Bosh came from Toronto, Bosh had a high post game. Love’s is the perimeter, which I thought would be far better for LeBron. Bosh was forced into playing more perimeter last year as he became a bearable perimeter threat at best last year, putting up a career-high 218 triples and hitting 74, for a 34%. Before 2013, Bosh was not anything close to pulling up for the deep ball, with his career high in attempts only being 74. But it’s also worth noting when Bosh was there he also was never a convincing rebounder. Now James also has a more than dominant rebounding force in the paint.

But, if we look at something else, it changes things drastically. In the 2014 Finals, Bosh couldn’t stop a 37 year old Tim Duncan, who scored 15 a game with ease, and owned several games with his rebounding and his dead spot on shooting, over Bosh repeatedly. Bottom line, Duncan owned him throughout.

There’s no question about it, The Cavs are a poor offensive team. And, their defense is heavily relying on LeBron and Kyrie Irving (and that’s not saying much) other than that, they truly don’t have other than above-average defenders. Giving up 101 oppg and a whopping 47 FG%.

Now, Kevin Love was never given credit as much of a leader in Minnesota. Now he doesn’t need to be one in Cleveland with LeBron. Love, drew the attention of entire defensive game plans in Minnesota, where he was the sole scorer and still did whatever he wanted. Now, if the Wolves had made the playoffs a few times, I guarantee most people would have considered him a top 5 player, but because of horrendous teams he was buried with he is looked at a little contrarily. Truthfully, his numbers speak for themselves, statistically he’s pretty much currently behind only LeBron and Durant as far as “wow numbers with players.”

Love is the best of the best as the new mold of next-generation stretch the court bigman. A PF and possible C dropping 30 footers at an alarming rate, 190 in 2013, 440 for his career, and Love’s assist avg cracked 4.4 in his final season with the Wolves. Love is exactly the kind of perimeter threat that teams love to have in their frontcourt. This year, though, he has been endurable with just 64 deep balls, hitting just 43 % of his shots, and getting just 13 shots a game.

James has to step up and be the unquestioning leader here now. Imagine what Love could do with James attracting most of the attention. Sharp shooters, Kyrie and Kevin are both much better 3 point shooters than Wade and Bosh ever were. And with a quick eye, and big body, Love is arguably the best outlet passing big man in the game, which should be fantastic for LeBron and Kyrie, who both can wheel downcourt in seconds.

Tristan Thompson was a 12/9 big last year and coming off the bench this year, so he is suddenly a very viable big to come off the bench who can produce points, and rebounds, taking the load off of Love as well. And he has been all season.

Problem has been, can Love adapt like Bosh did in Miami?

I believe that the issues lie deeper. I look more to Kyrie as not helping matters for Love. LeBron and Love, I think would be just fine. Love is a far better player than Chris Bosh ever was, Love is a top 8 player in the league and Bosh is around top 30 at his best.

The Cavs have to get something working right, because they could be more fun that the Heat were when they formed the Heatles. And it starts with Kyrie learning what team work actually is.








Which NFL QB would you want for the next 10 years:

Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles?
From the draft this year, we saw some names pop up that got great recognition early on, and we saw names pop out of nowhere later. Johnny Manziel has very good arm strength, loaded up with the natural athletic tools that can potentially become a danger in the NFL. He slings the ball with ease, but, right now it’s very hard to consider him a serious QB in the NFL. Saying things like he needs to ‘take this more seriously’, isn’t helping the cause for him at this point. Granted, if getting his game together, he does have the effortless arm strength to chuck the ball up and down the field. He can make all the throws, using odd angles and straight bombs going deep.
This season Johnny has only been a sideshow for the Browns, and until the Browns decide what they really have out of him, I question if he will be doing much in his career. Johnny is going to be watching, and waiting, unless he gets his act together. We know that his feet are game-changing, he can make people miss with his massive acceleration and explosive cuts to make defenders miss. He can move around and dodge with his instinctive-like athleticism to out-run defenders. Obviously, we know all about Manziel having the great mobility, and his danger to defenses when he is on the run with the constant threat to keep it himself or pass the ball. He also has the nifty ability to dodge tacklers in the pocket and chuck one that goes deep down the field for a big completion. He also is a tough kid, who is not afraid to finish a run. Which could also be a concern. He had proven his onfield leadership skills at the college level, so he was mentally tough, at that point.
What I also question for Johnny is his ability to go through his progressions. Looking off defenders, finding his 3rd option when need be, after 1 and 2 are not open, he then tends to move and dance, and scramble. Can he then make the oooh and ahhh play, yes, but can he also get himself into a heap of problems with that, yes. Only time will tell with that. He also has the tendency at times to release the ball while off-balance, which can potentially cause the ball placement to end up in a very tough place to make the grab, which brings to light the possibility that maybe his WRs in college helped him more than many may have thought. We saw that this year with his heave into the endzone vs Cinncinatti that got picked off, and was a terrible decision, welcome to the NFL Johnny.
He needs to focus on football, not the celebrity lifestyle, remember Matt Lienert, I do.
Teddy Bridgewater, this year has been a great shining spot for the Vikings that has been proven already like his very strong games vs the Jets and Miami, both top ended defensive teams. In 2011, he was amazing and seemingly came out of nowhere, being named the Big East Rookie of the Year. That season in college Teddy Bridgewater completed 65% of his passes for 2,129 YDs and 14 TDs. Also compiling 265 YDs on the ground running along with 4 TDs as well. He has a mental toughness that doesn’t waiver. He has patient dedication and an internal relentlessness that makes him push himself. He has the smarts and has shown the strong ability to read defenses prior to the snap, which his quick release has shown, and his patience. With his pocket awareness and being able to feel the rush, he has been a very nice find for Minnesota this season.
Teddy has shown an easy and very natural throwing motion when finding his targets. And completing 64.4% of his passes for the Vikes. He has had a soft touch on intermediate throws, and throwing the vertical pass, he had improved greatly, throughout the season, to say the least. He has been as impressive as any rookie QB in the league this season. He has been showing a quick set-up and release, and always places the ball so that his receivers can run after the catch and continue onward and get more yards. With his strong arm he whips the ball with velocity and the soft touch to make any throw. He shows the courage to throw the tough passes even when there are defenders in close proximity to his targets.
Teddy can run and is mobile enough to run when he needs to, 209 and a TD this year. But don’t compare him to running QB’s like Cam, Teddy uses his feet to move through the pocket, not to run. So can he exploit defenses with his feet, yes. Can he read defenses and set up teammates for success, he can do that also. He is smaller, and has suffered some injuries this year, but I think that he is smart enough to learn how to avoid certain situations and to take himself out of harms way if possible in the future.
Blake Bortles who has been the prototypical rookie QB for the Jags this year with 2908 YDs, 11 TDs and his 58.9% passing completion pct has been decent. He still obviously needs to continue his development as a pocket passer. He has the tendency to be hit or miss where he has the games like his 14-33 passing game vs Houston and games like 32-46 and 336 vs the Titans, when he fires the ball.
He may not throw the prettiest ball in the game, and has sometimes, struggled with late delivery.
Playing best when he feels protected in the pocket, and has some time to step into his throws and deliver. He obviously has the perfect NFL-caliber frame at 6-5 and 230, and does have the arm to make every throw that is needed. He is bottom line, a classic drop-back passer with some limited mobility. He has also shown he isn’t afraid to make some challenging throws through tight windows, even with receiving targets like Cecil Shorts and rookie Allen Hurns who, at this point, are neither top receivers on most teams. And getting Denard Robinson involved he has shown some good touch to loft passes out to his backfield as well. Bortles has the skill set to be a good starter in the NFL. Maybe he doesn’t have the cannon for an arm, but he has a good enough arm to make the throws. Blake will be an NFL starter for his career, in my opinion.
While playing in a pro-style offense in Louisville, with far less weapons around him, Teddy is going to be the real deal. He also came in with the availability of some pretty solid offensive weapons around him in Minnesota, and with Norv Turner calling the shots, he will continue to coach up this kid to very high levels. And being that he has been able to make a lot of pre-snap calls and adjustments, in college, he will eventually be a guy in the huddle who makes calls and knows what needs to be done, and had done so this year, at times. Teddy Bridgewater is undoubtedly the best quarterback, from these 3, in my eyes. He has a far higher ceiling with regard to success in the NFL, and I believe he has just begun his career in the NFL. He will be a QB who will make a difference. Bridgewater has slipped into the Vikes system with ease throwing for 2919 YDs, 14 TDs, and 6 wins for his team this season.
I look for him to, by far, have the most successful NFL career of the aforementioned rookie QBs.

December NBA Power Teams

by Jim Feist of

dub city warrior girls

Preseason prognosticators and handicapping analysis focuses in on what they expect to happen, based on the draft and offseason moves, but there are always surprises at the start of each season. Here’s a look at some of the early NBA teams off to impressive starts.

Raptors: With LeBron leaving Miami and Indiana losing its best player to an offseason injury, there’s a vacuum in the East. A young Toronto team has gotten off to a fast start, top 10 in points scoring and points allowed. 25-year old 6-7 DeMar DeRozan and 28-year old Kyle Lowry lead the backcourt and the team in scoring.
The middle is being manned by 22-year old Jonas Valanciunas who has been scoring and rebounding giving this team balance. They are also top 10 as a team in free throw shooting, a key edge in close games (and for late spread covers). The team has been on a recent 18-8 run over the total, including 13-5 over at home.

Wizards: The young, athletic Wizards have battled injuries the last two seasons, but appear healthy and formidable early on. Guard John Wall pushes the team while newcomer Paul Pierce is trying to teach the kids how to get to the next level. The inside game looks primed for the long haul with 7-footer Marcin Gortat and Nene Hilario.
Washington is playing some defense early on, including Top 10 in field goal shooting allowed. The one weakness, though, is they are soft at defending the three-pointer. The Wizards had a nice stretch at 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games playing on one day’s rest.

Warriors: Steve Kerr inherited a good team and they have been playing even better. Golden State can run with anyone, Top 5 in the NBA in scoring behind Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. This team can play defense, too, Top 5 in field goal shooting from the field and from long range.
Young Draymond Green was forced in last year and play well in the frontcourt, while 7-footer Andrew Bogut has been healthy — knock wood. Golden State was on a recent 19-7 ATS run, including 16-5 ATS against a team with a losing record. And they are better on defense than many think: The under is 39-15 in the Warriors last 54 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.

Pelicans: 21-year old Anthony Davis has always been real good, but he appears to be developing confidence alongside his growing experience. All of which makes him an incredible inside force and this young New Orleans team is reaping the benefits.
With Omar Asik and Tyreke Evans, this team has been tough at rebounding and scoring easy buckets, Top 10 in scoring. Despite the shot blocking Davis this is still not an elite defensive team and note that the over is 35-15-1 in the Pelicans last 51 games vs. a team with a winning percentage below .400.

Grizzlies: Memphis continues to be a matchup nightmare in the low post, a defensive dynamo that is Top 5 in the league in points allowed and Top 10. Zach Randolph is a beast in the low post when his mind is focused on playing, Marc Gasol is a handful, while Tony Allen and Mike Conley anchor a deep and flexible backcourt. The Grizzlies started 9-3 over the total at home.

Blazers: Portland was all about running and gunning last year, but this year’s team looks better as they are focusing on defense augmenting a dynamite uptempo attack. This is a terrific frontcourt with LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez, Chris Kaman and Nicolas Batum, a group that can pound the glass with anyone.
They’ve been playing great defense at home, on a recent 7-2 under the total at the Rose Garden. However, are they ready for prime time? The Blazers started the season 3-9 ATS against a winning percentage above .600.

What is holding the Detroit Lions from getting to the next level?



It is time for the Detroit Lions to finally make that move forward. Arming themselves with a new play-toy for Matthew Stafford, and possibly a missing puzzle piece at WR with former Seahawk WR Golden Tate, who has shown all year, he has the ability to make big plays. And then picking up a very talented TE in the 1st rd with Eric Ebron, out of North Carolina. I feel that Matthew Stafford can eventually make Eric Ebron a star.
As long as he continues to find ways to successfully get the ball to sticky hands Golden Tate, taking some heat off of Calvin Johnson, they just keep adding the pieces around him. Now mind you, many had questioned the grab of Ebron, which threw a curve-ball to many fans early this year in the draft. In a draft full of great potential defensive talent, the Lions stayed true to who they are, a scoring machine, and picked him up 10th overall. I cannot help but feel some teams may look back in awe, asking how some of the guys fell so low. And the Lions, a team that was, at that time, in dire defensive need, especially in the secondary, went with Ebron. And thus far, he has been nothing better than acceptable ( 16 catches and 1 TD), he’s not a top 5 target guy on the team, but the team is stacked with talent offensively, so he needs some time to find his spot.

Although adding Ebron and the “mega-presence” of Megatron, signing of Golden Tate and the strong and possibly overlooked RB combo for the Lions, with Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, The Lions seriously have as much talent at the skill positions as anyone of the top teams. At this point they have to be able to get to the next level.

They showed they could bounce back, and did just that in 2011 when they won 10 games and came in 2nd to the 15 win Packers in the NFC North. But they have struggled with playing up to how most expect them to play at. During a season, when they could have closed the door and won 11 games, they instead, folded like a lawn chair. After last season, when they had everything laid out before them, as they should have had a NFC North locked up with all of its divisional problems, they blew it, finishing at a lousy 7-9. Failing, with other divisional North teams, the Packers and Bears losing their starting QBs for a total of 12 games between them. This year things are looking better.

One problem has been Matthew Stafford and his confidence seemingly in anyone not named Calvin Johnson. Stafford needs to keep believing in the rest of his receiving corps. Stafford threw 19 INTs in 2013, which landed him 5th most in the league. His 29 TD passes were great, and his 291 YPG avg. But his forcing balls when he doesn’t need to, has to get under control. Something he seems to have had this year, finally.

Last year Calvin has had games where as the WR1 he was targeted 5-6 times more than the WR2, Kris Durham. I understand, that with Calvin as your WR1, you’re going to get him looks, but there is no reason to forget about other guys, keep the defense honest. Including once 83 ball catcher, TE Brandon Pettigrew, who was considered to be a potential next decent TE in the league, only averaged 3 targets a game in 2013, and finished with just 2 TDs. And less then 450 YDs receiving.

After 5 years, it’s now time for Matthew Stafford to bring it to the next level. Stop throwing the late game costly picks, stop forcing the ball when it doesn’t need to be forced into the tight triple coverages. Find the check down, use your whole team, there is a ton of talent on paper there, find out what they can do.

Predictable play calling was a crutch that the Lions had, seemingly, when all else failed, throw the ball to Calvin. Obviously Johnson did everything he could, because as their best weapon, he could get constant separation. Scoring was never a problem for Detroit, dropping 25 a game last year, and only 2 times scoring less than 16. Stopping the other team from scoring was, all year long. Now this year, offensively they are scoring just 18 /game but only giving up 17.

As well as the fact that the Lions were unable to ever get a strong consistent ground attack, only running the ball for 1792 YDs last year, and just 5 games with 120 or more on the ground. As bad as the defense as well, gets a rap on, during the last 7 games in 2013, the Lions only gave up 17 ppg, taking away pick 6’s and fumble returns for TDs, the on-field defense wasn’t terrible. They ended 1-6, during that stretch, where Stafford also was inconsistent during that time as well. They oddly enough stumbled down the home stretch in 2013 because of their offense. In the Lions’ last 3 losses the on-field defense allowed only 2 TDs.

Bottom line is, Stafford and his turnovers, 15 so far, this season. Once he gets that fixed, and the young defense continues to make improvements, they can win 10 games and make some possible noise in the playoffs. But if Stafford goes back to throwing bad picks and fumbling the ball, that’s not going to happen. Matthew Stafford has always had a straight forward plan of attack, his pass selection has gotten him in trouble his whole career, as it has this year as well. He can’t be costing them opportunities anymore to win games.

They have what it takes to make a run at the playoffs, without question. They are armed with unquestionably, when healthy, the best WR in the NFL, and an upgraded young defense that has played much better this year, by far, than their play in 2013. The defense seems to have learned how to control themselves, hopefully for Lions fans, Kris Kocurek, the defensive line coach, can keep the feisty group of Lions to stop with hot head, dumb penalties, and play football the right way.

The Lions had seemingly found ways to lose when the chips were down before. Matthew Stafford would throw 3 interceptions one game, Calvin Johnson would suddenly drop passes, and fumbles would be picked up and returned for a TD. Everyone’s always known how to beat the Lions, you score more points than they can.

This year they have been making that a bit more difficult, stuffing the run well, and even with their pass coverage. This could be a very nasty team for the rest of the year. The NFC North got a whole lot more interesting.

2014-15 NBA Predictions


The NBA season is upon us and we have more to look at as far as who will be winning their divisions, and what to expect this season. Unfortunately, just 8 teams in each conference get to move on to the playoffs, so let’s take a look at the divisions, and how they look to pan out for 2014-2015.

There will be some surprises and some especially painful changes this year, for some teams, and some that will be smiling once the season gets rolling.


y- Brooklyn Nets 46-36
( 44-38 last year)

x- Toronto Raptors 44-38
( 48-34 last year)

New York Knicks 33-49
( 37-45 last year)

Boston Celtics 31-51
( 25-57 last year)

Philadelphia 76ers 20-62
( 19-63 last year)

z- Cleveland Cavaliers 62-20
( 33-49 last year)

x- Chicago Bulls 52-30
( 48-34 last year)

Indiana Pacers 36-46
( 56-26 last year)

Detroit Pistons 32-50
( 29-53 last year)

Milwaukee Bucks 23-59
( 15-67 last year)

y- Washington Wizards 49-33
( 44-38 last year)

x- Miami Heat 46-36
( 54-28 last year)

x- Charlotte Bobcats 44-38
( 43-39 last year)

x- Atlanta Hawks 40-42
( 38-44 last year)

Orlando Magic 27-55
( 23-59 last year)



z – Oklahoma City Thunder 57-25
( 59-23 last year)

x- Portland Trailblazers 49-33
( 54-28 last year)

Denver Nuggets 40-42
( 36-46 last year)

Minnesota Timberwolves 28-54
( 40-42 last year)

Utah Jazz 23-55
( 25-57 last year)

y- Los Angeles Clippers 57-25
( 57-25 last year)

x- Golden State Warriors 54-28
( 51-31 last year)

x- Phoenix Suns 46-36
( 48-34 last year)

Los Angeles Lakers 32-50
( 27-55 last year)

Sacramento Kings 30-52
( 28-54 last year)

y- San Antonio Spurs 53-29
( 62-20 last year)

x- Dallas Mavericks 52-30
( 49-33 last year)

x- Houston Rockets 45-37
( 54-28 last year)

Memphis Grizzlies 44-38
( 50-32 last year)

New Orleans Pelicans 37-45
( 34-48 last year)

z – Clinched Conference y – Clinched Division x – Clinched Playoff Berth

I, like the majority, expect the Cavs to become a dominant force across the league, Denver will be much improved, but just not quite enough to take home a playoff spot this season. It hurts me to say this, because I was pulling for Orlando to get their act together, and show they can be a better team without the pain, that is Dwight Howard from years ago, but I think once Nikola Vucevic stays healthy and Victor Oladipo get on the same page, they can be a duo for year to come for the NBA to deal with. There is no question the Warriors will be even better than last year, considering Andrew Bogut was banged up a lot of the season and they added veteran Leandro Barbosa to fill in.

All in all, it’s going to be great, let’s get ready to enjoy some hoops!


2014-2015 NBA CHAMPIONS; Cleveland Cavaliers

Written for

Has Kirk Cousins shown that the Skins are now officially his team?


The Redskins have obviously had some issues finding and keeping a QB on the field as their main guy to lead their franchise. Overall, of course a football team in general is set up for a drop back passer to work the field and feel oncoming pressure, dip out and make plays. As like mostly any other team in the NFL.

When Robert Griffin III was drafted in 2012 he was the “it” guy. Drafted 2nd overall by the Redskins, he was immediately donned as their next big QB to step in and take over the helm. An without question, Griffin showed he had his own skill set, that he brought, but he needs to get up to speed on passing from the pocket, and that’s where I have lost faith in him. The second Griffin feels some pressure closing in on him, he seems to lose his focus and breaks out of the pocket, which then in turn causes the play to break down. Then everything becomes sandlot football.

Griffins dislocation of his left ankle is possibly putting him on the shelf for the season. Griffin has already shown that he has slowed down, since his ACL injury in 2013. And is certainly not as dynamic as he was in 2012 before the injury. Now on top of that, let’s also add a dislocated ankle as well. This is not going to end well for him. It’s just even that much more to mess with his mind, and could likely slow him down that much more. It makes one question to me, truthfully, is this guy just too fragile to make it in the pros?

How do QBs like Griffin work in the NFL?

He seems that maybe he could be better off in an offense based off of the read option. like San Fran, or Seattle type schemes. It all comes back to Griffin learning how to develop into a better pocket passer, and he just hasn’t taken that next step. learning how to move within the protection of the O-line, and not bail out after the 1st option isn’t open.

We all loved RGIIIs potential. Which of course is the most over-used word in sports. Teams can sit for only so long before it’s time to forget about potential and go with what works in the here and now. And even worse, at this point, RGIII is so beat up, I find it very doubtful he will ever reach the potential that so many were hoping for.

Kirk had come in from a pro-style offense at MSU, and is obviously more attuned to the game-style. Cousins has proven in the past, he is a better pocket passer. Kirk always keeps his eyes down the field, going through his progressions. And this is with the same team, and the same pressure coming at him that Griffin has had. It has been shown over and over in the NFL, quick decision making, a quick release, and good accuracy, is what wins with a QB. Cousins has all of these attributes. Cousins reads the field well enough, not perfectly, but adequate. And has a good enough arm to move the ball downfield to get the job done.

Kirk has been up and down throwing the ball in his games, he started off like a house on fire, then cooled off a bit, but sitting with 10 TD passes and 8 Ints, and he has been good with avoiding sacks, better than RGIII actually. Compiled with the fact, that he has only really had one real clunker of a game this year stands strong to who he is a QB in this league right now. But at 0-4 as their starter, how much sits on him, when their D has given up 35/gm, how much can be expected?

What is interesting enough though, looking back. Was Mike Shanahan actually right in not wanting Griffin as his guy? I think that Cousins was Shanahan’s actual choice for the starting QB position. But ego maniac, Dan Snyder nipped that in the bud, and pushed for RGIII. Makes you wonder, even just for a bit.

I feel that RGIII was a player who had a lot of good things going for him. He was easily likeable, he had charisma, he had playmaking ability. But he ended up lacking the confidence that he needed to get to the next level in the NFL. So far, on the season, Kirk hasn’t been perfect, but with time, I do believe Kirk Cousins is ready for his chance. He sat long enough, he is ready for the next step, he has been up and down in his games this season. Sometimes he has looked great, sometimes terrible, but he is getting his chance to show what he can do, he’s basically a rookie playing now. It’s time to say move over RGIII, unfortunately the hype and the shimmer that he brought to the game, upon entering, is gone.

It comes back to the good old fashioned pocket passer, getting the job done…again.

Article written by TonyK of

Can Darren McFadden resurrect NFL Career in 2014, or is it already over?

If the 27 year old running back is going to ever turn his 6 year career around, then staying healthy is going to be the main thing for him to accomplish. Darren McFadden at times, has proven to be a very capable player when he’s healthy and on the field. Having games like 171 and 2 TDs and 165 and 3 TDs, he can show what he can do when getting it all together.
There was a time, quite awhile ago, when RB Darren McFadden pounded the field for 1,157 YDs and grabbed another 507 in the air, and all in just 13 games in the season. But, as seemingly always, his health continues to be a major concern. He has been knocked on at times, for his inability of elusiveness and little field vision. And he does lack some strength, when getting hit in the backfield, he struggles shaking off that first defender.
On the upside of things, his workload over the years has been light. With only 200+ carries only 2 times in his career, and in his 6 seasons, averaging less than 150/season. Workhorse, isn’t the first word that comes to mind for him.
But since then, he has never shown that flash of brilliance ever again, from 4 years ago. Let alone, play anymore than 13 games in a season. Truth be told, he has shown potential, and his upside has always been looked at, as a “what he could be” kind of guy, He has to 1st show that he can play a full season, and be productive during the season.
After suffering his foot injury back in 2011, it seems Darren McFadden has never regained the play-making ability he had shown when running for an average of 1500+ YDs/season at Arkansas. That was the RB the Raiders fans were hoping to see for a 10+ yr career.
In 2014, it’s coming down to this, Darren is either going in 1 of 2 directions, become the player they have anticipated, or he falls to the wayside. And so far it’s been just a nightmare, putting up just 3.4/YPC, with just 1 TD.
For a team like the Raiders, who seemingly haven’t had that RB1 since flash in the pan, Napoleon Kaufman back in the 90s. Being only 27 this season, McFadden is still young enough to get things going for the Raiders. Adding 29 year old Maurice Jones-Drew to the lineup has not sparked any fire under McFadden’s feet. Problem of course, is that MJD is no kid, and a poor avg of only 3.4 a carry in 2013, and this year, just slodding along with injuries and not able to get any space to attempt to run, I think the Raiders were hoping to have him reenergize himself as well as their feature back. The last 2 seasons McFadden has only been averaging 3.3 yards per carry, which is nothing to be proud of.
Is it possible that Darren McFadden and MJD can become a decent duo on the field. and bring back a deadened running game in Oakland? Or will they continue to fall flat on their faces, and prove it is time to move on and look for younger healthier players? I think it is pretty obvious what is happening in California with them both. The Raiders have worked on their O-line as well, and have some solid run blockers, in Stefen Wisniewski and Donald Penn so you would think they could create some opportunities.
Fresh legs are needed at all times for the RB position, and McFadden at his young and unused 27 years should have a lot to offer, with the time he has missed. Mathematically, with his missed time, he only has a full 67 games under his belt, equivalent to 4.1 seasons. But, overall, with the health issues that have plagued him his entire career, I would be surprised to see this tandem become successful. Darren McFadden has had his chance, and he hasn’t capitalized on it. After 6 years of letting the Oakland Raiders down, what else can Darren possibly do to help his cause?
I think that Latavius Murray still has the possibility to someday become a feature back for Oakland. If he gets himself together, with his receiving ability as well, he is a big back, and has some speed. But he isn’t getting any touches to get anything moving either. He can be a great asset and should be the direction the Raiders will go in sooner than later. He can be dynamic coming from the back field.
McFadden would likely be better off going to a team with a shaky backfield in the NFL action, let him be a guy who can be a change of pace guy, catching some balls out off of some screen plays, he has always been a good pass catcher, 175 receptions in 6 years. And maybe rejuvenate himself elsewhere, I don’t ever see him being able to carry the ball 20+ times a game, and being a loadback, featured for a team. But with his soft hands and his pass catching ability he can thrive as a secondary back to another RB1.
McFadden’s days as a RB1 are over, it’s time to think otherwise in Oakland.