Hype will be the death of sports and then some ….
Well there is nothing like a littler hyperbole to set tongues wagging and to get the most idiotic of prognostications from analysts and fans alike. Nowhere does this happen to be more prevalent than within the world of the NBA and NFL . The 2012 NFL Draft , may well have been the best draft of the past decade in terms of the depth of talent made available by way of the players who declared their eligibility . The NBA has seen its wealth of talent makes its way into the league with the current class of rookies now making a name for themselves by contributing to their teams’ success during this season . Already, a little more than one-quarter of the way through a rigorous eighty-two game regular season schedule and talks already amiss concerning the 2014 NBA Draft and whether not Kansas Jayhawks’ rookie phenom Andrew Wiggins will be the top player taken in that upcoming draft. Now as good as Wiggins just happens to be , and he is very good, given the talent already on display for the Jayhawks. I truly believe that Wiggins might not be the best player, likely to be available in the draft. That accolade quite frankly, should go with the Duke Blue Devils’ own rookie sensation Jabari Parker , who is coached by the legendary Mike Krzyzewski .
Now while there is a great deal to be said for both of these respected programs, in terms of Duke and Kansas, do not make the mistake that both coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Bill Self are unlikely to take anything for granted concerning the aforementioned talents in question. What we do know , is that Parker like Wiggins , both make their teams considerably better when they are on the court , than sitting on the sidelines watching their teammates at play. Both Duke and Kansas are currently ranked in the AP Top Twenty-five , with the unbeaten Arizona Wildcats (11-0) sitting atop of the heap , followed by the number ranked Syracuse (Orangemen) , also unbeaten with a record of 10-0.
Duke (7-2) coming off a recent ten point 79-69 victory over John Beilin’s … Michigan Wolverines , will be seeking to push their mark to 8-2 , while seeking to move themselves up in the ACC standings , where the Pittsburgh Panthers (10-0) and Syracuse both lead the way in the overall standings , but the conference lead is held by Maryland (Terrapins) and the Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0) . Next up for the Blue Devils, will be one these always nondescript out of conference games that tend to make up the more mundane side of a top programs’ schedule. Facing Duke in that contest, will be Gardner Webb of the Big South Conference , in a meeting that is not likely to prove too much of a mental or physical test for Mike Krzyzewski’s players .
Jabari Parker will undoubtedly prove to many that he is not only the best player on the Blue Devils’ team, but clearly has to be thought of as one of the best collegiate players in the nation. Andre Wiggins for his part, has been making analysts and fans sit up and take note of his game . . While the Jayhawks recently came unstuck, when they faced Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators , it was clear, that those in attendance for that contest , were indeed witnessing a very special talent in Andrew Wiggins, albeit , that the Gators came away with a well-deserved victory . Subsequent to that defeat, the Kansas Jayhawks were able to rebound with a rather lopsided 80-63 victory over New Mexico .
The nation’s top ranked program in the AP Polls , the Arizona Wildcats are playing some very good basketball , and the case be made that with their current RPI , the plaudits are justified in their current ranking of the program. Much of that credit for the team’s early season form has to go to Sean Miller and his coaching staff . Miller and his team will play host to Southern University on Thursday night, at the McKale Center , in Tucson , Arizona,.
I have no wish to anoint a player as being the next big thing in any professional team endeavor , as has often been done by these on air analysts . Only for those very same individuals to then go on to have selective memory loss , when posed the question, why it is that their choice, has not fulfilled those expectations ?
It has to be said that the NFL has not only proven to be a complete joke this season by way of the poor coaching , pedantic play , but even more so, players long thought to very good or anointed as being “ the next big thing” , have simply offered nothing of substance . If that premise could not be better emphasized, then anyone who witnessed Sunday’s home game at Texas Stadium , where the Dallas Cowboys played host to the injury riddled Green Bay Packers , who were without quarterback Aaron Rodgers , will know that this game unraveled , simply because the Cowboys possess no stomach for any type of adversity on a football field . A twenty-three point lead by Jason Garrett’s players was simply squandered , as Garrett , his coaching staff and the team were unable to answer the unbelievable rally , as Matt Flynn led his team on an improbable comeback , that quite possibly may well have sealed the Dallas Cowboys’ postseason aspirations .
As Tony Romo and a weeping Dez Bryant , now ponder what might have been. It begs the question, if Bryant as he claims, is the best wide receiver currently playing in the NFL. Then where was the skill-set so often hyped over, which was simply nowhere to be seen during this contest? As to those, who are still jumping to the support of Tony Romo, being one of the best quarterbacks in the league. My question for those , who still believe that to be true , why is it that this player, has no leadership ability or and whose postseason career has been mired in mediocrity ?
The Dallas Cowboys, in perhaps their worst loss of the season , will now have to live with that experience , as Jason Garrett seeks to regain some type of momentum for the team. A divisional game against the still self-imploding Washington Redskins in week sixteen , in what is likely to be either a putrid contest or something thrilling. I am liable to think that it will be the former as Tony Romo and his teammates seek to close out their season on a competitive high. Yet, it could very well be the final game of the season that could ultimately decide the fate of the Cowboys, in what is likely to turn out to be a highly physical contest against the Philadelphia Eagles at Texas Stadium in Arlington, Texas , could very well be the difference of the Texas-based franchise being part of the postseason makeup or sitting at home , watching the participants in the NFL postseason foray.
This season’s NFL rookies have acquitted themselves well in a number of cases , even if their teams are not necessarily competitive. We have seen the travails of Geno Smith whose rookie season with the New York Jets has simply been abysmal . A great deal of the player’s woes, stem from the fact that he was not an NFL ready quarterback and his game has simply been far too inconsistent for the Jets to have been competitive . Furthermore, in what is eerily , looking like a situation that could very well see the departure of Rex Ryan and his entire coaching staff . There is a growing belief that GM John Idzik, no longer has any faith in the one-time bombastic head coach. The coaching staff is unlikely to be the only remnants jettisoned at the end of this season , as several players on this roster are likely to be as superfluous to the franchise’s needs as well as Idzik seeking to slash the team’s payroll .
Coming off a ten-point loss to the Carolina Panthers , in what was simply a pre-audition for the playoffs, for Ron Rivera’s team, as they seek to challenge the New Orleans Saints within the NFC South . Just about every area of the Jets’ game in this contest was abysmal , and it is a further damning indictment of Rex Ryan having lost the team, where there seems to be no on-field leadership, not from Geno Smith or from any of the veterans on this roster. The sooner, the departure of Rex Ryan becomes a reality, rather than the continued idiocy of his reign remaining intact, the greater the likelihood of this franchise continuing with its ever-growing incompetency.
A season of indifference and now the talk has to be, how and why the New York Giants have failed so miserably this season . Having missed the playoffs last season, the front office saw fit to do some house cleaning , seeking to get rid of several players that aided the franchise in winning two Superbowl titles in the past six seasons. Eli Manning , for his part, his play has been indifferent, with coach Tom Coughlin not seeing fit to call out his veteran quarterback and for his lack of leadership this season. If nothing else, Jerry Reese must now be blamed for several of the transactions that led to the departures of Mario Manningham, Osi Umenyiora, Michael Boley and several others who contributed in that success.
This past weekend the Giants were on the wrong side of a lopsided defeat against the Seattle Seahawks , as Russell Wilson led his team to a 23-0 whitewash of the NFC East based franchise. At 5-9 New York’s season has all but ended , with their being few positives to have been gained at all from the team’s schedule, by way of the productivity of the players and with the rookies unable to add little of note. It’s likely to be, back to the drawing board for Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff , who are likely to work in conjunction with Jerry Reese to assess the needs of the franchise. Needless to say, Eli Manning has to know that a great deal more will be expected of him , given his status with the franchise and amongst the highest paid players on the roster , as well as at the quarterback position in the NFL .
The two remaining games on the New York Giants’ schedule , will pit them against the Detroit Lions in week sixteen, to be followed by a divisional contest in their final regular season match-up, where they will meet the Washington Redskins . Victories in both games, would end the year on something of an emotional high, but the common belief has to be , that the franchise has simply under-achieved in 2013.
I’ll say it again , of the four major professional team sports , nowhere is the hype greater than within the NBA ! Each season , the crop of rookies entering the league are being anointed for no other reason , than the less than knowledgeable on air analysts, feel the need to feed into the idiocy , that their insight happens to be the only thing that matter. Granted , when you have the piety of _ Mel Kiper and Todd McShay being thrust upon you at each NFL Draft , the fans get the feeling that the idiocy doesn’t only remain within the NBA alone.
The 2012 NBA Draft brought us a less than memorable rookie class and likewise it has been the same for this season. In the midst of it all, the league’s brand has deteriorated with the play of the teams seemingly mediocre , but meanwhile the NBA hierarchy and its broadcast partners would have us believe that it is simply a cyclical effect, and that the marquee stars are still playing at the highest level . There are, but a handful of ” elite players ” in the NBA, yet an abundance of average to mediocre teams , with no more than four or five franchises that would be considered credible contenders for the NBA title.
Last season’s NBA Rookie of the Year … Damian Lillard .. excelled in his role with the Portland Trailblazers (21-4) , and with the Indiana Pacers suddenly looking far from impervious or invincible , it has been the Trailblazers and coach Terry Stotts’ team with the best record in the Western Conference as well as the NBA, with Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge leading the way for the Northwest Division based franchise who lead their closest divisional rivals the Oklahoma City Thunder by a mere game in the standings.
The Trailblazers’ young point guard along with a number of his peers from last season are off to notable starts this year , and a somewhat similar case could be made for this season’s crop of rookies , where Michael Carter-Williams , Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke lead in scoring . In the assists’ category , the leaders there are again , Carter-Williams, Burke , with Nate Wolters being given due consideration.
It would be correct to suggest that this season the two biggest stories in the NBA season, are the not so implausible facts , that both the Brooklyn Nets (9-15) and New York Knicks (7-17) continue to be mired in mediocrity, in terms of their play , collectively . Never mind the fact that for all of the alleged insight of their fans , even they , cannot acknowledge the fact that neither team has the propensity to play defense . Personally , I believe the more ridicule heaped upon both of these franchises , the more justifiable the claims can be made that owners Mikhail Prokhorov and James Dolan are out of their depth as proprietors of a professional sports’ franchise , never-mind the incessant stupidity still being shown by Billy King and Steve Mills .
With New York coming off another defeat , which in many respects has been symbolic of their season. I cannot help but wonder , how long before a revolt takes place amongst the players , with the blame being apportioned upon the shoulders head coach Mike Woodson and his coaching staff ! ! The turmoil is beginning to take its toll on a number of players on the team, many of whom have no wish to be held accountable, much less with their being any leadership shown by the veterans on the roster. That one point loss at home to the Washington Wizards , where in the third quarter of the game was essentially broke open by the offensive output of the Hawks . From thereon-in, the Knicks were left found wanting , showing very little heart in the waning moments of the contest. . Next up for the laboring New York franchise, will be an away game against the Milwaukee Bucks , that is likely to tell us about the mental capacity of this team.
Brooklyn’s blowout victory over the Philadelphia 76ers might not be seen, as this Jason Kidd coached team turning the corner, but for the moment , it might well have loosened the noose that appeared to be around his neck. This much we do know, even with the front office , giving the coach their full backing , a case can be made, where if the season for this franchise should become more woeful , then a decision has to be made whether or not, he should be retained in his current position. . Kidd and the Nets will play host to the Wizards at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Wednesday night , as the team seeks a second consecutive victory.
Do you believe, that it is worthwhile hyping up an athlete , purely based on speculation or what they have achieved at the collegiate level , when there is no guarantee that success will come their way at the professional level ? Your thoughts, on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .
NBA standings (division)
Mack Wilds …… “Own It”