2020 has been a rollercoaster ride for the entire world. Our world was put on pause due to Covid-19. The way we lived our lives was completely derailed. Sports fans everywhere lost their escape from the real world when the sports world came to a halt. As the world heals from the pandemic so does our escape from reality. With the NBA back in full swing, it’s relieving to see things are getting back to normal and somethings never change with LeBron making his tenth finals appearance with his 3rd different team leading the Lakers to their first finals appearance since the late great Kobe Bryant led Lakers in 2010.
The King had another dominating performance notching his 28th career triple-double shooting 15- 25 with 38 points 16 rebounds and 10 assist to send home the Denver Nuggets in game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. It is safe to say that LeBron has flipped the switch and ready to pop The Bubble as the Lakers saddle up to go head to head with the blazing hot Miami Heat team in the 2020 NBA Finals. Game 1 is Wed, 9/30 at 9 pm.
The NBA isn’t the only thing to get excited about. The MLB is back in business and the regular season was gone in the blink of an eye and its playoff time. But this isn’t your average playoff picture. Its 2020 so you know Major League Baseball had to shake things up. The MLB has implemented an expanded playoff format with 16 teams. This could possibly be one of the wildest postseasons we have ever seen with this new format with teams that haven’t hit their stride getting an extra chance to make something special happen. Our own Cleveland Indians played well enough to make the cut this year and will be battling the New York Yankees in the Wild Card round in a 3 game series. American League Triple Crown-winning picture Shane Bieber will be starting for the Tribe in the first game of the series. All Sports Cleveland cannot wait to see what this action-packed playoff picture has to offer.
The year 2020 has been full of surprises. A lot of them not so pleasant. But something out of the ordinary has happened and probably the most shocking thing for a lot of people and that’s our Cleveland Browns are over .500 for the first time since 2014 with the season just starting and the Browns suffering an embarrassing but not crippling week one loss against the Ravens they have managed to put together 2 commanding wins in back to back weeks putting the browns at 2-1. The season is still very young. New head coach Kevin Stefanski seems to be a sight for sore eyes. maybe it’s to early to tell. But the excitement and aura in Cleveland has come a long way since Freddie Kitchens and Hue Jackson. But then again you can’t spell miracle with CLE. With the sports world getting back to normal hopefully so does our reality.
The 2019 NBA draft is viewed mostly as a 3 player draft. I tend to disagree. In terms of star potential, it isn’t the strongest, but could be a solid draft looking back five years from now when evaluating the best role players in the league.
Players in the mid to late first round could turn out to be strong contributors at the next level. I took the liberty of listing out my top 40 prospects of this draft. A lot of players, later on, have a good amount to be excited about. With the Cavs holding a late first round pick, this list might give some clarity on the options on the table at 26.
#1 – Zion Williamson – PF Duke Comp: Uber athletic Julius Randle
Jumpshot a big question mark
Frame may be an issue (285 lbs)
#2 – Ja Morant – PG Murray State Comp: John Wall / Russell Westbrook
Dynamic Playmaker (10apg)
Improved Shooter (30%-37% Fr-Soph)
Good Finisher at the rim
Still needs to improve as a shooter
#3 – RJ Barrett – SG/SF Duke Comp: Zach Lavine / Victor Oladipo
Good Size (6’7 202)
Solid Playmaker (4.3apg)
Can find his own shot
Defensive potential with athleticism and length
Inconsistent shooter (30.8% 3pt)
Needs to Improve decision making (Led NCAA in charges)
#4 – Jarrett Culver – SG/SF Texas Tech Comp: Andrew Wiggins / Harrison Barnes
Strong finisher, doesn’t shy away from contact
Can shoot off the dribble
Solid defender already, with potential to be elite due to frame and athleticism
Not an elite ball handler
Jump shot mechanics inconsistent
Struggled against elite collegiate competition.
#5 – Cam Reddish – SF Duke Comp: Paul George
Silky, repeatable jumpshot
Smooth game, passes the eye test
Solid ball handler
Glides to the rim
Great Size (6’8 7foot wingspan) / dynamic athlete
Can pull up from anywhere
Can handle the ball on pick and roll
Showed glimpses of brilliance, but also like he didn’t belong on court
Disappeared at times
Bad finishing at the rim when met with contact
#6 – Darius Garland – PG Vanderbilt Comp: Damian Lillard
Elite Pull Up Shooter extended out to three point range(48%3pt)
Can create own shot or play off the ball, running off screens
Creative moves in the lane
Not an imposing presence, does not play above rim
Struggles at the rim against length/size
Not an elite passer (13 assists to 15 turnovers)
Small Sample Size
#7 DeAndre Hunter – SF Virginia Comp: Bojan Bogdanovic / Robert Covington
Can Defend up to 3 maybe even 4 positions
Can move to a stretch 4 when needed
3 and D ability makes him a contributor right away
Low Ceiling, what you see is what you get
Good Size but not the best athlete
Slow First step
Not a dependable isolation scorer
#8 Bol Bol – C Oregon Comp: Unicorn
Ridiculous length (7’2 with 7’8 wingspan)
Knock down shooter (52%3pt)
Great handle for size
Weakside shot blocker (2.7bpg)
Quick first step
Finishes at the rim
Pick and Pop/roll guy
Measured in at 208 lbs!!!
Questions about consistent effort and commitment to the game
Won’t be strong enough to handle legit centers at next level
Foot injury not a good sign
Super talented, but too risky to be taken in the lottery
#9 Coby White – PG North Carolina Comp: Collin Sexton / Eric Bledsoe
Great finisher around the rim
Solid shooter, off catch and off dribble (35%3pt)
Broke Jordans freshman scoring record
Elite height, Great athlete
At his best in open space
Furthest thing from a reliable playmaker
Not consistent scorer (42% FG)
19% turnover rate in fast break scenarios
Still learning how to contribute in half court
Lack of length and interest will limit his defensive ability
Negative Wingspan, small hands
#10 Sekou Doumbouya – PF France Comp: Jerami Grant / Al Farouq-Aminu
Great Athlete / Size (6’9)
Great in transition, can handle the ball or run on wings
Glides around the court, can possibly defend 1-4
Can stretch the floor with 3 pt range
Solid Shotblocker, plays passing lanes very well
Youngest player in the draft (18 years old)
Wildly inconsistent with effort
Although jumpshot has improved, still needs work
Not a good passer. Finished with more turnovers than assists
Not the best feel for the game, should improve with time
#11 Jaxson Hayes – C Texas Comp: Jarrett Allen / JaVale McGee
Long (nearly 7 foot with 7’3 wingspan)
Crazy athlete, easily beats other bigs down court
Bouncy, fast first jump and more importantly second jump
Super accurate down low, shot 73 % from the field, good hands+soft touch
Has size, length, and instinct to be a dominant defensive presence. Second best shot blocker among prospects(2.2 bpg)
Had issues with foul trouble (6 fouls per 40 minutes)
Needs to develop as a prolific rebounder
Needs to add Muscle, slender frame (around 225)
#12 Nassir Little – SF North Carolina Comp: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist / OG Annunoby
The 2019 NBA Draft is quickly approaching and all eyes will be glued to the screen to see who their favorite team selects. While no one truly knows who will select who we do know that there are some future stars in the making although not as many as previous drafts.
There are three guys in this draft that are separated from the pack Ja Morant, Zion Williamson, and RJ Barrett. All three are coming off of huge years and have big expectations at the pro level. Then there’s you second tier guys like Jarrett Culver, Cam Reddish, and De’Andre Hunter who can be key complementary pieces to a team.
Take a look below at where the top 60 rank on my big board.
1.Ja Morant PG-Murray State
Coming out of Murray State, Morant has all the makings of a star point guard in the NBA. At 6’3 and weighing a lean 175lbs he soars above the rim with endless highlight reel dunks and is able to finish strong at the rim while using his elite speed to get by defenders. His ball handling and excellent court vision allows him to make plays for not only himself but his teammates as well. Morant will likely be a top 3 pick and could eventually be one of the top guards in the league.
2.Zion Williamson PF-Duke
At 6’7 and 285lbs Zion is a force to be reckoned with at the rim and out on the break. His superhuman frame matched with his speed and strength allows him to terrorize rims all over the country. For his size Zion has unheard of agility and is able to get out on the break and make plays for him and his teammates as well as swat shots into the 10th row on the defensive end. His quickness allows him to recover if he is beat and he is able to use his agility to get to the hoop at will. If this former Duke star is able to tune up his jumper Watch Out!
3.RJ Barrett SG/SF-Duke
This former Blue Devil is ready to take over the league and is ready to lead whatever team he joins. Hailing from Ontario,Canada RJ Barrett in many eyes is the top wing in the draft. While at Duke alongside the likes of Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish Barrett was able to put together a solid freshman year averaging 22.6ppg 7.6rpg and just over four assists while shooting nearly 50% from the field. His playmaking ability and knowledge of the game show early signs of a long star studded career in the NBA who many would love to have on their team.
4.Jarrett Culver SG/SF-Texas Tech
Culver who is listed at 6’5 looks more like 6’7 in person and uses his length to his advantage on both ends of the floor. Culver is in many minds the best defender in the draft and is able to use his length to block shots and poke balls away which is arguably his best asset. On offense Culvers bread and butter move was his hesitation dribble that often got him that first step to blow by defenders. Culver was able to show a ton of improvement from his first year to his second while at Texas Tech. He improved his points per game average by 7.5 points and lead the Red Raiders to their first ever final four and first national championship appearance. Culver’s talents will be coveted by many teams in the draft.
5.Cam Reddish SG/SF-Duke
Reddish is one of the most interesting pieces in this years draft and has a chance to have the best NBA career out of all the draft hopefuls. The former number three ranked prospect coming out of high school played his college ball at Duke where most of the time he saw himself playing in the shadows of Barrett and Williamson, and even though he didn’t get as many touches as he would have liked (averaging only 13.5ppg) that didn’t stop him from showing off his elite athleticism and NBA potential. His three point shooting is one of the things that sets him apart from the rest and mainly his ability to catch and shoot and being able to be a threat scoring off the ball. Reddish is the perfect player to pair with another young piece to build around or to add as depth off the bench to come in and be a scorer on a team that already has a nucleus, making him one of the most desired players this years draft.
Below is the full list of the top 60 draft prospects on my big board.
The Browns are coming off a 20-14 victory over the New Orleans Saints thanks to the heroics of rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer. Although wins don’t count for anything in the preseason. It is still does have an impact on the Browns. Hue Jackson is trying to change the culture in Berea. Every little win matters to the Browns.
What to look for…
The obvious battle for the Browns is quarterback competition per usual. New year, same competition. The Browns will trot out Brock Osweiler to start the game. He will be looking to end the debate of who should start week 1 vs the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rookie DeShone Kizer, and second year quarterback Cody Kessler are also in the competition. Though Brock Osweiler, and DeShone Kizer have the upper hand in the competition.
DeShone Kizer is keeping the competition close. Kizer showed poised, good pocket presence, big arm strength, willing to take big chances. Kizer threw 2 bombs including a 45 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jordan Payton that won them the game.
Another position battle to keep up on is the right tackle position. It seems as though second year lineman Shon Coleman has the upper hand. Former first round draft pick Cameron Erving has been struggling. The Browns have tried him at every position but nothing changed. Cameron Erving could be on his way out of Cleveland. Struggling in practice, getting beat off the snap right away, the false start penalties continuing to add up.
Danny Shelton NT, knee
Joel Bitonio Guard, knee
Cameron Erving OL, calf
The Browns will be taking on the New York Giants at First Energy Stadium on Monday Night Football, Kickoff is 8 pm, on ESPN.
The Cavs are coming off a disappointing NBA finals loss to the Golden State Warriors. It was a series that showed the true weaknesses of the Cavs. Cavs had major problems with the bench, rebounding, defense, and the reality of not having enough firepower on the floor to match with Golden State.
The Cavs offseason has been very entertaining. But took a turn for the worse just before the draft. The Cavs and General Manager David Griffin have decided to part ways due to different visions of the future with the team. Koby Altman, Assistant General Manager, has been fielding the calls and the draft for the time being.
What is next for the Cavs as we head into free agency? First order of business is the finding a new General Manager. The Cavs have been pursuing ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups aka “Mr. Bigshot”. You may have heard of him. Billups is regarded as one best all-around point guards the NBA has seen. Billups was a part of the Detroit Pistons when they were making big in the postseason year after year. Billups has met with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert for 2 days. It has been reported he is currently mulling an offer. His position would be President of Basketball Operations. He will then add a General Manager under him.
Now, let’s talk about the current state of the roster. Is it a championship caliber roster? Yes. Is a roster that can beat Golden State? No. Are there moves that the Cavs can make that would make them better, or at least feasible against the Warriors? Yes but not much.
The problem with the Cavaliers appear to be the lack of trade assets they have this offseason. No one is willing to take on the contract of Iman Shumpert. Kevin Love’s trade value is no where near what it was in 2014.
But that isn’t the only problems the Cavs face. They now face a roster that is depleted by age, lack of athleticism off the bench, the lack of defense. The Golden State Warriors were able to exploit that every time LeBron James left the court.
Rumors have been flying about the Cavaliers. Especially ones involving some guy by the name of Paul George. You may have heard of him. George has been linked to the Cavs since the end of the NBA Finals. Paul George recently told the Pacers that he will leave them in 2018. George has insist he prefers to play for the Lakers. But can a trade the Cavs change his mind? Paul George is currently sitting on a 1-year deal and is basically a one year rental for any team that trades for him.
With the NBA free agency upon us, here are some names I believe the Cavs should consider:
Small Forward, Rudy Gay (Sacramento)
Small Forward, Tyreke Evans (Sacramento)
Guard, Tony Allen (Memphis)
Forward, Michael Beasley (Milwaukee)
Small Forward, Vince Carter (Memphis)
Point Guard, Darren Collison (Sacramento)
Center, Dwayne Dedmon (San Antonio)
Forward, Taj Gibson (Oklahoma City)
Point Guard, George Hill (Utah)
Guard, Jrue Holiday (New Orleans)
Of course, there are several other players available to the Cavs. The problem is the Cavs don’t have money to spend. Any free agent they spend money on will put them in a deeper hole in the luxury tax. Making trades, moving contracts in order to add a free agent would most likely be the route for the Cavs. The Cavs will still be in a bad spot heading into next season. But every decision they make will be with the question does this free agent or trade improve our chances against Golden State? It will be a very interesting offseason for the Cavs. One that could change the look of the Cavs future for a very long time.
The Indians came into father’s day looking for a 4-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins. The Indians did exactly that. The Indians beat the Twins 5-2. The Indians have a 2 game lead in first place. The Indians move their record to 36-31. The Twins fall to 34-33 on the season.
STARTING PITCHING FINAL LINES:
Trevor Bauer (CLE) Win (Record 6-5). Bauer went 7 innings, 2 runs, 2 earned, 2 walks, 8 strikeout, ERA of 5.54.
Kyle Gibson (MINN) Lose (Record 4-5). Gibson went 6 innings, 8 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts, 2 home runs, ERA 6.56.
SUMMARY: It took until the 4th inning for the Indians get on the board. With a second deck bomb from Edwin Encarnacion. Fast forward to the 6th inning. Edwin did it again. This time a 2-run bomb into left field. Edwin finished the day with 3 hits, 2 home runs (16), 5 RBIs (36) including a Sac fly in the 9th inning.
The Twins would battle. Getting 2 runs from the help of Eduardo Escobar, and Eddie Rosario. The Twins got a nice effort from Kyle Gibson, keeping the twins within 3 runs through the game. But the Indians bats would be too much for the twins to recover in this one.
Andrew Miller would get the save for the Tribe. It was his first on the season. Why was Indians manager Terry Francona using Miller in the 9th? As of now, it seems as though he is trying to balance the workload between Cody Allen, and Andrew Miller. How long will this switch last? Only time will tell.
PREVIEW: The Indians will travel to Baltimore to take on the struggling Orioles. Two aces will toe the rubber. Corey Kluber who is 5-2 on the season with an ERA 4.15, will take the mound for the tribe. Dylan Bundy who is 7-5 with an ERA 3.29, will be taking the mound for the Baltimore Orioles. First pitch will be at 7:05 pm ET. Watch live on Sports Time Ohio or tune on WTAM 1100.
The Cleveland Indians took on the Kansas City Royals to start a 3 game Memorial weekend series. The Royals beat the Indians by a final score of 6-4. Mike Minor gets his 3rd on the season as a reliever for the Royals. Reliever Bryan Shaw takes his first loss on the season for the tribe. Kevin Herrera notches his 10th save on the season. The Indians fall to 24-22 on the season. While the Royals move 20-27 on the season
HOW DID WE GET HERE? The Indians came out firing the first punches in the first three innings. With the help of a solo home run from third baseman Jose Ramirez in the 2nd inning. His 7th home run of the season. Left fielder Michael Brantley had a near 3-run home run that turned into an RBI single in the 3rd inning. That helped the Indians get off a 4-0 start over the Royals.
But the Royals wouldn’t go away that easily tonight. the Royals start their rally in the 4th with a 3-run blast from former Cleveland Indian DH Brandon Moss. It was his 9th on the season. Third baseman Mike Moustakus hit a solo home run to tie the ball game in the 5th inning at 4. It was his 12th home run on the season.
Late in the ballgame with one of the best relievers on the mound Andrew Miller had an off night. Giving up a 2-run double to left field from right fielder Jorge Bonifacio in the top of the 8th inning. Those 2 runs would give the Royals the lead and that’s all they would need after that.
STARTING PITCHING FINAL LINES:
Mike Clevinger (CLE) record: 2-1. 5 Innings pitched, 8 hits, 4 runs, 4 earned, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, 2 home runs, ERA 2.82. Mike Clevinger takes the no decision as he gave up his first 2 home runs of the season.
Ian Kennedy (KC) record 0-4. 5 Innings pitched, 3 hits, 4 runs, 4 earned, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 1 home run, ERA of 4.43. Ian Kennedy took the no decision tonight.
Left handed pitcher Jason Vargas (5-3, 2.3 ERA) will look to take the series win against the Indians. The Indians will send right handed pitcher Danny Salazar (3-4, 5.55 ERA) on the hill tomorrow. First pitch is at 4:10 pm on FOX SPORTS 1 tomorrow.
We are now under a week from the trilogy battle. Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors. The Cavs are coming off it’s first season in franchise history as the defending champions. While Golden State is coming off another fantastic regular/postseason campaign.
HOW DID WE GET HERE? Let’s begin with the Cavaliers journey. The Cavs went through a roller coaster of a season. Starting off red hot to start, only to leave questions heading the postseason. But the Cavs answered all of them. Finishing their postseason with a record of 11-1. Topping off the Eastern Conference with a 4-1 series win over the Boston Celtics.
The Golden State Warriors are coming into the finals with a 12-0 record. After Kevin Durant, the Warriors went 67-15. Once again the best record in the NBA. Golden State will be without Head Coach Steve Kerr as of now to start the finals.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT? We can expect this series to be offensively driven. Both teams are the top scoring teams in their respective conferences. I fully expect the Warriors to try to throw the first punch in this series. After blowing a 3-1 lead in last years NBA Finals. The Warriors led by KD, Steph Curry, are seeking revenge. How can the Cavs contain GSW? It’s pretty simple, if you slow down KD and Steph Curry, you will have a pretty good chance to steal a game on the road, and win the finals. For the Warriors, they’ll need to focus on LeBron James.
LeBron James has been phenomenal this postseason. If there was a MVP award for the just the playoffs alone, LeBron James would be that MVP by far. In Game 5, LeBron James passed Michael Jordan to become the All-Time leading scorer in NBA postseason history.
3 KEYS FOR THE CAVS: The Big 3. Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Kevin Love. Last year, a healthy big 3 led the Cavs to their first franchise NBA title. Now they seek no. 2. My second key will be the bench. Both GSW and the Cavs have terrific benches. They play their roles really well. I think the Cavs have the better bench when they are going strong. It’s important for them to give as much production as possible. My final Key will be Tristian Thompson. Thompson has been a monster down low. If he is able to keep players like KD, Draymond Green, JaVale McGee, and Zaza Pachulia off the boards, the Cavs could really be at a big advantage down low.
Game 1 will be on Thursday, June 1st. Tip-off is at 9 pm eastern on ABC (ESPN).
After a 2 hour and 1 minute rain delay, the Cleveland Indians fall to the Cincinnati Reds 4-3. The Indians fall to 24-21 on the season, 2 games back of the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central. The Cincinnati Reds move onto 22-24 on the season. They now sit 3 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.
How did we get here? First baseman Carlos Santana got the Indians offense going in the 3rd inning with a 2-run bomb to right field. For Carlos, tonight’s home run was number 5 on the season. tallying his RBI total to 26 on the season. Santana also went 3-4 tonight. Including the home run, and also an RBI double.
The Reds with a 2-run home run from left fielder Adam Duvall. Tying the game up at 2 in the top of the 4th. Carlos Santana had an RBI double in the bottom of the 5th, giving the Tribe a 3-2 lead
Like last night, the Reds threaten in the 9th inning once again. The Reds took a lead on single in 9th inning. Zack Cozart single to left field with Arismendy Alcantara, and Billy Hamilton scoring on the hit. Billy Hamilton originally grounded into the game ending double play, but after review, the call was over-turn. Thus leading to the Reds grabbing the lead. Cody Allen Blows his first save on the season. He is now 13 of 14 in save opportunities.
Trevor Bauer receives a no decision for the Cleveland Indians tonight. Now 2-0 in his last 3 starts. Trevor remains 4-4 on the season with an ERA of 6.3. Trevor went 5 and 1/3 innings pitch. Gave up 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts, and 1 home run. Michael Lorenzen takes the win for the Reds. His record is now 3-0. Raisel Igleias gets the save for the reds. That’s save number 8 for Igleias.
Preview: Tim Adleman (2-2, 6.19 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Cincinnati Reds. Coming off his best start, Mike Clevinger (2-1, 1.56 ERA) will take the hill for the Cleveland Indians. First pitch is at 6:10 pm on Fox Sports Ohio. The Indians will look to split the season series at 2 games a piece. While the Reds look take home the battle of Ohio Cup with a win tomorrow. Remember the Cavaliers vs Celtics game 5 is 8:30 pm on TNT.