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Team USA’s FIFA World Cup Outlook

(play for effect)

Today is the day that starts our one month long process where we as a country have to pretend to actually care about soccer. Sure, our “football” is way cooler and entertaining, but there is something about the FIFA World Cup that draws intrigue from even the smallest soccer fan. The worlds biggest sport on the worlds biggest stage is always a fun thing to watch. It will be even more fun to watch when Team USA runs out on the field for the first time to kick ass and take names (pun intended) and Bra”z”il burns itself to the ground. So here is an in-depth look at the first round match ups for Team USA.

Game One: USA 3 GHANA 0

Sure, Ghana has had great success against the US in the past 8 years, as they knocked us out in 2006 and 2010. But let me ask you something, can you point out Ghana on a map? I know I can’t. No way the US losses to a country like Ghana three times in a row as long as the US scores more goals than they do in 90 minutes.

Game Two: USA 2 Portugal 1

Easy pick here. Sure Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best soccer players in the world. And sure we cut who was maybe are most decorated soccer player in history (Landon Donovan), but we still have Kyle Beckerman who looks like he is taking a sabbatical from his jamming sessions with the band SOJA. And sure, we also have a lot of inexperience and young players, it almost looks like Coach Klinsmann is trotting a team out there to build for the near but not near future in 2018. But he’s not, if there is one thing we know that works in professional sports its inexperience. I mean look at the Chicago Cubs, they are great right?

Game Three: USA 7 Germany 0

Uh Germany, scoreboard. How did World Wars One and Two go? Don’t mess with the best you jabronis.

There you have it, an insiders look at the first round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup for Team USA. Team USA runs the table, no doubt in my mind.

Ray Rice Avoids Punishment for Domestic Abuse

If you don’t know the story of Ray Rice he knocked his girlfriend out at a casino and then dragged her out of an elevator. You can watch the video here.

Today, Ray Rice hit the lottery. Not only will Ray avoid jail time by participating in a intervention program, but he will also not receive a suspension from the NFL.

This is absolutely absurd. How can a man KO and drag his girlfriend out of an elevator and literally receive no punishment for it? Meanwhile, Josh Gordon is facing a years suspension from the NFL failing another drug test.

Donald Sterling will most likely be kicked out of the NBA and lose his team for making racist remarks in his own home.

(He probably shouldn’t of asked Anderson Cooper if he has ever been with a girl and then called him a racist)

The bottom line is this. As sports become more and more engraved in our culture leagues are supposed to set examples. The NFL is saying you CAN knock out your girlfriend but you smoke a drug that is legal in two states and your out of here. Meanwhile every pro athlete and media outlet is calling for Sterling’s head because he is a man who grew up in a different era who said something stupid in his own home. Where is LeBron James saying he will not play professional sports next year if Ray Rice steps foot on the field? Where is Magic Johnson saying he will never attend another Baltimore Ravens game as long as Ray Rice is on the time. I cannot wrap my head around it. This logic is so backwards it is incredible.

Love Actually?

The Celtics will figure out where they stand in this year’s NBA draft tomorrow, but before then we have been left with speculation on what this team will look like in a mere few months. One rumor that has been floating around the internet today is the idea of bringing star forward Kevin Love to Boston.

Kevin Love has told the Timberwolves, who he currently plays for, that he wants out of Minnesota via trade or he will leave in free agency in the summer of 2015. This leaves Minnesota scrambling as they want to get something in return when Love inevitably leaves. Love would bring a strong post presence to Boston. Love averaged 26 points and 12 rebounds this season for the Timberwolves, and has averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds over his 6 year career. But Love is not just a post threat and a beast on the boards, he can also step out and knock down the three. Love is shooting over .300 percent from behind the arc in his career.

Now how does a player like Kevin Love fit into the Celtics rebuilding regime? Well its quite simple really, if Kevin Love comes to Boston the rebuilding regime will end. By that I mean the Celtics will become immediate finals contenders with Love. Love is a star player who you can build a team around. Pair him up with Rajon Rondo and you have a solid 1-2 punch. And if the Celtics acquire Love, you will have to imagine they will pursue a big free agent this summer to build a new “big 3”.

The Celtics will likely have to give up a lot in order to receive Love’s services. This deal will most likely require the Celtics to give up either Jared Sullinger, Avery Bradley, or Kelly Olynyk, along with a few picks the Celtics have acquired over the past few seasons. Now this may seem like a steep price to pay but Kevin Love is a superstar, none of the three players I listed above are that, or will ever be that. The deal I believe will happen is Sullinger, Bradley, and the Celtics 2014 draft pick which they acquired when they sent Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn. If the Celtics do indeed dish off Bradley and do not end up with a top 3 pick in this years draft, expect the Celtics to draft Dante Exum from Australia with their lottery pick.

The Donald Sterling Saga

Today, Donald Sterling received a life time ban from Commissioner Adam Silver along with a 2.5 million dollar fine. Sterling is also being forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. Adam Silver acted correctly today. Sterling is a racist and a bigot and he does not belong in today’s world of sports. That being said, if and when Sterling takes this to court, the NBA and Adam Silver have no shot at keeping Sterling out of the NBA.

Under California’s Penal Code 632 it states that no one can be “recorded without their knowledge” (if you want to read the whole law click here). Now as you may know Sterling’s girlfriend, known as V.Stiviano recorded Sterling inside his own home and without his. This means Sterling is protected under California’s Penal Code 632, which means this piece of evidence should be unusable in the court of law.

Now the NBA could still go after Sterling for displaying a history of racism. Former NBA player Elgin Baylor once accused Sterling of racial discrimination. Sterling also had a run in with Hispanic and African American renters at one of his buildings. Sterling was trying to kick these tenants out. He eventually reached a three million dollar settlement.
To reiterate I am not trying to defend Donald Sterling. He is a bad man and he does not belong in the NBA or any major sporting league. But if he is protected by the law, which he is, you cannot find him “guilty” because you do not like him.

“Everyone has a right to a fair trial” as it says in the Sixth Amendment.

You cannot enforce laws on some people and then choose not to enforce laws on others. That is not how this country was founded. Now I am not stupid, this happens in the world every day. But it shouldn’t.

Now there are other ways to hurt Sterling. Corporate sponsors should continue to leave him. Players should demand out of their contracts. Make the Los Angeles Clippers the least valuable franchise in all of sports. Make it so Sterling is actually losing money by holding onto them. Make it so Sterling is forced to sell. That is the only way to get this bigot out of the front office with the Los Angeles Clippers, because any defendant of Sterling will be able to see that this evidence was obtained illegally.

Celtics Season Wrap Up

The Celtics finished off their season a few nights ago with a 118-102 loss to the Washington Wizards, which landed them at 25-57 for the year… and I could not be happier. This year’s draft class is the most talented we have seen in recent memory, led by Duke forward Jabari Parker.

Jabari Parker is faster than he looks. Parker is stronger than he looks. Does that description remind you any former Celtics? If you guessed Paul Pierce you win 5 Schrute bucks or a Stanley Nickel, whichever form of currency you prefer. In a perfect world we will get the number one overall pick and draft Parker. In a perfect world I would be 6’4 and be in the NBA draft. Unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world. Parker will likely go number one overall, and earlier today the Celtics lost a coin flip with the Utah Jazz which means they now are 5th in the lottery standings. This means we have less ping pong balls in the roulette, which means we will likely land around the 4-5 spot in the draft.

According to Sports Illustrated, the Celtics will take Julius Randle with this pick. I could not disagree more with this pick. Yes Julius Randle will be a successful NBA player, but the Celtics already have a polished front court. Kelly Olynyk emerged at the end of the season. Olynyk broke out with three 20 point games late in the season. He was the focal point of the Celtics offense with Sullinger and Rondo both out down the stretch, and he still scored. Olynyk will continue to fill out over the offseason which should allow him to be more physical in the paint. I believe Olynyk will be compared to Pau Gasol by the end of his career. Both are seven footers, and Olynyk showed that he can be an offensive threat at the end of the season. We all saw what Sullinger did this year. Sully nearly averaged a double double this season, putting up 13 points and 8 rebounds per game. Sully showed significant strides in his game this year after coming off a back injury the previous season. The Celtics have a strong front court with a lot of potential. I just do not see the point of destroying this experiment before it starts. That is what bringing Randle in would do. The Celtics are better off going with a guard such as Dante Exum, or maybe even forward Doug McDermott.

Jeff Green had an OKAY year. He did not break out and become the superstar the Celtics hoped he would be, and that is concerning. He was given the reigns at the start of the season and he did very little with them. He had flashes of greatness, don’t get me wrong, but he lacked consistency. Consistency is something you need out of your star player. I think it is time to move on from the idea that Green will be the superstar of this team and start looking for other options.

Avery Bradley is a free agent this summer, and depending on how the Celtics draft, he may no longer be wearing green next season. Bradley is likely to get a larger offer elsewhere in the league, and I think we have seen the last of Avery Bradley in Boston.

Phil Pressey showed some promise at the end of the season as well. Although he undersized, he can move the ball and always added a nice flow to the Celtics offense. If Rondo gets injured next season (fingers crossed he stays healthy) I would trust Pressey running what will be a much improved Celtics offense. Let’s also hope Rondo decides to extend his contract this offseason so we can put the trade rumors to rest.

Overall the Celtics did what we expected them to do this season, and that is tank. They had some flashes of decency at the beginning of the season, but after they shipped out Jordan Crawford those flashes quickly vanished and it was a struggle down the stretch. But the Celtics have a lot of young talent on their roster, and the future looks bright. Until next season, keep on bleeding green Celtics fans, we will be back on top before you know it.

Who the Celtics Should Take with Their First Pick

After a 94-80 loss last night to the Chicago Bulls the Celtics “tank” season is evident and they are in one last final push for as many losses as possible. The Celtics are now 23-51 and rank 5th in the “tank” standings. In other words they have the 5th worst record in the league. This has every Celtic’s fan across the country asking themselves, who should the Celtics take with their early draft pick in a very deep draft? Experts have the Celtics drafting Julius Randle out of Kentucky. But does move really make sense with the Celtics current roster?

The Celitcs already have Jared Sullinger who has been nothing short of magnificent this year. Not only has he been a beast on the boards with 8.2 rebounds per game, he has also contributed on the offensive end with nearly 13 points a game. Sullinger is nearly averaging a double-double per game, which is very impressive for a second year player on a struggling team. The Celtics also have rookie 7-0 center Kelly Olynyk on their roster. In many eyes Olynyk is in the running for Rookie of the Year. He averages nearly 8 points per game and 5 rebounds. Now do I believe Olynyk is the best rookie in the NBA this year? Of course not. Michael Carter-Williams is the best rookie in the NBA this year.

I am not saying Randle is not a great player in college, but I do not believe he has a high of ceiling as Jared Sullinger and I do not think he will be the offensive weapon Olynyk has the chance of being.

Now this leaves the question, who should the Celtics take with their draft pick? I have it narrowed down to three players, Dante Exum who plays in Australia, Doug McDermot from Creighton, and TJ Warren from NC State.

Exum is a 6’6 shooting guard out of Australia. He is a versatile player who can get to the rim according to NBA scouts.

Most basketball fans know about Doug McDermott, the pure scorer out of Creighton. Many knock McDermott for his lack of athleticism and the level of competition he played against during his college basketball career (excluding his senior year). I just don’t buy it. McDermott finished fifth all time in scoring in college with 3,150 points. He is first team all American for the third time in his career. He averaged 21 points per game throughout his career and shot over 50 percent from the field. People say he cannot match up with the physicality of the NBA and it will be hard for him to adjust? Well that runs true with every player coming out of college. The NBA is a whole different monster than the NCAA. But McDermott has size, he is 6’8 and 225 pounds.

TJ Warren may be the opposite of Doug McDermott. He can score, but only by getting to the rim as he struggles with his outside shot. He is a very athletic small forward who is a high energy defender. But with the Celtics wanting to stick with Rondo (who is not a score first point guard) it may be tough for them to put points on the board with another player whose main talent is not scoring the basketball. TJ Warren reminds me of Michael Kidd-Gilchrest of the Charlotte Bobcats.

If I had to choose one player to draft in the upcoming NBA draft I am going with Doug McDermott. Sure he will not be the most athletic of physically gifted player on the court but he can score. And with Rondo setting him up for open shots there is no telling how effective McDermott could be at putting the ball in the basket.

Northwestern Players Allowed to Unionize

An Illinois judge has granted the right to allow Northwestern players unionize. This is a huge step in the direction of college athletes getting paid for playing college sports. But is the idea of college athletes getting paid really a good idea? First off many college athletes already receive scholarships to play their respective sport. This could cover a 20,000 per semester fee at a large university at Alabama. According to the NCAA 96 percent of its revenue is returned to schools throughout the country. Obviously if colleges start paying their players the NCAA will start to receive less money which means they will have less money to give out academic and sports scholarships. College players getting paid to play will also kill Cinderella. Large Universities such as Florida will be able to offer players large contracts while smaller schools like Mercer will not. This will lead to a very unbalanced league. Picture March Madness without upsets, depressing right? It will hurt all four major NCAA leagues.

Now I am not completely against the idea of college athletes getting paid. Along with their scholarships if they received 10,000 dollars a season I do not think it would hurt the NCAA’s revenue or the unbalance the level playing field. It should keep the players happy and end this drama once and for all. Anything above 10,000 dollars we will be sliding down a slippery slope.