The Best Matchup In The NBA Has Arrived

By Raimundo Ortiz (@AroundtheMundo)

The best matchup the NBA playoffs has to offer is about to begin. When the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the San Antonio Spurs in Round 2 of the Western Conference Playoffs, Kevin Durant, a four-time scoring champion, will be matched up with Kawhi Leonard, the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year. 

There’s momentum for Leonard to be All NBA First-Team over Durant, which one man whose byline is at the top disagrees with. As we did with Russell Westbrook vs. Chris Paul, let’s just look at the numbers.

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You’re Crazy If You Don’t Think Russell Westbrook Is All-NBA First Team

By Raimundo Ortiz (@AroundtheMundo)

If this comes out sounding biased, it’s because it is …  a little. Full disclosure: I’m a fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder, but I am approaching this with very little prejudice. 

Russell Westbrook seems unlikely to be All-NBA First Team this year, and in this man’s humble opinion that’s bogus. Chris Paul is a trendy choice to make it over him, and the main reason seems to be that Westbrook plays with Kevin Durant, and is therefore less deserving.

Some have even made the argument that Paul’s been the better player this year. By almost any measure though, that’s an extremely tough case to make. Let’s put their seasons side-by-side with per game statistics.

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Start Looking Out For Boxing’s Next Super Fight

By Raimundo Ortiz (@AroundtheMundo)

Saturday, April 16 in the year 2016 began the march to boxing’s next great super fight. Errol Spence Jr., a prospect hardcore boxing fans know well, but the general public is largely unaware of, introduced himself to the widest audience of his career on NBC, in primetime, against Chris Algieri (21-2, 8 KO).

Algieri is not a great fighter. He’s a former world champion though, who has a win over Ruslan Provodnikov, one of the most savage fighters in boxing. The win was questionable, sure, but Algieri ended the fight upright after getting knocked down twice in Round 1. Algieri’s only two losses before facing Spence were unanimous decision defeats against Manny Pacquiao, one of the best offensive fighters ever, and Amir Khan, a world-class, multi-division champion. Algieri is pretty damn good.

Spence obliterated him in five rounds.

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Are We Sure Stephen Curry Is The MVP?

By Raimundo Ortiz (@AroundtheMundo)

Are we sure Stephen Curry is the NBA MVP this year?

Yes.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t several players who are putting up MVP-caliber seasons. Check out the years these four players are having, and decide if they stack up to Curry. 

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D’Angelo Russell’s Rookie Year Compared To The Rest Of The 2015 Top 5 Picks

By Raimundo Ortiz (@AroundtheMundo)

Everyone’s talking about Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell. In a draft that has proven deep with talent, Russell was believed by many to have the most star potential in the entire class. It hasn’t quite worked out that way for him, but with the season nearing its end, this marks a good time to evaluate how the big names of the 2015 class have fared. 

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MLB 2016 Preview: 5 Pitchers Whose Teams Can’t Win Without Them

By Raimundo Ortiz (@AroundtheMundo)

With Opening Day so close we can taste it, here’s a look at five pitchers who may hold the fate of their teams’ playoff hopes in their hands. These five pitchers are on teams with high expectations, in divisions where one man can make a difference. 

Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees: The Yankees’ rotation has the most possible outcomes of any unit in baseball. They could be among baseball’s best rotations, or worst, since every player carries significant injury risk, performance risk, or both. Tanaka exemplifies this the most.

His rookie season was dazzling at times; he finished 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA 139 strikeouts, and a 5.15 K/BB ratio. But he also pitched only 136.1 innings, and dealt with a partially torn UCL (read: Tommy John) that he treated with rehab. It’s widely believed he’ll eventually need Tommy John surgery, and in 2015 he was effective, but forced to throw fewer fastballs. His strikeouts dipped and his ERA rose. He also spent time on the DL again, logging 154 innings and starting 24 games. 

He’s expected to be the ace of the Yankees staff yet again, and no one knows how his body will hold up. He’s had elbow and wrist problems, and has struggled through spring training after getting offseason surgery to remove bone spurs. The Yankees must have Tanaka for the majority of the season if they’re going to compete in an improved AL East. The Blue Jays and Orioles have better lineups, the Red Sox have the top ace, and the Rays have youth on their side. The Yankees have MLB’s best bullpen, but it won’t be enough without the division’s most consistent rotation.  

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Tim Bradley Should Get Some Respect Before Facing Pacquiao In April

By Raimundo Ortiz (@AroundtheMundo)

In a few weeks, Manny Pacquiao, one of the greatest boxers of all-time, is fighting for what might be the last time. And it seems like very few people care. Part of that is because of the May 2 debacle of last year vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr., but it has more to do with him fighting “Desert Storm” Tim Bradley for the third time. 

Most boxing observers – myself included – just aren’t that interested in this fight. And that kind of sucks. Bradley is getting a raw deal, and I’ll spell out why, even if at the end of the day I’m guilty of being unfair to him. 

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“Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokuonmpo May Be The NBA’s Greatest Mismatch

By Raimundo Ortiz (@AroundtheMundo)

I remember back in the days when I played NBA Live every year, playing online against opponents who picked the Lakers, and ran PF Lamar Odom as their point guard. It frustrated me, because it didn’t reflect real basketball. Yes, Odom had incredible handle for a big man, but he wasn’t really a point guard. 

Now, it’s happening for real in Milwaukee. Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo is 6’11, and he’s really the Bucks’ point guard.

It started as a Summer League test with him running the point at times. He was raw AF but it as definitely intriguing. And there’s a precedent for taking your fastest, most athletic freak and letting him play the point – just watch Russell Westbrook wreak havoc for the Thunder. He was handed the keys as a rookie, and at first he was a scoring machine who was capable of piling up assists, but lacked anything close to a refined game. 

Now, he’s an MVP candidate, a scoring champion, and he’s leading the league in triple-doubles. With Antetokuonmpo, the Bucks may have a version of Westbrook that is seven inches taller. It’s not fully clear when he became the official starting PG, so let’s pick up from when Michael Carter-Williams played his final game of this season. 

Greek Freak Points Rebounds Assists Blocks Steals FG% 3P% FT% (Attempts Per Game)
Pre-PG 16 7.5 3.1 1.2 1.9 50.3 22.9 74.5 (4.7)
Post- PG 20.1 8.7 8.5 2.0 1.9 52.0 10.0 66.7 (7.5)

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MLB 2016 Preview: 5 Breakout Players Currently Under The Radar

By Raimundo Ortiz (@AroundtheMundo)

The MLB season is almost here, and since I know you’re on pins and needles waiting, here’s something to chew on before Opening Day. Keep an eye on these five players in 2016 for major breakouts. None are very big names just yet, but they could play very important roles this summer and fall. 

Wilmer Flores, IF, Mets: Flores was expected to enter the season as a glorified backup. He was nearly traded last season, only to have some big hits down the stretch and during the Mets’ World Series run. Then, this offseason, the Mets went out and acquired Asdrubal Cabrera to play shortstop, leaving Flores positionless.  

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What Should The Jets Do About Ryan Fitzpatrick?

By Raimundo Ortiz (@AroundtheMundo)

The New York Jets have a problem. Last season they won 10 games, and almost made the playoffs, largely because they had a pretty damn good quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 3,905 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2015, and now he wants to be paid. 

Fitzpatrick and his beard reportedly want around $14-$16 million annually, while Jets GM Mike Maccagnan wants to pay him about $7-$8 million a year. At first glance, Maccagnan seems like he’s being pretty cheap. Just look at some QB deals that were doled out this offseason. 

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