Remembering Marbury

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

Stephon Marbury last played in the NBA during the 2008-2009 NBA season but has put together a nice career for himself in China. He recently won his 3rd Chinese Basketball Association title with the Beijing Ducks and was named finals MVP. There exist a statue of him outside the arena in which he plays his home games. His latest honor you ask? Marbury will be recognized on a stamp. Yes, that’s right, a stamp. Although he wasn’t a fan favorite in the NBA, he has made quite a name for himself in China. Let’s take a look at what was his NBA career.

A high school phenom from Brooklyn, New York, Marbury entered the 1996 NBA Draft following just 1 season at Georgia Tech. Marbury was selected 4th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks but shortly thereafter he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Marbury played well for Minnesota but wanted to be closer to home and forced a trade that sent him to the New Jersey Nets.

Will Selva - Stephon MarburyMarbury played like an All-Star in New Jersey but the team wasn’t winning and he was traded to Phoenix for Jason Kidd. The Nets headed to the NBA Finals and the Suns didn’t. After 3 years in Phoenix, Marbury was on the move again.

Marbury was traded to the New York Knicks during the 2003-2004 season. That summer, Marbury played for the United States in the Olympics and was part of a team that failed to get the gold. It seemed like everywhere he went, losing followed.

Marbury was a part of Knick teams that continually spent big on free agents but put no product on the court. Eventually, Mike D’Antoni became the Knicks coach. D’Antoni thought Chris Duhon was a better fit to run the point in NY and Marbury was inactive on a nightly basis. In a December game, D’Antoni told Marbury he was going to play but Marbury refused. Marbury was then banned from practice and games and was told to stay home. He was eventually waived in February of 2009 and signed with the Boston Celtics. Following that season, he took a year off and eventually signed in China. And the rest is history.

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NFL Free Agency: Best of the Rest

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

NFL free agency started with a splash in early March but the process has slowed down quite a bit. With many players already finding new homes, there are not all too many desirable players left to be had. Here is at some of the best talent still available.

CB Tarell Brown – Brown spent 2014 with the Oakland Raiders after spending the previous 7 with the San Francisco 49ers. With the Raiders, Brown had no interceptions and just 4 passes defensed in 14 games. He did manage to make 55 total tackles showing he can still take people down from the corner position. At age 30, he should catch on somewhere for a 1 year deal.

Will Selva - Stevie BrownS Stevie Brown – Brown spent last season with the New York Giants but it wasn’t his best year. He recorded 8 interceptions back in 2012 and Giant fans were excited for Brown’s follow up season but Brown tore his ACL during the preseason of 2013 and missed the whole season. Brown at times this year seemed rusty but teams are hoping he can return to 2012 form. The Giants are favored to bring him back.

G Dan Connolly – Connolly has been a staple in the New England Patriots offensive line since 2010. Now at age 32, he’s looking for work elsewhere. Connolly can play both center and guard and is a Super Bowl Champion. Connolly should find work elsewhere but he may not be looking at multi-year options.

TE Jermaine Gresham – Gresham was a 1st round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010, where he has played all 5 of his seasons in the NFL. The Bengals recently spent a 1st round pick on TE Tyler Eifert making Gresham expendable. While he is not a great blocking TE, Gresham figures to be a good receiving option. He’s still just 26 years old and should catch on with another team.

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Thunder Fire Brooks

Will Selva’s latest blog post.

Will Selva - Scott Brooks

Scott Brooks was fired Wednesday

The Oklahoma City Thunder finished the 2014-2015 season 45-37. Not bad considering Kevin Durant playing in just 27 games this year, Russell Westbrook missed 15 games and Serge Ibaka missed the final 18 games, a crucial point in their playoff push. Unfortunately, in the ultra competitive Western Conference, 45-37 was only good for 9th place. The Thunder actually tied with the 8th place New Orleans Pelicans but lost the head to head tie breaker. With that playoff miss, the Oklahoma City Thunder have fired head coach Scott Brooks after 7 seasons. Had the Thunder played in the Eastern Conference, Brooks would have had the Thunder sitting as the 6th seed in the playoffs.

Brooks had a lot of success during his time with the Thunder. His winning percentage of .620 is the highest in NBA history among NBA coaches that have never won a title. Although he has never won a title, he does have a winning record of 39-34 in the playoffs which shows that he has advanced in the post season before.

The first options the Thunder will look at to replace Brooks are from the college ranks. Florida head coach Billy Donovan and University of Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie are at the top of General Manager Sam Presti’s wish list. In his young collegiate coaching career, Ollie replaced the legendary Jim Calhoun and brought UCONN a national championship. Ollie finished his NBA career as a teammate of Kevin Durant’s in OKC and is said to be a good friend of Durant’s. It could be a ploy to keep Durant in Oklahoma City when Durant hits free agency in 2016. Billy Donovan too has won multiple national championships at the collegiate level and has close ties to GM Sam Presti.

As for Brooks, he has certainly shown he can win at this level and should not be on the market for too long. Two jobs that are open and intriguing are the Denver Nuggets and Orlando Magic jobs. The Nuggets have some talent on their roster but lost faith in first time head coach Brian Shaw who was ultimately fired down the stretch of the NBA season. Orlando has a lot of young talent in Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, and Nikola Vucevic that make Orlando attractive for a coach. They also have Tobias Harris but he’ll be a free agent this summer and could walk. It’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

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Optimism for the Defending NL Champs

Will Selva’s latest blog post.

The San Francisco Giants are off to a slow start in 2015. At 4-10, they currently sit 5th in the NL West, six games behind the first place Los Angeles Dodgers. While they did lose third basemen Pablo Sandoval to the Boston Red Sox in the off season, many of the pieces from last year remain.. they just may be currently sidelined or off to a slow start.

OF Hunter Pence

Last year, Pence was a cog in the Giants lineup hitting .277 with 20 home runs, 74 runs batted in, 29 doubles, and 10 triples. He even swiped 13 bags. He was hit by a pitch in spring training back in March and is expected back in the coming weeks. He should bring more pop to the lineup which is currently hitting .233 as a team.

SP Matt Cain

Will Selva - Matt Cain

Pitcher Matt Cain is dealing with injury

Cain has been with the Giants since 2005 and has been the ace of the staff at times. Cain can be dominant and a big plus for the Giants when healthy. When healthy is a question mark. Cain started only 15 games last year and currently has yet to see the field. He’s currently on the 15 day disabled list with a flexor tendon strain and may be out longer than expected. While he was expected to begin throwing on the side next week, some are saying he still may not be ready. When healthy, Cain can be a top of the rotation pitcher for the Giants.

C Buster Posey

Posey is a career .307 hitter which is phenomenal for a catcher. However, Posey has got off to a slow start hitting just .229 with 2 home runs and 6 runs batted in. This should not last long and should be seen only as an early season slump. Posey has never hit lower than .284 for a season.

SP Madison Bumgarner

Bumgarner was unstoppable last year in both the regular and post season. He ended up pitching a total of 270 innings last year which can be much on a young arm. He too has got off to a slow start with a 1-1 record and an ERA of 5.29, a whole 2 points above his career ERA of 3.10. He’s closing in on 1,000 innings pitched at the major league level and is still just 25 years old which is extremely worrisome when he is pitching the way he has this year. Hopefully, it’s just the case of a few rusty starts and he regains form.

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Tim Tebow is Back

Will Selva’s latest blog post.

Tim Tebow last suited up in the NFL for the New England Patriots in 2013 during the preseason but ultimately did not make the roster. Since that time, he has done some broadcasting work for the SEC Network while working out in hopes of making an NFL comeback. It seems that time has come. Tim Tebow is signing with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Tebow will join a crowded depth chart at quarterback with Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley, and GJ Kinne currently on the roster. While he’s no lock to make the team, it is a great opportunity for Tebow who had not been receiving much attention from NFL teams.

Will Selva - Tim TebowTebow figures to fit the Eagles quite well. It’s no secret head coach Chip Kelly likes to keep the offense moving and with that you need a mobile quarterback. While Tebow has not proven to be an excellent passer, he has proven to use his legs well. With that said, it does not look like he’s in competition for the starting role but more as a backup. They may be inclined to use him in certain packages that allow him to run the option because he runs well for a quarterback.

Simply put, for Tebow to get back to where he was in 2011 in Denver he’ll need a string of injuries and he’ll have to play well in the preseason to show he belongs in the NFL. He did not prove much during the preseason with the Patriots and that led to no one picking him up once cut. It’ll be interesting to see how Tebow Mania effects Philadelphia.

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Injury Bug Hits the Hot Mets

Will Selva’s latest post about Hispanic Athletes.

The best team in New York is currently the New York Mets. The Mets have started the season hot with a 10-3 record through their first 13 games. They’re currently 1st in the NL East, a game and a half up on the 2nd place Atlanta Braves. The Mets have had great contributions from the pitching staff. Opening day starter Bartolo Colon is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA, Jacob deGrom is 2-1 with a 0.93 ERA, Matt Harvey is 3-0 with a 3.50 ERA and Jonathon Niese is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA. The Mets have swung the bats well too. Lucas Duda, David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud, and Michael Cuddyer are all hitting over .300.

Will Selva - Jacob deGromWith this hot start have come bumps in the road. Jenrry Mejia was injured warming up before coming in for the save on Opening Day. He was put on the 15 day disabled list and then suspended 80 games for testing positive for stanozolol. David Wright is out 3 weeks with a hamstring injury and was placed on the 15 day disabled list. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud fractured his hand when hit by a pitch by AJ Ramos of the Miami Marlins, he’s heading to the DL as is left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins who fractured his forearm. If you compile these injuries with the losses before the season of starting pitcher Zack Wheeler, and relievers Josh Edgin, Vic Black and Bobby Parnell, it’s pretty remarkable what Terry Collins and the Mets have done to date.

Interestingly enough, we have yet to see the power displayed from Curtis Granderson. Granderson currently has 0 home runs and 0 runs batted in. That should change in time. If Granderson can find his swing, he’ll add another dimension to the Mets lineup that should pair perfectly with their starting rotation.

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