The New York Mets have won four games in a row. As I typed that sentence I couldn’t help but laugh and think to myself, “This team just will not go away.” One would think that a four game winning streak following a seven game losing streak is a sign of a turnaround. A signal that the team can handle adversity, overcome it and thrive in its aftermath. And, you know, that very well could be what is going on here with the Mets. But I’m just really, really skeptical.
Since starting off the season 13-3 and going on that tease of an 11 game win streak, the Amazins have gone 27-34. It has been a rollercoaster of a season so far to say the least and, despite everything, the Mets currently sit 2.5 games out of first place in the NL East. All of this has led me to believe that the 2015 Mets are the most Mets team in the history of the Mets.
Just think about it. The team comes into this season with playoff aspirations, takes a series from a stacked Nationals team right out of the gate and then drops two of three from the fresh off a fire-sale Braves. The Mets then go on an 11 game win streak, but lose their captain and best player David Wright to injury (who is still out) in the process. The team then goes on a 27-34 stretch, which included a seven game losing streak followed by a four game winning streak and sent Travis d’Arnaud (twice) and Daniel Murphy to the DL in the process. Oh and our Gold Glove center fielder is playing through an elbow injury and our one offseason acquisition (Michael Cuddyer) has, pardon my French, played like a steaming pile of horse shit. Have you ever seen a stretch of play that varied, inconsistent and injury riddled? I definitely haven’t. However, this team just continues to stay relevant and keep you interested, yesterday’s game(s) being the perfect example of this.
If you were around to watch the Mets play yesterday, you were treated with almost two games worth of baseball. The Mets finished up Saturday’s rain shortened game, starting in the 7th inning and finishing in the 13th, after Lucas Duda won the game with a failed fielders choice to home plate. Then the real show began. Steven Matz, the highly touted pitching prospect that has been dominating AAA ball all season long, was finally called up. And boy did he live up to the hype.
Watching Matz was like something out of a movie. The 24-year-old southpaw started out his major league career by throwing the ball to the backstop, followed by letting up a leadoff homerun to Brandon Phillips four pitches later. After a rocky start, Matz settled down and retired the rest of the batters the next two innings. In the bottom of the second with the young lefty at the plate, Matz sent a ball to deep center for two-run double. It didn’t end there though. Matz singled in the bottom of the fifth and hit a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth. You almost forget that he’s still a pitcher who threw 7.2 innings while giving up five hits, two runs, three walks and six K’s. What. A. Debut. Its almost like the Mets’ pitchers are hitting better than our batters this season…Oh wait that’s exactly what it is.
One of the story lines coming into the game was that Matz, originally from Long Island, grew up a Mets fan and was finally living his dream and pitching for his favorite big league team. I get chills just thinking about what he must’ve felt after the game. Can you imagine putting on a show like that in your MLB debut for the team you grew up rooting for? Unreal.
So, last night was just another example of how up and down team this team is. Some days the team hits. Most days they don’t. And almost every day it pitches well. That’s what the 2015 Mets are right now and we’re all going to have to deal with it until Sandy Alderson grows some balls and trades for a veteran bat that can turn this fringe playoff team into a possible contender. Yes, I said contender. With this pitching, any team has the ability to be a contender. Its all going to depend on what Sandy does from now to the All-Star break to improve the lineup, and knowing these Mets, it’s going to be hell of a ride till then.
The New York Mets have won four games in a row. As I typed that sentence I couldn’t help but laugh and think to myself, “This team just will not go away.” One would think that a four game winning streak following a seven game losing streak is a sign of a turnaround. A signal that the team can handle adversity, overcome it and thrive in its aftermath. And, you know, that very well could be what is going on here with the Mets. But I’m just really, really skeptical.
Don’t let the headline deceive you; I still don’t know how I’m going to make sense of last night, and I’m the one writing this article. The only lottery pick that went as everyone expected was the first one, when Karl-Anthony Towns went to the Minnesota Timberwolves, joining two former first overall picks in Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins. But I’m not here to talk about Towns or the Wolves or how Flip Saunders has acquired the past three #1 overall picks in the last 12 months.
I’m here to talk about the Knicks and honestly I’ve been stalling all day, trying to put this article off because I was still in shock from last night. You know that feeling you get when you watch Game of Thrones and then everyone dies in one episode? Yeah, that’s what I felt like after hearing “With the fourth pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks select (Adam Silver Pauses for dramatic effect, knowing the words he’s about to utter would start a riot in the stands) Kristaps Porzingis, Cent…” I actually don’t remember anything after that point. I’m 99% sure I blacked out. It was inconceivable to me that Phil Jackson just drafted a 19-year-old, 7’1” Latvian project that won’t contribute next season. I, along with every Knicks fan actually at the Barclays Center, was letting blind rage consume my thoughts. Maybe it was the tease that was Okafor dropping to the Sixers, or that I think Emmanuel Mudiay is going to be the next Russell Westbrook. I just didn’t know. The picture to your left, which is of me, perfectly sums up how I felt immediately after the Knicks drafted Kristaps Porzingis. Yes, it was that kind of night.
It has been almost 20 hours since the Draft started and I’ve had some time to sleep off the shock and think about the Knicks moves rationally and with a clear conscience. And, being perfectly honest, I actually love what the Knicks did last night. It’s not like me to completely flip my opinion on a class the day after the draft, but just hear me out. (I’m only breaking down the first round picks because who cares about the second round).
Kristaps Porzingis is at least almost a head taller than every other prospect in this draft, which I didn’t realize until I saw this picture:
Like holy fuck. This guy is only 19?? I mean I’ve suffered through 20 years of following four losing teams (Mets, Jets, Knicks, and Rangers, I don’t need your pity either), and I still take shit for going to Penn State (still hearing Sandusky jokes and I wasn’t even at the school when it happened). But if waiting two years for this Latvian gigantor to develop into Dirk 2.0 is what it’s going to take for me to see a team I root for win a title, then show me the dotted line. Porzingis can shoot from anywhere on the floor, is a decent shot blocker, and based off of the comments he’s made since being drafted, he is hungry. That right there is what sold me on this guy. This is an excerpt from Adrian Wojnarowski’s June 16 profile of Porzingis.
“The biggest thing for me – the thing that I think most about – is that you can get into the gym whenever you want here,” Porzingis told Yahoo Sports over dinner recently. “They give you a card, or a key, and in the middle of the night, if you want to work out, you just go to the gym and get your work in – and I think that’s amazing.
“In Europe, you don’t have that option. You can’t get your work in on a Sunday, because nobody is there. I think that’s one of the coolest things. This year, I didn’t have a place to play. I’ve got to talk to the GM, to talk one of the people who work in the arena to open the door for me. People don’t want to do extra work at the arena.”
So Porzingis laid awake in his bedroom in Sevilla, Spain, and thought to himself, “‘when I’m sleeping, someone else is working out.’ I’d think that I better get in my work the next day, because I’m already behind.”
The guy is HUNGRY. As Herb Brooks once said, “The legs feed the wolf, gentlemen.” Yes, historically, European players have not panned out unless your name is Dirk, Pau, or Marc. However if there is going to be a fourth great European player in the history of the NBA, Porzingis certainly has the mindset and drive to get to that point.
The Knicks entered yesterday’s draft with only one pick in total. Many felt that the Knicks needed to trade into the second round to help add depth to the roster, myself included. Well, Phil Jackson decided to one-up us and move into the first round instead. Jackson traded Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Washington Wizards straight up for the 19th pick in the NBA draft. And you thought Phil was delusional (still up in the air). The Knicks went out and drafted Jerian Grant, who in my humble opinion is an absolute beast. I picked his Notre Dame to make the National Championship game and followed the team religiously throughout the tournament and let me tell you, Grant can flat out BALL. What the Knicks got in Grant is a 6’5” point guard that can defend 1-3 and score from anywhere on the court. He’s very athletic and is a highly intelligent basketball player. Being at Notre Dame and staying until he graduated, he is much more mature than most players in this draft (22 years old), having played under Mike Brey for all four years (Side Note: The first four picks are all 19 years old). Grant brings an explosive mindset to the point-guard position in New York, who will create a nice 1-2 punch with last season’s breakout player for the Knicks, Langston Galloway.
I honestly was really upset with how the draft went in the moments following Porzingis’ selection, but I wont let 20 years of negativity and losing bring me down. I’m doing my best to look at the bright side of things and hopefully the rest of you Knick fans can do the same. And in all honesty, we were all mad (or still are) last night because Phil didn’t draft someone who can win now for us. And with reports of Melo being unhappy with how the draft went coming out, I can see how people are livid. However, if Melo really were THAT concerned with winning now, he would have left New York for Chicago or Houston last off-season. Instead he resigned and is holding the Knicks’ salary cap hostage. If he cared about winning he would have taken a discount so the team could sign respectable role players. Carmelo Anthony actually came out today and said he was pissed that Phil Jackson didn’t pick a player that would help the team win now. News flash Carmelo, NO ONE WOULD HELP THIS TEAM WIN NOW. Not one player in this draft would make this team a contender. Jalen Rose’s team needs for the Knicks last night was “Everything”. That, my friends, is when you know your team is shit. Hopefully this draft was the first step in the right direction for the Knicks, as their selections certainly have the potential to live up to their expectations. Then again, who knows? It’s the Knicks, what isn’t going to go wrong?
I’m a believer that this year’s NHL draft is one of the deeper ones in recent memory. It might not compare to the vaunted 2003 crop, but word around the league is that there are upwards of 50 players that have first round grades on individual team boards. Obviously this makes mocking the draft tough, but I’ll give it the old college try here with my first ever mock draft on East Coast Egos.
- Edmonton Oilers – Connor McDavid C Erie (OHL)
Just a formality at this point, Connor McDavid is worth the hype and then some. It all starts with his skating. McDavid will step into the league and immediately be up there with the likes of Matt Duchene and Carl Hagelin as one of the fastest guys in the league. What makes McDavid so special though is his ability to combine that speed with his elite hockey sense and make plays without slowing down. McDavid is in my opinion the best prospect to come into the NHL since Crosby, and I’d put him a step above where Crosby was as a prospect due to his previously mentioned skating ability. McDavid will step into the lineup and being propelling Edmonton back to the glory days.
- Buffalo Sabres – Jack Eichel C Boston University (NCAA)
Also no suspense here as Eichel is the consensus #2 player in this draft. Eichel put an assault on the college hockey ranks this year that was unseen by a draft eligible player since Paul Kariya in 1993. Eichel combines size, skating, and puck skills into a rarely seen package. His puck handling in tight areas is impressive especially for a player of his size, and he packs a punch with his shot in space. You would like to see him engage a little more physically, but that’s nit picking as he is a very good defensive forward as well. Eichel is NHL ready, and Buffalo will hand the keys to the franchise to the “best American since Modanao.”
- Arizona Coyotes – Dylan Strome C Erie (OHL)
The draft really starts at pick 3, where Don Maloney has been adamant about weighing his options and even taking calls from teams trying to move up. This pick is a tossup between Noah Hanifin, Mitch Marner, and Dylan Strome. If you poll around the league, Hanifin would get the nod as the #3 player in this draft. However, Arizona has a real dearth of talent down the middle, and the best place to fix that is the NHL Draft. Dylan Strome is an intriguing prospect, as a cerebral 6-3 center with fantastic puck skills. The biggest knock on Strome is his average skating, but it’s an area that he’s improved since entering the OHL. When he’s on his game, Strome just makes plays happen. If Arizona takes him here, they hope he fills out his frame and become the #1 center they’ve truly lacked over the years.
- Toronto Maple Leafs – Mitch Marner C/RW London (OHL)
Back in 2013, Mark Hunter was the GM of the London Knights when they took a chance on a 5’7” scrawny 16 year old at the end of round 1 of the OHL Priority Selection. That small kid would progress into the current version of Mitch Marner we see, the dynamic offensive threat drawing comparisons to Patrick Kane. Why does this matter? Mark Hunter is now with the Maple Leafs and with the firing of their head amateur scout, he’s now tasked with running the draft this year. This shouldn’t take away from Marner though, as he is a dynamic talent more than worthy of the top 5 selection. Combining speed with puck skills always makes for a dangerous player at the junior level, but when you combine it with hockey IQ you get an NHL prospect. I believe Marner projects best as a winger making plays off the walls on the rush, but I wouldn’t rule out trying him at center. Marner and William Nylander could become a dynamic 1-2 punch for Mike Babcock’s Maple Leafs down the line.
- Carolina Hurricanes – Noah Hanifin D Boston College (NCAA)
If the left handed Hanifin is on the board at 5, Carolina GM Ron Francis should sprint up to the podium to make the pick. Hanifin accelerated in order to enter college this year as a 17 year old freshman. He took up a spot on BC’s top pairing and never looked back. Hanifin is a rare breed, a dynamic skater in a large developing frame. He has the upside and the skills to develop into the coveted true two-way defenseman in the mold of Duncan Keith. Like most young players, he needs to get physically stronger to handle the rigors of the NHL and you would also like to see him engage a little more during puck battles. If it all goes right, Carolina could have one of the NHL’s top duos in a Hanifin-Justin Faulk pairing down the line.
- New Jersey Devils – Mathew Barzal C Seattle (WHL)
New Jersey enters this draft at a crossroads, with what’s left of their glory days core on the brink of retirement mixed with a new coach, a new GM, and a crop of younger players pushing their way up the organizational depth chart. Enter Mathew Barzal. It’s not long ago that Barzal was considered the consensus #2 player behind Connor McDavid in this 2015 draft class. He was incredibly hyped as the #1 pick in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft and has lived up to it… when healthy. That has been the knock on Barzal thus far in his career, as an injury wiped out a chunk of his draft season. His stock trended back upwards with his performance at the U18s, where he showed off his vision and creativity on Canada’s top line. Barzal does hold #1 center upside and is a 200 foot player, something always valued by the Devils brass. He makes a lot of sense here as the Devils move into a new era.
- Philadelphia Flyers – Lawson Crouse LW Kingston (OHL)
The popular whipping boy among armchair GMs this season appears to be Crouse. We’ll start with the bad – Crouse’s production in his draft eligible season left a lot to be desired. He struggled to create for himself offensively, especially with teammates Sam Bennett and Spencer Watson missing portions of the year. On the bright side, Crouse’s game is so much more complex and advanced than being a scorer. Bringing a 6-4 200+ pound frame, Crouse is a punishing player in the corners and on the walls. He’s a coach’s dream, as he can play in any situation, from up one with a minute left in the game to down a pair of goals going on the power play. The Flyers have stated they’d prefer a forward this year with all things being equal, and Crouse is the type of player that seems as if he was born to wear orange and black.
- Columbus Blue Jackets – Ivan Provorov D Brandon (WHL)
What an incredible rise for Provorov, going from a known but not super highly touted defenseman in the USHL to challenging for the top defenseman available in the 2015 draft. Provorov’s hockey IQ is incredible, as he is so calm and so poised on the ice. He rarely gets caught out of position or makes mistakes, which is why his stock has rose so high. He’s a kid in that Oliver Ekman-Larsson mold, a guy that can skate, QB your PP, and anchor you PK. Jarmo Kekalainen would be thrilled to add the arguably pro ready prospect to the fold.
- San Jose Sharks – Pavel Zacha C Sarnia (OHL)
The Joe Thronton-Patrick Marleau era in San Jose is well on its way to an inevitable disastrous end, and it’s time for San Jose to begin stockpiling young forwards with top 6 potential. Zacha is going to be a controversial player in the draft. He came across the pond to play in the OHL this year after a public battle between his former agent and the Sarnia Sting over his selection in the CHL Import Draft. Zacha then came over and had issues staying healthy, limiting his impact on a young Sarnia team. When in the lineup, Zacha is a big mobile center that plays mean, but borderline dirty. The puck comes off his stick hard when he shoots, and he uses his size and strength to power his way to the net. His commitment to the defensive side of the puck needs improvement. San Jose did well with their last Czech first rounder, Mr. Hertl, and will attempt to strike gold again as the revamp their forward corps.
- Colorado Avalanche – Zach Werenski D Michigan (NCAA)
Noah Hanifin’s defensive partner with the NTDP followed his friends lead and joined the NCAA as a 17 year old freshman last year. Like the aforementioned Hanifin, Werenski also stepped into the top pair as a freshman and was his team’s best defender all year. Werenski is mobile and his game tilts more towards the offensive side of the puck at this point. The knock on him among scouts is he seems a little too passive if not disinterested at times, leading to mental mistakes and turnovers. He’ll need to improve on his intensity and attention to detail, and Colorado would be wise to slow cook him. They currently have the worst defensive corps in the NHL, and adding a talent like Werenski to the prospect pool is a step in the right direction to correct that.
- Florida Panthers – Mikko Rantanen RW TPS (Finland)
Rantanen becomes the first European based prospect off the board as the host team nabs him at #11. Rantanen’s biggest strength is his shot coupled with his puck protection skills. Rantanen is an animal in the cycle came, and if you give him space to shoot you’re going to pay, as he might have the best shot in the class. The problem with him is he is almost unselfish to a fault, playing as more as a facilitator instead of utilizing his rocket of a wrister. The Panthers are lacking size and skill on the wings and it’s not farfetched to imagine Rantanen developing chemistry with his fellow countryman Aleksander Barkov down the line.
- Dallas Stars – Kyle Connor C/LW Youngstown (USHL)
The Stars prospect pool currently lacks offensive fire power and creativity. Kyle Connor is a step towards correcting this shortcoming. Connor tore up the USHL again this year, taking home the league’s MVP award. His blazing speed pops out at you, as he was too fast for a large chunk of defenders in the league. He’s ticketed to head to the University of Michigan next year, and will need to pack some weight on a very light 170 pound frame. With development and a gain of functional strength, Connor could find himself firmly entrenched on a top line in Texas in the future.
- Los Angeles Kings – Travis Konecny C/RW Ottawa (OHL)
It’s rare to see a team with a roster like Los Angeles possesses picking this high, but it gives them the advantage of truly going with the best player available. In this case it would likely be Travis Konecny on their board. Coming into the OHL with much fanfare as the 1st overall pick in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection, Konecny lived up to expectations… when healthy. Injuries were the only thing to slow down the undersized Konecny during the season, as he was very productive when healthy. The one thing Konecny shows in spades is heart, as he will skate through a wall if it meant winning the game. Los Angeles would tab him here and give him plenty of time to add muscle to his frame.
- Boston Bruins – Timo Meier RW Halifax (QMJHL)
It wouldn’t surprise me if Meier went as high as the top 10, but I’ll put a disclaimer on here by saying I believe he is vastly overrated. We’ll start with the good, as Meier worked his tail off to go from an afterthought on the Jonathan Drouin train last season to a top scorer playing with Nikolaj Ehlers on the Mooseheads top line. Meier projects as a complimentary player, combining high hockey IQ with a hard accurate shot. The questions come with his foot speed, although improved dramatically from the season before, it’s still borderline average for the NHL level. Boston is one of those teams that doesn’t play at an extremely fast pace, and will likely go BPA here. Meier could find a niche as a Chris Kunitz type of maybe Bergeron or Krejci’s wing down the line.
- Calgary Flames – Nick Merkley C/RW Kelowna (WHL)
The WHL draft eligible scoring leader comes off the board here to Calgary. Playing for the WHL champs, Merkley was an impact player on the first line all year, and he produced whether playing with Rourke Chartier or Leon Draitsaitl down the middle. Merkley is opportunistic, combing hands and creativity with a nose for the net. He’s especially dangerous on the power player when given space. Merkley has the offensive skillset for the NHL, but he needs to get stronger and commit to the defensive side of the game. Calgary has young talent coming up the pipe, so they can take a flier on Merkley and hope his talent and production translates to a top 6 contributor.
- Edmonton Oilers – Thomas Chabot D Saint John (QMJHL)
Let’s call this the first “shocker” of the draft, as Edmonton by passes the likes of Jakob Zboril and Yevgeni Svechnikov to select the smooth skating Chabot. The first thing that sticks out when watching Chabot is his skating ability, as he is fluid and mobile in all 4 directions. He makes a crisp first pass out of the zone and knows when to jump into the play off the rush. You’d like to see him be more physical, but he’s positionally sound in his own zone and has an active stick. Chabot has been a riser throughout the year, to the point where I have him as the top defenseman behind the big 3 of Hanifin, Provorov, and Werenski. In this mock the Oilers agree with me, and add Chabot to a rising defensive prospect pool.
- Winnipeg Jets – Yevgeni Svechnikov RW Cape Brenton (QMJHL)
Winnipeg adds to a burgeoning prospect pool with the addition of the big Russian Svechnikov. Svechnikov combines a large frame with soft hands and a quick release. He was incredibly productive in the Q this year, carrying his team at time. The problems came with consistency, as there were some games where it seemed like Svechnikov missed the bus and didn’t show up. When he’s on though, he’s a strong possession forward and a load to handle. Winnipeg would be smart not to rush him, letting him grow into his body and hope he develops a mean streak to add to his offensive gifts.
- Ottawa Senators – Oliver Kylington D Farjestad (Sweden)
Let’s set the scene. It’s the 2008 NHL Draft and the hometown Senators step up to the podium and take an undersized, smooth skating Swedish defenseman with the 15th overall selection. Draft pundits questioned the pick, calling it a reach. The player selected at 15? His name is Erik Karlsson. The thinking behind this pick is stepping up to the plate and swinging for another grand slam. No player has a larger range in this draft than Kylington. The Swedish defenseman is a top 5 skater in this draft and was once regarded as a top 10 pick. Then this year happened. Kylington had a nightmare year, performing horribly on the international stage and having questions come out about his hockey sense and character. He was a turnover machine and looked flat out lost at times. It was a strange turn for a kid who came over at 17 years old last winter and didn’t look out of place in an exhibition against the best the AHL had to offer. In Ottawa, there’s no rush. The Senators will have the option to bring him over to North America next season and get him acclimated to the physicality and pace of the NHL team under the guidance of the player development staff.
- Detroit Red Wings – Joel Eriksson Ek C Farjestad (SHL)
Every year Detroit is expected to take the best Swede available, and this year it’s Joel Eriksson Ek, the hardworking sniper out of Sweden. I haven’t seen him much this year, but he’s said to have a quick release, great vision, and a strong work ethic. His weaknesses come on the defensive side, as his game tilts more towards offense at this point in his career. Detroit goes back to the well and will slowly bring Erikkson Ek along.
- Minnesota Wild – Jeremy Roy D Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
Minnesota adds some more mobility on the back end with the addition of Jeremy Roy. Coming into the QMJHL loaded with a ton of hype behind him, Roy has developed nicely into a responsible two way defenseman. Roy is very hockey smart, rarely being caught out of position and making smart crisp passes to spring his forwards. He could stand to improve his quickness and foot speed, but it shouldn’t be a problem at the NHL level. Roy doesn’t stick out as elite in any particular area, but his top 4 upside warrants a selection here. Minnesota continues to build up their back end with this selection.
- Ottawa Senators – Collin White C USNTDP (USHL)
The NTDP is on the board, as the Senators use the recently acquired pick to select the big pivot Collin White. White’s two-way game is incredibly mature for an 18 year old. His hockey sense has him labeled as a future shut down center with offensive abilities, even drawing Patrice Bergeron comparisons. That’s lofty praise, but it’s not unwarranted. White will take the NCAA route and head to Boston College next year, and Ottawa will keep a close eye on a kid who probably should’ve been off the board long before this selection.
- Washington Capitals – Dennis Guryanov RW Togliatti (MHL)
Back to back Russians here as Washington brings in the high skilled Guryanov. Guryanov is a big skilled winger with quick hands and a solid burst of speed. He’s a flashy player, and possesses a natural goal scoring touch. He needs a ton of work on the defensive side of the puck, as he quite frankly doesn’t show any effort at time. Washington has a history of taking high skilled forward prospects in the opening round, and selecting Guryanov would add to that trend.
- Vancouver Canucks – Jakub Zboril Saint John (QMJHL)
Vancouver’s prospect line is weak on the back end, and the fall of the Czech Zboril stops here. Zboril is a compact stay at home defenseman with above average mobility. He’s not the biggest guy, but he can be very physical. Nobody in the Q looked forward to having to play Saint John with Zboril manning the blue line this year. He needs to be more consistent like most young defenseman, and Vancouver has the time to wait on him. He would immediately become the top defenseman in the Canucks pipeline.
- Toronto Maple Leafs – Zach Senyshyn RW Soo (OHL)
Toronto goes off the board and grabs the speedy Senyshyn towards the end of round 1. Senyshyn is a sleeper candidate for the end of the first round, as he was buried in the bottom 6 of a loaded Soo roster for most of the year. The first thing that pops out when you watch Senyshyn is his speed. An incredible North-South skater, Senyshyn gets one step on a defender and he’s gone. He shows strong instincts on both ends of the ice, and can handle the puck and shoot at his top speed. He needs to improve his compete level and play a little more physically in order to reach his full potential. Senyshyn is a boom or bust pick, as the OHL contingent in Toronto rolls the dice at 24.
- Winnipeg Jets – Brock Boeser RW Waterloo (USHL)
One of the risers on the year, Boeser had a breakout year in the USHL. A good sized forward with a hard shot, Boeser was a two-way force at the USHL level. He combines very good hockey sense with a high compete level, at points outworking his opponents to create chances for himself and his team. He needs to find another gear with his stride and play more physical to succeed at the NHL level. Winnipeg continues to add forwards to the pipeline.
- Montreal Canadiens – Daniel Sprong RW Charlottetown (QMJHL)
On talent alone, Sprong should be long gone by the top half of the first round. However, character concerns drop Sprong in a similar fashion to Josh Ho-Sang last year. The thinking here is Montreal should know more about Sprong than any other team, being as he is right in their backyard. On the ice, Sprong is a highlight waiting to him, combining speed with soft hands and a rocket shot. When he was on his game, he was flat out unstoppable at time. He does have work to do, as he’s inconsistent and doesn’t always compete on the defensive side of the puck. Montreal swings for the fences on this pick.
- Anaheim Ducks –Jeremy Bracco RW USNTDP (USHL)
Anaheim has a deep prospect base and the ability to swing for the fences here, going with the undersized Bracco. Opinions on Bracco vary depending on who you ask. His fans see an extremely smart and creative winger that competes on the defensive side on the puck. His critics see an undersized kid with an attitude problem. Bracco will always be a wildcard due to his size, but having organizational depth like Anaheim allows them to take a shot with this pick.
- Tampa Bay Lightning – Jake DeBrusk LW Swift Current (WHL)
The 40 goal scorer heads down to the Eastern Conference Champs. DeBrusk is a scoring machine, popping 42 goals in the WHL this year. DeBrusk is an explosive skater with a scorer’s touch in tight. He has excellent hockey IQ, and while his defensive play isn’t exceptional, it’s solid at this point in his development. DeBrusk needs to add some strength to his frame, and Tampa’s loaded organization will allow him the time to do that. He has potential to play in the top 6 down the road.
- Philadelphia Flyers –Ilya Samsonov G Magnitogorsk (MHL)
There’s been talk of the Flyers taking a goalie early, and Samsonov being here this late should give the team a lot to think about. Samsonov has all the physical tools to be an NHL starter. He’s big and fast, and was fantastic at the U18s this year. He’s going to need some time, but with Steve Mason holding down the crease for the big league club, the Flyers organization can afford to be patient with the young Russian.
- Arizona Coyotes – Paul Bittner LW Portland (WHL)
The power forward Bittner ends the first round and heads to the desert. Bittner is a load, coming in at 6-4 and over 200 pounds. He has a hard shot, and he powers his way up and down the ice with good speed for a big man. You would like to see better defensive zone play with a kid of his physical gifts, but that can be taught. Arizona needs forwards now, but rushing Bittner could be a disaster. He’s going to need another year in Portland and a year or two to add strength and round out his game. There’s upside to be a coveted goal scoring power forward here.
Brandon Carlo D Tri-City (WHL)
Carlo is a tall stay-at-home defenseman with above average mobility. He uses his long reach in the defensive zone to stop opponents in their tracks. The questions come on the offensive side, and there’s a more likely chance than not that it never comes around. Worst case, he can become a bottom 6 defensive defenseman, and there’s no shame in that. He could very well sneak into the latter half of round 1.
Jansen Harkins C Prince George (WHL)
Harkins is a no frills two-way forward out of the WHL. It’s very likely a team does nab Harkins in round 1, but the way this mock draft worked out he ended up falling out. Harkins plays a mature game, very responsible and smart in his own end while showing smarts on all 200 feet of the ice. Expect him to go early in the 2nd if he falls out of round 1.
Noah Juulsen D Everett (WHL)
The smooth skating Juulsen was a riser on the season. His skating pops when you watch him, as his stride is smooth and explosive. He also brings a heavy shot and physicality to the backend. However, he is still raw. His frame is very thin right now, and he needs to cut down on the mental mistakes. He has top 4 potential if he fills out.
Gabriel Carlsson D Linkopoeng (SHL)
There’s no flash in Carlsson’s game, as he’s a shutdown defenseman in the mold of Niklas Hjalmarsson. I didn’t catch Carlsson much this year, and when I did I thought he was inconsistent. He’s strong, mobile, and very smart. I don’t think the offense will ever come, but I expect him to man a bottom pair for somebody’s team down the line.
Jack Roslovic C/RW USNTP (USHL)
Roslovic really got his name out there as first round candidate after his U18 performance. A North-South type of player, Roslovic is a hard worker and a consistent performer. He’s versatile, as you can trust him in your top 6 or your bottom 6 and expect him to contribute. Headed to Miami (OH) next season, Roslovic will be one of the top freshman in college hockey next season.
Mitchell Stevens C Saginaw (OHL)
Playing on a young Saginaw team, Stephens was inconsistent as he didn’t have much to work with in terms of teammates. He really shined at the CHL Top Prospects game as well as the U18s when playing with more skilled linemate. Stephens hockey sense is excellent. He’s a couple steps ahead of everyone else on the ice. He plays a strong two-way game, and has the ability to play on your PP or your PK. He needs to get faster and stronger, and could be an intriguing option for a team at the bottom of round 1.
With one of the most anticipated drafts in years, NBA teams are licking their chops at the potential talent coming their way. Watch what happens when three college degenerates get their chance to run the league. mattkaveney starts off the draft, followed by pfrie27 and last kosscastillo as they alternate turns in East Coast Egos’ first annual rotating NBA Mock Draft.
1st Overall: Minnesota Timberwolves – Karl Anthony Towns (Kentucky)
Karl Anthony Towns is a special talent this year. He has the ability to become a franchise player for the Timberwolves along with Andrew Wiggins. He will fit well with Flip Saunders’ team with his defensive dominance and offensive talent that is undeniable, even though it wasn’t fully exposed due to the way Kentucky spread the ball last year.
2nd Overall: Los Angeles Lakers – Jahlil Okafor (Duke)
Jahlil Okafor is both a need and a value pick for the Lakers at #2. He was widely considered to be the best player in college basketball for most of the season at Duke, this years national champs. He has a polished offensive game and the necessary size to be effective right away in the NBA. The Okafor and Julius Randle tandem should prove to be a formidable force for years to come on the Lakers.
3rd Overall: Philadelphia 76ers – D’Angelo Russell (Ohio State)
Even with all the recent hype around Kristaps Porzingis and his possible selection in this spot, there is no better fit for the Sixers than D’Angelo Russell. Russell will add sure talent and excitement to a franchise that has been a sinking ship for the past several seasons. Russell may not be able to carry the Sixers to the playoffs in his first year as some fans may hope, but he will help secure a young backcourt that needs a dominating presence to take the next step towards relevance. Expect Russell to put up Rookie of the Year numbers.
4th Overall: New York Knicks – Emmanuel Mudiay (International)
Emmanuel Mudiay will add a John Wall/Russell Westbrook type element to the Knicks at number 4 overall. His athletic ability is unmatched in this draft class, and his potential is scary if he can develop a more threatening outside jumper. The Knicks go with the best player available at 4 and that will most likely be Mudiay. Read http://eastcoastegos.com/2015/06/24/why-the-4th-overall-pick-could-be-worse-for-the-new-york-knicks/ to find out more about this pick.
5th Overall: Orlando Magic – Justise Winslow (Duke)
Justise Winslow finished off this college basketball season hot in the tournament which boosted his stock. On Duke he played second fiddle to Okafor all season long, however, he has the athleticism and playmaking ability to be a top offensive option in the NBA. The Magic have a lot of interesting young pieces but they are all at guard and in the post, so Winslow is a nice fit here on the wing for them.
6th Overall: Sacramento Kings – Kristaps Porzingis (International)
With prized possession Emmanuel Mudiay snatched up by the Knicks, Sacramento simply goes for the best available player in this spot. With Porzingis in the discussion to go top-3, the Kings take advantage of the value they are given. As Demarcus Cousins trade rumors swirl, Porzingis gives the Kings a versatile big man who can stretch the floor and make up (in part) for Boogie’s lost 24 points and 13 rebounds per game, if he is shipped. If Cousins stays, Porzingis gives Sacramento the potential for one of the top young frontcourts in the league. Look for the Kings to select a point guard later in the draft or acquire one in free agency.
7th Overall: Denver Nuggets – Devin Booker (Kentucky)
Devin Booker is beginning to draw a lot of comparisons to NBA champion Klay Thompson and for a good reason: he is a lethal shooter and quality defender. So why pass on this guy? The Nuggets could use the 6’6 Kentucky product to make an immediate impact come October.
8th Overall: Detroit Pistons – Sam Dekker (Wisconsin)
Sam Dekker is another player whose draft stock soared thanks to his play in the NCAA tournament. He is a classic Bo Ryan and Wisconsin player. He has good size for his position which allowed him to play a nice inside/outside game in college. If he can continue to develop his post game he should be able to translate his style of play into the pros nicely because his ability to shoot will always be there for him. The Pistons are set down low with Drummond and Monroe (if he stays) and they are good at guard with Reggie Jackson so this also meets a positional need.
9th Overall: Charlotte Hornets – Mario Hezonja (International)
Another value pick here, as Hezonja has the potential to be a top 5 pick. Hezonja provides a scoring dimension to a team with very limited offensive talent (28th in the league in scoring last year). Add that to the loss of SG tandem Lance Stephenson and Gerald Henderson and you have a recipe for disaster. At 6’8 with superior athleticism, Hezonja has all the tools (and confidence) in the world to become a future star in the league and will benefit from being a main scoring option in Charlotte so early in his career.
10th Overall: Miami Heat – Stanley Johnson (Arizona)
Stanley Johnson to the Heat here is a perfect match. The Heat need a slashing SG/SF and he fits the bill. He could certainly go higher than 10 but if he’s around this late, the Heat will gladly take him.
11th Overall: Indiana Pacers – RJ Hunter (Georgia State)
RJ Hunter put himself on the map this year with his big shot and great play in the NCAA tourney in their first round upset. His shooting is where he brings value so he fits in well with a Pacers team known for their defense and lack of offense while Paul George was hurt last year.
12th Overall: Utah Jazz – Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin)
The reigning National Player of the Year in college basketball, Kaminsky immediately adds a talented and, more importantly, experienced big man. With the majority of college players declaring early for the draft, Kaminsky’s high basketball IQ will provide an early edge over other members of this draft class.
13th Overall: Phoenix Suns – Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky)
Another talented Kentucky player, Willie Cauley-Stein, will be taken in the lottery. The only question is where? The Suns could use this 7’0 athletic freak with the ability to provide an immediate spark the suns need to get to the next level
14th Overall: Oklahoma City Thunder – Tyus Jones (Duke)
Tyus Jones to the Thunder at 14 is my personal favorite pick. Jones is a high IQ point guard who showed off his chops in the clutch in the National Championship game. When healthy the Thunder have star power at guard and forward, and they recently acquired Enes Kanter at center. So this pick isn’t necessarily a need but it certainly is a good value pick in my book. Tyus Jones is a winner and his knack for making smart plays will compliment the sometimes erratic Russell Westbrook nicely.
15th Overall: Atlanta Hawks – Bobby Portis (Arkansas)
One of the most underrated players in the country last year, Bobby Portis is an athletic F/C who will make an impact on both the offensive and defensive ends. Atlanta will be the perfect spot for Portis, as he will not be relied on to carry too big of a load given the Hawks’ strong starting lineup.
16th Overall: Boston Celtics – Myles Turner (Texas)
17th Overall: Milwaukee Bucks – Jerian Grant (Notre Dame)
18th Overall: Houston Rockets – Delon Wright (Utah)
19th Overall: Washington Wizards – Trey Lyles (Kentucky)
20th Overall: Toronto Raptors – Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Arizona)
21st Overall: Dallas Mavericks – Kelly Oubre Jr. (Kansas)
22nd Overall: Chicago Bulls – Justin Anderson (Virginia)
23rd Overall: Portland Trailblazers – Cliff Alexander (Kansas)
24th Overall: Cleveland Cavaliers – Terry Rozier (Louisville)
25th Overall: Memphis Grizzlies – Cameron Payne (Murray State)
26th Overall: San Antonio Spurs – Montrezl Harrell (Louisville)
27th Overall: Los Angeles Lakers – Rashad Vaughn (UNLV)
28th Overall: Boston Celtics – Anthony Brown (Stanford)
29th Overall: Brooklyn Nets – Kevin Looney (UCLA)
30th Overall: Golden State Warriors – Christian Wood (UNLV)
mattkaveney 1st Round Steal: Chicago Bulls, 22nd Overall – Justin Anderson (Virginia)
Anderson is a mature, system player who would mold well with the bulls. Chicago could use a Small Forward here and would be nothing less than ecstatic if Anderson is still on the board at 22.
pfrie27 1st Round Steal – Milwaukee Bucks, 17th Overall – Jerian Grant (Notre Dame)
Jerian Grant was the best player in a high octane offense this year at Notre Dame. The Bucks were one of the best defensive teams in the league this year so they need to balance out their roster. MCW struggles on the offensive side of the ball at point guard so having Grant as a scoring option in the backcourt could be the spark this team needs to get to the next level.
kosscastillo 1st Round Steal: Los Angeles Lakers, 27th overall – Rashad Vaughn (UNLV)
With the Kobe era quickly coming to an end, the Lakers need someone who can take over the scoring role. Vaughn averaged 17.8 points per game in his freshman year at UNLV and will only get better, having the opportunity to play under the greatest scorer of this generation. Adding Vaughn to a roster that already has Jahlil Okafor, Julius Randle and 2015 breakout player Jordan Clarkson will form one of the best young rosters in the NBA, giving Laker Nation hope beyond Kobe Bryant.
The NBA Draft is set for tonight at 7 PM. Grab a beer and watch as your favorite team makes a pick you probably won’t like.
In response to Parkers ultimate team, I have decided to create a super team of my own. This squad consists of players I would want to coach that I could take all the way to the NBA Finals. I selected this team based off of their passion and desire, their swagger, clutchness, winning, charisma, and overall abilities on the court. This team has players some people would never want on their “dream team” but I want them because of the edge they bring and how they can set the tone. I will select 2 players from each position (2 Center, 2 PF, 2 SF, 2 SG, 2 PG) and nothing else. Here we go.
PG- Gary Payton
The Glove. I want Gary Payton leading my squad because of his defensive abilities, passing creativity, leadership and swagger. Payton was a master of trash talk and led a team with no talent (other than Shawn Kemp) to the playoffs numerous times. He has a will to win and is arguably the best defensive point guard of all time. He’s a great leader who will distribute to my scorers and run the show on defense.
SG- Michael Jordan
How can you not go with MJ? The GOAT. Clutch. Winner. MVP. Swagger. He’s got it all. Jordan is everything I could ever want in a player. He’s an incredible leader, a proven winner, and one of the clutchest players ever. He also was All NBA defensive team numerous times showing his all around ability.
SF- Larry Bird
Larry legend is the best shooter of all time. Forget this Steph Curry talk. Bird reigns supreme until Curry or someone else can hit more clutch shots than him. I personally think the most badass thing of all time is Bird going into the 3-point contest and not even taking off his warm up jacket. Yeah, he was that confident. His swagger, passion, and shooting ability will help him be my number two scoring option behind MJ and be the captain of my squad.
PF- Charles Barkley
The Round Mound of Rebound is my choice to start at power forward. Barkley talks the talk and walks the walk. This War Eagle out of Auburn University is a tenacious rebounder and prolific scorer as well, averaging a double-double multiple times throughout his career. Though a bit undersized, Barkley is still a Hall of Famer for his work on the court and his presence as a teammate. Barkley will play his role and crash the boards 20x the amount Tristan Thompson did these past playoffs, then dishing it out to Bird or MJ in transition. Barkley led teams with absolutely zero talent on the Suns and Sixers to the playoffs and made them contenders because of his heart and will to win. I want that on my team.
C- Shaquille O’Neal
The Big Aristotle is my favorite center of all time. He is the reason Kobe is at 5 rings (he’d only be at 2 if it weren’t for Shaq). He helped build the legacy of D-Wade, getting him a ring in ’06. Shaq is a winner and a gamer. He’s got charisma that would help with the team’s mojo. He’s an unstoppable force on the boards and in the paint and nobody could ever stop him until he wore Celtic green in his later years. Shaq is a top-3 center of all time that has all the qualities I’d want a center on my team to have. He leads and he wins. Simple as that.
PG- Pete Maravich
Pistol Pete was born to play basketball. The man loves the game so much; you cant take the ball out of his hand. I saw a documentary once about him where he’d fucking dribble out the car window while being driven to school!!! That’s friggin insane. He loves the game and would bring passion and leadership to my squad. A great distributor and sneaky great scorer. Anyone with the nickname “Pistol” can play for me any day.
SG- Dwyane Wade
Wade is a top 5 shooting guard of all time in my opinion and to many others as well. The man is a stud, winning at every level of the game, and puts up stellar numbers while doing it. He’d be a great fit on this team as a role player off the bench because of his skillset and leadership abilities. Yes, he has started his whole career but he took a different role when LeBron came to South Beach, and I believe he can do the same here to bring me a title in my imaginary world.
SF- Reggie Miller
Potentially the greatest trash talker to ever play the game, Reggie is a lights out shooter and a team leader. Scoring 8 points in 30 seconds ain’t half bad either. The dude steps up in big time games and as Santana Moss says, “Big time players, make big time plays, in big time games.” Reggie does that for me.
PF- Christian Laettner
Ever since watching “I Hate Christian Laettner” on ESPN, I can’t help but love the guy. His passion, his game, his swagger, he is everything I dream of in a player. The only college player selected to play on the Dream Team, Laettner has experience in every aspect of the basketball world. He’s won on the college level, earned a gold medal in the Olympics, and played on a few playoff teams in the NBA. Yes, he wasn’t a great professional player, but he isn’t going to be contributing major minutes to this team. He is there as a teammate to push others in practice and lead by example. Laettner would bring energy off the bench in the 10-20 minutes he’d see a night and earn 8 boards in that time setting up Larry, MJ, or Reggie. I love Christian Laettner.
C- Dave Cowens
I may be biased choosing two of my hometown players to be on my team but there’s a reason these guys won titles. Cowens can say that he committed the most bad ass play of all time. It’s not even debatable. From the Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons, he tells a story about his first game at the Boston Garden to watch the Celtics and Dave Cowens was called for a soft foul. Cowens freaked out screaming at the ref. The very next play he tackles an opposing player into the stands and looks to the ref and says “Now that’s a fucking foul”. GET THIS MAN ON MY FUCKING SQUAD. I love that determination and heart. Guys a fucking warrior. He also averaged 17.6 ppg and 8.7 rbg on his way to a hall of fame career so he’s a pretty decent player as well. He’d be a hell of a role player and a locker room type guy I need to have.
I’d love to have Kobe or LeBron but I don’t see them starting over MJ or Bird and don’t think they’d be satisfied with a bench player role. Their egos are too big and wouldn’t work well in the locker room environment I want to have.
Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are two of my favorites as well who have won in big time atmospheres but I don’t think there’s much argument when it comes down to two of the greats over them at their positions.
Alright so here’s a list of the 6 bets (5 through this week, and 1 futures) that you absolutely don’t want to take. Why not? Because my success rate is lower than Chase Utley’s batting average and my reasoning is more flawed than the topics on Dan Lebatard’s TV show.
WNBA Atlanta Dream Vs. Chicago Sky Atlanta Dream (+8) Chicago Sky (-8) Apparently someone named Sylvia Fowles is out for Chicago. Whatever that means. Hammer the Sky, they’re 14-9 since 1997 as a home favorite giving between 6.5 and 9 points. If completely legitimate stats like that don’t make you confident I don’t know what will.
Philadelphia Phillies Vs. New York Yankees money line Phillies (+115) Hamels Yankees (-135) Nova We’re taking the Phillies here all day. The Phillies are 4-2 when playing with a day off this season so there’s that. Plus the Phillies JV lineup should be up to the task of fending off the second place in the AL East Yankees. They’ve lost two in a row so they’re bound to lose again, plus their pitcher is coming off the DL with an elbow injury. Chalk up a Phillies W tomorrow.
NBA Draft who will be selected first? D’Angelo Russell (-450) Kristaps Porzingis (+325) The move here is Porzingis. If there’s anything I love more than someone who has a name you can’t pronounce it would have to be those odds. -450? All of a sudden you’re thinking it’s a lock, free money, no way Porzingis goes before him, then BAM! some Eastern European goes third overall to Sam Hinkie and the Sixers making everyone wonder WTF he’s actually doing after they spent the last few years believing that “in four years, we’re gonna be a top 3 seed in the East.”
Uruguay Vs. Chile Copa Americana Chile (-1/2) Uruguay (+1/2) Uruguay made it to the 2010 world cup semi-final so that has to count for something. People want to think this will be an obvious W in the win column for Chile without Suarez in the lineup and that’s exactly what Vegas wants you to do. Take Uruguay with the upset.
How much will “Max (2015)” gross at the box office? Over 13 million (-140) Under 13 million (even) Obviously the under. Why? Because Vegas is begging you to take the over. Bovada surrounded this over/under of 13 million with similar bets at 52 and 60 million. That combined with you looking at this and thinking “Oh it’s a family friendly movie, I’m sure it’ll do better than 13 million” and “If Jurassic World could make 500 million this one should be able to hit the 13 mark.” Yeah, lock up the under. I’m not buying any of that Vegas voodoo down here in Miami.
For all of you experiencing Game of Thrones withdrawal here you go
Who will be the ruling king or queen of Westeross at the end of the Game of Thrones television series? Hodor (500/1) Say what you want, but this guy has all the intangibles. Height, weight, agility, and if you ask me the simpleton thing is all a front. Hodor is biding his time with Bran and Rikon waiting for the best opportunity to make his move.
Disclaimer: If you actually read through this whole thing without realizing it was a parody article, you sir are an idiot
The 2015 NHL Awards show takes place tonight at 7 pm and will be broadcast on NBCSN. With some tough choices this year, here are my predictions for who will be going home with some hardware tonight.
Hart Trophy – Awarded to the league’s most valuable player
Finalists- Alex Ovechkin (Washington), Carey Price (Montreal), John Tavares (NY Islanders)
The Pick- Carey Price
For the first time since Jose Theodore in 2002, I’m predicting a goalie takes home the MVP award. Carey Price was phenomenal all season long, at certain points winning games on his own. The other two candidates, Ovechkin and Tavares, are both deserving as well, but there was quite frankly no player more valuable to his team this season than Carey Price was to Montreal.
Norris Trophy – Awarded to the league’s top defenseman
Finalists- Drew Doughty (Los Angeles), Erik Karlsson (Ottawa), P.K. Subban (Montreal)
The Pick- Drew Doughty
This award could go in a few different directions, but Drew Doughty was the all-around best defenseman in the league this year. Logging close to 30 minutes per game, Doughty was deployed in all situations for Los Angeles and excelled. Doughty will lose some votes because the Kings did not make the playoffs, but that is no fault to him as he was simply outstanding this season.
Vezina Trophy – Awarded to the league’s top goalie
Finalists- Carey Price (Montreal), Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota), Pekka Rinne (Nashville)
The Pick- Carey Price
This race was over halfway through the season. Although Dubnyk and Rinne were both outstanding in their own right, Price was other worldly. No questions on this one.
Calder Trophy – Awarded to the league’s top rookie
Finalists- Mark Stone (Ottawa), Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary), Aaron Ekblad (Florida)
The Pick- Aaron Ekblad
The tightest race of the night, a case could be made for all three of these guys. In corner one you have Mark Stone, who came on strong in the second half of the season helping Ottawa to the playoffs. In corner two you have Johnny Gaudreau, the rookie leading scorer who was dynamic for Calgary all season long. Finally in corner three you have Aaron Ekblad, the exceptional 18 year old who played on Florida’s top pairing and had arguably the best season of all time by an 18 year old defenseman. I’m going with Ekblad over Gaudreau by a hair.
Selke Trophy- Awarded to the league’s top defensive forward
Finalists- Patrice Bergeron (Boston), Jonathan Toews (Chicago), Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles)
The Pick- Patrice Bergeron
This race is tough because defensive play can be subjective, but in my opinion Bergeron was the best defensive forward in the league this year. He’s a pain to play against and one of the best face off men in the league. There’s a reason he’s on the short list for this award every year.
Coach of the Year – Awarded to the league’s top coach
Finalists- Bob Hartley (Calgary), Peter Laviolette (Nashville), Alain Vigneualt (NY Rangers)
The Pick- Bob Harley
Hartley transformed the Flames from a bottom feeder to a playoff team this year, an amazing accomplishment. The team really bought into his system and we’re very difficult to play against, which was a testament to his coaching skills. Laviolette also deserves a shout out for what he did with an offensively challenged Predators roster.
GM of the Year – Awarded to the league’s top general manager
Finalists- Bob Murray (Anaheim), Glenn Sather (NY Rangers), Steve Yzerman (Tampa Bay)
The Pick- Steve Yzerman
The current rendition of the Tampa Bay Lightning has been brewing for awhile, and that’s all thanks to the drafting and talent evaluation done by Stevie Y and his staff. Whether it was hitting on draft picks (Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat), finding undrafted gems (Tyler Johnson, J.T. Brown), smart UFA signings (Anton Stralman, Brian Boyle), or hole filling trades (Ben Bishop, Braydon Couburn), Yzerman couldn’t miss when it came to building this team. He should win this award in a landslide.
Masterton Award – Awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey
Finalists- Devan Dubnyk (Minnesota), Kris Letang (Pittsburgh), Andrew Hammond (Ottawa)
The Pick- Devan Dubnyk
From a back-up goalie in the AHL to a Vezina trophy finalist, nobody showed more dedication and perseverance this year than Dubnyk. Letang also will get a ton of votes, deservingly so as he courageously battled back from a stroke, but it’s unprecedented what Dubnyk accomplished this year.
With The NBA draft coming up tomorrow, June 25, the Knicks, yet again, find themselves in a position without any definitive answers. The lottery was unfavorable, landing the Knicks the 4th overall pick even though they were the second worst team in the league. A couple problems with the current state of the Knicks are that fans do not trust Phil Jackson right now, the Knicks dropped 2 picks in the lottery, and there isn’t any clear-cut player that they have their eye on. Trading down and banking on free agency would be foolish. So the Knicks need to keep cool on draft day, and take Emmanuel Mudiay.
Jahlil Okafor and Karl Anthony Towns will be the top 2 picks in some order. That is pretty set-in-stone, but the Knicks are up in the air with who they will take at 4, because the 76ers are slotted in front of them. This is good news though. There are two tiers consisting of two players each in this year’s draft class. Top tier is the centers Jahlil Okafor and Karl Anthony Towns. The second tier is the guards Deangelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay. This is good for the Knicks because another franchise, the Philadelphia 76ers, have to make a big decision at number 3 overall meaning that the last man standing will fall right into the Knicks hands. The Knicks are not going to have to make any tough, potentially regrettable decisions.
In the months leading up to the draft, there has been a lot of talk about how questionable Mudiay is, and thus his draft stock has fallen. Let me tell you, Emmanuel Mudiay is a beast. If you haven’t seen what he can do, go type his name in on YouTube and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I like him more than Deangelo Russell, even though he didn’t go to college. That scares some people, and if that isn’t enough of a problem, he only played 12 games in China because he was injured. So right off the bat there are 2 big no-no’s in a lot of fans minds. However, like I said, this dude is a beast. A top 10 recruit out of high school bound for Larry Brown’s SMU team, he decided to play abroad so he could sign a contract and have a nice pay day in order to help his struggling family. He would fit the Knicks perfectly because he is more of a versatile combo guard rather than a true point guard. He is also an athletic freak that can get the ball to the rack and defend point guards and shooting guards. He averaged 18 PPG 6.2 RPG 5.9 APG and 1.58 SPG in games played abroad. He reminds me a little bit of John Wall due to his athletic prowess, his defensive ability, and his offensive nature coming into the draft. Like Wall, he prefers to attack the rim rather than settle for outside jumpers. And the Knicks have depth at the guard position already to help him progress. Experienced Jose Calderon is not the long term answer, but the potential Langston Galloway-Emmanuel Mudiay tandem could work around Carmelo Anthony. The 2nd team all-rookie Galloway will be a serviceable guard in the NBA for years to come. He already got the endorsement from head coach Derek Fisher who sees a lot of himself in Galloway (side note: I am a student at Saint Joe’s so I am a little biased and love me some Langston Galloway. He is a hard worker, a system player who is very coachable and does not have a big ego). Another reason to draft a guard: the plethora of power forwards/centers in this coming free agency. The Knicks have cap space and are going to sign a big man in the offseason. It would be a different story if the Knicks had a top two pick and could solve their post problem in the draft, but that isn’t the case and there is no reason to force a big man into the #4 draft spot.
Another story leading up to the draft, Kristaps Porzingis. A 7’1” European big man. He is not worth the risk at number 4 overall. There is no reason the Knicks should take this guy. While writing this piece, I am actually watching the re-run of the 2001 NBA draft and I feel like Porzingis has Darko Milicic all over him. Who? Exactly. You probably didn’t even realize that he was actually drafted in 2003. He was taken #2 overall in the 2003 draft taken ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. Tall, European big-man with outside shooting ability, nifty post moves but limited strength down low. This seems to be the intriguing description for a lot of European players, however per Jay Bilas, since 2002, 19 International players have been drafted in the lottery, none of which have made an NBA All-Star game. I want to put the Porzingis talk to bed based on the history of unknown European big men, there have been more failures than there have been Dirk Nowitzkis.
My message to the Knicks: Take Mudiay, let him adjust to the system, and help him develop from an athletic freak to an all-around NBA player and potential all-star.
Best Male Athlete: Steph Curry, Aaron Rodgers, LeBron James, J.J. Watt.
My Pick: LeBron James.
To me, this one is pretty obvious. LeBron James is undoubtedly one of the best athletes in the word and what he accomplished in the 2014 -2015 NBA season is nothing short of remarkable. A newly assembled Cleveland Cavaliers finished the season 53-29 and fell just short of an NBA championship. The unfortunate injuries of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Anderson Varejao, and the empty bag of shits J.R. Smith gives were major setbacks for the Cavs, and had these circumstances been any different, it is reasonable to say that LeBron could have been donning ring number three. David Blatt’s biggest contribution to the team was suggesting all players wear a Yamaka during warmups, which was immediately shut down by Iman Shumpert because he didn’t want to mess up the hair. With a beat up Cavaliers team and a Rabbi for a coach, LBJ singlehandedly carried them to the Finals and almost did the unthinkable. Give the man his damn ESPY.
Best Game: A’s vs. Royals (MLB AL Wildcard), Spurs vs. Clippers (Game 7 of the NBA Western Conference Quarterfinals), Seahawks vs. Patriots (Super Bowl)
My Pick: Seahawks vs. Patriots
I still get a quarter chub thinking about the amount of wings, pizza, and entertaining football I watched during Superbowl XLIX. I’m neither a Seahawks nor Patriots fan, so I was just hoping for a good game and it certainly was that. True Story: the hair on my balls stood straight up when the Patriots defense made the huge interception to save the game and I’m pretty sure Pete Carroll is still giving himself titty-twisters to this day for not running the ball with Marshawn Money Lynch on this play. Gotta love the Superbowl.
Best Comeback Athlete: Rob Gronkowski, Alex Rodriguez, Derrick Rose, Lindsey Vonn
My Pick: Rob Gronkowski
This one was mainly done by a process of elimination. Elimination #1: Lindsey Vonn. Yeah she has a nice face, but skiing is kind of irrelevant in my humble opinion. Elimination #2: A-Roid. Sure, 3,000 hits is cool but you know what isn’t? Sticking a syringe up your ass to make you hit a ball better. Elimination #3: Derrick Rose. I would call it an okay comeback. He went from averaging 25 PPG in his stellar 2010-2011 season to just 17.7 PPG this season. Give the guy credit though, he’s playing on one leg out there. All that’s left is the party animal himself; Rob Gronkowski. Superbowl Champion and a 12 touchdown season, Gronk definitely deserves the award over the other athletes.
Best Female Athlete: Ronda Rousey, Breanna Stewart, Lindsey Vonn, Serena Williams
My Pick: No Opinion
Alright guys let’s face it, out of all of these women, the only one I’ve seen perform was Serena Williams on Sportscenter highlights and I was too busy staring at her thunder thighs and biceps to know what was going on. On to the next one I guess.
Best Breakthrough Athlete: Odell Beckham Jr., Mo’ne Davis, Cardale Jones, Jordan Speith
My Pick: Jordan Speith
From winning the Green Jacket at The Masters to his comeback victory at the U.S. Open in Chambers Bay, it’s safe to say Jordan Speith is having himself quite a year. Speith has put himself among some very elite names after being the 13th player to win back-to-back major tournaments. Other golfers to have done this include Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, and Arnold Palmer. Who knows, if he keeps golfing this well he may have a refreshing beverage named after him one day (or have a golf club smashed through the rear window of his SUV from a psycho wife… but let’s not go there).