Monthly Archives: September 2016

Jeremy Lin: I always wanted to be a leader

During media day in the heart of his new home, Jeremy Lin could look out from the Brooklyn Nets’ new training facility in Brooklyn and see Manhattan. He definitely remembers the crazy days in the other borough.

“I’m not intentionally going back to New York to prove something, the only reason I chose to come back is because this is the best place I can be,” Lin said during an interview with ESPN China. “But New York is definitely special in my heart.”

The Nets offered Lin exactly what he wanted last summer as a free agent: a young team that needs a franchise player, a head coach who is fully invested in him, a starting role and a caring community.

“It’s a different environment. I was somewhere for so long, I knew where to go, I can walk backward and get anywhere I want to go. It’s just different, but different is not a bad thing. It’s been cool. I’m like the new kid in class. I’ve gotta find my one friend to talk to before I can get more friends, but I’m figuring it all out. Like I said, I’m happy to be here. At this time in my career, this is where I want to be.”

The Bulls’ front office is happy to have Wade in the fold and remains confident that the 34-year-old can show the young team how to improve on a daily basis. While Wade adjusts to his new team in his hometown, GM Gar Forman acknowledged that the Bulls are going to keep a close eye on Wade’s body throughout the season and that a minutes restriction would be “fluid.”

Here’s Anthony on Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings and Courtney Lee, the other new faces on the roster:

“Joakim, he’s a character. He’s very intense, very emotional, and you can see that with his workouts, you can see that in the gym, you can see that playing pickup, just him in the weight room working. You can see the focus that these guys have. A guy who nobody really speaks about is Courtney Lee. I think he’s going to be a great addition to this team, a guy who comes in and does little things, does multiple things on the basketball court that a lot of people don’t talk about. And then we have another guy, Brandon Jennings; his focus right now is to win, is to play good basketball and to help us lead this team. He’s focused and everybody’s focused. The focus level is an all-time high.”

The Knicks hope that Anthony’s new teammates can take some of the pressure to score off of the 31-year-old. Anthony appreciates that, but he correctly pointed out on Monday that he will take a bulk of the blame in New York if things don’t go well.

Don’t miss out on star point guards early in fantasy drafts

Over the first half of September, while much of the sports world focused on the start of football season, I spent countless hours participating in fantasy basketball mock drafts in preparation for the season ahead.

It was a fun and enlightening exercise, to be sure, helping to shed light on trends such as rising and falling players, strong and weak parts of the draft, and average draft positions of pivotal names like Ben Simmons and Chris Bosh.

Through it all, I found one piece of advice that stands out like LeBron James on a fast break, at least for those in standard snake-style drafts. It is simply this:

Thomas’ random act of kindness went viral this weekend after a story about the encounter appeared in The Boston Globe. McNulty appeared on “Good Morning America” on Monday, and Thomas surprised him yet again, asking him to be his guest at a Celtics game this season.

McNulty, wearing a No. 34 Paul Pierce Celtics jersey T-shirt from his home, drew laughter on GMA when he joked about not initially realizing it was Thomas because of his height.

“It was really just insane. … I saw somebody walking toward me but he wasn’t that tall, so I didn’t expect [it to be a NBA player],” McNulty said. “I took another look and then, ‘Oh, I know that guy.'”

Added McNulty: “He was at about half court and then I took another shot. Then I turned around and he’s just like staring at me, walking towards me. I immediately know who he is because I’m a huge Celtics fan. I’m just speechless.”

McNulty said he stood there “just dribbling for like five seconds with my mouth open” before Thomas asked him if he wanted to play.

Thomas’ wife, Kayla, captured video of the two getting up shots on the cone-covered asphalt playground. The Thomases were in the area attending a back-to-school gathering for their son, Jaiden.

What can Cubs-Cardinals series tell us about October?

Last season, when the Chicago Cubs met the St. Louis Cardinals for the first time ever in the postseason, it was perhaps the high point of a rivalry that began April 12, 1892, the same day the portable typewriter was patented. Now that we’re pounding out our 21st century game stories on all manner of portable devices, there is a decent chance the bitter foes will clash again in the National League Division Series.

Look, there really aren’t any team-level indicators that are going to raise a red flag when in comes to the Cubs. That’s just how good and complete this team is. Consider this a precautionary tale: In a tight series in which a disproportionate portion of the scoring comes via the long ball, St. Louis is probably the one team the Cubs wouldn’t want to face.

Of course, that all comes down to matchups, so we’ll keep our focus on a couple of those. It starts with St. Louis’ starter Tuesday, lefty Jaime Garcia. It’s been a down season for Garcia, but he has a long history of stymying a few key Cubs. Heyward, Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell are a combined 4 for 42 against Garcia, and all four hits have been singles.

Two innings, 55 pitches and lots of introspection later, Cole sounded like a guy who might be ready to regroup and start fresh in spring training.

Cole returned to the mound after missing three weeks with right elbow inflammation, and the results weren’t remotely close to what he had in mind. He had trouble throwing strikes from the outset and turned in an ineffective cameo in a 6-2 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

So where does Cole go from here? During a strained and somewhat awkward session with reporters, Cole declined to speculate on whether he’ll make the three scheduled starts left for him this season.

“I’d like to just take it day-by-day at this point,” Cole said. “I’ll probably have a better answer for you down the line.”

And how does his arm feel? Cole’s demeanor and cryptic responses suggested he has some things on his mind that he’s not ready to share for public consumption.

“I’m as good as I’m going to get,” he said.

Before the playoffs arrive, Cubs make time for fantasy football draft

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs are ready for some trash talking. Not with a potential National League playoff foe but among themselves — their fantasy football league kicks off on Thursday with the start of the NFL season. Monday’s draft in Milwaukee had high intensity, according to commissioner Jason Hammel.

“I don’t feel like there is one team that is head and shoulders the best,” Hammel said Wednesday. “According to the website rankings they graded out [Rob] Zastryzny as the best draft and Tommy La Stella as the worst.”

Hammel is the defending champ and in charge of the 12-team league, which includes players and coaches. Zastryzny is a rookie both to baseball and the Cubs fantasy league.

Hammel says players will stay in touch during the offseason via a group text. That’s when the trash talking picks up. He claims former Cub Dan Haren was as good as anyone last season.

“Haren was awesome,” Hammel stated. “He tried to blow up as many guys as he could.”

Hammel recounted some of the draft highlights in the point-per-reception league.

“Running backs went fast, which surprised me because it’s a PPR league and usually the wide receivers go,” Hammel said. “I took ODB [Odell Beckham Jr.] with the second overall pick.”

But the man of the hour – at least until kickoff – is rookie lefty Zastryzny. He knows he has only so much time to trash talk before predictions become meaningless.

On Wednesday, Casilla gave up a home run to Nolan Arenado and a one-out single. Bruce Bochy finally showed his lack of faith in his struggling closer and brought in Osich, who hit Charlie Blackmon. He then brought in Nathan, making his second appearance for the Giants since signing Aug. 16 — after the Cubs had waived him following two appearances for them. It was a clear sign of desperation on Bochy’s part, wishing he could simply turn the clock back to Nathan’s heyday. It didn’t work, as Pagan failed to catch up to Nick Hundley’s blooper; yes, Pagan was playing deep at Coors Field, but his old legs showed on a ball that hung up a long time. Then Cristhian Adames lined the winning double off the right-field wall.

The closer issue is but one problem for the Giants. Buster Posey’s homerless streak is now 42 games. Hunter Pence has three home runs and a .299 OBP since the break, Eduardo Nunez is hitting .228 with a .299 OBP and so on. The Giants still lead the National League wild-card race, but it’s now down to a half-game over the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets. Desperate times indeed.

In all seriousness, it’s a fun story brewing here, considering the front office essentially decided to punt the season when they traded Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran. The Yankees are now 21-13 since Aug. 1, and the bullpen has a 3.66 ERA since then. It had a 3.40 ERA through July 31, so even minus Chapman and Miller, the pen has been effective. In those 34 games, Joe Girardi has used 156 relief appearances; that’s more than 4.5 relievers per game on average, a number that will only go up in September, as the Yankees are carrying 17 pitchers and Girardi will use all of them. It might not be baseball the way Alexander Cartwright drew it up, but it’s working for the Yankees.