Frankly Frankel: June 28, 2014

28 Jun

The United States Men’s Soccer Team is moving on to the knockout stage, the NBA Draft should announce trades on the spot, the 76ers have an atrocious draft, Zach LaVine is pissed about going to Minnesota, Vidal Nuno has the best start of his career, and Mike Trout goes fishing. This is Frankly Frankel coming to you on this June 28, 2014.

  • I have to start with the World Cup, and for the first time in the history of this country, the United States has advanced to the knockout round for a 2nd straight tournament. It wasn’t as stress free as we would have liked obviously after the best soccer player in the world Cristiano Ronaldo delivered the best cross I’ve ever seen that led to the tying goal in the 95th minute.
  • There’s been so much made about that last-minute against Portugal. Michael Bradley “choked” by turning the ball over. It was all his fault the US didn’t come away with the win. That’s honestly blasphemous. We got “Ronaldo’d. That’s what happened, plain and simple. Portugal’s last gasp goal was very unfortunate, but that’s the kind of play a world-class player like Ronaldo makes.
  • That goal made Thursday’s game against Germany way too stressful. The Germans should have blown us out, but Tim Howard played an unbelievable game to keep the US in it. The Americans did not get a good opportunity on goal until stoppage time when Clint Dempsey’s header sailed just over the bar.
  • Going forward in this tournament, the United States has to be aggressive. They can’t play a “prevent”, defensive style like we saw against Germany because in do-or-die games against the real soccer super power’s where you have to win, that’s not going to cut it. When the US played aggressively after allowing the tying goal against Ghana, and for the entire game against Portugal, they looked really good and a team that could beat anyone. The Americans just have to keep the foot on the gas pedal. Having Jozy Altidore back wouldn’t hurt either.
  • Round of 16 predictions: I like Brazil to beat Chile, Colombia to beat Uruguay, France over Nigeria, Germany over Algeria, the Netherlands over Mexico, Costa Rica over Greece, Switzerland over Argentina, and the USA beats Belgium. Bam.
  • In my opinion, Colin Cowherd is one of the top radio hosts in the country, and he made what I thought was an unbelievable point during his radio show yesterday. He made the point that losing and still advancing like the US did this week is very much like a lower-level college basketball team positioning themselves to make the NCAA Tournament.
  • If you’re a team that’s on the bubble, and you have a good, but losing performance against a powerhouse like Kansas, Duke, Florida, etc., the selection committee will recognize that and probably pick you to participate in the tournament that really matters, March Madness.
  • For example, a team like Butler gets killed for beating a team like Eastern Carolina by only 3 points, but gets praised like crazy for losing to Kansas by just 4 points. If you barely beat a bad team, you don’t get any credit for winning, and if you come up just short against a great team its like you really won. It’s just like what happened with the US who positioned themselves brilliantly to advance and they did.
  • The United States did just enough to advance to the knockout stage of the World Cup, and now they’ve entered the games that really matter which is all you can ask for. Up next is Belgium on Tuesday afternoon at 4pm (The game starts a 4, not at 3:30 like ESPN foolishly tells you).
  • I believe (no pun intended, I hate that chant), the US has a very good chance at defeating the Belgians. They just have to play an aggressive style of soccer, and the opportunities will come. If the US plays not to lose, they will.
  • The fact that Italy, Spain, England, and Portugal all failed to advance past group play is truly staggering, if I must say.
  • During Tuesday’s Uruguay Italy game, Luis Suarez bit Giorgio Chiellini. If there’s one thing you can’t do in a soccer game, it’s bite your opponent. Suarez deserved every second of the 9 international matches, and 4 months total he was suspended. FIFA can’t continue allowing this player to perform these heinous acts. It’s a true shame because with Suarez, Uruguay could have legitimately won the World Cup. Now, they have no chance.
  • Onto the other big event, the NBA Draft. One aspect of the draft that has to change is when trades go down, they should be announced on the spot. Even Roger Goodell and the No Fun League has it right. It’s always very exciting to see the team that’s picking logo suddenly change and to know that a trade has occurred. But since the trades have to be “approved”, everyone has to wait and the player drafted is forced to put on the hat of a team they will never play for. Makes no sense.
  • Adrian Wojnarowski is probably the best NBA insider there is. He’s the Adam Schefter of basketball. Wojnarowski however, tweeted out essentially every draft selection minutes before the pick was actually made on Thursday night. Yes, you can shut off your phone during the draft, or unfollow Wojo, but it shouldn’t come to that? Looking at twitter during the draft is important because it’s where you find out about all the trades and inside information. These NBA writers need to convene and agree not to tweet out the picks. But that’s just me.
  • About the actual draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers took the player they had to take in Andrew Wiggins. The Milwaukee Bucks did the same with Jabari Parker. I’m going to be watching very closely at Parker because I have serious doubts he will stay in Milwaukee long-term. I believe if he plays the way he’s capable of playing, he will bolt the first chance he gets, as unfortunate as that is.
  • The Philadelphia 76ers love bringing injured big-men to their team. First, it was Andrew Bynum who ended up never suiting up for the Sixers. Last year, they brought in Nerlens Noel who missed the entire season while rehabbing from a torn ACL, and on Thursday night, they picked Joel Embiid out of Kansas with the 3rd pick. Embiid has both back and foot problems, and he’s never played a second of pro basketball. Drafting Embiid was a tremendous risk by the 76ers.
  • Following that initial risk of drafting Joel Embiid, Philly took another major risk trading for the Croatian forward Dario Saric. Saric is definitely not playing in the NBA this season (so there’s more waiting for Philly fans in the near future), and it could be years before he takes the court. When he does, there’s no guarantee he will be an effective player. If I was a Sixers fan, I would be quite livid.
  • The two picks that really stood out to me as steals were Julius Randle going to the Lakers at number 7, and James Young going to the Celtics at 17. To me, Randle was a top 5 talent that fell to 7. He will be a star in LA. James Young is going to be 19 when the season starts for Boston, and he was a top 5 recruit when he committed to Kentucky. Remember his dunk against UCONN in the national title game? I think Young could be a special player as he continues to develop. He’s that talented.
  • I’m highly curious to see what goes down with the Celtics and Marcus Smart. Like Young, I think Smart is going to be a tremendous NBA player, but it now appears Boston will part ways with Rajon Rondo at some point in the next year. If I were a Celtics fan, I don’t know how I would feel about this. Rondo is the most talented player on the roster, and a top 5 point guard in the NBA. If Boston does end up trading Rondo, they better get a ton back in return.
  • How about Zach LaVine? He may have been overcome with positive emotions after being selected with the 13th pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves, but everything I saw looked negative. Here’s the sequence. Adam Silver announces the pick, and LaVine puts his head down in what looked like disgust, gets up and says “F%$%$ me” numerous times to himself before putting on a smile for the commish on stage. To me, it looked like LaVine was pissed to have been drafted by the Timberwolves, but to each his own.
  • Adam Silver has made quite the impact in his brief time as commissioner, but his gesture to Isaiah Austin was nothing short of special. Austin would have been a first round pick, but was diagnosed with Marfan’s Syndrome, a career ending medical condition. In response, Silver gave Austin his moment by announcing he was drafted by the NBA. The best moment of the draft, and it wasn’t close.
  • Phil Jackson lived up to his “Zen Master” nickname by pulling off a stunning trade that sent Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalambert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, and the 34th and 51st draft selections. Ellington is probably not going to make the roster, but besides that, what a trade for the Knicks. New York could not wait to get Felton out-of-town. He was fat, slow, and non-productive. Chandler just couldn’t stay healthy, and his effort was questioned. In return, the Knicks got an upgrade over Felton in Calderon, last year’s first round pick Shane Larkin, and the 34th pick which turned into Cleanthony Early who was a top 25 talent. In a matter of two days, Phil Jackson drastically improved the Knicks when it looked like he had no room to maneuver. Well done, Phil.
  • I guess Nets GM Billy King really couldn’t help himself during the draft. King bought not 1, not 2, but 3 2nd round picks, including the last 2 picks of the draft for straight cash. I would be shocked if any of the players Brooklyn drafted made the roster.
  • What do you know? Vidal Nuno pitched arguably his best game of the season last night against the Boston Red Sox. Nuno pitched 5.2 scoreless innings of 2-hit ball, and struck out 5 batters. I never thought I’d see the day. However, the Yankees shouldn’t get too excited. I don’t see Nuno putting a hot stretch together.
  • Following a 4-game losing streak, the Yankees have responded once again by winning 2-straight. They’re not fooling me anymore. I’ve said in the last 2 “Frankly Frankel’s” that the Yankees were about to turn it around. I have no reason to believe that anymore. They were supposed to take off after sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays a week and a half ago, and then walking off against Baltimore last Friday. Instead, they went backwards. It’s almost impossible to read which direction this team is going.
  • During the Yankees series in Toronto this week, Derek Jeter made 2 “mistakes” in one inning. One was on a grounder to short with the bases loaded where Brian Roberts forgot to cover 2nd, and Yangervis Solarte forgot to cover 3rd, so by the time Jeter realized his only option was first base it was too late. His 2nd mistake was inexcusable. Jeter completely blew a run-down, and Toronto ended up scoring 3 runs in the inning.
  • Naturally, everyone in New York comes to the conclusion that Jeter is done and we’re witnessing a player that’s way over the hill. Come on!! Jeter has a higher average than Mark Teixeira, Brian Roberts, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Kelly Johnson, and Yangervis Solarte, among others. This is just a case of the media blatantly overreacting. Every time Jeter makes an error or strikes out, he must be finished. It’s almost comical.
  • Mike Trout showed once again last night why he is the best all-around player in baseball when he crushed a 489-foot bomb into the fountains at Kauffman Stadium. All you can say is wow.
  • Be sure to tune back next Saturday for another edition of “Frankly Frankel” and make sure to follow me on Twitter @lucasfrankel.
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Posted by on 06/28/2014 in Frankly Frankel


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