Michael Bohilin, February 14, 2015
One of the highlights of NBA All-Star Weekend is the annual Rising Stars Challenge as the top first and second-year players across the league are selected to the game which serves as one of the kick-off events for the weekend itself.
This year, things will be slightly different as for the first time the format of the game has the top young players from America taking on the top young players from the World.
Team USA Nerlens Noel - Philadelphia 76ers
Zach LaVine - Minnesota Timberwolves
Victor Oladipo - Orlando Magic
Cody Zeller - Charlotte Hornets
Mason Plumlee - Brooklyn Nets
Michael Carter-Williams (injured, will not play) - Philadelphia 76ers
Trey Burke - Utah Jazz
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - Detroit Pistons
Shabazz Muhammad - Minnesota Timberwolves
Elfrid Payton - Orlando Magic
Robert Covington - Philadelphia 76ers
World Team Giannis Antetokounmpo - Milwaukee Bucks
Steven Adams (injured, will not play) - Oklahoma City Thunder
Gorgui Dieng - Minnesota Timberwolves
Andrew Wiggins - Minnesota Timberwolves
Bojan Bogdanovic - Brooklyn Nets
Kelly Olynyk (injured, will not play) - Boston Celtics
Dante Exum - Utah Jazz
Rudy Gobert - Utah Jazz
Nikola Mirotic - Chicago Bulls
Jusuf Nurkic (injured, will not play) - Denver Nuggets
Dennis Schroder - Atlanta Hawks
Matthew Dellavedova - Cleveland Cavaliers
Kostas Papanikolaou - Houston Rockets
By Dhiren Mahiban, November 12, 2014
According to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, top prospect Connor McDavid suffered a fractured bone in his right hand following a fight against Mississauga Steelheads center Bryson Cianfrone Tuesday night.
The Otters’ captain received a major for fighting and a game misconduct for taking off Cianfrone’s helmet. It was McDavid’s second career fight and second of this season.
McDavid is scheduled to undergo further evaluation with a hand specialist in Toronto on Wednesday.
The injury occurred when McDavid failed to hit Cianfrone with a punch, instead connecting with the glass.
“He’s competitive and that happens in hockey, but certainly as a team we want him on the ice and we want him scoring goals not in the penalty box,” said Erie Otters coach Kris Knoblauch of McDavid fighting. “But can’t hold him back and take the bite out of him.
“He’s certainly competitive and gets angry sometimes, but as a team we’re certainly better with him.”
McDavid had a goal and an assist in the game prior to the fight – he now has 16 goals and 51 points through 18 games this season.
Following the game, the Erie Otters released a statement on their star:
Erie Otters forward Connor McDavid suffered a hand injury during the second period of tonight’s game against the Mississauga Steelheads. He will visit a hand specialist Wednesday for further examination. McDavid is ruled out indefinitely.
The 17-year-old was a lock to star on Canada’s entry at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, but with the injury, his participation could be in jeopardy. Team Canada begins its’ pre-tournament training camp Dec. 10 in Toronto.
McDavid is projected to be one of the first two selections at next June’s NHL Draft.
By Alec Nathan, Featured Columnist, November 12, 2014
Tim Duncan. Karl Malone. Charles Barkley. Dirk Nowitzki. Anthony Davis?
According to Kobe Bryant, the 21-year-old phenom is on track to be grouped among that esteemed group of power forwards when his career comes to a close.
Following the Los Angeles Lakers' 107-102 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Bryant heaped some serious praise on Davis, according to the Orange County Register's Bill Oram:
At the rate Davis has progressed on both ends of the floor, it's hard to disagree with Bryant's take.
After joining Shaquille O'Neal as the second player in league history to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks at age 20 or younger, according to Basketball-Reference.com, Davis is playing his way into the MVP conversation behind averages of 24.8 points, 13.0 rebounds, 4.2 blocks, 2.5 steals and 2.2 assists while shooting 51.8 percent from the field.
And even if the New Orleans Pelicans aren't able to qualify for the postseason in a crowded Western Conference, Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes believes Davis should garner MVP consideration if he continues to post unprecedented statistical figures:
He's already doing more for his team than anyone else is for theirs. He's doing more than anyone, period.
All the buzz Davis is getting now will fade if the Pelicans gradually slip from the playoff picture, and that's not fair. AD has done all he can to put himself in the MVP conversation this season. He belongs there—now, and as long as he continues to blow us away with stats and highlights.
Owner of the league's highest player efficiency rating (35.79), according to ESPN.com, Davis continues to redefine on-court brilliance by expanding one of the Association's most unique skill sets on a game-to-game basis.
Bryant will get a firsthand look at Davis' evolving greatness when the Lakers travel to Smoothie King Center for a showdown with the Pelicans at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday night.
By Mike Freeman, NFL National Lead Writer, November 12, 2014
No matter what you hear about all of the procedural hearings, timelines and judicial proceedings, here is the bottom line when it comes to two of the highest-profile NFL criminals in recent history:
Adrian Peterson is a pariah, but he will play again.
Ray Rice is a bigger pariah, and he most likely won't.
There are potential variations on that bottom line, but it is by far the likeliest outcome. So while the union and the NFL fight over the futures of both players, those futures are probably already set.
Rice's situation is the most interesting. League officials believe it's virtually impossible for Roger Goodell to keep Rice out of football for a substantial period of time. The union belief that Rice is essentially being punished twice is likely correct. At some point soon, Rice will be reinstated.
Jason DeCrow/Associated Press The question is what will happen when Rice is eligible to return. Team officials say that, for the moment, there is almost no interest in the running back. What teams are weighing, one team executive said, is Rice's ability versus the storm of hell that would rain down on any franchise that employs him.
Rice's skills were already dramatically in decline. That fact, combined with his heinous act, makes Rice a difficult, if not impossible, player for a team to sign. That video, that ugly video, doesn't just stick to Rice; it also sticks to any team—the owner, the general manager—that would sign him.
Very few teams, if any, will want to take that risk.
Peterson is different. He ran for more than 3,000 yards over the past two seasons. And while his crime was also awful, there seems to be—anecdotally and unbelievably—more sympathy for the fact that Peterson beat his four-year-old son. Just look at some of the message boards and Twitter rants. Whenever I write that Peterson was an animal to his own child, I get hundreds of tweets saying he was justified.
Scott Halleran/Getty Images So there will be arguments and legal battles, but with those two players we know what will likely happen.
Peterson will play again.
Rice probably won't.
Mike Roemer/Associated Press I don't know what kind of person would use Twitter to attack the daughter of a coach. What kind of despicable human being would do something like that. What kind of troll. What kind of loser. I do know there is nothing the NFL or the Chicago Bears can do about it. It happens all the time on the Internet, and yes, some of you will say why draw attention to it—but maybe finding out who the trolls are, and shaming them, is the best way to combat such ugliness. I don't know. I just know no one deserves that.
3. Scary Eagles
The one thing that is frightening about Philadelphia is how many of its touchdowns are coming on special teams. From ESPN Stats and Info:
That is simply incredible. If I'm the rest of the league, this terrifies me. Because if Philadelphia gets its offense playing as well as its special teams, the Eagles would be damn near unbeatable.
4. Bears stuck with Cutler for now
Mike Roemer/Associated Press One thing has become clear with Jay Cutler: He can't be trusted.
He's not someone a franchise can consistently win with. Not even close. Watching Cutler and Aaron Rodgers on the field was a startling contrast. One player was precise and brilliant, like a high-quality timepiece. The other was Cutler.
The problem for the Chicago Bears remains that unless they trade Cutler, the team is likely stuck with him for two years.
Cutler's contract calls for $54 million in guaranteed money. He's already been given $38 million of that. The Bears could save some cash by releasing him before March of 2015 or 2016, as Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio points out. The other side of that coin, via the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs, is that doing so "would leave the Bears on the hook for a massive cap hit of $19.5 million."
So there will be lots of Cutler face (and interceptions, regression and indifference) in Chicago for two years. It's unlikely a team would trade for Cutler so they could see firsthand the interceptions, regression and indifference.
Sorry Chicago. You're stuck with him for a bit. More jersey burning to come.
5. Browns offense keeps it simple
AJ Mast/Associated Press Quick note on the Browns. One of the reasons they are winning (not a surprise for those of us who thought they'd do well this season) is that their offense is fairly simple. This is not an insult. Simple is good in football. Where the Browns are especially so is on the offensive line. The offense is committed to the run, uses a lot of zone blocking (easier for linemen) and runs a lot of play action.
6. Extreme violence
This pass rush is maybe the best of season so far. It may end up being the best of the season, period. It demonstrates just the sheer brutality and aggression of the sport. The rules changes have softened the violence (somewhat), but the NFL, despite complaints from some fans, remains utterly brutal.
7. Best sack dance ever?
I may be the only one fascinated by this, but I can't stop watching. Can't. Stop. Watching. Just wanted to share. OK, I'm done.
8. Cardinals making history
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press From the NFL: The Cardinals "improved to 8-1 for the first time since 1948." 1948. Also: "This is the first time the Cardinals have owned the best record in the NFL after nine games since 1966." You know what debuted in 1966? Star Trek, that's what. It's an omen. The Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl.
9. Teams will line up to sign Lynch
Elaine Thompson/Associated Press The Seahawks will likely part ways with Marshawn Lynch after this season for a variety of reasons. One of the main ones is Lynch doesn't get along with the coaching staff (Seattle denial in three, two, one…). But no matter what Lynch's rep is with Seattle coaches, if he is excommunicated, another team will sign him lickety.
At times this week, especially late in the game, the Giants looked scared to tackle him. I mean, outright scared. Lynch rushed for four touchdowns and became only the third player in franchise history to rush for four scores, according to the league. The other two were Shaun Alexander and Curt Warner.
Other teams see what maybe some in that organization take for granted: Lynch is the key to that team. Get rid of him at your own peril, Seattle.
10. More ridiculous offense
Mike Roemer/Associated Press It just doesn't stop. The offense. It grows and grows and grows. Like a Sharknado.
According to the NFL, "Teams have combined for 6,862 points this season, the most points through 10 weeks in NFL history." That breaks the record set…last season.
Also, "Teams have combined to score 781 touchdowns and have thrown 499 touchdown passes, both of which are the most ever through Week 10." Those break the records set…last season.
These records will likely be broken next season because of Offense-nado.
Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.
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