Josh’s Thoughts/Reactions in Sports for June, 2016

Hello, readers. It has been an extensive amount of time since my last post on our site. The month of June has been wild in the sports world, so I decided to leave my thoughts and reactions on numerous topics. With the Finals, draft, and free agency in the NBA currently being the most popular subjects, most of this post will deal with the NBA. Let us dig in!


1. Who will Kevin Durant sign with the summer?

Kevin Durant is the best free agent in the NBA this summer. LeBron is the best player in the world, but Durant is 27 years old. His best years are right around the corner as he enters the peak of his prime. According to Sports Illustrated, the Heat and Warriors are the teams most likely to steal Durant from OKC. Here’s how I rank the potential landing spots for Durant in terms of likeliness:

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder
  2. Miami Heat
  3. Golden State Warriors
  4. San Antonio Spurs
  5. Los Angeles Lakers

My prediction: Durant resigns with OKC.

The case for OKC resigning Durant is simple: it is his team. He has Russell Westbrook as his sidekick and has solid big men in Enes Kanter and Steven Adams. Billy Donovan is a brilliant coach that The Thunder took the Warriors to 7 games in the WCF this past season, meaning they should be contending for a title this upcoming season as well. I don’t see him heading south to Miami to play with Wade/Bosh, who are both past their prime. I don’t see Durant leaving after being to close to reaching the finals and with the young talent on OKC’s roster.


2. NFL Free Agency/Offseason

The NFL has been pretty quiet. In reality, it may have been overshadowed by the NBA. Regardless, here are a few notable signings:

  • Eagles re-sign DT Fletcher Cox (6 year, $103M; $63M guaranteed)
  • Vikings extend S Harrison Smith (5 year, $51.25M; $15.3M guaranteed)
  • Panthers re-sign OT Michael Oher (3 year, $21.6M; $9.5M guaranteed)

The best signing above is definitely the Vikings extended Harrison Smith. He has proven to be an elite safety each season in his career. The Eagles paid Cox way too much, which isn’t much of a surprise. Michael Oher was harrassed in the Super Bowl, which made this signing very surprising. More NFL news to come soon!


3. Pittsburgh Penguins win 2016 Stanley Cup

I’ve never been much of a hockey fan. I’ve been to 2 or 3 Waterloo Blackhawks games in my life, but that doesn’t qualify. Regardless, I know who Sidney Crosby is, so I am happy with this win.


4. NBA Draft

The NBA Draft took place on June 23. Here are the top 5 picks of the draft:

  1. Philadephia 76ers: Ben Simmons, SF, LSU
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram, SF, Duke
  3. Boston Celtics: Jaylen Brown, SF, California
  4. Phoenix Suns: Dragan Bender, PF, Croatia
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kris Dunn, PG, Providence

I won’t go into much detail because I want to talk about the NBA Finals, so here a few takeaways and predictions from the draft:

Takeaways

  • Biggest Steal: Pelicans picking Buddy Hield with the 6th pick.
  • Biggest Surprise: Bucks nab Thon Maker at number 1o.
  • Biggest Reach: Celtics taking Jaylen Brown at third overall.

Predictions:

  • 2016 NBA Rookie of the Year: Buddy Hield, SG, New Orleans
  • Best Player in 5 years: Ben Simmons, SF, Philadelphia
  • Worst pick in 5 years: Marquese Chriss, PF, Sacremento

This draft class has a few potential stars in the future. It has solid talent that should be exciting in a couple years.


5. Cleveland Cavaliers defeat Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals

Was this one of the most exciting finals ever? Cleveland falls down to a 3-1 deficit, and find a way to win three in a row against a team that won 73 games this season. LeBron played absolutely fantastic in the final three games after a slow start to the series. We learned several things from this series, so I thought I would list a few.

  1. LeBron is still the best player in the world. LeBron was a freak in each of the games the Cavs faced elimination. He had 41 points in game 5, 41 points in game 6, and a triple double in game 7 to add icing to the cake. Stephen Curry, the unanimous MVP was a no show for 6 games in the series. His size limited him and was a disadvantage for a much more physical finals than we expected. LeBron still holds the crown as the King of the NBA.
  2. Kyrie Irving proved himself as an elite Point Guard. Going into this series, I had my doubts in Kyrie, especially on the defensive end. He can obviously score from all over the court, but I don’t think anyone saw a 41 point performance in game 5. He was nearly unstoppable on offense this entire series. On the defensive end, Kyrie played very well. He showed us that he isn’t a liability and can defend other elite guards. Throughout the finals, there was no doubt that Kyrie outplayed Curry on both ends. Kyrie scored all over Curry driving the paint, off dribble from mid range, and at the three point line all series long. Kyrie topped in off with a three point shot over Curry to give Cleveland a three point lead with less that a minute to go. The future for Kyrie is very bight and has Cleveland very, very excited.
  3. Stephen Curry can and needs to improve on offense. Stephen Curry is the best shooter in the NBA. He can score from almost anywhere. We know this. Does this make him unstoppable on offense? No. Curry had 26 assists to 30 turnovers in the Finals, per Basketball Reference. This is where Curry needs to improve his game as a point guard. He needs to find his teammates more, especially down the stretch of games. He has teammates all around him that can score, so he has no excuse. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green should have had more shot opportunities in the 4th quarter.
  4. Draymond Green is more valuable to Golden State than we thought. Draymond Green is a phenonemol player and does it all on both ends of the court. After his suspension in game 5, the Warriors look lost without him. Draymond in the facilitator of the Warriors offense. He is one of the most complete players in all of the NBA. Green dominated in game 7 with 32 points, 15 rebounds, and 9 assists. I can’t say enough about his play. Golden State may be led by Steph and Klay, but Draymond Green is right next to these guys in terms of the Warriors success.
  5. LeBron and MJ debate is becoming more alive. LeBron James now won his third ring and third finals MVP. While he is still chasing Michael Jordan as the best basketball player of all time, it has now become much more of a debate. LeBron won a ring for Cleveland, making it the first championship in the city in 52 years. To make it even sweeter, he defeated a 73 win Warriors team fresh off a a title in 2015. Will LeBron pass MJ? Maybe not, but it is a lot more interesting.

That is all for this post. I hope to read comments regarding my statements in the future. Hopefully Tom and Riley become more active on this site. I am waiting for Riley’s debut post. One more thing: when are we getting our logo? 🤔

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