The buzz this weekend hit an all-time high as the NBA playoffs started this weekend. No team was under the microscope heading into the playoffs more than the Lakers. They were missing their star player, Kobe Bryant, due to a torn Achilles’ tendon, and they were also facing a veteran San Antonio Spurs team. The Lakers came out and were showing some resolve and intensity, but they just did not have enough offense to beat the Spurs in Game 1 of their series. The most glaring weakness was they could not get any consistent playmaking on the court. Steve Nash still isn’t himself due to the injures that he has suffered this year and Pau Gasol is still not being used correctly. For the Lakers to have a chance, head coach Mike D’Antoni has to run the offense through Gasol. He should position him at the high post and the low post and let him be a scorer and facilitator. After all, he is the most skilled offensive player the Lakers have right now. But what has to scare Lakers is the fact that Tony Parker looked rusty and supersub Manu Ginobli looked like he found his stride again. If Parker gets going with Ginobli, then the Lakers are in some trouble because we already know that Tim Duncan is going to be consistent. The ball is now in Mike D’Antoni’s court. It should be interesting to see what kind of adjustments that he makes going into the next game.
A lot of people see the Miami Heat as the champions this year already. And many have talked about who their challengers may be. Some have said New York, while others have said Indiana or Oklahoma City could challenge them. Well, someone forgot to invite the Brooklyn Nets to the conversation. The Nets came out and destroyed the Chicago Bulls Saturday 106-89 before their home crowd at the Barclays Center. The Nets were led by point guard Deron Williams, who showed the form that had many thinking he was the best point guard in the NBA. But not only was he special Saturday night, so was Brook Lopez. The big man out of Stanford destroyed the Bulls front line all game long and showed why he should be considered one of the best young big men in the NBA. And with Williams and Lopez, the Nets have advantages at both the point guard and center positions. But if they are to make it to face Miami, will those two advantages be enough to offset the advantages the Heat have at shooting guard, power forward and small forward? Only time will tell, but first the Nets have to take care of the Bulls. After all, it was only one game no matter how big the final deficit was.
In the NFL, the Jets have finally done what they talked about all offseason. New York shipped cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Bucs for the 13th pick in the 2013 Draft and also a conditional pick in the 2014 pick(3rd or 4th round pick). Revis also agreed to a six-year contract reportedly worth $96 million. But here’s where this deal gets strange. Usually when a new deal is reached, there is guaranteed money that a player gets. Strangely, Revis has no guaranteed money at all. He can make $13 million in salary and up to $3 million in bonuses for a total of $16 million next year. That sounds good and all, but we all know that the NFL stands for Not For Long and you have to get the guaranteed money when you can. Revis is now the highest paid defensive back in NFL history, but he may look back on all the guaranteed money he gave up with some regret later on.
Also this week, free agent linebacker James Harrison signed a two-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals this week. The former Pittsburgh veteran was released by the Steelers due to his refusal to restructure his contract. Now the veteran will get the chance to take on his former team two times a year in the AFC North. But the big question is how does he fit in the Bengals defense? Harrison is coming from a 3-4 defense where he was allowed to rush the passer as an outside linebacker. Cincinnati runs a 4-3 defense and that would put Harrison in the spot of being a defensive end. Harrison is only six feet tall and does not have the build to even play defensive end. With that being said, it should be interesting to see how the Bengals use him in their defense this season and if they can put Harrison in sports where he can succeed.
In baseball, the New York Yankees were expecting shortstop Derek Jeter back soon from his ankle injury he suffered in the playoffs. Well, a crack was found in his ankle recently and because of that, he will now be out until at least the All-Star break. The Yankees are currently in second place in the AL East, but Jeter is their leader. He was the guy that kept the Yankees focused on the task at hand. With him out for a while longer, it should be interesting to see if they have some players step up to be the leader of this team. Out of all those high-priced players they have, you should not have to ask any of them to be leaders. But some have what it takes and others don’t. We’ll see who steps up as the Yankees continue to go forward without Jeter.
These are my thoughts and these are my words. Until next time…….