The Villain's Pu-Pu-Platter - 03/21/21
March Madness is here
The first weekend of March Madness is almost in the books, and we have what is always a great weekend in college basketball. we fill out our brackets and hopes of that bracket being the winner, and in a matter of moments our dreams are crushed. From the Cinderella stories, the powerhouse conferences and upset specials. This is what makes college basketball so great, it captivates us for a weekend, rips our heart out and makes for an entertaining weekend. The idea of the little guy always having a chance adds to the drama. This year we have North Texas, Oral Roberts, Loyola-Chicago, and Ohio playing the role of spoilers. They took down the big power schools and probably your bracket. While this is a crushing defeat for some, it always makes us feel great to watch the little guy come with a big stick.
Two WRs off the board
The NFL’s free agency season is in full swing, and some of the big receivers are off the board already. Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster agreed on a one-year deal to return to the Pittsburgh Steelers and play with Ben Roethlisberger one more time. Kenny Golladay bet on himself and cashed in a 4 year / $72M deal with the New York Giants. While this isn't the big deal we thought that either receiver would get, it does make for an interesting draft season. Ju-Ju had bigger offers from other
teams, and possibly used them as leverage to return to Pittsburgh. Golladay had an injury-plagued season last year, and questionable character issues. However that didn't dissuade the New York Giants from offering him a contract after meeting with him over the last few days. He got an offer from the Cincinnati Bengals for 1 year / $11M, but he was seeking upwards of $18M a year. Other top receivers in the league got above $20M per
season, and that was what was expected for Golladay and Ju-Ju. The Giants eventually bid against themselves to get the WR they coveted. But in the end they both got what they wanted.
LeBron James Suffers Ankle Injury
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James went down with a high ankle sprain last night against the Atlanta Hawks. While this was a freak injury, in my opinion it was to be expected. he was playing heavy minutes with star Anthony Davis out with an injury. The Lakers needed a lot from their star player and it's finally caught up to him. This injury will keep them out at least a month and probably longer. But the real issue I have is James staying in the game to jack up a three-pointer to keep a streak alive. He needed three points to hit double figures in consecutive games, a personal record that is meaningless at the end of the day. This record only seeks to flame his vanity and didn't help the team win the game that they ultimately lost. I can always question the motives and I can always ask myself why he actually stayed in the game. Did he do it to help his team and gut it out? Or did he do it because the self-proclaimed King had a lapse in judgment like the infamous Decision? I won't speculate now but as the Villain, I always love to hate.
NCAA men's and women's amenities
The March Madness tournaments is also shined a light on something that is always been covered up in the darkness. That would be the disparity in treatment of men's players versus women's players. Recently it's come to light that the amenities shared by the men's basketball teams at their location in Indianapolis is drastically better than the one shared by the women's teams at their location in San Antonio. From swag bags to food to training equipment, the women have been giving the short end of the stick. To be fair officials from the NCAA have apologized and are immediately working to rectify the situation. However, this does not help the fact that this situation happened in the first place. Whoever was in charge of putting together the amenities for both sides and really thought that the women and men were treated equally should be fired. This is a problem that has gone on for years and I'm here to speak truth to power. When will it be enough? When will the women's programs be treated with the same respect as the men's programs? When will these college athletes be properly compensated, and these NCAA officials be held accountable for the “slave labor” that they've gotten away with for years? The have justified not allowing players see a penny of the money they earned for the schools by saying we're giving them a free education in the form of a scholarship? NCAA Basketball is a beautiful thing to watch, but it's also one of the most corrupt and unfair systems ever created. Someone needs to speak up for these players and these officials need to be held accountable. It's not enough to fix the problem after the fact, this should have never happened in the first place.
Knicks are in need reinforcements
One week after the All-Star break and it's clear but the New York Knicks are a playoff team. But they will be a first-round exit because while they are a defensive juggernaut, offense is hard to come by. They struggle in some points of the game to hold big leads because they can't get a big bucket to stop a run. There are some interesting names out there that could be had, but are the Knicks willing to pay the price in a trade? Victor Oladipo is one of the likely candidates to be had in a trade with the Houston Rockets or through the off-season. The Rockets would expect a nice return for him, something the Knicks could offer. But why would you trade for somebody that you can sign out right in the offseason. Buddy Hield would be a nice addition to the Knicks partly because the Sacramento Kings have struggled mightily this year to live up to some expectations. He's one of the better three-point shooters in the league (shooting over 53% from 3-point range), but maybe his defense might not fit with this team. Aaron Gordon, Terrence Ross and Evan Fournier are interesting pieces from an Orlando Magic team that has struggled all year. One of the combinations would be a nice addition and a nice lift for the New York knicks, however it would take a lot to pry all these players away. it might break up the chemistry that the Knicks have already built up this year. But could the next look to the future and add the point guard that they desperately need. Lonzo Ball has had a nice season in New Orleans Pelicans for the pelicans. However, I don't see him being a part of their long-term plans with them drafting Kira Lewis Jr. Could the next pry him away for a couple of draft picks and have the point guard that they so desperately need? Injuries to Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley, Elfrid Payton has really put the point guard position back in the spotlight the Knicks need to upgrade and offensive firepower. Will it be enough to make a serious run in the playoffs, where they belong?