Monday Morning Coffee

August 12, 2019

It’s that time of year where NBA fans have nothing to do but complain and yell at each other about arguments nobody can ever win. This time it’s about Kobe. NBA.COM just named their 3 all-decade teams of the 2010’s, and Kobe was on the 3rd team. Hopefully the writers at are ok with having their houses burned to the ground, because this is typically the behavior of die hard Kobe fans when they find out about news like this. To be fair to Kobe fans though, they have a point. Kobe made 7 All-Star teams and 4 All-NBA teams in a decade where he didn’t actually play for half of it. Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony and Anthony Davis made just 3 All-NBA teams in the prime of their careers. Those two should be relegated to the 3rd team. More than anything though, just looking at the selections on all three teams makes me realize how amazing the NBA was in both the 2000’s and the 1990’s. Too bad most fans and media members have the memory of a 5-year-old and can’t recall this.

Imagine if people in their industries lobbied to make sure one couldn’t apply their crafts with some silly rule about needing a degree. That’s exactly what the NCAA is doing, preventing agents, specifically Rich Paul, from signing underclassmen who want to keep their options open of returning to school. I’m all for higher education, even getting a Masters Degree, but you know who doesn’t have a degree? Steve Jobs, Peter Jennings, Ellen DeGenerous, and a number of other highly successful people. It shouldn’t be a requirement, and especially not for Rich Paul, who is very good at what it does. My favorite part about all this is that the organization that is notorious for exploiting kids is just making a stupid rule under the disguise of “preventing exploitation”. They should really be focused on trying to stop making themselves look like one of the most corrupt organizations on the planet.

Magic Johnson is at it again. This dude can’t go 5 minutes without running his mouth. He just said a couple of weeks ago to Stephen A Smith that he was done talking and that the focus is now going to be on the the Lakers on the floor. Sure enough, he sat down with CBS Sports’ Jim Hill for a 30-minute interview over the weekend, and continued alluding to Rob Pelinka backstabbing him, while also reminding everybody of his great basketball and business career. This felt extremely orchestrated by Magic, given that he knows how critical everybody has been of him lately. I’m getting extremely sick of him and his massive ego, which probably cost the Lakers the free agent signing of Kawhi Leonard.

Speaking of Kawhi, the media including the LA Times is tripping over themselves complementing how great of an organization the Clippers are now. The latest absurd article over the weekend talked about how Doc Rivers experience in Orlando building a “super team” with Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill helped him get to this point in recruiting Kawhi. I must not have been there for when that “super team” was around. I also enjoyed the narrative that the Clippers “Lob City” team couldn’t succeed in the playoffs because of the rise of the Golden State Warriors. Funny, because I always thought it was because they couldn’t get past the Memphis Grizzlies in the 1st round, or because the choked away a 3-1 series lead against the Rockets. LA basketball fans aren’t this naive, but apparently the LA Times writers are.

To baseball where the Dodgers are winning, but they find themselves in a serious battle for the best record in baseball with the Yankees and Astros. To their credit, their kids are playing amazingly well. Will Smith is suddenly giving the Dodgers an elite offensive catcher behind the plate, and every night it feels like there’s another prospect making an impact. Unfortunately, that’s the only way they are going to succeed in October, with their kids taking on more roles, especially in that pile of crap Andrew Friedman calls a bullpen. Friedman said last week that the Dodgers have a chance to win a championship because they have elite starting pitching, an elite lineup, and “a bullpen that has a chance to be above average.” Is this dude serious? I guess whenever he needs a surgery done he must look for the surgeon that is “just above average.”

For all the talk that Clayton Kershaw is in decline, he’s still pitching pretty damn well. He’s 11-2 with a 2.77 ERA, which is 4th best in all of baseball. His 1.038 WHIP is 5th in the NL, and his walks, hits, and strikeouts per 9 IP also put him in the Top 10 in the NL. Anybody that says “he’s done” is seriously misinformed. Kershaw would be an ace on nearly every team in baseball, but it just so happens one of the best in baseball this season is his teammate. Actually, it just goes to show you just how phenomenal he was at one point, given that he is still an excellent pitcher.

If the Angels don’t get some real pitching next year, they might as well change their motto to “Come see Trout and wait for the route”. Given that Gerrit Cole just pitched against the Halos last week and grew up in SoCal, there’s certainly speculation he could sign with the Angels this winter. It would probably cost over $200 million, but that’s not a figure that Billy Eppler sounds like he’s shying away from. Even without Cole though, there are a number of other solid pitchers on the market the Angels have the budget to sign this offseason. Let’s hope they get serious about it unlike this past off-season.

I can’t remember a USC Football season in recent memory like the one coming up. There is simply no buzz about this team whatsoever, and some minuscule coverage. In fact, the only buzz is the ticket prices, as USC raised the season ticket prices 30% on all their season ticket holders. I guess the money had to some from somewhere to pay off that $100 million lawsuit. I love the narrative that Clay Helton is “owning” the fact that he was 5-7 last year. I’m sorry but Clay Helton owns nothing. If he was owning it he would have fired his entire staff. There is some talent on the field, but coaching in College Football is everything to develop it. That Trojans don’t have it and without it, another losing season is very much a reality.

Finally, the most Oakland Raiders thing in the world would be if Antonio Brown decides to quit football over this helmet situation, right after they traded it for him. Brown has talent superior to anyone in the NFL at the wide receiver position, but the maturity and attitude of a 7-year-old who just got his X-BOX taken from him. The ridiculous thing about this is that he has known this for months, yet weeks before the season starts he’s trying to get his old helmet back. On the bright side, I fully expect Hard Knocks to show us the complete drama that unfolds with AB. So far their first episode was highly underwhelming, and could have been so much more, dancing around the real drama: Big Ben and AB’s relationship, the actual frostbite incident with AB, and Richie Incognito’s past related to hazing rookies. Something tells me they are going to continue to dance around the juicy issues, but we’ll see how it unfolds.

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