The Villain's Pu-Pu Platter - 02/27/21
Kobe Bryant For the NBA Logo
Kyrie Irving and Vanessa Bryant recently brought the hot take of the NBA Logo to the front. Irving said the NBA was built by ‘Black Kings’ and that Kobe Bryant is the embodiment of that. He went on to say that the NBA Logo should be replaced with the silhouette of the late Kobe Bryant. The logo famously uses the image of the great Jerry West. West has come out on numerous occasions saying he has no problem with the image being changed. I personally think Michael Jordan should be the logo, he is in my opinion the greatest NBA player ever. While Kobe’s untimely death has pushed him to legendary status, I highly doubt we would be having this convo if he was still alive. He’s the 2nd greatest shooting guard ever. But this isn’t about saying who’s the greatest. West at a time was one of the greatest, but he arguably wasn’t the greatest. But this is about honoring a great player and person. I couldn’t think of any better way to honor Bryant by updating the logo with his image.
Boston Celtics' Recent Struggles
Before the Boston Celtics’ 118-112 victory over the Indiana Pacers, the C’s were struggling. One of the early season favorites to reach a Conference Finals, they were 15-17 and searching for answers. The Boston Celtics were a shell of themselves, especially on the defensive end. The injury on Marcus Smart has proven to be a big issue, but Kemba Walker’s play has been the bigger issue. Walker has been pushing through a knee injury and has been mostly ineffective. Walker is averaging 18.1 PPG this season, below if career average. But when he rests, his average jumps to 24 PPG. Without rest, he’s averaging 12 PPG. The Celtics have two All-Stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but the stars need to start carrying this team. The offense must run through them because this is a defensive minded team. But are they ready to make that leap? I mean they got paid like they can. The big issue I see is effort, and that falls at the feet of the coach Brad Stevens. He has to get these guys playing harder on defense, hold them accountable and put these players in the right situation to succeed. In the Villain’s opinion, he’s on the hot seat if he can’t get them going. The win against the Pacers saw the Celtics play with more effort and it turned into a win. Let’s hope they figure it out, there’s no reason why this team should be near the bottom of the East.
Will Dak Prescott Get Paid?
The Dallas Cowboys haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1995. As the Villain, this fact brings me joy. But if the Cowboys want to get back to their winning ways, they need to have the quarterback to lead them. That should be Dak Prescott. I wasn’t a fan of him when he first came into the league. The 4th rounder pick had the leadership qualities, but he wasn’t the most skilled thrower of the football. But every year he has improved and he has earned his place among the elite. Last season his numbers where on track to MVP level, but a devastating leg injury halted that. The Cowboys limped their way to 4-7 record without him and missed the playoffs. Jerry Jones had his chance to lock up their QB for the future on a 4-year deal, but Dak wanted 5 years. That 5-year deal is looking like a bargain now, as the compensation for QBs continue to go up. If they franchise tag Prescott, he will earn around $37M. If they can’t sign him and need to franchise him again, it could cost up to $50M. Factor in his first franchise tag of $32M, that will cost the Cowboys $120M for 3 years. Prescott was looking for $120 over 4 years. Save to say, leveraging my years of Calculus and Statistics, the Cowboys got screwed. Dallas can sign a ‘stop-gap’ QB like Cam Newton, trade for Russel Wilson (who said he prefers teams like Dallas if he was traded) or DeShaun Watson. Jerry has already opened up the wallet and paid Zeke Elliott, Amari Cooper and Demarcus Lawrence. But they need to do the right thing and sign the QB they draft, developed and watched lead them to the playoffs twice. But will Jerry pay up?
Tampa Bay Rays Refuse to Win
The Tampa Bay Rays came into the league in 1998 and for the first 10 years were doormats. But since 2008 have won 3 division titles and 2 pennants. Last year in the pandemic shorten season, they were the best team in the American League and took the eventually World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers to 6 games. Despite being 2 games from their first World Series win, they celebrated by trading away one of their better pitchers in Blake Snell and watch Charlie Morton walk away in free agency and sign with the Braves. This team should have been adding a piece or two to get over the hump, instead they subtracted. This franchise has had a history winning then not paying to keep it going. It’s a terrible practice that has to stop. While the return for the Snell trade gave the Rays P Luis Patino, the idea of selling their best players for cheaper options is just weak. This league is making money, the small market teams can compete in this league. I understand their ballpark is one of the worst in baseball and they don’t draw crowds. But maybe this team needs a new ballpark or new city. It’s time the Rays do something other than watching their talent flourish on other teams. This is the biggest threats to the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, and in their own division. But they just refuse to be the team their meant to be.
New York Yankees Quick Hits
The Villain is waiting to get his first look at the 2021 New York Yankees on Sunday. The Yankees have a lot of expectations after a solid offseason. The elephant in the room however was “welcoming” back P Domingo German. He was suspended for 81 games for domestic abuse. Some Yankees players like Zack Britton voiced his displeasure about the whole situation. But German talked in front of the team face-to-face and apologized for the public incident with then girlfriend that lead to the suspension. Time will tell if this will be a distraction, but he’s owed the chance to make amends for his actions and return to work. German publicly apologized on Wednesday for the domestic violence incident. If he’s sincere, then we should have no issues. But the world isn’t that nice, ask Michael Vick.
Gleyber Torres has reported come to camp in great shape. He’s moving around the infield well and looking slim. The 2-time All-Star has a horrific 2020 campaign, and manger Aaron Boone attributed this to him coming back from the pandemic break out of shape. It showed as he struggled from the plate (.243 with 3HRs and 16 RBIs). This was a year after crushing 38 HRs in 2019. “Great. He looks great,” Boone said, talking about Torres to the media. “I don’t mean to overstate it.” His .933 fielding percentage was the worst out of the 22 shortstops that qualified in the shortened season. The normally slick 2B looks slow and out of place in his first year at SS. They will need him back to form if this team is to compete.
The Yankees also welcomed back LF Brett Gardner on a 1-year / $3M deal. The Yankees were the only team Brett Gardner has played for in his professional career and the only team he wanted to play for. The Yankees desperate needed a left hander bat in Yankee Stadium. It looked like the two sides were far apart on a potential deal. Gardner was making close to $10M last season with the team, but the Yankees has to sign other players first. They also were trying to stay under their self-imposed $287M payroll threshold. He fits the bill and will be a great backup in the outfield that typically never stays healthy. He has been a mentor to Clint Frazier and has be thrust in to full-time duty when CF Aaron Hicks or Aaron Judge is often injured. He has been with the team since 2009 and looks to get his second ring this year. He's the emotional leader and a guy that is seen it all in New York.