When sitting down, this blog was supposed to be about how great the Philadelphia 76ers have looked so far this year when at full strength. While nobody expects them to be title contenders quite yet, they have the building blocks in place for sustained success, with more on the way. More than anything, they're just fun to watch for the average viewer, which we haven't said in about a decade.
However, while researching, a 2014 blog post from The Ringer's Jonathan Tjarks popped up, and truthfully, nothing could be more interesting than a defender of "The Process" before it became trendy to do so.
With full credit to Tjarks, for both writing this, and having these opinions when it wasn't popular to do so, here's a fun read:
Pete Carroll was notably somber this week, and understandably so. Even days later, the most lopsided loss of his Seattle Seahawks tenure was still stinging.
“A difficult day...that didn’t get anywhere near the expectations that we had,” Carroll told The Columbian. “We ran into a day, like some of us know, our hard days, they don’t always go like you like.”
Seattle has generally thrived in important games with something at stake. In this case it was the NFC West lead and a much easier path toward a sixth straight playoff appearance. And it was coming two weeks after one of Seattle’s more complete performances in recent seasons with a convincing 24-10 win over Philadelphia. All of those factors made the 42-7 blowout loss to the Rams so shocking, and tough for the Seahawks to accept. There were few answers, other than it was a complete thumping by the Rams.
“I think that’s why our expectations were so high and why we’re so disappointed about it today,” Carroll said. “But we have to move on from it.”
Moving on was a theme for Carroll on Monday and he’s right in trying to be optimistic. The Seahawks (8-6) still have fleeting playoff hopes (about a 2% chance), but have no room for error the rest of the way if they intend on finding their way to the postseason. Wins over Dallas and Arizona seem like absolutes, and the Seahawks will likely also need the Rams to lose out against Tennessee and San Francisco. Things, needeless to say, aren't looking great.
But that only addresses the now. Sunday’s loss to the Rams felt like a tipping point for the finest era in Seahawks history. They are becoming less the brash, unapologetic bullies of the NFC West and more an older, expensive roster likely in need of some remodeling. It’s big picture stuff that the Seahawks will need to address in the offseason but was on everyone’s mind in the aftermath of such a deflating loss to the new upstarts in the division.
Part of me wanted to name this post "Baker Mayfield: Drew Brees 2.0" but that felt a bit amibitious in implying that Mayfield would be better than Brees in some way. To be clear, it's obvious that this post is probably more about his ceiling than his floor. Some people want to call Mayfield the next Johnny Manziel, which I find wildly lazy and innacurate. Why? Because they were both small white QBs who could run and throw it far downfield? Manziel never had the leadership, command of an offense, of accuracy and Mayfield has. He threw the ball up to Mike Evans over and over in double coverage and padded his stats because of it. This post is meant to start pushing Mayfield beyond the easy comparisons, and to go out on a limb finding his perfect landing spot.
Whether it’s Kristaps Porzingis continuing to prove he’s part unicorn, or Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant trash talking each other face-to-face, the 2017-18 NBA season has been nothing short of exciting.
That being said, let’s look at some players who are contributing to this exciting NBA start — particularly the players that no one thought would blossom into possible starters, or even All-Star status this year. These players are proving that they can handle more of a workload than expected. Here’s the SnapCall Sports NBA Early Season All-Breakout Team:
Some Aaron Judge, Joey Votto, and Paul Goldschmidt fans are out there today freaking out about why their guy was more deserving than Giarcarlo Stanton or Jose Altuve (the Jose Ramirez fans know he was the 3rd best player on their own team). Right now it may feel like a slap in the face, but when push comes to shove, does it really mater who takes home the trophy? When people are splitting hairs for the Hall of Fame they MAY reference how many awards someone won, but that's really about it. The numbers don't change, trust me. Let's look back at some MVP winners in the past, and how they eventually stacked up with the best players of that era.
Who would have thought that in the middle of November, the Cavaliers would only be ahead of the Hornets, Bulls, and Hawks in the Eastern Conference standings? LeBron has never been under .500 in the month of December in his ENTIRE CAREER, and yet they'll have to battle to get back there if he wants to enjoy a stress-free holiday season. They have a worse point differential than everyone but the Bulls and Hawks in the east, who are both openly tanking. Things aren't going according to plan in Koby Altman's first year as “GM” (which clearly belongs in quotations, because we know exactly who the real General Manager is).
This roster isn't complete yet, and realistically they just have to tread water until Isaiah Thomas comes back (and Derrick Rose gets cut faster then you can say “former MVP”) to see what the team really can do. Still, whenever a LeBron-James-led-team goes through a slump, “LeGM” puts his transaction hat on and tinkers a little bit to make sure everything is set for a title run. Deron Wiliams and Kyle Korver were the missing pieces last year (for better or worse). The year before Anderson Varejao returned to the land, and Channing Frye came over from Orlando to bolster the front-court. From J.R. Smith and Iman Shupert, to Greg Oden during his days in Miami, LeBron is never satisfied if he thinks that his team is even a small piece away from a deep playoff run. Will Isaiah Thomas be enough to quench that thirst? Probably not with the way things are going right now. So let's get ahead of the curve and target a few possible rentals in the last year of their contract, or buy-out candidates that LeBron and the Cavs could target come the trade deadline:
Deshaun Watson's torn ACL in practice is absolutely devastating. The beginning of a potential superstar career hits an immediate road-block. The city of Houston loses a football icon. The Texans lose their 3rd superstar of the year after the Watt and Mercilus injuries. Truthfully, the league in general, reeling a bit from lower ratings this year, loses another potential ratings draw. It's just bad, and sad all around. Still, doesn't this feel all too familiar?
Game 2 of the 2017 World Series should forever be remembered as one of the most wild games in baseball history, under the brightest lights. This game set so many records, and had so many pressure packed moments, so many highlights, and so many jump-out-of-your chair hits, that it should never be forgotten. It also summed up current era baseball in the best possible way, with an all or nothing home run approach when the moments mattered most. Just in-case you missed it, or want to re-live it, here are some of the best nuggets we pulled from our Gamecast Wednesday night: