The Golden State Warriors’ 122-114 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night featured Anthony Davis, a superstar whose rise is in need of assistance, against Kevin Durant, the superstar who just received the world.
On Wednesday, Davis scored 50 points and the Pelicans lost. It started as a game against the Denver Nuggets and ended as a symbol for his time in New Orleans. Davis is bereft of help — due to injuries, due to roster construction. On Friday, he delivered another powerful performance, claiming 45 points, 17 rebounds and, again, an unfair loss.
Durant is not so much bereft of help. If anything, he — and his costars — might even have too much of a great thing. The Warriors have so many scorers, so many playmakers, that their offensive actions appear awkward. On many possessions, it’s as though thought is overwhelming instinct. In the early stretch of Friday’s game, center Zaza Pachulia (4-of-6 for eight points) was finding money at the rim as his All-Star teammates sought out a rhythm. Eventually, Durant (30 points), Stephen Curry (23 points) and Klay Thompson (28 points) established themselves.
“Your mind immediately goes to Memphis,” adds Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick, referring to the “grit ‘n’ grind” moniker the Grizzlies have adopted to describe their defensive-minded style of play.
“We will continue to review all of our options and we reserve our rights to petition for cert to the Supreme Court,” the union said. Brady has also reportedly authorized the NFLPA to follow through with its appeal, if it decides to go that route.
It feels like the only way Goodell will ever relinquish any of his disciplinary power is with some convincing from the highest court in the land. It may be the union’s last chance to gain leverage in its quest to curtail the commissioner’s unilateral authority and give the NFLPA a leg up going into the next collective bargaining agreement negotiations in 2021.
Size still matters in basketball. A lot. We haven’t been very warm or nurturing to the 7-foot set in recent years — scrubbing centers from the All-Star ballot is one prominent example — but look around. Highly skilled and freakishly agile bigs are emerging in so many different cities and bringing some balance back to this world gone trey crazy.
So keep an eye on them.
The suspicion among numerous league observers is that the Blazers’ non-stop spending this past offseason was asset collection as much as anything. Scan through all those names again and it’s clear Portland has no shortage of options to thrust itself into all kinds of trade talks as GM Neil Olshey continues to shape the roster around backcourt bedrocks Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
The Warriors will win a game by 60 points.
The concept gained scientific rigor when Duckworth tested West Point cadets using the “grit scale” she created. Despite not having a relationship with academic achievement in high school or SAT performance, grit proved a better predictor of which cadets would drop out of grueling basic training.
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert required surgery to repair the ankle injury he suffered in the Pro Bowl and he’s clearly not happy that he suffered the setback during an exhibition game. On Friday, Eifert promised that he’ll never play in another Pro Bowl, regardless if he’s selected or not.
Eifert, 25, led all tight ends with 13 touchdowns in 2015, but may miss the beginning of the 2016 season after undergoing surgery in May. The injury is a tough one for the Bengals to deal with, especially after losing receivers Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu in free agency. Rookies Tyler Boyd and Cody Core were added to a wide receiver corps that already features A.J. Green so the Cincinnati passing game is far from devoid of talent, but there are few tight ends on the roster with experience after Eifert.
Although it wasn’t the long-term deal that Fitzpatrick was asking for, he’s now the 12th-highest-paid quarterback in base salary and could add another $3 million by reaching incentives during the 2016 season. He’s also the highest-paid player on the Jets’ offense in 2016 and second on the team behind only Darrelle Revis.
Still, the contract isn’t one that shows the Jets believe Fitzpatrick is anything more than a short-term fix while younger players on the roster develop. But it’s starter money and there’s no doubt who the team has penciled in at the top spot on the depth chart.
“It’s Fitzpatrick’s job,” Jets head coach Todd Bowles said on Thursday.
But what does that mean for Smith?
The 2013 second-round pick was less than 24 hours away from opening training camp as the Jets’ starter, but now it’s entirely possible that he never takes another snap for the team.
Why the Jets should cut ties with Geno Smith
The Jets have four quarterbacks on the roster and all of them represent a significant investment. Fitzpatrick is due to make $12 million, Smith was a second-round pick in 2013, Bryce Petty was a fourth-round pick in 2015 and Christian Hackenberg is a rookie who was picked in the second round in April.
Smith isn’t even guaranteed the backup job.
“It’s just not worth it,” Eifert told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com shortly after vowing to skip on all future Pro Bowls. The 2013 first-round pick is still in a walking boot, but told reporters that it will come off in a week.
There are plenty of problems with the NFL’s annual all-star game, including the risk of injury. But the game still draws enough viewers to warrant its place on television, meaning the NFL likely isn’t going to scrap the exhibition any time soon.
In 2007, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees suffered a dislocated elbow in the Pro Bowl but it didn’t cost him any playing time in the following season.