Steph Curry is still holding strong

Golden State and Steph Curry have made 6th appearance sin the NBA finals over the last 9 years – there are some things to take a look at in regards to this team.
Why have they been so successful?
To me, after looking at lineup changes, player changes, offense, defense – it all comes back to Steph Curry. His ability to pull defenses out further than they feel comfortable, forcing teams to switch when they don’t want to, or more likely when they shouldn’t have to. But in his case with his unique skill set, they do.

Steph Curry has taken some heat since coming to the league.
Lacks D, lacks athletic ability, isn’t a real PG, and isn’t strong enough for the NBA experts have stated.
Well 13 years later he’s number one in win shares in team history, the team’s all time leader in assists, and steals – and of course, the NBA’s all time leader in 3p shots made. In 2009, Curry dropped 166 from outside the arc – where he was in 6th place in the NBA. 43 behind the leader, Aaron Brooks, at the time. But it was in 2012 when the NBA was put on notice. After an injury shortened 2011 campaign, he came back with a fury and drilled 272 from 3p range – putting him 59 shots made ahead of the next biggest deep ball shooting threat, and doing it in 3 less games. The landscape changed forever, once he began putting them up from 30-35′.

There’s absolutely no question that he revolutionized the game. For the game that was once built from the inside / out, he completely flipped the course making the game played from the outside / in. Nobody has completely upended the way the game is played like he did. There are great players, there have been many outstanding players that required extra defenders, different styles of play to try and slow them down – but changing the leagues game style – that’s Steph Curry. Showcasing the ability to score with the least amount of shots – with outstanding efficiency. Hitting from spots on the court that were never even thought possible to be part of the natural rhythm of the game, outside of playing a game of H.O.R.S.E. Making shots that in a game situation normally would be frowned upon as terribly bad shot selection, he did it and coaches had no problem with it because they knew he could consistently bury those shots from extreme ranges, as his jaw dropping, career 42% three shooting percentage confirms, which includes 11 seasons hitting 41% or better from downtown. Those numbers are simply incredible.

I also have a high level of respect that he stayed with Golden State, even through the bad years. When he was drafted to a team that was hovering around 4th place, bringing them into playoff participation in 4 seasons, and a world title after 6. He punched through and got the team over the hump – especially in an era of the “participation trophy” where everyone feels they “deserve” more and deserve it much more quickly than the time they want to put into it. He put his time in – he was “the guy.” When stars feel they need to jump ship – the minute things aren’t going their way, or their legacy is “dependent on getting a ring” – or the minute they think the team might be slowing down.

He stayed.
In perfect accordance to what was just mentioned…
He took the “backseat” when Kevin Durant jumped ship to go get “his ring” by joining the 73 win team from the year prior.
When his fellow sharpshooter, Klay Thompson was lost for 160+ games, he stayed, plugging along doing what he could do. He certainly could’ve whined, stomped, or demanded to “go get another star” or try to force his way out because he felt that he held the clout.
But he didn’t.
He understood there would be down years, everything wasn’t going to be champagne and roses forever.

Whether they make it back the NBA Finals next season, we shall see. He’s a guy who walks the walk and can back it up. Regardless of what he did to change the way the game is played, whether you like it or not, Steph Curry has shown to be a true legend and player who understands the game.

Paolo Banchero has been the real deal for Orlando

With the first half of the season well behind us now – we have had a great look at the current rookie class. And it is without a doubt that Paolo Banchero has had the biggest impact this year. He was not only the best player in the draft, but was ready to step in and contribute from the start, which he did. In his opening game he scored 27, grabbed 9 boards and had 5 dimes vs Detroit. Orlando gave Banchero the keys to the car from the start and he responded. The former Duke star is hitting 47% from two, along with his 6.6 rpg, which is 2nd on the team, and his 3.6 apg which is 3rd. Banchero is impacting the team and has been key when they win, even though it hasn’t been frequently, he has been the cog to this team. Particularly on the offensive end of things, they have leaned on the 250lb PF quite a bit this season.

Banchero makes defenders pay if they get complacent on defense – if they aren’t on top of him from the beginning he can rip past them and get to the cup. He also has shown to have very good vision, with his smooth play-making ability, especially for a big, as he has excelled passing out of the post, and off the dribble. Banchero knows when he has gotten some space to work, and can take a slower defender off the dribble and knock down an open shot.

He has good size at 6-10, and has no shortage of strength, which has allowed him to defend on the interior and has given him the ability to be a very active rebounder, as he has had 22 games with 8+ boards, including 13 games with 2 or more on the offensive side. He has been comfortable cleaning the defensive glass and getting off to starting the break. He has gotten into the lane with ease, putting the ball in the hoop, and has also been able to drop shots from the midrange, hitting 49% from 16′ and in. He has the ability to threaten defenses as a shot creator and playmaker and being the VegasTopDogs of this years draft.

The Magic have had a nice improvement from last year. Last season, they won 22 games for the entire season – they are on track to win about 30 games this year, which isn’t good, but they have certainly improved as a team. The Magic still need a real SG very badly – making a move should probably be something they are looking into. In a perfect world for them – they get themselves a stud at SG, and let Banchero continue to develop, while watching the 20 year old be their leader on the court. This would help solve some of their offensive woes that have been plaguing them. It seems to be, in the current game, a team needs a star guard to win in this league. Banchero tagged up with a real SG could get them in the right direction as a team, unfortunately that will not be an easy task.

VegasTopDogs Super Bowl Preview

So here we are, another year of NFL football in the books, and we all patiently await the completion of the season and the crowning of the NFL champion. It was another great season with records being broken, huge comebacks and apparently for this time Tom Brady’s final retirement. And now we get ready to watch the AFC Conference champions Kansas City Chiefs, take on the NFC Conference Champs, the Philadelphia Eagles. But who has the advantage between these two excellent teams, let’s take a look…

Kansas City; 14-3 / 29.2 ppg / 21.7 oppg
Philadelphia; 14-3 / 28.1 ppg / 20.2 oppg


Kansas City
Patrick Mahomes 
Obviously far and away better than Jalen Hurts. Anyone who can possibly compare Mahomes to Hertz and say that Hurts is better doesn’t understand what a great quarterback really is. Hurts is better with his feet, getting better, but this is a no brainer. He can definitely get out of some tight situations and he’s got good Vision when he takes off out of the pocket. But let’s be honest, Mahomes put up 41 TD passes with 5250 passing yards. He had 12 games throwing for 290 or more passing yards, including 14 games throwing for 2+ TD passes. For years he has arguably been the best QB in the NFL with 5 straight seasons with 4000 passing yards and 26 or more TD passes. And he is solidly the better quarterback of the two in this matchup. 

This is a team who is bread and butter and has been moving the ball on the ground. Having racked up 12 games with 135+ rushing yards as a team. They have a dangerous running game, and Hurts adds a huge advantage. He helped tremendously in the team’s NFL leading 32 rushing TDs. Jalen Hurts on the ground, put up 760 yards, 13 rushing touchdowns and a 4.6 YD /carry, and Miles Sanders is far better than Isiah Pacheco – he ran for 439 more yards, and 6 more TDs. Even their RB2 is better with 4.5 /carry to 4.3 /carry for Kansas City. There is no question the Eagles running game is a far superior weapon. 

This may come as a surprise with the aforementioned stud quarterback Patrick Mahomes as the gunslinger for the Chiefs. But Philadelphia has much better wide receivers than Kansas City has. Philly has 3 guys with 700+ receiving yards and 55+ catches. Philly’s WR1 is far better than Kansas City’s WR1, JuJu Smith-Schuster, 1496 yards vs 933 yards. There’s just no comparison. TE Travis Kelce is the biggest threat for Kansas City in their passing game – but they still aren’t better with their next 3 WRs with just 9 combined TDs. Get your best odds at

The Eagles are rated as one of the best offensive lines in the game pretty much across the board from almost every source. They stand strong, they open up big holes for the running game, and they give Jalen Hurts enough time. They have been very, very good this whole year. They gave up 44 sacks, with a team sack percentage of 7.6% which a lot of that comes from Hurts moving around to run. The team’s top 3 RBs who carried the ball picked up 4.7 yds /carry and 18 rushing TDs. They move other teams defensive lines around, and make sure that their backs have a place to go. 

I know that Kansas City has some very good defensive players like Chris Jones and L’Jarius Sneed, but the Philadelphia Eagles have had an absolutely devastating effect with their defensive front with 4 players racking 11+ sacks, 4 players with 16+ QB hits and 5 players with 10+ TFL. They have been an absolute nightmare for opponents to handle, you don’t know whether the pressure is coming off the edge or right up the middle with Fletcher Cox or Javon Hargrave. And a lot of the time you have any combination of any of them on your quarterback’s shoulders. They’re a real problem to deal with, and if an offensive line can’t hold their own, and the offensive coordinator can’t put together some good schemes, it makes a team’s chances of handling them that much harder. 

The Eagles have been ballhawks on defense with their secondary picking up 17 ints, landing them at 5th in NFL. Giving up a pitiful 4.9 net yards per attempt, again landing them in 1st place in NFL.  Another thing is, because they have such a strong defensive line, that in turn, makes the secondary that much more effective. They work in such clean unison together it’s frightening. They had 3 players with 3+ picks and gave up just 3057 opponent passing yards, yet again putting them 1st in the NFL. Their pass coverage was so smothering, that they gave up 235 yards or more in the air, just 3 times over the whole season.

Kansas City
This to me is yet another no-brainer. You just can’t compare these 2 coaches, Nick Sirianni only has 34 games as a head coach in his career. Don’t get me wrong he has certainly shown to be a good coach he has completely changed the entire culture of the Philadelphia Eagles in the short time he’s been there winning 67% of his games. But, Andy Reid has 24 years experience. Almost a quarter of a century he has been coaching. With 17 years with 10+ wins, he has been a very steady force on the sideline for many years. He has also laid out 8 years with 10+ wins in a row. And a huge advantage, in my opinion, is the fact that he has coached in 37 playoff games. He knows all about the pressure he has had more than his share of games under the spotlight. 

This game is going to be a really good game, and I know fans from Kansas City and Philadelphia are both going to be very excited for the outcome. Both teams have been great, Kansas City with their offense, and Philadelphia with their defense, but in the end you can get the best side, total and player props at VegasTopDogs.

Why Luka is going to win MVP this season

The MVP award is always an interesting yet controversial award during the NBA season. Heated debates and conversations will be had and everyone is going to state their case why their pick should win or has won. To some people, it’s all about numbers, to other people it’s about where the team is. This year we have a handful of guys who have been playing absolutely fantastic basketball this season, and any one of them truly could win it. We have players like the constantly improving Jayson Tatum, former 2x MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and last 2 years MVP winner, Nikola Jokic the current Vegas favorite this year so far, all of whom are having outstanding years. 

The last 5 winners of the MVP have come from a team that had around a 70% or better win percentage as a team. So definitely how good your team is, has shown to be a factor in deciding MVP.  But, you just shouldn’t be a 35 point scorer or a 15 rebound guy and be on a team that’s garbage. As an MVP, yes, you have to be a phenomenal player, but you also have to be a leader on the team and lead that group of guys as well as you can, to make other players better. You have to be the cog that makes that team good.
And there’s no other player in the league that does that better right now than Luka Doncic. 
Luka has led the Mavs to the 5th best record in the West with a bunch of second rounders and undrafted players.  Without the 6-7 PG on this team, they’re lucky to win 20 games for the season. 

Luka Doncic is playing out of his mind.
There are a lot of great players in the mix, but none are doing what he is doing this year.  Not to mention the fact that he’s got 9 games of 40pts or more so far. When he destroyed the Knicks for 60 points 21 rebounds and 10 assists, that truly is, and was, one of the greatest games in NBA history. Yes, he can be a ball dominant player, and he’s not one to give up the ball and move around without it. But the bottom line is, even as a player who has the ball in his hands what seems like 80% of the time every possession, he continually keeps everybody involved. And when you’re one of the other guys, and you know that he’s going to be ball dominant, all you have to do is move around, and his vision will get the ball to the right person as his 8.8 apg verifies. 

Without him, this team will be looking at a lottery pick and probably in the top 4 or 5 picks, he’s got that kind of impact for this team. There’s just nobody better than Luka right now in the NBA as far as being the best player on the team and the best player overall. Not to say that Tatum or Jokic aren’t excellent players and they certainly deserve to be in the conversation. But what Luka Doncic is doing this year is definitely worth being the MVP.
He is the player that adds the most value to the team and improves their odds for a deep playoff run.

I think this year’s MVP is Luka’s to lose. 
I’m not saying Dinwiddie or Christian Wood are scrubs, but when your next best players are those guys and you’re only a handful of games out of 1st in the west, you’re really carrying a team.

A bigger disappointment, QB Matt Ryan or Russell Wilson

The Colts went out and made their big quarterback signing this year in the off season when they picked up 38-year-old Matt Ryan. A former MVP and a quarterback with great play and respect in his 14 years playing the position. The Colts have had some really raunchy recent history with QBs. Seemingly always just trying to find that one last piece for the team to make some real noise. When Andrew Luck retired back in 2018 and left the team scrambling for who was going to be the team leader, they went through Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, and of course, now they picked up Matt Ryan. 

But Matt Ryan’s season this year has been anything but what the Colts have been expecting or hoping from him. With a season of 4 out of 7 games below 252 yards and the season total of 9 TDs and 3 interceptions so far with just a 43.8 QBR, the 6-4 former Boston College quarterback has just been a disaster. Now granted the Colts have a running back in Jonathan Taylor who when healthy, they can fully expect to lean on and wanted to use Matt Ryan basically as a backup of insurance to move the ball through the air. So Matt Ryan’s job was really just to help the ship remain straight. Philip Rivers went 11-5, Carson Wentz had a record of 9-8, the offense for Rivers was 9th in the NFL, and the offense for Wentz was 9th in the NFL. Ryan on the other hand had the Colts sitting at 30th in the NFL and they’re looking more like a 6-7 win team right now. 

Now the Broncos went out and picked up Russell Wilson, the 34-year-old quarterback from Seattle. Wilson, a 12-year veteran that came in with 37,059 career passing yards and 292 career touchdown passes would certainly be expected to bring some quarterback power to your team. Wilson went to a team that had some good wide receivers in Cortland Sutton and Jerry Judy along with a really nice double running back tag team with Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams. And as of this article, Russell Wilson has put up just a 58.8% completion rate, 6 TDs and 35.5 QBR this year and has Denver bumbling along on offense putting up just 15.1 /game. 

Russell Wilson has had 3 games where he threw for a 54% completion rate or worse, and still has not had more than 2 touchdowns in a game. Denver wom 7 games last year with a quarterback carousel with the offensive line that they have in the wide receivers and the running backs. It makes you wonder why hasn’t Russell brought this team to another level? A QB of his status and skill set would surely be able to bring them another 3-4 wins, especially with a pair of 900 yard WRs on the team in 2021.

Matt Ryan lost his starting job to a 24 year old kid Sam Ehlinger. Nobody coming into the 2022 campaign – would have expected to see their veteran signing get pushed to the bench. But, when all that is said is done, with the amount of collateral that was used to get Russell Wilson and the amount of skilled offensive weapons that Denver has, the Broncos still definitely have been the most disappointed in their big offseason quarterback pickup. Don’t be disappointed with your NFL Football picks, be sure to visit VegasTopDogs today!

What is Kevin Durant’s legacy?

There’s no question that Kevin Durant is one of the all-time best players in the history of the NBA. He’s got a smooth shot, grace when going to the rim, he’s very silky. He’s fun to watch, he is definitely shown to have the ability to score points with ease, with a career average of 27.2  ppg and having 13 seasons scoring 25 ppg or more, and 4 scoring titles. But with Kevin Durant’s exceptional play on the court there are other characteristics about him that just don’t sit well. Putting aside his stoic and crabby demeanor, which can make him difficult to like – but that’s just his personality. What I’m talking about is his mental toughness and his heart. 

This off season was no different – when Kevin Durant was at it again. It always seems when he can’t win fast enough with a loaded team, he always seems to start screaming to be traded to yet another loaded team.  And one of the biggest problems I always have is the fact that he always seems to want to go to teams that are already well established.  Now I get that some might argue and say that that’s smart, take the path of least resistance, and I get it. I understand that logic, but the fact is, it makes someone look weak if they’re just jumping on an already powerful team. If you’re a player that’s supposed to be a leader, you shouldn’t want to join other players, they should want to join you.  You’re the one that should be leading your team, not just going and adding your skills to another team. He’s becoming just a “hired gun” to go anywhere to bring another skilled player to a team and then trade him off. 

Today’s NBA is the ring chasing era… it just seems like it’s all about finding the easiest path to get a ring. So much emphasis is put on “the chip.” Players only have this mentality that they’re not going to be considered a “great player” if they don’t have “X amount of rings.” Everybody wants to win the ring, of course that’s the whole drive of competitiveness is to win, to be the best you can be, to have the best team. They all want the ring, but they all want the easiest way to get it.  Nobody seems to want to earn it the hard way. 
The Experts at VegasTopDogs think the Nets are better now without Kyrie on the team.

Let’s say that a player goes to a team that isn’t top notch and his talent and leadership leads that team to a championship. Now let’s say, that same player instead, is unhappy with the mediocre team and demands to be traded to a team that already has 2-3 really good players, goes there and wins 3 championships, the respect level for winning the one championship is far higher. 

Kevin Durant just isn’t the guy to lead a team anywhere, after 14 seasons it’s been proven time and time again. Everybody isn’t built to be a leader, and that’s okay. But what isn’t okay, is when that same player is demanding respect like they are a leader. I think playerwise, Durant is a better player than Dwyane Wade was, but Dwyane Wade was a far better leader than Kevin Durant. Some guys have that leadership gene, and some just don’t.  

Brooklyn has had a ton of talent on that team for a few years – I’m not sure just what else he wants to have around him, to get the rings that he obviously is pining for. It’s becoming apparent that he isn’t built mentally like ball players were in the past. He doesn’t have the push to make others better, he wants to simply take his basketball skills and just add them to the team that’s already on the court. 

Durant really seems to be kicking his fan base, when he was with Oklahoma City he was really a lot of fun to watch, but now it seems that you’re just watching a guy who just goes through the motions looking for coattails to grab onto, looking to piggyback to an already established foundation to try and get a ring to add to his “legacy.” I actually feel that there are many fans who actually want to see him fail because of his lack of loyalty.  
He has no “legacy” who is his legacy with?

The new NBA slogan should be “when things get tough just quit!” Because that’s the way these players behave these days, without any loyalty to the city or the fans where they were hired, to come join and try and bring that city a championship. The discontentment in the NBA is mind boggling, these guys are never happy. Because they’re always comparing themselves to the next guy, instead of being satisfied with what they have. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a 1000 times, the players today are just made differently and not necessarily in all good ways. They dictate what team they will play for and if that doesn’t work, they pout and stomp, and go somewhere else to play. 

So far this season Durant has been off to the races, netting 32ppg but the “new look” Nets are sitting at 1-5. If they don’t turn it around, how long into the season is it going to be before the 7-0 PF starts shouting to be traded.

Well we all know what they always say right? 
If you can’t beat them, join them!

Ranking 2nd year NFL QB’s

As usual, there are some good QBs that got some playing time that surprised a lot of players and surprised a lot of fans. Along with some QBs that didn’t play as good as some teams and some fans had hoped. We’re going to look at the top 5 quarterbacks coming into the 2022 season in their 2nd year.  Who comes in in the best position and who comes in with the lowest potential. 

Let’s take a look at which quarterbacks have the best odds to succeed. 

Mac Jones, New England Patriots. 
22 TDs, 13 ints, 3801 YDs, 50.9 QBR
Mac Jones walked into a great situation. Rolling onto a team with great coaching and seemingly a great fit for his skill set. Coming out of Alabama, I felt then got a lot of good things to offer his team including high completion pct with a good ability to work the short field. Based on the team’s defense, the team’s coaching and their playing style Jones has a real good chance to have a nice improvement in his 2nd season. He’s not a huge risk taker, and that always seems to be a great thing, especially for a Belichick QB. The team’s defense was a large part and his ability to continue on the uphill climb.

Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars. 
12 TDs, 17 ints, 3641 YDs, 33.5 QBR
Lawrence had a horrible team around him including lack of offensive weapons and terrible overall team on the field. There was nothing on the team that frightened any defense in the NFL.  Now with Christian Kirk, added to veteran Marvin Jones at WR on the team this year – he looks like he has some talent around him. Yet he was still able to throw for 3641 passing yards as a rookie QB, putting him 2nd in that category for rookies. With great size and then ability to move around fluently, added that along with the off-season moves that Jacksonville has made, Lawrence is poised for a much better season than his rookie year. 

Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
7 TDs, 10 ints, 1870 YDs, 26.4 QBR
Justin lacked field vision and the ability to read a defense, which in turn, was a huge culprit for his 58% passing percentage. He did not show the ability to find his guys even through base coverages – a problem that haunted him since his playing days at Ohio State.  The team itself also lacks additional support and a lot of skill from their WRs. There is an awful lot that he needs to work on to become better. Although Fields does have some potential – if he can get his accuracy under control, it’s going to be interesting to see how he can possibly bounce back in his sophomore year. 

Davis Mills, Houston Texans
16 TDs, 10 ints, 2664 YDs, 35.5 QBR
The 24 year old QB seemed to come out of nowhere to end up with a pretty decent season. I don’t think anyone saw him having the season that he had in 2021. You’d be hard-pressed to find a football fan who’s thought that Mills would even be playing, let alone having a pretty decent rookie year. Especially that he did it with a lack of faith and weapons to throw the ball to. With what he put together in the 2021 season it’s hard to say that he shouldn’t be at least equivalent to what he did in 2022. 

Zach Wilson, New York Jets
9 TDs, 11 ints, 2334 YDs, 28.2 QBR
No secret about it, Wilson struggled terribly, his decision making was awful, but he is still intriguing with the fact that he did have 4 games with 225+ passing yards also shows promise. It’s hard to say that the Jets made any significant plays to help the young QB for this year, and his knee injury has started off 2022 behind the 8 ball already. As a rookie QB, they often lack the aggressiveness, and Zach certainly fell into that as well. He seemed to prefer to throw a 3rd down hitch, than to move it downfield, which to me shows a lack of confidence. The Jets really have not had a lot of luck with QBs. 

Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
5 TDs, 2 ints, 603 YDs, 33.4 QBR
This one is probably the toughest one to potentially rank, it’s really based on the fact but he really didn’t get a lot of time on the field. With the ongoing very strange, and very weird situation with QB on the Niners – makes this even that more complicated. But the biggest thing that is most concerning if you’re a Niners fan, is that the team obviously wasn’t sold enough on him to hand this position to him on a platter, they resigned Jimmy G, as insurance – nobody will tell me different. I’m starting to think that it’s possible that his 17 games that he played in college didn’t prepare him enough for the speed of the NFL. As the 3rd overall pick in the draft you would think that he would be ready to go, we shall see. 

Best pitcher in MLB history

One can make an argument over who the best pitcher of all time was Nolan Ryan and his 5,714 Ks – how about Cy Young, I mean the award for being the best pitcher is named after him, after all.  And then we have pitchers like Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens who were both phenomenal. Come on, we’re looking at 9,547 strikeouts between the 2 of them.

But let’s look at some other numbers, let’s look at other attributes. Firstly, I feel that choosing the best pitcher is definitely going to be relative to their era. Sports have evolved, and changed over the years, pitchers used to pitch 150 times in a game, in this day and age they’re getting pulled after 80. The longer a pitcher stays in the game, the more chances and more opportunities he would have of throwing more balls and walking more players. It’s tough to compare Clayton Kershaw versus Steve Carlton when they played in very different eras of baseball.

I definitely feel that for a pitcher to be considered as the greatest of all time, they have to have received the Cy Young Award. I mean, it is the pinnacle of individual awards for a MLB pitcher. I also think that the record has to stand for something. Did they win games, did they bring victories? And of course, how many strikeouts did they have, did they sit batters? And honestly could a team count on them, if they needed them to shut down a team, in the most crucial times of a game?

I know that Nolan Ryan had 324 W’s along with 5,714 strikeouts, but the fact is he lost a lot of games and he also never won the Cy Young Award. So during 27 seasons, he was never considered the best in the majors, for any  season. It makes you think that maybe, longevity was his greatest attribute.

As we are talking about pitching, I only think there’s one correct answer, and that’s Greg Maddux.  When it came to ERA, throwing inning after inning, and winning when needed, he was money.  The Bulldog was sheer terror over 23 seasons, as he racked up All Stars, Cy Youngs, including 355 wins and 3300+ Ks.  He also played in an era when people were hitting home runs like Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds.

The records that Nolan Ryan put up are likely never going to be touched. His records will never be broken, amassing 5,714 Ks and 7 no hitters. Especially in an era today when pitchers are pulled after 6 innings of perfect baseball. And having records that will never be broken, certainly stands for something. Ryan was the best at overpowering hitters. But when it comes to just outstanding mound work, Greg Maddux is the GOAT with his finesse.

There’s obviously many to choose from for this conversation but Maddux cannot be forgotten, he truly was the best of the best with a complete game.  It wasn’t just about striking out players, it was about winning the big games shutting bats down. What’s even more amazing, let’s take a look and see what we think over the next 20 years. Ohtani very well could be one of the best we’ve ever seen, for many other reasons, but that’s a whole other conversation.

3 reasons why the SD Padres are good

In 2021 the Padres bumbled along  with a 79 – 83 record, finishing third in the National League West.
A whopping 28 games behind 1st place, the most games out for a 3rd place team in the majors.

But so far in 2022 they’re sitting on top in the National League West. What are the biggest reasons why they went from a team that you probably marked as a win against, when you saw them on the calendar, to a top quality baseball team.

3. We cannot look at the turnaround this year and not start off with improvements when playing on the road. In 2021 the Padres were just 34-47 when playing away from their home field, Petco Park. Now granted, home field advantage might not always be the biggest advantage in baseball, based on the crowd, but the ability to take your team elsewhere and still win… is. Last year, the Padres lost 13 games by 5 or more runs on the road. Which means they were vastly in games that weren’t even close. This year, they have already won 7 games by 5 or more runs when playing on the road, that’s a huge number.

2. For being completely honest 2021 Manny Machado had numerous inconsistencies.  This year, Machado has brought his game back. The 29 year old 3rd baseman has always shown great vision and power over 10 seasons. Last year and knocked out 28 home runs, this year he’s on pace for around 30, again. He also batted .278 in 2021 – so far this year sitting at .327, which if he ends the season the way he’s been so far, will be a career-high.
That’s a big difference.

1. The biggest and best reason for their improvement this year is their pitching. In 2021 they had a team ERA of 4.10 which sat at 14th – and in 2022 they improved to 5th in the majors with a team 3.43 ERA. Joe Musgrove has been absolutely spectacular in 2022 with a minuscule 1.59 ERA and an 8-0 record as of this article, he has absolutely been a huge reason for this turnaround. Last year he was still their best pitcher with consistent starts, with a 3.18 ERA with a 11-9 record in the win-loss column – but he has been so much better this year.  Yu Darvish is also seeming to be getting himself back on track after an 8-11 season in 2021. His ERA has improved and so has his ability to not get rocked at the plate. Last year he had a tendency of giving up home runs, where he gave up 28 in the season.  This year he has greatly diminished that.

The Padres have shown a lot of improvements this year between the team’s ability to travel & their pitching in particular. For San Diego fans they can enjoy it, because you deserve it.  After a miserable year last year and having them fight and be tops in their division now is certainly a huge welcome. Playing in the National League with other teams like the Mets and the Dodgers, it’s going to be tough to see who comes out.  And the fact that they have been doing so well without their Superstar Fernando Tatis is even more exceptional, how much better can this team get? At this point, they have to feel just as good about their chances as anyone. 

Has the NBA changed too much?

Games change over the years all the time, regardless of the sport, there are often subtle changes that occur.
Most of the time, I would think, even for traditionalists of a specific sport that is going through a change, there are some changes that are often accepted. But then there are other things about a game that change over time, that definitely just don’t sit right. Sometimes there are changes that just start to make the sport very different. To the point that a sport actually has effectively changed.

We know in the NFL, physicality has been greatly adjusted. We know, quarterbacks barely need to be touched at times for a flag to be thrown, and CBs are at a great disadvantage on defense now. Although we understand the reasoning behind some of the changes. I think there needs to be a happy medium because it’s gotten a bit overboard.
Those were changes that were specifically made by the league.
We are going to discuss changes that have just “evolved” in the NBA game.

One of the biggest changes that has occurred in today’s NBA is bigs playing in the post. It’s very rare to see a big fella with his back to the basket and his hand up jockeying for position in the box. Players had a position over history, and they all had a duty that was assigned to that position that they played. The PG handled the ball, they were usually the best ball-handlers and kept the team’s flow and rhythm. Your SG’s were scorers. The frontcourt hit the glass and your bigs played inside out. Today’s game, not so much. There are pros and cons to that – it shows the great ability and skills this generation of talent has – but it has also lowered the position value. Where would Shaq play today? Would he still get the ball in the post with all of the 3-pt shooting today?

Hand-checking was great.  It brought some physicality and the ability to feel out your defender.  And it gave the defender a feel and  flow playing defense, it made scorers have to play a little harder on offense.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the defense just throwing elbows and jacking people, but physical play was always part of basketball.  Basketball is a physical sport. When you box out, you throw your rear end into the guy, you bodied guys up. Boxing out itself was a very physical part of the game, and there’s not nearly as much of that in today’s game.

There was a lot more pure competitiveness back in the day. The top teams battled, and it was warfare. It wasn’t all hugs and kisses with everybody friending each other on social media. They seemed to play with much more pride and loyalty to the team they played for. Teams really wanted to beat each other. When the Lakers and the Celtics played, they had respect for each other, when the Pistons and the Bulls played, they had respect for each other, but make no mistake about it, those organizations weren’t buddies. They weren’t pals, they wanted to destroy each other. The teams usually didn’t even like each other.

The best players truly wanted to compete against each other, they wanted to beat the other best players.  Not join up with them to make a championship caliber team instantly. Players today, as we all know, now seem to be much more interested in the path of least resistance. It’s not necessarily about being the man to lead your team, it’s about who you can get together to win. I think for most people that’s the biggest and most disappointing change that we’ve seen in the NBA these last several years. The lack of leadership and heart that these players seem to have.

When a player was drafted by a team, his job was to make the team better, that player took it as a compliment that he was chosen to make the team better, and yes, that includes going to a crummy team without a lot of good players.
They drafted him to help them, not stick around for 3 years, complain about the team, and then fight to go somewhere else with other stars. They drafted you to help get the team championships. It was much more about the team, not as much about the individual player.

And of course, the flopping. I’m not quite sure when it became okay for players to give up and fold like a lawn chair anytime they get bumped, instead of wanting to stand their ground, and be a man. I get it, players have always exaggerated fouls a little bit to get to the line. But let’s be honest, again, these guys are not just exaggerating, they’re putting in work for an Academy Award.

Change is okay in increments. But when it starts to completely upend and change the way the game is even played it can be a little disconcerting. Realistically, for those who enjoy the game, we’re going to still watch it. We might complain a little bit more and we might want to see a different style of play a little more often.  But, we’re still going to watch it, because it’s still a sport we enjoy and it’s still entertaining just the same.  I’m just really hoping that someday we get a good throwback player who plays the game a little “differently” again.