For today’s post, I’m going to take a short look at a few different headlines that have been making waves in the sports world.
Patriots Acquire Tim Tebow
This past Tuesday, the New England Patriots acquired polarizing QB Tim Tebow after the New York Jets released him. While I’ve never liked Tebow (or any player that uses God as a good-luck charm), he could be an interesting acquisition for the Patriots.
The Jets never really gave him a chance last year, letting him throw the ball 8 times and run it 32 times. His piss-poor pass accuracy (under 50% for his career) prevents him from being a regular starting quarterback, but I could see him as a nice change-of-pace guy in New England. The latest fad offense in the NFL is the read option, which allows the quarterback to choose whether to hand the ball off to a running back or run the ball himself. Many teams with dual-threat QBs, such as the Redskins, Seahawks, and 49ers, employ this offense with great success. Using Tebow in occasional read-option packages could give the pocket-passing Patriots offense another dimension, and give opposing defenses even more to worry about when playing against them. Also, Tom Brady, while still an elite player, is no spring chicken anymore (he will be 36 when the regular season starts). Maybe having Tebow to spell Brady could extend his career a little more and allow the Patriots to make the most of the three-year contract extension he just signed.
Clippers, Celtics Talking Mega-Trade
Yesterday, the story broke that the Clippers and Celtics are talking about a deal that could bring Celtics coach Doc Rivers to the LA Clippers, along with longtime franchise cornerstones Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Such a trade would allow the Celtics to start over after underachieving last year amid the decline of their aging core. The proposed trade would have the Celtics getting guard Caron Butler, center DeAndre Jordan, and guard Eric Bledsoe in the deal, along with a possible draft pick.
I’ve been of the opinion recently that the Celtics need to start their rebuilding process now rather than unnecessarily holding on to the players that won them a championship in 2008. This team’s championship window has likely closed. Their core players (minus an injured Rajon Rondo) could not get them better than a 7-seed in the playoffs and a six-game loss to the New York Knicks. The Celtics have a lot of good young players to build around, such as Rondo and Jeff Green (who became more and more of a prolific scorer as the season wore on). Avery Bradley has been a defensive force at shooting guard, and Jared Sullinger & Fab Melo are good prospects at the center and power forward positions.
That said, I have mixed feelings about this trade. While it could be good for the Celtics’ long-term future, the crown jewel of this trade would be Bledsoe, who plays the same position as Rondo. Bledsoe won’t be a backup for much longer, and the question arises if the team can get both players enough minutes to keep them happy. Of course, the Celtics could also trade Rondo, which wouldn’t bother me a ton. I wonder about his diva-ish attitude and impact on team chemistry sometimes (witness our 21-17 record without Rondo last year as opposed to 20-23 with him), so maybe getting another star player at the point wouldn’t be so bad.
I think it would also be better to keep Paul Pierce around if we can, because he has played his whole career with the Celtics, and it would be good to see him retire as one and mentor the younger players. He also has a few more productive years left in him, I think.
NBA, Stanley Cup Finals Proving to be Tight Affairs
The last two games of the NBA Finals have featured two unlikely breakout stars. In Game 3, Spurs guard Gary Neal exploded for 24 points on 6 of 10 from three to lead the Spurs to a 36-point destruction of the Heat. Miami evened the series right back up thanks to improved play from Dwayne Wade, who hit for 32 points on 56% shooting from the field to even the series up headed into tonight’s tilt. Whoever wins this series will largely depend on who has a breakout game next. If Wade and Bosh can continue their play, the Heat will win. If Tony Parker can rebound from a bum hamstring and lead the Spurs, they have the advantage.The Stanley Cup Finals are also underway, and are tied at a game apiece, with both games going to overtime. That is now happened in two consecutive Cup finals after not happening for 61 years prior. In Game 1, Michal Rozsival’s shot deflected off teammates Dave Bolland and Andrew Shaw to win the game for Chicago. Left winger Daniel Paille was the hero in Game 2, potting a goal to win the game for the Bruins. These teams are evenly matched and I would not be surprised to see more overtime games, with the series going the full seven games. The matchup of Original Six teams has also led to a 119% spike in TV ratings from last year (matching up two massive media markets probably helps that figure too).
Orioles Ride Potent Offense to Second Place in AL East
This just in: the Baltimore Orioles can score some runs. They are 4th in total runs and 10th in on-base percentage in MLB this year. Many of their hits go for extra bases too, as they are 2nd in slugging percentage. They also lead MLB in home runs, with Chris “Crush” Davis crushing an MLB-leading 22. Manny Machado has proven to be a superstar as predicted, who is batting .324 with a .357 on-base percentage. Adam Jones rounds out the Orioles’ power alley, batting .300 with 14 homers and 47 RBIs. That potent offense has them sitting at 39-30 on the season, and solidly in second place in the AL East behind the Boston Red Sox, who the Orioles have won two of three games against and are leading 3-0 as of the time of this post. However, the Orioles need to be careful, as their pitchers are 29th in the league in ERA (an ugly 4.45 mark), and 21st in batting average against. They will need to get better at run prevention if they want to succeed in the playoffs, where simply outscoring their opponents will not be enough.