September 5, 2022
Happy Labor Day folks! We’re only a few weeks away from NBA training camp opening up and much to the dismay of Laker fans, Russell Westbrook is still on the team. Frankly, most Laker fans are probably on Zillow everyday trying to find Russ a new home in Utah or Indiana. Both teams have very useful role players that could certainly make the Lakers better. However, there is a much more disturbing idea floating around out there. That idea is that the Lakers are trying to save cap space for next summer. That’s an absurd idea because Lebron James is 37 years old, Anthony Davis is in his prime, and the window to win is now. The only elite talent max level free agent the Lakers could pursue is Kyrie Irving, and they’ll never be able to open up a max level salary slot with LBJ and AD on the roster. I’ve also documented here before how Kyrie just isn’t worth pursuing anyway, because he’s not reliable. Hopefully the Lakers aren’t actually thinking this, because it’s an absurd idea. Trading the 2027 and 2029 draft picks is completely justified to move Russ for any combo of Buddy Hield, Myles Turner, Bogdan Bogdanovich, and Jordan Clarkson.
To College Football where USC opened up the season on Saturday at the Coliseum and dismantled Rice. I also made it a point not to create some cheezy tag line in this paragraph like “Trojans cook Rice”. Nevertheless, a new season with Lincoln Riley coaching and Caleb Williams at QB made this feel like a completely new era. It was probably weird for Trojan fans to see someone calling plays that weren’t out of some 1990 Techmo Bowl video game playbook like Clay Helton would. It was only against Rice, but there were a lot of things that USC can feel good about here, including an explosive offense, better play calling, and improved discipline. Apparently the LA Times was so excited about this win that they let people start commenting again on USC content, while you still can’t comment on other content. Props to those 60,000 people who braved the 95 degree heat at the Coliseum to watch the game.
Meanwhile, UCLA picked up a sloppy win over Bowling Green at the Rose Bowl. It took almost an entire half for the Bruins to realize that they needed to start playing football. Eventually, their talent was just too much for their inferior opponent, but there are already glaring weaknesses. Special teams are garbage and pass protection is non-existent. The fans were also non-existent, because there were only a reported 27,000 people in the stands. If you saw it on social media, it seemed for like 25,000 people showed up dressed as empty seats. Still, I can’t blame people for not showing up to watch an average football team in 100 degree heat. For all those idiots who respond to this by saying “well the SEC does this every year in places like Vanderbilt”, you’re forgetting a very basic fundamental principle. YOU DON’T LIVE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. YOU LIVE IN A PLACE WITH NOTHING ELSE TO DO.
Elsewhere around College Football, Ohio State took down Notre Dame in a battle of Top 5 teams to start the season. Buckeye fans claim that it’s been 31,354 days since Notre Dame beat Ohio State, but did anyone actually check their math? I mean these people did go to Ohio State so that’s questionable enough. Georgia crushed Oregon like a grape, and it’s clear the Bull Dogs have a bunch of kids that grew up on the “free lunch program”. Utah was upset by Florida, and Utes fans probably cured their depression by taking shots of ginger ale. Watching LSU and Florida State finish that game yesterday was like watching two drunk Bears go at it. It’s amazing how these coaches get paid tens of millions of dollars to screw up a game like that at the end. Perhaps Brian Kelly will really mean it this time, and actually execute his team.
To baseball where the Dodgers beat up on the Padres again over the weekend. The Boys in Blue had a bit of an up and down week, losing two of three to the Mets, before taking two of three from the Padres. The series with the Mets is a reminder that if these two teams meet in October, it should be a pretty back and forth series that is very even. The Mets made a couple of more big plays that was the difference last week, but it’s a big reminder that I’ve said before: if the Dodgers hit elite pitching, they’ll win the World Series this year. They didn’t quite do enough of that last week, but they’ve shown they can in the last month. The real question they’ll have to answer is which pitchers are going to be healthy enough to be on the playoff roster. It’s hard to imagine everyone will be, because there are so many question marks with health, but hopefully Tony Gonsolin, since he’s easily been the best pitcher in the NL this year. I also don’t know how the Dodgers can leave Trayce Thompson off the playoff roster with him playing like he’s Babe Ruth. Even if that means keeping Cody Bellinger at home, which is starting to makes the most sense.
The Angels are still putting out terrible lineups on a nightly basis and embarrassing themselves on the field. However, the good news is the rumors about who is interested in buying the team. The Golden State Warriors ownership group has interest, as does Stan Kroenke. Those are both owners that clearly have demonstrated success in building very modern day sports franchises with forward thinking strategies. That goes especially for the Warriors ownership group. Without a doubt, either one of those groups have much deeper pockets than Arte Moreno, and should fundamentally change how the Halos organization is structured. That’s going to be the most important part of a sale of the organization.
We’re just three days away from NFL Football. The Rams will kick off the season at SOFI against the Bills, in what is expected to be a very difficult first game. The Rams have a great team still, but it’s funny how everyone is basically expecting the Bucs and Bills to be in the Super Bowl this year. It’s almost like the Rams are flying under the radar and playing with house money in that sense. That’s probably because nobody ever expects any team to repeat as Super Bowl Champions, but don’t count out the Rams on this. Much of the NFC actually got worse, and the division really isn’t much better. As long as Matt Stafford’s elbow stays in tact, this team should still be in the hunt all year.
Finally, House of The Dragon went down on HBO last night with episode 3. So far, things are kind of crazy. We’ve covered 3 years of time in 3 episodes, and we already have a kid that was born and is 2 years old, in Aegon. The irony of this show is that in Game of Thrones everybody wanted to sit on the Iron Throne. In this show, Viserys doesn’t even really want the job, because he’s faced with alienating either his daughter or his son. Meanwhile, Daemon took the military support from his brother about as personally as Michael Jordan took everything. The battle scenes are incredible, the storyline is great, but it’s interesting that so far there are no light hearted characters we’ve seen yet like a Tyrion Lannister, or anybody that lightens the mood. We also don’t entirely know who the villain is either. It’s just a lot of intensity so far through three episodes. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s the difference in this show and Game of Thrones so far. We do have a clone of Jon Snow in Criston Cole, and a Daenerys clone in Rhaenyra. I also have no idea why the crab dude was significant or not, but the battle part was interesting. Nevertheless, I’m sure many of these questions will be answered shortly, but great TV so far.