Welcome to the second instalment of “Brother Banter” with the brothers behind SportsNak, Adam and Rossy Pasternak. This week, the boys argue many different topics in sports this week. From the Raps hot start, to the beginning of NCAA basketball. Keep checking in every week for new “Brother Banter” and be sure to let us know what you think in the “Comments” section below the article!
Adam: So I guess we were both slightly wrong on the Raptors, or at least so far. They started off 5-0 and now are 5-2. Honestly I did not think they would start off great at all. I thought this year would be more of a struggle. It is still early but it is looking like our defence is much improved and JV is even producing more consistently. Do the Raps keep this up, or is it all down-hill from here?
Rossy: I think a little bit of both. The Raps are a team playing above their expectations right now, and usually that doesn’t last over an 82 game season. I think that the Raps are a better than everyone, including myself, thought though. DeMarre Carroll, though injured right now, seems to have taken the James Johnson role on defence, shutting down the best opposing wing player, and also brings a new dynamic to the offence, a sharpshooting wing. The 3-and-D skill set is why Masai Ujiri brought him in, and the move is looking great so far. While the Raptors are off to a hot start, how about those Golden State Warriors; will they ever lose?
Adam: Carroll, to me, is what everyone wanted Terrence Ross to be. But to answer your questions about the Warriors…no, they will never lose! I’m just kidding, they will lose a few games along the road but they look poised to repeat as champs this year. Steph is in my opinion the most consistent player in the game. Even without Kerr standing on the sidelines, they are still playing great basketball. Steph is so smart, almost like a coach on the court. The chemistry is through the roof – I just don’t see how they won’t win this thing again. The Spurs, arguably their toughest competition for the West, have been looking great too. Aldridge took a game or two to get adjusted, but after watching their game over the weekend, I think they could be trouble for Golden State later on this year. I mean, a team with Aldridge, Duncan, Parker, Leonard, Ginobli, Green and David West, coached by the legendary coach Pop…they will be tough to stop. Especially with some of the players getting towards the end of their careers and wanting that last championship to complete their legacies.
Rossy: I’m higher on the Houston Rockets than I am on the Spurs. Ty Lawson is averaging 11 pts, 5 ast, and 4 rbs so far this season, Dwight Howard is back to being a dominant rebounder and defender down low, and James Harden… well, he’s James Harden. The T’Wolves have been playing great basketball so far, dedicating this season to late coach Flip Saunders, and Andrew Wiggins is looking like the superstar he was pegged to become. The Clippers have a bunch of interesting pieces, and Doc Rivers is making it work, despite horrible spacing. All-in-all, the West is looking like the more dangerous conference once again. What do you think about the East?
Adam: The East is incredibly improved this year. Milwaukee made some moves, the Heat have a strong team, the Pistons are looking dangerous, and even the Knicks have shown improvement. The West is still clearly the better conference, but the East is on the rise. It’s going to be cool to see how each team goes about rebuilding and improving. The Bucks are super long, the Raps went defensive, the Heat went foreign, the Knicks used the draft and underrated free agent signings; everyone is doing it differently. Speaking of rebuilding, the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers suffered a huge blow in the injury to Connor McDavid. They were just starting to take off and he was pretty much scoring a point per game. You have to think that without him, they will take a step back…right? Or does the emergence of youngsters Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse almost “cancel it out”? They also just recently got Jordan Eberle back too. But, I still think without the NHL’s next all time great, it all means nothing for their development. Maybe that is just me, though. What about you?
Rossy: Firstly, the Edmonton rebuild did not start with Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and Jordan Eberle. The Edmonton rebuild started when they picked Connor McDavid. Teams who are applauded for their rebuilding, namely Pittsburgh and Chicago, had veterans around their young players when they picked high; Edmonton did not. McDavid is now surrounded by veterans, including Hall and Eberle, who can teach him the ways of the NHL – especially Hall, who has the experience of being injured for long stretches. The Oilers were counting on this being a development year for Draisaitl and Nurse, wanting them to stay in the AHL for most of the season, but because of injuries, they are now playing integral roles on the NHL squad. I would argue that this is good for their development, as they can get to know how it is to be relied on. Draisaitl and Nurse have played well in their first few games in the NHL this season, and will look to improve even more as the season goes on. Young guys around the league are stepping up to play big roles on teams that are surprising this season; what do you think about this trend?
Adam: Personally, I actually enjoyed watching hockey more when I was younger. The game was more intense in my opinion. Bigger hits, more fights and lower scores. Also no reviews and changing of calls made games controversial and also more exciting, in my opinion. I loved watching the older guys lead the way and show the very few young guys playing on the successful teams, how it’s done. Times are changing though, and you’re right it seems like the younger players seem to be leading their respected teams and the average age is definitely dropping. I guess you can say this started when the Tampa Bay Lightning won the cup in what seems like 100 years ago now. Yes, Dave Andreychuk was the captain and leader, but the statistical leaders of the team were a then young Vinny Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Brad Boyes, Marty St. Louis and even a young Ruslan Fedetenko. So I guess you’re right; this trend is continuing. But what happens when, lets say, the Chicago Blackhawks core gets older? Things happen down the road…trades, signings, beef between teammates. The solid, winning young cores don’t last forever. It is inevitable that they will end. As they get older, they demand more money, ice time, etc. Personally, I think if you have one or two younger guys at the top of your lineup contributing, you will be more successful if you surround them with productional veterans then to add more young players…like Edmonton. Edmonton could have moved Eberle, Hall or RNH this offseason for established players. They could have produced a win-now core. I’m not saying trade for old players and ruin your future, but trading RNH for a guy like Jeff Carter (not saying the Kings would do it, but a guy like him in general: a big scoring centre) I think would be more beneficial to the Oilers. The whole rebuild idea really took over todays GM’s minds and it seems like the NHL is going in a younger direction, and I just don’t like it.
Rossy: I actually agree, and that is what I was trying to get across in my previous paragraph. The key to rebuilding, in any sport, is to surround the promising young players with seasoned vets. Pittsburgh did it with guys like Mark Recci, Gary Roberts, Sergei Gonchar, and Chicago did it with guys like Marian Hossa. Thats why I love what Buffalo did this offseason. They brought in Ryan O’Rielly, Cody Franson, and even Evander Kane, although he is somewhat considered a locker-room poison. In other sports, this is the key as well. In football, the Colts brought in Matt Hasselback to show Andrew Luck the ropes. In basketball, Andrew Wiggins has an endless supply of smart vets who can teach him what it takes to win, like Kevin Garnett and Tayshaun Prince. The opportunities for young guys is endless, but talent can only go so far. Look at the 76ers, a team with a bunch of young guys who don’t know where they fit, and don’t know what its like to win. I love college basketball, and football for that matter, because it gives the athletes an opportunity to learn from some of the brightest minds in their respective sports, whether it be the coaches, teammates, or the school alumni. There is a new college basketball season coming up soon, and a new crop of talent to evaluate this season. Canadian Jamaal Murray really excites me, as does Ben Simmons. It will be interesting to see where this season goes for both those guys.
Adam: For once, we are in agreement. Jamaal Murray is single-handily getting me excited to watch NCAA hoops. “The Next Andrew Wiggins” as some call him, is going to light it up this year and be a lottery pick come the NBA Draft. He joins a talented Kentucky Wildcats team (with another batch of outstanding freshman) and they look poised to do some damage yet again. What is really interesting is that finally, they look to have some divisional competition this year. LSU is fortunate to have Ben Simmons this year. He is going to be the number one pick in the ’16 draft, according to many in the basketball world. LSU will put up a fight against KU and those games will be great to watch. The one freshman and future NBA stud you forgot to mention is Cal’s Jaylen Brown. This kid is going to be special too. It’s odd he chose Cal, but they also got 5-star recruit Ivan Rabb and they now look to come into the spotlight for the first time in, well, a long time. There seems to be more and more highly skilled freshman every year and it makes watching college hoops so much fun, but it also gives us a glimpse into the NBA’s future and man does it look bright. There could be a few teams this year who surprise, and that team will be Maryland. Now sophomore point guard, Melo Trimble, is poised for another spectacular season and he is now joined by former Duke standout, Rasheed Sulaimon. They are older and more experienced, but in my opinion has the skill to do damage this year. I know you agree, as we discussed this earlier this week, but maybe you could give me your reason as to why YOU think they will be a sleeper this season?
Rossy: We talked about this quickly, as I was reading an ESPN article on the ‘Terps. I don’t think they are much of a sleeper this year, as they are ranked in the top 5 of every poll, and Trimble was the preseason pick for Big 10 Player of the Year. Maryland basketball is once again on the rise. You mentioned how college hoops gives us a glimpse into the future of the NBA. In the past, there have been teams with the likes of John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins; Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love; and of course, the Fab 5. Now, NBA talent can be found not only at the big powerhouse schools such as Kentucky, Duke, UNC, and Michigan. NBA talent is found at small schools, like Davidson (Steph Curry), Lehigh (C.J. McCollum), and Weber State (Damian Lillard). There are just so many teams for young players to play on and get noticed. It gives them lots of options. I can’t wait to see which sleepers emerge this year. Speaking of which, do you have any in mind?
Adam: I think Notre Dame could be a sleeper this year. Yeah, they were in the elite eight last year, but barely anyone has them in their top 25 this year and Jerian Grant is now playing for the Knicks in the NBA. They still have talent though, and players left from last years team will now come in to this season with much needed experience. I wouldn’t count them out. It’s really hard to predict sleepers though, as there are many surprises along the way in college basketball.
Rossy: Remember though, they also lost Pat Connaughton to the NBA. Lets go back to professional sports for a bit; specifically baseball. The offseason is upon us, and the rumours are starting to fly. David Price seems like he is a goner for the Blue Jays, and the same can be said for Zack Greinke from the Dodgers. One interesting rumour I have seen is that Toronto is considering going after Greinke. It seems to be that teams think Greinke will age better because he doesn’t rely on his velocity to be a great pitcher. I personally think he is better than Price, and as a Blue Jays fan, would prefer them to sign Greinke. Is it a pipe dream to think the Blue Jays can be players in free agency? If so, can they pull off more trades for impact players with a near-empty prospect cupboard?
Adam: I wouldn’t get your hopes up here, Rossy. I agree, Greinke is the better pitcher, but the Jays won’t even come close to signing him. They have $140 million to work with and he wants upwards of $30+ mill a season. I think the Jays need to follow the Royals model in how they replaced their departed ace James Shields last offseason. Sign a few cheaper, less established players and hope it works out. Edison Volquez was one of those guys, and he was a key part in them winning it all this year. It’s going to be interesting to see what they do, even more so with the fact that they still haven’t named a new official GM, just an interm. We’ve covered a lot of topics today, and I think we should end it here. Join us next week for round 3 of Brother Banter!
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