New York Giants: Did Kyle Lauletta Save His Job Against Patriots?

Kyle Lauletta had some good looking moments in the final preseason game for the New York Giants – the quarterback found himself on the outside looking in with the quarterback rotation after the team made the decision to draft Daniel Jones at number six overall, only a year after they took Lauletta as a mid round pick in 2018, but hasn’t been eliminated completely from the hunt for a roster spot even with Jones and Alex Tanney looking like the team’s preferred options for their backup positions this year.

How does this most recent preseason game, the final one of the season, affect things for Lauletta?

Well, considering the extended playing time that the fourth stringer received compared to Alex Tanney and Daniel Jones, with Eli Manning not playing at all in this game, there’s a few options.

The first is that the Giants are interested in giving Lauletta another shot even after a first season which was thoroughly unimpressive, with Lauletta getting into trouble for dangerous driving off the field and not completing a single pass when given some playing time in the regular season during the late part of a blowout game.

But with the team placing Tanney and Jones higher in the rotation, it doesn’t seem that’s the most likely option. Keeping four quarterbacks on the team isn’t sustainable. One of them is going to leave, and it’s not going to be Manning or Jones, leaving Tanney and Lauletta as possible trades or cuts.

The alternative explanation is that the team is looking to shop Lauletta to other teams for a trade – there were plenty of talks about a trade earlier in the year but the Giants never found a partner and such a deal never happened. Could the good throws, extended playing time, and game winning touchdown against the Patriots change that up?

Maybe. Lauletta doesn’t have a good track record this year. But while it’s impossible to give a final verdict at this point, it’s safe to say that the preseason performance might be enough to keep the player in the league, especially as Lauletta is only in his second year and has room to grow.

Will that come in the form of a trade, though? The answer isn’t a definitive one – it seems unlikely, but with the Giants still seemingly shopping the player, only time can tell.

Brooklyn Nets could look to Carmelo Anthony for farewell tour

New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony

Should the Brooklyn Nets consider signing Carmelo Anthony?

The last few years have seen Carmelo Anthony’s playing time decrease. They’ve seen him bounced around the league via trades and also cut unexpectedly. He’s been forced to play the bench as he’s watched players with far inferior resumes get signed or be invited for workouts.

Even players with as much baggage as Dwight Howard have gotten a shot at an NBA life yet again. Reading this you’d think Carmelo’s career was all, but over right?

That’s the thing, it is all BUT over. Stay Melo, he still has life. As the former NBA star readies to scrimmage with his former team in Manhattan, news broke of a hefty Wilson Chandler suspension. With the knowledge that Chandler was violating league policy by way of PEDs, the NBA hit Chandler with 25 games. That’s more than 25% of the season that he’d be MIA for. It does not help Chandler’s case that he went on to lie (or what looks a lot like a lie) about the situation.

Now I don’t know the stipulations within his recently signed contract, but that could be the key to Melo’s shot at being on an NBA team.

If the contract allows for cutting ties without paying all or any money for violations such as this one, Sean Marks and the Nets may decide to look into that. This organization has worked extremely hard to create a certain culture and atmosphere that could be in jeopardy if they let this slide. For appearance sake, the Nets may cut Chandler anyway, leaving the door open for the team to search for another SF/PF. And that would be of course where Melo comes in. It doesn’t hurt that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are pushing to have Carmelo Anthony added to the roster (per Frank Isola).  The Saga continues.

New York Giants: Players On The Roster Bubble To Watch Against The Patriots

The New York Giants are heading into their final preseason game. They will face off against the New England Patriots on the road tonight at 7:30 p.m. All NFL teams must make their final roster cuts by Saturday, so the final preseason game is crucial for those players on the roster bubble.

The Giants have plenty of talented players on the bubble this year. The team has a lot of depth which should leave the front office with multiple tough decisions. Here are three players on the bubble to watch in the Giants’ final preseason game:

Alex Tanney/Kyle Lauletta

The Giants’ real quarterback competition is behind Eli Manning and Daniel Jones. Eli is the starter in 2019 and Daniel Jones will be backing him up for the foreseeable future. But the real question is whether or not the Giants will keep three quarterbacks on the roster.

Some fans argue that this would be unncessecary. Eli Manning has never missed a game due to injury in his 15 seasons of football and Daniel Jones is a first-round talent that looks ready to play if he must. The Giants might choose to keep a third quarterback for added security, but they might not need to.

If they do keep a third quarterback, there is a competition for that spot between Alex Tanney and Kyle Lauletta. Tanney is a veteran quarterback who could provide some added leadership for Daniel Jones in the future. But Lauletta was the Giants’ fourth round pick last year and has potential to serve as a long-term backup.

Both quarterbacks have looked good throughout preseason, but this battle is not yet won. The competition has been close, but should be decided in tonight’s preseason game.

Rod Smith/Paul Perkins

Saquon Barkley is arguably the best running back in the NFL. His job is secured and so is Wayne Gallman’s backup position. But like the quarterback competition, the real battle is for third-string.

Paul Perkins was the forgotten man in the Giants backfield heading into the offseason. But, after a strong training camp, Perkins has started jogging people’s memory. Perkins had a shaky start to preseason against the Jets, fumbling the ball away in that game.

But in week two, Perkins responded with 6 carries for 35 yards against the Bears. Perkins is the favorite to make the team due to seniority, but he has received some competition from Rod Smith.

Smith was signed to the Giants during the offseason. He had a solid 10 carry, 42 yard game against the Bears in the second week of preseason, but like Perkins, had a lackluster week three. The two will battle it out tonight against the Patriots and the better performer will most likely be the running back that stays with the Giants.

New York Knicks: Mitchell Robinson has two mentors ready to help him

New York Knicks, Mitchell Robinson

The New York Knicks strategized around the youth already present on the roster before diving into the free agency market in an attempt to lure big-name players to Madison Square Garden.

Missing out on both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving left them with a boat-load of cash and not many high-profile options to pursue, so finding players to compliment their youth was the next best thing.

Center Mitchell Robinson is primed to be one of the key contributors for the Knicks, and his auspicious rookie season further proves his worth as a second-round selection from last year’s 2018 NBA draft. Moving forward, though, he has plenty to work on and skills to refine in his sophomore campaign.

Who did the New York Knicks add to help the young center?

Two veterans were brought in to not only help the team succeed with leadership and production but also to help Robinson develop as a player.

Those two players are Julius Randle, who has spent time at the center position, and Taj Gibson, an aging veteran with the knowledge and skill-set to provide Mitchell with the necessary tools to grow.

Gibson seems to be up to the task in regards to helping Robinson:

“That’s the thing I plan on doing,” Gibson recently said of his Knicks counterpart in Robinson, via The New York Post. “I’ll try to make him better and challenge him in practice. It was tough to get a shot over him. He’s a crazy shot-blocker. My job is to be a veteran, go in and challenge the guys every day and make my teammates better, help change the culture and push forward a winning mentality.’’

Randle, who has already begun rallying the troops and activating his leadership qualities, has ensured the fans that he will give everything he has for the city of New York.

“I’m just going to bring it every night, man,” he said in an interview with Ian Begley of SNY. “I’m not going to promise stats, I’m not gonna promise anything. Just bring it every night and do everything I can to help my team win. And I’m going to get better as a player. You’re never going to have to question my commitment, my effort. You’re never going to have to question where my heart is. It’s for this team, it’s for this city, and that’s what it’s about.”

Having two players like Julius and Taj to set the example for Robinson is essential, and he will ultimately reap the benefits of their experience. We should expect to see the Knicks’ rising center to elevate his game during the 2019-20 season and begin to alleviate some of the deficiencies that plagued him last year — foul trouble, floor movement, etc.

New York Mets: Shell Shocked in 10-7 Loss

New York Mets, Noah Syndergaard

Wednesday night’s game against the Chicago Cubs had the makings the Mets ending their four game losing streak…until the game actually started. They had one of their aces on the mound against Kyle Hendricks, who has been notoriously bad on the road this season. The game even started with a Noah Syndergaard strikeout, but after that it all went down hill for Thor and the Mets.

Syndergaard’s Demise

After the strikeout, things started to break in the Cubs direction. Nicholas Castellanos was drilled in the hand and Kris Bryant followed with a single. Javy Baez weakly hit a broken bat ground ball to Amed Rosario and he tried to make a quick throw to Joe Panik at second, but threw the ball into right field to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Instead of simply trying to get the force at second Rosario tried to rush a double play, which would not have been completed due to the speed of Baez.

From there the flood gates opened for the Cubs as they put up a six spot against Syndergaard in the first inning. It ended his streak of eight straight quality starts. The Mets answered back with a run in the bottom of the first, but they seemed lifeless through first three innings of the game. Two-run home runs from Kyle Schwarber in the second and Castellanos in the third gave the Cubs a commanding 10-1 lead.

The Bullpen/Bats Attempt at a Comeback

Paul Seward and Brad Brach gave the Mets four shutout innings out of the bullpen to keep the Mets small hopes of coming back alive. The Mets put up five in the fifth to knock out Hendricks and make it a 10-6 game. After Brach pitched a one, two, three top of the sixth inning it felt like the Mets were going to complete their comeback in the bottom half.

Todd Frazier and Jeff McNeil both hit singles to start the bottom of the sixth and put the tying run on deck for J.D. Davis. Davis had a favorable matchup against a lefty and homered earlier in the game. He grounded into a double play which seemed to suck all the energy out of the building. Davis smoked the ball but Baez did not have to move to complete the double play. Michael Conforto had a chance to boost the energy with two outs but grounded out to strand Frazier at third base.

The Mets narrowed the deficit to 10-7 heading into the ninth and set the stage for a comeback against Craig Kimbrel. Wilson Ramos ambushed Kimbrel with a leadoff single and Rajai Davis brought the tying run to the plate with a walk. Rosario was due up, but for some reason it felt like the comeback was not really going to happen throughout. Almost as if it was fake energy resonating from the fans and the players who were drained from even getting this close to tying the game. Kimbrel settled down to retired Rosario, Lagares and Frazier in order to push the Mets four games out of the second wild card spot.

Where are the Positives?

First, the Mets bullpen did a terrific job of giving their offense a fighting chance. The threw six shutout innings and Edwin Diaz looked like the closer who had 57 games last year. He struck out the side in the eighth inning and showed there were no ill effects to his trap injury. Everything with Diaz needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but the outing was thee best he looked since April.

In almost any other situation the headline would read, “Cubs put the nail in the Met coffin,” but there is only one reason to think they Mets still have a chance to comeback. This reason goes by the name of Jacob deGrom. He has been their steady ace for the last two season and they will depend on him to stop their losing streak. Should the Mets lose you can close the chapter on the unfinished comeback this year. If they win, they will be three games out with 29 games out of the second wild card spot, which is very capable of coming back from. The Mets have shown their ability to dig out of holes the entire second half and need one last push to get themselves back on track.

New York Knicks have ‘interest’ Hasheem Thabeet

Reports came out yesterday, Hasheem Thabeet, 32, has been participating in ‘informal scrimmages’ with the New York Knicks.  Thabeet is suppose to be with the team for few days, per SNY.

The 2009 number two pick last played in the NBA in 2014 with the Oklahoma City Thunder.  Thabeet never made it in the NBA after playing at the University of Connecticut.  He spent most of his time in the then D-League.

His career NBA stats consist of 224 games played, 10.5 minutes per, .567 field goal %, 2.2 ppg and 2.7 rebounds per.

The Knicks currently have 19 on their roster for the 20-man training camp.  Could Thabeet fill the final spot?  However, the Milwaukee Bucks also have ‘interest’.

Just for fun, some believe that the Knicks have already signed Thabeet.  He is seen, back left, with the team in their “Family Lunch” on social media.

Even though it is just a training camp spot, signing Thabeet has its pros and cons.

PROS

Thabeet averaged 4.2 blocks in three seasons at UConn.  He would help the Knicks newest blocking phenom, Mitchell Robinson.  Thabeet is three inches taller than Robinson, but he can provide insight to the development of Robinson.  Robinson is already fantastic at blocking, but more knowledge and experience never hurt.

The Knicks only have three centers, Robinson, Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson.  The team does need another big.  So they can kill two birds with one stone.  He would be there primarily for Robinson’s benefit.  And if it works, maybe they would keep him around in the G-League.

CONS

Thabeet is 32 and has been out of the league for 5 years.  The Knicks cannot expect them to get valuable playing time out of him.  He is would taking up space until Reggie Bullock returns from back surgery.  The spot could be for a possible prospect, but agree-to-disagree.

Thabeet’s services would be centered around helping the progression of Robinson, as they it should be.

The 2019-20 New York Knicks Playoff Hope Falls On The Shoulders of Dennis Smith Jr.

New York Knicks, Dennis Smith Jr.

Dennis Smith Jr has the opportunity to become the reason the New York Knicks make the playoffs next season. The electric high flying New York Knick point guard has been showing off his newly improved jump-shot during various pickup games this offseason.

During the 2019 NBA Summer League this past July, Dennis Smith Jr sought out help from NBA veteran and fierce competitor Chris Paul. Smith made sure to pick Paul’s brain on leadership as they worked out together.

If DSJ continues building his game both mentally and physically, the Knicks would benefit tremendously. Plus, throw in the growing chemistry and connection between Dennis Smith Jr. and Mitchell Robinson, they’ll most likely begin looking like a younger version of Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler from their New Orlean Hornets days. Dennis Smith Jr.’s improved shotmaking ability will do nothing but help the pick and roll game between himself and Mitchell Robinson. A superb pick and roll two man game between those two will open up the court for shooters and make the game easier offensively, lessening scoring droughts. This style definitely takes the pressure off the shooters on the wing and the corner.

Today’s NBA is about proper spacing and being able to provide shooting for the most part. Smith has the chance to be a nightmare for opposing point guards once the jump-shot becomes consistent on a nightly basis. There’s definitely a chance Knicks coach David Fizdale may use DSJ similar to how the Utah Jazz use Donovan Mitchell offensively. Utah starts Rubio at point guard and Donovan Mitchell at shooting guard. If Smith’s shot improves dramatically don’t be surprised if Elfrid Payton starts at point guard and DSJ starts at shooting guard during the preseason. It’s all predicated on Dennis Smith Jr.’s jump-shot. We will find out if the improvements are real or not once the 2019-20 NBA season begins.

New York Yankees Weekly Recap + Yankee Player of the Week for 8/19-8/25

New York Yankees, James Paxton

Weekly Recap:

After going 6-2 the week before, the New York Yankees started the past week on an unsatisfactory note. Starting their last west coast trip of 2019, the Yankees were swept in three games by the A’s in Oakland. Oakland Coliseum has been the Yankees’ house of horrors in recent years, as evidenced by their 7-21 record in their last 28 games at the Coliseum. The offense was quiet in situations where they typically shined this year and were outdueled on the mound.

Riding a four-game losing streak, the Yankees then headed to Los Angeles, where they would begin a Players Weekend series against the Dodgers. In a battle between the best teams in baseball, a potential World Series preview, the Yankees would leave Chavez Ravine winning two of three.

Overall, they finished the week 2-4, but their series win in LA sent a huge statement. The two games they won came at the expense of the Dodgers’ two aces, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Clayton Kershaw. Their starting pitching was at its finest in all three games. James Paxton and Domingo German both dominated in their starts, while C.C. Sabathia was solid despite only pitching four innings. Finally, in a matchup of two great offenses, the Yankees outscored the defending N.L. Champs 16-5 in three games.

This comes as the calendar is about to turn to September for the stretch run. Riding a nine-game lead over Tampa Bay entering Monday, it would take a near-total collapse for the Yankees to not lock up their first division title since 2012.

El Kraken hits 100th career dinger:

Catcher Gary Sanchez wrote his name into some more history books Friday night in LA. In the third inning, Sanchez hit a home run off Dodgers southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu, the 100th of his young career. With that long ball, Sanchez not only became the fastest catcher to 100 home runs but also the second-fastest all-time by games played, accomplishing the feat in his 355th career game. Only former Phillies slugger Ryan Howard did it faster, at 325 games.

Sanchez continues to make a strong case for A.L. Comeback Player of the Year. In 91 games played entering Monday, Sanchez is batting .233/.306/.519/.825 with 29 home runs and 67 RBI.

Aaron Judge Heating Up:

After suffering a left oblique strain on April 20, an injury that kept him out for two whole months, slugger Aaron Judge seemed to concern many fans. Coming into the week, Judge had hit 12 home runs, none of which going to left field. This led many to believe that the oblique is still an issue, and may require time in the offseason to heal fully.

The 27-year-old put those fears to rest this past week. In the first game of the Oakland series, Judge hit a home run that went an estimated 467 feet. Not only was this home run crushed, but it was also to deep left field, the first dinger he pulled all year. That one blast, his only hit of the series, was one of few bright spots in an otherwise putrid series.

The blast turned out to be no fluke when the Yankees took on the Dodgers next. Judge ended up with a home run in every game of the series, a sign that the slugger is starting to heat up.

Empire Sports Media’s Yankee Players of the Week:

Aaron Judge:

6 games, 8-25 (.320), 4 HR, 5 RBI, 5 Runs Scored, 1.186 OPS

James Paxton:

Vs. Dodgers (8/23): W, 6.2 Innings, 5 Hits, 2 ER, 11 SO

All Rise for the honorable first-ever two-time Players of the Week, the Judge and the Big Maple!

As stated earlier, Judge is starting to heat up, pulling home runs with more regularity, including a 467-foot bomb in Oakland. In LA, he hit home runs in every game of the series, including ones off Hyun-Jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw.

James Paxton was also huge in his start against the Dodgers, opposing Ryu. He lifted the bombers on the mount with 6.2 strong innings, striking out 11. This includes striking out N.L. MVP frontrunner Cody Bellinger three times. More importantly, he lifted the team’s spirits with his performance after the Yankees were swept in Oakland. With the win, Paxton has now won his last five decisions and is 5-0 with a 3.56 ERA in August.

Honorable Mentions (In no order):

Didi Gregorius:

6 games, 6-21 (.286), 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1.014 OPS

Gleyber Torres:

6 games, 9-23 (.391), 3 HR, 3 RBI, 1.266 OPS

Mike Ford:

5 games, 6-12 (.500), 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1.083 SLG %

The New York Knicks Have the Most Athletic Starting Five in the NBA

New York Knicks, Dennis Smith Jr.

The New York Knicks are looking young, exciting and athletic. Once training camp and preseason are over, the Knicks starting lineup could be in place. The starting lineup might consist of Dennis Smith Jr., RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Julius Randle, and defensive terrorizer Mitchell Robinson. Understandably so, New York Knicks’ head coach David Fizdale most likely will use the Knicks ultra athleticism and depth to their advantage by pushing the pace offensively and by playing stifling, aggressive, physical in your face defense for an entire 48 minutes. Will this translate to wins? We shall see.

Dennis Smith Jr. is definitely a top 5 athletic point guard in the NBA. The 6’3″ 195lbs. rim attacking and impressive above the rim style definitely sells tickets. However, Dennis Smith Jr. also has an extra gear when spearheading a New York Knicks fast break. He is a blur in transition making it difficult for opposing defenses trying to recover.

RJ Barrett showed how he decimates defenses in transition using his strength and athleticism during his lone season at Duke under Mike Krzyzewski. RJ Barrett also plays above the rim in space which makes him deadly in transition whether he has the ball or not. The 6’7″ 215lbs. Canadian star can definitely get from baseline to baseline in a hurry. Barrett’s mix of unselfishness, athleticism, strength, agility, and speed makes him very dangerous in transition for oppositions scrambling to get back on defense.

Kevin Knox was told by long-time Knicks great Bernard King to work on running the floor and use his long strides to his advantage. The 6’9″ 215lbs. small forward has a 7’0″ wingspan which definitely helps defensively. Kevin Knox II can play above the rim in space, however, his style is much more about finesse than it is about bullying defenders and posterizing them. Ben Simmons poster was definitely an exception! Knox’s athleticism will be crucial if used right on defense. Offensively, the former Kentucky Wildcat has a chance to use his length, added offseason strength, footwork, and long strides to attack the rim and devastate his opponent by getting them in foul trouble plus getting to the free-throw line for strong and-one finishes. Knox still needs strength and it will take time.

Julius Randle, another former Kentucky Wildcat, has improved year after year. It says a lot when you are somewhat compared to Zion Williamson. The 6’9″ 250lbs. of destruction is ready to bully defenders all season long. This guy is taking no prisoners! Randle’s athleticism at the power forward position is definitely welcomed by Fizdale, the Knicks, and the fans. Randle is unselfish with very good handle for a power forward. He also has great baseline to baseline speed making him a deadly force in transition along with his strong finishing ability. Randle can finish above the rim and grab rebounds whether it’s on offense or defense. Julius Randle uses his athleticism in many ways. He can go around, over, or through his defender almost at any given moment! The Starting New York Knicks power forward also uses his athleticism on defense to get steals by jumping the passing lane.

Mitchell Robinson might be the most athletically gifted in this entire group. Mitchell Robinson might be as athletic as a young Amare Stoudemire that plays defense! We’re talking about “head above the rim athleticism” when catching a lob or attempting to terrorize his opponent with another MSG crowd-pleasing chase-down block. This rim runner’s length makes him very dangerous defensively and in transition. The 7’1″ tall 7’4″ wingspan phenom dominates the offensive glass very well with greatly timed tip dunks or tip outs for his teammates. The man has a jump-shot! Will he unleash it this season? We shall definitely wait and see!