Category Archives: GW Basketball

All things Colonials basketball.

Celtics Facing Adversity Following Hayward Injury

By: Ben Greenberger

The Boston Celtics got about three minutes with their newly formed superteam fully intact. On his way down from attempting to catch a lob in last night’s opener in Cleveland, prized free agent acquisition Gordon Hayward landed on the outside of his right foot, causing his fibula to break and his ankle to dislocate. Initial reports state that he will likely miss the entire season and should be ready for training camp.

Hayward signed a four year, $128M deal this summer to join the Celtics core that included Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas at the time. Thomas and Crowder were traded to the Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving, perhaps bolstering an already deep roster. Hayward was expected to be the primary or secondary scoring option on a team that was supposed to contend for an Eastern Conference Championship. Those dreams seem far out, lest the Cavaliers suffer a similar fate to one of their superstars.

But the Celtics expectation of challenging the Cavaliers seems to be a pipe dream. After one game, they’ll be forced to turn to Irving for most of their scoring. He has been knocked by scouts and GMs in the league as an illegitimate first option, although this is absolutely his chance to prove his detractors wrong in a new city with a more talented supporting cast than he had as a 19 year old rookie in Cleveland. However, the second scoring option falls somewhere between Al Horford, a center best known for his solid all-around game; Jaylen Brown, a 20 year old second year player who is still developing but has shown flashes of stardom; and Jayson Tatum, a 19 year old rookie from Duke who was not expected to play heavy minutes early on but has a spectacular offensive game that he displayed at Duke last year which led to his selection third overall in the past draft. Tatum might be the best second option, but the Celtics might be looking at a third or even fourth seed this year, and an uncompetitive one at that. Both the Raptors and Wizards have been together longer and look strong for the upcoming season barring any injuries.

As for Hayward, he was consoled in the locker room by Isaiah Thomas, who recruited him to Boston only to be traded a few weeks later. Hayward will undergo surgery this week to repair the fracture.

What now for Green Bay?

By: Cameron Ventola

Sunday was a rough day for Green Bay Packers’ fans that saw star QB Aaron Rodgers suffer a season ending injury–a broken collarbone. I can speak for my fellow Packers fans in saying that this is a devastating loss to the team. To be frank, the Packers have relied almost exclusively on Rodgers’ “Bad Man” mentality to win games–late-game heroics propelled the team to stunning victories over Cincinnati and Dallas, while a 3rd quarter burst led a lazy Packers offense to a 17-9 triumph over Seattle.

I want to be clear, though, I want to see Brett Hundley succeed. As much as losing Aaron Rodgers stings, I would love for this team to keep winning–what a story that would be! That being said, Hundley was less than stellar in his first few quarters of play, throwing 1 TD, 3 INT and 157 yards on 18 completions (33 attempts). Luckily for him, his first career start will come at home against the New Orleans Saints, certainly not a team known for its defensive prowess.

One suggestion I’ve seen circulating is that the Packers ought to sign Colin Kaepernick. I’m not going to weigh in on the political controversy surrounding Kap and the anthem protests, but even then this doesn’t make much sense on a football level. Why? Hundley is only 24 and he’s learned quarterbacking from one of the game’s greatest for the last 3 years. Colin Kaepernick, meanwhile, is 29 years old (soon to be 30) and I think it’s fair to say his best years are behind him. Kap put up solid numbers last year with the 49ers (16 TDs, 4 INT and 2241 yards in 12 games), but there’s also been a tangible decline in his production since 2013. Signing Kaepernick would also suggest that the Packers can remain competitive with Aaron Rodgers–I personally don’t believe that. The team’s defense has been wonky at best–the cornerback situation is as underwhelming as ever and, as I mentioned earlier, only the heroics of a star were able to save a team whose offense featured an injury-riddled offensive line and inconsistent receivers. I don’t see Colin Kaepernick (or Brett Hundley for that matter) filling that void. Playing Hundley is the better decision because it allows the Packers to develop someone who may well replace Aaron Rodgers as the full-time starter one day. Desperately trying to be a win-now team will only lead to more frustration down the line.

I can accept that the Packers will likely miss the playoffs this year, but this is an exciting opportunity to watch Brett Hundley develop. After all, Green Bay has a solid history with QB’s named Brett.

Go Pack Go!

Will Top Draft Picks Preseason Progress Translate to Regular Season Success?

By: Alexander Tong

As the NBA preseason comes to an end, everyone starts to get a preview of what to expect this upcoming regular season. To start, in spite of coming off a hot summer league streak, the Los Angeles Lakers have had a bumpy beginning. With their #2 draft pick, Lonzo Ball, still not running at full strength, the Lakers look to their other summer league standout, Kyle Kuzma. Although Kuzma never made too much noise on the court when playing for the Utah Utes, he has shown his ability to control the court this summer, securing Summer League Finals MVP.

The Sacramento Kings have also shown tremendous potential to succeed this upcoming season, despite their losing streak. With three collegiate studs, De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Justin Jackson, the King’s roster is equipped with speed, agility, and sheer scoring capability. Hopefully, they can use those tools to improve upon the King’s 49 losses.

The Philadelphia 76er’s are also another team to look out for. The sixers have a strong bench to provide “point guard support,” eliminating the worry for proper ball distribution, with one of the most hyped players of 2016, Ben Simmons, coming off of injury and the #1 draft pick, Markelle Fultz, to accompany him.

The Boston Celtic’s, though, are probably another team nobody expected to blow up. Jayson Tatum, the third round pick, has solidified his role in the Celtic’s offensive system, playing substantial minutes and serving as an effective small forward. He has yet to drop major points, but he is definitely still a player the Celtics can build off of. Also, with one of the best point guards in the league, Kyrie Irving, the team adds another dimension to both their offense and defense.

The Detroit Pistons also are probably one of the more underrated team. In their last 4 preseason games, the Pistons have shown their ability to score and keep up, running up the scoreboard. Luke Kennard, the rook coming out of Duke, and Stanley Johnson, out of the Arizona, are two players that, given more minutes, can definitely both become offensive and defensive threats. In addition, Andre Drummond is expected to have a breakout season, coming off a productive summer.

Overall, I would say that, although this year’s draft class has shown their ability to play, they are still too young to have an actual impact on the game. If anything, these first-year rookies will serve as longtime franchise players that won’t turn out for another few years, or either as deal sweeteners to get established stars.

Nationals Fall Short Once Again

By: Daniel Stettin

There seems to be three guarantees in life: Death, Taxes, and the Nationals losing in the NLDS. In 2012, they lost to the Cardinals in 5. In 2014, they lost to the Giants in 4. 2016 they lost in 5 to the Dodgers. And then this year, the Nats fell to the Cubs in 5. This brings up the simple question of whether they are choking or just losing to better teams?

Only in one of those series did the Nationals actually blow a 2-1 series lead (2016) however it seems every season that they find a way to blow it. The 2017 Nationals won 97 games despite Bryce Harper missing over a month due to injury. Many pegged this to finally be the year where they overcome their past playoff struggles to potentially bring DC a World Series. However, the bullpen would blow leads in both game 3 and 5. It wasn’t as if the pitchers that gave up these leads were struggling pitchers as well. All Star reliever Brandon Kintzler, acquired from the Twins at the deadline, would take the loss in game 3, while probable Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer would take the loss in game 5. Both circumstances saw All Star pitchers struggle with command. Kintzler, despite walking just 16 hitters all season, opened the 8th inning of game 3 with a walk with that runner eventually scoring the winning run for the Cubs. Scherzer was even worse, hitting a batter and throwing a passed ball on a third strike allowing the runner to get on base.

In both situations, Scherzer and Kintzler were in situations where they are not accustomed to pitching. Kintzler was an All Star Closer for the Twins in the first half but was not nearly as effective in middle relief for the Nationals. Scherzer meanwhile, hasn’t appeared out of the pen since the 2013 postseason when he gave up a run, walked two hitters, and allowed three hits in just 2 innings for the Tigers. This falls flat on Dusty Baker for putting his players in situations that they are not used to playing in. This isn’t the first time Baker has been criticized for his usage of pitchers. Many blame Baker for overusing Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, and Edison Volquez before injuries led to a significant decline in play. While Baker has led his teams to winning records in 14 0f 22 seasons, he has only advanced past the NLDS twice. The Nationals thought they were getting a safe hire in a veteran after having an inexperienced manager in Matt Williams. If the Nationals do choose to move on from Baker, they will have to get a home run hire to help push the Nationals over the hump.