MIKEDROP DAILY – Hot Take Tuesday

M!KEDROP DAILY brings you hot takes on the biggest stories in sports and recaps the previous days’ news and memorable moments. 

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Post NBA trade deadline analysis – which team is best position to win the Eastern Conference and who, out West, has the best chance to knock off the Warriors?

Dwayne Haskins > Kyler Murray

Selfishly, I am very happy Kyler Murray has formally entered the NFL draft. Baseball is boring and you can never have enough exciting QBs in the NFL. I love watching Murray play and I think he will be awesome in the NFL. That said, Dwayne Haskins is still my QB1 for the 2019 NFL draft. If I were running a team that needed a QB at the top of the draft, I’m taking Haskins over Murray. 

Another thought on Murray – enough with the nonsensical Arizona Cardinals talk. Back in October, new Cardinals, then-Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury said, on camera, that if he had the first pick in the draft he would take Kyler Murray. And people have now taken this statement way too literally. Kingsbury made this statement long before he had aspirations of coaching the team with the worst record. Josh Rosen will 100% be the Cardinals starting QB. Look at Mitchell Trubisky and Jared Goff’s respective transformations from year 1 to year 2 (and 3 for Goff). Rosen will be fine. Cardinals have much bigger issues as they have one of the worst rosters in football. The OL needs work. They need WR help. And they very badly need defensive help.

Kareem Hunt’s (Undeserved) Second Chance

I had so much to say about this in this week’s Podcast (fast forward to 40:00 minute mark).

I believe everyone deserves a second chance. The problem with this second chance is the optics don’t feel right. For one, there were allegedly three separate incidents involving Hunt. And two, Hunt hasn’t even been formally suspended or punished by the NFL yet. Josh Gordon smoked a little weed and is banished for the foreseeable future. Colin Kaepernick took a knee to raise awareness of political issues and will never take another NFL snap again (despite being better than several starting QBs and over 1/4 of the league’s backups. Kareem Hunt hit a woman. Not only that, but there is a video of him doing so. There really is no defending his actions. He should need to show a little more remorse before his second chance. I just think the dust should have settled a little bit before the Browns pulled the trigger. 

But from a football standpoint, say what you want, someone was going to do this sooner than later, unfortunately, and the Browns beat out the competition and did it before someone else did. On the field, the Browns have Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson. Hunt won’t play until the second half of the season and could simply provide fresh legs for the stretch run. To think he will supplant Chubb as the starter is simply naive.

Why Giannis is my MVP over Harden 

After his performance on Monday, Rockets guard James Harden has scored 30 or more points for 30 straight games. An incredible streak. But when looking at his value (the key word in MVP) to the Rockets compared to Giannis to the Bucks, I like Giannis as the MVP still.

Giannis has made everyone around him better and helped elevate Milwaukee to the top seed in the East. Khris Middleton is an All Star. Eric Bledsoe arguably could have been. Giannis is averaging 26/12/6. Harden is no doubt the best offensive player in the NBA today. But he also takes 40 shots a game, freelances and doesn’t involve his teammates, the way Giannis does. There’s a reason Harden was the second-to-last pick among starters in the NBA All Star draft. Because guys do not want to play with him. That will continue to be obvious when Houston is unable to attract big name free agents to play for the Rockets in future years (Chris Paul was traded and signed a max, Clint Capella signed an extension so neither of them count).

What about Paul George? George is averaging 36 ppg over the last 12 Thunder games (and 30 ppg on the season). So what makes him different from Harden? Well, over that span the Thunder are 11-1, while the Rockets are 8-4. As noted, Harden is not elevating his teammates. On Monday night. Paul George recorded a triple-double, which included 47 points! Teammate Russell Westbrook also recorded a triple-double and has really taken a backseat to George this year. They became the first teammates EVER to each put up a 20-point triple-double in the same game.

AAF is Cool 

I’m one of those “football is football” people, so of course I tuned in to the AAF this weekend! I’m also a huge college football fan so many of the names were familiar to me, like San Antonio QB Logan Whiteside and WR Mekale McKay from Cincinnati. The AAF is cool but it should serve a much larger purpose.

The AAF should be the equivilent of the NBA Summer League, a league where young players and fringe pro players go to hone their skills and prove their worth. This league is perfect for guys like Cooper Rush, Mason Rudolph, Brad Kaaya, Jake Rudock and many other QBs who are on NFL rosters but do not get ample playing time (for obvious reasons).

Dak Prescott Extension

There’s been much debate about Dak Prescott and a new contract that he is likely going to receive. I believe Prescott is worth the $25 million he will garner from the Cowboys this off-season. Look around the NFL. There are a lot of QBs worse than him. Cowboys have won division twice in two years. I think there were behind the scenes issues with the coaching staff and a new offensive coordinator in 2019 should help him improve, along with a full year of Amari Cooper and a training camp to get comfortable. 

Tennessee is Better than Duke

Duke has the flash. The stars. Everything. Tennessee has the better team. I love the way Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield are playing. These guys have the experience of going through a couple of tournament games last year. I like them to win it all in 2019. 

Duke has two wins over Virginia this year, including this past Saturday. Cavaliers bounced back in a big way winning in Chapel Hill Monday night over UNC. This, despite the incredible trolling and taunting by the North Carolina fans.

Luka Doncic is the GOAT

All due respect to DeAndre Ayton, Marvin Bagely, Trae Young, Jaren Jackson Jr, four rookies who are playing very well for their respective teams, shame on those teams for passing on Luka Doncic, the greatest player in NBA history.

Among the many accomplishments of the 19 year old Luka Doncic

  • 8 30 points games
  • 4 20 points/10 assists games
  • 5 20 points/10 rebounds games
  • 3 triple-doubles
  • 3/3 Rookie Of The Month

Anthony Edwards – the Next Ben Simmons/Markelle Fultz

This has two meanings – for one, Edwards, the #1 rated recruit in the 2019 recruiting class according to 247 Sports, has a chance to be the #1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. And like Simmons and Fultz, there’s an excellent chance he doesn’t play in the NCAA Tournament. On Monday, Edwards (for some weird reason) committed to Georgia (in basketball, not football). According to CBS Sports, Edwards Georgia coach Tom Crean’s success with Dwyane Wade and Victor Oladipo as a big factor. Edwards curiously did not mention the fact that Georgia is 1-9 in SEC play in 2019.

The Art of Tanking

I think the word “tank” gets thrown around a lot in sports and isn’t always used properly. No coach or player is EVER going to attempt to tank. NEVER! However, an owner may give a mandate to a front office to build a non-competitive team. And that’s what you see happening in the NBA.  

Let’s use the Knicks as an example. The Knicks fight, they clearly play hard every single night and the players on the team are actively trying to win every ball games. They just aren’t good enough to win. And that’s by design. The front office has set them up to fail. The players were put in a position to lose, to benefit the future. It’s unfortunate but it’s the nature of the business. The focus on the season is on developing young guys and saving money.  But don’t ever blame a player for “winning” because the future is never guaranteed for players, they are focus on themselves and winning and winning now, not later.

Of course, the front office may be justified in putting together a terrible product to benefit the future.

See, exhibit A

What to Watch For – Tuesday 2/12

FOUR ranked vs ranked college basketball games on Tuesday

  • 12 Purdue @ 24 Maryland
  • 19 LSU vs 5 Kentucky
  • 11 Michigan St vs 20 Wisconsin
  • 2 Duke @ 16 Louisville

Additionally, Buffalo, Michigan, and Marquette are in action from the top 25.

In the NBA, TNT has an exciting double-header

Celtics vs 76ers – Rematch from 2018 Eastern Conference Semis. In that series, Celtics were clearly the best team, but 76ers have the best starting five in the East right now. Kyrie Irving is out with a knee injury.

Jazz vs Warriors – Utah is hovering around the 4/5/6 seed, which if they end up 4-5 would be in position to face the Warriors in the second round. They should have tried harder to acquire Mike Conley last week

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For more sports takes, follow me on twitter @msschneid or instagram @mikedropsports

Mike is an alum of the University of Cincinnati and the ultimate sports nerd.

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