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If I had to pick one player to start an NBA Franchise with, I would pick Kawhi Leonard

Blogged under Basketball,Bloglockers,Front Page,General by joelapinski on Sunday 1 May 2016 at 9:11 am

After watching last night’s San Antonio Spurs‘ game last night, it reminded me that if I was starting an NBA Franchise and I could have any player to start with…..I would take 24-year old small forward Kawhi Leonard.  In the Spurs 124-92 win over the Thunder, it was clear to me that Kawhi Leonard is probably the best player in the NBA right now.  He had 25 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in only 22 minutes on the floor.  Durant finished up with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists in this game.  Leonard is already a big time player as he was the MVP of the NBA Finals in 2013-14, when he clearly outplayed LeBron James to beat the Heat.  Leonard has won back to back Defensive Player of the Year Awards in the NBA.  No player plays harder than he does on both ends of the basketball court……period!

Leonard has now played in 5 games (all starts) in the playoffs so far this year and he is averaging 29.4 minutes, 22.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.2 steals and 2.2 blocked shots per game.  He is shooting 57.4% from the floor, 60% from three point range and 95.5% from the free throw line so far in the playoffs this year!  Leonard has already played in 70 games (all starts) in the playoffs in his first five years in the NBA and he is averaging 32.7 minutes, 14.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.7 blocked shots per game.  Leonard has shot 52% in his career in the playoffs!  He plays even better when the games get bigger!

Leonard made his first All-Star team this year and his scoring average has gone up in every year he has played in the NBA.  He played in 72 games (all starts) for the Spurs this year and he averaged 33.1 minutes, 21.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocked shot per game.  He shot 50.6% from the floor, 44.3% from three point range and 87.4% from the free throw line in 2015-16!  Leonard has now played in 324 games (297 starts) in his first five years in the NBA and he is averaging 29.9 minutes, 14.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 0.7 blocked shots per game.

In summation, you can have Stephen Curry, LeBron James or Kevin Durant!  But, I’ll take Kawhi Leonard to build my team around as he is the best all-around player in the NBA right now!

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MLB suspends Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins for 80 games

Blogged under Baseball,Bloglockers,Front Page,General by joelapinski on Friday 29 April 2016 at 7:46 am

Major League Baseball has suspended 28-year old 2B Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins for 80 games without pay for testing positive for PEDs.  Gordon has played in 21 games for the Marlins so far this year and he is 25 of 94 (.266 avg, .629 OPS) with 13 runs scored, 0 homers, 5 RBIs and 6 stolen bases.  Last year, Gordon had a true breakout season for the Marlins.  He played in 145 games for the Marlins in 2015 and he was 205 of 615 (.333 avg, .776 OPS) with 88 runs scored, 4 homers, 46 RBIs and 58 stolen bases.  He led the National League in batting average (.333) and he led the Major Leagues in both hits (205) and stolen bases (58) in 2015.  Gordon was a N.L. All-Star last year and he won both a Gold Glove Award and a Silver Slugger Award in 2015.  This is a huge blow to the Miami Marlins.

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Here is my final 2016 NFL Mock Draft of the first round

Blogged under Bloglockers,Football,Front Page,General,The NFL Draft by joelapinski on Thursday 28 April 2016 at 8:35 am

This is my final 2016 Mock Draft.  In includes a couple of trades down involving the Cleveland Browns, which allow the Miami Dolphins to move up to #8 and the Atlanta Falcons to move up to #13.  Other that those two possible deals, I see every team staying put and making a pick in the first round, except the New England Patriots.  Here is a look at my final mock draft:

1. Los Angeles Rams - Jared Goff, QB, California – The Rams didn’t trade up to take anything but a QB.  Goff is the most NFL ready QB in this draft and he played his college ball in the state.

2. Philadelphia EaglesCarson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State – The Eagles are taking a big gamble here, as Wentz played against glorified high school teams in college.

3. San Diego ChargersLaremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi – The Chargers do backflips as they get the best player on their draft board.  This move makes Philip Rivers really, really happy.

4. Dallas CowboysJalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State – The Dallas Cowboys nab the best defensive player in the entire draft with Ramsey.

5. Jacksonville JaguarsJoey Bosa, DE, Ohio State – The Jaguars get the best pass rusher in the draft as they continue to rebuild on the defensive side of the football.

6. Baltimore RavensDeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon – The Ravens get another big piece in helping rebuild on the defensive side of the ball in Buckner.

7. San Francisco 49ersRonnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame – The 49ers take the best player on their board and this would be a great pick for them.

8. Miami DolphinsEzekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State – The Dolphins have been trying the whole off-season to find a RB and they get the most dynamic one in this draft, but it doesn’t come cheaply, as the Browns get a few picks to aid it’s rebuilding.

9. Tampa Bay BuccaneersVernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida – A weakness turns into a strength for the Bucs, as they team Hargreaves with Pro Bowler Brent Grimes at CB.

10. New York GiantsShaq Lawson, DE/OLB, Clemson – The Giants want to amp up the pass rush and they will do that with this pick.

11. Chicago BearsA’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama – The Chicago Bears get a bully for the middle of their defense!

12. New Orleans Saints - Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama – Forget all this Paxton Lynch nonsense.  The Saints need to improve their run defense and adding Reed is a good first step towards doing that.

13. Atlanta FalconsMyles Jack, ILB, UCLA – The Atlanta Falcons deal up with the Cleveland Browns to get one of the highest rated players on their draft board.

14. Oakland RaidersReggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama – The Oakland Raiders get a tough guy to help with the run defense.

15. Tennessee TitansJack Conklin, OT, Michigan State – The Titans get a bodyguard for Marcus Mariota.

16. Detroit LionsEmmanuel Ogbah, DE. Oklahoma State – The Lions get a big time pass rusher to team with Ezekiel Ansah.

17. Cleveland BrownsJosh Doctson, WR, TCU – The Cleveland Browns finally make a pick and they take the best WR on the board.

18. Indianapolis ColtsTaylor Decker, OT, Ohio State – The Colts get a bodyguard for Andrew Luck.

19. Buffalo BillsSheldon Rankins, DE, Louisville – The Buffalo Bills nab Rankins to try to amp up the pass rush.

20. New York JetsDarron Lee, OLB, Ohio State – The Jets need to rebuild the linebacking unit and Lee is a good start.

21. Washington RedskinsEli Apple, CB, Ohio State – The Redskins take the best player left on their board and it’s a good move.

22. Houston TexansMackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson – The Texans get themselves a really good value pick right here.

23. Minnesota VikingsLaquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi – The Vikings get one of the best WRs in this draft to team with second year WR Stefon Diggs.

24. Cincinnati Bengals - Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor – The Bengals are going to take the best WR available and that will be the speedy Coleman.

25. Pittsburgh SteelersLeonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia – The Steelers get themselves a pass rushing OLB.

26. Seattle Seahawks - Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana – The Seahawks find a replacement for Russell Okung.

27. Green Bay PackersKevin Dodd, DE, Clemson – The Packers literally run up to the podium to take Dodd.

28. Kansas City ChiefsWill Fuller, WR, Notre Dame – The Chiefs nad a solid WR prospect to team with Jeremy Maclin.

29. Arizona CardinalsPaxton Lynch, QB, Memphis – The Cardinals get a rock solid QB prospect to groom behind Carson Palmer.

30. Carolina PanthersWilliam Jackson III, CB, Houston – The Panthers take the best corner left to help replace Josh Norman.

31. Denver BroncosNoah Spence, OLB/DE, Eastern Kentucky – The Broncos overlook Spence’s off field problems and pick him for his talent.

 

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Where will the rookie QBs land this weekend?

Blogged under Bloglockers,Football,Front Page,General,The NFL Draft by joelapinski on Wednesday 27 April 2016 at 1:10 pm

Everyone always loves the QB Derby at the NFL Draft.  So I have taken a gaze into my crystal ball and this is where I see the QBs landing this weekend and early next week:

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (1st round, #1 overall) – The Rams traded up with the Titans for the #1 overall pick and you don’t do that unless you are taking a QB.  Jared Goff is the perfect fit for the Rams, as he can play right away and he is a California boy that would look good on the cover of the media guide.

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (1st round, #2 overall) – The Eagles traded up with the Browns for the #2 overall pick.  Word in Philly is that they love Carson Wentz, despite him playing in college at a glorified high school.  Sam Bradford is already whining about the Eagles dealing for this pick and taking his eventual replacement.

Paxton Lynch, Denver Broncos – (1st round, #31 overall) – There is no way that Paxton Lynch gets by the Denver Broncos.  They might even trade up for him, as he is clearly one of the top 3 QBs in this draft.

Connor Cook, Cleveland Browns – (2nd round, #32 overall) – The Browns wait until the second round to get their QB of the future.  Cook is one of the more underrated QBs coming into the NFL this year.

Cardale Jones, Buffalo Bills – (2nd round, #49 overall) – Cardale Jones is a big time physical talent, but he stares down WRs and he won’t be running over NFL LBs and DBs.  He even lost his starting job at Ohio State during the 2015 season.  Seems like a reach to me.

Christian Hackenberg, Dallas Cowboys – (3rd round, #67 overall) – This is a great guy for the Cowboys to take a shot on.  Hackenberg can make all of the throws to be a good NFL QB.  But, he was getting punished on a weekly basis due to Penn State’s horrid offensive line.  The O-Line is no problem for the Cowboys.

Kevin Hogan, San Francisco 49ers – (3rd round, #68 overall) – Kevin Hogan is one of the least talked about QBs coming into the NFL this year, but he is a rock solid prospect.  Plus, it was easy for the 49ers to scout him as he played right around the block.

Dak Prescott, Chicago Bears – (4th round, #106 overall) – The Bears need a QB to groom behind Jay Cutler for the future.  Prescott is a pretty solid prospect for the Bears to take a chance on.

Jacoby Brissett, Arizona Cardinals – (4th round, #128 overall) – The Cardinals want to get a QB to groom behind Carson Palmer for the future.  Brissett is a solid prospect.

Jeff Driskel, Detroit Lions – (5th round, #151 overall) – The Detroit Lions could use a young QB to learn from Matthew Stafford.  Driskel was a good QB at Louisiana Tech, but he wasn’t too good at Florida……which is why he lasted until the 5th round.

Jake Ruddock, Washington Redskins – (5th round, #158 overall) – The Redskins take a flier on Ruddock to groom behind Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy.

Brandon Doughty, Cleveland Browns – (6th round, #176 overall) – The Browns double down at QB after taking Connor Cook in the 2nd round.  The Moneyball guys in the Browns’ front office love stats and Doughty put up a lot of impressive ones at Western Kentucky.

Brandon Allen, San Diego Chargers – (7th round, #224 overall) – The Chargers take a shot here on a prospect to groom behind Philip Rivers.

Cody Kessler, Seattle Seahawks – (7th round, #225 overall) – The Seahawks take a flier on the productive QB from head coach Pete Carroll’s old team (USC).

Marquise Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers – (7th round, #229 overall) – Landry Jones is not the QB of the Future for the Steelers, so they take a prospect to challenge him in Williams.

Vernon Adams, Oakland Raiders – (7th round, #234 overall) – The Oakland Raiders take a flier on Vernon Adams.  He was the best QB at the East/West Shrine game that I attended!

Jake Coker, Atlanta Falcons – (7th round, #238 overall) – The Falcons take a look see at a guy that was a big time winner in college.

Nate Sudfield, Indianapolis Colts – (7th round, #239 overall) – The Colts take a flier on a local college kid.

Blake Frohnapfel, New England Patriots (priority free agent) – The Patriots give a shot to a college player that played his home games at Gillette Field (U Mass).

Joe Licata, New York Giants – (priority free agent) – The Giants take a flier on Licata.  He played his college ball at Buffalo.

Josh Woodrum, Kansas City Chiefs – (priority free agent) – The Chiefs take a flier on a kid from Liberty.

Joel Stave, Green Bay Packers – (priority free agent) – The Packers give a shot to a local college kid, as Stave played for Wisconsin.

 

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JaMarcus Russell is begging NFL teams to give him another chance

Blogged under Bloglockers,Football,Front Page,General by joelapinski on Wednesday 27 April 2016 at 9:21 am

30-year old QB JaMarcus Russell has sent a letter to every NFL team begging them for another chance.  When he was the #1 overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders thought they were getting the prototype NFL QB.  Russell was 6’6″, 265 pounds and he had a rocket launcher attached to his shoulder.  But, he tanked badly for the Raiders and was out of the league four years later.  He played in 31 games (25 starts) in his three years with the Raiders and he completed 354 of 680 passes (52.1%) for 4,083 yards with 18 TD passes and 23 INTs (65.2 QB Rating).  He also carried the ball 40 times for 175 yards (4.4 ypc) with 1 TD run.  Russell has offered to run the scout team for free for a year in order to learn a team’s offensive system.  It all sounds good, but in the end, Russell blew his big chance and I don’t see an NFL team that will take a chance on a player with his baggage.

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David Murphy retires from baseball

Blogged under Baseball,Bloglockers,Front Page,General by joelapinski on Tuesday 26 April 2016 at 12:19 pm

34-year old lefty swinging outfielder David Murphy has retired to spend more time with his family.  He opted out of his minor league deal with the Minnesota Twins and he hung up his cleats.  Murphy played in 10 games in AAA-ball for the Twins this year and he was 7 for 36 (.194 avg, .562 OPS) with 3 runs scored, 1 homer and 3 RBIs.  It’s hard for me to believe that he couldn’t get a job with a Major League team over the winter.  Murphy played in 132 games for the Indians and Angels last year and he was 102 of 361 (.283 avg, .739 OPS) with 38 runs scored, 10 homers and 50 RBIs.  Murphy has now played in 1,110 games in his 10 years in the show and he was 950 of 3,467 (.274 avg, .765 OPS) with 440 runs scored, 104 homers, 472 RBIs and 54 stolen bases.  Murphy was never a star, but he was a solid Major League player.

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The Los Angeles Clippers suffered a devastating injury last night against the Portland Trailblazers

Blogged under Basketball,Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Need to Step Up,The Playoffs by joelapinski on Tuesday 26 April 2016 at 12:14 pm

The Los Angeles Clippers not only lost a game to the Portland Trailblazers, but they have lost 30-year old point guard Chris Paul for the rest of the 2015-16.  He fractured his right hand in the 3rd quarter last night and then the Clippers fell apart in the 4th quarter.  Paul played in 4 games (all starts) against the Blazers in the playoffs and he averaged 31.3 minutes, 23.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.3 steals.  Now the Clippers will have to turn to 23-year old point guard Austin Rivers to run the Clippers’ offense.  He has played in 4 games off the bench against the Blazers in the first round of the playoffs and he is averaging 18.7 minutes, 7.0 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.  Rivers better pan out or Clippers’ fans are going to be mad at his dad (Doc Rivers).  Compounding the injury to Paul was the fact that 26-year old power forward Blake Griffin left the game with a quad injury.  An injured quad cost him a few months earlier this year.  He is questionable for Game #5, but the Clippers are going to need him to play to help make up for the loss of Paul.  Griffin has started all four games against the Blazers in this series and he is averaging 31.7 minutes, 15.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.  If Griffin can’t go, the Clippers are going to turn to 29-year old Jeff Green.  Green has played in 4 games off the bench so far in the playoffs and he is averaging 21.5 minutes, 8.3 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.  The Clippers were up 2-0 in this series, but now they are tied up with the Blazers at 2 wins apiece!

UPDATE:  Chris Paul had surgery earlier today and he will miss the next 4-6 weeks.  Blake Griffin re-injured his quad muscle and he is done for the season!

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The U.S. Court of Appeals reinstates Tom Brady’s suspension

Blogged under Big Football News,Bloglockers,Football,Front Page,General,Need to Step Up by joelapinski on Monday 25 April 2016 at 1:25 pm

The U.S. Court of Appeals has reinstated 38-year old QB Tom Brady‘s four game suspension for DeflateGate.  This ruling was completely about the authority of the NFL and commission Roger Goodell according to the league’s collective bargaining agreement.  Brady got the New England Patriots back to the playoffs last year when his suspension was overturned.  It doesn’t look like he will be as lucky this time around.  That could mean that he will miss the first four games of the 2016 season.  That means it’s showtime for 24-year old QB Jimmy Garoppolo.  He has played in 11 games (0 starts) in his first two years with the Patriots and he has completed 20 of 31 passes (64.5%) for 188 yards with 1 TD pass and 0 INTs (91.9 QB Rating).  He also has carried the ball 15 times for 4 yards (0.3 ypc) so far in his career.  Garoppolo has only gotten to play in mop up time in his first two years in the NFL.  It will be interesting to see how he does when he’s facing real bullets in September.  The Patriots have faith in him though, as they picked him in the second round (#62 overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft.

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Alex Rodriguez is nearing the end of the line for the New York Yankees

Blogged under Baseball,Bloglockers,Front Page,General,Need to Step Up by joelapinski on Monday 25 April 2016 at 12:12 pm

40-year old righty swinging DH Alex Rodriguez left the New York Yankees‘ game with the Tampa Bay Rays earlier yesterday due to left oblique stiffness.  Rodriguez is looking his age so far this year, as he has played in 15 games for the Yankees in which he is 8 for 55 (.145 avg, .515 OPS) with 6 runs scored, 2 homers, 6 RBIs and 2 stolen bases.  He has whiffed 19 times already this year for the Yankees.  He has now played in 2,734 games in his first 22 years in the Major Leagues and he is 3,078 of 10,396 (.296 avg, .935 OPS) with 2,008 runs scored, 689 homers, 2,061 RBIs and 328 stolen bases.  Rodriguez is #4 in Major League history in homers with 689 of them.  He is only behind Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth!  He is also #4 in RBIs (2,061), #27 in games played (2,734), #21 in hits (3,078), tied for #33 in doubles (542) with Harry Heilmann, tied for 128th in stolen bases (328) with Monte Cross and Kiki Cuyler, tied for #37 in walks (1,330) with Tim Raines and he is #5 in strikeouts (2,239) in Major League history.  Rodriguez has been an All-Star 14 times, an MVP 3 times and he has won 10 Silver Slugger Award and 2 Gold Glove Awards in his first 22 years in the show.

But, Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season due to PED usage.  So in the end, he is going to be in the same club as Rafael Palmeiro, as the one two guys with 3,000 hits and 500 homers that are not in the Hall of Fame!  There is a reason why Joe Torre called him A-Fraud.  He could have been cheating his whole career, which will we never know.

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Has Ryan Fitzpatrick overplayed his hand with the New York Jets

Blogged under Big Football News,Bloglockers,Football,Front Page,General by joelapinski on Monday 25 April 2016 at 11:52 am

33-year old QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was signed to the backup QB for the New York Jets in 2015.  But, when Geno Smith got knocked the hell out in the locker room in training camp, Fitzpatrick stepped up and he never looked back.  He played in 16 games (all starts) for the Jets last year and he completed 335 of 562 passes (59.6%) for 3,905 yards with 31 TD passes and 15 INTs (88.0 QB Rating).  He also carried the ball 60 times for 270 yards (4.5 ypc) last year.  He led the Jets to a 10-6 record, but in the biggest game last year against the Bills, he looked like he had seen a ghost and played horrible.

Fitzpatrick has now played in 113 games (105 starts) in his first 11 years in the NFL and he has completed 2,087 of 3,473 passes (60.1%) for 23,178 yards with 154 TD passes and 116 INTs (80.8 QB Rating).  He also has carried the ball 405 times for 1,869 yards (4.6 ypc) with 13 TD runs.  Fitzpatrick is #84 in NFL history in passing yards with 23,178 of them.  He is also #58 in QB Rating (80.8), tied for 78th in TD passes (154) with Brian Sipe and Jeff George and he is #90 in interceptions (116) in NFL history.  But, he is only 43-61-1 (.413) as a starting QB in the NFL.

Fitzpatrick might have overplayed his hand by asking for big time money from the Jets.  The Jets probably view Fitzpatrick as a backup type QB that had a career year in 2015.  The Jets still have Geno Smith and they could take a QB in the NFL Draft this weekend.  They have also been in contact with Brian Hoyer, who has the same exact skill set as Fitzpatrick does.  With very few openings left in the NFL, Fitzpatrick should try to get the Jets to meet in the middle and get a deal done.

 

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