Frankly Frankel: May 15, 2016

15 May

LeBron James should keep his thoughts to himself, it’s time for Tim Duncan to retire, the possibilities for the Yankees are endless if they can just have the lead after six innings, Noah Syndergaard isn’t human and Rob Manfred contradicts himself by suspending Bryce Harper.  This is Frankly Frankel on this Sunday, May 15, 2016.

  • LeBron James continues to create unnecessary noise around himself and his team and what’s frustrating, at least for me, is that these ridiculous situations can so easily be avoided.
  • After hearing Steph Curry was named the first ever unanimous MVP in NBA history, LeBron felt he had to share his two sense saying, “I think sometimes the word ‘valuable’ or best player of the year, you can have different results.  When you talk about most ‘valuable’ then you can have a different conversation.”
  • I actually agree with LeBron here.  What he’s saying is spot on and I think the NBA, and professional sports in general, should all have a ‘Most Outstanding Player’ and ‘Most Valuable Player’ awards.  There’s no doubt that Curry was the most outstanding player in the NBA this season.  It seemed like every night he was doing something we had never seen before and he played an integral role on the Warriors breaking the all-time wins record with 73.  There’s no debating that.
  • When it comes to value though, no player is more valuable to a team than LeBron.  Just look what happened when he left Cleveland to go to Miami.  The Cavaliers went from being the best team in the Eastern Conference to getting the first pick in the draft two years in a row, and as soon as LeBron comes back they’re once again in the finals.
  • To credit Curry, the fact he was named the first ever unanimous MVP is something he has zero control over and he responded as well as anyone could have responded when asked about LeBron’s comments.  Curry said, “I’ve gotten really good at ignoring people….that is the theme of the last two years.  I’m all right.”  Well done, Steph.
  • Believe it or not, LeBron wasn’t done taking shots at the Warriors.  He then felt obligated to share his thoughts on the NBA Coach of the Year Award which Golden State coach Steve Kerr won.  LeBron said what Terry Stotts did losing four starters from the season prior and having the season Portland Trail Blazers had meant Stotts should have won the award and not Kerr.
  • LeBron makes valid points about everything and clearly none of his comments are having any effect on the Cavs’ play on the court with Cleveland about to coast to the finals for a second straight year, but he just comes across as being so bitter.  So you weren’t the first unanimous MVP in NBA history and you weren’t on the team that set the all-time wins record.  Cry me a river, LeBron.
  • It’s pretty crazy how the Western Conference playoffs ended up panning out.  It appeared for what seemed like forever that the 67-win Spurs would face the 73-win Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.  There was never a doubt until Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant clicked at just the right time, and the Spurs, after losing just one home game all season, inconceivably lost two to the Thunder in this series.
  • OKC is going to be an extremely hard out for the Warriors, and I think Charles Barkley said it best.  If Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook play up to their ability and are able to refrain from making ‘what the hell plays,’ the Thunder can beat any team on any given night.  As for my prediction, I’m still going to stick with the Warriors in six games just because of the absurd amount of depth on Golden State’s roster, but I will be the least surprised person in the world to see OKC advance to the finals.
  • On a side note, as a sports fan I always have a soft spot for the villain, and this year the perception surrounding Russell Westbrook seems to be that he’s the reason why the Thunder continue to come up short and have developed a tendency to collapse in the fourth quarter.  For Westbrook in my opinion, I feel like it’s a him against the world mentality, and I’d love nothing more than to see him get the best of Curry and capture that elusive first championship because who doesn’t like Steph Curry?
  • Like Peyton Manning before him, I think it’s time for Tim Duncan to retire.  The “Big Fundamental” has had one heck of a career, but it’s just too painful to continue watching him when he doesn’t come close to resembling the player who may go down in history as the greatest power forward to ever play the game.
  • What’s funny about what could have been Duncan’s last game in the NBA was the fact he was probably the best player on his team, despite all the negative attention that was thrown his way after San Antonio was eliminated.  He had the second-highest point total on the Spurs with 19, and was a team high +12.
  • You never want to see an athlete go out when he has nothing left to give and if Duncan leaves now, at least he’ll be able to say he could have had a few more productive years.
  • A few thoughts on the Yankees.  If they can just have the lead after six innings, the sky is the limit for this team.  The trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman (also known as “Run BMC” which for the record is a dope nickname) is easily the most dominant back end of the bullpen in the sport (and maybe in baseball history), and while they aren’t perfect, I certainly would like my chances on them shutting the door if the Yankees have the lead after six.
  • I just know getting that lead is going to be a major challenge.  There were some sudden offensive outbursts against the Royals earlier in the week, but those outbursts are way too and far between, and that can be proven by the fact Saturday was the 17th time the Yankees scored two or fewer runs in a game this season, good for the most in baseball.  That 2-1 victory over the White Sox was the first time all season the Yankees won when scoring two or fewer runs.  They were previously 0-16 (per Joel Sherman).
  • Assuming his injury isn’t too serious, going on the disabled list is exactly what the doctor ordered for Luis Severino (no pun intended).  The 22-year-old’s sophomore campaign has been brutal thus far.  He’s 0-6 with an abysmal 7.46 ERA, and opponents are hitting .327 off of him.
  • Having some time off will allow him to regroup and I would be shocked if we don’t see the Severino of 2015 when he returns.  Book it.
  • As impressive as Max Scherzer’s 20-strikeout performance was, I think an argument can be made Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard’s performance on Wednesday may have been even more impressive.  Syndergaard pitched eight innings of two-run ball, and accounted for the entire Mets offense belting not one, but two home runs.  Having a pitcher account for an entire team’s offensive production and shutting down a team for eight innings is as incredible as it gets.  You think the Blue Jays regret giving him up for R.A. Dickey??
  • Major League Baseball was absolutely correct for suspending Bryce Harper for running back onto the field after he was ejected during last Monday’s game against the Marlins.  Harper was out of line for doing that and for blatantly cursing at home plate umpire Brian Knight.  The incident absolutely hilarious if you haven’t seen it.  Harper runs onto the field, immediately looks at, curses at him, and then goes right into celebration mode after having a look of vengeance in his eyes.  It was really a remarkable thing to see.
  • You know who else was out of line and didn’t get suspended for doing essentially the same thing Harper did?  Red Sox manager John Farrell.  Farrell was ejected in the ninth inning during the Yankees-Red Sox game a little over a week ago, and then ran back on the field to restrain David Ortiz who looked like he wanted to lay the ‘SmackDown’ on the home plate umpire that night.  Farrell was fined for his actions.
  • By suspending Harper and not suspending Farrell as I wrote last week, Rob Manfred has managed to do the one thing no one should ever, do and that’s create a bad precedent. Instead of issuing an automatic suspension for coming back on the field after an ejection, each instance will have to be treated on a ridiculous case-by-case basis.  Well done, Rob.
  • Lastly, Washington D.C. doesn’t get enough attention for being a depressing sports town.  We seem to direct our attention about that just to Cleveland for whatever reason.
  • D.C. teams haven’t won a championship since the Redskins won in 1992, and no D.C. team has made the conference/league finals since 1998.  To make matters worse, the Capitals were just eliminated by the Penguins following a season in which they won the Presidents’ Trophy.
  • Be sure to tune in next time for another edition of Frankly Frankel and make sure to follow me on Twitter @lucasfrankel.
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