By: Lucas Kochevar
It's time to believe the hype surrounding the Buffalo Bills this upcoming 2019 season. This is not the same redundant hype type talk that Cleveland fans impose on the league every year. Personally, I will be hopping on the Buffalo '"hype train" this coming season. That being said, we still don't know what to expect from second year starter Josh Allen. The sophomore QB was more promising than people expected, but still had an average season at best.
In 12 appearances Allen threw for just over 2,000 yards with 10 TDs, but the Wyoming product only completed 52.8% of his passes while throwing 12 INTs. I would like to think that he takes another step forward, but let's be careful on crowning this team with anything other than developing talent. Allen has one of the strongest arms in the league, but he has to learn how to control it. Several of the INTs thrown last year came from the rookie airing out the ball out, a tactic that is not as effective at the professional level. If Allen can't learn to control the deep ball or resort to safer check-downs in certain situations, he will not be moving forward in his progression.
Now on the positive side of things, his mobility is very unique from a player his size. Standing at 6'5, he is able to move as he racked up 631 rushing yards and 8 TDs. Now I think he might be able to apply this talent to his passing game and maybe take a page out of Pat Mahomes' book and develop his throwing on the run. I know that I just called out his accuracy when he isn't moving, but I expect his standing accuracy to improve now that he has had some time under his belt and an offseason to work on it.
Allen also should play better with the Bills gaining a lot more talent than what they had to help him. They picked up two veteran WRs with deep target John Brown from Baltimore and shifty route runner Cole Beasley. These aren't big number one targets like a Julio Jones or DeAndre Hopkins, but they will get their jobs done and make sure that they can bring out the most in Allen. Buffalo also did a solid job by bringing in talented center Mitch Morse after KC couldn't afford to keep him. Bringing in a center to anchor your O-Line can make all the difference as Atlanta did with All-Pro C Alex Mack.
In conclusion, Josh Allen should be improved from his 2018 campaign if he took the steps this offseason to improve. Allen will probably see a decrease in his running numbers as he should look to preserve his body from hits, but this will likely increase his passing numbers. This year the Bills should still focus on developing him. I think Josh Allen takes a couple steps forward as an NFL QB.
Projected Stats: 58.7% Completion, 3,850 Yds, 21 TDs, and 17 INTs.
Ultimately only time will tell.
Best of luck to Josh Allen and the Bills.
By: Lucas Kochevar
The NBA is now in the middle of the second round and the clear NBA favorite is not the Golden State Warriors. Why?
Why are we considering any other team that does not have four all-stars, two MVPs, and a Coach of the Year?
It does not make sense to me. The roster for the Warriors is deadly from top to bottom. First things first, they have Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in the back court and they are the the best shooting back court we have ever seen. Curry is currently "recovering" from an MCL injury. Curry did not look like he missed two months as he scored 28 points in his return against the Pelicans. Thompson has been averaging 21 points in Curry's absence. Andre Igoudala has been the starting point guard for the team and has made sure that everything runs smoothly.
Kevin Durant has been the true leader, however, as he has been averaging 29 points and has consistently performed at a high level. The addition to Curry back in the lineup should surely provide a boost as Durant will not feel like he is forced to make plays. With the pressure off of Durant, I expect the Warriors offense to run more smoothly and the ball should fly around player to player instead of a 'hero ball' mentality.
The Warriors should try and get into their offensive set where they can run the 'Spain Pick and Roll' The Spain PnR in a set where the big man will stand tall at the free throw line and hand the ball of to the guard as soon as he recieves it. When he gets the ball back to the guard, who is cutting to the basket, he should provide a block and seal off the guards defender. This forces the defender in the paint to either chase the faster guard or make sure that his man does not just turn and shoot it. The best way the Warriors can use this configuration is by using Durant to set the screen and Curry or Thompson as cutters.
The Warriors should be feared and much more respected than any other team remaining, including the Rockets.
By: Lucas Kochevar
The NBA Playoffs have seen some very exciting games. Here we are in the second round and we have some intriguing match-ups. The first one that we do have has already started Saturday night. The game was between the Pelicans and Warriors. The Pelicans shocked the playoff world as they swept the third seeded Portland Trail Blazers, meanwhile, the Warriors took care of the Spurs in five games. The first game between the two teams turned out to be a beat down as the Warriors throttled them.
The next series in the Western Conference is between the Rockets and Jazz. This game comes after Houston handled the T'Wolves and the Jazz humiliated the Thunder in six games. The Jazz and Rockets played their game one yesterday and it showed that the Jazz were tired and could not keep up with Houston. The Rockets will look to take care of the Jazz quickly as if they have momentum they could test them.
In the Eastern Conference the Celtics play the hot Sixers. The Sixers are one of the hottest teams in the league. as they have the best odds in Vegas, other than the Rockets. The East favorites will look to beat the injury-riddled Celtics. Boston lost their best player in Kyrie Irving, but Al Horford and Terry Rozier have willed these Celtics to the second round.
The Cleveland Cavaliers finished their first round struggle yesterday after LeBron strapped the team to his back. This Cavs team is very weird as they have talent, but they just do not play well. The Cavs will play the Raptors in the next round. The Raptors played the Wizards and took care of them in six games. This Raptors-Cavs series will surely be interesting as the Raptors are the first seed and the Cavs are playing the Raptors in the playoffs for the first time without Kyrie.
The second round will be very exciting as the match-ups are more interesting than the first round.
By: Lucas Kochevar
The playoffs are right here as they start on Saturday. Both the East and West are set except for one spot. The last spot in the West between the Denver Nuggets and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The plot twist is that both teams will face off on the final day of the season. The teams come into this match-up with the same record at 46-35. The Timberwolves are lead by SG Jimmy Butler and the Nuggets are lead by Nikola Jokic.
The Timberwolves have gotten a resurgence this year as they were near the top of the West. Then, tragedy struck and Jimmy Butler ended up missing around 26 games. The Wolves struggled mightily and his impact on the team showed. The Wolves ended up surviving the stretch with the help from Karl Anthony-Towns. Towns was carrying the team and even had a franchise record 56 point game. Andrew Wiggins was supposed to make the leap this year, but the arrival of Jimmy Butler stunted it and he has been terrible on defense all year.
The Nuggets have also gotten a resurgence and they are on the verge of clinching. The Nuggets have been lead by young stud Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets also have the veteren presence of Paul Millsap, who signed there this year. Millsap has also been a star that missed time due to injury. The Nuggets also have some talent in the backcourt with Gary Harris and Jamal Murray. They have been playing very good as of late but there was a stretch where they struggled.
The game will be one of the most intense games and both teams will have nothing to lose so expect a slug fest. The Nuggets have been on fire, but KAT will be the key to victory for the Wolves as he will dominate Jokic.
By: Lucas Kochevar
The defending champs are the best team in the NBA. There is no one that is remotely close to them. They have the best defensive player in the league, the best shooter in history, another dead eye shooter, and one of the most talented scorers in NBA history. The Warriors also have one of the best benches in the NBA. There is not much more to say. Just watch the film in this match up against the Celtics
PG: Stephen Curry
SG: Klay Thompson
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Draymond Green
C: Zaza Pachulia
6th Man: Andre Igoudala
Stephen Curry. The name is an icon already as he has changed the game from a tough, gritty contest to a three-point contest. Curry is the best PG in the game and can literally shoot anywhere. His back up is Shaun Livingston. Livingston has been a steady backup for years with good mid range. Curry's running mate in the back court is Klay Thompson. Thompson is one of the greatest shooters along with Curry, but the difference is that he can guard anyone. Thompson takes all of Curry's hard assignments. Without him it would be interesting to see how they would change their defense.
Kevin Durant and LeBron James fight for the title of best player in the league. Durant is deadly on offense as he can do every single thing on offense and his length propels him to a very good defender as well. The backup is sixth man of the year candidate Andre Igoudala. Iggy has a very strong career resume with winning the Finals MVP in 2015. Draymond Green is a great player as he is the jack of all trades and specializes in defense. The reigning defense player of the year has been an aggressive player once again.
The center is Zaza. He is a dirty piece of trash but he is gritty. Javale McGee is the backup along with rookie Jordan Bell. McGee is a big player and rebounds with the best of them. Bell, however, is a complete stud and he can hustle and I could very well see him being and x-factor in the playoffs. Watch out as the Warriors are most likely the favorite to repeat.