Report: Did the Knicks make the right decision drafting RJ Barrett?

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett

With the NBA postponing the remainder of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Knicks have been given the gift of conservation. Rather, being put out of their misery during another tumultuous season.

The knicks did see some positives this past year as rookie RJ Barrett displayed his potential in The Garden and in front of former Knicks fan, Spike Lee (joking).

If the season does end early, Barrett will have finished with a solid stat line in his rookie year — 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.0 steal per game. Both Zion Williamson and Ja Morant have been impressive, providing highlight real plays daily.

“Everyone is going to talk about Ja (Morant) and Zion (Williamson), for obvious reasons,” one Western Conference executive said, per Ian Begley of SNY. “But I like RJ a lot. I think he can have a long, successful career in this league if he stays healthy.”

The pleasures of youth bless Barrett and his team, as he boasted confidence beyond the likes of many. His desire to simply play the beautiful game and reach his potential has put him in a spot of leverage, whereas players like Julius Randle have been selfish on the court and failed to make an impact.

Western Conference executive: “We all talk about his shot, but I think that will come because, by all accounts, he’s a worker. What I liked about RJ this season was how comfortable he was on the floor. He didn’t seem to be overwhelmed by anything on the court – and that’s big, especially in a market like New York. Teams started to play his left hand a lot — so he’s got to work on going right — but he was still effective going left even though teams had that scouted. He still got to the rim. But he also seemed to get tunnel vision at times — not passing enough for my taste. Maybe that had more to do with the guys he shared the floor with? Whatever it was, I think his passing will improve with time. He’s showed that he can distribute the ball and has strong vision. So I think there’s a lot to build on.”

Barrett isn’t the most refine long-range shooter, but he’s competent in getting to the rim and drawing fouls. Hopefully, he can continue to build on the success he’s already enjoyed and develop is shot to an adequate level. He hit on 32% of three-point shots this season before operations shut down. The league average hovers in the 36% range, which isn’t too far off from where Barrett lies. He has plenty of time to refine that part of his game.

Mets ask fans to hold onto their tickets for now

During this Coronavirus crisis, Major League Baseball is heeding the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and has delayed the beginning of the regular season by at lest eight weeks. That means the sooner the season will open will be in early June.

When opening day is finally set and schedule is decided upon, fans and season ticket holders will be left with tickets of games that were canceled earlier in the season.

So, what do fans and season ticket holders do with those tickets? The Mets had this to say in their release to the fans earlier this week ICYMI…

When updated official information becomes available, we will communicate it through a variety of channels, including Twitter (@Mets) and on our website at mets.com.

 

*We ask that everyone keep their tickets for all home games as Major League Baseball and the Mets continue to evaluate events leading up to the start of the season.

Thus far, there’s no definitive refund or reuse policy on tickets. The logistical thing to do would be for the Mets to offer a season pass and partial package holders an account credit for the games missed. Most loyal fans would opt for that rather than a refund for those games, but in these uncertain times where money is tight, many might simply want funds in hand right now.

Of course, that is if they decide to pick up with the schedule that is already set. There is also the possibility a new schedule could be drawn up. Either way, don’t toss your tickets until the announcement is made.

 

 

New York Giants: How To Address The Remaining Positions Of Need

New York Giants, John Mara, Dave Gettleman

The New York Giants seem to be done spending money in free agency. New York saw its large sum of cap space quickly dwindle down in a few short days. The Giants spent big at the cornerback and linebacker position, while also adding some quality depth pieces on affordable contracts.

The Giants spent millions of dollars but they did not fill every position of need. With this 4-12 roster, that would have been a near-impossible task. Of course, free agency is no the only way to add new players to an NFL roster. The NFL Draft will take place in April (though in a new format) and the Giants hold the fourth overall pick. New York has ten draft picks to spend in 2020, and they will need to make them count in order to turn this team around.

But still, it is unlikely the Giants fill all positions of need in the NFL Draft. The Giants have a long list of needs, some in critical positions, too.

The Giants’ Biggest Positions Of Need:

The New York Giants’ biggest positions of need come at the crucial offensive tackle spot and edge rusher positions. Day by day, it seems more and more likely that Markus Golden will not be returning to the Giants. This will leave the Giants, once again, lacking an impact pass-rusher.

On the opposite side of the ball, the Giants’ current offensive tackles are Nate Solder and Cameron Fleming. It is highly possible that, after the draft, the Giants will have a rookie starting opposite of Nate Solder.

How To Address EDGE and OT:

Edge Rushers and Pass-Rush:

The Giants have a variety of ways that they can address the edge rusher position defensive pass-rush as a whole. Obviously, if Chase Young somehow falls to the fourth overall pick, the Giants should have the pick handed in within ten seconds. But that is an unlikely scenario.

There is still time for the Gmen to re-sign Markus Golden. It seems unlikely at this point, but the longer the twenty-nine-year-old sits on the open market, the more his price will come down. Hopefully, the two parties can reach an affordable agreement that also satisfies Golden. But, if they cannot, the Giants will likely not have money to spend on any other edge rushers. So, to address the position, the Giants will have to get creative.

The 2020 New York Giants will need to create pressure through their defensive scheme. New defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will have to dig deep into his bag of tricks and scheme up the pressure in his multiple defensive scheme. Recently signed pass-rusher Kyler Fackrell will be thrown into the mix along with young pass-rushers Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter. The three of them will need to be assigned to play to their strengths and find ways to get easy lanes to the quarterback without relying too much on pure talent.

Offensive Tackle:

The Giants need to draft an offensive tackle early in the 2020 NFL Draft. If not with a first-round pick, the Giants have to draft an offensive tackle by the second round. It is a rich draft class filled with talented offensive tackles, including four first-round prospects. Andrew Thomas, Jedrick Wills, Mekhi Becton, and Tristan Wirfs will all be options for the Giants at fourth overall.

In 2018, the Giants had holes all over their offensive line. They did not address that huge position of need in the first round, opting to select superstar running back Saquon Barkley second overall instead. Fortunately, the 2018 draft class was loaded with offensive line talent and a first-round prospect slipped into the second round. The Giants drafted Will Hernandez in the second round and he has efficiently been the team’s starting left guard ever since. Hopefully, New York can find a gem of a hog molly in round two once again if they decide to address the defense in round one.

MLB: Spring Training In The North?

New York Yankees

About a week ago, the CDC recommended that there be no large gatherings for at least eight weeks, pushing the estimated start of the MLB season to mid-May. But, there’s realistically no way the season gets going until Summer.

Come mid-May, if it’s safe, players and staff will return to camp to begin training again. Teams would need to play games, and by May, the weather is a huge factor in Florida. Teams would have to train early or late in the day, with games starting mid to late morning to finish before the daily thunderstorm. May begins the rainy season in Florida.

And for teams in Arizona, the heat could become unbearable. It’s bad enough in the late winter, but by May, temperatures frequently hit 100 degrees.

Could it be a possibility that teams resume Spring Training up north?

There are plenty of minor league stadiums and complexes in the Northeast for East Coast teams to go to, and others out in California for West Coast teams to go to. Now, there might be a bit more travel, but this might have to be an option with the weather in Florida and Arizona.

To accommodate all players, teams may also have to find local fields to conduct their training on. There are hundreds of players in each organization, and each player would need a place to practice and train.

This could potentially be a scheduling and planning nightmare, but it might be the only viable option. They could spend a few weeks up north before breaking for the regular season.

If all goes well, maybe we see baseball in June. My best guess is a 100-110 game season with the regular season ending in early to mid-October.

New York Jets set to add CB Pierre Desir (Report)

New York Jets, Pierre Desir

The New York Jets added the former Indianapolis Colts defender on a one-year deal, per Connor Hughes of The Athletic.

It was anything but a quiet weekend for the New York Jets.

The team has apparently crossed off another need off of its offseason checklist, as Connor Hughes of The Athletic has reported that Pierre Desir will join them on a one-year deal.

Desir, 29, is a native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He made a name for himself at Division II Washburn and eventually played his way to a fourth-round selection (127th overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns.

Over the last six seasons, Desir has spent time with the Browns, Chargers, and Seahawks before finding a strong semblance of a home with the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. He would work his way into the starting lineup by the midway mark of his debut year. A strong pair of seasons earned him a three-year deal with the Colts last offseason.

Desir came up big during the Colts 21-7 win over the Houston Texans in the opening game of the 2019 AFC Wild Card playoffs. His primary duties were to cover top Houston target DeAndre Hopkins. He wound up limiting Hopkins to 37 yards on five receptions (ten targets), the longest being a 13-yard catch in the final quarter with the game in relative hand. The Jets are set to face off against Hopkins and his new squad in Arizona later this season.

Over his six seasons, Desir has earned 210 tackles, 34 pass defenses, and five interceptions. He earned a career-best 11 defenses and three interceptions last season. The Colts released Desir earlier this weekend, saving just over $6.8 million in cap space.

The Jets likewise made a move in the secondary to create space. On Saturday, the team confirmed the departure of veteran cornerback Darry Roberts, who spent the past four seasons in a Jets uniform. Such a move earned the Jets $6 million in cap.

Returning to the Jets’ secondary, and slated to work with Desir, will be veteran cornerback Brian Poole, who signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Jets earlier this week.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Yankees: Could this stud youth pitcher get called up in 2020?

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

The New York Yankees have one of the best farm systems in Major League Baseball, and some under-the-radar players made an impact before spring training was abruptly cut short due to the coronavirus.

However, their big-name prospects also displayed their abilities and competed for spots on the active roster. With injuries plaguing the team, there were several opportunities for reserve players to make an impact and earn starting reps. The starting pitching unit lost Luis Severino for the entire 2020 season, and James Paxton will be out until early May. With the regular season delaying its start date at least eight weeks, injured players will likely be ready for the new Opening Day.

Throughout the course of the season, injuries will occur, giving more opportunities to younger players. One starting option is Deivi Garcia, who struggled with consistency during the Grapefruit League play this year.

Where do the New York Yankees need to help refine Garcia?

Garcia’s issues have primarily been his consistency, and those didn’t dissipate this off-season. In his final start this spring, Garcia pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on three hits in a loss to the Marlins. He walked one batter and struck out three, marking 31 strikes over 48 total pitches. Garcia has shown impressive stuff, as he started the game with a one-two-three inning, but then gave up three runs in the next two innings.

Working on his command was the priority this spring, as harnessing the ability of his pitch types allows him to diversify his game plan and confuse hitters more efficiently. Last season, Garcia led the Yankees minor league with 165 strikeouts, and while he has posted impressive strikeout numbers the spring, he was 0-2 in Grapefruit League play and boasted a 7.36 ERA.

As for Garcia eyeing the 5th man in the rotation before operations shut down, manager Aaron Boon stated, according to MLB.com:

“We’ll see,” said Boone. “I have a little idea that is starting to form in my head. That said, I feel like there’s a lot of guys vying for opportunities that have pitched themselves into the mix. I’m still very much open to a lot of different things. That’s why we’re trying to build guys out in a certain way, to give us those options and try to make the best decision.

After Garcia’s tough spring, it’s clear that he needs more time in Scranton Wilkes-Barre to adapt to a higher level of play. The young DR native has all of the potential in the world, but climbing the minor league system in three months didn’t give him much time to adapt.

New York Giants: Who is the ideal offensive lineman to select at 4th overall?

New York Giants, Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills, Andrew Thomas, Mekhi Becton

The New York Giants are heading toward the 2020 NFL Draft with heads of steam after addressing the defense significantly this offseason. Signing James Bradberry and Blake Martinez represent upgrades at the cornerback and linebacker positions, but the offensive tackle position is still lacking talent on both sides.

The Giants, however, could spend the 4th overall pick on a tackle if they elect to forgo the opportunity to land Isaiah Simmons to plug in a playmaker at the second linebacker spot. It will be incredibly difficult to pass on a player like Simmons, who represents one of the best players in the draft and a defensive staple for years to come.

An offensive tackle makes the most sense for the Giants, as they let Mike Remmers walk in free agency and re-signed Cameron Fleming to provide competition at right tackle along with Nick Gates.

Who’s the ideal tackle at 4th overall for the New York Giants?

Reports during the NFL Combine suggested that GM Dave Gettleman highly regarded Tristan Wirfs, and he posted incredible numbers, including a 40-yard dash of 4.85.

His elite body type with incredible athleticism makes him one of the best prospects in the draft. His ability to stand his ground and utilize core strength has been apparent during his time in Iowa, but make no mistake, he’s as smooth of a mover as they come. He won’t be the explosive blocker you see in players like Quenton Nelson, but he will use finesse to get the job done. There’s room for development, but he has the skill-set to be a long-term tackle for the Giants.

Jedrick Wills represents another fantastic option for the Giants early on in the first round. Wills is a bit below the ideal size for a tackle (6-4, 312lbs), but he’s quick and fundamentally sound. His athleticism has allowed him to compensate for lack of size, contributing great agility and body control in the trenches. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein believes he’s ready for the next level: “His game is tailor-made for the NFL, and his range of success is good starter to All-Pro.”

Watching Wills in his pass protection sets, he is by far the most refined in that category. His vision and ability to handle stunts are far beyond the skills of Wirfs, who takes poor angle sets at times with questionable footwork.

One great video to learn about the two:

I believe these are the two best options for the Giants if they spend the 4th overall pick on a tackle. Of course, Mekhi Becton and Andrew Thomas remain reliable options, but Wirfs and Wills represent the most upside of the four.

Extra review:

Becton is incredibly quick for a player of his size (6-7, 364lbs). He fits perfectly into running schemes with his size and power — would benefit Saquon Barkley when running outside the tackles. Pass pro is where he will struggle in the NFL, as he can lack balance at times, but his set-up is better in pass pro than expected for a man of his size. Zierlein believes his size usually would hinder a player, but all of his issues are fixable with better coaching.

Andrew Thomas is the final player, who’s very much in the conversation for the Giants. The former five-star prospect was stellar for the Georgia Bulldogs when he initially joined the offensive front in his rookie season. Since moving to left tackle, he has earned plenty of accolades to promote his quality. Aside from displaying consistency in the healing department, he had a great 2019 season, earning first-team Associated Press All-American and first-team all-health awards.

Thomas is a player who you can count on week in and week out, making him another great player to consider with the Giants’ pick. Personally, I’m going with Jedrick Wills if I’m Dave Gettleman, as he offers the most NFL-ready abilities out of all four. His size is a tad concerning but his fundamentals are sharp.

New York Yankee Legends: The base stealing Ricky Henderson

New York Yankees, Babe Ruth

In his career, he would play for 9 different teams over 25 years!

On Christmas Day 1958, the New York Yankees and the baseball world got a Christmas present, a player that would be one of the longest playing players, one who would speed across the bases and would steal 1,406 bases in his 25-year career with nine different teams. The Yankees were lucky to have Ricky Henderson for five years in the prime of his career. There were many exciting events in Ricky’s life, including his birth. He was born to John and Bobbie Henley in the back seat of a speeding Oldsmobile, on the way to the hospital.

His Mother would divorce and marry Paul Henderson after his birth father abandoned the family when little Ricky was two years old. Ten years later he would die in a car crash. When a Junior in high school, he would take on the Henderson name. Although born in Chicago, the family would move to Oakland California, where he would learn to play baseball as a child. Although a lefty, Ricky would learn to hit from the right, mostly because everyone else did. A player that bats right but throws left is unusual in baseball.

Henderson was drafted by the Oakland Athletics

Henderson was an All-American running back for his Oakland Technical High School in 1976. For the school, he played football, basketball, baseball and played on the track team. He was a star football player and received many scholarships to play college football, but his mother convinced him not to accept them because she thought football players had short careers. In the 1976 draft, Henderson was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the fourth round of the draft.

The Athletics sent him to Boise A’s, where he hit .336 in 46 games with three home runs. Henderson spent the following season with the Modesto A’s. He batted .345 in 134 games during his record-setting season with Modesto. Henderson nearly broke the league record for team stolen bases. The Modesto A’s finished the season with 357 stolen bases, He would spend the next season with the Jersey City A’s and part of 79 with the Ogden A’s.

He would make his major league debut on June 24, 1979.

Henderson would spend the next six seasons with the Athletics raking in four All-Star appearances, getting three MVP nods, a Silver Slugger Award, and being a Gold Glover in 1981. He would go on to play with Oakland for four separate stints totaling fourteen years. After the 1984 season, Ricky would be traded to the New York Yankees in a seven-player trade.

Ricky Henderson traded to the New York Yankees

In his first season with the Yankees, he led the league with 146 runs scored, with 80 stolen bases and was fourth with a .314batting average and 99 walks. He became the first player since Jimmie Foxx in 1939 to amass more runs scored than games played. In 1985 he became the first player to hit 20 home runs while stealing 80 bases. He matched the feat again in 1986. During the year he also lead the league with 130 runs scored and 87 stolen bases.

In 1987 he didn’t have one of his best seasons and was sometimes criticized for lack of hustle although he was the speediest player on the team. Because of his speed, stolen bases, and timely hitting, he quickly became a Yankee fan favorite. In 1985 and 1986 he had the most runs scored and most RBI’s of his entire career. He also had the highest number of home runs. In 1988 he would again lead the league in stolen bases with 93. In 1989 he would surpass the Yankee record for stolen bases of 248 by Hal Chase with 326. The record would stand until May of 2011 when Derek Jeter would surpass it while playing 1,700 more games than Ricky.

Midway through the 1989 season, Henderson would be traded back to the A’s where he would continue as a star player on their team amassing 72 runs scored and 51 more stolen bases in just a half of a season. Between the Yankees and the A’s, he would steal 77 bases, score 113 runs while hitting .274. In the years that followed Ricky would play with the Padres, Mariners, Jays, California, the Red Sox, two more stints with the A’s, and finally would end his major league career with the Dodgers in 2003. Afterward, he would prove his love of the game by playing two seasons for the minor league Newark Bears and a season with the San Diego Surf Dawgs. He finally retired on July 13, 2007.

Henderson personals and awards

In 1983, Henderson married his high-school sweetheart, Pamela. They have three children: Angela, Alexis, and Adrianna. He and his wife reside in California. He has been an Old Timer at Yankee Stadium. His records and awards are numerous. When asked after his retirement which of his records were more important to him, he answered his Stolen base record of 1,406, and his runs scored a record of 2,295. He would say the most important thing in baseball is scoring runs.

In his career with the New York Yankees, he would be an All-Star all five years, would be a MVP candidate three times, and a Silver Slugger in 1985. Altogether he was an All-Star in 10 of his seasons. He would be an MVP candidate nine times finally, winning the award in 1990. He was a Silver Slugger three times and would win the Gold Glove award in 1980. Six years after his retirement, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Henderson would write his autobiography with the help of John Shea. In the book “Off Base, Confessions of a Thief” the baseball star shares the story of his life, describing his relationships with such baseball greats as Charlie Finley, Dave Winfield, Jose Canseco, Reggie Jackson, and others, and discusses racism in baseball and player salaries.

As I stated earlier, Ricky was a fan favorite, and Yankee fans were disappointed when he was traded back to the Athletics.  Still, today when he attends the Yankees Old Timers Day celebration, he is still greeted with welcoming applause. Most Yankee fans remember the exciting moments in big games when he would steal bases, sometimes multiple times in the same game.  Even though he only spent five years of his career with the Yankees, they were happy to have him and consider him a Yankee Legend.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.

Receivers could now be atop the New York Jets’ draft board

Recent free agency signings have influenced the different ways the Jets could go about drafting with the 11th pick. Wide receiver could end up being the position of choice come draft day. With Robby Anderson not returning as of yet, and no wideout signings in free agency, the Jets need to figure out who Sam Darnold will throw to.

Since the first mock drafts for this year’s NFL draft were released, the Jets have been linked to offensive linemen. A popular choice was Georgia’s Andrew Thomas, who can play at either tackle spot. However, with the signings of Connor McGovern, George Fant, Alex Lewis, Josh Andrews and most recently Greg Van Roten, the offensive line has certainly been tended to. Now, it may be time to address skill position players.

Top options

There are many wide receivers worthy of a first-round pick in this year’s draft. Each of the top-three receivers, which are Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, and CeeDee Lamb according to a multitude of analysts, could be available when the Jets are on the clock. If all three are available and wide receiver is the direction the team wants to go in, it would be interesting to see who they like best.

Jerry Jeudy has been the top-ranked wide receiver since the rankings began. He amassed 77 receptions for 1,163 yards and 10 touchdowns this past season at Alabama. His route running is clean and his mechanics are sharp. Jeudy is, most likely, the most NFL-ready wideout in the draft. These intangibles probably make him the safer pick, but safer isn’t always more admirable than explosiveness for some teams. He would certainly be hard to pass on at pick 11 but depending on what the team is looking for, he may or may not be the choice.

Henry Ruggs III, also from Alabama, played as the number-two receiving option behind Jeudy. The six-foot, 190-pound receiver is the smallest of the three receivers but has premier explosiveness. He did, however, total just 40 receptions for 746 yards and 7 touchdowns this past season. While those numbers don’t jump off the page, his playmaking ability has solidified him as a top draft pick. At the combine, he ran his 40-yard dash in 4.27 seconds, just 0.05 seconds short of the record held by John Ross III. His elite speed and big-play ability are special and could provide an instant jolt to any offense.

CeeDee Lamb, at six-foot-two, is the biggest of the three receivers. He had 62 receptions for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns this past season as the number-one receiver at Oklahoma. Averaging a whopping 21.4 yards per reception, he put himself in the conversation for the best receiver. His skill is unquestionable but where teams rank him compared to the other two should be interesting.

Other possibilities

Aside from the biggest names, many other receivers could be chosen in later rounds. One sleeper pick could be Jalen Reagor out of TCU. He had a bit of a down year this past season having just 43 receptions for 611 yards and 5 touchdowns. The year before, though, he recorded 72 receptions for 1,061 yards and 9 touchdowns. His down year could make some teams pass on him and make him available late in the draft. Although he isn’t the biggest receiver at just under six feet, his ability to track the ball in the air and move downfield is strong.

Michael Pittman Jr. out of USC exploded onto the scene this past season. He totaled 101 receptions for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns. Also, being six-foot-four and 220 pounds would give the Jets the big-bodied receiver they haven’t had in years. He should still be available around late second round to early third round.

A real sleeper pick could be Isaiah Hodgins from Oregon State. At six-foot-four and 209 pounds, he could also be the big receiver on the outside. After a quiet freshman season and a decent sophomore season, he reeled in 86 receptions for 1,171 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior. He could end up being a late-round steal that produces as a rookie.

If the Jets choose to go for a wide receiver, they have plenty of options in front of them. Whether it be a big-time name or somewhat of an unknown, Darnold would love having someone else to throw to.

 

 

 

New York Mets Send Three Players To Syracuse

New York Mets, Andres Gimenez

Despite Spring Training coming to a quick end, the New York Mets are making roster cuts to prepare for the season to resume eventually. The moves were not a surprise as all three were likely going to start the season at triple-A.

The three players sent down were Andres Gimenez, Tyler Bashlor, and Ali Sanchez. Gimenez started Spring strong but faltered towards the end. He slashed .214/.290/.393 over 14 games and showcased his defensive prowess at shortstop. Though he was not hitting for average, the increased power was an encouraging sign.

Bashlor’s Home Run Issues

Bashlor still could not contain the hone run and the big innings, which hurt his 2019 campaign. Over 4.2 innings, he allowed six runs, 11 hits, and three home runs. There has always been good stuff in Bashlor’s repertoire, but he can never seem to put it all together.

Sanchez did not receive many at-bats but seemingly had no chance to take the backup catchers job over Tomas Nido or Rene Rivera. Over nine games, he only had eight at-bats and recorded a double as his only hit.