Frankly Frankel: August 9th, 2014

09 Aug

The New York Jets have an up and down first pre-season game, LeBron James gets what he wants, Derek Jeter ties Honus Wagner, and Team USA should still win the FIBA World Cup. This is Frankly Frankel on this August 9th, 2014.

  • The inevitable was finally agreed to this week, when the Cavaliers traded Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and a 2015 first-round pick for Kevin Love. As soon as LeBron failed to mention Wiggins and Bennett’s name in his “Coming Home” letter. LeBron was very likely told Love would be joining him, and that was a major reason why he came back to Cleveland in the first place.
  • I think this immediately changes the dynamic with the Cavs. With Kyrie Irving, Wiggins, and LeBron, Cleveland would have had one of the most fun teams to watch in the league. It would have been a breath of fresh air to see what this team could do with house money. But now, the Cavs have to win a championship now and anything less will be considered a major disappointment. When that’s the expectation, it’s not fun to watch unless the Cavs are losing.
  • Kevin Durant pulled out of the FIBA World Cup for Team USA citing mental and physical exhaustion. Durant was adamant that this had nothing to do with Paul George’s gruesome injury, and I don’t know if I believe him. I don’t think he’s doing anything wrong with him pulling out (he’s not getting paid and he carried the Thunder all season), but to think this had NOTHING to do with George is hard for me to believe.
  • All of a sudden, there is doubt about whether this US team can win the tournament. I think they will still win rather easily with players like Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, and of course, Mason Plumlee. This group is better than anything any other country has to offer.
  • The New York Jets played its first pre-season game on Thursday night and I was lucky enough to be in attendance at MetLife Stadium. A few things stood out.
  • First the good. David Harris was all over the field making tackles, getting to the quarterback, stopping the run, there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do. Following a somewhat down year in 2013, seeing Harris play the way he did on Thursday night was huge.
  • After David Harris, the next best Jets player on the night was Dee Milliner. Milliner has been a target all off-season long. He came to mini-camp out of shape, didn’t have the best training camp, and then he made a very cocky statement saying in his mind, he thinks he is the best corner in the NFL. While he’s still a long way from being that, Milliner played really well Thursday night. Of all the Jets defensive players entering the 2014 season, a strong argument can be made that Milliner is the biggest wild-card.
  • Let me just say that in no way does Michael Vick deserve to start over Geno Smith at the start of the season, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give credit where credit is due. Vick led the Jets to its only touchdown drive last night, a drive capped off by a Chris Johnson touchdown run. He looked quick, his arm strength was good, and if god for-bid anything happens to Geno, Michael Vick is more than capable of filling the void.
  • Onto the bad and the worst player of the game for the Jets was without a doubt Dimitri Patterson. This guy couldn’t cover a rock on Thursday. With the Jets letting Antonio Cromartie walk, the corner back depth will be tested and Patterson was brought in to help fill the void. Hopefully he can turn this around sooner rather than later.
  • What do you know? In a game situation, Stephen Hill once again disappeared after having a tremendous training camp. Hill played 35 snaps, the 2nd most among skill position players, and he was not targeted nor did he record one reception. If Hill has any plans on making the team, he has to start performing NOW or else he will be out of a job, plain and simple.
  • Jace Amaro was inconsistent in his pre-season debut. He finished with 2 catches for 18 yards, but there were some poitive signs. When Amaro makes a catch, he can turn a short pass into a sizable gain. The Jets need Amaro to be the starting tight end week 1.
  • As for the other tight ends on the roster, I don’t have much faith in Jeff Cumberland. At the end of the day, he’s just not that good. A player I would like to see a lot more of is Zach Sudfeld. He’s 6’7, 260 pounds, and whenever he’s on the field, looks impressive. If I were Rex, my 1-2 tight end punch would be Amaro and Sudfeld.
  • You have to feel for David Wilson, the Giants running back who had to retire this week at the young age of 23 due to a spinal cord and neck condition. Wilson had all the makings of a being a great running back one day. He had the speed, toughness, and all the ability in the world. In the end, at least Wilson was able to walk off the field and he can live a normal life going forward. This could have been a lot worse.
  • Derek Jeter continues to make history. Last night, Jeter tied the great Honus Wagner for 6th place on Major League Baseball’s all-time hits list with 3,430 hits. The top 4 players on the list are predictable (Rose, Cobb, Aaron, Musial), but number 5 is not. I have never heard of Tris Speaker and it just seems like he doesn’t belong. His name is never mentioned among the greats of the game.
  • The Yankees took a tough blow for the 2nd time in 3 days last night when Brian McCann was forced to leave the game against the Cleveland Indians with what’s being called a “mild” concussion. Right now is not a good time for players to go down considering the fact the Yankees open up a 3-game set in Baltimore on Monday. If the Yanks have any reservations for winning the AL East, taking a minimum of 2 out of 3, if not a sweep is essential.
  • Like McCann, Mark Teixeira will miss his 3rd straight game with a pinkie injury suffered Wednesday when his hand got caught in Tigers’ catcher Alex Avila’s foot. X-rays were negative, but now Teixeira is saying it’s the pinkie joint, not the stitches that is holding him back. That was my original worry that this injury was more than just a cut. Hopefully Teixeira can make it back by Monday.
  • Reports are out saying Michael Pineda will make his triumphant return to the Yankees on Wednesday in Baltimore. I truly thought I would not see a day like this come until next season. Hopefully Pineda was able to learn during his time off that putting pine tar on your hand and neck is not allowed!
  • I am really looking forward to the Yankees honoring the great Paul O’Neil (aka “The Warrior”) prior to today’s game against Cleveland. I put O’Neil in the same category as a Teddy Bruschi. Tom Brady, like Derek Jeter, was the unquestioned leader of those championship teams, but what O’Neil brought to the team everyday was invaluable and the Yankees weren’t winning 4 titles in 5 years without him. If I had any say, O’Neil’s number 21 would be retired. Remember the last time a Yankees player tried wearing 21? It was Latroy Hawkins and he got booed so harshly he was forced to change his number. Not one Yankees player has worn number 21 since.
  • Chris Young was mercifully designated for assignment yesterday by the Mets. Young was in a tough spot considering the Mets chose to bring him in over Nelson Cruz who’s been tearing it up all season with the Orioles. Despite that, Young was not getting the job done. He was hitting .208 with just 8 home runs and 28 RBIs in 88 games. Cruz on the other hand is hitting .258 with 29 homers and 77 RBIs so far. One thing I will guarantee is that Young will lash out about his time with the Mets by next spring at the latest. It’s coming.
  • Tiger Woods put on another embarrassing performance the past 2 days at the PGA Championship, and missed the cut. I believe that Woods’s bad back is the biggest reason why he has struggled so mightily and why it will be so hard for him to make it back to the top.
  • Who’s ready for some Johnny Football tonight?? I know I am and if I were a sports network, I would try to televise every game Manziel plays because of how polarizing he is. He is must see TV.
  • Be sure to tune in next Saturday for another edition of “Frankly Frankel” and make sure to follow me on Twitter @lucasfrankel.
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