New York Yankees: DJ LeMahieu Continues To Be A Force

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

Minus a slight cold spell in the end of April, DJ LeMahieu has been absolutely terrific for the New York Yankees. People believed that LeMahieu would struggle being outside of Coors Field, his old home stadium. But, he has clearly proved the haters wrong and has a solid chance to be an all-star.

Well rounded

Over 195 at-bats, LeMahieu has 61 hits, good for a .313 average. He has five home runs and 30 RBIs. On Wednesday against the Padres, he opened up the game with a solo home run, then Luke Voit followed suit batting second.

For most of the season, LeMahieu has been the leadoff hitter, dropping Brett Gardner in the order. 30 RBI at the end of May for a leadoff hitter is fantastic, and that puts him on pace for 90 RBI. The beginning of Friday’s series against the Red Sox begins the middle third of the season.

On defense, LeMahieu has been very good, too. Over three positions, he has just three errors, and two of them were early on. He helps anchor an already great defensive infield.

LeMahieu is also pretty quick, and has two stolen bases this year. On the defensive end, that along with his reaction time makes him a wall in the field.

Overall, DJ LeMahieu’s contributions have greatly benefited the team. His 1.9 WAR is already nearing his 3.0 WAR from last season, and he likely will pass his career high WAR if he continues to play the way he is. His career high WAR was 5.2 in 2016 with the Rockies.

New York Giants: What Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate can do for Big Blue

New York Giants receiver, Sterling Shepard.

Trading away Odell Beckham Jr. was certainly the biggest headline of the offseason for the New York Giants, but the most important thing of the entire scenario is how they responded to his departure.

The Giants went out and signed veteran pass-catcher Golden Tate, a player known for his yards-after-catch abilities. The new acquisition and weapon for Eli Manning has led the NFL in forced missed tackles in five of the last six seasons, finishing second in the only season he didn’t come in first, according to Pro Football Focus.

If you can remember the electrifying plays Beckham made and the number of tackles he avoided, it’s hard to imagine Tate breaking even more tackles and picking up more yards. I’m not saying that Tate is anywhere close to as talented as Beckham, but in specific areas, he’s more refined.

“He is nifty,” Giants coach Pat Shurmur said. “Obviously, before the ball is thrown and then once he catches it, he has a way of breaking tackles or making them miss. I can see that is going to be a part of his game already.”

One of the best attributes Tate holds is his health. Beckham has missed a total of 16 games in two seasons, so essentially missing an entire year. Tate, on the other hand, has missed just one game in six years. The best way to make a difference is to actually be on the field, something OBJ couldn’t consistently do on a regular basis.

Manning will benefit greatly from a clean bill of health for his receivers moving forward.

How will the New York Giants utilize Tate and Shepard in 2019?

One of the major positive in regards to Tate and Shepard is their ability to play inside and outside. Head coach Pat Shurmur will be able to create an unpredictable offense with two diverse receivers. Additionally, they are possession receivers that will help keep the ball with the offense and the defense on the sidelines.

Running down the clock and holding onto possession should help the overall efficiency of the team. Ultimately, it comes down to Manning and his ability to get the ball to Tate and Shep quickly in space. Speedy receivers are better when the ball is in their hands with room around them.

Tate averaged 10.7 yards per reception in 2018 and Shepard 13.2. Both will be impactful players on a rebuilt Giants offense.

 

New York Knicks: Carmelo Deserved To Bring A Title To NY

New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony

The New York Knicks have not won an NBA title since 1973, a 46-year drought. That seems like hundreds of years ago. Since then, the Knicks had a handful of shots to hoist the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

There have only been a few players to come through New York as the centerpiece of a hopeful title contender.

Most notably Patrick Ewing. Ewing, one of the great Knicks, was able to get the Knicks to the finals and gave the franchise years of success, after they were in basketball purgatory.

Besides Ewing, the other player most deserving of bringing a title to New York was Carmelo Anthony.

Although, Amare Stoudemire was the first piece of the puzzle in revitalizing the Knicks.  He was acquired in a sign-in-trade with the Phoenix Suns in July of 2010.  It quickly became Melo’s team after being traded to the Knicks in February of 2011 from Denver.

Similar to Ewing, the Knicks were in bad shape before they arrived.  Both, Ewing and Melo, did their best to bring basketball back to New York.  And they did just that.

Melo was a little different.  He played his college ball at Syracuse and was born in Brooklyn.  Melo wanted to play in New York and vice versa.  It was only a matter of time before it became a reality.

Anthony deserves more credit.  He was one of the big name superstars, at the time, who had enough confidence to want to play in New York and try to revitalize one of the NBA’s most historic franchises.

Players these days don’t do that anymore.  They want to go wherever they can win a title and as soon as possible.  Nothing wrong with that.  If players have that opportunity, more power to them.

Melo played his heart out for the city of New York.  He was only able to get the Knicks to the second-round in the playoffs, but was able to bring the basketball culture back to New York. Melo gave fans several long lasting memories, capping it off with scoring the most points in Knicks history, 62.

If there was any player that deserves the credit, who had the confidence, determination and drive to try and bring the Knicks back to basketball promise it was Carmelo Anthony.

New York Knicks Trading Back This Draft?

New York Knicks

According to ESPNs Jonathan Givony, the New York Knicks are exploring options in this year’s draft.  The Knicks have been looking into trading back from the 3rd pick.

The Knicks are, allegedly, considering trading back in the draft for the 8th and 10th pick with the Atlanta Hawks.  Despite the rumors, SNYs Ian Begley reports these claims are not serious.

But for fun, the idea of this trade will get fans buzzing.  Why would the Knicks want to trade away the 3rd pick in what some are calling a ‘3 player draft’.

RJ Barrett could be selected by the Knicks with the 3rd pick and fans would not be upset.  Barrett is a very good player and may to have a long career in this league.

However, if the Knicks were to trade back, and get the 8th and 10th pick, then this opens up a lot more.  The rumor is that the Knicks could be looking for players to ‘better complement’ Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

If the Knicks were to do so, then they are going to have to spin this in a way so fans can understand.  Although, they will miss out on Cam Reddish and Jarrett Culver.  Maybe they would look at Kevin Porter Jr. and someone else?

But, we simply do not know.  We do not know how the draft will play out.  Knicks have to be 100% positive that they are going to get the right players if they were to do so.  For now, the Knicks should stay away.

With the Knicks luck, they will do the trade, pass on Barrett, he turns out to be an All-Star and the others are flops.  Although, Scott Perry has done an excellent job thus far in turning the roster around.  If he pulls the trigger, then fans have to trust his decision.

Should the New York Knicks pursue a Chris Paul trade?

Chris Paul and Kevin Durant.

The New York Knicks are the water in the mill currently as the free agent and trade rumors are flowing prior to the NBA Finals. Players such as Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving and more have reached the surface in potential Knicks deals – one of these players presents an interesting opportunity.

Houston Rockets point guard, Chris Paul, is the player of notice. We have all heard the rumors that Durant is buying a house in New York and is leaning in this direction, however, one perennial All-Star isn’t going to make the Knicks a finals-caliber team.

Bringing in a player like Paul to compliment Durant might get the job done, though. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has put every player on the market as he attempts to piece together a quality team after a disappointing finish in this year’s playoffs.

While a James Harden deal seems off the table, Paul is very much included in his statements. The question is, what would the Knicks have to give up to secure him? I imagine the No. 3 overall pick and additional players would be the minimum asking price.

The general concern over trading for Paul is his behemoth contract. A five-year, $159.7 million deal that will pay him $44.2 million in 2020 is the huge “STOP” sign standing in front of a potential deal. I can not imagine the Knicks parting way with that much cap-space if they also want to bring in Durant as their second max-contract.

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However, Paul is one of the NBA’s best floor generals and scoring point guards, which represents his value and price-tag. Some former teammates have presented concern over his attitude and locker room personality, which could be a deterrent for the Knicks and their young team. They need a pure leader that can help the younger player develop, but also win on a consistent basis.

My final conclusion is that the Knicks should stay very far away from a Chris Paul deal. It would be a classic trade for the Knicks, and it would be one that bites them in the butt down the road.

New York Giants: 3 biggest position battles of 2019

New York Giants right tackle, Chad Wheeler.

As the New York Giants progress through the OTA period, position battles are starting to catch fire and some unexpected ones have taken shape. The defense will be one of the more prominent units full of competition and opportunity, as the amount of rookies and younger players has increased exponentially this offseason.

Adding players like DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, Jabrill Peppers, Corey Ballentine and more, have made the outcome of the starting team a bit more murky, which is a positive thing.

Nonetheless–

New York Giants top 3 position battles:

1.) No. 2 cornerback spot

The assumed No. 1 corner for the Giants is Janoris Jenkins, but the second spot opposite the veteran is the position up for grabs. Heading into pre-season it was expected the DeAndre Baker has the starting job all but locked up, however, 2019 Supplemental Draft pick Sam Beal has shown he can compete at a high level.

Beal has shown his range and ability in coverage thus far in OTAs, tipping a pass with his recently surgically repaired shoulder that resulted in an interception by Peppers. This will be one of the more exciting battles of the early summer, as the two are fierce competitors with solid attributes.

2.) Pass rusher

Some might have Lorenzo Carter and Markus Golden penciled on the defensive line, but I’m not so quick to give them the starting jobs. The Giants recently drafted pass-rusher Oshane Ximines out of Old Dominion. Coming from a small school certainly doesn’t present the best chances in terms of an immediate impact for Ximines, but he has proved to be quick and active so far in camp.

Oshane has advanced moves for a product of a smaller school – GM Dave Gettleman was especially impressed with his counter-punch. I expect Carter to earn a starting role, but Golden is three years removed from his best season, a 12.5 sack effort in 2016. He’s coming off a significant knee injury and shouldn’t be considered a starter just yet, Ximines could steal the job with a bit of development.

3.) Right tackle

Mike Remmers was recently signed to a one-year deal to solidify the right tackle position for the Giants. I do not consider him the legitimate starter until he has proven that his surgically repaired back isn’t a hindrance to his abilities. Chad Wheeler was the starter at RT last year and will fight for his right to stay put.

I expect both Wheeler and Remmers to battle it out over the course of the summer. “Big George” out of Kentucky could also be in the mix, but I believe he will need a bit more development before he can withstand premium NFL edge-rushers.

It’s fair to remember, though, that Remmers was forced to play out of position with the Minnesota Vikings, so returning to his natural spot at right tackle should help him find his normal self.

New York Giants: Top News 5/31 – Cody Latimer prepping for breakout season

New York Giants wide receiver, Cody Latimer.

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

The New York Giants will head into training camp with the top two receivers on the team solidified, however, the No. 3 spot is up for grabs.

Options like Corey Coleman, Cody Latimer, and Russell Shepard all present forms of quality in their own specific ways. Coleman is a former first-round pick with solid hands, Latimer is a speedy wideout that can get behind the defense, and Shepard is a bigger body that can bring in contested balls.

I believe that Latimer will be the player to earn the No. 3 receiver spot behind Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate. The former Bronco had his second-best season to date last year, racking up 190 yards and a score over just six games. Latimer succumbed to injury in 2018, limiting his production on the field, but with a full bill of health, he is looking to finally break out in 2019.

A 68.8% catch rate and17.3 yards-per-reception total presents optimism for the 26-year-old pass catcher. I wouldn’t necessarily rule out Coleman to earn the starting job, but I imagine Latimer is better equipped considering his resume and experience.

Head coach Pat Shurmur will surely look to utilize Latimer in the long-game as his speed is an asset that can tantalize defenses at times.

Nonetheless–

Giants top articles of the day:

John Fennelly (Giants Wire) – Giants already using Ryan Connelly tape to teach proper technique

Dan Schneier (247 Sports) – The 10 New York Giants players most likely to break out in 2019

Paul Schwartz (NY Post) – Antoine Bethea is perfect for Giants’ defensive overhaul

Ed Valentine (Big Blue View) – Giants’ 90-man roster: Eric Dungey trying to make transition to hybrid role

Alexander Wilson (Empire Sports Media) – New York Giants: What Kevin Zeitler can do for the offensive line

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Did The New York Giants Dodge Drama With Beckham Trade?

Everyone knows by now that character concerns are one of the reasons why the New York Giants traded star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns, whether or not the team itself admits that and whether or not those concerns are actually justified. How Beckham performs in Cleveland both on or off the field will be one of the deciding factors in the ongoing debate over whether or not the trade is justified.

Now that offseason training is heating up and OTAs are underway, there’s some reports coming out on that very subject.

With one OTA left for the Browns, Cleveland head coach Freddie Kitchens didn’t seem like the most satisfied person in the world with Beckham – who skipped optional minicamp and only attended one day of OTAs.

“I just want to see him,” Kitchens said of Beckham when asked by Cleveland.com what he expected of the player during mandatory minicamp. He continued and claimed that Beckham missed “a lot,” and “the offense.”

Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield, however, defended Beckham’s decision. “You let a guy like that be him. Everybody has their routine. Stick to what is working, and for him, obviously, it’s been working for a while. He’s going to do what he’s going to do. You have to trust that he is going to be there when it matters, and we know who he is.”

Of course, mandatory practices haven’t begun yet, and so Beckham technically isn’t in the wrong for not attending. However, it’s also hard to make an argument for a star player being in the right to skip optional practices when joining a new team. After stepping into an unfamiliar organization and offense, most players would benefit from getting as much practice time in as possible before the season. Additionally, Beckham hasn’t yet built up enough trust with Cleveland to skip the majority of OTAs and not have it mentioned with a suspicious eye.

The New York Giants have largely avoided problems during their own OTAs this year. The questions about the team’s quarterback situation have mostly been settled by now and there hasn’t been drama over a star player not showing up, which might not be the case if Beckham was still with the team. And with the media focusing intently on issues like this, such drama could have been a major distraction.

However, despite providing some distractions, Beckham is still one of the best receivers to ever play for the team. It looks like the Giants did duck some drama by trading him away, but if they want that trade to be worth it, they’ll still have to find production out of a group of players that’s still largely unproven playing without Beckham. Will they be successful? We’ll find that out during this season.

The New York Giants’ Most Underrated Player Is Nate Solder

New York Giants, Nate Solder

The New York Giants have made it a major point of emphasis to improve the offensive line over these past two years. General manager Dave Gettleman has made multiple significant moves in order to rebuild the offensive line.

Last offseason, Gettleman’s biggest move was the signing of former Patriots offensive tackle Nate Solder. Solder was signed to a record-breaking contract. He received a 4-year, $62 million deal with the Giants that made him the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL.

This acquisition was met with a lot of praise, but also a lot of criticism. Many fans feel Solder was not worthy of this contract and that he would not meet expectations.

How Nate Solder Met Those Expectations

Nate Solder proved the naysayers wrong in 2018, despite popular belief. Most of the fans who think Solder disappointed in 2018 are basing their opinion on only the first half of the season.

In the first half of the 2018 season, Nate Solder was met with two extreme challenges. Firstly, Solder dealt with a bulging disc in his neck that greatly affected his performance. Nate was not able to play at 100% until midway through the season.

Secondly, Nate Solder had spent the first 7 years of his career protecting Tom Brady in New England. Switching teams was a big adjustment for him as he tried to get acclimated to the Giants’ offense. The reason this change was so difficult is due to the change in quarterbacks.

Tom Brady’s drop back was significantly shorter than Eli Manning’s, which allowed Solder to push the pass-rusher behind Brady as he stepped up into the pocket. The left tackle had to adjust to Eli’s deeper drop back, as he caught himself pushing edge rusher directly into Manning early on in the season.

Once Nate Solder fixed this, he was the solid, franchise left tackle that he was in New England. Solder was the 5th highest-graded player on the Giants in 2018 by Pro Football Focus. According to PFF, Solder even had the highest single-game grade out of any offensive lineman in 2018.

In his first season outside of New England, Solder managed an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 74.1 which ranked 16th out of 35 qualifying left tackles. This level of play from the left tackle position is something the Giants have been missing for years (thanks to the ultimate bust, Ereck Flowers).

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Solder’s first half of the 2018 season left a lot to be desired for. But once he adjusted to Manning’s longer drop back and once his injury healed, Solder performed at a much higher level.

Nate Solder allowed six sacks and 20 total pressures through the first eight games. However, he rebounded in a big way over the second half of the year, allowing only one sack and 13 total pressures.

Unfortunately, Nate Solder has suffered another injury and will miss the 2019 OTAs. Solder will be ready to go for training camp and should have no problem being at 100% for the start of the 2019 season. A fully healthy season will be key for Nate Solder as he attempts to live up to his humungous contract. But now that he is acclimated to the Giants’ offense, all Nate has to do is stay healthy and he will prove that he was worth every penny.

New York Knicks Rumors: Kevin Durant 100% Confirmed?

New York Knicks, Kevin Durant

The New York Knicks rumors can’t stop, won’t stop.  The hottest new rumor is of potential future Knick, Kevin Durant, selling his Bay Area home and purchasing a place in New York.  This comes from Ric Bucher while appearing on The Herd.

Everyone, especially Knicks fans, know that rumors is what keeps fans intrigued.  A lot of fans love to buy into whatever they hear.  I know I have been guilty of this several times in the past.

However, it is simply just a rumor and nothing more.  Passionate fans love to get excited when they hear news similar to this and some do not.  Take it how you will.

Knicks fans need to take this so-called ‘rumor’ with a grain of salt.  The coverage linking Durant to the Knicks has been overwhelming.  To be honest, if Durant decided not to come, it would not shock me after all this.

Until the team makes it official that Durant has put the pen to paper and signed his New York Knicks contract, it is just a rumor.  Knicks fans will believe it when we see it.