New York Giants: 6-10 Record Projected By Sports Illustrated

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Daniel Jones.

Will the New York Giants finish the year with a better record than they had in 2018? The team has, believe it or not, improved over the past couple of years. After the disaster of a 3-13 season which resulted in the team picking number two overall in the draft and being able to acquire their current best player, Saquon Barkley, they were able to finish with five wins in 2018. However, five wins isn’t exactly anything to celebrate, even if the team did improve, and a franchise such as the Giants has much larger expectations on its shoulders.

Similarly, six wins wouldn’t be much of an improvement even if it technically would give the team more success than they had last year. Improvement is the goal but the team would have to improve much more than that to be able to meet the expectations set by their fans and likely by the team ownership itself, with patience dwindling during this string of bad seasons.

According to Sports Illustrated, though, six wins is where the New York Giants are going to end up this season – not good enough to please anyone and not bad enough to get a high enough draft pick to expect a quicker turnaround. In other words, the team is projected to be in maybe the worst spot a team can be in.

Another team that is almost impossible to evaluate right now. When does Daniel Jones take over as the starting quarterback? When tracking their schedule, I tried to envision a bye-week changeover, though if Pat Shurmur decides to start a rookie quarterback for the first time on the road in late November against the Bears, he may be crazier than I thought.

However, if there’s one thing to take comfort in, it’s that the article assumes that Daniel Jones is going to start in 2019 – This seems unlikely unless events force the Giants to change their stance on Eli Manning being the starter, which isn’t impossible but wouldn’t happen lightly after repeated statements from players and coaching staff members alike that indicate that Manning is the man for now.

Regardless of what you think of Eli Manning or of Daniel Jones, it’s in the best interest of the Giants for now to not have a quarterback battle this season and risk ruining the player that they may end up depending on during the next years by throwing him into things too early.

One can hope that this season, Manning’s play is good enough that the team doesn’t have to consider the scenario that the article speaks of, which would place Jones into the lineup mid season.

New York Knicks preseason schedule

New York Knicks, Kevin Knox, RJ Barrett

The New York Knicks preseason schedule has dropped.  The Knicks will have 4 tune-up games before the season kicks off.

The Knicks preseason schedule is has follows:

October 7th at Wizards

October 11th vs. Wizards

October 16th vs. Hawks

October 18th vs. Pelicans

The Knicks will play the teams it seems like they have played every preseason.  However, similar to the Vegas summer league, all eyes will be on the Knicks & Pelicans for the finale of the preseason.

RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson will get another go at each other before they officially begin their NBA careers.  Williamson got the better of RJ in their first meeting, but Barrett got better each game.  The two should have a better, fun and longer showing this time around.

The Knicks will be looking to show their fans a better team effort and togetherness after a poor summer league showing.  They were the favorites to win the summer league and fell way short.  However, they did not have a lot of time to play with each other and get comfortable.

Expect the Knicks to look completely different in the preseason and have a better, more positive outlook for the 2019-2020 season.

The Knicks Have 5 Power Forwards And That Never Works

New York Knicks sign Marcus Morris.

I’m not sure how many of you remember old school NES games, but one of my favorites was Ice Hockey. It was pretty primitive,  and had no real goalie control, but was still playable. You could choose between three archetypes for your players, with each one having a specific skill set. The trick was to not have four of the same on the ice. Apparently nobody in the Knicks front office has played NES Ice Hockey.

The Knicks just snaked Marcus Morris away from the Spurs, and I am honestly baffled by the move. They totally have too many of the same guys, and are forgetting the Ice Hockey corollary. Unless they plan on running the first ever 4 power forward offense, I’m not really sure what they’re trying to accomplish. Let’s review.

First they signed Julius Randle. A young, improving player with upside,  same timeline as the rest of the roster… totally made sense. Then they signed Taj Gibson, veteran leader who won’t need big minutes…I get it. Next was Bobby Portis and it at this point we had to start to wonder why the Knicks needed to sign three power forwards. Portis is youngish,  and put up decent numbers for the Wizards so fine he can be the backup, and cut Taj down to like six minutes a game. Then this week happened.

Marcus Morris is an ok player. He can shoot a little, score a little and be a net positive on the floor. He also can have a hugely inflated sense of self and be a problem in the locker room. For a playoff team looking to add depth he would be a good signing. For a team headed for the lottery trying to develop several young wings and big men he is an unnecessary headache. For a team that just spent $100 million on three other power forwards it’s time for psychological exams.

Morris minutes can only come at the expense of the development of the Knicks young players. Between Mitchell Robinson, Julius Randle, Kevin Knox, R.J. Barrett and Bobby Portis there are only so many minutes to go round. With a crowded backcourt (Dennis Smith, Elfrid Payton, Alonzo Trier, Frank Ntikilina ) there isn’t a ton of flexibility for extra minutes at shooting guard for Barett or Knox. I havent even mentioned Taj Gibson or Wayne Ellington. So who sits so Marcus Morris can play?

Some Knicks fans have talked about Morris adding toughness, and the team competing for a playoff spot, but that also makes no sense. The Knicks are not one or two players away from contention right now. They own their own pick and would best be served by adding another piece with a high draft pick this year and giving their young players all the development time they can.   Letting Marcus Morris lead them to an 8th seed doesent benefit anyone in the long-term.

Theres another team that also seems to have forgotten the Ice Hockey rule. Orlando drafted Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac,  Mo Bamba and added them to a roster that already had Nikola Vucevic( all power forwards and centers).They partnered them with veterans D.J. Augustin, Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross and now the team competes for the eighth seed in the playoffs and gets a mediocre pick each season. They also just threw a bunch of money at their own Marcus Morris, Al Farouq Aminu.

If the Knicks intent is to shoot for the no-mans land of fighting Orlando and Charlotte for the last playoff spot in the conference for the next few years they are on the right track. If they are trying to become a championship contender they need to figure out what they have with their young players and keep some cap space open for the next great player available via trade or free agency to build around. I think it’s clear what path the Knicks have chosen.

 

 

 

 

 

What Will it Take for the New York Mets to Make the Playoffs?

New York Mets, Mets

After taking both games against the Minnesota Twins, the New York Mets have won four in a row and are all of a sudden five games out of the second wild card spot in the National League. Just when you think this team is knocked out, they find a way to pull fans back in.

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For the next month the Mets have a very winnable schedule which includes some of the teams they have to leapfrog to become serious in the Wild Card hunt. The big question is, what needs to happen for the Mets to make the postseason?

What is the Plan?

The first step the Mets have to take is to win their four game series against the red hot San Francisco Giants, who have won five in a row. They are one of the teams the Mets will have to leap over and just before their hot streak, they were ready to sell.

The Mets will likely have to survive a Walker Lockett start so it is imperative they take game one Thursday against Madison Bumgarner, with Noah Syndergaard on the mound. The Mets follow up with Jacob deGrom Friday night, which gives them the upper hand to take the first two before Lockett pitches.

Overall, in order for the Mets to make the playoffs, the Mets bullpen has to at least pitch average. During their short hot streak, the bullpen has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

If Jeurys Familia returns to his dominant form, it plays the same role of acquiring someone at the trade deadline. He is slowly being worked back into a late inning role and his velocity was close to 100 during his last outing.

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Who else needs to step up?

Robinson Cano is also the x-factor in all of this. If he gets it going, the trio of Cano, McNeil and Alonso will be very dangerous for the rest of the season.

The Mets also have to take the rest of this season one game at a time. Focus on winning their games, instead of the mountain they have to climb in the Wild Card. I do not know if Mickey Callaway is the right leader for that, but the Mets are stuck with him for the rest of the season.

Maybe the Mets hot streak was a blip on the radar, but in 2016 the Mets were 60-62 on August 19 and made it to a Wild Card game. In the 50thanniversary of the Mets 1969 championship team, it would not surprise me to see the 2019 Mets pull off a miracle.

New York Knicks: What does Marcus Morris bring to the Knicks?

New York Knicks, Marcus Morris

When the New York Knicks pried former Celtics power forward Marcus Morris from the San Antonio Spurs, most thought to themselves…how? The chance to play with a perennial contender under Gregg Popovich should be influential for any player looking to leave their mark on the league.

Morris, though, seemed to favor the greenbacks more-so than his desire to win. The Knicks have a solid roster with plenty of depth, but they lack a true superstar — an influencer that can take their game to the next level. The $14.8 million deal over one year that Morris was offered was simply too enticing.

The contract difference was essentially $5 million, as the Spurs were prepared to offer him about $20 million over two-years. For five-million dollars, I would do a lot more than just play basketball in New York City. What a world we live in.

General manager Scott Perry was excited to bring in Morris, and pairing him with the other free agent signings will increase the chances of success for the Knicks.

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“With Reggie and Marcus we are adding two more versatile, hard-nosed and accomplished players to an already improved roster,” Scott Perry said in a release, according to the New York Post. “We value both players’ perimeter shooting ability and their strong presence on the court and in the locker room. We’re excited to have them in New York and are confident they will excel playing for this team under Coach (David) Fizdale.”

In 2018, Morris was a key cog in the Celtics’ roster, hitting on 37.5 percent from beyond the arch, and averaged 13.9 points per game on 44.7 percent shooting. Going into his ninth season, Morris is experienced, and the Knicks will be his fifth team over the span of his career. He’s capable of being a great offensive performer and is a quality shooter, something the Knicks have lacked at times, especially in 2018.

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How will Marcus Morris help the New York Knicks off the court?

Marcus’ experience will be influential on a team packed full of youth. His leadership will go a long way in helping players like Kevin Knox and RJ Barrett reach their potential and develop their game.

“He works hard, has a serious approach to his craft, and is an excellent teammate,’’ said a former players of Morris. “Winning is important to him, and he’s focused on getting better. I feel he is a solid starter in this league.’’

The reality of this signing is that he can be a contributor for one-season and if he proves his worth there could be an extension in his future. In the meantime, there’s plenty of value to be extracted when it comes to the 29-year-old.

 

New York Jets: 4 Bold Predictions for the 2019 Season

New York Jets

With under 50 days left until week 1 of the 2019 NFL season the New York Jets are considered one of the most improved rosters in the league. Many Jets fans expect the team to finally break its almost decade long playoff drought, and many others around the league expect the team to flop like it usually does. Here are some bold predictions for the New York Jets this upcoming season.

New York Jets will have a top 3 defense:

Gang Green made multiple splash moves this offseason to convert their defense into one of the top units in the league. The additions of Gregg Williams,  Quinnen Williams, and C.J. Mosely give the Jets an aggressive style of play which they lacked under former head coach Todd Bowles and defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers.

Expect the rebuilt defense to blitz a lot this year under new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams who is one of the most aggressive play-callers in the league. A big key to the Jets having a top 3 defense is whether the front seven can work together to put pressure on the QB since the Jets lack a premier pass rusher.

Robby Anderson will have over 1000 receiving yards

Robby Anderson has slowly turned himself into one of the best deep threats in the league accumulating 1,693 yards and 15 touchdowns over the past two seasons according to Pro Football Reference. This is the year that Anderson takes his game to the next level and becomes the number one wide receiver the Jets haven’t had in years. Anderson’s ability to take the top off the defense will open up the playbook for head coach Adam Gase who has had success with players like Robby Anderson.

Williams duo will be the most important piece to the defense

This year’s first-round draft pick, Quinnen Williams, will make a tremendous impact on the Jets defense this year — 2015’s first-round pick Leonard Williams has been a good player but is constantly getting double-teamed due to the lack of talent around him on the front seven.

Quinnen Williams will help alleviate the number of double teams Leonard Williams receives, and in turn, will help boost Leonard’s production. Williams best season came when he was on a line that featured Muhammed Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson. Expect these two to be one of the most disruptive duos in the league.

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The New York Jets will finish 8-8

Unfortunately, not all bold predictions are positive, and this is one of them. The Jets on paper have a top ten roster in the league, but it’s hard to trust a franchise that always seems to be one of the most incompetent in the league. Adam Gase underwhelmed as head coach in Miami leading them to a 6-10 and 7-9 record his last two years.

Gase never was able to develop Ryan Tannehill into the franchise QB the Dolphins imagined he’d be. The Dolphins over the past 3 years have ranked amongst the worst when it comes to offense. Clearly, Gase has been a below-average head coach. For this prediction to be wrong Adam Gase needs to learn from his previous mistakes in Miami and correct them, or else he’ll be a colossal failure in New York.

Brooklyn Nets: Defending D’Angelo Russell

Brooklyn Nets, D'Angelo Russell

Ric Bucher was on Colin Cowherd’s show, the Herd, a few weeks ago and he had some choice words concerning former Brooklyn Nets point guard, D’Angelo Russell.

In this clip, Bucher makes one outlandish statement after another. Honestly, I couldn’t believe some of the things I was hearing. Ric Bucher called D’Angelo Russell “a me guy”, a younger Nick Young, and said Russell can’t fit in with what the Golden State Warriors like doing.

Let’s address these one by one shall we?

Nick Younger?
It seems no matter what, people refuse to let D’Angelo Russell grow passed the debacle he had early in his career with Nick Young. For those unfamiliar, during his rookie year, Russell recorded what should’ve been a private conversation with fellow teammate, Young.

The conversation revealed that Young was being unfaithful to Iggy Azalea, who was Young’s partner at the time. Admittedly this was a dumb move, but Russell is a very different person today. Russell, shy of one situation, has been a model citizen since his arrival in Brooklyn.

He’s worked hard, he’s been a leader, he’s led by example. Sean Marks and the Nets organization could hardly ask for more out of their former player. As far as personalities and behaviors go, since coming to Brooklyn, Russell and Young couldn’t be further apart.

Nick Young is a vibrant fun personality, but for his career, he was the class clown. He never quite knew when to take things seriously. Russell displayed a fun natured attitude, but in the right place and right time. That side of him usually showed while he celebrated his team on the bench or during the waterboarding of post-game wins. No shot at Nick Young whatsoever, but the culture in Brooklyn is built to withstand a character like Young, not built with or by said character.

D’Lo a Fit For Golden State?

How can someone look at D’Angelo Russell’s game and not think he was perfectly crafted for playing in the Warriors’ system. Let’s start with the fact that Russell had career-best shooting splits. He hit roughly 37% from distance.

On a team like that, where the 3 has really been their thing, you would be hard-pressed to find a shooter that wouldn’t fit that team.
With Russell, the Golden State Warriors get a great shooter from the mid-range. I know with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the world automatically think this team is all threes. What you may not know is that the Warriors have shot more and more mid-range shots.

D’Angelo actually has a mid-range game and he pulls it out often. With the opposition worried about Russell’s 3 ball, he is often able to pump fake or breakdown a defender. This leaves him for many mid-range jumpers for the taken. And he feels comfortable shooting them, even with some being more contested than the others.

Breaking down the defense has an added effect. It puts stress on the defense. Its puts D’Angelo Russell in position to use his vision and playmaking, both of which are things he’s known for doing more than well. Breaking down the defense gets shooters open and Russell has the size, vision, and playmaking ability to distribute the ball to teammates on time. He’ll be a good replacement for the team losing some playmaking in Andre Iguodala and probably Shaun Livingston. That, by the way, is another big difference between Swaggy P and D’Lo. Russell is a much more willing to distribute the ball.

Me’Lo

And that brings me to my next point, Ric Bucher called Russell a “Me Guy”. Now I’m not sure if Ric Bucher has a source that tells him Russell is a totally different person behind closed doors, but Russell is anything but a me guy. He loves playmaking for teammates.

After post-game-winning waterboarding, Russell would always give teammates credit. Russell always thanked Coach Kenny Atkinson and the developmental coaching staff. He never lets the veterans become forgotten in the wake of his success. When the Brooklyn Nets clinched a playoff spot and we beat the Miami Heat towards the end of the season, D’Angelo did not allow too much time be spent on him and his team. He immediately changed the topic to the newly retired NBA legend, Dwayne Wade.

Early in the season when Russell would get benched for mistakes, he never showed signs up frustration or attitude for losing time to teammates. You can’t build a foundation and a culture such as the one the Brooklyn Nets has built over the years with a “Me Guy” as a leader. It’s built to be able to absorb guys like that without hitches, not to use guys like that as the first brick being laid.

It really seems like the NBA and its media won’t give D’Angelo Russell his just dues outside of Brooklyn. Slightly before, during, and after the Warriors acquired Russell, he was already in trade rumors.

Now we have Ric Bucher’s unchallenged opinion that he’s completely entitled to. But Russell has grown too much as a player and a man for people to downplay or ignore that growth. And just because he is no longer a member of the Brooklyn Nets, doesn’t mean I should turn an eye to him if someone is doing him a disservice. D’Angelo Russell has a lot to do with the Nets having the off-season they did this year. D’Lo will always have a home here.

New York Jets offensive line can finally come together in 2019

New York Jets, Kelvin Beachum

The New York Jets are banking on their offensive line to take a big step in 2019, but can they?

The New York Jets made it a priority to bolster the offensive line this offseason, bringing in Kelechi Osemele. They will also see the return of Brandon Shell from injury and will have Brian Winters featuring once again at right tackle.

Last season, however, the Jets spent the fifth-most on offensive linemen in the NFL. Unfortunately, their money didn’t live up to the expectation set out for the players.

A starting unit of Kelvin Beachum, James Carpenter, Spencer Long, Brian Winters, and Brandon Shell was decimated with injuries and inefficiency. Brent Zvale, Jonotthan Harrison, and Dakota Dozier all received playing time to compensate for injuries.

The unit finished the season ranking 25th in the league, which ost anticipated at the beginning of the season. The signing of past-their-prime players hurt salary cap, and a subpar running back featuring behind them didn’t help pick up the slack. The signing of Le’Veon Bell should help hide their deficiencies to a degree.

His ability to come out of the backfield in a receiver role will force opposing defenses to fall back into coverage and not blitz as much. Run blocking was where the unit really struggled, but they finished 2018 with the 14th highest rating in pass-blocking efficiency.

Averaging just 4 yards per carry, ranking the Jets 29th in the league, severely hurt the offense’s production. Two significant moves this offseason changed the entire makeup of the unit — signing former Pro Bowler Kelechi Osemele, will help bolster the line in the trenches.

The Jets acquired Osemele on a steal but will pick up his massive $11.7 million per year cap hit. GM Mike Maccagnan sent a 5th round pick in exchange for a 6th round pick and Osemele. Additionally, Maccagnan cut Spencer Long, the oft-injured center. They will put their faith and hope in Harrison, the five-year veteran going on his sixth season in the NFL.

Jonotthon hasn’t started more than 10 games in his entire career, but given he can stay healthy, there’s no question he will be the consistent starter in 2019.

Aside from their veteran talent, the Jets did spend one of their third-round picks on USC tackle Chuma Edoga, a player with promise and production at the collegiate level. He’s far from being a polished product, but a year of development should pay dividends.

New York Mets: Can Robinson Cano Turn His Season Around?

New York Mets, Robinson Cano

In his return to New York, Robinson Cano has certainly been a disappointment in his first season with the New York Mets. He has hit .245 with only six home runs and 22 RBIs.

The Mets shipped out a lot in the trade which also netted them Edwin Diaz and cash. The Seattle Mariners received Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, Gerson Bautista, Justin Dunn, and top prospect Jared Kelenic.

What happened to Robby?

Cano has certainly disappointed during his short time in blue and orange, but as long as the Mets can turn around their season, he can turn around his.

Since the All-Star break, Cano has gone 6-for-19 and looks more confident now as well. Manager Mickey Callaway has continued to show confidence in Cano by never batting him below fifth in the order, no matter how bad Cano was slumping.

After pulling off a two-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins, the Mets have won four in a row. If the Mets want any chance at a postseason birth this year Cano has to be the one to lead the way.

Cano’s Revival?

He is a sleeping giant and once he gets going he will play like an MVP again. Cano has hall of fame numbers and wants nothing more than to play on a winning team again. Just like Adrian Beltre, I do not think his age has any effect on his production.

Even though it may not have seemed like it, this season-long slump took a huge toll on Cano. When someone has been great for as long as he had and all of a sudden hits a wall, it seems like you are trapped.

Outside of his decisions to avoid running out of the box, he has handled this the best way he could. Mets fans embraced Cano when he came here and they want nothing more than to see him play at the level he did as a Yankee.

Cano is not alone here, Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz are also trying to turn around their seasons. If all three of them return to form, the Mets could be a very dangerous team to finish the season.

Do the New York Knicks plan to start RJ Barrett right off the bat?

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett

With the signing of multiple starting-caliber free agents, the New York Knicks might have created more questions than answers. Drafting RJ Barrett with the 3rd overall pick should guarantee him a starting spot on the team, but after an inconsistent Summer League debut, it’s possible head coach David Fizdale elects to rotate him in off the bench.

Barrett, a natural forward, can play multiple positions, but bringing in Marcus Morris, Julius Randle, and already having Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, and Dennis Smith Jr. makes starting Barrett a questionable decision.

It ultimately comes down to the game-plan for the Knicks. Do they want to refine their youth or compete to win more than 17 games in 2019-20?

To start the Summer League, Barrett scored just 18 points in his first two games on sub-23 percent shooting from the field. In other words, he was atrocious, but these numbers and opinions should be taken with a grain of salt. Over the next three games, he scored a combined 59 points on 19-for-44 shooting. His efficiency skyrocketed and his quality was on display, but was it enough to convince the coaching staff that he’s capable of holding his own in an NBA-level game?

At this point in time, Barret might be the Knicks’ best isolation scorer, but he severely lacks a perimeter shot, something he will need to develop in his rookie season. RJ averaged six three-point attempts per game with Duke last year, hit on 30.8 percent. As an off-ball player, this statistic is worrisome.

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Again, there’s plenty of time for the 19-year-old to refine his game and add to his repertoire — playing time is essential, though, I can’t imagine the Knicks not starting him in a regular role and expediting his progress. There’s no need to pull an Eli Manning and Daniel Jones scenario when the Knicks aren’t an expected playoff contender anyway.

They need to be focusing on their youth and extracting as much value as possible. I expect Barrett to play an influential role early and often to start the season.