March Madness in April? These NBA Playoff Teams Could Be Cinderellas

In a seven-game NBA series, hot shooting or some other unforeseen anomaly has far less impact than in a single-elimination tournament. That’s largely why we’ve only seen four No. 7 or No. 8 seeds advance since the league went to a seven-game first-round format in 2003.nike nfl jerseys from china

But that’s a coward’s way to think. Who needs to hedge at this time of year?c8f3eed25385e4a51aafc3528d9d23f0_crop_exact

The search for an NBA Cinderella has to start with the possibility of a first-round upset. That’s the threshold requirement for such a team. There’s also got to be an underdog element that extends beyond the seeding disadvantage. Any true Cinderella best price nfl jerseys has to overcome a serious talent discrepancy, creating the storybook feel we associate with success against long odds.

If a team is missing a star (or never had one in the first place), that’s a good start. If there’s reason to believe regular-season success, such as it was, came via smoke and mirrors, even better. These teams have to seem overmatched. But they also need to have a narrow avenue—favorable matchups, experience advantages or strategic edges—that could lead to an upset.

We’re supposed to doubt them…until they stun us into belief. nfl jerseys women

The second half of the season hasn’t been kind to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

A defense that ranked first in mid-January is tied for 14th since then, and OKC’s offense has been suspect all year. With field-goal accuracy rates that rank 19th at the rim, 30th from mid-range and 23rd from deep, the Thunder enter the postseason as one of the most vulnerable teams in the league.official nfl nike jerseys

They’re slated to draw the untested Denver Nuggets in the first round. And that, folks, raises the possibility of an upset.the authentic nfl jerseys

Please appreciate how ridiculous that statement should look in light of OKC’s 0-4 record against the Nuggets this year. Those four losses came by an average of nine points per game, and both Paul George and Russell Westbrook played in every meeting. There’s no mistaking the Nuggets’ regular-season ownership of the Thunder.where to get nfl jerseys

Will the New York Giants Finally Draft Eli Manning’s Successor?

Find someone who loves you as much as New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman apparently loves quarterback Eli Manning. best cheap nfl jerseys

“I really believe there has been a false narrative out there that Eli is finished, he’s done,” Gettleman said, per the New York Post’s Peter Botte. “He had a heck of a year. We scored a lot of points late. But, at the end of the day, jerseys nfl cheap Eli can still make all of the NFL throws. He can still play.”179c90c7af8e61c54f2a43e8072931ff_crop_exact

No statistical evidence can be provided to back up the general manager’s claims. Manning finished bottom half of the league in completion percentage, touchdowns and quarterback rating.

The veteran signal-caller did rank fifth in turnover-worthy plays last season, according to Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo. Manning didn’t even play well down the stretch as Gettleman stated. He graded as the NFL’s 32nd-best quarterback from Week 8 on, per PFF’s Pat Thorman. Obviously, former Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t agree with the idea the aging quarterback can still “make all of the NFL throws.” nfl jersey nike

Fortunately, Gettleman does realize Manning’s age (38) is a negative and the organization must find an eventual successor. cheap nfl jerseys for sale

“Anyhow, the bottom line is, yes, we have to address it,” the general manager said, per Botte. “It’s reality. So when the time is right we will.”

Timing is everything here.women nfl jerseys cheap  The Giants own a pair of first-round picks this year thanks to the Beckham trade. New York must invest one of those selections in the game’s most important position. Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins is the logical option with the sixth overall pick, while Duke’s Daniel Jones may be in play with the 17th.

Manning can be the starter for now as long as a contingency plan is in place. nfl nike jerseys china

Biggest NFL Offseason Questions That Will Be Answered in the Draft

The draft is the cause of and solution to all of the NFL’s problems.

The offseason is filled with trigger events that change the league’s overall complexion. The draft is the most important, ahead of free agency and the start of the new league year even though all three precipitate plenty of player movement. nfl china jerseys

Free agency and the draft form a symbiotic relationship. The first is considered a way to supplement a team’s roster, while the latter is how a team builds its foundation and talent core.

Franchises can spend frivolously in free agency my cheap nfl jerseys to address areas of need, but those players often serve as placeholders, not stars. Stars are found in the draft.

Organizations make draft mistakes all the time in hopes high-level potential turns into professional production. The mere possibility of development is alluring.

Whereas a disciplined approach to nfl womens jerseys  evaluation brings an understanding of individual assessment, team needs and overall fit.nfl jerseys authentic cheap

That’s the goal: The draft solves a team’s biggest problem and turns a weakness into a strength. Multiple franchises still have significant questions that won’t be answered until they reveal their approach to the draft April 25-27 in Nashville, Tennessee.  nfl jerseys authenticf9a91397a3abdbce1dc06d019cd11372_crop_exact

There’s no better place to start than the very first pick of the draft, where the Arizona Cardinals have a franchise-defining decision to make. nike nfl jerseys for sale

Josh Rosen or Kyler Murray?nfl jerseys cheap collection

The organization must decide which of these two young quarterbacks best fits its long-term vision with Kliff Kingsbury as its new head coach.

Maybe the decision is already made. nfl cheap jerseys china

Fox Sports draft analyst Joel Klatt stated during an appearance on Fox Sports 1’s Undisputed that Rosen is “gonna get moved,” with the Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots and New York Giants showing the most interest. Klatt went a step further and said a firm second-round offer is already on the table.

If that’s the case, the trade isn’t an indictment of the 22-year-old Rosen. He’s simply not the right quarterback for the situation. He can go elsewhere and still blossom into a franchise-caliber signal-caller. cheap official nfl jerseys

But that point has yet to be reached because the Cardinals want a first-round pick in return, according to Klatt. Rosen may be the team’s quarterback right now, but the love for Murray is apparent.

“It’s more what don’t you like,” Kingsbury said at the nfl jerseys for sale cheap  owners meetings, per Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams. “When you watch him play, he can run it; he can throw it; he’s a competitor. …cheap nfl jerseys cheap shipping  He is one of the better dual-threat players to ever play.”

Calipari seals lifetime deal to finish career at UK

The NCAA tournament set up nearly perfectly for NBA draft evaluation, as a huge number of first-round prospects advanced to the Sweet 16. This set the stage for a series of high-profile games in which players faced arguably the highest level of competition in their careers with huge stakes.nfl jerseys cheap jerseys

Considering the small sample size of the college season –china nfl jerseys cheap  and how infrequently scouts get to watch elite prospects matching up against players with NBA-caliber length and athleticism — it seems foolish to cover your eyes and throw tournament performances out the window (like some suggest because of past overreactions).

Kentucky has agreed to a contract extension with head coach John Calipari that will see him finish out his career with the Wildcats, a school official told ESPN. The deal would be a combination of a head-coaching extension and a paid role as an ambassador after his retirement.i

“We can confirm that the University of Kentucky has agreed to terms on a long-term contract with Coach Calipari to finish his career at Kentucky,” a school spokesperson said.

Calipari also confirmed the news on his radio show.

“It has nothing to do with the other stuff … people call every year,” he said. “They presented it to me and I appreciate it.”

“Where else would I want to coach?” he added.
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Calipari, whose current contract at Kentucky runs through 2024, is the highest-paid basketball coach in the country, with total compensation of $9.2 million this year, according to the USA Today Sports database. He also receives a reported retention bonus of $2.6 million in each of the next three Julys.

Kentucky went 30-7 this season, earning a 2-seed in the NCAA tournament and advancing to the Elite Eight before losing to Auburn 77-71 on Sunday.nfl nike jersey

Calipari has been to four Final Fours with Kentucky,nfl jerseys nike  in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015, winning the national where can i get nfl jerseys cheap hampionship in 2012. The loss to Auburn marked the third season in a row the Wildcats have advanced to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament but fallen short of the Final Four.

Calipari, 60, has a 305-71 record at Kentucky and official lifetime record of 708-209. He has led his teams to the NCAA tournament 20 times in 27 seasons, with four official Final Fours and one title.authentic nfl jersey cheap

Calipari has twice taken teams to the Final Four only to have the wins vacated by the NCAA. His 2007-08 Memphis team, which lost to Kansas in the title game, was forced to vacate all 38 wins from the season, including five NCAA tournament wins, because star player Derrick Rose’s SAT scores were invalidated. Calipari’s UMass team’s Final Four appearance in 1996 was erased after it was determined star player Marcus Camby had accepted money from two sports agents.nfl jersey store

The key word for Lions GM Bob Quinn during free agency: Versatility

It’s a word you should be used to by now if you’ve been following the NFL for any length of time, or at least the Detroit Lions since Bob Quinn took over as general manager in early 2016: versatility.

Or, put another way, position flexibility.nfl jerseys for sale

When Quinn looked at some of the bigger signings the Lions made during free agency earlier this month, those two descriptors kept coming up. They popped up with Justin Coleman and Trey Flowers. And while it wasn’t mentioned specifically, the fact that players such as Zach Zenner, Tommylee Lewis and Danny Amendola could be versatile enough to have special-teams and offensive roles only increased their value.

So the more you can do, the more it makes sense for you to be in Detroit. Take Flowers, whom the Lions gave $90 million — $56 million guaranteed — to serve as a replacement for Ezekiel Ansah as an edge rusher.authentic nfl jerseyi

“Feel he’s going to be able to be a three-down player for us,” Quinn told reporters Monday at the owners meetings in Phoenix. “And really increase that level of play across the defensive line and obviously play multiple positions personalized nfl jerseys cheap , so that was a guy we targeted, obviously.” free nfl jerseys

Flowers can play all over the defensive line, and the Lions are hoping his production at least matches, if not surpasses, the 7.5 sacks he had in New England last season — and eventually, the 21 sacks he’s registered since the Patriots drafted him in 2015. Quinn then talked about Coleman, who played some on the outside in New England and was an inside corner for two years in Seattle.

The same description came up: “Position versatility,” because that’s something that’s always been important to Quinn.nike nfl jersey

“Position versatility, for sure, is key,” Quinn said. “Going forward he’s more inside than outside but we’re going to kind of go through the process and see how he fits within our group.”

Based on Detroit’s moves thus far, the outside corner spot opposite Darius Slay is loaded with questions as Rashaan Melvin, Mike Ford and Teez Tabor compete for the role. But if the Lions feel good with, say, Jamal Agnew in the slot, Coleman could end up playing both outside and inside in Detroit.nfl jerseys sale

It was clear how much Detroit valued the onetime Patriots. The Lions targeted Flowers and Coleman early in free agency and got both deals done fast, giving the two nearly $74 million in guaranteed money.wholesale nfl jersey

“There’s certain years you can be more aggressive than others, and I think with the money that we paid those guys, the contracts speak to what we think of ’em,” Quinn said. “And that they can help us win games, and that’s the bottom

Lions will accept consequences of ‘Hard Knocks’ if chosen

The Detroit Lions – as closed off as the franchise might want to be – has been pretty open and transparent about one thing: There is little to no interest in being on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” For months now, general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia have been campaigning against it.

They even suggested at the team’s season ticket holder summit how good of a candidate the Oakland Raiders and Jon Gruden would be – and that was before the franchise traded for Antonio Brown. At the end of all of it, though,nfl jerseys for cheap authentic  the Lions also know they have little actual say in the matter.

If HBO wants the Lions, the Lions will have to comply.

“It’s an interesting thing because obviously we’re one of the teams, as you all know, that could be forced to be on it,” Lions team president Rod Wood told reporters at the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday. “I’d much rather end up in a  nfl jersey supply position of not being forced to be on it.i

“Since we’re in that position I guess cheapest nfl jerseys we’ll have to live with the consequences of what they decide.”official nfl jerseys

Wood said there haven’t been any “direct conversation” about whether the Lions would be the team the popular television show chooses for the year. And he also wasn’t sure about the timetable for a decision, although in past years the decision has usually come down in April or May.wholesale authentic nfl jerseys

He also didn’t know if the Lions were still under consideration or had been eliminated from those talks. Detroit is one of five teams that would have to do the show if asked. The others are the Raiders, Giants, Redskins and 49ers.buy nfl jerseys

There is a thought, of course, that doing the show could help the marketing side of a team, but Wood said they would prefer not to be in this position.

“There’s the episodic viewing of it on HBO and does that help the brand somewhat depends on how well it goes, I think,” Wood said. “As I said, I’d much rather not be qualified for it. Let’s be in the playoffs, not be one of the teams that are eligible.”womens nfl jerseys

While the Raiders seem like the obvious option, here’s something to consider. nfl nike jerseys That franchise might be more intriguing in 2020 – if you work with the thought that Oakland isn’t going to fire Gruden and on paper seem like a non-favorite to make the playoffs – when the club is expected to start play in Las Vegas.

Sam Martin’s ‘inspiring’ trip to the Special Olympics World Games

Sam Martin stepped up to the podium in Abu Dhabi, ribbon in hand. In front of him, the athletes were there, waiting. They had come from all over the world to compete in gymnastics. The Detroit Lions punter, halfway across the world watching athletes who were mostly unfamiliar with the sport he plays, was about to give them their awards.

It sounds like a small thing. discount nfl jerseys free shipping It was anything but. It turned into something that’s going to stick with Martin forever.

Martin walked up to the first girl, a competitor from El Salvador, and gave her the eighth-place ribbon for her work on the floor exercise.i

She didn’t win. It didn’t matter cheap nfl jerseys authentic. With the Special Olympics, it is as much about the journey as the result.

“You could just tell how happy and proud she was,” Martin said. “That, for sure, is something that — and I was lucky enough to put a few ribbons around her neck, and she was just the cutest little girl, and she was just so happy and so proud and didn’t care if she finished first or 100th.

“She just had the best time,authentic nfl jerseys for cheap  you could tell that she was so happy with what she achieved. There’s so much correlation to just life in general that the inspiration that they provide is just incredible.”authentic nfl jerseys wholesale

Martin was one of a group of athletes — mostly former Olympians, including figure skater Michelle Kwan and gymnast Nastia Liukin — in Abu Dhabi as ambassadors for the 2019 Special Olympics World Games. They were there to offer nfl jersey china assistance and be a face for the spirit of inclusion in athletics and in life.nike nfl jerseys

For Martin, who had been training for the 2019 NFL season in Jupiter, Florida, this was a welcome break from his football training, allowing him to work with an organization he first supported in high school.china nfl jerseys

Kyrie Irving

First, Kyrie Irving was in, telling Boston Celtics season-ticket holders in October, “If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here.”cheap womens nfl jerseys

Then, he wasn’t necessarily out, but the depth of commitment he expressed in earlier comments seemed…shallower.

“Ask me July 1,”nfl jersey store  he told reporters when questioned about his free agency in February. And then, as if begging for nonstop aggregation, he said, “I don’t owe anybody s–t.”

Irving can opt out of his contract this summer and should expect max offers from the Knicks and Celtics. If he stays put, Boston could trade for Anthony Davis, who’d probably be more likely to re-sign in 2020 if Irving were locked into a deal as his running mate. If Irving bolts, Boston might not want to risk trading what it would take to get Davis without any assurance of keeping him long term.hi-res-7ca8e7e6b71441b1f2f4ec7409fd24ea_crop_exact

Suffice it to say nfl jerseys cheap jerseys  the Celtics are heavily incentivized to re-sign Irving if they can.my cheap nfl jerseys

Irving has been only intermittently supportive of teammates from the bench this year, sometimes appearing engaged, others visibly frustrated.

In early March, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported:

“Sources around the team told me that Irving’s persona has changed too: He’s become disengaged and detached from those around the team. There is talk that Irving’s friendships on the team start and end with [Jayson] Tatum, with whom he shares an agent. Two sources peg Irving’s change in demeanor to early February, around the time he was asked about the possibility of joining the New York Knicks next season.”nfl womens jerseys

The mercurial Irving will head into free agency with several options available to him. Good luck trying to guess his plans.nfl jerseys authentic

Prediction: Irving joins Durant in New York on a max contract.

Kevin Durant

Since before the 2018-19 season started, Kevin Durant’s free agency has been on center stage.

“I feel like I belong here. I feel like I mix with this team, I mesh with this team well,” Kevin Durant told Nick Friedell ofWarriors Media Day in October. “With that being said, I really don’t know what’s going to happen this summer.”authentic nfl jerseys cheap china5eb4d0efd6015ef7b8acd436b2f91c29_crop_exact

That non-commitment ignited a spark that grew into a conflagration when Durant and Draymond Green got into a heated on-court argument in November. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Green raised KD’s impending free agency during the shouting match, which had been a “simmering issue” with the team.

“With what was said, there is already no  nfl nike jersey way Durant is coming back,” one player told The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson II shortly afterward.

Things calmed down after that, but Durant has been annoyed by the media’s free-agency fixation all season. After the Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis, clearing the way for major offseason signings, he mentioned them unprompted.

Earlier in March, a blowout loss to the Celtics triggered more unrest.nfl jerseys nike

“There are members of the organization concerned that Durant’s behavior is a sign that he’s already got one foot out the door,” Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported.authentic nfl jersey cheap

“He’s part of [the team] right now,”where can i get nfl jerseys cheap  Green told The Athletic’s Sam Amick about Durant’s free agency. “Whatever happens this summer happens. Whatever the hell he do, he does. If he go, he go. If he stay, he stay. But while he’s here, we’re going to win another championship. It’s just that simple. Nothing else matters.”

Way back in June 2018, general manager Bob Myers told reporters Durant could have “whatever he wants” on his next contract with the team. Based on the last several months, it’s impossible to be sure Durant wants anything at all from the Warriors.women nfl jerseys

This is a “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” situation. And there is an awful lot of smoke.nfl cheap jersey

Prediction: Durant signs a max contract with the Knicks.

Offseason Predictions for NBA Superstars Most Likely to Change Teams

There are several different approaches to team building in the NBA, but every one of them boils down to acquiring superstar talent. Whether through the draft, authentic nfl jerseys china free agency or trade, organizations that plan to compete for a championship  nfl jersey sale know they need to get ahold of premium players.

Several will be on the move this summer, nfl official jersey and that means the league-wide power structure is about to endure a significant shakeup.

The transactional side of the NBA is now as newsworthy as the games themselves. The players on this list have all been the subject of rumors since before the 2018-19 season tipped off, so their presence here is no surprise. The only unexpected result would be if one or two of them actually stayed put.5eb4d0efd6015ef7b8acd436b2f91c29_crop_exact

Based on team situation, reporting throughout the year and a little gut instinct, these are the superstars most likely to be sporting different jerseys come October 2019.

The easiest way to explain Anthony Davis’ inclusion here would be to say: “Please refer to anything that happened after Jan. 28, 2019, which is when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported AD’s trade request.”where to get nfl jerseys cheap

In light of the back-and-forth leaks from the Lakers and Pelicans between the request and the trade deadline and the charade of New Orleans playing Davis sporadically ever since, the greatest obstacle to getting AD out of town may be the lack of exit routes. He’s already torched every bridge, which, if you’re going to do that, you should at least wait until you’ve crossed them.china nfl jerseys cheap