Erik Spoelstra discussed a lot of things in his press conference this afternoon, as they get ready for the start of the season.
One of the first things that stood out was when he mentioned the veterans and youth heading into the season.
He started off talking about the veterans may need a bit more rest due to the quick turnaround, but the young guys are definitely ready. He said jokingly, “Our guys like Tyler, Duncan, K-Nunn were ready three months ago.”
He then threw Bam Adebayo into that discussion, mentioning that people need to remember how young Bam still is.
Bam Adebayo’s name seems to come up quite a lot in these zoom calls, but Coach Spoelstra elaborated on his extension a bit. He said, “I’m really happy for Bam and his family. He’s worked for this in the right way. He’s all about Heat culture and winning. In many ways, he’s like Jimmy…As I said a few years ago, my nickname for him is no ceiling.”
Coaches always seem to gas up their young players, especially ones who are the centerpiece of the team. But when Erik Spoelstra or anyone on the Heat team talk about Bam, it’s truly real and authentic. And that speaks volume.
This season will clearly be a unique one, which means a lot of things are up in the air. That includes Jimmy Butler’s exact minutes, since Spoelstra said “He’s not going to be playing the kind of minutes regardless, like he was in his early twenties.” Especially with the quick off-season, this will be the case, but ultimately it is Jimmy’s decision. And he’s going to push to be on the floor as much as possible.
And speaking of things being up in the air, the rotation is definitely an uncertainty right now. I’ve been saying that training camp will hold high value for the players to crack the rotation, but it’ll also be decision time for Erik Spoelstra and his coaching staff.
He said, “It can be different a week from now, two weeks from now, two months from now.” And Miami has the luxury of looking at it that way because of their depth.
One of Miami’s interesting depth pieces is rookie Precious Achiuwa. When Coach Spo was asked about him, he said “His athleticism, quickness, fluidity, ability to play multiple positions on defense all jumped off the screem.” He also mentioned that he texted Mike Miller about him, who was on Memphis’ coaching staff, and he told him Precious would translate perfectly.
Erik finished off the media session saying that the first team practice will be on Sunday, and it seems as if he’s ready to get the season going. He said, “Different group, same goal.”
That has been his motto entering every season.
Many coaches can say it. But only few truly mean it.
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Parlay of the Night: Movsar Evloev, Ovince St. Preux, Jack Hermansson
Main Event: #4 Jack Hermansson vs #13 Marvin Vettori
Pick: Jack Hermansson
Breakdown: Jack Hermansson is finally locked in on Marvin Vettori after his two previous opponents Darren Till and Kevin Holland fell out due to various reasons. This fight is a great matchup where we will see the ever evolving Hermansson take on the last guy to push the Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya in Vettori. This being a 5 round fight is a big advantage for Jack being that he was preparing for this while Vettori was preparing for 3 rounds against Jacare Souza. Hermansson comes in with a strike advantage of 5.1 to 4.3 when it comes to landed strikes per minute. Vettori isn’t heavy on throwing lots of volume on the feet. He tends to throw one strike at a time whereas you will see Jack Hermansson throw multiple at a time, especially if he is able to land that first shot. He does a good job using his jab and striking to back you up to the fence where he will either continue to piece you up with shots or he will put you in a position vulnerable for a takedown. By no means is Jack Hermansson a highly technical striker, but he is a level above Vettori and has good enough combinations and variety on the feet to give him an edge. Hermansson has shown the ability to control the ground game as well. Vettori does offer a better takedown percentage at 47% compared to Hermansson’s 35%, however Hermansson averages more takedowns on a per 15 minute basis averaging 2.2 takedowns per 15 mins compared to 1.7 for Vettori. In this fight we will see it start out very competitive but throughout the course of the fight, Hermansson will take control and get the win. Vettori hasn’t been finished before, so this one is likely to go to the cards.
Potential Props: Over 2.5 (1.66/-152), Hermansson to win by UD (7.5/+650)
Fight #2: Ovince St Preux vs Jamahal Hill
Pick: Ovince St. Preux
Breakdown: Ovince St Preux is coming off of an impressive knockout win where he finished his opponent with a slicing counter left hook on the button. On the other side you have the undefeated Jamahal Hill who has looked good in his first few UFC outings. OSP is one of the most experienced fighters on this UFC roster formerly challenging for a title. The athletic OSP that we’ve known over the years isn’t the same one we see today, however he brings a high octagon iq and a ton of experience with him entering the cage. Jamahal hill has not faces anyone close to the caliper of OSP and although he’s a great striker, that’s the only dimension of his game that is threatening. He does have good footwork and has shown good takedown defense against lower level fighters but going against someone as big as Ovince is will be a new challenge for him. Hill also will not have his usual few inches of height and reach advantage due to the big frame of OSP. This big frame will be strong enough to initiate the clinch and control Hill to the ground. Once he’s in this position, look for OSP to wear out Hill on the ground with ground and pound until the submission presents itself.
Fight #3: Gabriel Benitez vs Justin Jaynes
Pick: Justin Jaynes
Round: Round 1
Breakdown: This fight is a sleeper for a potential fight of the night or at least a performance bonus. Justin Jaynes is a heavy hitter with a mean left hook that has put out a few opponents. On the other hand Gabriel Benitez is a bouncy striker who likes to enter and exit range and use a good diversity of strikes. Benitez comes in having 4 of 8 of his losses coming in the first round. He is someone who starts slow and gets better as the fight goes on but sometimes that costs him. Jaynes on the other has won his last 5 by way of first round knockout. This seems like almost a perfect storm for Jaynes to deliver one of those excellent left hooks. There is of course the chance that Benitez will survive and gets better as the fight goes on, but Jaynes as an underdog in this fight has a good chance of cashing in and coming off of his first loss in 2 years where we saw him fade in the later rounds, look for him to be able to carry that hitting power longer than before.
Fight #4: #14 Montana De La Rosa vs Taila Santos
Pick: Taila Santos
Breakdown: Let me tell you that initially due to the amount of unknown in this fight, it would be safer to leave this one out of parlays. That being said we will see a heavy clash in styles when we see someone who is great on the ground in Montana De La Rosa taking on the great striker Taila Santos. Santos is coming in with only one loss, and that loss being a split decision so she has shown the ability to get fights won by scoring and using her footwork. Montana De La Rosa does not have good striking by any means but if she is able to take this fight down, then it will most likely be hers. The reason we are going with Taila Santos is due to her showing before. Even if she gets taken down, she has shown to avoid it for a while and is able to also score enough to mitigate the scoring of the takedown and control time. Look for Santos to try to keep this fight standing and work De La Rosa to the scorecards.
Fight #5: Roman Dolidze vs John Allan
Pick: Roman Dolidze
Breakdown: 1 of 3 undefeated fighters on the main card, Dolidze is coming in off of an impressive head kick win in his UFC Debut. John Allan did pick up the win in his last time out against Mike Rodriguez, but it was overturned to a no contest due to a failed drug test. Dolidze has finished all of his fights and has won multiple world grappling titles outside of the UFC. This is a huge problem for Allan because 80% of his losses have come by submission. Allan has heavy hands and it will be interesting to see if he carries the same power after coming off of PED’s. Dolidze is a heavy hitter as well so we might see some time where both fighters are feeling each other out initially. Allan is a slight underdog in this fight, but due to the credentials of Dolidze it feels like that number should be bigger. Look for Dolidze to pick up the win late in this fight, or for it to potentially hit the cards.
Fight #6: Movsar Evloev vs Nate Landwehr
Pick: Movsar Evloev
Breakdown: Undefeated Movsar Evloev is coming in having won all 3 of his UFC fights in the same dominant fashion. He is continuing to get better on the feet while having near Khabib-esque technique with his takedowns and the way he keeps his weight on you. Nate is a great fighter who when paired up against the right person is sure to always deliver a banger of a fight. But facing someone like Movsar Evloev is a different animal from the ones that Landwehr has faced before. Movsar keeps his hands high which will do well against someone who is a headhunter like Nate. Nate does show the ability to avoid that first takedown, but when his opponent continues to try and drag him down, he usually ends up on the floor. In this position we will see Movsar control most of the fight and likely pick up the decision win.
You can follow Johnathan on Twitter @ThreePieceCombo
Basketball is an exciting sport that many people love to play professionally or practice as a hobby during their free time. Many people, however, often struggle to find time in their busy schedules to go to a club or court to practice their favorite sport. To overcome this issue, some people who have enough outdoor space in their homes choose to build their very own basketball court where they can play whenever they want. If you are keen on the game and have enough space, here is how you can set up the best possible basketball right at home.
Determine the Available Space
The first step you would need to take once you consider having your own basketball court at home is to determine the available space that you have for that purpose. If you already have an area that can easily be set up then you should be alright to begin. However, if you are going to do some remodeling work outdoors to fit the court, you might need to hire a professional to measure the space and examine whether or not it would fit a basketball court. Many people remove old swimming pools or fountains or even gardens to fit their desired court in. Make sure you measure the space accurately and get some expert help if you need it.
Set a Budget
Having a basketball court in your home does not necessarily have to cost you a fortune. But before you start any DIY projects or hire a professional, you must first set a budget. If you are looking to save some money while still getting what you want, you can check out this list of best portable basketball hoops here, and play your favorite sport anytime you want without burning a hole in your pocket. If you have enough open space and your budget allows it, you can invest extra money in building a bigger court as you see fit.
Do the DIY Work
Once you have established the kind of space you have for the court and set yourself a proper budget, it would be time to start doing the DIY work and fit everything together. You would need to start by getting the proper hoops that you have chosen, whether portable or fixed, and you would also need to do some paintwork on the floor to mark the court sides. Make sure everything is tightened up securely and get an extra pair of helping hands to get the job done if you need to.
Setting up a basketball court at home can be great for basketball fans who want to stay active but struggle to find the time to go to a basketball court. It is super easy and cost-effective, and all family members can enjoy some quality time playing together in the backyard court. Before you get your court designed and your hoops fitted, make sure you set a budget and determine how much space you have so that you can enjoy your very own court for many years to come.
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MLB’s offseason begins far quieter than that of the NBA. While basketball fans see a flurry of moves come the moment free agents can agree with new teams, baseball moves at a much slower pace. Although teams have been able to sign free agents for weeks, only a handful have done so. The Marlins started this offseason by bringing in a new GM, and this week, Kim Ng finally started making moves.
Marlins Offseason Starts with a Trade
On Monday, the Marlins acquired right-hander Adam Cimber from the Cleveland Indians for cash considerations. In 152 career MLB appearances, Cimber posts a 3.89 ERA with 104 strikeouts and 38 walks over 136.1 innings pitched.
Cimber, 30, works as a sidearm hurler and provides Miami with a unique look out of the bullpen. Although his fastball only averages around 86 mph, he’s generated good results as an MLB reliever, including posting a 3.97 ERA and 3.99 FIP with a 52.4 percent groundball rate and a 1.59 BB/9 in 2020.
New Marlins GM Kim Ng noted Cimber’s “very unorthodox delivery” during her media availability on Thursday morning. She also said: “He’s just a really difficult guy to prepare for as a hitter. That was one of the very attractive things that we found out about him.”
The Indians will receive $100K, according to the Associated Press. That figure matches what a team would fork over when making a Rule 5 selection. This implies the Marlins are looking to build out the bullpen with veteran MLB arms instead of looking for a diamond in the rough.
“We need some help back there,” Ng said of the bullpen.
Last season, Miami made right-handed reliever Sterling Sharp a Rule 5 pick to little avail. Sharp pitched in four games for the Fish, going 0-0 with a 10.13 ERA over 5.1 innings with three strikeouts. He was returned to the Nationals and ultimately assigned to their Triple-A affiliate.
Marlins DFA Jose Urena
To make room for Cimber, the Marlins designated right-hander Jose Urena for assignment. The longest tenured Marlin on the roster, Urena’s time with the Fish comes to an end with mixed results. The Opening Day starter in both 2018 and 2019, Urena never found the consistency needed to perform at the highest levels. He was certainly miscast as an Ace.
In 2020, Urena, 29, resumed his role as a starter after an ill-fated run as a reliever in 2019. He posted a 5.40 ERA and 6.06 FIP with 5.79 K/9 and 5.01 BB/9 rates over 23.1 innings. His season ended painfully when he suffered a fractured right forearm at the end of September.
Urena proved to be an innings-eater from 2017 through 2018, but never developed beyond that. He’ll be most remembered for his clashes with Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. The Marlins elected to cut ties with Urena rather than pay the expected $4 million price tag for him.
Marlins Offseason: Non-Tender Deadline Signings
The Marlins made additional moves on Wednesday at MLB’s non-tender deadline. The team surprised some by inking both first basemen, Jesus Aguilar and Garrett Cooper, to new contracts. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the Universal DH for 2021, the Marlins elected to bring back a player in Aguilar deemed be a leader on last year’s club.
Aguilar hit .277 in 2020, with 10 doubles, eight home runs and 34 RBI over 188 at-bats. His infectious attitude and joy seemed to help spark the young group last season. It was a solid bounce-back for Aguilar after a subpar 2019 landed him on the waiver wire in Tampa Bay. Aguilar’s $4.35 million one-year deal includes a $150K bonus for plate appearances.
Cooper, meanwhile, took over as the team’s main first basemen through the playoffs. After his stint on the injured list while dealing with COVID, Cooper returned to hit .283 with eight doubles, six home runs and 20 RBI over 120 at-bats. His clutch home run in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series against the Chicago Cubs helped propel the Marlins into the NLDS.
Cooper’s injury history earned him some doubters along the way, including Marlins manager Don Mattingly, but he seemed to overcome those this season. That said, his $1.8 million one-year deal includes plate-appearance bonuses that could push his earnings to over $2 million.
The only player to be non-tendered by the team was reliever Ryne Stanek. The Marlins acquired Stanek in a 2019 trade deadline deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. Miami shipped reliever Nick Anderson and right-hander Trevor Richards to the Rays for Stanek and outfield prospect Jesús Sanchez. Unfortunately for the Fish, if Sanchez doesn’t become a frontline player, that seems like a lost deal.
Stanek came to the Marlins as a potential closer, but he never seemed to overcome injury issues. In 31 appearances for Miami, he posted a 6.03 ERA, allowing 21 earned runs over 31.1 innings. He registered 39 strikeouts and 27 walks, a 1.76 WHIP.
No Extension for Andy
The Marlins tendered a contract to Anderson Wednesday but not a long-term deal. MLB Trade Rumors projects Miami’s 27-year-old third baseman to earn somewhere between $2.2 and $4.2 million.
Anderson anchored Miami’s lineup for much of 2020. He played 59 of the 60 games and put up a .255 batting average with seven doubles, 11 home runs and 38 RBI in 200 at-bats. His sterling defense at the hot corner saw him earn a spot as a finalist for the Gold Glove at third. For his career, Anderson sports a .266 batting average with 42 home runs and 177 RBI.
“I personally would like to see how this year goes before we venture down that road, so I have a better understanding of who he is as a player and get a better sense of the situation,” Marlins GM Kim Ng said Thursday.
Other Marlins Offseason Tidbits from Ng
Ng noted the Marlins top offseason priority will be the bullpen. Miami’s added Cimber, but lost Stanek, as well as former closer Brandon Kintzler and late-inning reliever Brad Boxberger.
Ng said the Marlins will have an open competition at second base, pitting Isan Diaz and Jazz Chisholm against one another. The team isn’t beyond adding another player to this competition for the spring.
Ng also mentioned the team will look to add another bat to the lineup.
Don’t miss the latest Marlins Report episode on the Five Reasons Sports YouTube Channel! Check it out below!
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Duncan Robinson mostly spoke about the improvements he is looking to make in his presser this afternoon.
He started off by saying, “I definitely have some areas of focus in my mind.”
He then elaborated mentioning that his body is the primary focus, especially when playing for the Miami Heat. Duncan also mentioned the defensive improvements that need to be made, which he’s been working on with Heat trainers.
And most importantly, he discussed adding a mid-range game to his offensive package. This is something that I’ve mentioned all off-season, since it was obvious he would work on a one-dribble pull-up all off-season. That one addition opens up his entire offensive game, so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.
He also talked about his poor performance in the first two finals games, which he said he wished he could get those two games back. But, he mentioned you just have to move forward, and “Motivation is at an all-time high.”
It seems as if motivation is high for everybody in that locker room, since it’s clear that they’ve seen the “fluke” comments. Duncan Robinson addressed it saying, “The chip with our group is as big as ever after hearing rumors that it was a fluke.”
Finally, he ended off mentioning that he’s thankful for the group he has around him, saying “One thing I love is that people are always in my ear encouraging.”
Duncan seems focused on yet another break-out season, since he said “I always feel like the percentages can go up.”
And with all of the improvements that Duncan is mentioning, it will make for an intriguing start of the season for the Miami Heat.
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Goran Dragic made it clear that he is not worried about his role heading into next season, when speaking with media.
He said, “I’m here to help, whatever coach needs.”
Another reason that he will most likely come off the bench next season, is so he can preserve himself for the playoffs once again.
He mentioned that the depth of this team helps that even more, saying “The depth is crazy. We have eleven guys on the roster who can play.” And even before that when assessing the idea of a shorter off-season, he said “I’m not worried about that because we have so many players that can step up.”
Goran also elaborated on some of the young guys going into next season, saying “I can’t wait for them to take the next step. They’re a big part of this team.”
He also talked about his excitement for the Bam Adebayo extension, saying “I’m very happy for Bam. He deserves every dollar, every penny…I saw him when he was a rookie, and now he’s developed into a superstar in this league.”
And of course Goran had to bring up the idea of getting back to the Finals, which it seems as if it’s been weighing on his mind. He said, “I’m dreaming about that, every night when I go to bed.”
Lastly, Goran just began talking about his gratitude for staying with this Miami Heat team and organization. He mentioned their culture, while wearing the culture T-shirt, and said “I feel amazing. Miami Heat culture. I’m happy to be a part of this team.”
And clearly his teammates are happy to have him back as well, especially the young guys after many of them discussed his mentorship for them as they developed.
Goran is back, and as he said, he is “ready to help.”
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Tyler Herro got to speak with media on Wednesday afternoon, which he discussed both himself, and the rest of the team.
When discussing his improvements, he started off by saying, “I’m really just working on getting my handles tighter to be that primary ball-handler if needed.”
He also discussed the obvious defensive improvements that will need to be made, which he mentioned that is something he’s been working on.
When he was asked about his role for this upcoming season, he said “Everybody’s goal is to start….But whatever coach wants me to do I’m willing to do.” He reiterated that he was utilized in both roles in his rookie year, and he’s “ready to take it on” no matter the situation.
Tyler also began discussing a bunch of his teammates that have had an impact on him. When asked about Bam Adebayo he said, “I’m excited that Bam got his max. There’s nobody more deserving than him.”
He also gave some high praise for Duncan Robinson, saying “He’s really one of the best shooters in the world.”
The veterans on the team clearly had an impact on him as well, and he believes he still has much more to learn. He said, “I’m still 20. We still have amazing vets and I’m still young.”
Jimmy Butler took Tyler under his wing for his rookie season, and he even invited Tyler to go on vacation with him this off-season. Tyler mentioned that he declined since he told him “you need to go by yourself and enjoy it.”
And speaking of taking guys under their wing, Precious Achiuwa obviously got brought up. He immediately said that he doesn’t believe he’s taking him under his wing, which makes sense since Tyler is younger than Precious.
He did make sure to talk about all of Precious Achiuwa’s strengths, which he included “Miami’s going to fall in love with him.”
Tyler made sure to end it off with the primary focus of this team, saying “At the end of the day, the championship is our only goal.”
And if a bunch of Miami’s young guys make the leaps that many are expecting, that clearly is a valid goal.
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KZ Okpala got to speak with media this morning and it was clearly different from other players.
For one, there’s still uncertainty about his style of play or strengths since he hasn’t played much for Miami.
He did say though that he feels good in his development, and that he “learned a lot.”
When talking about his development, his body seems to be the thing that he is trying to take care of the most. After mentioning that he’s been gaining muscle and is at 5.5% body fat, he said “I think the main thing for me is to be in great shape.”
One of the main things that helped him learn was the young guys, including Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, and Duncan Robinson. After he saw them get the opportunities that they got this past season, it gave him a different perspective, which he said, “Seeing how they work really inspired me.”
He has also taken a lot from Jimmy Butler, especially after his bubble run. KZ said, “It was nothing I’ve ever seen…I truly believe he’s the best.” He then elaborated about his leadership on the team, since Jimmy can yell at him and he doesn’t take offense.
When discussing his exact strengths on the court, he spoke about his defensive abilities mostly, since that is where he strives. But he also mentioned his offensive skill-set, which he said, “With the play-makers we have, I feel I can score off cuts.”
He doesn’t believe his offensive package ends there though, since he also said “I’m confident with my three ball.”
Most importantly, he just seems very ready to get out on that court and perform. The confidence the organization and team has given him has been essential, since he said, “The way they are pushing me means they care.”
And that is obvious, since they’ve been very reluctant to include him in any trade packages this off-season. It is going to be interesting to see how Erik Spoelstra utilizes him, since he has the attributes to make an immediate impact for this team.
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Kendrick Nunn spoke with media as well on Tuesday afternoon.
“We’ve been putting in non-stop work.”
The specific improvements that he’s been trying to make this off-season have been his catch and shoot game. He mentioned that he’s “trying to improve in areas that I will be needed most for my team.” And he’s of the mindset that will be off the ball.
He is still focused on his point guard qualities, since he said he’s “learning how to be a lead guard and a play-maker.” He followed that mentioning that the main job of a guard is to be an on-court leader.
He was very excited to have his mentor Goran Dragic return for this season, saying “He leads by example, that’s one thing I’ve learned from Goran, how hard he works.”
Another improvement that he’s been focused on is his body. He reiterated that staying in shape is the most important thing since you’re always playing at your highest level. He mentioned that he dropped 8 to 10 pounds, but “got that back once I started working out.”
Obviously he caught Covid before heading into the bubble, which can clearly take a toll on your body. When speaking about Covid, he said “Obviously it’s a contagious virus, and you can catch it again after catching it once.” He then follows that saying “I’ve had it previously but I’m scared to catch it again.”
The Covid precautions will clearly make this season very unique, but Kendrick Nunn and the rest of the team seem to be ready. As Kendrick said about going to the championship, “We’re just looking to do that again, and get better and win it all.”
Lastly, and in my opinion most importantly, Kendrick Nunn mentioned the fact that “Guys are gonna be fighting for their spot come training camp.” This is something I’ve been mentioning quite a lot, since Kendrick Nunn is possibly the fifth guard on the roster.
Training camp will be like a mini showcase for Miami, since even though this team is one, every player is fighting for themselves to prove their worth.
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Precious Achiuwa spoke with media this morning after the first day of individual workouts.
“Do whatever it takes to win.” That seemed to be his primary focus when speaking about this Heat team, since it was repeated over and over.
That might be something he heard from Jimmy Butler once he got drafted, since Precious mentioned they spoke following the draft. Precious said, “He told me at the end of the day the goal is winning. And I want to win.”
Although Jimmy reached out to him, Tyler Herro seems to be the guy that speaks to him the most. They’ve obviously been working out together lately, but Precious mentioned it’s “Something we’re gonna do for a very long time, why not start off early.”
That quote may put some things in a different perspective, since some may want to constantly package their youth in a trade, while Precious and Tyler are looking to make this thing permanent.
Something else that was reiterated throughout the media session was his love for Miami heat basketball, even before he was drafted. “I love to watch winning basketball. I love to watch people play hard and that is Heat basketball.”
Precious Achiuwa clearly has to go through a unique path before starting this NBA season, due to the absence of Summer League, but he’s pretty confident that he is ready.
Miami’s role for him is a separate question, but he’s a guy that seems to have everybody in that locker room and organization excited.
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