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Joshua Manocherian: News On Players Who Retired in 2016

 

 

Joshua Manocherian On Recently Retired Players: Where Are They Now?

Joshua Manocherian enjoys writing about sports, particularly basketball. Today he puts the spotlight on some of the greatest players who recently retired.

How do you define an era? For some basketball fans, it’s in the way the game is played or the figures they grew up watching. In the 80s, basketball was way more physical and immortalized by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird’s heated rivalry, while the 90s was all about MJ and the Bulls dynasty. Compare those eras to modern basketball, where offense is played outside-in, and you won’t help feeling nostalgic over how basketball has evolved through the years.

Yet for some fans, they don’t know they’re in an era until they’re already at the end of it, or when their favorite player finally declares retirement, to be more specific. Last year, three legendary players hung up their jerseys—Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Amar’e Stoudemire. Basketball fans everywhere can only look back on these players and their respective careers fondly, for making basketball so much more enjoyable than it already was.

Let’s take a look at where these legendary players are now.

Kobe Bryant

The Black Mamba led the Los Angeles Lakers to three consecutive championships from 2000 to 2002 with Shaquille O’Neal, and back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. Now that he’s no longer on the court, Bryant has his hands busy running Bryant-Stibel, a venture capital firm he put up with entrepreneur Jeff Stibel in 2013. Bryant-Stibel has business interests in media, data, gaming, and technology. Bryant is also reportedly being brought in by the Lakers as an advisor, alongside another legendary Laker, Magic Johnson. On a more personal note, the Black Mamba proudly shared news that he and his wife, Vanessa, are expecting their third child as well.

Tim Duncan

Like much of his “boring” career with the Spurs, Tim Duncan or Timmy left the game he’s been playing for the last 19 years without drama or anything out of character. For some fans though, Timmy’s final minutes as one of the best power forwards of all time panned out sadly. The Big Fundamental’s last shot was blocked by OKC’s Serge Ibaka in Game 6 of the West Conference semis. He finished that night with only 19 points. These days, it would seem that fans are the only ones bothered by Timmy’s less than ideal exit. This is because the Spurs’ beloved star was spotted in Chile with former teammate Fabricio Oberto on a vacation. Well deserved!

Amar’e Stoudemire

Around a decade ago, one of the fiercest and most exciting rivalries in the league was between the Spurs and the Suns. Not a lot of fans seem to remember that at his prime, Amar’e Stoudemire could hold his own against Tim Duncan. Amar’e’s run with Steve Nash unfortunately never lived up to its full potential because of his injuries. While his run in the NBA may be over, this doesn’t mean he’s quit basketball for good. Amar’e has suited up for Hapoel Jerusalem in Israel, where he has set his sights on winning the Israeli League and the European title.

Stay tuned to read more from Joshua Manocherian.

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Joshua Manocherian: Top Bets for 2017 NBA MVP

 

 

Joshua Manocherian: Top 4 Bets for 2017 NBA MVP Race

New Yorker Joshua Manocherian loves writing about sports. Support his hobby by tuning in to his sports blog regularly.

For some fans, the MVP Award of the NBA is nothing but another popularity contest. This is because one, the award is based on the votes by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters who don’t always know better and may be viewing the games with bias, and two, there aren’t clear metrics on what is “valuable” to begin with, hence why some writers may feel they are at liberty to do “protest” votes. However, despite the flaws of the process, the MVP award is still fun to discuss and argue about with fellow fans. Among many social circles in the Internet, it’s apparent that the 2017 MVP race revolves around these four players:

#1: James Harden (Rockets) – James Harden had a career-defining game against the Knicks early this year. The Rockets’ point guard posted 53 points, 17 assists, and 16 rebounds—the first player in NBA history to have a 50-15-15 triple-double. While the league leader in assists has gotten criticisms for baiting contact, he has nevertheless proven to be very efficient in Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense-oriented system, carrying the entire team on his back.

#2: Russell Westbrook (Thunder) – This season is definitely one for the books for Russell Westbrook, taking sweet revenge on former teammate Kevin Durant. Like Harden, Westbrook is putting out amazing stat lines: 48 points, 17 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 steals against the Phoenix Suns—his fourth game scoring 40 points. While he may be accused of ball hogging, this isn’t really his fault as he is surrounded by a weak supporting cast in OKC. Nevertheless, the Thunder’s guard continues to make history and is a frontrunner in the MVP race.

#3: Kawhi Leonard (Spurs) – In typical Spurs fashion, the small forward of the San Antonio Spurs doesn’t make a big deal out of his being a strong contender for the MVP Award. To him, it’s nothing more than a trophy, but for Spurs fans, Kawhi “just playing basketball” is nothing short of remarkable. Averaging around 26 points per game, Kawhi has successfully transformed himself from Defensive Player of the Year to all-around basketball superstar. Against LeBron James and the rest of the Cavaliers last January, he finished with 41 points, six rebounds, and five assists—a career-high.

#4: LeBron James (Cavaliers) – The more things change, the more they stay the same; it’s 2017 and LeBron James is still a contender for MVP, just like a decade ago. King James has been averaging 26 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds over the last 15 games of the Cavaliers, but what gives him the case to be crowned MVP is the fact that he has played more minutes than anyone in the league, and that he can play all five positions while coaching his team. Never mind his reputation for being a coach killer (whether you believe it to be true or not), LeBron’s superhuman athleticism is arguably in a league of its own.

Stay tuned to read more from Joshua Manocherian.

 

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Joshua Manocherian Sports Blog | Tim Tebow’s Unusual Road to Major League Baseball

 

 

Joshua Manocherian: Tim Tebow, Mets Designated Hitter

Joshua Manocherian has been a New York sports fan for as long as he can remember. He grew up watching the Mets and its legends, like Mike Piazza. While he is not entirely convinced that multi-sports stars can still exist in this day and age, he believes Tim Tebow still has a shot at making it to Opening Day.

My generation grew up watching and idolizing stars like Bo Jackson and Michael Jordan, two certified star athletes who played more than one sport particularly well. Jackson was one of the greatest sluggers who ever held a bat, and one of the most intriguing running backs who ever took to the gridiron. In fact, I think he’s the only one to be an All-Star in both baseball and football. Jordan, on the other hand, is THE greatest basketball player of all time. While his baseball career was short-lived, I feel he could’ve been a very good player.

Nowadays, though, it’s hard to find two-sport athletes who are successful in both fields. The rigors of practice and different training regimens, for one, make it difficult for one person to retool his or her skills and be successful right away. Which is why I was skeptical at first when I heard that Tim Tebow was pursuing a professional baseball career. Sure, I was aware that Tebow had a pretty solid high school career, but he had never played organized ball since then.

I’m not alone in being not too optimistic about Tebow’s MLB chances. ESPN, for one, called Tebow’s dreams a “relentless pursuit of failure”. After a stellar college football career, he had an up-and-down NFL run, helping the Denver Broncos win the AFC West crown in 2011, then getting cut from pre-season rosters in 2013 and 2015. He has never played high-level football since then

However, since then, he has been working on a baseball revival. He was seen working out for several teams in 2016, and while reviews haven’t been stellar, his competitive streak convinced the Mets that he’s still got enough juice left in him for a few RBIs. After playing in minor league games with the Scottsville Scorpions, he now has a chance to at least make the Mets’ spring lineup.

How did this happen? By all accounts, Tebow didn’t have a good run with Scottsville and was not invited to the Mets’ major league camp. But USA Today reported that he is constantly working on his swing with former Met and current Washington National Daniel Murphy. In addition, the upcoming World Baseball Classic has depleted the Mets’ minor-league rosters, which opened the door for Tebow.

In his first game, Tebow has been named the designated hitter for the Mets against the Boston Red Sox, facing no less than AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. If there was a chance for him to prove that he belongs to the plate, this game is it.

What can we expect from Tebow, then? There will be no Tebowing like he used to do after touchdowns; instead, he’ll likely go down swinging. Porcello does have one of the strongest arms in all of baseball anyway. As for Tebow, he’ll likely last a couple of games before being sent down to the minors again. And it will be a joy to watch – a grown man returning to something he loves to do for the first time in years.

 

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Joshua Manocherian: Dirk Nowitzki Scores 30,000 Points

 

 

Joshua Manocherian: Dirk Nowitzki Joins the 30,000 Points Club

Joshua Manocherian is a sports blogger and an avid fan of the NBA. He congratulates Dirk Nowitzki for joining the 30,000 Points Club in today’s blog.

Congratulations to Dirk Nowitzki! Last Tuesday, he became the 6th player in NBA history to score 30,000 points. The German power forward reached the milestone after making a jumper with 10:59 to go in the 2nd quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers. It was extra special as he got his 30,000th with his signature fadeaway. Dirk joins Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, and Kobe Bryant in this exclusive 30K club.

For those wondering how Dirk compares to the other legendary players, here’s a bit of info: Dirk played 1,377 games to reach 30,000 points. Meanwhile, the fastest player to reach 30,000 points is Wilt Chamberlain who did it in 941 games, followed by Michael Jordan (960 games), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,101 games), Karl Malone (1,152 games), and finally, Kobe Bryant (1,180 games).

On the other hand, if we rank the players by age—which should help put into perspective how phenomenal reaching 30K is—the ranking would look like this: Kobe Bryant is the youngest player in NBA history to reach 30K at 34 years and 104 days old, followed by Wilt Chamberlain (35 years and 179 days), Karl Malone (36 years and 189 days), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (36 years and 217 days), Dirk Nowitzki (38 years and 261 days), and finally, Michael Jordan (38 years and 321 days). You would think Jordan would top the list, but he did miss a big chunk (64 games) of his second season due to injury, and spent two years chasing baseballs.

In Dirk’s case, while he may already be 38 years old, this milestone nevertheless cements his status as one of the best international players in NBA history. We’ve seen many players slow down as they age but not Dirk; the 7-foot power forward may not be running the floor like he used to, but his offensive versatility is what gave the Mavericks its first championship in 2011.

For Dirk to have stuck it out with only one team in his entire playing career—the Dallas Mavericks—this 30K milestone is even more remarkable, especially during a time when player loyalty seems to have taken a step back in favor of chasing championships. Dirk has led the Mavericks to 15 NBA playoffs and is one of only seven others who are part of the 50-40-90 Club.

In a nutshell, the 50-40-90 club recognizes players who showed great all-around shooting efficiency, with a shooting percentage at or above 50% for field goals, 40% for three pointers, and 90% for free throws in an entire regular season. Dirk joined the club in the 2006-2007 regular season—following the Mavericks’ upset NBA Finals appearance against the Miami Heat. Other players who are part of the 50-40-90 club are Larry Bird, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, Steve Nash, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry.

With a fresh two-year contract with the Mavericks worth $50 million, fans can continue to hope that Dirk brings home the bacon one last time.

Stay tuned to read more from Joshua Manocherian.

 

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Joshua Manocherian: 2017 NFL Draft Prospects

 

 

Joshua Manocherian: Top 3 Prospects to Watch in the NFL

May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; A general view of a helmet, NFL shield, stage, and podium before the start of the 2014 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Joshua Manocherian is a huge college football fan. Today he shares his thoughts on the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft.

As we count down the days until the 2017-2018 kickoff which happens later in August, now might be a good time to turn our attention to college football players who are weeks away from successfully making the transition from amateur to professional. Most, if not all, players consider playing in the NFL as the dream. For these three players, not only do they have the best chances to fulfill that dream, but they also hold tremendous potential in shaking things up with their entry into the NFL.

#1: Vidauntae “Taco” Charlton – Among the possible first round prospects is Taco Charlton. Michigan’s defensive lineman is known for his deadly spins, twists, and bull rushes, which hints at a strong work ethic that will easily inspire. Standing at 6’6, his quickness may surprise many but the combination of his speed, strength, and pass rushing skills are what will really stun opponents. Safe to say, talent scouts won’t find it hard to warm up to what Charlton has to bring to the table.

#2: O.J. Howard – Another first round prospect favorite is Alabama’s tight end O.J. Howard. While he was mostly underutilized in Alabama—which isn’t really his fault—his recent showing at the Senior Bowl seemed to make up for all the ifs and could-have-beens in his college playing career. Tight ends hardly ever make the top of the draft but Howard is pulling out all the stops to show he deserves to have teams fighting over him. Get this: he ran the 40 in 4.51 seconds and he’s a staggering 6’6, 250 pound guy—now that’s something.

#3: Mike Williams – Another Mike Williams? Yes, the NFL has had at least seven other players with the same name, some who’ve had lackluster careers, but this year’s Mike Williams, Clemson’s receiver, could finally lift the curse off the name for good, right after Syracuse’s Michael Anthony “Mike” Williams. In all likelihood, Clemson’s Mike Williams could be the only player that could outrun or be faster than O.J. Howard at the 40 if he tried. His neck injury may have kept him from reaching his full potential, but he is nonetheless one of the strongest receivers, having shown great body control while up in the air.

Honorary Mention: Chris Godwin – For some reason, one of the more underrated prospects is Penn State’s Chris Godwin—the Chris Godwin who had an incredible 72-yard touchdown catch against USC in the Rose Bowl. Some fans rule him out as a second-rounder but Penn State’s wide receiver can always be proud about his has nine catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns against USC at the Rose Bowl.

Granted, there are many other players that could have made this list like Sam Rogers, Demetris Robertson, and Gabe Marks. What do you think? Wo are you rooting for to make it into the NFL? Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving me a comment.

Stay tuned to read more from Joshua Manocherian.

 

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Joshua Manocherian On The Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard

 

 

Joshua Manocherian: Player Spotlight On The Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard

Sports blogger Joshua Manocherian takes an in-depth look at Kawhi Leonard’s bright future, not only in San Antonio, but in the entire league.

There’s something to be said about the Spurs, the team famous for playing fundamentally excellent basketball without the flash or drama that a lot of other teams are known for. While some basketball fans are turned off precisely because of this, of how “boring” the Spurs are, the truth of the matter is that their system wins them championships, and at the end of the day, isn’t that what matters? Besides their lackluster and purist ways of playing basketball, however, it’s also become more apparent that “fit” is just as important in maintaining the Spurs’ integrity. Just look at the new face of the Spurs—Kawhi Leonard, and you might just start wondering if there’s something in the waters of San Antonio.

Kawhi Leonard, following the ways of teammate Tim Duncan and the other “nice guys” of the Spurs, has been playing phenomenally, albeit quietly; so much so that the 6 foot 7 inch forward has managed to slip under the radar the last few years even after winning Finals MVP in 2014. Leonard was only 22 at the time and one of the youngest players to snag that feat since Magic Johnson. The San Diego State player has also made the playoffs every single year of his professional career and yet, despite all these achievements, many basketball fans in general still need to be reminded of the reasons why he’s in the running for the NBA MVP award.

If his case for becoming the next MVP had to be summed up in one sentence, it would probably be his being the generational defensive talent to beat. He was crowned NBA Defensive Player of the Year back-to-back in 2015 and 2016, and is still likely to repeat in 2017. As one of the best perimeter defenders, notches above the Warriors’ Draymond Green, Kawhi Leonard is the rare combination of strength, agility, and instinct. With a gigantic wingspan that can rattle even the strongest players in the game—think LeBron James—Leonard’s defensive impact is undeniable. In the 2014 Finals against the Cavaliers, Leonard successfully shut down LeBron James and dictated his offense, which helped pave the way for his team to win the championship.

This season, the young small forward continues to show fans he can fill in the shoes left by Duncan and soon, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. While his double-doubles are surely convincing, it’s his professed undying loyalty to the Spurs that will cement his status as one of the GOATs, or greatest of all time. After winning the championship in 2014, Leonard himself said that he sees himself donning the black and white jersey for the entirety of his career. Coach Pop, on his part, has been generous with his praises of Leonard, believing he is going to be the new face of the Spurs and a basketball star in his own right.

For Spurs fans everywhere who may be loyal types themselves, these affirmations only spur them on to continue cheering for Kawhi Leonard and all of San Antonio.

Stay tuned to read more from Joshua Manocherian.

 

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Joshua Manocherian On Why A 3rd Straight Cavs vs. Warriors Finals Is Unlikely

 

 

Joshua Manocherian: 3 Reasons Not To Hope For Cavs-Warriors III

Joshua Manocherian is a sports blogger based in New York. He is a big fan of the NBA draft class of 2003 that includes LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade.

It may still be too early in the game to call this out, and this is likely an unpopular opinion, but fans shouldn’t hope for another Cavs vs. Warriors matchup. Here are three reasons why:

#1: It’s all about the Wizards now – While the Cavs are still favored to come out of the East, it’s not set in stone as the Wizards have effectively revived their rivalry with the Cavaliers after their showing last month. Fans and analysts alike are buzzing with excitement, saying that the recent match is by far one of the best in the regular season. The game reached nail-biting suspense in OT with LeBron’s incredible three point shot with only 0.3 seconds remaining.

If you weren’t able to catch the game, here are just some of the highlights which have people crossing their fingers for a Cavs vs. Wizards matchup in the Eastern Conference finals: LeBron James fouled out in the 4th after dropping 32 points and 17 career-high assists; Kevin Love contributed 39 points while Kyrie Irving put up 23 points, sinking a trey in the final minutes. Meanwhile, the Wizards emerged as the team that can make the Cavs break a sweat, with Bradley Beal shooting 41 points and John Wall giving 22 points and 12 assists. Simply put, you just have to catch the replays to see what all the fuss is about.

#2: The Warriors put all their eggs on Kevin Durant – Remember when the Internet blew up after fans found out that the Warriors let go of important contributors to have enough cap space to bring Kevin Durant to Golden State? Practically overnight, the Warriors became the most hated team in the league, if only for upsetting the delicate balance of superstar players colluding together to form superstar teams.

After Durant went down with a hyperextended knee, there are reasons to believe that they might not even make it out of the Western Conference. Especially after the Warriors are no longer the elite all-around team they once were. They’re just not as deep without Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli, Leandro Barbosa, Brandon Rush, Marreese Speights, and Andrew Bogut, which brings us to another reason why a third straight finals of Cavs vs. Warriors is unlikely to happen.

#3: Andrew Bogut’s defection – The 7-foot center from Australia joining the other side added some juice to the rivalry, but he just can’t seem to catch a break. His debut for the Cavaliers, which lasted all but 58 seconds, has come to an abrupt end with Bogut fracturing his tibia or shank bone. The No. 1 draft pick in 2005 was a key piece in the Warriors’ defense and his long absence due to persistent injuries is seen as a major reason why the Warriors were unable to stop the Cavaliers. What would have been a very interesting matchup between the Cavs and Warriors just seems less exciting now with all the injuries.

Stay tuned to read more from Joshua Manocherian.

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Joshua Manocherian Top 3 College Basketball Rivalries To Watch Out For

 

 

Joshua Manocherian: Top 3 Greatest Rivalries in College Basketball

Joshua Manocherian is a huge sports fan who has been blogging on the subject for years. This blog is his new home, and where he hopes to keep up the habit of writing.

When it comes to sports madness, there’s nothing quite like the drama of college basketball. From shouting matches to physical tussles bordering on violence, these intense rivalries—which have been brewing and simmering for decades—make up for a big part of the excitement of sports, without a doubt. Today, we remember some of the most heated matchups in college basketball history, the kind of stuff that hardcore fans live for.

#1: Duke vs. North Carolina

You know a rivalry is greater than average when even non-fans take sides and pick their favorites—this seems to have always been the case for Duke and North Carolina. One reason why the Tar Heels and Blue Devils’ rivalry has blown to epic proportions is because of the fact that they’re two of the nation’s top teams and consistent favorites to win the national championship every year. Their rivalry has a long history of producing some of the best players the sport has seen as well, like Michael Jordan and Grant Hill, not to mention some of the best coaches like Dean Smith and Mike Krzyzewski, who is better known as Coach K.

#2: Kansas State vs. Kansas

When it comes to instate rivalries, nothing comes quite as close to the Sunflower Showdown, or the rivalry between Kansas State University and the University of Kansas. Both schools stood fairly even against each other in the 1950s and it was only until three decades after, or in the 1980s, when the rivalry finally came to a head. Older basketball fans might remember the likes of Rolando Blackman and Mitch Richmond from Kansas State going up against Darnell Valentine and Danny Manning of KU. Manning is best known for bringing home KU’s second NCAA Championship. On the other hand, for the younger generation, their first taste of this heated rivalry most likely happened in the 2009-2010 season when both schools ranked in the Top 5 of the NCAA.

#3: Kentucky vs. Louisville

What fuels drama in a rivalry? When the head coach of one team suddenly decides to join the “enemy”, for instance—this is exactly what happened with Kentucky’s Rick Pitino (1989 to 1997). In 2001, he was hired by Louisville to be the new head coach of the men’s basketball team and safe to say, his old bosses, fans included, were not happy. On their part, Kentucky brought in John Calipari from University of Memphis, who managed to snag several top talents like John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins in his first year as head coach. Close to half a decade later and Kentucky’s revenge has never seemed so sweet: Rick Pitino just seems to be no match for John Calipari.

What do you think are the greatest rivalries in college basketball? Let me know what you think.

Stay tuned to read more from Joshua Manocherian.