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“Executive of the Year”: Miami Heat Legend Lauds Pat Riley for Drafting Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn

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"Executive of the Year": Miami Heat Legend Lauds Pat Riley for Drafting Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn

The Miami Heat have had a splendid run in the Playoffs so far. Not only did they just beat the number one seed Milwaukee Bucks and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, but have also lost only one game throughout the Playoffs. They are all set to face their 2012 rivals, the Boston Celtics, in the conference finals. Yes, they have Jimmy Butler in their roster, but there are two young players in the team who’s drafting has played out really well for the Heat.

Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn, best decisions by Miami Heat?

Tyler Herro was the 13th overall pick in last year’s draft. The Rookie is averaging 13.5 point and 4.1 rebounds. Even before the drafting took place, the shooting guard made quite an impression on the Boston Celtics. At the time, Celtics had hosted a workout for some NBA Draft prospects, and Tyler Herro had caught their attention.

 

On the other hand, they also have Kendrick Nunn. Nunn finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting this season. He instantly became the starting point guard for the Miami Heat, which is a huge deal for an undrafted rookie. Although he has hit a bit of a slump in the Playoffs, his potential is still not one to look down on.

Former Miami Heat player and All star, Dwyane Wade, also commented, “With drafting Tyler [Herro] at the pick that we had and then with going to get Kendrick Nunn, and understanding you got certain pieces that fit with those pieces. Executive of the Year definitely goes to [Heat president Pat] Riley.” Thanking the Heat president for the decisions he has made for the Heat.

Dwyane Wade is proud of his former team’s perseverance

Sep 6, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo (13) looks to shoot in front of Milwaukee Bucks forward Marvin Williams (20) during the first half of game four of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports | Courtesy Reuters

The older players have also shown a lot of spark this season. While Duncan Robinson set a franchise record for the number of threes made in a season, Bam Adebayo will make his first appearance in the NBA All-Star game. “Congratulations to them, man, and all those guys for really going out and making something out of what people looked at from the outside as nothing,” Wade said of the Heat.

While the Boston Celtics have just beaten the defending champions to get here, the Miami Heat have momentum on their side. They also have a talented roster that Celtics should be really threatened to play against. It won’t be easy for the Celtics to avenge their 2012 defeat.

 

 

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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The main culprits behind my Yankees and Mets failure

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The main culprits behind my Yankees and Mets failure

For 12 years now, I’ve tried to correctly, precisely predict the Yankees’ and Mets’ final records, launching my projections on Opening Day and updating them on Twitter following every game.

These picks don’t seem to be getting any cheaper by the dozen — or easier, either, even with 102 fewer games in this year’s COVID-shortened season and therefore less variability on the final numbers. When the Yankees lost to the Blue Jays on Monday night, it ended their chances of finishing 38-22 and my chances of being right. The Mets, whom I tabbed to go 33-27, lost their 28th game on Friday night.

Hence it’s time for my annual mea culpa, the dissection of why things didn’t go as I anticipated. Last year, I underestimated the local teams. This year, I showed off my versatility by proving too bullish on both.

Here are three reasons why each team fell short of my small-sampled expectations:

Yankees

1. Next man out

This marks my second time using this jokey riff on “Next man up.” Once more and I’ll get nominated for a Bruce Chandling Award. It is true, though: When the Yankees suffered their trademark wave of injuries, they didn’t respond with their trademark depth. Instead, too many guys who came through last year fell well short of their 2019 production. Oddly, the three most notable falling stocks from the “2019 surprise contributors” bucket all were lefty bats: Mike Ford, Brett Gardner (a surprise last year in that he significantly exceeded statistical expectations) and Mike Tauchman.

2. The Rays, the Rays, the Rays

In Tampa Bay’s many years of serving as a low-payroll thorn in the Yankees’ collective side, the Rays never really dominated the rivalry enough to gain a mental edge; their top single-season showing was 12-7 in 2013. That all changed this year, however, as the Rays outperformed and out-squawked the Yankees to the tune of 8-2. A mere split of these 10 games and I might be living out my final days on a tropical island like Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy in “Trading Places.”

3. Scary Gary

Last year, the Yankees’ catchers combined for a .781 OPS, third-best in the American League, as Gary Sanchez led the way with an .816 mark in 374 plate appearances. Two years ago, Sanchez’s worst big-league season to that point (a .740 OPS in 320 plate appearances), the Yankees catchers still produced the third-best OPS in the league, .706. This year, with Sanchez reporting to work Thursday as the owner of a .615 OPS in 166 plate appearances, the Yankees catchers ranked ninth in the league with a .708 OPS; they did that well thanks to Kyle Higashioka (.881) covering for Sanchez (.652 as a catcher) as well as Erik Kratz (.692), the latter a 40-year-old who isn’t regarded as a franchise centerpiece. This is the worst version of Sanchez we’ve seen, albeit small-sampled, and it’s hard not to wonder whether the Yankees should move ahead counting on him.

Mets

1. Marcus Stroman’s opt-out

When Noah Syndergaard succumbed to Tommy John surgery during the shutdown, it made Brodie Van Wagenen look even smarter for acquiring the high-end Stroman last year, and I thought the Long Island native would thrive in his walk year just as he tackled other professional challenges. Instead, Stroman, after starting the season injured, opted out shortly after accruing the necessary service time to become a free agent this winter. How much that factored into his timing and decision, only Stroman knows — he cited concerns about COVID and his family, and far be it from anyone to challenge those — but I applaud him for working the system to his advantage much as teams do routinely by manipulating players’ service times. I just wish I had realized he was going to do this.

2. The back half of the rotation

In 2019, Steven Matz (2.2), Rick Porcello (1.2), and Michael Wacha (.1) combined for 3.5 wins above replacement (as per Baseball-Reference.com), which translates to 1.3 in a 60-game season. In 2020, through Wednesday’s games, Porcello (.3), Wacha (-.2) and Matz (-.9) had teamed for -.8 WAR, which translates to -2.2 WAR in a 162-game season. If these guys had simply pitched to their profiles as back-end starters, rather than looking far more like non-starters — both Wacha and Matz lost their spots in the starting rotation at different junctures — then I might be hiding my millions in the desert a la Walter White.

3. Pete Alonso’s sophomore slump

Sure, I anticipated some regression from Alonso’s magnificent rookie season. Not regression to the point where he’d be a below-average hitter, though, and that’s what he is right now. Following Tuesday night’s game, Alonso cited his batting average on balls in play and exit velocity as signs that he has been victimized by bad luck. Eh. As per Baseball Savant, his expected slugging percentage this year, based on exit velocity and other underlying metrics, is .451. His actual slugging percentage? .435. He’ll go into next year facing questions about his long-term on-field profile, as exemplified by Joel Sherman’s survey of talent evaluators concerning Alonso and his surging teammate Dom Smith.


This week’s Pop Quiz question came from Joseph Piro of Jersey City: Name the former Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year who appeared in a season of the reality show “The Surreal Life.”


Out for a long drive? You can’t go wrong listening to The Post’s sports podcasts.


Your Pop Quiz answer is Jose Canseco.

If you have a tidbit that connects baseball with popular culture, please send it to me at kdavidoff@nypost.com.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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‘Covid had the courage to challenge me’ – Ibrahimovic confirms positive coronavirus test

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'Covid had the courage to challenge me' - Ibrahimovic confirms positive coronavirus test

AC Milan have confirmed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has tested positive for Covid-19 and will be taking in a period of quarantine.

The 38-year-old must self-isolate after seeing it revealed that he is a carrier of the coronavirus – though he responded to the news in typical style.

“I tested negative to Covid yesterday and positive today. No symptoms whatsoever. Covid had the courage to challenge me. Bad idea,” Ibrahimovic wrote on Twitter.

The enigmatic Swedish striker is the only member of playing and coaching staff at San Siro to have posted a positive test.

An enforced break means that Ibrahimovic will play no part in Milan’s upcoming fixtures.

A statement from the Serie A club on their official website read: “Zlatan Ibrahimovic has tested positive for Covid-19 following a second round of swab tests ahead of tonight’s Europa League qualifying game against Norwegian side Bodø/Glimt.

“The club has informed the relevant authorities and the player has been promptly placed in quarantine at home.

“All other team members and staff have tested negative.”

Ibrahimovic has enjoyed a productive opening to the 2020-21 campaign for Milan.

He has made two appearances so far, scoring three goals.

He opened his account for the season in a Europa League qualifier against Shamrock Rovers, before then bagging a Serie A brace against Bologna.

The self-proclaimed ‘Benjamin Button’ of modern day football had been looking to kick on from that point, having agreed to extend his second spell with the Rossoneri.

He said after finding the target against Bologna: “I’m fine, I’m working, this is the second official match.

“We won, I could have scored more goals. If I was 20, I would have scored another two. I’m like Benjamin Button, I was born old and I die young.”

Ibrahimovic added on Milan as a collective: “We are not yet at 100 per cent, we still made some mistakes that we usually wouldn’t.

“Today it was important to win the first game and start well. Our goal is to do better than last year.

“The young players are doing well; they work, they listen, they have discipline, they know that you have to suffer, work and be focused every day.

“This year we have to think one game at a time and do well, play confidently and play every game like a final. The goal is to stay high in the table.

“I like to have responsibility. The biggest pressure comes from myself. I don’t want anyone to talk about my age, I want everyone to be judged on the same level – I don’t want any favours because I’m 38.”

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Sandy Alderson’s chance to run Mets without Wilpons’ meddling

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Sandy Alderson's chance to run Mets without Wilpons' meddling

This was spring training a few years back. The Mets changed media rules for seemingly no reason, restricting clubhouse access.

It had Jeff Wilpon’s fingerprints on it. I was the senior reporter in camp at the time and was asked to see if I could get a reversal. I thought Sandy Alderson would provide a fair hearing and potentially help, so I had the case presented to the then-Mets GM. The answer I received was Alderson agreed with the argument and thought the new policy was poorly conceived and pointless.

However, he had learned through the years that when dealing with the Wilpons he only had so many bullets in the gun. So I was nicely informed that while Alderson may concur, he would not be wasting a bullet on reporter access when time, energy and persuasive points might be needed to convince a Wilpon at any time of day or night who to promote, demote, acquire or trade — or simply to talk one of the owners out of something ill-conceived that impacted baseball operations.

If you are wondering why Alderson would return — if Steve Cohen is approved as owner, that is — when he is a cancer survivor who turns 73 in November, consider that story. His friends in the game will tell you more like it. Lots more. By the end of his eight-year tenure, Alderson was worn down not by age or the cancer, those allies will tell you, as much as the endless meddling from above, the bizarre requests, the inability of his bosses to see beyond the next press conference. He was exhausted at figuring out which battles to fight when all were important at varying degrees.

He would have always wondered what could have been done with this big-market franchise if he had been left to run it with oversight from above rather than one of those cartoonish Wile E. Coyote two-ton Acme anvils looming overhead to hold back money, slow down decision making or act on a whim.

Now, a rewrite is possible. In a statement Thursday, Cohen announced that should the owners ratify him in a vote likely to come between Halloween and Thanksgiving, he would name Alderson as team president to oversee business and baseball operations.

Cohen’s angle is transparent. He is a flawed candidate. There are owners against him at a time when he will need 23 votes to be approved. There is worry about his history with insider trading, gender discrimination and what his $15 billion could mean to blowing out a payroll. For Cohen, Alderson is part cleansing agent, part political whip bringing votes into line.

Alderson was the GM of the Bash Brother A’s, so there are ties to an organization renowned for steroid use. But that has never really sullied his reputation. A Marine who served in Vietnam, Alderson has spent four decades working for MLB teams and inside the commissioner’s office and left each with, in general, an image of rectitude and loyalty.

One Alderson ally said, “Sandy will be (Cohen’s) regulator. He is the kind of person who will make owners more comfortable that Cohen will follow the rules.”

Mets Sandy Alderson president
Sandy Alderson and Fred WilponCharles Wenzelberg/New York Post

This is not to say Cohen does not know and respect Alderson. He has been a limited Mets owner since 2012, so during much of Alderson’s GM reign (2011-2018). They speak a common language when it comes to business, technology and long-term strategy.

Cohen recently pledged to have baseball people run the baseball department. But George Steinbrenner entered promising: “We plan absentee ownership as far as running the Yankees is concerned.” So you never know. Cohen is a powerful, though private, personality. He would show up with ideas about running the team he has rooted for his whole life and dreamed of owning. His hedge fund history is strong oversight for his executives with a produce-or-else ethos.

If Alderson were to have autonomy on baseball it will be because Cohen loves the Mets, but the hedge fund is in his DNA, and he will not divert his attention much from keeping that thriving. In that case, what would Alderson do? Cohen’s statement includes: “Sandy is an accomplished and respected baseball executive who shares my philosophy of building an organization and a team the right way.” That sure felt like a shot at Brodie Van Wagenen.

For it would help Cohen’s standing with the other owners if they thought his “right way” was more internal than to sign every George Springer and J.T. Realmuto. And time has been good to Alderson’s rep in this realm. His regime drafted two future Rookies of the Year (Michael Fulmer and Pete Alonso). His initial first-round pick was Brandon Nimmo and his final six were Dominic Smith, Michael Conforto, Anthony Kay, Justin Dunn, David Peterson and Jarred Kelenic — either Met success stories or part of so far ill-fated trades made under Van Wagenen. Andres Gimenez, Luis Guillorme, Jeff McNeil and Seth Lugo also were originally signed during Alderson’s tenure.

So it would be an upset if Van Wagenen were retained because: 1) Van Wagenen is seen as aligned with Jeff Wilpon and Cohen dislikes Jeff Wilpon, and 2) Alderson did not appreciate how his end game went down with the Mets and has remained publicly silent because that is his nature — plus his son, Bryn, still works for Van Wagenen as the pro scouting director.

If Van Wagenen goes, what would Alderson do? The general manager will be viewed as a junior partner. Alderson has a collaborative style, but he will be the final vote. Thus, those who expect to make the recommendation to ownership such as Theo Epstein or David Stearns would not come. Alderson has strong ties to one of his former top lieutenants, Paul DePodesta, but word is DePodesta is comfortable as the Cleveland Browns chief operating officer.

Two of Alderson’s most trusted aides with the Mets, J.P. Ricciardi (now a special advisor with the Giants) and John Ricco (who stayed with the Mets, but in a non-baseball role under Van Wagenen) could gain prominence, though likely not as the GM. Don’t ignore Alderson’s open mind. He went into his last managerial search not even knowing Mickey Callaway and tabbed him. That turned out to be a mistake, but showed Alderson has a wild-card side.

It is his steady side, though, that most appeals to what Cohen wants and needs now, while Cohen provides the former Marine in Alderson a chance to finish a mission he felt was left incomplete.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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