East Coast Egos 2015 NBA Mock Draft

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.

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My Ultimate NBA team

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.

Starters:

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.

Bench:

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.

Honorable Mentions:

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.

Boff’s 2015 NHL Draft “Bang The Table” List

Every year in the draft there are certain guys that I like to call “bang the table guys.” These are the guys that I have convictions about and would bang on the table in the draft room in order to get them to be my team’s selection. Every year I select 10 guys that are my favorites (not necessarily the best or highest ranked) and place them on this list.
When I look at prospects, I like guys that have size, speed, skill, hockey sense, and a commitment to the defensive side of the ice. Without further ado, here is my 2015 Bang The Table List.
 
Lawson Crouse LW Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
Projected: Top 10
My Rank: #5
Crouse is by far my favorite player in the draft class this year. Standing at 6-4 and weighing over 200 pounds, Crouse has an intimidating physical presence on the ice. He’s physical and competes on the defensive end as well, which is something scouts and coaches love to see. Crouse skates well for a man of his stature, as he had no issues with the pace in the OHL or at the World Junior Championships this year. The biggest question around Crouse is his offensive upside. His stat line leaves a lot to be desired, but stats don’t tell the whole story. Crouse brings a complete 200 foot game to the table, and has the combination of physical strength and hockey IQ to make the leap to the NHL sooner rather than later.
Daniel Sprong RW Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
Projected: Late 1st/Early 2nd
My Rank: #12
Daniel Sprong must have some serious skeletons in his closet, because his talent level warrants a borderline top 10 selection. I’ve heard Sprong called “an in shape committed Phil Kessel” and I can see why. It starts with his combination of speed and rocket of a shot. Sprong is dangerous every time he touches the puck, whether it’s off the rush or off a one timer from the circle. His hands are also impressive; he flat out makes defenders look silly at times. The question-marks come in his play away from the puck and his compete level. Sprong can appear disinterested at time, especially on the defensive side of the puck. He needs to learn to play without the puck on his stick to succeed at the NHL level. However, I want Sprong on my team. The upside is there to be an elite offensive talent, and those guys aren’t easy to find.
 
Alexander Dergachev C/RW SKA (MHL)
Projected: Round 2
My Rank: #29
Strong, hard nosed, and physical, Dergachev has been on my radar for awhile now. He had his coming out party for Russia at the World Juniors this year, as he was one of two underagers (Ivan Provorov the other) on the roster and he excelled in his role. Dergachev isn’t going to be a 30 goal scorer, but he’s going to anchor your 3rd line and win puck battles on both ends of the ice. He’s dominant in the corners and along the walls, and can unleash a heavy shot when he gets space. His skating stride is fine, but he will need to get quicker to have a chance at an NHL top 6. When it comes down to it, Dergachev is the type of guy you win with, which is why I’m banging the table for him as early as the late 1st round.
 
Ryan Pilon D Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Projected: Round 3/4
My Rank: #31
I am absolutely puzzled by the lack of love for Ryan Pilon throughout the draft process. Pilon teamed up with Ivan Provorov on the top pair for the Brandon Wheat Kings this year. While Provorov gets all the love, Pilon took a lot of heat this year for appearing disinterested at times. When he’s on his game, Pilion has NHL upside as a two way defenseman that makes great outlets out of his zone and jumps up in the play all while being responsible in his own end of the ice. I think his game is getting nitpicked and believe he has steal of the draft potential if he falls past the top of round 3.
 
Erik Cernak D Kosice (Slovakia Elite League)
Projected: Round 2/3
My Rank: #35
Hidden in the lower level Slovakian Elite League, opinions on Cernak differ depending on who you ask. Some see his size and physical presence and envision him playing a shut down role for their club. Others see the concentration lapses and poor decision and want nothing to do with him. Obviously his inclusion on this list means I’m on the side of the former. Cernak has impressed me the past two seasons when I’ve seen him at the World Juniors. He’s got a big projectable frame and is very tough to play against. He loves to play physical and good luck if you’re going into the corner with him. His outlet passes and offensive zone play show much room for improvement, and a team that picks him in round 2 will roll the dice that his game will blossom with maturity.
 
Gabriel Gagne RW Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)
Projected: Round 2/3
My Rank: #41
A big man that can skate and shoot the puck can play on my team any day. That’s what Gagne brings to the table. At 6-5 and only around 180 pounds, Gagne is a long-term pick that will need a few years of strength and conditioning before he’s ready for a sniff at the NHL level. On the ice, he’s long and gangly, but excels on the offensive end which is a bit odd for a player of his build. He needs to improve his compete level and win more battles in his own zone, but that will come with time. I see a kid that has the potential to be an absolute gem if he can grow into his body.
 
Mackenzie Blackwood G Barrie Colts (OHL)
Projected: Round 2
My Rank: #45
I don’t have a true sleeper at goalie this year, so I’ll give Blackwood a spot on my inaugural list. Blackwood has a massive frame and is very athletic. Like most young goalies, his down falls come in consistency and rebound control, as well as puck handling. Goalies are tricky, which is why Blackwood’s ranking can rise from top goalie in the draft to mid round guy depending on who you ask. I personally rank Blackwood as the #2 goalie in this draft behind Ilya Samsonov, and believe the raw tools are there to be a starting NHL goalie with development. Take a flier on him in round 2.
 
Kameron Kielly C Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
Projected: Round 5/6
My Rank: #85
The second Charlottetown Islander to make the list, Kameron Kielly has been a favorite of mine for the past two seasons. His hockey sense pops out when you watch him, as he’s always in the right spots on both sides of the puck. Not the biggest guy, Kielly plays physically and gets involved on all 200 feet of the ice. He’s an excellent penalty killer, as his anticipation helps him get in lanes and block shots. Kielly isn’t the fleetest of foot, as his skating is only average, and he will never put up points at the NHL level. What he does have is heart and character in spades, and he seems like one of those guys that will mold himself into and NHL bottom 6 center/PK specialist.
 
Matteo Gennarro C Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
Projected: Round 6/7
My Rank: #100
Gennaro flashed in my viewings of him this year. Big kid at 6-3 that needs to fill out, Gennaro impresses with his skating ability and his hockey sense. The knock on him is he seems to disappear for long stretches, even entire games at times. Gennaro will need to seriously commit to the defensive side of the puck as he is not a natural finisher in order to have a real shot to crack the next level. However, a developing frame and smooth skating stride give me hope for Gennaro to develop into an NHL player in the future.
 
Jack Poehling and Nick Poehling C/LW Lakeville North HS (MN HS)
Projected: Round 7/Undrafted
My Rank: Not in my top 100, round 6/7 grades
I wanted to pick only one, but I have a hard time separating the Poehling twins. The two of them (along with younger brother Ryan) teamed up to lead Lakeville North to their first state championship. The twins are similar players, both of them combining skill and hockey sense. Both strong skaters, the Poehlings project as bottom 6 secondary scoring threats if they reach the NHL level. They do play best together, and are both headed to St. Cloud State next year, but I don’t think they’d have any issues if separated. I would throw a 6th or 7th on either of these kids and let them develop at the NCAA level.

Sports (and entertainment) Bets you Should Never Take

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  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

 

 

2015 NHL Awards Primer and Predictions

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.

Why the 4th overall pick could be worse for the New York Knicks

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.

Tom T-Money’s ESPY Picks

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).

One Love,

Tom

NBA Ultimate Team

Putting together the perfect team is no small task. Finding the right talent, skill sets and personalities to blend together to form a formidable unit is a challenge that for many GMs seems impossible. Every once in a while though, a GM will tinker just enough and land on the winning formula. When this happens we see dynasties like Jordan’s Bulls in the 90s and Duncan’s Spurs throughout the 2000s. Any basketball fan that is as passionate about the sport as I am has at one point or another played GM in their head and dreamt up their own dream team. Imagining what it would be like to see them tear up a league full of other legendary teams to crown themselves the best of all time.  In making this team I not only factored in the measurable statistics but also the intangibles, the abilities we can’t see but that often times are the difference between champions and runners up. So without further ado here is the team that I would go to war with no matter who the opponent. Starting Lineup:

Point Guard-Magic Johnson
Shooting Guard-Russell Westbrook
Small Forward-Michael Jordan
Power Forward-Tim Duncan
Center-Shaquille O’neal

A team’s point guard is supposed to be their leader on the floor, often known as the floor general, running the offense and making sure everyone is doing their job. Magic is in my opinion the undisputed best point guard basketball has ever seen. At 6’9” he has uncommon size for a point guard that allows him to guard multiple positions on defense if needed. He has valuable postseason experience with his five championships and three finals MVPs that provides confidence for the rest of the team in following his lead on the court. He also has experience playing with other big time players, like Kareem Abdul Jabbar and James Worthy, so massaging egos won’t be an issue for him in handling is teammates. He is so silky smooth with the ball in his hands and has hawk-like vision, to me there is no other point guard to even consider for an all time team.
Russell Westbrook’s role on this team is as much about his drive and passion as it is his freak like athleticism. Russ is gifted with athleticism that is unmatched by any guard to come before him, even Jordan. He has a bounce to his step like I’ve never seen and he puts it to good use taking off from anywhere trying outrageous dunk attempts over anyone standing in his way. He has the speed to take an inbound pass and outrun the entire defense coast to coast for a slam, as he has done on multiple occasions. But the most likable thing about Westbrook which is also his greatest value to this team is his attitude and work ethic. The kid plays balls to the wall all game. He never takes a play off and he has that look in his eye at all times like he’s coming for blood. He’s not afraid to make the gritty hustle plays either. What he lacks in efficiency he more than makes up for in effort and thats why he lands the starting two spot on my team.
At small forward I have the GOAT, Air Jordan. No all time team is complete without the all time gamer, the all time hustler, and the all time king of the clutch. Michael Jordan is all of that rolled into one. He’s hit more clutch shots in big games than anyone. Most memorably his game winning step back jumper in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz over Byron Russell. His resume speaks for itself. He is a six time NBA champion(undefeated in the finals), six time finals MVP, five time NBA MVP, and nine time All NBA Defensive First Team. We’ve all heard the stories about Jordan’s competitiveness, about how he was obsessed with being the best at everything, not just basketball. At halftime of an exhibition game with the Indiana Pacers, Reggie Miller was outscoring MJ 10-4 and proceeded to talk smack to Michael. Jordan came out in the second half and outscored Reggie 40-2, finishing the individual head to head matchup with a score of 44-12. This is Michael Jordan in a nutshell. He’s the ultimate smack talker and can dissect a player on defense with his physical ability and his power to get in your head. If you ever try to talk back, prepare yourself for annihilation. Jordan isn’t just on this team, he makes the team.
The big men on this team are both big time winners. Their results on the court individually and with their respective teams are legendary, but their personalities couldn’t be more different. Which is exactly why they work so well together for my team. Tim Duncan’s dynasty on the Spurs led by Coach Poppovich at the helm is the prime example of sustained long term success in the league today. He has five rings and three finals MVPs to go with eight All NBA Defensive First Team appearances and two league MVPs. He is a master of his craft, serving as a silent assassin with his quiet personality. Everyone knows his signature plays, like the midrange bank shot, but they can’t stop it. His reserved character allows him to gel with his teammates on this team. The Spurs are known for their ball movement, using their game planning to take down the toughest of foes like Lebron James, twice. And that’s Timmy’s greatest importance on this team, instilling and upholding the value of game prep and ball movement.
Last but not least we have the Diesel, Superman, Cake, the Big Aristotle, Mr. Shaquille O’neal. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Shaq myself when I was younger and if it’s not blatantly obvious already, he is one BIG man. When Shaq posts up in the paint good luck stopping him. He will bulldoze or drop step (“black tornado” as he likes to call it) his way to the hoop everytime. There are certainly craftier, more skilled, and better free throw shooting centers out there than Shaq. But, when it comes to sheer dominance over his opponents I’m not sure there is anyone on his level. Exemplified by his ranking on the all time scorers list (6th all time) and the all time rebounding list (14th all time). He his one of the funniest players to come through the league and he is not afraid to show it. He is a fun guy who adds some playfulness to this lineup of serious gamers.
My lineup may not be the best statistical lineup out there. It may not be comprised of the best players all time at each position. But their combination of skills and personalities make them more lethal as a group than any other team I can think of. If you feel differently make your case, just know I’ll fight you to the death about it just like these guys fight to the death on the court when winning is on the line.

Building For The Future Or Winning Now: Where The Cavs Went Wrong

The 2014-2015 NBA season has finally come to an end after a thrilling NBA playoffs that saw Steph Curry and the Warriors crowned champions. Their 4-2 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers came as no surprise as they were the top seed coming out of a loaded Western Conference with a 67-15 record. Statistically they proved themselves to be the top team in the league on both sides of the ball, sporting a 109.7 offensive efficiency rating and a 98.2 defensive efficiency rating. This years NBA finals, however, wasn’t about the juggernaut that was the Warriors. As usual, when Lebron James is involved in anything it is all about him. Lebron’s heroic effort in this years finals will further cement his place in the pantheon of the basketball greats. The worlds greatest basketball player posted an incredible 35.8 PPG 8.8 APG 13.3 RPG stat line in the finals, an effort unmatched by any that has come before it. Unfortunately for Lebron it simply wasn’t enough, once again proving that no matter how great a player is, championships aren’t won alone. King James’ supporting cast, depleted by injuries, just wasn’t up for the challenge. Now its time for Lebron to take a break, recover from a physically and mentally draining season, and then get back on his grind in hopes of bringing the Cleveland Cavaliers its first championship ever. As the Cavs now look to next season they must reevaluate their roster and James’ supporting cast. They must learn from their mistakes in assembling this years roster or they risk meeting the same fate next year. But, have the Cavaliers already sealed their destiny for years to come with the biggest trade of the year before the season started? The Cavaliers traded top pick Andrew Wiggins, along with others, to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love. This move made the organization’s goals very clear, they want to win now. What the Cavs didn’t realize though, is that they did not need to make this trade to win now or in the future because this trade was never really about Kevin Love vs. Andrew Wiggins, but Andrew Wiggins vs. LBJ.
Andrew Wiggins and Lebron James have a lot in common. Both players were the top pick in their respective drafts coming out as athletic freaks, capable of being lockdown defenders and offensive studs immediately. There will always be differences between the two but their similarities at a young age is why the Cavs should be concerned about dumping Wiggins.
Player A: 20.9 PPG 5.9 APG 5.5 RPG 41.7 FG% 29 3P%.
Player B: 20.0 PPG 2.3 APG 4.9 RPG 44.6 FG% 16.1 3P%.
These stat lines represent the rookie seasons of both players in their rookie season in which they each won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award. Player A is the King and Player B is Andrew Wiggins. As expected from the league’s best James posted a slightly better line across the board. The point, however, is that both exhibited limitless potential early on. In order to turn potential into reality you need help, and who would’ve been more suited than LBJ to mentor Wiggins as he strives to get to where Lebron is today. James is the NBA’s smartest player and his vision, ability to see the floor and the play develop before it happens is unmatched. On the Timberwolves Wiggins didn’t exactly have the best support in helping him develop. His starting point guard, Ricky Rubio, had another injury riddled season and the rest of the roster lacks any substantial talent. What he did as a rookie on such a bad team in the Western Conference, the tougher conference by far, is impressive. If you take a player like that and put him next to Lebron and scary things are bound to happen. LBJ and Wiggin’s alley oops would make the Clippers knack for high flying plays look like Sob City, rising up so high you’d think they were playing on 9 ft hoops. Wiggins efficiency would benefit as well because he wouldn’t be the top scoring option, or even the second and he would be getting set up by Lebron which everyone knows leads to better looks. By keeping a young, potentially elite defender their team defense would become a strength opposed to the weakness it was for the Cavaliers throughout the regular season. Lebron makes players around him better, no matter who it is. Look at Matthew Dellavadova in the finals. He played the best basketball of his career because James enabled him to and Delly is a player with very limited talent, just imagine what Lebron could do for his potential mini me. There is no doubt that all of the skills that King James possesses helped Kevin Love better his game in some respects, but there are few players with the ability to reach the level Lebron is on. It is clear at this point in his career that Kevin Love doesn’t have what it takes to be a Lebron James caliber player. So if there is even the slightest chance Andrew Wiggins does, the Cavs will regret quitting on the Lebron-Wiggins tandem before it even began, especially given how good he is already.

About Us

Well, after hours upon hours of working to get this website or blog or whatever you wanna call it running, East Coast Egos is finally LIVE. Yeah that’s right you heard me boys and girls; WE. ARE. LIVE. Now before I say anything else, let me explain to you why you should even bother even reading this blog. Our contributors are college students from all over the country, however all of us have one thing in common: we all grew up somewhere on the East coast (hence the name if you haven’t been following along). Being college twenty somethings and avid sports fans, the majority of our time is spent watching sports and arguing to no end about the hot topic of the day. We all have been apart of one of those arguments before. Would you rather have LeBron or MJ? Is Odell Beckham Jr. already the best WR in the NFL? Should Pete Rose be allowed in the MLB Hall of Fame? You get the idea. With all of us growing up all over the East coast, we all bring our own unique voice to ECE. This gives us the ability to look at different stories from many different perspectives thus diversifying our content. Not all of our content is region specific however, as we give ourselves the freedom to tackle whatever topic we please.  If I want to debate hockey one day, I’m not confined to just talking about the NHL and can write about whatever I please the next day.  Our goal is to give our readers the diverse content that they desire.  We’ll argue to no end for our opinions and if you don’t like what we have to say then the door is down the hall to the left. And that’s what were all about here at East Coast Egos: we do the arguing so you don’t have to.