Monday Morning Coffee

October 24, 2022

It’s been three games, and the Lakers are still winless. Did I expect them to beat the Warriors and Clippers? No. However, I did expect them to beat the Blazers. I could easily sit here and tell you that the defense has been much improved, and that Anthony Davis looks elite again, and Lebron is still elite. I’m not going to though, because the problems are just too big. Their biggest problem is Russell Westbrook. Never in my life have I seen a player destroy value the way he has. Yesterday, the Lakers had the game in the refrigerator, and he ripped it out of there by coming back in the game, and taking a stupid 2-for-1 jumper that missed everything with plenty of time left and the lead. He was 1-6 on shots at the rim. He was also 0-11 from the field on Thursday night. This isn’t about him being a bad fit anymore. This is about an NBA skillset that has completely eroded, and he needs to be sent home immediately. Even if you can’t trade him immediately, let Russ have the peace of mind and enjoy his $47 million, and let this team move forward. Whether you think it’s Russ’s fault or the Lakers fault doesn’t matter. Both sides need to move on immediately, and they will both be better off for it.

Meanwhile, the Clippers may have lost last night to the Suns, but they have the potential with all their stars and depth. That depth will get them through the season successfully. However, I’m shocked that both Kawhi and John Wall are still being load managed, considering the fact that both haven’t played NBA ball in over two years. That actually adversely impacts their conditioning, as well as their long term ability to build chemistry with their teammates. We saw this issue come up in the bubble, but in the long-run this is probably something the Clippers need to keep an eye on.

To the NFL, where the Chargers got wrecked at home by the Seahawks. Just when you think the Bolts are elite and ready to seize control of the AFC West, they lay an egg against Seattle. All I keep hearing before the start of every season is how talented the Chargers roster is, and how man for man it’s arguably the best in the NFL. Either none of you have any idea what you’re talking about, or the Bolts are just horribly coached. Then again, I suppose both are possible. Even though the Seahawks are probably a little better than most of us thought, they shouldn’t have been able to run over the Bolts they way they did, especially with a “defensive guru” like Staley. In fact, the sooner the Bolts do this, the sooner they can start competing for the services of Sean Payton, who is a proven head coach that has won before. To add insult to injury, the Chargers also lost Mike Williams and J.C. Jackson to injuries, both of which looking very significant. This team is unfortunately looking more and more like a .500 team, and not the powerhouse you thought they were going to be, even with the greatness of Justin Herbert.

In baseball, Andrew Friedman is a man who sees no problems. This is a problem. When asked about the Dodgers October woes, naturally, he defended Dave Roberts, but offered up almost no solutions for the Dodgers October troubles. He reminded me of that Elmo GIF of him shrugging. He suggested that some of this might just be the way baseball is, and that there is no solution for not being able to hit with runners in scoring position. What I was hoping to hear is how they might consider manufacturing runs in stretches when the offense is struggling, or how they might manage the pitching staff differently in October, rather than pre-scripted managerial decisions. The first step to solving a problem is admitting you have a problem, and Andrew Friedman isn’t even at step one yet, which is even more upsetting.

Speaking of problems, the Angels also have a Shohei Ohtani problem. Ohtani went back home to Japan, and told the local papers, he has a “negative impression” of how the season went down. Othani is one of the nicest and most polite people you will ever meet. What he really means to say in the nicest way possible, is that this franchise has been an absolute joke since he has joined them, and is run by fools. If you believe Joe Maddon, who was on the Dan Patrick Show a few days ago, he believes he is on his way out of Anaheim after the season, and will have 30 options to choose from. This doesn’t seem to bode well for new ownership that will be coming in over the course of the next few months, and their hopes of retaining Othani. Their only hope is to sell them him on a vision.

On to College Football, where UCLA got beaten down by Oregon over the weekend in Eugene. Although it has to be disappointing for the Bruins, if you had told them they were going to win 2 of 3 games in this stretch, most of us would be very impressed. They are still #12 in the AP Poll, and still have an opportunity to win the Pac-12. The mistakes against Oregon were fixable as well, as much of the momentum in the game was altered with that onside kick in the 2nd quarter. The Ducks have a tough schedule the rest of the way with games against Utah and Oregon State, but UCLA could still play them again in the Conference Championship game. Dorian Thompson Robinson was good, but not playing out of his mind as well for the first time in weeks. Nevertheless, for where we were with Chip Kelly just a couple of months ago, things still don’t look so bad.

Don’t forget about UCLA Basketball, which is about to get their season underway. The Bruins are ranked #8 in the preseason poll, and should have an excellent team. This is going to be a much different Bruins team than we saw last season in terms of personnel, but also in terms of style of play. The team could actually be a lot more athletic with freshman guard Amari Bailey, and center Adam Bona. Since this is still a Mick Cronin coached team, I would still expect to see elite defense, but more of an uptempo style than they played before. They’ll still have some big time competition in the conference from the likes of Arizona, Oregon, and USC, but this team is still a title contender.

Memo to Jonathan Quick, the LA Kings Future Hall of Fame Goaltender. I don’t know if anybody has told you, but the Kings are going to need you to play until you’re about 45 years old. The Kings have started the season winning just 3 of their first 7 games, and they’ve given up more goals than any team in the league. For a team that prides itself on defense and goaltending, they are getting none of it. The defensive zone coverage has been problematic in Jonathan Quick’s starts, and when Cal Petersen starts, the goaltending is awful. That’s a problem given the fact Petersen is making $5 million, and was supposed to be the heir apparent to Quick. Right now, he’s looking more and more like he’s going to be bought out and driving Door Dash in the next year at the rate he’s going.

Finally, the season finale of House of The Dragon went down on HBO last night. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case. I’m pleased to announce that I will be fully supporting all of Rheanyra’s war crimes next season. Aemond is a little turd that probably should have lost both of his eyes, let alone one, after that prank he pulled that got Luke killed. It’s probably going to be a quiet Dragon ride home for him after that. I guess Viserys was right when he said
“the Idea that we control the dragons is an illusion, they’re a power men should have never have trifled with.” Aegon learned that the hard way, and probably didn’t mean for Luke to die, and will probably have nothing to say to his mom other than “my bad”. I can’t believe we now have to wait until the summer of 2024 to see the next season. I mean you would hope that at least we would get something in 2023, but nooooooo. Some of these shows take way too long between seasons, and it really kills the buzz and the momentum. Nevertheless, I’m fully invested, and can’t wait until it comes back.


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