Reid Travis Did Not Do Himself Any Favors in Summer League

Reid Travis was one of three 1st year Kentucky players in the NBA Summer League this season. Joining a long list of former Cats looking to make an NBA roster. After a decent grad-transfer season at Kentucky, Travis went undrafted. He was later picked as a free agent by the Atlanta Hawks and placed on their Summer League team.

Unlike his fellow Cats in the same draft class, he is not making major headlines like Tyler Herro and not drawing ridiculous amounts of praise like Keldon Johnson. His performance was simply mediocre, unimpressive and did not set himself apart in any way.

In Travis’ 5 games with the Hawks, he only posted 4.2 PPG and 4.0 RPG. Those are not the kind of numbers that will get you on a roster. That being said, he still has the opportunity to be picked up for the Hawks G-League squad, College Park Skyhawks, where he could have the possibility of signing a two-way deal. Don’t hold your breath though. It doesn’t look like Travis will be stepping on an NBA floor this regular season.

Travis was a very solid college player. He dominated the Pac 12 for four years before coming to Kentucky where he continued to be a stand out big man. Averaging 13.7 points and 7.6 rebounds in his career made him a consistent finalist for conference and national awards. Sadly, the PAC-12 isn’t the best place to get ready for the NBA.

By the time Travis got to Kentucky, it was already too late. Calipari’s process involves taking elite players from high school, spending a season or two developing them, showcasing their potential and then turning them over to the NBA. How was Calipari supposed to develop a player that was almost done developing? How is he supposed to showcase the potential of a 23 year old when the NBA normally selects players who are 20 and younger?

Reid Travis can still make a career out of basketball. One year of basketball being the only thing in his life, without the pressure of a master’s program I might add, will do wonders for him. It will give him the chance to tie up any loose ends in his game and grow into a dynamic role player. Give him time and expect to see him again next year in the Summer League as a completely changed player.

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Caron Butler’s Unoriginal Hair and Analysis of Tyler Herro

NBA TV analyst Caron Butler and his brand new hair seems to have stumbled on some old takes (Read this, his new hair is absurd). The oldest, in particular, is about Miami Heat newcomer, Tyler Herro. He says that Herro, after a very impressive Summer League, reminds him of two former Heat players.

Butler said, “He’s got a little bit of everything in him; I see a little bit of Jason Williams, I see a little bit of Rex Chapman, I see a little bit from an athletic standpoint, being explosive… Just being aggressive. His mentality, he’s extremely comfortable out there on that platform, on that stage knowing that everybody’s watching. And he’s having fun.”

Really, Caron? Rex Chapman and Jason Williams? Did you come up with that comparison all by yourself there, bud? I am all for the former Cats getting high praise in the NBA, but that take by Caron Butler is somehow more unoriginal than his hair.

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Every white basketball player to come through Kentucky since the 90’s has been compared to Rex Chapman. John Hood even got the same comparison. Caron Butler is about 30 years late on this take. I believe the first headline written after Tyler Herro changed his commitment from Wisconsin to Kentucky was “The Next Rex Chapman Is Coming to Lexington.”

To be completely fair, Herro does play a lot like Chapman, more so than others that have been given the same praise, but it doesn’t sound like a lot of effort was put into that take. To me, Herro plays a lot like Jamal Murray, Devin Booker, or maybe even a young Paul Pierce. How hard would it have been for Butler to put a little bit of thought into that? Also, the Jason Williams comparison doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Yes, Herro made some sweet passes in the Summer League, but it’s a stretch to say the least. Herro’s game and White Chocolate’s don’t exactly match up.

Even though Chapman and Williams are relatively lazy names to throw out, that is still very good company to be grouped with. Herro is going to be a star in this league and it is only a matter of time before players are being compared to him and not the other way around.

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Everyone Is Sleeping on the Broncos and Chris Harris Likes It That Way

The AFC West will prove to be the toughest division in the NFL in 2019. This division may be the best it has ever been, at least since 2013 when three of four teams made the playoffs. The Chiefs look like they will walk their way back to the AFC Championship game, the Chargers are definitely capable of winning 11 games again, the Raiders added Antonio Brown and Gruden looks like he may be figuring out this whole coaching thing, and the Broncos have hired a defensive mastermind to lead their incredible defensive talents.

On top of all four teams that have a reasonable shot at making the playoffs, there are three elite quarterbacks that can change just about any game. I’ll let you guess who they are, but one of them has a Super Bowl MVP and a pretty sweet beard.

Even before the season starts, everyone is already thinking that the Chiefs will win the division. NFL analysts are thinking it, the Broncos homer inside me is thinking it and even Chris Harris is thinking it.

Harris told Pro Football Talk, “The Chiefs are the team to beat right now,” Harris said. “They’ve won it, I think, the past three years so until somebody knocks them off they’re the team beat. I’m telling you right now, I like being the underdog right now. Teams are sleeping on us and so I like taking that approach this year. They’re going to have to wake up when we hit them in the mouth”

I have to take Chris Harris’ side on this one. No pressure is the best way for Vic Fangio to start his career. Every other team sleeping on the Broncos can lead to some major upsets. The defensive genius of Fangio mixed with the defensive playmakers could spell trouble for Rivers, Mahomes and especially Carr. In fact, I think the Broncos can beat the Chiefs if they can keep it close until the end of the game and force Andy Reid to make wise choices when it comes to timeouts.

The SEC Referee Twitter Can Really Only Go Poorly

Because the NBA Referee Twitter account went SOOO well, the SEC has decided that they will start their own. If there is one thing that everyone knows, it’s that drunken southern football fans whose team just lost because of a blown call are surprisingly reasonable. This is going to be a disaster.

And here we are on day one of the account. A month and a half from the start of the season and it is already going exactly how everyone expected.

If you want some old unresolved memories brought up for no reason at all, go ahead and take a gander at the replies to that tweet. Some of them are funny, but some of them cut deep. What seems to be the overall theme of the page is serious hate of Alabama. Half the replies are examples of blatant favoritism for the Tide. Don’t expect that to change, but maybe the SEC will finally notice it.

This is going to be a train wreck for the SEC referees and I AM HERE FOR IT. I am all for holding referees accountable, but why are referees the only people on the field who aren’t allowed to make mistakes? Quarterbacks throw interceptions, linebackers miss assignments, safeties miss tackles, you name it. But the only thing people remember years later is how a 50/50 call at 100% speed did not go their team’s way.

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Devin Hester Part II: Like Father, Like Son

Devin Hester may be the fastest person to grace the football field. His kick returns were awe inspiring as we watched him leave defenders without shoes and dignity all while making Chris Berman lose his mind yelling “whoop” every second. It was like he turned on the nitrous and shifted into the 16th gear of a Fast and Furious Ferrari. My words will never do his career justice, so just watch.

“Devin Hester. You are ridiculous.”

Easily the best return man of all time. His records may never be broken… Unless, of course, he has a son who is just starting to get into football and is already making people miss worse than Luke Kuechly did on against 6th grader.

I’m hearing whispers that Mark Richt has already extended a scholarship offer to him. This kid is not going to be a problem, Dray Hester is going to be a full blown crisis. Good luck to every elementary schoolers’ ankles.

The 6 Broncos That Need to Have a Big Year in 2019

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The Denver Broncos had a very disappointing 2018 season. They were the embodiment of the difference between a Buffalo Bill and a Dollar Bill and were never truly good for four quarters. On and off the field issues left the team in shambles. Injuries virtually eliminated the tight end position. Chad Kelly had two cases keeping him from the starting position. One of which was Keenum while the other was breaking and entering. With the 2019 season quickly approaching there are still many moving parts for first year coach Vic Fangio. In order for the Broncos to have success in the toughest AFC West since 2013, these 6 players will need to step up in major ways.

Noah Fant
The Broncos have not had real success with a tight end since Julius Thomas. The lack of success is due to countless injuries, including 4 last year. Now, Elway has decided to roll the dice again by taking Iowa’s Noah Fant with his first round pick. Fant, at 6’4″ 250 pounds, has all the measurables to be a successful NFL tight end. Now, he needs to repeat the same success he had in college in his first year in Denver. It’s difficult to say that a rookie needs to have an immediate impact, but this is a position that the Broncos absolutely have to have production at to have success in the AFC West.

Joe Flacco
His Eliteness will be gracing Mile High with his presence in 2019. It’s about time the Broncos added another Super Bowl MVP to the team in my opinion. Flacco losing his position to Lamar Jackson last season puts him in a difficult spot. He seems to have the the starting spot lined up for Game 1, but the fear of losing his spot to another rookie in Drew Lock has to be weighing on him. He will definitely be on short leash this season.

Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco, left, watches as quarterback Kevin Hogan throws during the NFL football team’s veterans minicamp Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Courtland Sutton
Emmanuel Sanders has been making unbelievable progress in his recovery from an achilles injury, but still may not be at 100% for Game 1. This means that Courtland Sutton will be the de facto first option receiver for the season opener. The last thing that Sanders needs is pressure to return to the field before he is ready. Courtland Sutton needs to have a big season to give Sanders all the time he needs. The Flacco specialty has always been underthrowing a receiver forcing them to run back and be interfered with by a cornerback with his back turned. Hopefully, the thin Denver air allows Flacco to actually throw the ball far enough for Sutton to put up some serious numbers.

Royce Freeman
Phillip Lindsay has the starting running back position locked up for Game 1 of next season. But with uncertainty at the quarterback position, the Broncos needs a viable second option in the backfield. More specifically, a receiving option. Flacco is a big time check down quarterback and needs a safety valve receiver. Freeman played that role perfectly at Oregon and could add a whole new element to the Bronco offense. Screens, wheel routes and swing passes may be what unlocks his potential.

Kareem Jackson
Kareem Jackson is the only newcomer expected to start in the Broncos secondary. Coming off 9 seasons in Houston and a career best year, expectations will be through the roof. But the veteran cornerback is exactly what this Broncos team needs. Joining an elite secondary with William Parks, Justin Simmons, Chris Harris, Bryce Callahan, and Su’a Cravens led by Vic Fangio’s expertise should make for a dominant season, but Kareem Jackson will need to have a big year to bring back to notorious No Fly Zone.

Josey Jewell
Vic Fangio loves to play 3-4 defense. Obviously, three of the four linebacker spots will go to Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and Todd Davis. The last inside linebacker spot will go to the next man up, Josey Jewell. Coming off a pretty good rookie year of 58 tackles (38 solo) and 4 tackles for loss, he is going to have to come up huge for the Broncos defense this season. Josey proved that he is an elite linebacker at Iowa and needs to be a presence in the run game for the Broncos to be competitive in the AFC West. Luckily, Vic Fangio is the perfect coach for a young linebacker to learn under.

One player that you should not see on a list like this, at least for the upcoming season, is Phillip Lindsay. Some people still think that he needs to have a big year in 2019 in order to prove himself. Really? Has he not done enough? He went from undrafted to Pro-Bowler in a couple of months. Saying he has proven himself is an understatement.

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NBA Analysts Are Raining Praise on Tyler Herro

The Miami Heat and Pat Riley knew they were getting an elite shooter when they drafted Tyler Herro with the 13th overall pick. To their pleasant surprise, Herro has proved in Summer League that he is much more than just a shooter. His ability to score from anywhere, pass and handle the ball is drawing praise from all over the NBA.

In his 6 games in the Summer League, Herro put up big numbers. Averaging 19.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 steals, he is looking like a future star for Miami. The Heat’s Summer League Coach Eric Glass told the Miami Herald that Herro “can give us whatever we need… If we need a guy that can handle, get us into offense, if we need him to be pick-and-roll, if we need him to come off catch-and-shoots, he’s shown he can do it all, and we feel comfortable in any of those spots.”

Glass went on to say, “from the day he came in, he proved that he could be a really good passer, so I put him in those roles. The thing that surprised me, I guess, is his feel. It looks like he’s a second- or third-year guy out here. That’s the thing that probably jumps out more than even the touch.”

Glass also loves Herro’s competitiveness and confidence. But not just Heat personnel seems pleased with their draft pick. NBA analysts have been showering the Kentucky guard in compliments since he began his Summer league play.

NBA TV’s Brendan Haywood commented, ““He can do more than shoot… There are other layers to his game. He looks like he will be a steal.” In respect to his game, Haywood also said that Herro “gets right to his point, understands what he has to do without using a lot of the shot clock.” Even delivering the scorching take, “He’s going to be a very impressive rookie in the league. He’s going to have a chance to be first-team All Rookie.”

Former GM of the Atlanta Hawks, Wes Wilcox, said “He’s one of my favorite players in the draft… I would have had him in the top 10. He plays with confidence.” 

Even NBA living legend Vince Carter shared his opinion on Herro’s versatility at the guard position saying, “He has the ability to facilitate, so he will play both.”

Obviously, if Tyler Herro was not on teams radars before, he is now. The Heat and Pat Riley have made it clear that he will be with them for the forseeable future. Even fending off a trade with the Thunder for Russell Westbrook before he was dealt to the Rockets. Having exceeded every expectation for the Heat in Summer League, the chances of being first-team All Rookie and playing multiple crucial roles for a playoff contending squad are favorable.

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